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Come Out!

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“The desire for self-expression afflicts people when they feel there is something of themselves which is not getting through to the outside world.”

— Fay Weldon

Expression

Everybody has something to say. It could be a comment on things, a story to tell, knowledge to impart, experience to share. The list is endless! The point is no one is void of expression. Even the dumb has something to say. As long as one is human and can think, there is always something to communicate. In fact, if animals were given the ability to, they’d probably have an opinion themselves (The point is that we all have something to express!)

Not everyone expresses what they want to say however. It’s not like they have a disability or anything. It could be that they are insecure about what they want to say and so they’d rather not talk (But how long can you keep it in?) Also, some people just don’t like talking and prefer to keep things in. Personality can play a big role here.

Personality Types

In psychology, we learn that there are different personality types but there are two basic ones: Extroverts and Introverts. Generally, extroverts are known for being outspoken and well, they like to talk; introverts however are reserved and talk less. They are believed to have a loud mind but are of few words. They prefer to observe even though they might have a number of things to say.

Meet Me

In my case, I often find it difficult to express what I really have to say. I’m an introvert and I prefer to just write what I feel and my opinion of things. I find this fulfilling, like a burden has been taken off me. Sometimes too I don’t make expressions because I’m not sure if they make much sense. It may be one of the reasons I can be very skeptical of showing others what I write.

Beneath all of these however is a desire to share my perception with others and for people to understand them. It wouldn’t hurt for people to know my views. I might be going around with a wrong view and people can correct me, or people can actually learn from my views. Also, there’s satisfaction just letting others in on what you feel.

This blog is my way of coming out and expressing myself.

Take the Bold Step!

So, if you’re like me and you find it difficult to express yourself, I challenge you to take the bold step and just express yourself however way you feel comfortable. If you’ve tried and still find it difficult, you may need to learn how to do it. Writing, for me, is in a way learning how to express myself. The world needs your expression because you’re unique and so is your expression.

This does not mean you should be all crazy in a bid for self expression (if you know what I mean). I believe in moderation. I also believe that reading the right materials, listening to the right things help in our overall expression. The things we see, read, hear all form our thoughts which in turn inform our expression. You may want to take note of these things.

Still, the idea of this post is to come out and express.

Selah.

Identify with Suffering

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“Mourn with those who mourn…” Romans 12:15b

Sometimes it’s hard voicing out your opinions, especially when people have always known you to keep silent on some kinds of issues or in fact, many kinds of issues.

Is it okay to keep silent? It’s not bad, particularly when you’re not sure of what to say.

Is it okay to always be silent? Not really, because even though small, your voice still counts. This is the motive behind my post.

Now, in my country, a number of things have been happening… Actually, it’s not just in Nigeria. Around the world, many things have been happening. And even though it’s true that ‘evil’ has always been in the world, these are pretty dangerous times. I normally wouldn’t say that these are ‘dangerous times’ because I try to be careful with speech. But being careful shouldn’t hide the truth in things. And just because I can’t exactly identify with what people are going through doesn’t mean people aren’t living in extreme circumstances.

The burden to be concerned about what people go through became strong in me when I gave a presentation last month. It was about the language of food security reports. Somewhere in my paper, I mentioned a statement made from a 2021 FAO food security report and it reads ‘the world is at a critical juncture in relation to food security…’

Amidst many things that were mentioned regarding that paper, what stood out for me was when one of the attendees said he couldn’t relate to the world being in a critical state of hunger. Yeah. Granted. Not many of us seated in the venue that day could relate with hunger, but people are dying of hunger.

It’s the same with other types of sufferings that people go through. Sometimes we can’t relate, but that doesn’t mean they are non-existent. If there’s one thing I’m coming to learn as a Christian, it is to be concerned about suffering. Because many of the people who go through these things did not choose their circumstances. It just happened. And the bible does say we should mourn with those who mourn. Even our Lord Jesus was often moved with compassion when he saw suffering people (Matthew 14:14, Mark 1:41), and the bible mentions that He is not untouched by our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15).

But I’m not even writing a post about Christianity or hunger. This post is more about the security challenges in Nigeria and the sufferings that people are faced with. There’s this question in my heart “where are we going to?” Bringing it home, “where are the gross insecurity and suffering in Nigeria going to lead us to in the days to come?” Will we all eventually become inhumane and insensitive to the fact that lives are being lost frequently? I think it’s almost getting there.

You see, someone sent a video to me. It was made by a woman from the Northern part of Nigeria. In that video, a whole lot of the security challenges, suffering, death, destitute children and destitute homes was mentioned. And she ended on a profound note: “Will I be next?” Oh, the horror to think about it! The thought of bandits just raiding innocent communities and causing havoc; worse, shedding blood, as though lives don’t matter.

In fact, it’s not just the bandits now. Even some spouses are threats to the lives of their partner. Where really are we getting to?

We can go on painting pictures with our words on the horror, but what really is the way out? Can we really do anything about these challenges?

I just have a few words (I know I’ve written a lot already).

As a Christian, of course, I’d say ‘pray’. Not because that’s the normal thing to do, but because there is so much power in prayer, even I have not come to grasp the effectiveness of prayer in full. Nevertheless, it’s true that heartfelt, continued prayers do make tremendous power available.

There is another thing that prayer does. It opens our hearts to the guidance of the Spirit. We receive direction on the things to put in place as we pray. So, even though people may have their opinion on this, the place of prayer should not be underemphasized.

Also, more than just prayer, there is something the owner of a foundation mentioned with regard to being a good citizen. She said, “Be a whistle blower”. In other words, lend out your voice if something is strange. Yeah, it can be ‘scary’ lending one’s voice out to report suspicious occurrences, but think of the benefits it will avail us.

Then, there is another thing that I believe can be done. While we may necessarily not be able to curb suffering, there are things that we can do to alleviate it: Identify with people who are suffering. Speak on their behalf. Join NGOs that cater for the needs of the broken. Or if you have the means or feel led to, start an NGO (or something related) yourself.

These are just a few things out of many things that can be done. I know some people are already into these things. While I am quite limited in my knowledge on ways to deal with the security challenges and sufferings, I’d just like to end on this note: Be concerned about sufferings. It’s something I am learning, and I believe the world will be such a better place if we all would identify with the sufferings of our fellow man.

The bible does say, “Carry one another’s burdens and so fulfil the love of Christ” (Galatians 6:2) The beautiful thing about this also, is that we can start from where we are. Are there people ‘sufferring’ around us? What are we doing, in our capacity, to relieve them?

Think on these things…

P.S: I wrote this article for myself too. It has challenged me. I hope it challenges you too.

Have a blessed and fulfilling week!

DON’T DESPISE THAT PAIN!

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

You know that feeling that comes when you’re so overwhelmed by your challenges and you feel like you cannot handle it anymore. Or the feeling that sometimes makes you want to question life’s worth, your existence or sometimes makes you feel like giving up and not trying again. Those feelings that come to steal your joy and peace. I’ve had them at different points in life. They, many times, come from a place of pain – the pain of loss, the pain of failure, the pain of persecution, of rejection, of mockery, of unfulfilled desires, of waiting. You can name them!

Some weeks ago, I was in a conversation with my colleagues. While having a discussion on how painful challenges can be, one of them said that she believes that God uses the challenges that we face for the benefit of others. How true! She continued by saying that she is usually comforted by the words and testimonies of others who have gone through challenges than those who do not have personal stories to share of challenges they have faced. We agreed that comfort is more soothing when someone who has gone through a similar challenge shares his or her story.

Who can relate?

I’m a lover of hymns because the lyrics have mighty messages. The words have encouraged me many times. The interesting thing about some hymns with profound messages is that they were written from the sad and painful experiences of the composer. Is it ‘It is well with my soul’, ‘Just as I am’, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’? People were faced with distress when they wrote those hymns and more, but the Holy Spirit comforted them and inspired them to compose something that has and is still blessing generations.

What am I trying to say by writing this?

That pain, trouble or distress that you, me or anyone may be going through can be a blessing in disguise. Yes, it is not easy to go through challenges. But the Lord gives comfort and strength in them, He is with us while we go through them. He corrects, instructs and directs us on what to do. Ultimately, God uses that pain that we face to make us better, and in the long run, to bless others. When we share our experiences in whatever form, people are encouraged and blessed.

Instead of letting those negative feelings we may have in the place of pain control us, we can choose to trust God, receive His comfort, stay obedient to Him, keep doing what is right. Having a positive attitude towards pain makes the lessons that come with pain clearer to us and helps in our building process. So don’t despise that pain. See it as an avenue to learn, grow and to bless.

Epilogue:

Before I end this post, I’d like to point out something. You’ll notice my mention of God, the Holy Spirit and comfort here. You see, pain can be very severe. It can destroy a man or woman; however, when the Lord is with you, the severity is reduced because He brings comfort, strength, wisdom and guidance in pain (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4, Psalm 23:4). Also, the Lord always makes something beautiful out of our pain. He is a God that makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Without God, pain can bring destruction. In any case, the plan of the enemy is to destroy (John 10:10a). But that isn’t God’s will for any man. So, this is an invitation to as many who are in need of the Lord to come to Him.

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Maybe you’re going through a form of pain or maybe you’re not. We all need the Lord and He loves you and wills for you to come to Him. Believe in His son Jesus (John 3:16). Believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus for your sins and redemption (Romans 10:9-11). Repent and accept Him into your heart as Lord and Saviour. And begin to live for Him. Surround yourself with a community of God lovers, and enjoy His loving presence and comfort in every situation. God loves you.

Much love.

To New Beginnings!

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How I’ve missed making blog posts and oh, how time flies!

It’s the early hours of Saturday morning – just a little bit past midnight and I’m sitting on my bed with a number of things to work on. In actual fact, I’m supposed to be sleeping so that I’d have an early start for all the things that should be done this weekend. But I’m awake and so, I’ve decided to make a blog post, the first one in many months. Hallelujah!

The title of this blog post is ‘To New Beginnings!’ because I desire a new beginning of great things from this space, great things that even I cannot fathom, as long as I decide to obey all the inner nudging to do as His Spirit bids.

You see, I listened to a particular spoken word presentation from Gloria Umanah, a gifted spoken word artist with great Christian content. In this presentation, Gloria talked about a time when a woman came to her after one of her ministrations. This woman had gone through a lot in life and listening to Gloria brought so much hope to her. According to the woman, Gloria’s words were like an anchor for her and Gloria just gave her the encouragement she needed by speaking. But in the real sense, it was not exactly Gloria or even about Gloria. She was just a vessel in God’s hands.

What actually happened was that the Holy Spirit used Gloria to be a blessing to that woman, and to many other people who listened to her that day. She was able to point that woman to Jesus and i believe that the woman who had been badly broken in life gave her life to Christ and experienced the redemption and hope that Christ through His death and resurrection brought to humanity.

Isn’t that the story of many of us? At least I know that is mine. I’ve lost count of the number of people that God, through His Spirit, has used to be a blessing to my life – through ministrations, books, songs, words, movies, spoken words, their character etc.

Each day, it becomes clearer to me how we are all called to be a blessing to one another. And really, we become true and worthy blessings to others when we are connected to our source, our creator, the LORD Almighty. In Him, life and the whole process of living makes perfect sense.

Also, worthy of note is that in life, we are surrounded by blessings because people responded to the needs around them and to the burdens and desires in their hearts to improve the way things are or make meaningful contributions. I believe that this desire did not originate just from them. God uses men to accomplish His purposes. It should be noted too that the blessings that God enables us to be and bring to the world should be to the glory of His name.

So, what is the message of this post?

It is time to start responding to those things that God has laid in our hearts. It may be in a small corner, like making blog posts and encouraging others through your words, offering some form of service in your community and local church, providing welfare for someone that God has placed in your heart, interceding, bringing forth some form of invention etc. Whatever it is, will it bless others, improve things and ultimately bring glory to God? These are pointers for a go ahead. Ultimately, let God’s Spirit lead you and please respond. It’s a counsel to myself too.

As I celebrate my new beginning of great things by doing as He leads and being used as a blessing to the world around me, I also celebrate yours. We are all destined for great things, for good works, to be a blessing. We are God’s workmanship and we excel and bring Him glory by being a light to the world, doing the good works He has ordained us to do and shining the way He wants us to.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

Here’s to new beginnings of great things! Cheers!

Passion and Skill – lessons from a barber’s shop

Hello. It has been a while since I’ve been here. This evening, I went through one of the early posts I made as a blogger and found the article worthy of note. That’s why I decided to Reblog the post. Hope you find it helpful. Much love.

'Tomi's blog

In my short stay on earth I’ve discovered that lessons – little or big; few or many – can come from anywhere, anything or anybody. It’s therefore important not to trivialize any place or any thing. This discovery was reinforced recently.

One evening last week, I followed my friend to a barbing saloon to get his haircut. As the barber went about his work, I could not help but be amused by his pleasure and dexterity while shaving my friend’s hair. He was so detailed and accurate. I just sat there staring and admiring his skill. It was like he should go on and on. By the time he was through with his work, my friend was looking all fresh and fine.

My short stay at that barber’s shop taught me two lessons. One is the importance of being skilled in one’s work. The other is being passionate about one’s…

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PRAISE INHABITER

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“The Lord inhabits the praises of His people…” Psalm 22:3 (A simple statement yet carries much truth and power).

Church service today was wonderful! Our pastor talked extensively on praise, and we even had a session of praise which was very refreshing. It was in the middle of all that was done that I remembered an article I wrote a while back on an experience I had with praise. With a few additions to the article, I have decided to share it today. Hope it blesses you.

It was a Sunday morning and I needed to go for church service. ‘Do not forsake the assembly of the saints, the bible says (because there is strength, encouragement, edification and many good things from above when the saints gather). At this time in my life though, I was going through a number of things.

I cannot really say if I was gloomy or excited about going for the service (truth be told, I was not really eager to go) but I knew that I had to go. Whenever there is an opportunity to fellowship with the brethren, I’m usually drawn there (Actually, it is very necessary to fellowship with like-minded believers. There is always edification in such gatherings). So, I went for church service.

In the service, I was very distracted, especially by my worries and struggles. I sat down and started thinking of why it was even important for me to come to church service, how my life was and the different things I was going through. I could barely even concentrate on what the pastor was saying. It was like there was a contention for my joy.

Praise session.

The time to lift up holy hands and sing unto the Lord came and as much as I was distracted and sad, I decided to praise God. Who else would I lift up holy hands to but my Father? So I sang to Him, reflected on His love, His wisdom, His power and I was transfigured. I could feel His love, see His wisdom and my heart was filled with gratitude and I kept saying the words, “thank you, Lord”. There and then, I experienced (at least in part) what it meant for the Lord to inhabit the praises of the people. It was like God came to dwell in our midst.

I felt strengthened, reinvigorated and joyful. It was not just me who felt this way though. I could virtually see it all over the congregation. Needless to say, the rest of the service was amazing and I was more enlightened on my faith. It was like the heavens opened after the praise session.

It’s funny but looking back, I can’t even remember the things that I was going through that seemed so insurmountable and wanted to steal my joy. The joy and strength that come with the presence of the LORD surely helped to reduce those things to a state of nothingness.

Really, there is power in praises! The Lord does inhabit (dwell in) the praise of His people.

To my readers, if you ever feel weighed down or empty, praise God deliberately. Meditate on His kindness and love. Sooner or later, you’ll feel His presence because the Lord is a praise inhabiter; He inhabits the praises of His people. Also, as you praise Him, directions on what to do and help to rise above every situation will surely come. The bible has various examples of people who received help while praising God: King Jehoshaphat, King David, Paul and Silas, to name a few.

Praise the LORD always, in every situation (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

Much love!

I AM WITH YOU

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I knelt down to pray one morning and it was as though I couldn’t ‘connect’ with God. I felt alone. This was also a time in my life when I had to deal with a number of things. These things were making me feel overwhelmed.

Usually, when I feel overwhelmed ’cause of the things going on in my life, I find solace and comfort in God’s love, just knowing that He is with me, He loves me and is working things out for my good. Also, in such situations, prayer is always a great time of fellowship where I can draw strength from God’s Spirit. But this particular day, I felt alone.

I was almost giving up on the fellowship time when the words in Hebrews 13:5 came into my heart, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.

It was as though a great burst of light penetrated an extremely dark room. It was like a firing up of my entire being. I was energized and I was able to commune with the Father from the consciousness that He is always with me; He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Once again, I learnt that day that feelings should not always be relied on in life. First of all, they are so fleeting, and if you’re an introvert, like me, you’ll tend to have loads of different types of feelings each passing day! What should always be relied on is truth and God’s word is truth.

What happened to me that morning served to remind me that my responses and actions should be based on what God’s word says.

I was ready to act based on my feelings: I ‘felt’ alone and so there was no need to commune with the Father. But the Spirit of God reminded me of what is in scripture concerning all believers, who follow God in Spirit and in truth: “I will never leave nor forsake you.”

There are actually times when we ‘feel’ like God isn’t with us. This kind of feeling is common when we may be going through a test or a trying time.

A particular minister of the gospel gave an illustration to explain God’s presence during a test.

He said that it is the responsibility of teachers to tutor their students on a course. However, when the time comes to write an exam, the teacher can be present in the examination hall but will not utter a word to the students.

This nevertheless does not imply that the teacher is not there or that the teacher does not love them. It does imply though that the teacher believes he or she has taught them all through the session and thus, they should be well equipped to answer the questions. If they pass the examination, then they’ll get promoted to the next level. If not, they’d have to keep writing the exams until they pass.

The point of the illustration is that God is with His children during tests even when we think that He is silent. He is right where we are. He only wants us to apply the principles that He has earlier taught us in overcoming tests, so that we can develop character and move to the next level in our knowledge of Him. (Note: the Holy Spirit will always bring the word of God for each season we are in. We should be sensitive to His voice).

In other words, do not let what you’re going through make you believe that God has left or forsaken you. He loves His children with an everlasting love. Use the word of God as a compass every step of the way. There is strength in God’s word!

Note though that sin can make a man distant from God. If there is a sin you need to confess, do it with a repentant heart and with all humility. God is always willing to forgive if we confess our sins. (I thought it well to include this).

The point of this post to believers though is that God is always with us. He has promised to not leave or forsake us. Don’t be moved by your feelings, let your movement be by the word of God. Selah.

FOR GOOD

“For we know that in all things, God works together for the good of they that love God and are the called according to His purpose.”

  • Romans 8:28

I have many parts of the Scripture as my favorite and Romans 8:28 is definitely one of them. Actually, the whole scripture just has a way of speaking to you one way or the other. If it’s not instructing, it is giving directions, or it is giving comfort, or providing strength, or edifying, or uplifting, or correcting, or showing life lessons. The scripture is just wonderful, it is full of truth. It is complete.

I just thought I should write that before going further in this post.

Since as far back as I can remember, I have been fearful and worrisome. I recall that I could never sleep in a room on my own some years ago, and it took a while for me to have my bath in the bathroom without my Mom or sister being there with me.

I remember worrying about exams, and worrying about entering into different life phases etc. Worrying was worse when I made mistakes. I would just dislike myself and worry that I could not be ‘anyone so significant’. These thoughts still try to creep in at times but thank God for His word and His Spirit.

I once read in a book on Temperaments that such behavior comes from the Temperament of an individual. I don’t know whether or not to fully agree. I know, though, that some kinds of people are prone to some kinds of behavior while others are not.

I know too that experiences play a big factor in making people how they are. For instance, a fearful or worrisome individual may have had some experiences that would have induced fear or worry in him/her. This is not a way of disputing the Temperament theory. I know that there are different kinds of Temperaments and individuals in the world have one or a blend of temperaments. I do too.

I have nevertheless questioned why some people should behave in certain ways naturally. I believe that it’s for beauty in diversity to be achieved.

Each temperament has a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, so that no one would see one’s self as self-sufficient. Strengths are great, but weaknesses can be burdensome and everyone has them. In my own case, I know that I can be prone to worry and fear.

However, if there is one lesson that I’m coming to learn more and more each day is that I don’t need to worry because in all things, God works together for the good of they that love Him and they that are the called according to His purpose. So, instead of remaining worrisome over a past mistake and not wanting to make another one, or being worrisome about the next phase of my life or what the future may hold, it helps to just trust God and do my best in my endeavors as I go through life.

This year so far has just shown me in different ways that God truly makes all things work together for the good of they that love Him and are the called according to His purpose.

Let us stay on this verse – Romans 8:28 – a little. Have you ever stopped to question why all things work together for the good of those who love God and are the called according to His purpose? I believe that there is a reason.

Those who truly love God do His will. They are the ones who follow the commands and directions of the Father. They are the ones that want to please Him always. The will of God is seen in His words, in His instructions (general and specific), in His commandments, in the inner promptings the Spirit impresses in us, in God’s voice. Jesus, more than once, said ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments’. Those that love God do His will – they keep His commandments above all else, and they are the ones on the pathway of blessings.

Remember Psalm 1? Blessed is the man whose delight is in the laws of the LORD. When you delight in something, you obviously would want to follow it. Remember Joshua 1:8, ‘God’s law should not depart from you and as you think on them and do them, then your ways will be prosperous and you will have good success’.

Loving God is a sure way of things working out for one’s good. There are blessings that come with doing God’s will. In fact, God’s will in its entirety is for the benefit of humanity and we will do well to follow His will.

There is so much beauty just submitting to the Lord and following His lead. That’s where the blessings lie, that’s where goodness lies. Instead of being constantly worried or fearful, or for some it may even be pride, it pays better to just love God and fulfil His purposes and watch how things work out for your good. It’s a lesson I’m learning.

Today, I just want to encourage anyone who reads this piece to just love God, and be committed to His will and purpose, then watch out how things work out for your good in more ways than you can even imagine.

P.S: I wrote this piece some weeks ago for my birthday, but I had mixed feelings about publishing it. After reading through again I decided to share today. Hope it encourages you.

A LIFE LIVED FOR OTHERS

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Before I go into details on what I want to share, I want to acknowledge that I know I haven’t made a post in a while. While I can think of many reasons to give, especially the fact that an event happened in my life that changed my normal routine, the truth still remains that I didn’t make any post.

I acknowledge this and will do what I can to make posts from time to time. Thank you for bearing with me. This being said, there’s something I’d like to share with you. I hope you read to the end.

Yesterday was a day of lessons for me. I wouldn’t say any particular one was of more significance than the others. All of them were and still are important and they each have their significance in my life. My birthday anniversary was about two weeks ago and every single day seems to remind me that I’m no longer a child (of course I’m not) and at this stage in my life, I need to be careful about the decisions I make. This is one reason why lessons are of value to me. Daily too, I’m learning more and more that decisions made in light of God’s word are the ones that stand the test of time and ultimately guarantee a fruitful life.

Though I learned different lessons yesterday, there is a specific one I want to share with anyone who reads this post and I sincerely hope it speaks to you like it did to me. It most likely may not be novel to you, but if there’s something I’ve learned about humans (at least from myself), it is that we need constant re-enforcement of the things we know to be good and true. This way these things will become a part of us.

So, back to the lesson from yesterday. Church service was about to end and our pastor came on the pulpit and held the mic. I was taken aback a bit because yesterday was youth Sunday and I wondered why the pastor should be the one to give the announcement. But then he held the mic and started to sing a Happy Birthday song for a faithful worker of the children church. The woman clocked 60 on Saturday and they decided to throw a surprise for her in Church.

People came from different places, from their different denominations: children, teenagers, adults and many more to celebrate her and give thanks to God on her behalf. I considered it a great honour!

I’ve not known this woman for long because I joined the Church denomination that I attend not too long ago. However, from all that I heard about her yesterday and what I saw, I was truly moved. Everyone wanted to celebrate with her and they had nice things to stay about her.

From what I heard, she has been a worker in the Children Church and even other departments in Church for many years and has faithfully helped groom the lives of many children. I also heard that she takes care of homeless/destitute children. I was inspired! She is a woman that looks so simple yet of great impact.

She didn’t even know that they were going to surprise her that way and she actually got teary amidst the celebrations. Many came to rejoice with her and to give thanks to God for the life of a woman who offered herself for the service of God and the betterment of others. It was a beautiful sight!

One scripture that was impressed in my heart after witnessing all that happened was 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. It’s a scripture that I read last week and it was brought to my mind yesterday. It talks about sowing and reaping. If you sow sparingly, that’s how you’ll reap. If you sow bountifully, that’s how you’ll reap. It then goes on to say that God is able to give us much grace to be blessings to others – to offer our generosity. By doing this, a lot of people will give thanks to God on our behalf (Note that sowing and generosity are not restricted to our resources but mean much more – our time, our talents, our strength and everything that encompasses showing love and kindness).

Similarly, in Matthew 5:15-16, Jesus said something about letting our light shine before mean so that they will see our ‘good’ works and glorify God.

Being a blessing to others and doing good works do not always come easy. We need to be willing to let go of our ‘conveniences’ and live sacrificial lives, helping those around us and basically sharing the love of Christ even when it hurts.

I find consolation in the fact that the bible says “God is able to make all grace abound towards us, so that having sufficiency in all things, we may abound to every good work”. God’s grace is available to help us, if we are ready to receive it. Really, it pays to be a blessing to others, and by being a blessing, it makes people give glory to God by reason of our actions. Isn’t this wonderful?

I encourage every reader of this post to be a blessing to others with whatever God has placed in you to use to lift others up. It could even be being a blogger and enlightening others. Do not be weary in being a blessing, great is your reward.

This is one of the lessons I learned and thought to share. Hope a message was passed to you. I love you! Have a wonderful week!

A SAD REALITY

I sat down in a red bus on my way back home from a place I had visited for the first time. It was my second time using the red bus. My first time in that type of bus was in the morning, on my way to the place I visited. That ride was good, to an extent, and the fare was inexpensive; so, I decided to use the same type of bus when returning home. Wrong decision!

The bus was crowded! There was hardly any breathing space (This is a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is too many people were in that bus). Initially, the passengers were only few and I boarded the bus with the hope of the ride being like the one I took in the morning, but this was not so. More and more passengers were allowed in until the bus became packed.

Let me try to give a description of how the red bus is. It’s a long bus. There are two/three seats at either side of the bus and there is a wide space between the sides, where passengers can walk to their seats.

The bus conductor (as called in Nigeria: someone who takes in passengers and collects their fares from them) together with the driver decided that they were going to maximize profit (as is their usual practice).

The passengers had to seat closely to each other. As bad as that was, I didn’t know worse was coming. After all the seats were filled up, the bus conductor started to take passengers who would stand all through the journey.

Maybe I wouldn’t have had much problem with a few of those kind of passengers, but this man didn’t take a few. He took as many passengers as he could until the whole bus – seats and wide space between the seats – was full of people. Even with that, he wanted to take more. Haba!

While under normal circumstances this may not bother me much, it made me irritated that day. We are currently facing a pandemic that requires as much social distancing as possible to protect us from a ravaging virus that is claiming lives. Why would you endanger people including yourself to maximize profits?

The people that were standing also had to pay fares; although, they may not have had to pay as much as those who sat. Despite the cheap fares, I still believe it was wrong for allowance to be given for many passengers to stand so closely to one another, especially in this season where COVID19 is an issue.

Well, as I sat down angry at the fact that I was in a bus full of people and had to be careful, another thought crossed my mind.

I tried to put myself in the other passengers’ (those who were standing) shoes. What if they couldn’t afford a seating fare and that’s why they chose to board a bus whose fare they could pay, even though they would be uncomfortable all through the ride?

As sad as it may sound, some people live under extremely poor circumstances and cannot afford even basic things like a good seat in a bus.

What if the conductor and driver of that bus allowing people to stand in the bus was actually for the benefit of some people?

It actually makes sense to justify the driver and conductor’s actions, but really what they did was still wrong. If not for anything, the fact that there is a deadly contagious virus should have prevented them from such act.

Personally, I believe that they were more after the profit that they would make than in helping the less privileged. Safety and health should always come first. Imagine if anyone in the bus contracted the virus. How much money would be used for treatment? Far more than the amount they used for their fare, of course.

One sad reality that I’ve noticed though is that people (service providers) are usually profit driven, and consumers want to try to manage their money/cut cost, sometimes to the detriment of their safety.

What makes a service provider use substandard products, products that are of less quality and relatively cheap to provide services? The desire to maximize profit.

What would make a consumer go for a product that is of low quality and relatively cheap even though it may be hazardous to them? Managing money/the desire to cut cost.

An example of this is someone constantly including potassium bromate (a carcinogenic substance) in the baking of some bread because of the output, neglecting the harmful effects the ingredients can pose. Irrespective of this awareness, consumers still purchase this bread because it is cheap and big even though one of its ingredients is dangerous to their health. This is not right!

As humans, we must learn to look beyond instant gratification (immediate satisfaction/short term effect), and consider the long term effects of our actions. Sadly, the reality is that more people are concerned with instant gratification.

To be quite honest, sometimes I’m not left out of this way of thinking (thinking of the immediate pleasure and not considering long term effects of my actions). Nevertheless, I have to keep cautioning myself to do the right thing and weigh my actions.

If we all collectively would decide to take into consideration long term effects of our actions, doing the right thing, even though it may not be convenient, I believe the world will be a better place.

As for me, I’ll do my best, and try to make people see the need to do what they should in order to bring an end to this sad reality hinged on selfishness and instant gratification that we are faced with.

Thank you for reading through. I hope it inspired you.

Stay blessed and stay safe!

CONFORMITY OR TRUTH & COURAGE: Lessons from a childhood story

The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.

  • Rollo May

In recent times, I’ve come to realize that many of the story books I read as a child, animations I watched, and songs I listened to while growing up have essential life lessons that I didn’t perceive at that time.

Then, as a child, I read, watched and listened to these things because I enjoyed them, but subconsciously some values were being passed through them.

(Note: it’s important how children are brought up. The things they see, hear and get exposed to serve as a foundation for the building of their life. In this time and age it is very important to have this in mind. Don’t think that they don’t understand much. Yeah, they may not understand much, but what they see and hear stay with them subconsciously or consciously.)

So back to what I was writing before the note. Some days ago, I remembered a story I had read as a child. It’s titled “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. I see the lesson from the story fit for sharing here.

In this story, there was an emperor who was a lover of clothes. He even placed more value on clothes and dressing than in his duties as an emperor.

One day two men decided to approach him and they went in the guise of being cloth weavers. They told him about how they were competent designers and could sew beautiful clothes. They spoke so eloquently and the emperor was impressed. He decided to give them a contract.

These “weavers” asked for the best and expensive materials to aid their work and the emperor gladly gave it to them. Before they started however, they told the emperor that the clothes they were making would only be visible to those who were fit, upright and suitable for their work.

Simpletons, foolish/unwise people wouldn’t be able to see the clothes. This made the emperor even more pleased. According to him, he would discover those who were unwise and unfit in his community.

The whole community soon got to know about the special robes being made for the emperor. There was a planned procession where the emperor would march round the community in his new “clothes”. Everyone looked forward to seeing the clothes and to discovering which of their neighbours was foolish or unwise due to the inability to see the clothes.

As the weavers went about their work, the emperor decided to send his wisest adviser to inspect the clothes and return with feedback. The emperor didn’t want to see the clothes until they were completed.

When the adviser got to where the weavers were, he discovered to his utmost surprise that he couldn’t see anything. “Am I unwise?” He asked himself. Meanwhile, the weavers were making comments on the clothes’ beauty and colours, but they were lying because in reality they were not weaving anything.

The adviser didn’t want to look foolish so he too ‘played’ along. “Oh yes! The robes are very beautiful”, he said and went back with good reports about the robes to the emperor.

Other advisers and people from the emperor were sent. None could see anything, but none told the other about the inability to see the clothes. They all pretended that the robes were beautiful because they did not want to seem foolish.

Soon the new “clothes” were “completed”. It was time for the emperor to see his clothes, wear them and march round the community with everyone being present to see him.

The weavers came with the “clothes” (even though they were actually holding nothing). The advisers of the emperor were with him and they were all giving good comments about the beautiful robe. However, the emperor could see nothing.

“What!” He thought to himself. “Every other person can see the robes but I can see nothing. Am I the unwise one in my community? I am the emperor and must not be perceived as such”.

Because the emperor thought every other person could see the clothes and didn’t want to be the “unwise” one, he also said that the robes were beautiful and allowed his servants put them on him, even though nothing was actually being put on him.

The weavers requested that large sums of money be paid them for all their hardwork and labour. The emperor did this and the weavers quickly escaped secretly.

It was time for the emperor to make his procession (procession in his underwear!). Nobody said that the emperor was in his underwear only, they all said he had beautiful robes on. Even the emperor agreed that his robes were beautiful.

Everyone was gathered round to watch the procession and behold the well crafted clothes. As the emperor marched, the community members all soon discovered that they could see no robes except the emperor’s underwear. But none told the other because no one wanted to be the unwise one.

As the procession went one, it was a little boy from the crowd that shouted “the emperor has no clothes on”. An adult tried to make the child silent but then everyone soon agreed that the emperor had no clothes on.

The emperor was ashamed! He had been deceived. He had to shamefully complete the procession in his underwear.

The end!

What’s the lesson of the story?

I asked a friend this question and paraphrasing what he said and adding mine, “many times we are too concerned with how we look in the eyes of men. We don’t want to look unwise, so we agree with things that are not true and right, so that we can fit in“.

Many people have been lured to doing bad things so that they wouldn’t look foolish or so that they can follow the ‘crowd’. This is a wrong way of living.

Then, in line with that lesson, another lesson is don’t be afraid to speak the truth, even if you may stand alone. No one wanted to say what was true in the community because they feared that they would be the only one saying it.

What do you know to be true and right? Don’t be afraid to say it or do it.(This is a lesson for me too).

I also need to include that I know God’s word and the principles in His word to be true. In fact, it’s the basis for my truth.

There are other lessons in this story too. Which can you point out?

Thank you for reading through.

Stay blessed and stay safe.

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