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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Here’s an interesting fact: I’m not a pet person.

My last memory of pets in the home was as a child, living with my grandma: meowing kittens; purring cats; soggy milk; and a terrible smell I’ve never shaken off. I don’t hate animals. I’ve been inclined, more than once, to own or keep some, mostly because of my daughter.

When she was six, we were gifted a pair of dogs by a friend and lived with them for a week before their owners found them. We gladly took them back. It happened again when she was 14, but the $25 fee to just keep it in our apartment was a roadblock compared to the upkeep we would foot to care for it. I expect well-kept dogs and a clean, odor-free home – vet visits for vaccines, pet grooming and all. I wasn’t about to care for an animal like I would a human child.

I don’t know if I can be called an “animal lover” – as in “defending their right to exist” while living how I do: drinking cow’s or goat’s milk or eating steak, chicken or fish. I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite, even though there could be other things in my life I’m hypocritical about. We all do. I liken it to not supporting gun control, yet welcoming poaching of African tusks: I don’t think of myself as an “activist” for the ethical treatment of animals. I wouldn’t know how to define that in a logical, common-sense fashion.

I also don’t hold anything against overly doting pet lovers, but what about the ones who abuse their pets? What deranged minds! Yet, if someone I know loses their pet and posts about it on social media – and I don’t make the same comments as if a human passed away – am I being insensitive? I can’t pretend to feel what I don’t. I’m sorry you lost a pet, but I’m not going to pretend to be deeply moved by the incident. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that I lack compassion for animals. There’s something bigger at heart.

For me, humanity is central. My concern circles that of my fellow beings. I believe many people treat animals better than humans; I struggle with that thought. There are those who spend thousands on surgery for pets, knowing their life expectancy is roughly one-sixth of a human being’s, and I could never understand why. I look at impoverished communities at home and abroad, wondering: Why can’t we do the same for people?

Is this just an American or North American or Western phenomenon? Maybe because of my background, even if my homeland has pets it was never as dire a situation for care as it is in the West. The culture of love and support I saw at home for people is used up on animals here. With all due respect, is there a social disconnect I don’t get?

Animals are God’s creation too. They’re cuddly, adorable and lovable and should be treated well. I understand. However, who comes first: your loved ones or your pets? How far should we go in displaying love for pets, knowing there are millions of human beings enduring far worse around us?

Children all over the world are dying from treatable medical conditions – or are in untenable circumstances and need help. Many others are in war-torn nations, befallen with death and destruction around them. There are children being abused, sold into slavery and sex trafficking.

Perhaps I differ from the crowd, but that is a crisis I truly am moved by. There will be those who dedicate their lives to saving animals, which is needed, but I need to let you know: don’t forget about people. They need help too.

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.

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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Born To Rule

Baby boy Cambridge, now named Prince George Alexander Louis, was born July 22, 2013 lbs. 6 OZ. 4:24 P.M. I am actually holding in my hand a copy of a Special  Collector’s Issue of People Magazine. I plan to preserve this copy for the purpose for which it was published….a keepsake. I have better plans than those of anyone else. I want to preserve just in case some loony in the future decides to contest his birth and eligibility to the throne. Some of the claims may be that he was not born in Great Britain, or that he was swapped at birth, or the he was actually born here in the United States and therefore is now a citizen of the United States. Just in case he refuses to produce his birth certificate, just delaying to do so just because he feels it is preposterous to even suggest that his citizenship is in question.

So if at anytime in the very distant future, something remotely similar to scenarios I have hinted rears its ugly head in Great Britain, please feel free to wake me up from my grave and I shall gladly dust-up my Special Collector’s Issue of People Magazine and zealously come to the defense of the prince. Yes, I hold the evidence, even though the royals hold an enviable place as far as longevity goes.
In case you are wondering why I would even think of this…well, we have had our own example here in America, where Barack Obama, even though he too was born to rule (although his parents did not hold any crystal ball to figure it out), had his birth place disputed. They actually went on a search led by and funded by the renowned Donald Trump. We all know how all that ended. Well, I’m not about that right now, but to just let the Prince of Cambridge know that if his birth place and birth to the royal monarch of England is ever in question, I do hold a publicly disseminated  information of his birth…my “Special Collector’s Issue” of People Magazine, just like I hold a few special editions of newspapers and magazines documenting the rise of the first black president of the United States of America. Who knows, someone might just decide to rewrite history.

This is why we take these documented facts to the grave with us for posterity. So, again if there is ever any question regarding where or who this young prince was born to, I have the facts. Also, because it has happened before, if there is ever any reason to suggest that there was never a black President of the United States of America, just feel free to wake me up in my grave. I’ll even turn over the “Do not Disturb” sign. For these reasons alone  should anyone wake me up from my peaceful rest.