Meditations


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I have been thinking a lot about how more challenging it is to raise a Christian child in this day and age. It feels like it was a lot easier for our parents to achieve this in their era. Those of us born in the 70s and 80s, know for a fact that the benchmark for moral standards has shifted adversely. This is now an age where things like nakedness, exposure, foul language and even strong vices are seen as badges. If you think this is a lie, watch the television. No longer do those images and ideologies sting our senses or cause us to squirm.   I agree that technology and so called enlightenment have been the making of the modern world. However the trade off has been the shift in what we all consider good and bad. For example I remember getting told off at work place because I included “In God I trust” in my email signature. I get the evils when I add “By God’s grace within a statement by people who constantly fill the air waves with swearing, F’s and Puffs and all what not! Rather than shrink away, I managed to tell them that I would only stop talking about God if they also stopped swearing! ” Stop swearing please”,  I said But they laughed at me and said I was just being holy holy. How on earth can saying by God’s grace be a crime while saying fucking, bullshit and bloody hell are applauded!   Yeah, that’s the world we live in today. Sadly, it is the one we have to raise our children in. I dare say that some sermons appear over tailored for political correctness. Many preachers no longer want to be astute with their approach to the truth. Instead, they appear to pet the issue and be at the mercy of these ideologies. The good news is that, we can make a difference. We can help our children. Prayer as always is the key. The key to establishing a solid relationship with God lies in the strength of one’s prayer life. Prayers need not be long enough to distract from the purpose of building and establishing this ecclesiastical rapport. Prayer needs to be just enough to to connect with God and stay connected.   So what length of prayer is acceptable? Any! Yes …. So long prayers, short prayers, singing, quiet prayers and not so loud ones will do. The bible reassures us that God hears our thoughts (Psalm 139:23), Hannah’s prayer was silent in her heart and God heard her (1 Samuel 1:10,13),   Prayer does not need to be lengthy. Remember Jesus’ admonition for us to pray with few words and not ramble on (Matthew 6:7). We should also pray without ceasing. Meaning that we should cultivate a habit of prayer so that we are constantly in union with God in our hearts at all times.   Let’s say you an I understand all these concepts, how do we teach this to our little children. Children who would much rather play games, fiddle about with gadgets and have what appear to be the shortest attention spans since the inception of time. They are having more fun than all the children born in all the past eras joined together! It is certainly a huge challenge for the modern parent. My advice would be Keep prayers short. So that they will be interested in praying with you next time. There was nothing more annoying than my mum’s long, slow prayers when I was young. I heard myself say “Our father who at in heaven….. and mean it but by the time we were on the fourth psalm, all I wanted to do was sleep. Make prayers enjoyable. You can ask your child to add their own words. Praise every effort they make. Tell them you like how they pray. You like the way they sound. This will encourage them to pray and build their confidence Pray with your child. This gives you the opportunity to model prayer to your child. Choose simple words and avoid repetition Encourage your child to pray before most activities. Short ejaculatory prayers are effective for teaching children to invite God into every activity. For example, on your way out you can say “may God bless our journey and bring us home safely in Jesus name”. or “Bless my food O Lord God” before meals. Short simple prayers help children learn to include prayers into their daily activities. Be consistent. In consistency lies the power. Consistency helps create the pathway for children to follow. Even though the child seems uninterested, just carry on praying regularly. Thanks for reading Photo credit Pixabay

Raising the Christian child- Long prayers


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It’s a privilege to experience “misfortune”…especially as much misfortune as I have managed so far. But defining misfortune can be quite relative. What I consider it to be may not be the same for the next person and vice versa. What misfortune can bring with it is a new lens from which to view life. A lens that can easily be misplaced or sometimes lost if the only focus is the misfortunes. That lens is empowering. As a result of that misfortune, you become able to relate in a powerful way to occurrences that you would otherwise ignore, overlook or even underestimate. Acquiring this lens helps many people feel more compassionate and sensitive to the struggles of people in the most touching ways. People struggle and are seldom able to express the extent of their pain to others. It can be empowering to keep it all in have your “business” close to your chest but as the challenges pile up, they can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Challenges can also be alienating because suddenly you realise that you are only alone in the depth of knowledge and experiences you deal with daily. It’s hard to connect with others unless they can “get” what you mean when you “say” or “feel” the way you do. Don’t feel so alone because if you start to look through the empowering lens of your misfortune you will navigate through your struggles more easily. Through the lens of your pain: You see people for who they really are You suddenly filter the noise that otherwise surrounds most of us. You realise that it’s not really selfish to look out for yourself. You see that while many may like you to believe it’s selfish to look out for yourself, it is their first response to you when you need them the most. It’s not all bad though …. The lens of misfortunes helps you see the friends you otherwise overlook. The best of them are not as flashy as the clanging cymbals because they too bear or have borne a pain like you do and can relate easily with you. Turn those lemons that life gives you into healthy juices that will nourish your life by doing the best you can with the challenges you are faced with. It may be nearing the end for you but at the end always comes the start of a new chapter.  Thank you for reading Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Selfie

The lens of misfortune- A blessing in disguise



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Out of every stressful situation that comes our way, something beautiful can be born. The holy bible (2 corinthians 4:17) reassures us that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Praise God. Why then do we scamper and panic whenever troubles come our way? Do we not have a God who is aware of whatever trouble that we face? The bible refers to our troubles as light and momentary. This is a bit thought provoking because we all know that problems vary in weight. Why then does it all get grouped as light? It is because their is a command that Jesus gave to lighten every burden. He said if we come to him when we labour, face trials, problems and feel heavy laden he will give us rest(Matthew 11:28). The question becomes about who we turn to when we feel weary, burdened and weighed down? Do we turn to ourselves, to others (who by the way are as imperfect as we are and are lacking in the wisdom and knowledge that can solve our problems) or do we turn to God? He has asked us to take his yoke upon ourselves. By taking his yoke, we can learn from him how to carry our own burdens more perfectly. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. As Christians, we must learn to focus solely on Christ especially during times when we are unsure about which way to go with our problems. As soon as we stand on our own two feet, we can endure our trials more easily while we await the outcome for our future. Precious metals are made after passing through fire. In the same way, we who are precious to God(Zechariah 2:8) will sometimes face trials in order to grow, be toughened and have a better understanding. What is the use of a lecture without an exam? We have learnt about all the virtues and commandments necessary to lead a good Christian life. Sometimes trials come and when they do, they give us the opportunity to put them into practice. You say you have faith in God, when trials come rather than scampering , you can spend time exercising your faith and totally trusting in God. The Lord chastens and disciplines those he loves (Hebrew 12:6). Rather than will our trials away, let us find ways to cope. We need to try to cope because, things do not last forever. God has the final say. The sufferings of Job teach us that much. He was loved by God and there was no part of his suffering that God was not aware of neither was there a time in his suffering that God was absent. He went through every one of his trials because he was God’s special son whom God had bragged about. This reason remained unknown to him but God took this chance because he had the assurance of Job’s faith. God did not doubt Job’s faith even though he was materially blessed. God could see through all Job possessed and what he saw every time was a true and sincere faith. To think that God is against us because we face problems will be folly. It will be equal to becoming a child of God only because of what we stand to gain from God. A thousand years are like a moment in God’s eyes. Since God’s ways are not our ways and our thoughts different from his, our sufferings remain momentary to him. So it does not matter how long they last because they are not counted by God using our worldly standard of time measurement. Just because we feel weighed down does not mean God will change the time he has set for our answer to come. He makes all things beautiful in his time ( Ecclesiastes 3:11). Notice that the bible says in “His” time. Not in my time or your time. We must trust in God’s divine timing. He said that he will not suffer our foot to be moved (Psalm 121:3). Therefore when we start to wobble in faith we need to go back to our eternal source for strength. We need to replant our feet firmly in Christ by taking his easy yoke. We need to find Jesus in our calamity like Peter at the stormy sea and focus on him so that he can calm our troubled spirit. God can allow suffering to occur in order to propel us into greater things. By complaining we reduce our focus on him and struggle when we should retreat into his presence for the renewal of our minds. I bet when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, they had no idea that that singular act was going to save a whole nation from starvation one day. It was all part of Joseph’s destiny and a divine plan by God to redeem his beloved people. However, put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment… a young man enjoying the company of his brothers being suddenly sold into slavery by the people he trusted the most. If we were Joseph with our habit of complaining and rebuking every misfortune as devil designed, would we not have wondered why God allowed it to be our portion despite our faithful service to God? The bible describes Joseph’s total faithfulness to God. He just accepted his new life but knew his God was with him all the way.That confidence in the might of his God meant that in a foreign land, he still served and trusted in his God. his complete trust in God steered the course of his his destiny throughout his life. When we suffer, we sometimes blame the devil and evil forces. How about believing that as baptized Christians, nothing bad can ever befall us without God’s knowledge. Realizing that God knows all things we pass through, can that not be the reassurance we need to be steadfast? What is most […]

Trials Are Not Always Bad for Us


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One thing people must do is … wrong us. Another thing they always do is …make mistakes. We all know this yet every time it happens,we lament. We get upset and the funniest part is that we are always surprised. The truth is that there is really no need for lamentations and surprises. We just have to accept that it is human nature to do wrong; it is human nature to make mistakes. Nobody is perfect only God is perfect. We too are also guilty of offending others and making mistakes. Many of the errors we commit happen unknowingly without any intention. Unfortunately that does not make us less guilty. Every time we point one finger, the other four keep pointing back at us… and with good reason. It is good for us to sometimes pause when we are about to carry out our actions in order to put ourselves in the other party’s shoes. When we feel offended do we expect understanding? Will we feel we deserve a chance to be allowed to explain? Perhaps we might even desire that our wrongdoings be brought to our attention so that we can make amends. If we feel that any of these questions describe our feeling in different situations, then perhaps we need to take our foot off the anger pedal and just forgive. Forgive others even before they realise they are wrong. Forgiveness is difficult to exercise but powerful enough to free your heart of anger and worry.  Realise that if people were wise, they would not go about offending others…especially you. Don’t let yourself go crazy because of their own errors of judgement. Apart from the bible asking us to do unto others what we want them to do to us, it annoyingly says we have to forgive 70*7 times. Sometimes I get angry with those Jesus’s disciples for asking too many questions. Their inquisitive nature gave rise to this decree. Now we must obey because we can no longer claim ignorance. They allowed Jesus to give a clear order on forgiveness to the extent that Jesus brings it up in the Lord’s Prayer – “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  Therefore in not so many words, as long as we hold on to grudges, we are asking God not to forgive us! Now it gets even worse – Matthew 5:23 – 24 takes it a step further: i call it the peace making decree: It says if you are about to dance happily to the altar and suddenly remember that “your brother has something against you” then stop and find him, make peace, before you continue that altar dance! Seriously?!?! Not only do you have to make peace with someone you have offended ( which honestly seems logical) , you also have to  look for those who have offended you (who by the way you may not want to hear about) Chai!! Na you do me wrong but na me go beg! To me, illogical!! However, our God up there thinks in ways different from us (Isaiah 55:8). Unfortunately, the way that may seem right to me (like begrudging my brother for wronging me) may lead to my destruction (proverb 14:12). So I have to obey God (1 Samuel 15:22). Obedience is better than sacrifice. One thing I always do even against my own personal wish, is follow God’s commandment. It’s hard but it gets easier with time. Like everything else in life, (“na to start na im hard pass” –meaning that things are more difficult to begin with) but constant practice leads to perfection. If you resolve today to hold no grudge and start making peace with others,before long it will become second nature. Do you know what the best part is? You will be doing God’s will! So today, let our prayer be – God teach us how to forgive all around us, you gave us the ultimate example on the cross, and you asked God to forgive us as we know not what we do. Help us to realise that those who wrong us know not what they do and so deserve our forgiveness in Jesus name, amen. Please make peace with someone today. I know by God’s grace that as you read this piece, the names of those who have wronged you or those you have wronged might spring to your mind. Don’t ignore the urge to make peace, stop holding on to the pain they caused. Take the first step, make that call, and find that person. We all join you in prayers; let Jesus do the rest as he is a man of peace. If you let him, he will pour his peace into your life today and always.  I leave you with a quote by Charlotte Bronte which my father taught me when I was little – “life appears to me to be too short to be spent in registering wrongs and nursing animosity”. Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, then trust me… you will love my meditations too! Look here to see them. Photo credit: Pixabay.

The Dilemma of forgiveness



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You Lord who knows the hearts of all men, show which one of these ones you have chosen to take the place in the apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go his own place (Acts 1:24-25). This is an interesting verse showing the disciples carried on depending fully on Jesus even after the resurrection. In the past Jesus had told them to love one another as he had loved them. He taught them that to keep his commandments, they had to remain in his love (John 15:9-10). They knew that when Jesus was in their midst, he always turned to his father for guidance. Even when it was nearly impossible for him, he still stayed in his father’s love. Jesus famously asked for God’s will and not his own will at the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). So the disciples already had the perfect example in Jesus. Although they may have had their favourite candidate to choose when the time to replace Judas came, they knew better than to let their will prevail. They knew in humility to let Jesus choose. In their minds, there was no difference to them whether Jesus was physically there or not. While Jesus was still with them, he told them that he was the one who chose them. They did not choose Jesus (John 15:16). In the old Testament God also told Jeremiah that before he was born he knew him (Jer 1:5). He also said that before his birth he sanctified and chose him to be a prophet. The bible makes us understand that we love God because he loved us first(1John4:19). So even in the house of God where we are all called to serve God in different ways and ministries, it is always worth remembering that only few are chosen (Matt 22:14). These few are not chosen by men but by God. It was God who chose all the prophets and kings of old. God still makes those choices today the only problem as Christians is that we tend to rush in with our choices first and seek God’s face last. We forget that he decides and has the final say. When the disciples sought God’s choice at the start, God chose Matthias. Sometimes God chooses us for a mission and we run away. Jonah is one typical example. God chose him to go to Nineveh to warn them about their wickedness. Jonah decided to run away. He did not want to go. He wanted to do his own will. But God sent a storm and just as the ship Jonah was fleeing in was about to sink, Jonah was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a fish. He was forced to surrender to God’s command and the fish regurgitated him on dry land. Subsequently he went to proclaim God’s word in Nineveh. Today we do not always witness such dramatic selections. However daily we are faced with choices. Choices surrounding answering God’s call or not. Like the disciples, we must go back to Jesus in prayer and allow him make the choices. We have to consciously remember to always seek his will first in all things before we set off. This way, our journey will be made easier. Thank you for reading. You can find more of my meditations here. Photo credit: Pixabay

May his will be done…


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Devotion to the sacred heart is the devotion to the essence of God.  It is a devotion to his core, his dwelling place. It is finding God in Christ where he lives. It is a devotion to a system of withdrawal and meditation in the hidden centre of God which is Christ. The word was made flesh and dwelt among us. The word was God. Therefore devotion to the sacred heart is devotion to God in the way that God chooses to reveal himself to us through Jesus Christ his son. To reach the heart of a person is to reach the very essence of that person. For one to reveal his heart to you, he shows you a face of himself that is hidden away from scrutiny. He shows you his very own essence. You can only truly know the person who allows you to enter his heart through their words, thoughts. It is by the expressions of their true and innermost feelings to you that you really get to know them. By this, we can safely imply that one who you are with for ages without knowing their heart is actually a stranger to you in disguise. In our journey with God, to know God is to enter his heart. By entering his heart, he is able to communicate his inner and deeper mysteries into our hearts. We can only ever know this heart and desire of God by knowing his word. His word is the bible. The bible reveals the deepest secrets about God. What he likes, what he dislikes, how to serve him and so on. To search and study his scriptures is to spend time with God. By spending time with God we get to know him, his desires for us and his will for us. The good news is that this word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us. He took our flesh in order to become one with us. By this singular act, he became even closer than ever. In the end, he became able to physically live with us through Christ Jesus. By assuming a human form, he was able to show us the perfect example of true worship by his words, actions and deeds. Jesus is God in his material form. To know Jesus is to know God in a very personal way. To receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) is to unite with him in a miraculous and strengthening way. Consequently, we relive his memorial on a daily basis as individuals and as a church in general. The Sacred heart of Jesus provides a means of achieving this true devotion because through this heart, the true meaning and essence of God is revealed. Through the Sacred heart of Jesus, God opens himself to us in a special way, in a unique way that gives a true and tangible meaning to our journey with God. We become embedded in his heart as his mysteries become more revealed as a result of our daily devotion. By our prayers, we acquire strength and favour that enable us persevere and endure the toils and struggles of life. In that Sacred heart, we learn to resound the true desire of Christ which is to always be one with him in the Gethsemane of life. That point when we find ourselves at our very own crossroads of choice. We learn to desire the total abandonment to the holy will of God. Like Jesus we learn to say “God let not mine but thy will be done”. In that heart, we become humbled as we gaze upon his heart. We see our unworthiness but the loving heart of Jesus continues to draw us in and heal our spirit. Jesus is God’s word personified. In the days of old, God sent prophets to his people. These prophets were mortal. They died but God kept sending more prophets who brought various messages of comfort and truth to the people. However, in the case of Jesus, his death emancipated him from the captivity of flesh. He was transformed back into his original omnipotent and omnipresent form. This miracle of resurrection is the tool that has kept him with us as God and stamped his place forever as True God and True Man. Heaven is now no longer locked up. God has stepped out of the veil created by his heavenly residence. He is now with us in an even more special way through the Holy Eucharist. At the last supper, he instituted a bloodless sacrifice of his body and blood in the form of bread and wine. He can now also dwell right inside of us in the Eucharist. Jesus remains our gift of salvation from God. His crucifixion, death and resurrection became mere instruments used by God to unwrap himself to us through the mystery of Christ our God and master. A true devotion to the sacred heart of Jesus becomes a true devotion to the heart of God himself. Find God today …find the Sacred heart of Jesus. Thank you Photo credit: Pixabay You may also like some of my other meditations. 

The importance of a devotion to the Sacred heart of Jesus



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Faithfulness in a relationship is very key. It is easily said but not easily done. A lot of relationships are decaying because, of the lack of faithfulness between partners. Some argue that it is not really compulsory in this day and age especially with the advent of various interesting forms of relationships for instance open relationships. From my understanding, an open relationship exists when both parties agree to have other sexual partners apart from their spouse or partner. They agree to bring that pseudo-relationship into the open and remove any secrecy whatsoever. Considering that the reason why two people choose to commit to each other is mainly due to the love existing between them, this love is brought into question through  this exercise. One may argue that the love allows them express these other desires and tolerate each other’s extra marital habits more. Others argued that the removal of secrecy even strengthens the bond between both parties. Several celebrities have expressed these desires openly in their relationships and as such paved the way for their fans to copy. However, when we zoom into this practice with our eyes, some of us are left wondering where the world is actually heading. It is all to me a desperate measure taken by cheating and disloyal people to justify what they do. However by garnishing it with a name like “open relationship”, they begin to also attempt to stylishly shove it down our throats. Well, if a man or woman feels forced into cheating, then he or she was never faithful to start with. It is during the temptations that we otherwise choose to succumb to, that ones ability to be faithful is tested and proven. For example, the Bible cements the status of Abraham as “faithful” after he showed his obedience to God by accepting the sacrificial request made by God of his son – the “long awaited” son of promise. We must all embrace discipline in order to be good at any thing both physical and temporal. Any relationship devoid of faithfulness is truly dead. Time and time again, we see examples of God punishing his people for disloyalty and distraction. The example of the golden calf where people tried to justify their actions as being sanctioned by Aaron a man of God, did not even spare the people from  God’s wrath(Exodus 32). Truly, in this age of freedom and “open relationships”, it appears less relevant to be faithful. The truth remains that one likeness we share in common with God is “jealousy” towards all that we hold dear. After all the heart lies where the treasure resides (Matt 6:21). In addition, the only valid opt-out clause in holy matrimony (adultery), rides on faithfulness(Matt 19:9). Holy matrimony is the display of the sacred union between man and woman as recognised by God and his holy Church. One’s self worth and confidence are called to question as soon as one accepts anything less than this basic standard from a relationship. In a relationship between friends, it’s not too much to expect faithfulness expressed as loyalty. This faithfulness cannot even be restricted to married couples. The Bible even acknowledges that there is a friend stronger than a brother(Prov18:24). The issue of backstabbing, gossiping, jealousy and other vices in normal relationships come to mind and rape a relationship of its true essence. ridding it of loyalty, companionship or happiness for both or all parties involved. Like all decisions, one must cut off this kind of relationship to avoid sin. This sense of endless quarrels, counter gossip and other damages inherent in such toxic associations. Where love abounds, faithfulness thrives. After all even Jesus Christ put it nicely “you cannot serve two masters”. During relationships and courtship, we are availed the opportunity to understudy the human character set before us. As we look through the keyhole of what life proposes to be with another individual, we must make room for human error as nobody’s perfect. Unfortunately, distractions that are mostly material and passing constantly becloud our sound judgement for no reason apart from the main one we acknowledged earlier- indiscipline! People keep choosing things that will pass away like materiality, beauty, status etc over inherent sustainable qualities like faith, hope and love. Faith and believe in each other. Hope of a future together analysed through the endowment of various qualities like tolerance, perseverance through wobbles of whatever sort during courtship or possession of a hopeful quality like smartness and as people commonly call it, “prospects”. Although mostly forgetting that it goes both ways. Lastly, love to resonate through the purpose of every action taken between both parties. I shall end with the favourite admonition of the scriptures “ he who has ears, let him hear….” Let us pray that relationships being the pivot upon which marriage and lasting ties between individuals rotates will be taken more seriously by our generation and not be constantly used as a means to satisfy our canal pleasures and desires…. Love between two hearts should always mirror the love existing between Jesus Christ and his church. As Christ remains faithful to us, may we remain faithful to one another in love….. Amen.   Photo credit: Pixabay

Faithfulness in a relationship


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Hi everyone…I just wanted to share this story with you all. It was told recently during a homily. I did not attend but a friend did and shared it with me. I enjoyed it very much. I believe there are many hidden lessons within the story. Lessons that are useful to bear in mind as we live our lives. I particularly enjoyed the way the story unfolds. I hope you do too. Anyway, without any further delay, here it is… enjoy! A very poor newly wedded, young couple lived in a small farm. One day the husband made the following proposal to his wife: Honey, I will leave the house: I will travel faraway, get a job and work hard in order to come back and give you the comfortable life that you deserve. I do not know how long I will stay away. I only ask one thing, please wait for me, and while I am away, you should be faithful to me, because I will be faithful to you. His wife agreed, so the young man left. He walked many days until he found a farmer who was in need of someone to help him. The young man offered his services. He was accepted. Therefore he discussed the terms with his boss: Let me work for as long as I want and when I think I should go home, please relieve me of my duties. I do not want to receive my salary. I ask you to save it for me, until the day I leave. The day I decide to go, please give me the money and I will go my way. They agreed on that. So, the young man worked for twenty years without holiday and without rest. After twenty years, he came to his boss and said: Boss, I want my money, because I am returning to my home. The boss replied: All right, after all, I made a deal with you and I will stick to it. However, before you go I want to offer you something new: I will give you all your money and send you away; or I will give you 3 pieces of advice and send you away. If I give you money, you lose the 3 pieces of advice. If I give you the 3 pieces of advice, you lose the money. Now, go to your room and think about your answer. He thought for two days. Then he went to the boss and told him: I want the 3 pieces of advice. The boss stressed again, if I give you the 3 pieces of advice, I will not give you the money, and the man replied: I want the 3 pieces of advice. The boss then told him: No. 1: Never take shortcuts in your life, shorter and unknown paths can cost your life. No. 2: Never be too curious, for curiosity towards evil can be deadly. No. 3: Never make decisions in moments of anger or pain, because when you repent, it could be too late. After giving these 3 pieces of advice, the boss said to him: Here, you have 3 loaves of bread, 2 are for you to eat during the journey and the last is for you to eat with your wife when you get home. So, the man went his way, after twenty years away from home and from his wife, whom he loved so much. After the first day of travel, he found a man who greeted him and asked: Where are you going? He replied: To a distant place which is about 20 days away if I continue walking. The man said to him: Ol’ boy, this path is too long! I know a shortcut that is very safe and you will arrive in 5 days only. The man began to follow the path suggested until he remembered the first piece of advice. Then, he returned and followed the long path. Days later he learned that the shortcut led to an ambush. After a few more days of travel, he found an inn by the roadside, where he could rest. He paid for a room and after taking a bath he lay down to sleep. During the night he woke up as he heard a terrifying scream. He rose to his feet and went to the door to check what happened. As he was opening the door, he remembered the second piece of advice. Therefore he returned, lay down again and slept. At dawn, after breakfast, the owner of the lodging asked him if he had not heard the scream at night. He affirmed that he heard. Then, the host said: Were you not curious to see what happened? And he replied: No, I was not. Then the host said: You are the first guest to leave this inn alive. My neighbour is completely crazy. He usually shouts at night to call someone’s attention. When some of the guests come out, he kills them and buries their bodies in the backyard. The man continued his long journey, eager to arrive soon. After many days and nights walking, he was very tired, but he finally saw his house far away. It was night. He saw some light coming out of the window of his house and was able to see the silhouette of his wife. But he also saw that she was not alone. He came closer and saw there was a man with her. She softly caressed his hair. When he saw that scene, his heart was filled with hatred and bitterness. He decided to rush at and kill them both mercilessly. However, he took a deep breath and he remembered the third piece of advice. Then he stopped, reflected and decided to sleep outside that night. He slept in the midst of the bushes, determined to make a decision the next day. At dawn, he was calmer and thought: I will not kill my wife and her lover. I am going […]

How earning “bread” instead of money can save a marriage!!!



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The beautiful gate was a gate referred to in the Bible book of Acts1. There is a story told about a man crippled from birth. He always went to the gates called “beautiful”. What a lovely name for a gate. This man chose to sit there. His hope was to get enough alms to survive on a day-to-day basis. People must have looked down on him as a beggar with only perhaps a few stopping to throw the odd coin into his hat or cap. But one day, one blessed day, Peter and John walked past and he begged them as he did everyone else. He was given what he needed the most. Which he was not even asking them for- his healing. Praise God! His ankles and legs became stronger and he could walk. He was healed to the extent that he was jumping and praising God. Every day, we sit at this beautiful gate in so many different ways.  Sometimes in prayer and and other times by literally asking for someone’s help. Trusting for an answer to solve the problem we think is most important. The good news is that we only need to persevere in prayer and believe that soon God will send our answer which may take the form of our very own Peter and John to help us in the way that is best for us. You do not want answers to prayers in ways  you think is best but in the way God sees as the most important answer for you. Remember that God’s ways and thoughts are never like ours2. He will also never give us what is not good for us. He is the perfect father3. You must have the confidence when you pray that our God will meet you at that beautiful gate and perfect all that concerns your life4. There is only one formula for this type of answer- Perseverance. Nobody said God cannot answer speedily. However, sometimes, he does not. We have to keep asking without despairing. Remember the word of God says we should keep asking, seeking and knocking and that if we keep at it, we will receive5. These are not my words but the words of Jesus. Jesus even talks about a friend who comes to ask for bread at midnight and is sent away. He tells us that although he was sent away countless times he persists and in the end, his persistence pays off. His friend rises up not just to give him bread but gives him as many as he needs6. So I draw you back to the beautiful gate. The gate of prayer, keep persevering, stay strong, focus on God, have confidence in the knowledge that soon, your answer will surely come! Footnotes Acts 2:1-10 Isaiah 55:8 Luke 11:11-13 Psalm 138:8 Luke 11:9-10 Luke 11:5-8 Photo credit: Pixabay

The Beautiful gate of Prayer


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I have always wondered why Jesus came into this world poor. Why not rich with all the luxuries and pleasures of life? He could have conjured wealth if he wanted. After all He showed that he could when he brought out a coin from the mouth of a fish in the book of Matthew1. I think it was because he wanted us to learn how to be detached from the pleasures of this world. Detachment in the loose sense of the word means an inability to connect2 (Wikipedia). It is a state of independence from persons, objects and even ideas. One who is detached is very free from the attachment that can be formed as a result of the influence, pressure or pleasure arising from the use of or association with an object or thing. It is like experiencing but without any sentiment. It may not necessarily mean coldness or aversion but mainly staying objective and not allowing one’s decision to be influenced by the pleasure that may be derived from the activity or object to the extent of being unable to let go of it at any point in time. Jesus did not want us to be distracted by wealth and riches if he possessed them. We could have undermined his ministry and thought “Well, he was able to do that because he was rich enough to afford it”. He constantly wanted us to appreciate the temporary nature of such worldly treasures. Everything material is passing. Heaven and earth as mighty as they are will surely pass away3. Remember that Jesus is the living word. It was his way of saying that “he” was going to stay relevant. By coming into the world in poverty, he was able to connect with both the rich and the poor. His message became universal. How many times have we undermined “celebrities” who try to be humanitarian, caring and loving by thinking that they are not in touch with the realities of the common men on the street? We reinforce that feeling with the thought that they are able to express their kind gestures only because they can afford to. We place them on a pedestal and feel that they are not in the real world. We accept their kindness but reject some of their genuine motives. By being poor, Jesus became more of a man like us all. He automatically showed that he was in touch with our realities. His examples became iconic as they were expressed despite his lowliness and lack of material wealth. He cut through the divide of the man-made strata of rich, poor, fortunate or unfortunate, healthy or sick. The type of poverty that Jesus possessed went beyond earthly poverty based only on possessions and amassing wealth. It also included poverty of hearts leading to humility. He reiterated it throughout his teachings. Jesus shows us the ultimate example by washing his disciple’s feet4. He taught the lesson of humility and service. Service in love and not in thinking too highly of one‘s self. A lesson that keeps us remembering that we are dust and dust shall we return5. Jesus also pointed out the advantage of poverty as a means to perfection. He once asked a rich young man to sell all his belongings and give to the poor to complete his quest for perfection6.Of all the commandments that one can keep, the commandment of absolute surrender, complete trust and confidence in God’s providence completes our selfless service to God. Embracing poverty means thinking nothing of one’s self, stepping out and sharing all we have- material and immaterial with others until we leave our body and soul empty enough to be completely filled by the providence of the spirit of God. The possession of material wealth gives an assurance and confidence in our ability to stand on our feet irrespective of where life throws us. Except we can rid ourselves of this feeling, we will be unable to connect with the complete trust in God that can easily be experienced in poverty. Wealth can be material or immaterial. The wealth we can see and touch is material while the wealth we cannot see and touch is immaterial. Immaterial wealth can also be as distractive as tangible material wealth. Some examples of immaterial wealth include things like power, knowledge and fame. All wealth must be used to glorify God in order to encourage poverty in our hearts. Wealth and worldly possessions are not bad in themselves but they can distract the mind that seeks God. We cannot serve two masters7, so we must choose who we shall serve8. It is always a tough choice we must always bear in mind because everything will pass away in the end. It is in our nothingness that our complete trust in God is exercised. As there is no hope elsewhere but to trust the alpha and omega to turn our situation around while making it bearable as it persists. Such trust has been rewarded on several occasions. In the Bible, the story unfolds about a widow who amidst drought and abject poverty gave Elijah the prophet her last morsel of bread in charity and love9. We see she was rewarded with a constant supply of flour. This is the confidence we have that our God will continue to reward the love we show in poverty. Jesus is also not in any way looking for hand-outs from people. We know some preachers emphasise giving and giving as a means to an end. Some say you give and God will continually bless you. Firstly, what is important is your disposition as you give. We should give without grudging. We must give without showing off. We must give because of love not just because we can give10. See the story of the widow’s mite in the bible11. Jesus emphasises on the sacrificial nature of the widow’s gift. It showed complete confidence in the divine provision of God. Giving must be without reservation and out of true […]

Lesson on poverty



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I was struck as always by the story of the good Samaritan when I read it today. I am sure that I have heard that story like a thousand times. But it is such a beautiful story especially now during this year of mercy as declared church-wide by Pope Francis. It gets me thinking about mercy in a different way every single time I read it. Since this declaration was made by the pope, how (as Christians) have we viewed mercy? What do we think about when we hear the word mercy being spoken about? We should be looking at mercy from two angles: the mercy we are shown and the mercy we can show to others. Similarly, the mercy we are shown can be split further into two categories: The mercy we are shown by God and the mercy we receive from man. It is my opinion that the mercy we receive from God should be the most important object of our attention. For from that mercy flows the grace to show mercy to others and the grace to ignore the failings of men when they refuse to show mercy to us. We truly have no control over the mercy we receive. What we have is the reassurance that unlike man, the mercy we receive from God is unfailing, undying and unwavering. On the other hand, what we have control over is the mercy we can show to others. That is because it is the only genuine two-fold difference we can make-with our lives and in the lives of others. We achieve this with each singular act of mercy we show. Since we cannot guarantee how much mercy we receive from others, God’s mercy exists to perfect every yearning our souls might have for mercy. Looking up at the crucifix, we see in it the symbol of the outpouring of God’s mercy through Christ. Two ordinary pieces of wood transcend time to symbolise the suffering and death of  an innocent man Jesus Christ out of his pure love and mercy towards us. This fount of mercy was outpoured once and for all at the cross of Calvary when a lance pierced the side of Jesus, releasing the water and blood of mercy from Jesus. The grace of God is sufficient for us. When we plant ourselves by the river of life which is Christ, we will not lack mercy. This is the mercy that Jesus refers to in this parable of the Good Samaritan. It is the type of mercy that breaks down boundaries of duty, prejudice, and self righteousness. It is the mercy that humbles us and makes us not only realise our mortality but appreciate that the true meaning of our lives is in reciprocating this mercy which we freely receive from God. Prejudice is rotten. It has infiltrated mankind and made an absolute mess of the wealth and variety with which God spiced up his creation. Prejudice requires everyone to look exactly like you. It is the biggest lie of Satan . It is planted to set all of mankind against each other. It says there should be no difference between people. It makes us fight these differences among one another when we should embrace the power that we acquire as a result of the variety of cultures, languages, races, religions, beliefs and so on that exist in humanity. St Paul says that Christ is the image of God1. When we allow God’s truth flow through us, accept his mercy and do his will, we become like God. We assume this image too. By assuming God’s image, we serve him perfectly in others by showing mercy and breaking down all prejudice and barriers to our mission of service to God. By dismantling prejudice, our lives become richer. We begin to store up our treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed 2. What are you doing to make a difference in another person’s life? Mercy is not just a mission for this year as announced by the Pope but a call to a new way of life for those who aspire to go to God’s kingdom. It is not about acquiring wealth but about giving health to the spiritual lives of the souls all around us. It is about affecting others positively. When we are able to achieve this then we can proudly say that we are living our lives in style and with true purpose. May the good Lord continually show us his mercy and strengthen our walk with Jesus Christ today and always. Amen. Footnotes Colossians 1:15 Matthew 6:19-21 Photo Credit : Pixabay

The Good Samaritan – Breaking down barriers for mercy’s sake


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The greatest possession a person can have is the knowledge and understanding of God. It is the only possession that the bible allows us to glory in. The Lord himself says we should not glory in wisdom, might, riches or anything but in the knowledge and understanding of him – the one true God1. Our journey as Christians must be centred on acquiring this knowledge and understanding of God. It is the pivot upon which every aspect of our lives must rotate. If we do not know God, how can you glide through the storms of life? To know God is to ask his spirit to dwell in us. We should invite him into our hearts to teach us his word. Jesus is the personification of his word. He is the word that was made flesh in order to dwell among us2. The bible says that in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God3. The word of God is also found in the pages of the Holy Bible. It instructs and guides us. With the help of God’s Holy Spirit, we can understand God. Jesus promised us that his ultimate request to God the father will be to ask for an advocate, a helper who will be with us forever. This helper is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always present with us. We may feel all alone at times but we must have complete confidence in the constant presence of God in our lives. It is a bit like buying a transistor radio. In the good old days, when one bought a radio, it had to be tuned for it to connect to the desired radio channel. If the radio owner had no understanding about the process of tuning the radio and thought that the radio knob was a fancy design, it was rendered useless. It became a mere box, but did that make the radio channel non-existent? The answer is an emphatic NO! Simply having a radio was not enough. Adding the knowledge about how to operate the radio made a huge difference. The radio channel was constantly available to those with adequate knowledge and understanding of the radio frequencies. To them there were boundless options to choose from in order to maximise their listening pleasure. In a way this is how our lives are. Without the knowledge and appreciation of a higher power (God) in our lives, life will not be worth living. It will be devoid of the optimum connection with the Almighty God. The way that points constantly to God is Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the link that connects our own spirits to God. Our full potential will never be reached until we are linked directly with the spirit of God. Without God’s Holy Spirit, everything we believe in will depend on our five senses – on reason. We will keep on needing to see, feel, touch, smell or hear things before they can make absolute sense. Unfortunately, faith that is based totally on these is based solely on reality. Such faith is denied of total connection with the all-powerful God and therefore subject to imperfection. Our senses are imperfect, limited, they cannot transcend beyond the immediate. God is all powerful, supernatural and perfect. In order to serve him perfectly, we must then find another way (a more perfect way) to serve him. That way was the central theme of Jesus’ existence. By his actions, words and deeds Jesus constantly showed us how to serve God. It was a way that had an internal union of purpose with God. A way that was selfless and sometimes irrational. He showed us Leadership by service, abundance by sharing and ultimately eternal life through constant sacrifice of ourselves in service of God. All these tenets were quite contrary to the rational ways in which people generally thought. After Jesus’ resurrection, Thomas doubted the apostles’ account regarding Jesus’ resurrection. He needed to see him, touch him, to “make sense” of the resurrection of Christ. When Jesus appeared again, he rebuked Thomas’s unbelief. Jesus blessed those who believed even without seeing him physically4 thereby showing us the importance of an inward view about the things of God. Our love for God must be sufficient to direct our faith. To find this love is to find God himself because God is love5. The ultimate example of God’s love is found in Jesus Christ who paid the price by becoming ransomed for us. God is all powerful, he makes all things possible6. He is the God whose ways and thoughts are not like ours7. He is the God who causes things to be8. The God who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist9. He is the God who does not change10.  He is the God who is not man. The faithful God who is able to do what he says he will do11. He is the same yesterday, today and forever! We have to dispose ourselves in our thoughts and by our actions to God for us to be drawn to God12. God sucks us in with the nectar of his love. Like the bees in the fields, our souls circle, yearning for something higher and more sublime. Our souls keeps searching for truth and looking for love. God’s love draws us in because he is the epitome of love itself. He loved us before we even understood what being loved meant. Jesus makes our journey to God perfect. By knowing him we become firmly established as children of God. We plant our feet firmly along the path that leads to God. We become part of a majestic union of perfection. We become fused with God, God with Jesus and Jesus becomes one with us. It is an ecstatic fusion. Jesus is God personified. He shows us God in his ever loving, ever sacrificing and ever giving form. He shows us how God only desires to be close to […]

Knowledge of God



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Hello…helloooooo….. I hear myself scream! Knock knock … tap … taaaappppp! I clench my fists and tap on heaven’s door. I have been here for ages. Daily, I have come here but he doesn’t hear me.  I look up…up high. The building is so talllll! I cannot even see where it ends. I hear it is a place of peace. I came here in the morning. After lunch I came as well. I even stole in once at night to see if the echoes from my night screams would make a difference. Everywhere was shut! All was still… all was quiet … and all was cold… Surely my God was on holiday. If he were home, he would have answered me. If he were there, he would have sent his chariots to take me home. He would have told me that everything would be okay. He can make all this pain go away. Yet he stays silent…. My God must be taking a nap! If he were awake, my tears would have dried up by now. My life would have been more bearable. Well, even if he chose to be silent, who will blame him? I am but a speck in his sight. He does not owe me any explanation. He is my God and I am his beloved. I am reassured of his love because I am still among the living. So, I shall stand here waiting for him – come rain come shine! His delay is not without purpose. I want to be first on queue. I can see the crowd approach from afar. I want to be here ready for when God decides to answer. I don’t want to miss the chariot when it comes to carry me home.   Photo credit:Pixabay    

God on holiday


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The love of money is the root of all evil1. Time and time again we hear this saying. We resolve not to fall into the trap of money love. Unfortunately when faced with money love triggering situations, many of us fail. Why is it important not to love money? Money in itself is not bad. It is used to acquire things required for living. In the good old days, people exchanged goods for goods – barter trade. The system was based on using what you had to get what you wanted. However, our fore fathers found that buying and selling in this way was filled with setbacks .This led to the invention of money. It became very convenient and easy to use. Its advantages were enjoyed by all and soon greed crept into man. The need for grabbing and acquiring money at all costs became the order of the day. The bible says you cannot serve two masters2. You cannot serve both God and money. Money satisfies needs. Loving money however, means constantly choosing money over God. Keeping money at the centre of all decisions, choosing money over what is right. Loving money increases the tendency to give up our principles to acquire it, opening us up to sin and destruction. In the bible, there is a story about King Saul 3. After the war, he chose to take the plunder- sheep and oxen (which in his time constituted material wealth to be acquired from conquered enemies as spoils of war) instead of sacrificing it to God. At times the love of money is synonymous with the love of other material things like power 4.  King Saul decided that he would no longer wait for God’s chief priest to come and give the sacrifice. There he decided to stand in and do the sacrifice himself against God’s instruction. His decision in itself was not bad. It was the impatience and disobedience that grieved God. By disobeying God and not waiting for God’s chief priest to offer sacrifice, he opened himself more to further sin. The sin of doubt and total trust in God’s methods, degenerated into the love of materialism for which God rejected Saul as king5 .From then on, Saul fell out of favour with God and the sin of greed led to his ultimate death. His personal desire for power blinded him from accepting God’s will to crown David. The more he disobeyed, the more he walked into his destruction and final demise. In the New Testament, another example was Judas Iscariot the betrayer. He was initially one of the ‘chosen’ apostles. He was a good man. However, as soon as he started to disobey God’s plan through Jesus, he opened himself again to disaster. One day, Jesus talked about being the bread of life emphasizing on the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood6. Jesus knew the ones who did not believe his teachings and he knew his betrayer7. During the conversation, it was clear through Judas’s utterances that he did not believe in this teaching. This disbelief led to Judas ultimately being likened by Jesus to the devil8 . In the end, money love led him to betray Jesus. Unbelief and disobedience stains us as Christians. It turns us into the likeness of the devil whose only nature is to perfectly rebel against God. The sad news is that once this disobedience takes hold, it degenerates into all sorts of sin. By disobeying God, we automatically choose to serve all but God. ‘Self ‘ becomes what is served. To satisfy ‘self’ ultimately leads to seeking things to gratify ‘self’ and what better object than money! Ananias and Sapphira 10 also decided to hold back and disobey. The rule the early Christians had was for each person to sell all they had for the communal good. By joining the fold, one became automatically bound by this rule. However, this couple thought they knew better (disobeyed) and what happened? Greed crept in. The bible says that they held back part of their possessions for themselves and this led to their death11. Many of us do not set out to love money especially as Christians. We know it is wrong. We have this drummed up into us through our lives and we know all the examples. The sad thing is that this does not exempt us from falling into this trap. By disobeying and disbelieving God in even the smallest way, we become open to the danger of money love. We must make a constant and consistent choice to obey God and focus on faith and not on materiality including ‘self’. Everything material is temporary and passing, that is, money, wealth, fame, family, ‘self’ etc . Let us always remember what St Paul said ‘we do not look at the things which are seen but at the things unseen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things which are unseen are eternal’12. God is eternal, he gives great gifts13 . By accepting his gifts, we bear fruits of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control 14 . Let us nurture and grow these, make them our focus and he will meet our needs according to his riches in glory 15        Footnote: 1(1 Timothy 6:10); 2(Matthew 6:24); 3(1 Samuel 15:21-25); 4(1 Samuel 13:11-14); 5(1 Samuel 15:23); 6(John 6:53-59); 7(John 6:64); 8(John 6:70); 9( Matthew 26:15); 10(Acts 5); 11(Acts 5:2); 12(2 Corinthians 4:18); 13(1 Corinthians 12); 14(Galatians 5: 22-23); 15(Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:19)   Photo credit: Pixabay

Money Love



Holyweek
One reason I love the HOLY WEEK is that, it’s a time the Church forces us to reflect on the things that should be most important to us as individuals. The main things that often slip away amidst the hustle and bustle of life. We are made to reflect on our lives, our death and eternity. We also focus on Christ’s life, death and resurrection and put this at the centre of our reflection, constantly using him as the perfect yardstick for comparing how we are doing as Christians. We resolve to make adjustments to guide us back to the path of salvation when we miss our way. For those on the straight and narrow, it becomes a time to strengthen their resolve to keep being on track. As an old Ibo adage goes “onye lote maka onwu, o mee nwabu”, meaning “when one remembers death, he becomes calm.” Although death is the sure end for every person alive, it is the least visited subject. It is never lightly confronted whether in thoughts or in reality. However, doing so regularly helps us keep calm as individuals. The holy week is also a time when our mortality is brought to the fore front of our reflections. The realisation that all we have acquired in life – knowledge, wealth, possessions, friendships, enemies and so on, mean nothing because when we die, they become irrelevant. What’s more, the wealth of our material possessions cannot  determine what our ultimate eternal destination will be. Acquiring all that life has to offer is meaningless if we do not put them to good use. Do we act selflessly or selfishly? Do we love because we want to gain popular approval or because it is the right thing to do? Do we give to others just because we can or because we care? Do we spend our time reducing the pain and suffering around us? Do we lend a helping hand, provide a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on? When we manage to be there for others, is it because we want to show off? Holy week summarizes for me what Jesus came to do on earth. It also is a time of appraisal of one’s self. It’s no wonder Lent is the time the Church encourages us to retrace our footsteps back to God. It is a time of reconciliation with God and with man. A time of hope for our eternity and gratitude for salvation offered to all by the shedding of the perfect blood of Jesus Christ for all mankind. Photo credit: Pixabay      

Holy Week