who am i?

"I write for the unlearned about things in which I am unlearned myself." - CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Whirlwinds, Storms and Yachts...

Sailing in bliss, the yacht of life gracefully glides forward, it's a perfect weather made for beautiful pictures to be displayed on facebook and instagram. All is calm and bright and wonderful. There are jokes, laughter and there is rest until suddenly, a violent whirlwind comes to rock your world; your expensive, classy yacht feels like it’s going to be buried in the once peaceful sea of life. The fierce wind howls mockingly. In that moment, the sunshine and laughter of the calm weather, the luxury of life as it was begins to feel like an illusion.
A trial of such great turmoil hits your life, violent and destructive in it’s own way and you feel like it’s all over, because the man got you to get on the boat in the first place, this man Jesus, seems silent, like He’s asleep. It doesn’t even make sense to think He’s in the boat with you because if He really were, He would stir from His sleep and rescue you. Thus we let fear lead us to all sorts of prayer houses and panic overdrive… we run around shouting for help and are willing to be saved by anyone who can get us out of the rocking boat and far away from the storm.  

‘One day he and his disciples got in a boat. “Let’s cross the lake,” he said. And off they went. It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. They woke Jesus: “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
Getting to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.
Then he said to his disciples, “Why can’t you trust me?”’ Luke 8: 22-25(msg)

If the disciples stood still long enough to think, they would probably have realized that the storm was strong enough to destroy them but it didn’t, because it couldn’t, because they had Jesus and they were in the boat because they were following Him. They said, “We’re going to drown” another version says “we are perishing”… but they didn't drown and they didn't perish! They were still standing even though they were staggering about…

I am in a storm, like many of us… our calm may have been destroyed, but think about it, you’re not mopping all day in depression, you can still sleep at night and your appetite hasn’t totally ceased, you still push and have a will to live, to take it one step at a time. You still find things to make you laugh even with the pressure. You haven’t committed suicide even if you may have thought about it… Yes there is a storm,  a fierce whirlwind filling your beautiful yacht of life with water, trying to take you under, but think about it… if it could kill you, you would have been dead by now, you would have drowned in all the issues. It looks like it’s going to drown you, but as far as I'm concerned, you have not drowned, and your head is still above water, it would take you down if it could... you're still winning, until you jump overboard in fear.

You're still standing because deep inside, you're holding on to something, to someone... God! Well that may not be your story, but that's mine. I stand, because I know He's in this boat with me, it's scary sometimes, and I feel like the disciples must have felt, but I don't jump off in my fear, I do they same thing they did, run to nudge Him awake... because I know He can and will make everything alright. 
Sometimes I'm strong enough to stare the storm in the face, not bothering with panicking and throwing a tantrum at God in my trust, knowing that He will and it'll be fine in the end.

If being broke and jobless, unmarried or without child, called a failure and being confused about your future, or stumbling over and over again, getting passed over for promotion and loosing another bid for yet another life changing contract had the power to kill you, you’d be dead. But it hasn’t, because you have Jesus in the boat with you and even if it feels like He’s sleeping, His presence alone is enough to keep you living, knowing that it’s alright, and it’s just a matter of time before He speaks to the storm saying “peace be still”.
So in the meantime, He’s asking you and the doubt and fear you accommodate, that’s about making you jump ship “Why can’t you trust me?“ why are you afraid? You have so little faith” “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” “Why are you timid and afraid, O you of little faith?”

The righteous man has many troubles, but God always delivers him. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”Psalm 34:18-19
He comes to your rescue each time… going through a storm of sickness or whatever? Keep going, the storm can’t get you, He’s here and it’s only a matter of time before He says “peace be still” and you’re back to relaxing in the sun on the deck of your yacht of life and just living.
“The peace of God does not assume everything will be all right. It confirms that simply because we have God, everything is alright.” Ezekiel Azonwu @wordsbyezekiel 
But seriously, how many of us can stand in the midst of a storm? Seeing all that's coming after you? I mean look at that picture, it's scary, you're only human if you find yourself panicking... but that's what faith is about, trusting, even when the odds are against you, trusting enough to set fear aside knowing that He is able and He's always with you, "never will I leave you, never will I forsake you"... It's never easy to trust, but it's not impossible to. Keep trying to trust, keep trusting!

Friday, July 19, 2013

On Tips and Salons... Butt Kissing Or Sincere?

I love to give tips. Well, love is a strong word; I guess I mean if I’m served really well, I feel good leaving a nice tip.
When I have the money, I get generous… Thus the next time I’m back at that place, i.e. a salon, everyone is loving me, and everyone is ‘auntying’ me and I get a not so subtle preferential treatment. There's also the embarrassing arguments amongst the girls on who's to make my hair or handle my pedicure and ridiculous stuff like that, with the truckload of compliments.
The butt kissing is appalling, even as much as I enjoy it, but I’m certainly not deceived; thus it’s easy for me to separate the genuine from the butt kissers.

Whenever I can only afford to tip sparingly with an apologetic smile or not at all cos my purse is emptied out, the butt kissers are not so excited or eager to kiss butt when I come the next time... I take note and sometimes, I happily tip those I notice as sincerely genuine and polite even when they don’t render me any service for that day. I do this because they look like they really are glad to see me and it doesn’t matter if I did or didn’t leave a tip for the beautiful hair they made the last time I was in.

I think serving God is somewhat similar. We give Him all the compliments and praise, expecting a generous tip from Him for this service. The more He tips, the more we praise Him and scramble to cater to His needs. But like a broke customer, if He fails to give us our desires, or in the Nigerian lingo, drop something generously after days of fasting and night vigils, our true colors and the truth of our praise and worship in revealed. We either keep smiling while praising Him and auntying Him, giving Him the best of us, or we push Him aside, ignore Him when He walks in and move to a customer who we presume will tip us, because butt kissing can only last so long.

It’s easy to stop praising and trusting and praying and worshiping when we don’t get answered prayers and when events of life hurts us, because we wonder why He would let us go through it all if He really loves us.
But in moments like this, moments when the tone of our praise starts changing, we need to ask ourselves questions “Is our service out of genuine love, trust and awe of God or out of what we need and what we’re able to get from Him?”
If you lost it all today would you still praise? Though He slays you, will you still praise? If the tips are sparing, will you still praise?

Paul Adefarasin said "Your relationship with God should not be based on what He can do, but on who He is."
In the same way, If I have any business in a high end store, I dress the part, hold something visibly designer and expensive, I do this to get attention, I do this to avoid being snubbed! Yeah, you do it too... And it works, even if I'm wasting their time, because I look like I can afford their products. If I walk in there with all the money in the world and just a simple outfit and a label free bag, i wouldn't get that attention. sometimes we loose out on deals and relationships because we judge based on what a person can do from their appearance and not from who we discern them to be after giving them a chance. Don't limit God to what He can do, or what he's done and what He hasn't done... He is God, that's all the reason we need to praise even when the cherry trees don't blossom.
Though the cherry trees don’t blossom
and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I’m singing joyful praise to God.
I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I’m king of the mountain! Habakkuk 3:17-19

Saturday, July 6, 2013

28... Birthdays and Blessings.

It's my birthday today.
My little vanity party...
The best part about living is being blessed and drenched with grace.
Michael W Smith's 'Grace' is the song my heart's beating to... Grace found me, grace saved me and grace has made my life worth living, despite what life dictates.

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