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.

Are You Listening?

I’ll attempt to describe how in the course of a five hour ride around town, under temperatures of 102 degrees, God in His loving kindness “deployed” an angel to minister to me.
God speaks, but the pertinent question is: Are you listening?
Yes, I had a few questions on my mind that I desperately desired answers to, sought them fervently in prayer, and God was silent!

I recall coming out of the human resources office, deciding that the job I was offered a few days back was after all, not a match. I also remember Sarah saying to me; “It’s alright if you have to leave; God deployed you to meet me.”

All of a sudden she felt strangely familiar, and in that moment of illumination, I became aware that God had been speaking to me the whole day. Jesus literally took me on a ride in this car and was having a conversation with me through Sarah. All evening long, sitting at my bedside I kept wondering why she felt so familiar? Like I ‘d known her before? Her face floats up before my vision with such ease. I just picture her so clearly. I think I know why.

All day long, for nearly five hours, Sarah and I drove around the Harris County area visiting patients in their homes. I was new to the company, seeing I wasn’t familiar with the area; she had offered the previous day to drive me around in the company’s car which she checked out herself. Just this once she said, to get me started.
Then, somehow down the the road, the conversations about God had started. In my head, I thought funny how my recruiter had told me not to talk about religion at the interview. Who does that at an interview anyway?Or did she mean on the Job? She had also added no discussions about politics. Whatever! I sighed quietly. I have this chutzpah, while engaging in conversations about God, because I’m excited about Him!

Anyway, Sarah talked about her new house, and how a few friends in benevolence, were going to help her out in a move that would otherwise, be exorbitant to execute. Family members from out of town would also come out to shower their love and support. I chose to just listen more, rather than offer any suggestions mostly, trying to get to know my benefactor and simply enjoy the ride and the moment; she didn’t seem to be soliciting any, but did jokingly ask if I wanted to come out and help her move. I told my kind driver that I would love to but for the distance. I meant it. If she lived close to me, I would have gladly done so for the adventure. I felt a keen sense of kindred tie with this woman, didn’t exactly know why, as she continued to share about God’s goodness in her life.

I love testimonies. They keep my faith invigorated and my hope alive.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” That is the biblical definition of faith. I had recently meditated that scripture. Sarah may not be a preacher, but her testimonies refreshed my mind of how faithful God had been in my own life, His ever present help in numerous times of need, and an all sufficient provider of all that I have ever needed. Each time she testified, my heart warmed up at the unfailing love of God.
God had met her every need, she said. Her home is paid off. She had it rented out due to some changes in her financial situation. That resonated with me. It reminded me of a similar time four years ago, and how God came true for me. Her testimonies reinforced to me that whatever I was going through now, was going to be just fine.
She’s now moving into a new place, a beach house she was blessed with through the generosity of friends. With this arrangement, she’ll only have to pay $300 a month, and take care of just basic bills.

Now, the testimonies snowball into those of others who have come into her circle. She is renting her house to two sisters who have been praying for a place to live. One of the sisters has been paying $30.00 a day for taxi rides to work from where they live presently. In prayer one day, the two sisters had been walking around Sarah’s neighborhood, and “claimed” her house which was advertised for rent. Sarah, also was seeking guidance concerning who to rent to. When Sarah heard their testimony, she understood why an earlier prospect had failed to call her back as she had promised. “How God works,” she said.
One of her renters, will now be living within a five minute walk from her job. Saved from an expensive 30 dollar a day taxi ride to work, the sisters readily paid an up front deposit of $1400 which helped Sarah out of a financial muddle.
As I sat in the car listening to all the testimonies, my faith was bolstered, and flashes of reassuring memories of how living by faith works, warmed my spirit, emboldened me to stay in prayer and believe God for a turn around in my own trials.
God does indeed speak! And how I needed to hear those stories of faith to help mine increase, so I can stand and believe God to meet me at the point of my own needs.
Thank you Sarah. Yes, God deployed me to meet you! Your light shone so bright, and those words of testimony…salt angel! I hope in some way, He used me to to touch too! Stay in faith as I will!

P.s
For some reason, I felt like I was supposed to pay for your lunch when we went out to eat. I also recall another testimony you shared of how you needed two hundred dollars, and a lady had come back to tell you God laid it in her heart to repay you two hundred dollars from a previous transaction. That was an exact amount you needed to meet some need.
This adds another dimension to this story. It isn’t so much, whether you are listening. An equally important question is; How are you listening? Are you listening for answers to your needs alone, to bolster your faith alone, or to be driven to obedience to meet someone else’s need, to lift another up who is down? What does God need you to do?
On the road to Damascus, Jesus met with Paul and he was given the ministry of reconciliation of the Jews and the Gentiles. While on the road doing and being, listen up.