June 4, 2013

Listening to God and not just Hearing Him

Have you ever been in faced with a situation where you needed to make a decision, knowing that what ever decision you took would have a ripple effect on everything else around? Have you ever been at a crossroad where everyone expected you to lead? Have you ever felt like you needed God's guidance and direction in a particular issue, called and prayed to him and yet feel that he never answered? Or better yet, have followed a certain path fully believing that God led you down that path only to be in terrible doubts down the road?Or have you sought God in issues and done things differently only to question if you did listen to God?

That dawned on me a few days ago and the sad part about it is that, several times i have found myself regretting the choices i made be it with my education, my personal life, work and everything else in between.It is only after the event that i start questioning if indeed i heard God and if indeed i did listen to Him. Several times we seek God's face and guidance about issues in our lives and when he does speak to us, we take a different route instead and only regret it when things don't go as planned.

Sometimes we get so frustrated with the unexpected outcomes of our actions that we take out the frustration on God and we do not stop for one minute to think that he didn't ask us to go down that path in the first place.

God usually speaks to us in that little inner most voice in our hearts that we so often tend to ignore and follow the loud voice, not realizing that the loud voice is our own voice talking back at us.Sometimes when the voice is silent, it is asking us to be patient and wait because there might be a hurdle ahead or there is better option ahead. But always God is talking to us even in the silence, the question is how many of us are patient to wait for his voice and gentle in listening to his voice?

Mark 4:24 reads 'And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.'.  It says to pay attention to what you hear, paying attention means to listen to God fervently. It is what we hear when we listen to that voice that should be the determining factor in our actions. This verse also promises that we would be blessed even more if we listen to God and obey his voice.

Proverbs 2:1-5 reads 'My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.' Again, the word attentive has been mentioned in this verse which translates into listening with a keen ear, or better still, listening with the heart. This passage tells of the richness in God's voice, it is filled with wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

All the decisions we would ever need to make in our lives would require some knowledge, wisdom and understanding of some sort and Proverbs 2:1-5 assures us that if we receive God's words and treasure his commandments, then abundant wisdom,knowledge and understanding shall be ours but that if only we listen to his voice.

As children of God, the Holy Spirit is always with us as long as we do not depart from God. And as long as we have the Holy Spirit with us, we can talk to God and hear his voice and listen to him. John 8:47 is very clear on that as it reads 'Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”. We are all children of God and not being of God here means that we do not have that Holy Spirit in us. That would be why God talks to us and we hear something different.That Holy Spirit comes to us when we are saved and we have to keep praying to God to never depart his Holy Spirit from us because then, we would not able to hear him.

Jesus is the Shepard and we are the sheep and the sheep have to listen to the Shepard. John 10:27-28 reads 'My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.' As the Shepard,Jesus is constantly talking to us, giving us directions and guiding us in life. But are we the sheep actually listening to his voice of direction and guidance? When we listen to his voice, we are safe and we are in his hands and therefore we will be able to make wise decisions.

As children of God, we are not supposed to have any doubts in our minds when making a decision concerning any aspect of our lives because we have to seek the divine counsel of God always. It does not suffice to seek his counsel but we have to pay attention to his voice when we call on him. God is always talking to us, even in the silence he is always saying something to us. He speaks to us in our hearts, in the littlest most gentle voice which requires our undivided attention to capture what he is saying.

This is all summed up in Philippians 4:6 which says 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ' For if we do take everything to God in prayer with thanksgiving, we have no reason to be anxious because as he promised in his word, he always listens to his children and will never forsake us. If he is gentle, kind and patient to listen to our many supplications and prayers, and merciful to grant us solutions and answers to those prayers why then, can't we be patient in waiting to hear his voice, or why can't we attentive enough to listen to what he is saying. Take time to pray to God and when you do, take time again to listen to him because he is always near, talking to us, even in the silence.

May 8, 2013

Respectfully fighting with my parents

A few days ago, i called my father to talk about some family matters.He was excited to talk to me as always but our conversation quickly changed from a calm and peaceful tone to a noisy and yelling tone. In the course of our discussion about the particular issue that we are dealing with as a family, he got angry when i tried to give my opinion concerning the issue.

Like my father, i am strong willed and very opinionated and i do not hesitate to let my feelings out. So it is therefore never a good idea for two-like-minded individuals to get into such heated argument as each feels their reasoning is the best and their point of view should be taken.I have had disagreements with my father growing up but none was ever as heated as this recent one.

One thing i had never realized my dad disliked most until he said it last week, was being challenged and i only realized it after our conversation that,that was the common denominator in all of the fights i have had with him over the years. It is not like i enjoy challenging him but i always called him out if i didn't feel good about something he said or did.

As an African, it is rare to hear of kids challenging their parents or even getting into fights with their parents in the first place, but i guess that is why i have always been different too growing up.Though this is not only peculiar with African parents,it is a norm for  most African parents if not all to feel always that they know better than their kids.Their justification of that knowledge is stringent on their experiences as parents, raising the kids and longevity on earth which has given them wisdom as they mostly feel, to know better than the kids.

My dad was so infuriated that he said he didn't want to talk to me for a year. After talking to my mother, she asked me to call him and apologize to which i was adamant at first. I told her, i wasn't rude to him, all i did was state my opinion. She insisted that i call him and ask for forgiveness lest i incur a curse from him by mouth out of anger.

Mom has always been the voice of reason between both of us and i didn't want to disappoint her, so i went ahead and called dad and we smoothed every thing out. It wasn't until later that evening that i realized that though i was right in stating my opinion to dad, mom was equally right to suggest that  i apologize to him regardless.

Colossians 3:20 reads 'Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.'. I might have been right in stating my opinion to dad but i had to obey mom when she said for the sake of peace, i should apologize to dad. A lot of times, we get caught up with the emotions and while we may be right in our opinion and point of view, we need to realize that just contradicting our parents hurts them, especially when they feel that their years on earth have given them enough wisdom to deal with situations. It is also very helpful to have that voice of reason, in my case mom to calm every one down and bring you back to reality, to Christian values of obedience, honor and respect.

Exodus 20:12 reads  “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.". From this verse,our longevity on earth is hinged on how well we honor our parents. We should not only honor our parents when the relationship or the conversations are good. Even when fight, we should still honor our parents. We live in a very realistic world and being human, we are all bound to have disagreements with our parents every now and then,but as Christians who are filled with God's love and word, we can respectfully disagree with our parents, obeying them even as we fight.

For Proverbs 23:22 says 'Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old'.  and Proverbs 20:20 reads 'If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness'. Non-Bible believing people have said after reading the second passage that God would be a mean God if a child is killed because he cursed his parents. I disagree with that. We have already seen how God tells us to honor our parents with the promise of long days on earth and also to please him. And Bible-believing Christians know all too well of God's love for his children, therefore, how can he harm us when we fail to please him by honoring our parents. What cursing our parents will do to us is remove the divine grace,mercy and compassion of God from us and especially, his holy spirit will depart from us and that to me, is worse than death.

I could not imagine myself living without the grace,mercy and compassion of God or for his Holy spirit to leave me. I am here, i am where i am because his grace found me in my time of need,his mercy pardoned my transgressions including my irrational fights with my parents sometimes and compassion gave me another chance to make it right but mostly, His Holy spirit guided me through it all. If we understand as Christians that we would all die someday in other to be with the Father, then truly death for cursing or disrespecting our parents is nothing compared to living without all of God's divinity.

In the same vain as we obey our parents, they are equally not to provoke their children to anger for Ephesians 6:1-4 says  'Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.'. Verse 4 is a guide for parents to raise their kids up in the way of the Lord with discipline and not take advantage of the fact that they are our parents to anger us or teach us otherwise. Some kids grow up to find the way to God for themselves while other parents lead their kids to God. If any parent,Christian or not angers their kids whether intentionally or unintentionally,it is the responsibility of that child who walks in the light of God therefore to humble themselves as the younger ones because our parents gave us life and not the other way round.

As children to our parents and to God, we have to be humble always. In the argument i had with dad, my opinion concerning the issue was correct but dad didn't like it because in stating it to him, i gave him hard facts with examples that he had witnessed. I don't think he got mad at me because i stated my opinion but because he knew i told him the truth, and he didn't want to hear that hard bitter truth from me. I was his daughter,his child,he gave birth to me and i should listen to him and not the other way round. So it is understandable that he got frustrated to the point of not wanting to talk to me anymore.

But like mom told me, i had to apologize for the sake of peace. My human self was stubborn at first but when moved away from the situation, i saw reason with mom.It wasn't until later when i stumbled upon the words of 1 Peter 5:5-6 which says 'Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,'. I was the child, i was the younger one and so i had to be the one to humble myself in asking for forgiveness from my father for challenging him. And what would you know,God exalted me because my father ended up going with my approach in the issue.

We are humans and what sets us apart from the other animals of the earth is the fact that we have the ability to express ourselves and show our emotions.It will also happen very often that we get into fights with our parents be it over our future, our education,personal lives,family matters and all. But that we are Christians doesn't in no way mean we should keep our emotions bottled up for fear of cursing or disrespecting our parents.

Being Christians sets us apart from others in every aspect and that includes how we fight with our parents. We can fight with them without cursing them, we can disagree with them without disrespecting them and we can be angry too with them without disobeying them. When it gets too heated up, it is advisable to retreat for a moment and come back with a clear head to talk in a more calmed tone. Remember, as the child, we are the ones who should be humble before our parents and God always seeks a way to exalt us before them and prosper us.

Indeed,we would not be here without our parents had they not chosen to give us life and our existence would be miserable if we dishonor or disobey them as God put them as the pillars in our life. So if you are not in good terms with your parents or just recently had a fight, humble yourself before said parent and do the right thing. Start the conversation all over again and ask for God's guidance that your parents may see or reason with you. No one knows tomorrow and the time you spend being mad at your  parents is the time you could have made amends and enjoyed a wonderful parent-child relationship.The time you spend begrudging your parents is the time you could be spending in bonding with them. Make use of this opportunity while you have it and remember in future times to be gentle with them. Most parents if not all, always have their kids best interest at heart and all of them want nothing but a wonderful relationship with their kids just like our Father in heaven.

I hope my little broil with my father inspires you to repair your relationship with your parents or to see a better way of disagreeing with your parents without being at each others throat. May God guide us all and make us the best kids that our parents want us to be as He destined. Have a blessed rest of the week everyone and it is great to be back yet again.

April 15, 2013

I Choose Christ.

During Palm Sunday's mass, the gospel was about the passion of Christ. In my church which i am sure was the norm in all Catholic Churches around the world on that Palm Sunday, the gospel was written as a dialogue and divided into parts. There was a part for the narrator,the words of Jesus were spoken by the priest, there was someone who did a random voice and then there was the part for the crowd, which in this case was us the parishioners.

The passion of Christ if you read the Sunday's Message page on this blog or if you have knowledge of it, is about the last hours of Jesus on earth from the last supper through to his betrayal.During the course of the reading the gospel and especially the dialogue assigned to the crowd as i was a part of, i felt tears sting my eyes by the end of the gospel.

At the beginning of the gospel, the crowd is all about Jesus, telling him they needed nothing when he sent them out to minister with nothing, asking for a sword to defend him from his betrayer.But as the gospel unfolds,the crowd calls out Simon as one who was with Jesus so he could be punished too and by the end of the gospel,the crowd is persecuting and calling for the crucifixion of Jesus.

It got me wondering what i would have done if i was alive in the times of Jesus. Whether i too like Simon would have denied Jesus, or whether like everyone else there at the time would have called for Jesus to be crucified or whether i would have believed that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. I also wondered about the time Jesus appeared to his disciples and Thomas asked for proof by touching Jesus' hand and his side.I wondered if i would have been like the other disciples and believed that it was indeed Jesus or if i would have been like Thomas instead wanting and needing proof.

These days there are all kinds of occults,deities and gods that people have turned to for hope, protection,sustenance and every thing else in between. The most glaring one that seems to be gaining grounds even among young people and is especially popular with the affluent is The Illuminati. I had been hearing a lot about it recently and never paid heed to it but when i read it on Yahoo, then i knew it was for real and it is quickly blinding people from Jesus The Truth.

Not too long ago, i was talking to my friend(yes,i know i reference him a lot but we all actually need that one friend with whom we can freely speak Jesus with anytime) who said while we were on the topic of being disciples for Christ, that disciples (Christ' followers) are not called but they call themselves to Christ. I found it a bit tricky at first but he went on to explain that, we make a conscious decision to follow Christ or be Christ-like, we are not called to be Christ-like but we decide in our hearts that we want to be.

It makes a lot of sense because if people can decide to worship another human being, or an idol,or a deity, or some god, then surely, people can make a conscious decision to worship and serve God too.It is rather unfortunate that in the times, more people are making up their minds to worship the formers instead of the latter.

I see that the quest for fast growth in terms of money is the main reason why so many choose to serve and worship other gods other than God, forgetting that our sole existence in the first place is simply because God authored it and allowed us. John 3:16 reads ''For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 

God chose us and because he loved us so dearly, gave His only son Jesus Christ to come die on the cross for our sins. We are saved and healed by his wounds as the Bible tells us that God knew us even before we were conceived. But he did not or has not imposed himself on us but has given us the free will to realize how much he loved us, the sacrifice that he gave for us and for us to choose him in return and believe in him.

For long, Christians have been taunted by non-Christians about believing and praying to a God we cannot see. Some like Thomas have asked of Christians to show them proof of the existence of our God, some out of sheer ignorance follow the bandwagon and get lost in the mix. But we have blessed assurance from Jesus for believing in him and trusting him even though we have not seen him.

Thomas had not believed his fellow disciples when they told him that Jesus came upon them but wanted to see for himself before believing, and indeed he only believed after he saw Jesus for himself. And Jesus said to him,' have you come to believe because you have seen me?Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.' Blessed are the Christians who call on God, who pray to him, trust and have faith in him without having seen him.

In the beginning of Jesus' ministry, we see that he chose his disciples,which is evident in Mathew 4:18-19 and reads ''And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.". But Jesus unlike so many leaders today or humans, did not impose the disciples to follow him or obey him. He gave them the free will and ability to make their own  conscious choice of choosing him in return which they did.

I found it interesting that Jesus in choosing his disciples, chose even the one that would eventually betray him Judas Iscariot.This is/was to show us that the same grace that was offered to Judas for a chance at salvation is being offered to each and every one of us at different points in our lives. Some of the people antagonizing Christians might have not yet received this grace and so are yet to be saved, while others are too stubborn to accept the grace of God or even identify it, and while others are just plainly ignorant to that grace lurking around them the whole time.

For those doubting the existence of God, i urge you to just for a moment take a look around you and behold the beauty of your environment.The birds flying freely in the sky, the wonderful nature around you, the earth beneath your feet, the waters surrounding you and especially the air that you breath, all that and more is proof of God's wonderful existence.

Jesus is calling us every day to come into his presence and be partakers of this wonderful glory and belong in his eternal kingdom through salvation. He is extending a hand to you and me and every body else everyday. You are alive because he knew you even before you were conceived in the womb, you are alive because he chose you. Isn't it time you and i chose him too in return like Joshua.

In Joshua 24, Joshua gathered all the Israelites and showed them proof of God by reminding them of the promises he made to Abraham and how he fulfilled it. He also reminds them of how God delivered them from the Egyptians and the many blessings he gave them in form of food,fruits,plants from land where they did not toil nor harvest. 

For Joshua, it is overwhelming proof of the goodness and kindness of God and he was taken aback that despite all that, the Israelites still wanted to go worship deities and their ancestors. And that is when he said the verse that would change the Israelites minds, Joshua 24:15 which reads
''But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” They changed their minds after seeing that indeed from what Joshua said, God was indeed a God of signs and wonders and if they survived all that they had been through, it was only because God chose them and they chose him in return.

So let us not get caught up with  the many arguments that abound in every gathering these days that threaten the core of our belief system,or the negative news coming out from every angle, or the difficult situations we may be faced with that is making us question our faith. Just like he delivered the Israelites out of bondage and suffering, so will he deliver you. And the reason he delivered them was because they were a chosen people,chosen by him and so are you and i. 

So listen to that inner voice talking to you,God is calling you today and he is choosing you. Will you choose him in return? I hope you do, because then you will be releasing a flood of blessing on your life. Have a blessed and happy week and it is good to be back.

March 15, 2013

Halfway Through Lent!!!

I wrote on Ash Wednesday to tell you of the beginning of Lent and to remind those who had forgotten,that Lent was here.I shared with you the message from mass that Wednesday and the poignant assignment we had during this season , which was to be Ambassadors Of Christ every day of our lives but especially during Lent. I wrote of the importance of honoring God this season, on experiencing Christ's pain on the cross by fasting,giving up bad habits,volunteering and so much more. For those who missed that post, find it here.http://vikkyscreed.blogspot.com/2013/02/ash-wednesday-be-ambassador-for-christ.html?showComment=1363353268480#c8147652278124820038

We are more than halfway through with the Lent season and I thought it would be important for us to analyze how the first half has been so far. I had hoped to chronicle every day here but i thought to wait it out and write midway.

I had planned on giving up so many things during this period, dedicate more time to God, help more and mostly, pray often and spend more time with God. While I am not making excuses, life gets in the way sometimes and it did get in my way.

I had planned to give up chocolate and anything that wasn't good for my body like fries, ice cream, cakes and all the fatty food you can think of, as a way to cleanse my system for Lent. The first week i was able to pull it off and after that, I would forget sometimes and eat them, realize only after i had taken a bite or even finished eating that i wasn't supposed to be eating that.

I had also planned to give away some of my clothes and shoes to the needy and volunteer more time at one of the many community outreach at church. The clothes and shoes i did give away and i was proud of myself because these clothes and shoes, i still had enough wear in them and i loved most of them but i gave them away with so much ease.But i hadn't been able to volunteer my time to help in the community until this weekend and i am so looking forward to it.

Another thing i had planned to do was fasting and it was easy to follow up with this because I had just recently incorporated it in my life. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of fasting and the feeling that comes with it. It is liberating and the joy that comes during and after the fast when you are breaking it with songs of praise and worship is astounding. It is truly something to experience.

And the last things I had planned to do, was not to get angry with people or not to take things too seriously or personally, to be more forgiving and tolerant of people, to show more compassion towards people as Christ shows to me, to love all, to not be judgemental and most of all to love God more by calling and praying to him often.

 I cannot tell you in all honesty that I did all the things listed above as i had hoped to, or that the season hasn't been riddled with its own temptations. I failed several times on the plan of cleansing my body as i indulged, sometimes greedily on satiating my sweet tooth. I got overwhelmed and busy I forgot to volunteer my time to help a just cause.I let people get to me sometimes and lashed out at them only to regret it moments later, wishing i had thought before acting. I wasn't easily forgiving when i got hurt and i occasionally judged people when it was not my place to do so.

Yes i faltered and i take full responsibility for not being a good ambassador of Christ. But i am happy for my little victories too. The times when i craved a chocolate bar and saw it right in front of me but passed it up,the times when someone hurt me and i didn't let them get to me, the joy i felt when i went through my closet picking out clothes and shoes to give away, the times i fasted and the wonderful experience that it was, the times when i was understanding, tolerant towards people and mostly, the times i spent in God's presence.

I analyzed my first half of Lent and it hadn't quite gone the way i had planned to, so i hit the reset button a few days ago and that is why i wrote this morning. To tell you that, you too can hit the reset button. Have you analyzed your first half and you too like me weren't very proud of yourself?  Is there more you know you can do and wish to do? Do you want to correct yourself in the little time we have left?

Good news. You can correct yourself.There are so many things that God has promised us and reassured us of, and one of those things is His forgiveness. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says 'All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.". In this verse, we see that God already forgave us our sins even before we wronged him when he gave Jesus Christ on the cross for us.Christ coming was to reconcile us back to God and because he loves us so much, he doesn't keep scores of our wrongs.

We have guaranteed grace from God but we must always seek for that grace first.We must always come to God with contrite and genuine hearts for 1 John 1:9 says 'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.'  and Acts 3:19 reads 'Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord'. For us to move forward and start all over on a clean slate, we need to ask first for forgiveness for the past wrongs and repent from them,and as we have been assured,God is just waiting for us to ask and it is done.

Starting over not only means asking God for forgiveness but forgiving those people whose hurt in our hearts may be holding us back form our salvation. Mathew 6:14-15 says 'For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.'  and Mark 11:25 says 'And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. ". It is not enough to ask God for forgiveness because we know it is already granted but we have to forgive others. Unforgiveness holds our blessings back from God and it keeps us prisoners of our own emotions and lives, while the person we are angry with goes about their life and we are filled with so much bitterness. Whatever it is, we need to let go and release God's blessings and forgiveness to us.

Some of us might be so disappointed with ourselves that we feel discouraged to start over but God's arms are always open to receive His children. So many times we have read in the Bible of how the Israelites wronged God and how God accepted them into his presence. God has promised to never forsake those who call on his name and if you think you will not be able to do it, just call on him . Isaiah 41:10 says ' fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand'. and Exodus 15:2 says 'The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.'.God is your strength and your courage and he is willing and ready to walk this journey with you.

1 Corinthians 10:13 'No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.' It doesn't matter what may be ahead of you or what you think you are afraid of. God already knows the temptations will abound. They will come in all forms, friends, trouble at work, dysfunction in the family and more and even battle in the spiritual realm that you can't see. But as Paul told the people of Corinthians, he is saying it to you me. No temptation will befall you that man has not seen, but through it all, God will be faithful. He will not let it happen and even if it did, God will make a way through for you.

So braze yourselves up, dust yourselves up and get back on the wagon. For we are not only ambassadors of Christ especially during the Lent season, but every day of our lives and we need both God's forgiveness to start over and his courage and strength to keep going forward. Our journey as Christ's ambassadors, as Christ's feet and hands on earth is never ending. But we need to know that whenever we falter or fall short of doing that, He is always ready to lift us up again with his love,his grace,his mercy,compassion and kindness.

For those who have done good so far, keep it up and expect your reward only in God and for those like me who failed in some areas, here is a second chance to do it all over.It is never late with God because all he cares about is our hearts and its genuineness in serving him and doing his works.So go ahead and make those plans again, this time knowing that God has forgiven the past,is glad you are back and is ready to walk with you through the whole journey.

I leave you with one of the powerful verses in the Bible from Philippians 4:13' I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' Have that at the back of your mind always and with Christ, indeed all things are possible. Wishing you the best as you go through the last days of Lent,may you find strength in Christ and may he guide your ways always.

Happy and blessed weekend.

March 8, 2013

Why Do We Limit God?

A few days ago, a friend of mine told me about something that he really wanted to see happen in his life, something he wanted to achieve and that he hoped he would. He went on to say he has prayed about the issue several times and hopes that God answers His prayers. And just a few seconds after saying that, he started second-guessing himself. He started wondering if really he would get what he wanted, and started piling the odds that were against him to achieve that particular goal. He started doubting his abilities and told himself that, it would be difficult for him to make it.

In that instant I found inspiration to talk him out of that mindset, out of the negativity, the self doubt and to give him confidence. But after talking to him, I realized that I too have been guilty of that same behavior at some point in my life.

There have been times when I needed something so very much and after praying and committing it to God, I would find myself asking all kinds of questions. Questions like what qualifies me to have that and not the next person, if I was good enough for what I wanted, if I was really ever going to get it and/or how would I overcome all the hurdles to get it?.

I realized after talking to my friend and examining myself that, so many of us are guilty of this. We want something and we go down on our knees to ask God in prayers as He asked us to. For some of us, we are praying for a new job, some are praying for a baby, some are praying for a job promotion, some for success in exams and so on. And after we make the prayer, we get on our feet and start wondering if that prayer will be answered or if it will come to pass. We start looking for answers or excuses why the prayer will not be answered,we start listing our shortcomings and sometimes even use the past to justify why that prayer will not come true.

Well, fellow Christians, if you have done this in the past or are doing it right now, then what you are actually doing is limiting God.Anytime we go to God in prayer and come back to doubt ourselves and our abilities, we are not only doubting ourselves but we are doubting that God will come through for us.We are doubting His power, His love,His grace,His kindness and His mercy.

When we doubt ourselves, we are saying that we are unworthy of Christ's love and His blessings. We are saying that we don't really believe in Him as we claim to,we are saying that there is only so much that He can do and we are trying to be god of our own lives by answering  all those questions and putting in all those limitations.

Psalm 55:22 says 'Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you;He will never let the righteous fall'. Didn't this singular verse just ask us to cast all our cares and burdens onto God for He will sustain us? Casting our cares means taking our problems, desires and wants to God in prayer and sustaining us means He will see us through and grant us that which we have asked for. When we take a burden or concern to God in prayer, we should really free ourselves from it after prayer and let God do His work.

Mark 11:22-24 reads 'So Jesus answered and said to them,"have faith in God.For assuredly,I say to you,whoever says to this mountain,"Be removed and be cast into the sea",and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you,whatever things you ask when you pray,believe that you receive them,and you will have them'. Questioning ourselves after a prayer says very little of our faith and yet Jesus urges us to have faith in God in this passage. It doesn't matter what we are praying to God for or what miracle we  are asking Him for. What matters is that we we have faith in God, believe in Him and have absolutely no doubt in our hearts and whatever it is that we are seeking for will be granted.

Let not the unanswered prayers of the past be a measuring rod for why God can't do in your life what you ask of Him, for surely there had to be a reason why that past prayer went unanswered(topic for another day) and only God actually knows why. Live in the present and believe in God's abilities and promises for that present situation or prayer.

God assures us several times in the Bible that He listens to us and will answer our prayers when we pray. Passages like John 14:13-14 which reads 'Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it' and Mathew 7:7 says ”Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.'

As children of  God and as Christians, we came to know of the love of God from the Bible.It is the only proof of His existence coupled with the miracles in our lives, when we know we couldn't have gotten out of a particular situation on our own. As Christians, we made a conscious decision to have faith in God,we chose to believe and that is what sets us apart from non-believers.

We are not ordinary people but extraordinary people bathed in the love of God and basking in His glory filled with promises.And though we live with unbelievers and pray for the same things as unbelievers, our attitudes and mindsets should set us apart from them. For while they sit and questions their abilities, doubt themselves, reminisce on the past and dwell on their failings,we on the other hand have to rejoice. For we serve a living God, a God who keeps His promises, who answers His children, who knows their minds and thoughts even before they come to Him in prayer and who would not forsake them or allow them to be shamed.

So go ahead.Go on your knees and make that fervent prayer to God about that new job you applied for, that baby you desire so much, that promotion you are longing for at work, that exam you are about to write, that new business you are about to launch and so much more.Make that prayer with all your heart and faith,get on your feet and forget about it because God is now in control of everything.Working behind the scenes,putting the right people in your path, leading you to the right door and direction, opening new opportunities for your, emboldening you even without your knowledge, building you up and strengthening you,connecting all the dots and voila,your prayer is answered.

And for Him to do all of that, we have to let God be God in our lives and stop trying to answer our own prayers. For if we could actually do it ourselves, then  we would have no reason praying to Him but since we can't , we have to let Him do His work after we pray. 1 John 5:14-15 says 'And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.'

I would leave you with one of my favorite Bible verses, the first part of Psalm 46:10 which says 'Be still and know that I am God' . I just found out that still comes from a Hebrew word meaning to 'let go' or 'release' and it just gave a whole new meaning to this verse and makes it all the more powerful. Whatever you ask God for in prayers or whatever miracle you are believing Him for, let it go and release it to Him, because He is still on the Throne and has sovereign control over every thing. And that second part, know that I am God means let God be God of your life and see how beautiful He makes everything in and around your life.

Have a blessed weekend .

February 16, 2013

Misplaced Hope? Find It In Christ.

If you have been following the news, then you are definitely aware of the situation surrounding Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius. The news of him shooting his girlfriend took the world by surprise and i am almost certain that some like myself,have not only been disappointed to see such a young man with so much potential go to possible waste, but have been asking so many questions in our minds. Questions that we might never get answers to.

As shocked as i still am about the whole situation, i couldn't help but think about the thousands of people that Oscar must have disappointed, the thousands of people whose dreams have died with his ordeal and the thousands of people whose hopes have been crashed in all the chaos.

In the last few days following the incident, so many articles have been published about Oscar Pistorius. Some detailing his life, how he was born without fibula and became a double amputee,his life's journey of how he came to be an athlete, how he became the first double amputee to compete in a major event such as the Olympics and how he became a source of inspiration and hope to so many. Yahoo News reports that he came to have a cult following and became a major celebrity after achieving this feat.http://sports.yahoo.com/news/olympics--distraught-oscar-pistorius-could-face-charge-of--pre-meditated-murder--111548119.html.

This got me thinking about all those people who had come to admire him, to look up to him, to be inspired by him, who dreamt and hoped to one day be like him especially with the handicapped population. Some of these people's dreams and hopes, together with O.P's career died the instant they heard about O.P's ordeal and that, is the problem with our world today.

It is understandable that as humans, we need some sort of motivation to keep us going on our various causes but that is as far as it should go-motivation. Nobody could have predicted this in O.P's future and neither did he plan to hurt the thousands of people that looked up to him with this unfortunate act. Some of his loyal fans might even be too distraught to want to continue living, forgetting that O.P is just a mere mortal like them and they should have never placed their hope or belief in him in the first place.

Our hope for everything in life and salvation should be deeply rooted in Jesus Christ and not man. Numbers 23; 19 says ' God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?'.Every thing and every one in our lives will fail and disappoint us at one time or another whether they want to or not. But there is only one person in the world who has given us His word that He will never forsake or abandon us because we are His children and He never has. That person is Jesus Christ and that is whom we should be putting our hope and trust in, because what He says He will do, that He does and He always has the final say as long as we talk to Him, believe and hope in Him only.

 Romans 8:24-25 says 'For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.' Why do we humans always put our hope in mere mortals like us? It is clearly stated in this verse that hope that is seen is not hope.All those who had their hopes in O.P were somehow setting themselves up for failure, for no body knows what the next minute holds. If O.P knew that this awaited him in his future, he would have done everything in his capacity to stop it i am sure but since God holds our destinies in His hands, even he didn't see this one coming.

Faith and hope are two words that are in someway intertwined because you cannot hope without having faith in the first place, and hoping in something or someone means you are believing and trusting in them or putting your faith in them. The Bible in many instances warns us against trusting or putting our faith in humans. Passages like Psalms 118:8 which says ' It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” and Micah 7:5 which says 'Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms' state it very plainly for understanding.

How many times have loved ones failed us,close friends betrayed us or parents disappointed us? But we have many Bible guarantees that when we put our faith and hope in God, He will never fail us. Passages like Proverbs 3:5 says '“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”, Psalm 9:10 says 'And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” and Psalm 37:5 says 'Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” .Every time we choose to believe in God,rely, depend and hope in Him, He will never fail us, betray us or disappoint us because He is a God who keeps His promises.

For all those people who had built their faith and hope in O.P, together with O.P himself, it is not late to reroute their attention and focus in the right direction. This is a period of trial and tribulation for both O.P and his loyal fans but they can delight in the fact that God will be there every step of the way to give them strength to carry on, support them when they feel alone,give them courage when they feel weak and work things out for their own good. Romans 5:2-5 says 'Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.'.But they can only tap into all of those blessings when they put their faith in God which Romans tells us, has been made freely accessible to us through His grace and love.

For O.P, his fans and anybody who is faced with a difficult situation and is in need of hope, let Job in the Old Testament be your inspiration, your motivation and a Biblical story you can use to draw strength from. For despite all the trials and temptations that he went through at the hands of the devil,he remained adamant to all the talks trying to convince him to give up on God. Instead, he remained strong in his faith and continued to hope in a God who eventually vindicated him before all his enemies. Job 13:15 reads 'Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.'

I hope the message of this piece is not lost in translation because i am in no way judging O.P. It is very unfortunate what has happened to him and i sympathize with him and his family and that of the deceased. God alone knows the full story and i can only offer up prayers for him, his family, the deceased family, and those heartbroken by these events.I pray they all remain strong and put their faith in God, for He alone knows best why things happen the way they do. Find hope in the words of Romans 12:12 which says 'Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.'

I just simply got inspired to use this as a wake up call to all of us. So many of us have misplaced our hope and faith.There are those who put their faith in fake gods,those who have false belief systems and then there are those who put their hope and faith in their fellow man.For all these people, betrayals,failures and disappointments are just moments away.

But there is only one True God who when we believe and hope in, we are certain that He will keep His promise of never failing us and make us the envy of those who do not know Him yet.For all those who had misplaced their hope, it is time you found it and put it in Christ Jesus.

Romans 15:13.'May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.'

February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday: Be An Ambassador For Christ During Lent

Happy Ash Wednesday Fellow Christians

The messages of today's liturgy were perfect and on time to usher us into the Season of Lent. Lent is a period of 40 days set aside for Christians to worship God in His entirety, experiencing the pain Jesus Christ went through for our sake, changing our attitudes towards the things of God, and striving for righteousness. This is not peculiar only to the Catholic Church as other denominations partake in it too and i think every Christian ought to share in the Lent, the Passion Of Christ Jesus.

The readings were Joel 2:12-18, 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 and Mathew 6:1-6,16-18 for the first reading, second reading and the gospel respectively.

In the first reading, the Prophet Joel is delivering a message to the people of Zion from God. God is asking His people, men, women and children alike to return to Him with their whole hearts, fasting and mourning for their sins. But that he is not looking at their outward appearance but the depth of their hearts, and He being a merciful, kind and gracious God will always be slow to anger, relent in punishment and shower them with His love.

During this Lent season , we are invited from the first reading to make changes in our lives. Prophet Joel tells us how God wants us to change on the inside and not just on the outside. So what change of attitude do you want to enact during this season? God tells us that He doesn't look at our garments but our hearts.I think the most reasonable change for any of us who call ourselves Children Of God would be to acknowledge our sins each time we falter this season and genuinely ask for God's forgiveness. Every time we sin, we are separated from the Love of God and all that comes with it and the only thing that brings us back into that love, is when we realize our faults and seek forgiveness for He freely gives it to us. That realization occurs within our hearts, and then we make a conscious decision to go to God in prayers, not only asking Him to forgive us but to change us from inside out because when that happens, then we become cautious of the things we say, think or do which limits our sinfulness.

 In the second reading, Paul is calling us to be ambassadors for Christ, to reconcile ourselves to God for because of us, Christ became sin who knew no sin, that we might become His righteousness. He asked us to not receive the grace of God in vain for God heard us in an acceptable time and helped us in the day of salvation.

Paul calls us to be ambassadors for Christ at all times of our lives but especially during this season. We were made in the image and likeness of God and now we have been called to share the message of Christ's salvation.We have been called to be the medium which God uses to reach out to those in the darkness, to those who are blind in the word and to those who have not experienced His goodness.Lent is the perfect season for us to be these ambassadors because it is the period that Christ endured pain and was crucified for our sins and every body needs to be aware of what freedom we have because of that sacrifice.

In the Gospel, Jesus is basically warning us against false worship. That worship which we do in public such as telling everyone when we are fasting or looking famished because we are fasting, praying in the secrecy of our rooms instead of in public because God hears us from the comfort of those walls, and not doing charity work like helping the sick, needy, widows for others to see but because we are doing it for His kingdom.

Whatever we choose to do to honor God during this season of Lent needs to come from our hearts. Let us not be hypocrites or eye servants who say things but do not practice them or who only practice them when we have an audience. That is not to say we should not live out our faith for again, the Bible tells us that faith without works is dead. We have to be careful and know when and where to draw the line between being a plain show off or genuinely doing what He has called us to do. Jesus in the gospel mentioned fasting, praying and giving alms but the list goes far beyond. Whatever means you choose to honor God during this period, let it be from your heart and not because you have an audience to praise your works. For Jesus tells us that His Father in Heaven who is all-seeing would reward us in the secrecy of our hearts and homes.

Forty days may seem too long a time to set any goals and be able to achieve them. These forty days of Lent represent the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness and got tempted. The spirit of God was with Him and He was able to overcome all temptations that the devil teased Him with. It is always advisable to fast during these days but not all can do it.

Not to worry, there are other ways in which you can try to experience Christ during this period. They include but are not limited to volunteering your time, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing those without, providing shelter, treating our bodies like the temple of God that they are by watching the things we eat and the things we do to it, preaching the good news, making sure that our thoughts, actions and words are all to the glory of His name.

It is a long period of time to do all these but we don't have to do it alone.If we can make resolutions to loose weight and accomplish it in however long it takes us, then we surely can follow through with this. Like Jesus who had the spirit of God guiding Him throughout in the wilderness, we need to ask God to never let His spirit depart from us. That His spirit should guide us like it did Jesus, that His spirit should be with us at all times to give us strength when we feel weak,courage when feel discouraged,passion in our hearts to keep going, lift us up if and when we fall.

It is not going to be an easy forty days but with God, we can do it. I hope that somehow i am able to chronicle mine for you here and hope that it inspires you or encourages you to keep going in yours. May God be with us all during this period of His suffering, when we come to first of all feel the pain He went through, be thankful for the sacrifice He made for us and rejoice when He resurrects on the third day.Let us go out there, be ambassadors for Christ in the way we live our lives these forty days and hopefully beyond.

Good luck to all of you participating in Lent and may God be your strength. Happy Ash Wednesday people and a blessed rest of the week. 

February 11, 2013

Last Sunday's message.

 We Are All Members Of The Body Of Christ.

So I am back with the first Sunday's message in weeks.

Mass yesterday was beautiful and the message couldn't be more timely for the times that we are facing right now.

The first reading came from Nehemiah 8:2-4a,5-6,8-10, the second reading was from 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 and the Gospel was from Luke 1:1-4,4:14-21.

The first reading talked about The Law. The law were a series of rules that Ezra the priest read to men, women and children who could understand and it consisted of the things that God expected from us. The things that we could not do as Christians and all who were present at the reading of the law payed reverence to God by prostrating on the floor with their faces down, and rejoicing in the words He had given to them through the priest Ezra.

The second reading talked about the Body of Christ and its parts. Christ is the head of that body and we are the parts and every single part is important in its own way and none is less honorable than the other, because they all perform different functions that contribute to the well being of the whole.

The Gospel talked about Jesus returning to Galilee and going to Nazareth in the synagogue where He read the words that were inscribed on a scroll by Prophet Isaiah as follows
 'The spirit of the Lord is upon me,
  because he has anointed me
  to bring glad tidings to the poor.
 He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives 
  and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord'.
And Jesus after reading those words said to the people in the synagogue 'Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing'.

There were two poignant messages that were delivered to us in the liturgy yesterday which are: that we are all members of Christ body and that God's spirit through Jesus would free us from any bindings.

What does it mean in today's world to be members of Christ body?  St Teresa of Avila in one of her writings, writes that Christ has no body on earth but ours, He has no hands on earth but ours and has no feet on earth but ours. He remains the head of that body and we are the different parts.

We all have different talents and are unique in our own abilities. Some are writers, some are preachers, some are doctors,some are chefs,some are lawyers, some are volunteers and so on. We all have been called in one way or the other by God to our various careers, hobbies,vocations and professions. We all cannot be lawyers, neither can we all be doctors. But we exist in these different arenas so that we can collaborate and work as one people, a people made by God, a people joined together in the body of Christ.

So we need to use our different talents, vocations and professions to do the service and work of God. This would be especially helpful to the needy, the orphaned and the widows. Because by lending our services and volunteering our time to those in need, we are sending a bigger message of Faith and of a God than we would by mere talk. Not one of us is less honorable than the other just as every single part of our body contributes to the whole function of ourselves.

Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God when he went into the synagogue and read the words of Prophet Isaiah on the scroll, and after reading it, He declared that the scripture was fulfilled to our hearing. He meant that the scripture is fulfilled in our lives as we believe in it.

Jesus was sent to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, sight recovery to the blind, set the oppressed free and proclaim the year acceptable to God.

In our lives, we have been held captive in one way or another, we are blind in certain aspects of our lives and we have been enslaved by different problems. The message of yesterday is to free us from all that has hold over our lives, be it sickness, financial troubles, spirituality, family issues and all.
Jesus is the Son of God who was filled with that Spirit and who declared us free from all bondage. God's Spirit empowers Jesus to proclaim God's presence and release us from whatever kind of prisons we might be held in our  lives.

So as we begin the new week and go about our days, we need to constantly remind ourselves that we are Christ's hands, feet and body of which He is the head, and carry out our duties as members of that Sacred body. Where ever we find ourselves in life, there is a reason why God put us there and we have to make the whole body honorable by first, honoring the part or role we have been given to play in society as members of Christ element.

And Christ is telling us that He has freed from whatever burden we are carrying in life but we need to take it to Him in prayers first, then believe it and it shall be ours. So what do you need Jesus to free you from today? Just ask Him and it will be done.

Have a happy and blessed week people.

February 6, 2013

Jesus is jealous for me.

Love Series: part 2

Part 1 of the Love series i started with focused on the love Jesus tells us to have for one another.We looked at the second commandment and why it was very timely in the Christmas season because we had to show love to one another. In this second part, i want to talk about loving God. Keeping Him as the number one lover in our lives.

Have you ever thought it a coincidence that the Bible as huge as it is, with so many books and passages has John 3:16 as the most famous, most recited and most rehearsed scripture? Even a non-believer and the devil himself can recite John 3:16 at the top of their heads and interpret its full meaning. This should be a challenge to us Christians that if non-believers and the devil know of the greatness of God's love, then we ought to be basking in that Love.

John 3:16 states “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life". It is because of God's love for us that He sent His only son Jesus Christ as Messiah to come deliver us from bondage and enslavement. In the present times we live in, we have been enslaved by so much that goes on the world. Sex, money, power, lies, steals and so on have enslaved us and blinded our eyes from seeing the truth that lies right in front us, and that Truth is JESUS CHRIST.

Romans 5:8 reads "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." God loves us and loved us even a sinners. The bible tells us that we by birth have fallen short of the kingdom of God and as human beings, our human nature gets us into trouble every now and then. But despite all that, all of our shortcomings, our failures and our disappointments, God even so loved us more and still gave His son up on that cross for you and me.

So knowing all of that, why not worship Him in spirit and in truth as the Bible clearly tells us to. Mathew 6:24 -25 says" No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"
This message is timeless as it was not just for those whom Jesus was speaking to at the time in the Bible but it also translates to us. If we are going to serve God, we need to do that with everything that we have. It really isn't possible to serve two masters at a time because both require some level of commitment and usually, the most requirement that comes with a lot of work would be from the one other than Jesus. 

Jesus honestly requires just little from us as Mark 12:28- 30 says "And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."  This is the first most important commandment of all times. It is very simplistic in that God needs nothing else from us but that we should love Him as much as He loves us. God is a very jealous God and rightfully so. 

If we could pay just one third of the attention to God as we do to our Facebook profiles, our twitter handles, Google+ accounts and so on, then our lives would be so much different and easier. Because all He wants from us is that we should show Him that much care and concern as He definitely shows to us. He wants us in our entirety, all of us, our soul, body, mind and heart because that much He gave to us in the form of His Son on the cross of Calvary.

John 14:21-24 says "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”  Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him,  “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me." This is plain English in which even the lay man can understand. If we love God, there is absolutely no way in which we would not abide by His word and absolutely no way, He wouldn't in turn bless us.

The world gets too rowdy sometimes and we get caught up in all the chaos but as Children of God, we need to always once in a while, stop and stare at our lives, examine what direction it is taking and reroute ourselves back to God. It is very important  that we find time for God, we find that special place that is meant only for Him in our lives because He has a special place for us, reason why He answers every time when we call on Him no matter what atrocities we have committed.

What matters to Him is our hearts and our spirit; that we genuinely love Him and that we are always willing to serve Him and stay connected with Him. Agreed that we have issues that we need to attend to in our lives, but we cannot let those override the time we spend with Him. Jesus needs to know that we are for Him as He is for us. If you were not in communication with Him, it is never too late and so you are not overwhelmed, five minutes a day like they say is a very good place to start. And if you were already but need to spend more time with Him like myself, then it wise to make a conscious decision and set time aside meant only for Him.
I thank God for this platform He has given me and as i write, you need to know i am not perfect and most of the time, i am writing about my struggles too. The beauty of it for me is that while writing as God inspires me, i get to see a new perspective, i have renewed hope and renewed aspirations and now, more than ever, is to love My God, the creator and mediator of my life, with all that i got, because it is only by His grace that  i am here and i am able to do what i do.

He is jealous for me and guards me as though i were His only care in the world, it is about time i too were jealous for my God and i hope you too. Jesus loves us and is for us, so how about we start showing and according Him the same love He accords us with.

January 28, 2013

Sunday's Message

Today was the first Sunday of the month and the first of the year and the message from mass today couldn't be more timely than it was.

The first reading was Isaiah 60:1-6, the second reading was Ephesians 3:2-3a,5-6 and the Gospel was from Mathew 2:1-12.

The first reading emphasized on the light of God shining on all the nations of the earth. The second reading focused on God's grace given for the benefit of all mankind and the Gospel told the story of the three wise men, with gifts who followed the star to pay Jesus homage.

Today from the gospel, we celebrate the Epiphany of Christ Jesus. The wondrous and miraculous way He was born, the mysteries surrounding His birth like the wise men following a star, recieving messages and warnings in their dreams about Herod and being wise enough to return to their country through another route, so as to avoid Herod.

John 3:16 says'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed Him shall not perish but have everlasting life'. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the light of the world mentioned in the first reading. He is also the benefit to the whole world as seen in the second reading, because when He died on The cross, it was for all human race. The star that shone to guide the wise men served as a light to their path and that is why Christ came, so He could be the light to our path and the lamp to our feet.

Just today in church, there were varied faces. Different races, different backgrounds, different core values, different faces, different heights and shapes and sizes but we all had come to worship The one True God. God's light shines on all the nations of the earth regardless of our differences. He came to save just one race,-and that is The Human Race.

Today's message urged us to be Christ-like and filled with love for each and every soul walking on the face of the earth. It called us to not be prejudiced against any one citizen of the earth because we are all from the creator and He is not prejudiced against us.

We shouldn't be quick to rush to assumptions or pass judgements on people because we really do not know their stories. Every one is different and unique in their way and it is the heart that God looks at. He looks beyond the flesh and sees what is within. In trying to be Christ-like, let us too, look beyond the physical,beyond the superficial and make a conscious decision to not judge anyone.

Wisdom comes to us when we identify our prejudices, our weaknesses and lay them aside and choose to be good.Our prayer this Sunday and always should be that, 'Jesus give me the eyes to see the goodness in every one'. We too are flawed and definitely would not appreciate being called out on our shortcomings and weaknesses but definitely appreciate it when , the good in us is recognized.And as they say, do unto others how you will want them to do unto you.

This should be one of our watch words and prayers as we go through the year, that no matter what any one might have done to hurt us in the past, no matter who we come accross in our daily lives, lets make a conscious decision to see the good in them. Because Christ sees just and only the good in us, He looks beyond us to see what is in our hearts.

And lets remember that Christ' light shine on all the earth and therefore on all of its inhabitants, and regardless of what our differences may be, we have all received that light in our lives. Some earlier than others but it our duty as those who walk in that Light, to then shine onto to those who are still in the dark. We are only humans, trying to be Christ like. It is not going to be a walk in the park but God who sees how genuine we are will help us all along the way. May Jesus give us all the eyes to see the goodness in everyone as He sees in us.

God bless you and have a great week ahead.

January 23, 2013

Do Not Pray For A Calling.Pray Instead For God's Will

First of, i want to apologize to my readers for not publishing any Sunday messages, for two Sundays in a row. Life gets a better part of you sometimes and you hope that God understands but i feel bad because this has become a duty. There are people waiting for that Sunday's message to inspire the rest of their week and it is my responsibility and i am sorry i haven't delivered so far. But not to worry,i am getting back on track and will certainly make sure to post every Sunday regardless of circumstances.

This is not the article i was going to publish this week. What i had in draft was part 2 of the Love series i started last month. But i decided to hold off on that one because while talking to someone yesterday, i got inspired on this topic. I saw things a little different and i went into a thankful mode.Appreciating God for where i am in life right now and i thought someone else might be in need of this message,might be in need of a change and in need to see things differently.

This is the third month this blog has been running and i am still in awe of how i have been able to keep it going till now. I am still surprised at how i keep having topics to write about and when i am about to go blank, i suddenly get inspired. If anyone would have told me 2 years ago i would be blogging and not just that, but blogging about Jesus Christ and God, i would called them a liar.

I have always heard that people come into your life for different reasons. Some to inspire you and teach you, some to hurt you but leave you with important lessons, some to walk with you in your life's journey. I met someone a few months ago and our conversations were on a vast range of topics, but when we got talking about God, he said 'i never pray to God for a calling,i just ask Him to lead me in life and show me His will'. This is after he said, a pastor had seen great potential in him to work in God's vineyard.

At the time, i thought to myself 'you must be pretty full of yourself if a man of God sees potential in you and ask you to pray for God's calling in your life and you think you know better and ask for His will instead'. He explained what he meant by that and i didn't argue with him but still thought he should have done as the pastor had suggested. Little did i know that, while i silently judged him in my mind, i wasn't much different from him either.

Growing up, i could swear that i was going to end up in the convent. When i look back at my childhood and my teenage years, every thing i did was always somehow in line with my beliefs of what i thought a nun was supposed to be. My lifestyle, the way i dressed always seemed to mirror some life in the convent and i remember my mom asking me sometime when i was 16 years old without me telling her, if i wanted to join the convent. I do remember too, in lower sixth when i had a private conversation with the chaplain of my school and told him how i felt, how i constantly thought i was seeing some light and hearing some woman's voice telling me to join a convent, and that i would be a nun, and all the chaplain told me was to pray for my calling.

I had forgotten about all of that until i met this friend, who was apparently told the same thing and did other wise. I had just began this blog when we started talking and every time he said that, up until yesterday, i had always thought he was wrong. But i did a double take last night. Somehow the love of God has always been burning in me,i have always wanted to share God's goodness and do His work and it wasn't until five years ago that the urge and feelings of me wanting to go to the convent stopped.

What changed five years ago? Why had i indirectly groomed myself for this nun-like and convent lifestyle only to let go of it at the last minute? What was different? Unlike my friend who was smart enough to pray for God's will and guidance and not a call, i just started doubting myself a lot. I started asking a lot of questions? What if i got to the convent and couldn't stand the lifestyle? What if i got tempted a lot by the outside world? At some point i thought, how could i give up my love for shoes, jewelries and perhaps a glamorous lifestyle for some cloak for the rest of my life? Never for once did i pray to God to guide me in all of that confusion or for His will do be done in my life.

And yesterday, i heard those words again 'pray for God's will and guidance and not a calling'. To my friend's credit, he turned out a pretty great person, his love of God, his desire to share the word with anyone who cares to listen when he gets a chance,his desire to always reach out and help. I should say i am lucky and blessed to be where i am. I never did ask or pray for His will or guidance but it found me anyways and that, i am thankful for because not many people are that blessed to be led to what God wants them to do.

So when i heard those words again yesterday,all i could do was to magnify and exalt God for being God in my life. That He saw how much i love Him and wanted to serve  Him and decided to give me a platform. I have always loved writing and this is the third blog i have had and my only successful blog to date. I didn't have to be in the convent to serve Him, neither did i have to go a theology school to read, interpret and/or meditate on His word. But here i am, writing what the Spirit inspires me to write and sharing whatever message the priest or pastor talks about on Sundays.

It is not written anywhere in the bible that we need to be pastors, priests or nuns to know His word, to do His work or to witness the Gospel. We just need to be children of God who walk in the light and ask for His will to be done in our lives. Many times we have been told by ordained men of God to pray for God's calling in our lives. But that very word,-CALLING, is in itself scary when put in that context.
Some of us get scared that what if God's calling for our lives doesn't fall in line with our own desires in life? What if God's calling means we have to abandon every thing in this world to follow Him and do His work? For some people that is a lot to take in, especially if they have always had a glamorous life, they get scared that God's calling will mean for them to live in shackles.I was scared of it too at some point.

Gone are the days when people were made to believe that you had to dress a certain way to do His work, talk a certain way to be in Christ or look a certain way to belong to Jesus. Many people have shied away from their God-given purpose or guide because of things like that, forgetting that what they were doing was minding the flesh, what people would say instead of minding the spirit, what God says about them.

James 1:5 says ' If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,who gives to all liberally and without reproach,and it will be given to him'. Psalm 32:8 says 'I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;I will guide you with My eye'. and Psalm 119:105 says 'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path'.. All three passages above simply emphasize the need to pray for God's guidance and Will in our lives. Notice how they all say if we pray for it, God will generously give it to us, He will gladly guide us and His eye watches us every time of our lives.

Not many people are blessed as i was or am to have stumbled on God's will for them.That He took my love of writing and turned it into a service for His kingdom. Sure i would have given up by now if i didn't have anything to write about or simply even because of the readership. But He has kept inspiring me even to share this very message now. It is very encouraging to me that i check my page views in the less than three months that this blog has been running and it is at 500+. Sometimes i think if i was writing about anything else other than God, the readership would have been higher than that sure enough, but i am content with the little numbers i have. Because the bottom line is that i touch somebody's life somewhere in a special way, and when i am blessed to see a comment, it makes my day because it is proof that at least one person read and was inspired, and was motivated, encouraged and or felt the Love of God through my writing which is my goal every single day. And if that is all i get, just one click a day, or just one comment, then i know my work is done, because then, i must have delivered the message to whom God intended it for.

I have confidence that He who started this beautiful work, will definitely give me the strength to keep going and in His time, increase readership as He sees fit. So i am asking you today, that no matter what you have felt in your life, whatever that might be, no matter what questions you are asking yourself and no matter the fears that abound, all you need to do is go down on your knees and ask that He guide you. Ask Him to show you His will for your life. Remember like i said, you can do God's work whenever, wherever and however He wants you to do it. But you have to ask Him to show you the way,i was lucky He showed me without me asking but that is not always the case, because He clearly tells us to ask in prayers and He will freely give us or show us.

 So  if you are like me or my friend who was asked to pray for a calling and are terrified, it is ok. Just simply ask for His will and guidance instead and both will always take you to what He has called you to be in this life. And may we all be able to find our God-given purpose and fulfill that purpose gracefully.Wishing you courage,strength and God's mercy and grace through this journey and remain blessed as always.

January 16, 2013

Angry with your life? Relax, God is working behind the scenes

Have you found yourself lately being grumpy? Envying other people's lives and wishing you had that life? Wondering why your life is the way it is or perhaps, asking why things are not moving in your life? Have you found yourself comparing your life to your friend's and probably getting jealous? Asking why the same people seem to be having it good every time and when you will get to catch  a break from all the chaos in your life?

I guarantee that every single one of us has hated their life at some point. Every single one of us has wished we didn't go through the difficult times that we went through at some point in our lives. Very few of us have known to not be envious of any body's success but be happy for them and ask God for ours. Most of us have been jealous of others achievements at some point and for some of us, we had hoped that the Mayan calender was right, that the world would end and with it, our problems, our failures, our disappointments and our fears.

These are some of the emotions that make us human. It is our humanity and God perfectly understands. But it becomes wrong when we do not snap out of the feeling as soon as we realize it, or when we turn on God instead and blame Him for every thing going wrong in our lives.

Ephesians 4:26 says this 'Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath' and James 1:19-20 says 'So then , my beloved brethren,let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak,slow to wrath;for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God'. Both passages clearly state that we should not react on our anger because often times, that will lead us into sin.

Sometimes we become so  frustrated and overwhelmed with the problems in our lives that we start doubting God,(topic for another day), we begin to rebel against Him like refusing to pray and calling on His name.1 Corinthians 14:33 says 'For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints' and James 3:16-18 reads 'For where envy and self-seeking exist,confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,then peaceable,gentle,willing to yield,full of mercy and good fruits,without partiality and without hypocrisy.Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace'. Sure, God might let us go through difficult times in our lives, so that we can learn a crucial lesson for the future but it doesn't mean that He created those problems.

As He has shown us over and over in the scriptures, God cares about us.Mathew 28:20 says 'Teaching them to observe all things that i have commanded you;and lo,I am with you always,even to the end of the age. Amen' and 1Samuel 12:22 says 'For the Lord will not forsake His people,for His great name's sake,because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people'.In these passages, He has promised to never abandon us no matter what situations we are faced with, no matter the time, He will always be there for us.We are His children and if our mortal and earthly fathers will not lead us  astray or into confusion, then what more of our heavenly Father.

Instead of being angry with our lives, envious of others lives and being filled with hatred, lets focus on the word of God. Believe in His promises and keep hope alive. Jeremiah 29:11 says ' For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope'. So though you might be lamenting over your life, know that God has a plan for that life and that it is very precious to Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.' In the midst of all that confusion in our lives, we have to make a conscious decision to trust God and call on His name at all times.

It is clearly stated in Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 '  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; ...'...whatever we are going through is just a phase which will come to pass. Nobody ever said life was going to be a beautiful ride all through.There are always ups and downs, there is always the beauty with the ugly.But as Christians,we have to be patient and persevere, knowing that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that as long as God gives us life, we will always live to see another sunrise.

Next time when you are tempted to compare your life with that of somebody else and feel inferior to them, or feel like your world is coming to an end, make another comparison.But this time, instead of comparing with those who seem to have it all, compare and contrast your life with those who do not enjoy the basic necessities of life.Compare with those you know who might have had a lot to live for but just died suddenly.Compare with those who are severely sick and have no medical attention, compare and then count your blessings. See that despite what you are going through, you still have it better than others and yet, God has not abandoned them either.

I will leave you with one of my favorite Bible verses Roman 8:28 'And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose'.As long as we call ourselves children of God who strive to walk in His path, every thing will always work in our best interest.And loving God here means, praying to Him daily and constantly, seeking His face, being in His presence often, having that personal relationship with Him,feeding our spirits and body with the scriptures. As long as we do these, it doesn't matter what mountain will be standing before us or what valley we think our lives have plunged in, He will always deliver us.

After all, He knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper us and His hand is always directing our lives. We just have to unplug from the world sometimes to see that He has always been there, every step of the way. I sure hope that this encourages you to stay positive and hopeful with whatever burden you are carrying. Take it to Him in prayers and He will surely give you rest.

Remain blessed.

January 3, 2013

Start The Year With Christ.

Happy New Year fellow readers.

I ended last year with a post urging you to reflect on all that transpired throughout 2012 whether they were good or bad and to make a conscious decision to be thankful for them, no matter what memories 2012 left us with.I also asked that whatever resolutions you were drawing up on a list,to make sure that a personal relationship with Christ was top most priority.

It is on that note that i begin my first post of 2013;starting the year with Christ Jesus.

2012 has been gone for three days now and with it, went our past, mistakes, shortcomings and failures. I urged you to be thankful for the surprises that sprung on you, to be thankful for life itself, for friends and family and every other blessing you could count in your life.

2013 on the other hand, has come with a lot of promises, hope, and desires. Regardless of what i might have written in my last post of 2012, i know people still went ahead to write down numerous resolutions and a list of to do things they hope to accomplish before this year too, draws to a close. But like i said, that list would be worthless if we do not start the year off on the right note.

And what better way to start the year than with Jesus Christ Himself. 2Timothy 3:16-17 says 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God,and is profitable for doctrine,for reproof,for correction,for instruction in righteousness,that the man of God may be complete,thoroughly equipped for every good work.' which basically means that the Bible exist as a guide for us to follow through reading,and from it we get all lessons we need in life and it is all we need to accomplish every good plan in our lives.

Joshua 1:8 also says 'This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth,but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.For then you will make your way prosperous,and then you will have good success'. This scripture is the simple recipe to success in life and the one we should hold close to our hearts this new year. For whatever resolutions or plans we may have in our minds or on our list, it is imperative to dwell on the word of God day and night because only it guarantees our prosperity and success with all those plans.

Finally Psalm 119:105 reads 'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path'. Whatever path or direction we want to walk this year, be it the path of financial freedom, good health,knowledge and wisdom, prosperity, we have to ask God to be the lamp to our feet and be the light that shines bright on our path.

For if we practice what these scriptures say, no matter the resolutions we aim at, we are guaranteed they will be fulfilled and completed because we walked with Christ. What ever our dreams and aspirations for this year, we have to decide to start the year right. And starting the year right means starting it with Jesus Christ, staying grounded in the Word, reading the Word often,meditating on the Word and praying constantly.

The best way to ascertain that there is no repeat of 2012's mistakes and failures is to make sure that we begin 2013 with the Word, with Jesus Christ.We have Christ's blessed assurance that whenever and wherever we call His name, He will always answer us.

So let us make it a point of duty to always call on His name before we embark on any journey this year,to seek His consent before arriving at any decision, to seek His counsel when faced with a difficult situation, to pray to Him always regardless of the circumstance we find ourselves in, because sure His goodness will follow us all the days of our lives.

This year is another chance we have been given to be better versions of ourselves, to be better husbands, wives, children, workers,bosses, friends but most especially to be better Christians.To live a life of example,worthy to emulate by non-believers. And we can only best do that if we walk, eat, start and end the day with the Word and with Christ.

It is never easy in this fast-paced world we live in to find time for the Word or to commune with Christ.But if we have time to go to the movies, to cook, to eat,to work and whatever else that we do, then we certainly can squeeze in time for our Creator. Five minutes a day makes all the difference in the world.

I wish you all the best for the year 2013 but i wish you especially a better relationship with our Maker,so that through Him, all of our hopes and wishes may turn into reality. Once again, Happy New Year.