Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Footprints in the Sand

Source: Google Images.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I have been having a rough couple of weeks... *rough* in my eyes, but definitely not rough when compared to people living in abject poverty or living in natural disaster situations... I have discovered over the past couple days that I tend to think I am the only one going through so much when the truth is that the person living next door could be going through the same thing or maybe even worse or even less... regardless, how would I know if i never open up?
I have been reading this book called 'Simple Spirituality' by Christopher Heuertz *I encourage you to read it :)*, and in all honesty, its not up to a 200 page book, but I have spent the past 3 weeks on it because the material, for me at least, has been so heavy. The writer speaks of the 5 elements that help in seeing God in a broken world. For me, these past weeks has had me asking: "Lord where are you?" Many people ask that question today from people in natural disasters to people in bankruptcy to people in dysfunctional families. Life is just one conundrum after the other and how am I supposed to keep looking up through all the facades? How am I supposed to keep my head steady?
The first of the five elements is humility. I have most often seen humility as an outright rejection of praise, or not taking credit for work done or doing good works in secret or not boasting about the fine things that you have... infact, its so bad that i refuse to believe compliments paid to me as me dwelling on that or being happy with that denotes pride. My prior assumptions were overthrown. The writer defines it so simply - it is attributing everything we have; our gifts, abilities, appearance as a gift to God. It is accepting that we couldn't have done anything on our own save Grace and Mercy and we will never be able to do anything on our own save those same aides by our side. That really threw me aback because I always pray for a heart of humility, and yet I never knew what that was. I would even pray thinking in my mind that it would mean me thinking of myself in the lowliest terms... That really changed my whole perception for humility. I always knew that God is behind my existence, and yet I would never truly attribute to him the grace to have finished a semester successfully or to have paid off all my bills, or to have had safety all along... I realized how most of the time, I would only remember God in the bad times, well what about the good times?
Another aspect of humility touched upon was how one views God. A lot of the time, I have a boxed up image of what I want Him to be, and how He should be, forgetting that all I need to do is read His Word to know Him better. I used to think He was this scary dude with white long hair that would punish me due to my numerous sins, hence why I would always give my life to Christ every Sunday as a child. I then moved on to thinking that after I pleased him, I could extort anything I wanted from Him by being good for a while and then I would come back after being bad... Then I reached a stage where I realized that He is loving not scary, or 'beardy' or angry... just loving and all I had to do was accept His love because once you are loved and you know you are loved, all you can do is love back. You feel this love and you are happy that you are loved that you begin to show love, love back... you just won't be able to help yourself. Analogy, if you've ever been mutually inlove with a person and he/she happens to make your day, you just can't help but smile all that day, at everyone!
Now that last transformation took a long time coming, took awhile for me to get there. I still didn't understand how humility would play in with love, and yet Love is humble... So if one loves someone, you'd be appreciative of that person and all he/she has done for you, so how much more of that Someone that loves you regardless of who or how you are?
I then realized that I had never been a humble person. Even when going through situations, I have always done nothing more than complain of my situation, or blame it on others, myself or even God. I had never thought of the situation in a different light, never thought of it bringing out the best in me. I decided to put a stop that. I am currently in a bleak situation, yet I will not let that overshadow my knowledge and appreciation of the fact that God has been faithful in the past, and has always brought me out of the tunnel. And so over the past two days, I have been practicing humility by listing the stuff I am thankful for, no matter how little. I began to realize that just as the song says: "Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it'll surprise you what God has done"... I have been amazed that I really shouldn't complain in my circumstance, but just thank God because seriously, God has been mad faithful and patient with me, and I owe Him at the very least my trust (no matter how hard the situation is) because He has been faithful in the past and He will be faithful to the end.
So join me in practicing humility. How are you going to count your blessings?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Am blocked,
Am stumbling,
Am thinking of him...

Am lazy,
Am tired,
Am thinking of cash,

That green is so slippery,
makes me want to run
to a nation of multicolored bills,
the red, green, blue and so on...
the Nairas... at least they are ever flowing

Am sick,
with a cold,
Am in need of warmth...

My daddy would glaze
that vapor rub over my back and head,
and make me inhale the steam...
Alas, here in my boxed apartment,
all i can do is think of my flu germs,
and wish i was back home

Am down,
Am falling to that place of reckless abandon,
and loathing again...

I could really use some help here,
like you could use a bolt of lightening...
and rain down some benjamins
or you could teleport me to the future,
to be with all my loved ones,
or you could simply rain down a vision,
for me to see how my answers will happen...

Am looking up,
up to you,
am fighting,
fighting to trust...

It takes so much more.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gradual Metamorphosis!

Happy New Year! :)
I spent the past week at a Intervarsity Conference called Urbana in St. Louis. I went there apprehensive, not knowing what to expect. I was even beginning to ask myself: "What is wrong with you? You are taking this Jesus thing too far again..." However I knew that deep down inside I still wanted to go and find out what it was all about, My friend D. on the other hand was all bubbly, so excited. I wasn't even a 0.1% of her hype.
When we arrived, i was stumped that I was with 17,000 other students from Universities all over the U.S. who were Jesus freaks. I was amazed because it is so hard to find that many students especially in our time and age that clap on the mention of the resurrection of Jesus or dance at the Glory of God being revealed. That was the beginning of my walls crumpling down. As the sessions went on, it was as though God was specifically hammering and slapping me up and down. I was amazed at just how self-righteous i had been all these years and merely calling myself a believer of Jesus instead of taking steps in my heart and asking for His Grace to be his follower as well.
Before going to the conference, in my personal devotion, i had been praying that God would teach me how to seek His kingdom first and to place Love in my heart (I can be very hateful by nature!). The main focus of the conference was John 1 to 4 (I would encourage you to look it up in the Bible). It was the whole message that God (the Word) became Flesh and made His dwelling amongst us, and through the chapters, we saw how He dwelled with the rejected like the Samaritan Woman, the Pharisees who were trying to get questions answered (Nicodemus), people who were pointed to him (Peter and Philip). And there are countless other examples in further chapters such as Mary Magdalene (the Prostitute). He loved us so much that despite the fact that sin had made its entrance into the world and spoilt the initial design by God, he came to rectify it. The whole gospel of Jesus was just not to believe in him and get eternal life. I realized that that was what i had been living for. Just thinking about how crappy this life was and looking ahead to a land where they would be peace and Joy. I had gotten so enthralled with the Idea of Heaven (Don't get me wrong, Heaven is real and believers are still destined for there!), that i had forgotten to read the fine print. When Jesus called his disciples, he told them that: "Come and I will make you fishers of men!" He didn't say: "Come and i will make you fishers of heaven!" The "Kingdom of God is near..." is what he said. So simple, so down to earth and yet I was blind to what was before my very eyes. Jesus came to pay the wages for sin and to live his life as an example of how we should live: with love, humility and faith. This is Baba God, who owns the Universe, he could have just snuff us out with his nostrils, and yet he CHOOSE to come down and offer us restoration, show us how we should live amongst ourselves and with him. He didn't come to only restore Humans to himself, but also all of creation, all of our relationships, all of the systems, corporations, everything you can think of, can be used to his glory once we let him be the leader. I was just broken when i heard and all this (P.S I would recommend you reading: "True Story' by James Choung). "The kingdom of God is near..." is what Jesus came to show us... showing us how to live as soon as we let him be the cornerstone in our heart. This means giving up our selfish desires, lust, hatred, anger, pain, grief, vanity, pride, greed etc and telling him to take care of it, just telling him to forgive us and let him be the one in charge from now on. It means dying with him and raising with him anew. And believe me, its becomes easier being a whole new person that loves, forgives, trusts in Some One way bigger that we can ever fathom. And yes, we may fall everyday, yet that is the whole process of transformation process... the kingdom of God is near... means we let him transform our sinful nature day by day, asking him each and everyday to come and be the leader and to be in control.
As we went on through the conference, we had sessions on various topics, ranging from Evangelism to Justice to Academics. That was when I realized that God has a restoration plan from Racism to Environmental Pollution. Two seminars broke me down to tears in my soul because i realized that i was in the total wrong being on my stupid self-righteous throne. One was on Sexual Identity and Christ and the other was the Christian response to Islam. I am going to confess that i had just tolerated these two groups of people. However upon walking into the Sexual Identity seminar, the speaker asked us: "Where do you think Jesus would be today? Here with you guys..." He laughed and said that Jesus would be with the LGBT, in their bars, in their homes... When he was on earth, He was in the home of the tax collectors and with the blind, lame, the poor, the prostitutes. He said in a famous quote of Billy Graham: "It isG od's Job to judge, the Holy Spirit's Job to convict and my Job to love." I had been judging and convicting, quoting the Bible verses that says that God hates all forms of sexual immorality... and Yet the same Bible says that: "All sins are equal before the eyes of God..." So me, a liar, a hater, a proud person, a greedy person, a lustful person is just as good as the people that i thought i was more righteous than. My job is just to love because that is all that God did when He dwelled amongst us. All He did was love and love more. I chose to be his follower... and in fact He promised that I would do even more than Him... so who am i not to love even more?
It was the same with Moslems. I had a special grievance because although my paternal extended family is half moslem and half christain and they had never harmed me, the state I grew up in Nigeria harmed so many Christians, and believe me when i say that Christians in that state have never retaliated. They have been persecuted there since the 70's and yet the same persecution goes on. And yet the preacher said, Jesus had already died for our Sins and had won the victory. Despite my many sins, He still washed us clean and made us whole, so who am i to hate?
And so that begun my gradual transformation, metamorphosis if you will, into a follower of Jesus from being just a believer. As Christians, we are supposed to be the light and salt of this world. We have been called by Jesus to lead a revolution, a resistance army, one that is not physical, but one that is spiritual. We are to love from the heart, to be missionary in nature. And by missionary, I don't mean only to go to Iraq and start preaching to everyone, i mean in our lifestyle as well. Show kindness... show good... be the good that we would like to see in the world. We are to sit with those in need, the oppressed, the ones blinded by different Idols of this world and live out and tell this Wonderful Good News of salvation to them. If only we would all rise up and carry forth this Resistance Army of the Lord, we would see that he had given us the Power and the Grace to restore things back to how they were supposed to be... in fact even in a better condition. The many sins have lead to Injustice, Racism, Sexism, Greed, Trafficking etc... We were not designed to hurt each other or even hurt the planet. In Jesus, we are to rectify these problems, lead peacefully in His Power and Grace against the evils of this world and get people on our camp to help in advancing this Kingdom of God... "The Kindgom of God is near..."... untill He returns where we will be fully restored... "When thy Kingdom Come..." let us let Him into our lives and help in living out this Larger than Life gospel.
That then leads me to my New Year's resolution... I have only one: To know the Lord My God deeper and deeper... for him to continue to break me down, to give me humility, submissiveness, love, community and faith. I want to be a closer follower to Jesus... and I know that it is not easy, there are going to be many days when i will stumble and fall... and yet, I want to commit myself to running the race in advancing the Kingdom of Heaven. My Lord and God, grant me your Grace.