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Sunday, October 17, 2010

FAITH - A GARDENER'S PERSPECTIVE

When we plant seeds in the ground, we don't keep digging to find out if they have germinated. We wait expectantly for proof of germination - new shoots.

Similarly, there's a propagation method called air layering, where we make a cut into the branch of a plant, cover it with soil and seal it up with a PVC covering. We then wait for roots to appear.

While waiting, we get on with other things. We don't stop all activity because we're waiting. We continue with our normal duties.

Some seeds take days to germinate; others months. As for air layering, we cannot expect new roots before one month.

Therefore, when we ask anything of our Father in heaven, we should not make our period of waiting an ordeal. We know that He will answer, so we should get busy with other things, while thanking Him for answering our prayer.

Just like the gardener does not dig up the seed to check if it is germinating; nor does he remove the PVC covering to check for new roots, so should we stop asking God for the same thing over and over again.

I came accross a sermon by someone which said "Hannah sought God for a child and was reassured by Eli that her prayers had been answered. In faith, she accepted Eli's word, and went home to wait for the miracle. When she returned to the temple with the evidence of the miracle walking beside her, she cannot help but glorify God by pointing out His Power, Authority and His Nature. "He is a God who raises the poor from the dust, and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, even the princes of his own people! He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD". (Psalm 113:7-9)

Several times this year, God has had to remind me of this because sometimes I approach Him with a lot of doubt and repetitive requests. he reminds me that I am digging up the soil to check, and I quickly repent. My most vulnerable moments are when I'm about to wake up, in that state between sleep and wakefulness. The first thing on my mind when I wake up therefore is to ask again, and He gently reminds me. I thank God for His mercy, and pray that I will be able to drive the thought awas as soon as they start creeping in.

YES, I'LL SING THE WONDROUS STORY

This year, I rediscovered my love for reading and decided to re-read the classics I had read in my youth. I chose Tolstoy's Anna Karenina which I knew that I had enjoyed reading, but really couldn't remember much about it.

I learnt that reading some book as a youth when your whole life is before you and you haven't made too many mistakes is different from reading it as an adult. In my first life, I judged Anna really harshly; however, on reading the book again, I found that I could understand her position.

The shock was that I would never have classed the book as a religious book. However, Anna Karenina ends thus:

'This new feeling has not changed me, has not made me happy and enlightened all of a sudden, as I had dreamed, just like the feeling for my child. There was no surprise in this either. Faith—or not faith—I don't know what it is—but this feeling has come just as imperceptibly through suffering, and has taken firm root in my soul.


"I shall go on in the same way, losing my temper with Ivan the coachman, falling into angry discussions, expressing my opinions tactlessly; there will be still the same wall between the holy of holies of my soul and other people, even my wife; I shall still go on scolding her for my own terror, and being remorseful for it; I shall still be as unable to understand with my reason why I pray, and I shall still go on praying; but my life now, my whole life apart from anything that can happen to me, every minute of it is no more meaningless, as it was before, but it has the positive meaning of goodness, which I have the power to put into it."
 
One of the main characters has just discovered that there is a God afterall, and this is what he has to say about his realisation.
 
Isn't this what happens to some of us when we get converted. There really is no Damascus moment, but a surrender and an acceptance, and by faith we know that we've been saved.
 
In conclusion, in the English Methodist Hymn Book, verse four of Hymn No 380 sums it up:
" Days of darrkness still come o'er me,
Sorrow's path I often tread,
But His presence still is with me;
By His guiding hand I'm led.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous story
Of the Christ who died for me,
Sing it with the saints in glory,
Gathered by the crystal sea'.
 
Remain blessed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ASK, BELIEVE, RECEIVE

Earlier this year, I read a book called 'The Secret'. It isn't a Christian book; but it used christian principles to explain some theories.
The book talks about the creative process and explains that this theory was taken from the New Testament in the Bible. The creative process is an easy guideline to create what you want in three simple steps:

Step 1: ASK
'The Secret' states that you must be clear about what you want. If you're not clear, then you will not get want you want.You don't have to ask over and over again. After all, you don't order something from a catalogue over and over again. You order once, so ask once.

STEP 2: BELIEVE
The book says that once you have asked, you must believe that you have received. You must know that what you want is yours the moment you ask. You must have complete and utter faith.

"See the things that you want as already yours. Know that they will come to you at need. Don't fret and worry about them. Don't think about your lack of them. Think of them as yours, as belonging to you, as already in your possession." (Robert Collier 1885-1950)

How your prayers will be answered is not your concern or job. When you wonder about the how, you're just exhibiting a lack of faith.

STEP 3: RECEIVE
Feel and act as though you have received it. Begin to feel wonderful about it. Feel the way it will feel once it arrives.

I have listened to a wide range of sermons preached on this topic, especially sermons on faith. Immediately after listening to such sermons, I apply these principles to everything, but after a while I forget, and I become preoccupied with other things.

However, when I read this book which is clearly not a christian book, it struck me that more and more non christians are tapping into christian principles and are using them to prosper and forge ahead in life.

Meanwhile, a lot of us christians have become so fearful and so devil focussed that we have missed the plot. We are not using the guidelines given to us in the Bible to live our lives.

I read this book over and over again, and decided that I would apply these principles all the time - in and out of season. As a result, I have worked harder this year than I have worked in a long time. I know that I won't get what I want by lying on my bed all day dreaming about all my answered prayers; but it doesn't feel like work because I am acting to receive.

"And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and (really) believing , you will receive." (Mathew 21:22 Amp)

"For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident)that it is granted to you, and you will (get it)". (Mark 11:24 Amp.)

Remember that Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. (Gen 15:6)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

LORD WHY HIM, AND NOT ME?

For the past few weeks, entertainment news columns have been awash with the news about the death of a young Nigerian artiste called Dagrin.
I thought that I had never heard of this particular artiste until I read that he had written the song kondo. Surprisingly, I knew the song because my son had drawn my attention to it as a song that he had heard and liked while he was at NYSC camp. I remember us laughing about the fact that the song was in Yoruba, and that his Yoruba was bound to improve if he listened to more Yoruba songs.
Dagrin (Dapo Olaitan Olanipekun) died at the age of 27 in a fatal motor accident. He ran into a stationary trailer in front of Mushin police station. He was rushed to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and barely twenty-four hours after he was admitted to LUTH, its resident doctors went on strike to protest government neglect.
I cried. I cried because this young man could have become something - President, Governor, Pastor. He was well on his way to becoming something.
Some people said that he probably had been drinking; but I had to ask God, 'there's nothing that this young man did, that most youths don't do, so Lord, why him and not anybody else; why him and not me?'
I know that it isn't because You love me more than You love your saints, or is it because You love them too much and want them with You? Or is it that they've run their own race and have done what You sent them to do?
What then, is my purpose on this earth. Am I doing what You brought me to this earth for?
This time last year, I wouldn't have been able to answer that question positively; but now I know that I can. After years of running helter skelter, going for various programmes, night vigils, joining prayer groups and helping other people run their own race, I finally knew what my purpose was. It was so simple, that I almost missed it. In fact, for two whole years, I dodged it because I refused to accept that was what God wanted of me. But He is so merciful, He waited for me and kept guiding me until I realised it.
Thank You Lord for waiting for me. Thank You for Your patience. Thank You for not raising others to take my place, and thank You for raising up helpers to assist me in doing this work.
I'm sure that by now, you're all curious about what my purpose is. That, my people, is a story for another day.
Until then, I pray that God will help each and everyone of you find their purpose. We will all fulfil destiny in Jesus Mighty and Glorious Name, Amen.

Psalm 103: 8 -11
"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him".

Thursday, March 18, 2010

HE WHO SINGS WELL, PRAYS TWICE

I'm so sorry for the long absence. I can't believe that this is my first blog this year, and we're already in March. I have a lot of catching up to do.

St. Augustine said "Qui bene cantat bis orat". In English this means, he who sings well, prays twice.

There are so many times, I've tried to pray, but I find that my mind's too busy or I keep getting distracted, or sometimes, I find myself dozing off.

However, when I'm singing, it's a different thing altogether. I can sing and sing and sing, and then prayer comes naturally. Sometimes, I'm in the mood for choruses, and other times, it's me and my hymn book.

I sing songs like O God our help in Ages past, and while singing, I remember to that Him for where I am today - that I was born, went to school, received an education, got married, have children, have a career, and the list is endless.

When I sing "Great is thy faithfulness", I realise that He truly has been faithful. There are so many things that I didn't consult Him about, because I was ignorant; but He made them work for my good.

When I sing "Through all the changing scenes of life", I remember all that my times are in His hands.

My people, let's sing and sing  and sing. Most importantly, let's teach our children how to sing. Do you remember when we would have morning assembly with our Songs of Praise hymn books? Most schools don't do that anymore. Most of the hymns I know today, I learnt in school. I even know some of them off head. It is indeed a worthy heritage.

In closing, I quote from Ephesians 5:19 - "Speak out to one another in Paslms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices (and instruments) and making melody with all your heart to the Lord". Amen.