THE JOURNEY FROM THERE TO HERE


Becoming a teen, I was the black sheep of my family. Everything I did was customarily wrong even when I try to please everyone. As a young teen, I suddenly developed kleptomaniac tendencies, I would always pick small money from my father’s pocket when he enters the bathroom and sometimes I would always look out for hideouts where they hid money from us.

Most times, it was that hidden money I was after as I always rationalized my actions with “well, they must have forgotten that the money is here”. The more they devise new means to hide it, the more they train my mind to know exactly where they would be hiding it. It was an impulsive behaviour that was beyond my control. The fact that my father usually labels me as a wicked boy made things worse for my emotions because it wasn’t intentional.

Before such propensities evolved, I have had a mysterious experience as a kid in my primary school when a hand tapped me one early morning and said audibly “go and preach the gospel”, I believe it was God. As a kid, I started going for early morning street preaching but things changed when I got admitted into a seminary school. While in Junior Seminary, all my belongings were stolen except the shirt I was wearing on my body. The day I removed it to wash it, it was also stolen! The senior prefects who also majored as official bullies didn’t give my kind any chance, they would beat me every morning because I had no shirt. Stealing became a survival skill for most of us, I found it hard stealing other people’s stuff not because I didn’t need them but because I was scared, very scared of getting caught. After a year and some months, I left the school.

It was the moment I came out of the junior seminary that I saw these thievish propensities sprouting! I realized later that it had become a part of my natural idiosyncrasies as I hiked through juvenile. Those times, these things were what I never wanted to do but I found myself doing them! Sometimes, after stealing change, I would go to a nook and cry. It was ravaging me, particularly with the way I was always dealt with and spoken to as a result of that.

I was feeling a void in me, my father found me extremely disgusting. Whether I try to please him or not, he found me very horrible and every subtlest misstep would bring his resentment on me. I wanted to do what was right but inside of me, I was trudging in confusion, striving to come to terms with who I was, with my identity and with the supposed God’s judgement. Anytime I was privileged to attend church programmes, I would answer altar-calls because we were always told that the moment we are prayed for, the desire to do what is wrong would leave! Well, it never left me! Oftentimes, when I steal money, I wasn’t regarding it as stealing, I was always considering that I would soon make money and repay all the money I had taken.

At a point, it was declared openly in my family that God was angry and has instructed that they stop praying for me since he has marked that I will depart at the age of sixteen.

My parents had directed my siblings before then to stop associating with me, they didn’t want me to influence them wrongly. Mum would seldom wake me in the midnight to talk to me, she wasn’t like my Dad. Her concerns were usually shown more softly even when it becomes unbearable. Sometimes, I watch my mum’s frustration and cry, I wished she knew that I wasn’t doing those things intentionally, that I was also battling within myself to do what was right.

I wasn’t doing something so different from what other young ones were doing but it was serious in my family. What is defined as stealing in my family, is what some other families may define as merely crossing boundaries. In my family, taking food from the pot without authorization was as severe as stealing money and stealing money was treated as a near-murder case. With my recent interaction with people, I have realized that what is considered wrong in some families is typical in other families. I also realized in some studies I have done as regards to teenagers that some behavioural traits are very common and would likely be outgrown if handled with care.

My mother didn’t stop always praying for me though, she felt she was losing me away to the devil. It was at this period that my siblings were told not to have anything to do with me, I would stay in the room alone all to myself. When it was declared openly that God was angry with me and that I will die at the age of sixteen, I felt even more awful! My father had rejected me, my siblings have been asked to reject me and now God, according to them, had rejected me… I was slowly moving into depression. I remember my several attempts to kill myself, my self-esteem was deeply hurt that I felt terrible in the presence of people.

There was no day my father did not call me names, there was no day he wouldn’t shout at me, fear became a part of me and my heart would skip at every occasion. This was also how I developed conflict phobia, allodoxaphobia and several other related phobias. I was also punished for the offence of others in the family. Anytime something wrong comes about in the family, with little or no inquiry, I was invariably accused and punished. My words became unbelievable too. Whether I was telling the truth or lying, they were all treated as lies. Sometimes, to win the trust of my mother, I would steal money from her bag and return it telling her I picked it from her room.

One of the nights after dad had finished flogging me for something I didn’t do wrong, I looked at the wounds and determined I was going to die. I tried mixing the methylated powder with water believing it would kill me if I drink it. Dad caught me, he asked me what I was going to do with it and I told him I wanted to apply them in the wounds he gave me. He flared up and accused me of belonging to a cult where they taught me to use powder on my body after being flogged. Guess what? He started beating me again.

All through the night, I was crying. I could not sleep, it had become so intolerable and I remember he told me “you are not my son! I disown you today!” I felt even more offended, not because he vocally disowned me but because I stopped deeming him as my father that moment and I didn’t see any reason someone who isn’t my father would want to discipline me. I even began to feel very offended whenever he sends me on errands or beat me for my poor result in school.

At some of these occurrences, my mother usually seemed helpless. Whenever dad wanted to beat me, he would send her out of the room, lock up the door and deal with me till his anger is satisfied. Like many African parents, my father was a very strict and mean man but inside of him was a very soft, weak and water-hearted man. All that he was doing was a display of fear, he was dealing with me the way he thought was the best way to protect me. His intentions were for my good, he was scared I would turn into something he didn’t want, he was overprotective and coming from a polygamous family whose mother was the last wife, Dad didn’t have the experience of what it looked like to have a close relationship with his father. These days, I hold no grudges against my father, I appreciate everything he did even if they weren’t the best way to handle issues; it was his own best and he desired to have a morally sound son. If he had known better then, he would have done better.

That night, I packed up my bag, sneaked it out of the house and the next morning, I ran away from home! I wanted to run into a speeding car and die but on second thought, I went to my Uncle’s place where I stayed for a while before my aunt tried resolving the issues between I and my father. I was restored home. Before I got restored home, I had noticed an old laptop in my Uncle’s room that I felt he wasn’t using, I believed that the moment I grab this laptop, I would be able to make money with it, not as if I even know how but the urge was uncontrollable.

This kleptomaniac tendency manifested again and I carried the laptop. I had this bond with gadgets and I don’t know where it came from, I was always attracted to electronics whether it was a calculator, walkie-talkie, electronic watches and all that, I was always attracted to it. My father saw the laptop later, it was another series of beating and moral instructions before it got returned. I felt so ashamed of myself and for some days, I couldn’t even lift my face before my aunt and cousins. Those days, I was thoroughly searched whenever I come visiting. I wasn’t visiting because I wanted to, necessity called for it and I believe you must have read about in another story.

I remember one of the days my cousin complained that she was looking for her money, I was blamed, my tears were not enough proof that I didn’t do it and even though the money was never found, I was regarded and treated like a hardened criminal, this continued to make low self-esteem spread within me with speed. Nobody knew that I was fighting battles within me, I was struggling to come to terms with who I was. I questioned God on why I was created and I suggested that he would have made me an animal if I needed to exist.

At some point, I questioned if God truly existed because I believed if he did, he would have been able to control me even when I couldn’t control myself. At some point, I was also lacking the motivation to do the right thing because when I commit a crime or not, I would be accused of crimes I didn’t commit. However, whenever I remember the experience I had as a kid; about a hand tapping me and asking me to preach the gospel, I would always withdraw my questioning. Other times, I would feel that I had gone so bad that God has truly rejected me and marked me for destruction.

I was not a stubborn child, I was a scared and very quiet child who shiver whenever a hand is raised out of fear of being beaten. I remember back in the junior seminary school where I was accused of belonging to a spiritual cult because of the way I was usually quiet, the way I shiver whenever a senior is talking to me and the way I would cry instead no to requests from the senior folks. One of the days that I slept off in the classroom during night preps and didn’t make it back to the hostel room, many people believed I disappeared for an occultic meeting.

I was also very anti-social and scared of letting my opinions out. We barely had opportunities to relate with people anyway because we were restricted from going out, having friends and even relating with people closely. My dad usually felt very uneasy whenever he bumps into us on the road talking with someone whether male or female.

I was empty inside but in that emptiness, I always felt God was reaching out to me, I always loved God emotionally and I always felt sad that I wasn’t making God happy. Some days I would kneel asking God to take away my life rather than allow me to stay in the world and doing what I don’t want to do.

It was within this period that it was announced that God has rejected me, he was angry with me and that I will die at the age of sixteen. Few of my relatives started dreaming of my death too, they would always call my mother to relate their nightmares and this further validated the claims that God was done with me. I started seeing death hovering over me, it became a psychological problem. Anytime I walk on the road, I was expecting a car to just run into me and kill me!

We always read Bible during night devotions too and we’re asked to preach from it in turns! Initially, I only loved reading the stories in the Bible, I had never read beyond the book of Acts of the Apostles or the book of Judges. While we weren’t very committed to a local assembly, our family was a staunch Christian home. The nearest Church was very far from home and we went to church only on Sundays and sometimes, before we get there, the service is almost over.

After a long while, a new Church was planted close to home. First, I stopped attending Children church and started going to the adult church services. Sometimes, my parents would force me to sit with them in Church, I would become stiff especially when I sit with my dad. During music sections, I don’t move my body, I would just stand moping at the band and feeling chained! Who knows? I may dance and dance the wrong way, then dad will wait for me at home for a beating. Dad misinterpreted my uneasiness too! He believed I had a demon in me that makes me stiff in Church.

Somehow, I was able to break free and start attending services independent of my parents. Sometimes, I would just wake up, prepare and leave earlier than them and this way I would sit alone. I still had dads eyes on me though but whenever he looks away I’d steal some dance steps. I would watch my fellow youths in excitement as they dance and I felt there was a way to express myself the way I felt inside. When I was done with “O” Level examinations, I started going for most of the Church weekly activities, I was seen virtually in every single activity of the Church.

At first, I was endeared to Church for two reasons, first it was a place I felt safe and secondly, it was the only reason I could stay away from home for some time. Though there were times I would have issues with my dad for coming back from Church late, the Church was one thing they wouldn’t want to stop us from being committed to even though they wanted to have a say on how to be committed and where to be committed.

One Sunday morning, during church service, the preacher was preaching from Romans 6:23 which talks about the wages of sin and the gift of God. While the preacher dwelt on the wages of sin I became curious, I had to read again to see if there were any wages of righteousness but I couldn’t see, I rather saw the gift of God! My curiosity heightened, does it mean there aren’t any wages of righteousness? Why are we struggling to be righteous then? I asked myself and I decided to read the entire chapter, I couldn’t find a place where the wages of righteousness was mentioned and I went back to chapter one of Romans and started reading from there.

That was the beginning of my turning point.

I didn’t stop reading, I would read it over and over again even as I got home. What I saw was clashing with virtually everything I’ve heard as the gospel, it was subjecting a lot of things to questioning. It was at odds with many things I’ve heard not in the Children’s Church, in the adult Church and even in school moral instructions. I was fighting it but I couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to understand better.

At some point, I would feel like “wow!” And at some other point, I would feel bitter with Paul and ask “is he encouraging us to continue sinning?” Within this time, I joined a youth ministry in Church and began to come out of my shelf gradually. My parents too were amazed! To some point, they started becoming proud of me and this alone was a big motivation to continue. What they have tried to see by all means started becoming possible just by the simple entrance of God’s word. I don’t know how it happened but God’s word was changing me drastically.

My life started changing, my viewpoint started changing with what I was reading in the entire letters of Paul and I began to doubt some things I heard earlier. I began to doubt that God was done with me, I began to doubt that God wants me dead at sixteen years, I felt it was the devil trying to take advantage of my situation. I have always heard and believed that the wages of sin is death but I was never taught the gift of God which is eternal life, I have always wanted this life, I had always wanted to work for my salvation but the more I tried the more I got even worse. I was never told it wasn’t my duty to work for my salvation, I was never told that the price Jesus paid was complete and perfect! I thought Jesus only came to make it easier for me to be saved but in Romans, I was seeing that Jesus saved me regardless of my sins!

I strived with the truth for months as it wasn’t what I’ve heard since I was born. I had no privilege to be taught those kinds of truth in the local assembly but each time I was in service, a voice would be explaining scriptures to me even when the preacher is saying something else. It used to come so clear that I would be writing them down as though I was copying it from somewhere. As each day passes, I was opening up for the truth more.

I started finding peace in me, my self-esteem started to improve and I began meeting people. In the youth ministry that I joined, I felt accepted for the first time. During Bible studies, I would also be allowed to contribute, this way, I felt my voice matter as they would always marvel at my contributions during the Bible study. I had experienced this too in Scripture Union during follow up and Bible study classes.

I was growing and I became sure that God never hated me, I became sure that I was not going to die at the age of sixteen and I realised that I was seeing death only because I started entertaining the thought of it. The change became obvious, it didn’t happen instantly, it took time and it is still happening till date but so far, it was glaring! My mistakes stopped becoming a yardstick for me to measure God’s love and acceptance.

It was at the age of eighteen that I remembered I was informed that I was going to die at the age of sixteen, that God was angry with me and has marked me for death. They were wrong, if the Bible contained the word of God, then they weren’t saying the truth! The truth I saw was what set me free, the more I understood the gospel, the more I realized I had no problem, that I was a slave by ignorance. I started seeing the best of myself, I started feeling much more confident of who I am.

While I have heard moral instructions for decades, it tried but it didn’t change me. I was so weird that Dad felt I had a demon! I remember the day he took me for deliverance, they turned me around, pushed me to the floor, raised me again and poured oil on me. It didn’t change me. I was not as bad as many young boys because I didn’t have the opportunity to be bad like them anyway but it made no difference!

I remember when I was taken to one “Evangelist-seer” who tried pressuring me into agreeing that I do see myself naked in the dream. She tried convincing me of a dream that was supposed to be mine! I never saw myself naked but she was insisting I do and that I was lying. For the sake of peace and because my mother would not believe me, I nodded reluctantly. She gave me Psalms and fasting… It didn’t lift as feather off me, I became worse.

The gospel did what years of disciplines, moral instructions and threats couldn’t do! Knowing that God loved me regardless changed everything, I would stay on my knees praying and crying to God, those tears were tears of affection. Somehow, what was in me as a child became stirred up! My love for gadgets got channelled rightly, I combined it with my love for writing and it was easy. Those things I supposed were deficiencies turned out to be a kind of strength! Sometimes, what we call weaknesses are strengths that got manipulated.

I heard the gospel, it changed me. No wonder the Bible says it is God’s power unto salvation, we don’t need to know how it happens, we just have to believe. All we know is that the gospel is God’s power to save those who believe… Realizing that God’s mercy is bigger than my mess mesmerized me and made me better.

Its been over a decade-plus but I am still living and enjoying God’s love. The death I experienced was the one I died with Christ and now I live for him. If he says I am free, who am I to question it? That’s how I’ve gotten from there to here.

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AGENTS OF CHANGE


The word of God is light, the Psalmist wrote that the word is the light unto his path. However, this word is resident in us and in fact we are walking letters from God to the world. How do we shine this light? Is it just in preaching the gospel alone? Well, preaching the gospel is very important but we don’t only shine this light in words we also shine it in deeds. We already have so many resources geared towards encouraging people to preach the gospel but I want to talk a little about living the life. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honour and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – MATTHEW 5:16 AMP

Note the words very carefully. To let means to allow. We ought to deliberately allow the light to shine just for the sake of others to the glory of God. This means we are the ones to make it a disposition of our heart, it should be a vocation that we deliberately give ourselves to. He said that people will see the good things we do and will praise our Father in heaven. In agreement to this, Peter wrote

“Keep your behavior excellent among the [unsaved] Gentiles [conduct yourself honorably, with graciousness and integrity], so that for whatever reason they may slander you as evildoers, yet by observing your good deeds they may [instead come to] glorify God in the day of visitation [when He looks upon them with mercy].” – 1 PETER 2:12 AMP

Do you see that? It isn’t just about preaching, it is also about living our lives in good conduct. The beautiful thing is that we have been empowered to live like Christ. The desire doesn’t come natural but we can cultivate it because we have the ability to live to God’s glory. We have been empowered with the fruits of the Spirit. Paul wrote

“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things, there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.” – GALATIANS 5:22‭-‬24 AMP

The fruit of the spirit is the character of the Spirit, it is the evidence of the indwelling of God’s presence in us. It is not necessarily what we feel but what we have been empowered with. We can burden the flesh with it even when the flesh desires otherwise. Sometimes our flesh would want to be selfish but we subject upon the flesh the desires of the Spirit. The flesh may want to be unkind to someone who wronged us but we exert on it, the desire of the Spirit which is kindness. It is to this regard that Jesus said

The word of God is light, the Psalmist wrote that the word is the light unto his path. However, this word is resident in us and in fact we are walking letters from God to the world. How do we shine this light? Is it just in preaching the gospel alone? Well, preaching the gospel is very important but we don’t only shine this light in words we also shine it in deeds. We already have so many resources geared towards encouraging people to preach the gospel but I want to talk a little about living the life. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honour and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – MATTHEW 5:16 AMP

Note the words very carefully. To let means to allow. We ought to deliberately allow the light to shine just for the sake of others to the glory of God. This means we are the ones to make it a disposition of our heart, it should be a vocation that we deliberately give ourselves to. He said that people will see the good things we do and will praise our Father in heaven. In agreement to this, Peter wrote

“Keep your behavior excellent among the [unsaved] Gentiles [conduct yourself honorably, with graciousness and integrity], so that for whatever reason they may slander you as evildoers, yet by observing your good deeds they may [instead come to] glorify God in the day of visitation [when He looks upon them with mercy].” – 1 PETER 2:12 AMP

Do you see that? It isn’t just about preaching, it is also about living our lives in good conduct. The beautiful thing is that we have been empowered to live like Christ. The desire doesn’t come natural but we can cultivate it because we have the ability to live to God’s glory. We have been empowered with the fruits of the Spirit. Paul wrote

“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things, there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.” – GALATIANS 5:22‭-‬24 AMP

The fruit of the spirit is the character of the Spirit, it is the evidence of the indwelling of God’s presence in us. It is not necessarily what we feel but what we have been empowered with. We can burden the flesh with it even when the flesh desires otherwise. Sometimes our flesh would want to be selfish but we subject upon the flesh the desires of the Spirit. The flesh may want to be unkind to someone who wronged us but we exert on it, the desire of the Spirit which is kindness. It is to this regard that Jesus said

“…the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – MATTHEW 26:41 AMP

We don’t know what the Spirit wants by what we feel, the word of God already told us what the Spirit of God and our regenerated Spirit is like, it cannot desire evil,  it cannot desire selfishness, it is full of love. There is no such thing like ” my Spirit despised him at first sight”. The Spirit of God in your and your regenerated spirit cannot despise anyone. It is your flesh that is playing that trick. So, we can impose upon the flesh the fruits of the Spirit. You can love without feeling like loving, you can be kind without feeling it.

The fruits and gift of the Spirit are for earthly impact and exhibition. The gift of the Spirit is for the training of believers unto maturity but the fruit is what makes us act like Christ! The gift of the Spirit is solely for ministry but the fruit is the character that plays out in every activity, whether in the school, on the karaoke or on the beach. So, how does this answer our question as to whether we are change agents?

The gospel is preached to men in the language of men, it is lived among men in expressions familiar to them. We communicate the life-giving word in consonants and vowels that the human brain can decode, we live it through activities and characters that humans can interpret.

We can position ourselves in places of influence including schools, politics, organisations and so on with the character of the Spirit. Anyone can be a president, but we can be presidents with a difference, anyone can be a teacher but we can be teachers with a difference.

By the fruits of the Spirit in us, we can create policies that align with God’s plan and purpose. We can position ourselves in an office and become an influence there. I remember years ago, I served in a particular organisation and I was able to draw many souls to Christ from that office. While I worked there, I didn’t subject myself to things that would speak bad of me or show Christianity in a bad light. I didn’t judge them when they do things I don’t approve of but I remained different in my conduct. I was admired by all,  they didn’t admit it but they expressed it.

A president who has the fruit of the spirit is better than the one who doesn’t, this is because he will lead with patience, with eyes fixed on God’s purpose and with sincere submission to God. A school teacher who has the fruit of the Spirit is better than the one who doesn’t, he will train kids with the exhibitions of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. I have seen kids trained by genuine Christians who express the character of God, those kids are very different.

He wrote in his letter

“Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men” – COLOSSIANS 3:23 AMP

Here, he was not referring to being in Church or working in a Church service, he wasn’t referring to preaching the gospel. He was referring to things that we engage our lives with on a daily basis. God is interested in those aspects of our lives too. A president who has the fruit of the Spirit and subjects himself to the leading of the Spirit will lead a country as though he is serving God and not men! A lecturer who is a believer and willing to do the word will work as though he is working for God! Same applies in all sphere of life. In this regard, a Christian is a change agent because he comes to the table offering what is only possible by the fruit of the Spirit. Unfortunately, we hardly get close to those places of influence because we have limited ourselves with the wrong understanding of the word of God.

To affirm that the only essence of our calling is to gather every Sunday is the hallmark of deceit. To shine as a light among men isn’t just in the preaching of the word but also in the living or doing of the word. Jesus said we should shine like lights and people will give glory to God on the account of our good deeds! When a Christian leader leads a nation and allows the love of Christ to be seen through his leadership, many people will be drawn to God on that account alone. I am not talking about leaders who are religious but ones who love God!

I would prefer to work under a boss who lives the word and not just the one who doesn’t. A boss who loves God and obey his word will treat staffs differently. I would prefer to have a staff who lives the word, I would prefer to send my kids to school with teachers who live the word. The fruit of the Spirit is what makes the difference, it makes our life so different on earth, it makes people look up to us!

This is not about people who parade themselves as believers but make a mess of Christianity, people who abuse others and mischievously deceive others with the label of Christianity. I am talking about believers who have removed the old clothes and put on the cloth of righteousness. We do know that there is a difference between being righteous and living righteously. One can be English and not speak English, in the same way, one can be righteous and not live righteously. We were called into righteousness and unto righteous living.

This is how we are change agents! The Holy Spirit works on our conducts, making us good examples in all spheres of life. To debate this is to argue that the word of God does not change lives. In Colossians chapter four, we see Paul directing Masters to treat their servants with the principles set out in the word, it wasn’t just about being witnesses of the gospel. In verse 5 Paul wrote:

“Conduct yourself with wisdom in your interactions with outsiders (non-believers), make the most of each opportunity [treating it as something precious].” – COLOSSIANS 4:5 AMP

As we venture into politics, we conduct ourselves with wisdom, as we interact with other people, we apply wisdom, when we work in any organisation, we apply wisdom and conduct ourselves as believers. We bring in the character of the Spirit into any place we find ourselves and that way, we are change agents! Where we would revenge, we forgive. Where we would be unkind, we express kindness. Where we would hate, we love; this way, people look at us and say “we are different” and the Father is glorified.

Blessings.

BEYOND ME | The Story


Picture of a worshipper

The pictures came alive, replaying in my head and hauling me into the scene. That juncture that Jesus, in all his power, awesomeness and glory allowed himself to be put to shame, allowed himself to be beaten, mocked and treated like a common criminal. I pictured myself in that scene, I saw myself standing at a corner, watching as he dragged the cross along, scratching off clouds of dust with the end of the long bar of the cross from the ground and stumbling at some steps.

I peeked as the soldiers beat what we call “the hell” out of him. They made jest of Jesus each time he cried out. Then, I turned to look at the Jews, I saw them becoming happy for once with the Roman soldiers, for the cause of getting Jesus out of the way. I saw friends and enemies form a coalition. These Jews were presumed to be friends of God, Jesus was supposed to be their hero! I watched as they were being fascinated with what Jesus was going through.

But then I shuddered in tears, knowing that the very reason Jesus was going through this is me. He was not dying his death, he was dying my death. He wasn’t suffering his suffering, he was suffering my suffering. He was doing everything possible to satisfy the demands of a law that passed the sentence on me even before I was born. In those tears, I could feel his stares, his eyes were red, blood running down through a corner. I watched him look at me saying “it is all for you…”

He wasn’t making an accusation, he wasn’t holding me responsible for his death, he was speaking in a tone that confirms it was the path he had chose to follow in his human manifestation. It was his desire to ignore his divinity and be in my shoes. They couldn’t give him a break, I saw how terrible my sins were, they were as terrible as his sufferings. God’s anger on sin was satisfied with him. It is safer to say that God satisfied his anger for sin on Himself. This was God, choosing to walk like man, choosing to bear the consequences on a flesh he had worn.

He was pushed down and he hit his head on the rock, it was this same head on which crown of thorns has been worn upon. The thorns pierced into him even harder, I heard him shout! I couldn’t behold the sight anymore, I was broken. I threw my face away and then I was hearing hits! At each hit, I would hear him shout in agony. I turned to look, the nails we’re being pierced into his hands and his feet. All this was just for me, the cross was my mine, the suffering was mine but he took it over from me.

After the cross has been raised, I managed to look up and stare at him with misty eyes. Many things happened, was it about the sour drink he was fed with? Was it the mockery? I heard him pray “forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do”. That was an everlasting demand for forgiveness, it was a once and for all demand. I felt strongly that he was saying “I have taken their place and your anger is satisfied by now”.

The teariest moment came when it was apparent that heaven had turned back on him. God turned back on him, put it this way, he turned his back on himself! This was the same man who had healed the sick, who raised the dead, he opened the eyes of the blind, who healed all manner of diseases! This is the same man who has been nailed helplessly to the cross, he had become a sight of mockery. That was supposed to be me, I deserved nothing but that cross…

He cried a cry that was supposed to be mine, he said “Father, why has thou forsaken me?” I fell on my knees, knowing this was supposed to be me, I was supposed to be the one who has been forsaken. Here, God fulfilled the promise he made, he had said earlier “I will remember your sins no more” Why? Because Jesus would take them upon himself. Confirming my thoughts, Jesus said, “it is finished”. The struggle, the wrestle with sin and all the failures were over! The war ended! Afterwards, he gave up and died on that cross, carrying the burden of every man on earth and bringing it to an end.

On numerous occurrences, I break down in tears reminiscing God’s love and mercy. Anyone who doesn’t know God may find this funny or strange. I am the only one who can tell with limited words that I have experienced God, I have seen His mercy and the feeling leaves me only in tears, it makes me recount my steps and know if I have been living a life of appreciation towards that sacrifice Jesus made.

How about those nights God would come to me in dreams as a child, carrying me on his laps and telling me things with smiles all over his face! It might be just a dream to you, but it means a lot to me now. How about that morning when I was woken by a voice, I knew it was him and he gave me an instruction. What about the days his powers had surged through my hands? Experience isn’t enough but I have experienced him to an extent I can’t doubt him any more. When people call us jokers, I only realize their extent of ignorance, I don’t blame them.

God looked beyond me, he looked beyond my flaws and said: “I will be your God and your father, you will be a son”. That was what I became! Jesus died, but Jesus resurrected. His resurrection is another story, exciting experience that resources may not permit me to talk about at this very moment. But I know one thing, by death, he destroyed the powers of sin over me, rendered it useless and declared me holy and free from sin!

If it is by that same word by which the world was made that I was declared righteous, then I am righteous. If he said I am free, then I am free indeed.

Listening to Yadah’s “Beyond Me” keeps bringing back this feeling, it keeps stirring my heart and leaving me with tears upon tears. Only I can tell how God has dealt with me in love. One may ask “but you don’t have money yet. You don’t have your heart desires yet…” No, it’s not about what men can give, it’s about what only God could give. It’s not a fulfilment that money can give, it is not a fulfilment my heart desires can give me. Nothing else can fill this vacuum that only God can fill. I can’t trade it for anything.

The joy of salvation is not something I can source from anywhere else, it is not something I can get from eating certain kinds of food, having certain kind of friends, going certain kind of places or attaining certain heights on earth. It is so beautiful knowing that I am a friend and the son of God, knowing that God’s love and mercy have made a dwelling in me. God didn’t give me a second chance to make things right between us, he made it right and asked me to accept it. He gave me no terms and condition, he gave me no further rules, he didn’t increase the burden. All he wanted was that I accept his offering and I did.

*This title “Beyond Me” was inspired by a song, Beyond Me by Yadah

Blessings

THE PRODIGAL SON – The Story


A certain affluent man had two sons and the younger one came asking for his fraction of the inheritance from his father. Normally, a man’s testament becomes effective when he dies but this young boy wasn’t waiting for that time, he wanted to have what was presumed to be his share. The startling thing is that he wasn’t reprimanded by his father, his father who possibly didn’t pick offence with his request.

As a plausible father, he granted his son’s request, calculated all he had and brought out what was deemed to be his younger son’s share and gave them to him. I like to think that his second son was there while the whole thing was being evaluated. The Bible said he gathered it for some days which means that he spent time ensuring that he truly got what was his share completely.

He left his father’s house and sojourned into a far country. He went to create his brand. You know, we always hear things like “you can’t achieve certain things till you leave your father’s house.” Abraham left his father’s house after all and so it didn’t seem wrong to leave and do his best. He was an enthusiastic, ambitious young man who was full of vision but also full of himself.

He did his estimations, he took a bold step, he took a risk and he made his investments. He obeyed many laws of entrepreneurship but it all wasn’t good enough. He squandered all he had, starting from the cash to other properties! Who knows? Possibly, he also did all manner of bets, played all manner of casinos, went to all manner of clubs; living the best of his young age. You hear those quotes too, right? Life isn’t two, we only live once! Yea, it seemed proper to make his once-living worth it.

When everything was gone, it was dawned on him that he messed up. Of all the alternatives he had, going home to his father wasn’t in the option. He wouldn’t want to face the embarrassment, he didn’t want his elder brother to laugh at him, he didn’t want his father to berate him and chase him out of the compound. Just like some parents treat their daughters who get pregnant out of wedlock, he felt his father would treat him worse. After all, everything that belongs to him has been given to him.

To make ends meet, he applied for all manner of jobs but he wasn’t even qualified for any. The only job he qualified for was to feed pigs! Pigs are unclean animals and honourable people don’t rear pigs! This was what he seemed qualified for. He took up the job but things were getting more difficult. He started appreciating old memories of what the servants usually enjoyed in his father’s house and he thought it would be a nice idea if he applies as a servant! He garnered courage, there was nothing to pack because everything was gone! He had said to himself

“How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.”

While nearing home, he was scared, wondering what would be his fate if his father sights him. He knew his offence, he wasn’t ignorant of it. Making a request wasn’t the offence but his attitude, motive and carelessness was the problem. His request was placed on a platter of selfishness. Somehow, he knew what the judgement would look like but again he just wanted to try and ask his father to make him the least of his servants.

He was still at the gate, his heart was skipping beats, he was lost in thoughts and he walked slowly hoping that this journey doesn’t end soon! But he heard someone call out his name in excitement, it was his father! He never expected that. He strengthened his gaze to see his father running towards him.

He had many thoughts flying in and out of his mind. Perhaps, his father was excited that he finally got a chance to kill him. He might have thought he was running down towards him to draw his sword and slash his throat. He stood his ground though, perhaps saying to himself “I deserve whatever comes upon me today.” But as his father drew closer, he could see smiles all over his face, he could see love written all over his father. His father ran to him, spread his arms and allowed him to fall into his embrace, making him get the feel of security and the comfort of having a father!

He wanted to tell his father what he faced, he wanted to sing apologies into the high heavens, he wanted to give all the excuses in this world but his father wasn’t even listening to him. Even before he realized his mistake, his father had forgiven him. Even before he thought of looking for ways to justify himself, his father already justified him. Till date, his father never heard a line of his plea because he never needed it! He already forgave his son!

Still in that embrace, his father remembered that very day his son was leaving, he had walked behind his son and his entourage, he had stopped by the gate looking at his son disappear into space. He had stood there watching the space with tears silently rolling down his eyes. He remembered sitting at the gate hoping his son would change his mind. Every morning, he would walk down from his room to the gate to sit, wait and hope that someday, his son would return. He wasn’t doing this because he didn’t value the other son. There was a space in his heart each of them occupied. They were both very important to him and he couldn’t afford to lose one. He had continued his daily ritual of sitting at the gate till that faithful day that his son came back to him.

The father didn’t start blaming him for going away, he didn’t start demanding an explanation. Although his young son left him and forgot him, he didn’t leave his son not forgot him, his heart was with him always. His son’s attitude towards him didn’t change him, it didn’t change the way he saw him. Now that his son was back, he won’t let go of him again. His son didn’t come back just because he has been humbled, he came back because he has exhausted all possible options. But his father’s love changed him instantly, it melted his heart and humbled him; working wonders of transformation in him. While he was still trying to explain, his father was already making orders. The decoration company had arrived, the hall was set, cooling vans we’re arriving, dancers and entertainers had filled the compound. Messages have been sent to dignitaries and the Father’s business partners everywhere were getting busy and ready.

The first son just finished for the day. He had assumed the role of the managing director of his fathers business. He could hear sounds of celebration echoing from the compound as he came nearer. He beckoned on one of the servants who was passing and asked him what was going on but he got the biggest shock of his life when the servant informed him that his younger brother just came back and their father is throwing the biggest party in town in celebration of his return.

He was not just shocked, he got very angry! He was there when his younger brother took what belongs to him and left, he was there while his younger brother was away. He has been the one trying to run his father’s business all those while and no one has ever thrown a party on his behalf. He walked out on the servant and started raging towards his father’s room.

On getting there, he met his father laughing with his younger brother. His younger brother was narrating some of his experiences and they would laugh over it. He could not take it. It was obvious his younger brother didn’t come to appreciate his father, he came because he had no other option. Was he going to have a share from what doesn’t supposedly belong to him now?

He noticed his younger brother was wearing one of his father’s favourite robe and on his finger was his father’s ring. He was wearing a reserved scandal too! He had never worn those before! He wondered what his brother did to deserve this, the word “inherited favour” wasn’t familiar to him yet.

“Father!” He called out angrily, interrupting the moment. His father turned to look at him, his brother did the same also. His eyes and that of his brother met, there was anger written all over him but he has got no word for his brother. “Look at him, the prodigal son!” He murmured to himself. Then he faced his father and said to him

“Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you have thrown a party for his return!” He stared at his brother while he spoke

His father smiled, shook his head and walked towards him. He held him on his shoulder and said “come here son”, he paused and continued “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

Do you know who this story is about? It is about God and you! He already forgave you even before you had a change of mind, He was and is still eager to receive anyone to his warm embrace. He isn’t listening to apologies, it’s unnecessary, He already overlooked it all! On the cross, Jesus said, “it is finished!”

Regardless of how you feel, regardless of how other people feel about you, God is in love with you. Why not take a walk back home? It is tough out there but it is beautiful and secure in God’s arms. I know you didn’t work for it, but you don’t have to. I know you don’t deserve it but He said you do!

Blessings.

Based on Luke 15:11-32

SEXUAL SATISFACTION


A young woman once complained to me that her husband is putting so much pressure on her to do more than she is doing sexually. She knew she was doing well already but he keeps introducing unhealthy options like binding her on the bed, blindfolding her and rough handling her during sex. Sometimes he prefers switching to her anus and anytime she objects he would come up with the popular line “if you don’t satisfy me sexually, you may be pushing me to another woman.”

How would you have defined sexual satisfaction the way you defined it today if you have not explored various sexual opportunities? What some people call sexual satisfaction today is simply an impossible fantasy which they have built up in their head over time using several sexual encounters. Some have experimented beyond the normal, opened themselves up to dangerous fantasies and heaping the burden on someone else.

Some women demand so much from their husbands that they push these men to surgically or medically increase their penis. Why? These ladies in the past have so much engaged with men of several sizes to the point that they keep fantasizing that it is “the bigger, the better.” Some have pushed their men into taking drugs so that they can last in bed for one hour and therefore making ten minutes or even less look as though it is not normal. Their men would take these drugs and keep hurting their body organs in a bid to meet up with someone’s new idea of “sexual satisfaction”.

Some people get their idea of sexual satisfaction from pornographic movies. Just the way you watch movies and see people act as though they are dead is the same way these pornographic movies give people the wrong idea of what satisfaction is. If not that people have explored various sexual opportunities or fed their mind with wrong contents from the media about sex, on what basis would they have ascertained what sexual satisfaction is?

Today, people feel they aren’t good enough because of the size of their sexual organs or the few minutes they would last on the bed when having an intimate encounter with their partner. So many relationships started having problems from here. Many sexually healthy and normal people have been pushed to start engaging themselves in absolute nonsense just to be glorified with the false title of “sexual satisfactory”.

You see, the reason why God designed sex for married couples is so that people don’t make the mistake of tasting what they can’t have and eventually start demanding such taste from someone else who is different. Another reason is this when our sexual experience has to be with our spouse, we wouldn’t have those useless ideas of ” sexual satisfaction” that don’t even exist.
When you tune in to the media, you see all manner of adverts for the increase of the sexual organs from the normal size to abnormal sizes, you also see adverts for drugs that would make one stay on sex for hours. This way, they are creating an impression that few minutes of sex isn’t normal, they are creating an impression that the size of your sexual organs isn’t normal. People had gone to increase their breasts, buttocks, waist, penis and so on because they feel very inferior about themselves!

When a man or woman can’t function sexually, it is a problem that needs attention. It could be medical, emotional it psychological attention that they need and it is not wrong to seek a way out of the problem. But when they can function properly and yet seek unnecessary solutions to further satisfy their partner sexually, then there is a problem. Don’t let people put you into trouble with their definitions of sexual satisfaction. Don’t even think that you can keep them faithful to yourself by being “sexually satisfying”. What satisfies them today would suddenly not satisfy them again tomorrow.

Don’t let anyone put on you, the burden of all the years of unnecessary sexual encounters they have exposed themselves to. Some women, in their careless days, have given themselves up to men who take tramadol for sex, some have allowed themselves to be used sexually by numerous men at the same time as a process of cult initiation. When they finally end up in marriage with a man who doesn’t take tramadol for sex, they feel he isn’t sexually satisfying and some would want to engage in such orgy they had experienced before. It would not have been that way if they never unlocked those abnormal desires.

A woman once told me that her husband suddenly began to demand threesome and because she doesn’t want to lose him, she is considering inviting her best friend over. Isn’t that absurd? Very disgusting! Her husband must have unlocked those bizarre desires because he had tasted it or filled his mind with such nonsense to an extent. Don’t let anyone use you as a tool to satisfy their unhealthy desires, walk away instead.

This is also why it is important to understand the sexual philosophy of someone before getting into a union with him or her. We should stop playing religious during courtship. Always bring in topics that would gradually throw light on what they think about sex. It is not wrong to discuss sex before marriage because you need to understand if it is something you can handle. Create an atmosphere that can make people open up to you about their sexual experiences or desires. Don’t just get married because you both share some vision, don’t just get married because you are emotionally compatible, don’t just get married because you feel attracted to each other… Also, put sexual compatibility in check. It may not look like a problem in the beginning but this is a mistake you should not afford!

Whatever you explore will increase or add to your desires. I have always heard ugly stories about travelling on boats but one day, necessity demanded that I travel by boat. After the experience, I have always desired opportunities to travel by boat. A desire was birthed, I had never desired it until I experienced it. When people explore wrongly, they will develop the wrong desires.

Some people were very satisfied with their spouse until they decided to know what it feels like with another man or woman. They aren’t cheating on their spouses because the other person satisfies them, they cheat because they are looking for the satisfaction that doesn’t exist. It is like chasing after the rainbow, it always seems near and yet you aren’t getting there. Some people think they are on the verge of getting satisfied but it never comes. They would feel, maybe, if I should have sex with someone whose penis is bigger, I would be more satisfied and then they eventually meet someone with a bigger penis. But after the experience, they would feel that maybe, if it was a little bigger, they would be more satisfied and they go ahead looking for another bigger stuff. This way, they keep developing abnormal desires.

You have to take control of your desires, you have to understand that taste can be a threat to your marriage. Don’t taste what you don’t need, don’t explore or develop unhealthy desires. If you have ever seen yourself moving that direction, you’re heading towards destruction and you need to stop and ask yourself questions. Don’t unlock desires that are bad for you and harmful to others and don’t allow anybody uses you to satisfy desires you weren’t made for. Your anus isn’t designed for sex, so don’t make it available. You are special and therefore you can’t sign up for a threesome. If people insist that you must hurt yourself to satisfy them sexually, walk away and stay on the safe side.

Be intentional about what you taste, don’t be swayed around by undefined pleasure. Don’t also hurt others when you have exposed yourself to dangerous and unhealthy desires. Seek rehabilitation, start renewing your mind with the right thoughts and the right desires. It may take time but it is possible.

Once again, what we call satisfaction may not even exist.