Mosaic of Hope.

You collect the tears the of hungry and the thirsty,
of the prisoner and the captive,
Of the wandering homeless,
even my tears of pain and shame,
and you weave them into this beautiful mosaic of hope
and love and peace.
Magnificent and superfluous in your ways,
in awe of you I breath.

Your goodness is the sound of many waters
crashing across my senses,
Flung through a trillion balls of fire,
from the smallest to the biggest of them all that sight can see
‎that shines on all creation and rains on all imperfect.
‎ Your goodness in display
‎transports the garment tassels
‎To heal a broken hope like the balm of Gilead
Across oceans and seas it flows
to soothe the hurt on earth transcends to life eternal.
Goodness responds to the violent suffered
To the broken in a thousand fragments
Stiched together by the scarlet flow
from the fountain of grace and mercy.

This is amazing grace
That takes the soles of my feet to tread
To claim many places trodden
The grounds of many nations, many cities
In those cities many lives.
If I claim anything, I claim them for you
For your desire, your purpose, your good.
If I claim anything,
I claim peace for the nations at war
love for the unlovable
Stoicism for mothers whose sons’ blood
Scream for respite for their sacrifice.
I claim for the homeless cities of hope
Shelters of outpouring love,
Leaders with the forthrightness and intergrity
To serve with selfless abandon,
The end to the ravages of war and the senseless death
Of the vulnerable, women and children
Weeping that their cities be returned to them
That their playgrounds be not a stench of carcasses.

I’d claim them all and lead them back home
to tranquil nights, boistrious days and playful sunsets.
I’d collect in these hands the tears of Syria, Ukraine, Haiti, Chicago
To the diaspora enslaved in Libya and pour them
As offering at your feet; I’d throw the prison doors open
To breath your freedom.
The doors of every orphanage will open into hearts of love
The unlatched entryways of domestic violence and abuse
Will match through the paths of freedom
to your unending, enduring love.
Break down the walls of pride,
leveling them to vestals of humility.
Obliterate the boundaries of color
Awash them in blood that speaks as one.
I’d take those bubbles that ensconce us
Deflate them so each seeps into the pain of
All.

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God’s pleasant surprises.

I had an experience recently that reiterated to me that God hears and answers our prayers. I’m sure many of God’s children really do believe and have had their prayers answered. But there have also been those times in our lives it felt like God wasn’t just there or was not listening or had forsaken us. If we’re really sincere, there’s hardly any praying person who hasn’t felt this way. If you journey with the Lord long enough, you’ll get there.
There’s been quite a few times in the recent past when I just wasn’t making a headway with God. I thought I must be praying amiss. Everything that could go wrong was going terribly bad. It would not just rain, but it poured down in torrents. I started to question my method of prayer and decided I’d do some research on how to pray.

In the process, I came across Rick Warren’s teaching on how to pray using the Lord’s prayer as a framework. I dug into the studies and began praying in the manner that the Lord Jesus had thought his disciples to pray. As I learned, “give us this day our daily bread” was an opening portion of the prayer teaching that covered more than just food provision, but other needs as well as our spiritual nourishment, I began to put that into practice.

On this specific day, I got up from my place of prayer desiring some suya.(kebab beef seasoned with so authentic Nigerian spice called yaji). From the blues I wanted suya like a pregnant woman in her cravings. I just whispered under my breath to the Lord that it would be nice to have some. It was a Saturday. I was going to take my car in to get the windows tinted.
I set out to get that done and I recalled there in that same vicinity, was a suya hut. I figured that after the tint on the car windows, I’ll go spend 20 bucks on some. The tint job concluded, I began my journey home only to remember about half a mile out that I didn’t turn into the suya spot. So, I gave up the idea and drove on home. So much for suya. I forget all about it. Not a big deal.

Sunday after church, I took a sister from church for a job interview at my cousin’s house. After the interview my cousin’s wife lit up with a big smile. “Auntie, I have something that you like. Something that you’ve asked me for several times before” She wanted me to guess. I thought for a few seconds; and I said so excitedly “suya”!!! Instantly, the proverbial light bulb lit up in my heart. I remembered my prayer the previous day . “Guess what?” I said. “I prayed for the Lord to provide me some suya yesterday and here he is with my answer today when I wasn’t even expecting it.” Everyone laughed it off. No it wasn’t a coincidence. They probably didn’t make much of it. But I did. I’ve come to recognize those moments when I’m being ministered to. This was one of those times. God cared enough to show me that praying for the little things is his will for his children.

Isn’t God awesome? That’s exactly how he operates in our lives. God confirmed to me in such a simple way that he not only hears my prayers but he answers them at the appropriate time. He has people you don’t even think he can use to bring our answers. Sometimes, they may be total strangers and at other times they may be people we know.
That was God speaking through my host. He’s the only one who knew I had asked for it. Hear her exact words: ” Something you had been asking for”. I had only asked him in a whispered prayer, not really expecting an answer because under the same breath I had plans to buy it myself. I thought it’s only $20 and I could afford it.

Now I realize, if I could afford it and went ahead to buy it, then that wasn’t God answering my prayers. A lot of times we don’t even give God the chance to answer. We try to help Him out. It’s me helping God. That’s the same mistake Sarah and Abraham made. They didn’t wait for the child of promise. Sarah tried to help God by introducing Hagar her maid servant to her husband. We have to trust that God will bring to pass what he has promised. We have to completely trust that when we pray, he hears us. We have to be patient as we wait on Him to come true for us.

God showed up when I lest expected him to. He surprised me in the most pleasant way. What I’m thrilled about is not so much the suya that he provided, but more so the manner, the timing, the confirmation to me that he is there and hears me even when I feel differently. The thought that he responds to what some may regard as mundane. It wasn’t like I was starving, or if I didn’t eat the suya that I would die. It’s just him proving to me his love, how he cares for us even when we express the most trivial desires. If he could provide suya that wasn’t any urgent need in my life, then he can definitely provide the bigger and most desperate need things we desire.
Jesus said, if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more would God? If your child asks for fish you would not give him or her a scorpion?

I share this with you because I believe God wanted me to know that he hears all my other requests. Just as I was surprised by the appearance of suya when I had completely forgotten about it, so will he also bring about everything else you and I have been believing him for. Stay in faith. Don’t despair. The answer is on the way. You and I may not know when, but he can be trusted. He will not fail. He is so faithful. What a mighty God we serve! Bless His Holy Name!!!
During all the process of doubt and wondering if God really could hear me? Someone suggested: Try praise when all else seems to fail.

Xenophobia is not compatible with the Gospel.


 

I watched a video today that unsettled me as a Christian. It’s difficult for me to let it go without responding. I will hold back on the details of the video because I don’t want to be an instrument for disseminating such divisive information or be a stumbling block to anyone who is not spiritually mature enough to hear it.

It’s very hard for me to accept as true, that there are people who apparently share the same faith with me and believe like I believe, but are blind to the fact that Christianity is not compatible with Xenophobia, Homophobia, and Islam phobia. All phobia means is fear.  This irrational fear of other people, either because they do not come from your race, country, ethnicity, religion or share your sexual orientation and now causes you to show intolerance against them, judge them or even hate them.

As Christians, if we habor fear in our hearts for these groups of people, how are we going to find the confidence to reach them with the gospel? The gospel is a message of love. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind. The bible says that perfect love casts out fear. This spirit of love is given to us who believe in Christ so we can go out into the world and fulfil the mandate to preach God’s sacrificial love to humankind. How can we carry this message of love to a dying world if we already have fear and hate in our hearts for the same people we’re supposed to minister to? That’s hypocrisy! We can’t be effective witnesses with all that baggage. God does not want to use vessels that can’t carry His love in their hearts. 1 Corinthians 13 describes such a person as an empty vessel…”If I could speak all languages of the earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal”… a messenger, without a message!

I think that often Christians forget who Christ actually died for.  He died for the ungodly- “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly” the bible says. He did not die for the “saints”. If we were already saints then he didn’t need to die. He died to make us into saints, to bring us into right standing with God, so now when we accept Him we then become the “righteousness of God in Christ”. He said He has come to save the world, not to revile or judge the world. The time for that is to come. This hour is the hour of grace and mercy for the lost. This is why the message of the gospel is “Go ye into the entire world and preach the gospel”… after which comes the judgement.  Those of us who have embraced the message of grace and compassion are to carry out the order of “Go ye” and not condemn and judge.

Christians today tend to forget from where grace picked us all from. God’s saving grace pulled us from the gutters of the earth, from the darkest places and brought us to God’s amazing light. Who are we to look down on sinners? Some of us are deficient in the compassion that has been shown us, and as such can’t, and don’t evangelize. We lack the burden for the lost. Our church pews are either empty or filled with overfed “saints” who can’t bring a sheep home to the sheep’s pen. We focus on what blessings we can get, pray for more and more blessings for me, my family, myself and I. The intention of the kingdom is lost to us; which is to deplete the realm of darkness. We sit in the kingdom as royals taking advantage of every benefit of the kingdom life for ourselves and fail to use God’s blessings to move God’s agenda forward.

We pray for our protection and safety and that of our families on this earth to what point? We pray for long life to what purpose? Think about this. Jesus already prayed to the Father for our safety from the evil one. He asked that God should shield His disciples from the evil one, and also those who believe in Him through their preaching. You and I fall into the second group. The only reason for Christ’s prayer is so we can carry on the work that He has begun which is saving souls. Our mission is to make disciples of all nations. That’s why we are left here. Or else, we should’ve been called home the same day we were saved. We were saved to save others.

Christians have become conceited and taken upon ourselves the liberty to judge the weak rather than save them. We want to protect ourselves where God has not called us to do so. Jesus already did that successfully. If we get with the programme, His prayer of protection over us will work for us. We would not have to battle for our own wellbeing by fearing others. Dislike of foreigners is not companionable with the message of love we’re called to proclaim. It’s at odds with the heart of our God. Jesus proved this to be true if we study how he treated those who were ostracised from society… the Samaritans, the lepers and everyone who was down trodden he brought close. He scoffed at the duplicity of religious leaders and custodians of the law.

Next time you meet someone who is not like you, seek to understand them, and get to know them. Don’t discard them because they are different, or are of other beliefs and values, or sexual orientation. Show them God’s unbiased love. Everyone is deserving of God’s love. That’s why Christ died. That was and still is His passion; love for the human race where there are no Jews or gentiles. Here lies the crux of the matter; John 3:16

“For god so loved the world and gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”

 

 

 

The Heart of Mathew 23

Kathy had called. I was in the shower so couldn’t take the call. I called her back.

“hello Kathy are you ready for the conference”?

“Not quite yet but I’ll be in a while. Do you want to pick me up…or?”

I’ll get you. Better be ready when I get there. It’s gonna be crowded and we need to get a good spot”

She laughed heartily. “Sure I’ll be waiting when you arrive”.

“Okay dear.” She can be a drag sometimes but she’s great company to have around especially on a day like this.

Word had gone around over the internet, Facebook, twitter and the news outlets, that a great Man of God was coming to town, the greatest evangelist that ever lived and was touring many cities in many countries of the world.

And indeed so many people and nations gathered here in the city of Houston, Texas to hear him preach. The Church has never been this excited, and so were many church leaders from the numerous Mega churches in the country and the world. They came in from Dallas, Louisiana, Atlanta, Washington DC, North Carolina and even from some African nations like Nigeria, and cities far and near to hear this wonderful evangelist. No one had ever seen or heard him preach face to face.

The leaders of the Pentecostal movement, Pastors of the well-known mega churches and dignitaries of Christian Broadcast Networks were ushered into seats in the front row as expected. They had flown in with their private jets, others had driven in their Lincolns, Cadillacs, Mercedes a Benz’s, Lamborghini and it was a spectacle to see them descend on our city. It was phenomenal. Nothing quite like it has ever been seen or heard before.

Countless regular, everyday people like my friend and I were in attendance; the disciples, you know the followers of Christ, the church goers, members of those mega churches and believers all around who could make their way here. This was promising to be a first of its kind extraordinary event…

renowned praise and worship leaders led the worship. It was out of this world. Heaven came down and glory filled the place…

Then the message came forth and all were in awe, mouths were agape, jaws dropped, for none had been quite as direct, they all recognized him.

And he spoke to the crowd….

‘The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses, …Kathy whispered into my ears “in today’s parlance that would be the word of God or the bible right?” “right” I replied.

‘ So, practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example’

“Really? What an indictment, and repudiation of the religious folks” Kathy spoke in my ears again.”Oh boy!, the first jab falls and some of those Juggernaut preachers must have flinched in their seats.”

and he went on;

‘For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden’.

“Woo, woo, woo! more and more jabs keep falling and it feels like Mohammed Ali in the boxing ring landing those body blows and upper cuts weakening his opponents.” Kathy keeps talking. I don’t know how to stop her. It’s so distracting and funny at the same time.

The man of God continued;

‘Everything they do is for show….

Aha! I almost jumped out of my seat. It was a good jab. Ironically, those front seated religious big wigs kept getting up in standing ovation. Are they blind and tone-deaf? They must not hear him. He’s talking about them. Can’t they get it?

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