Month: September 2015

SEARCH OUT REASONS…

Sometime ago, I made a trip with my family from Ibadan to Ile Ife, both in western Nigeria. We were going for my younger brother’s marriage introduction ceremony. We set out in two cars. In one car were my brother, his wife, my wife and myself. I sat in front with my brother who was driving. The ladies sat at the back.  In the other car were my mum and my other brothers including the one whose introduction ceremony we were going for. The car I was in was ahead of the other car which was also driven by one of my brothers. About midway into the journey, we got a call from my peeps in the other vehicle that they had hit a pothole and had a flat tyre. So they had to stop at a vulcanizer’s place to fix the tyre. We made a U-turn to find out how they were faring with the tyre repair. Shortly afterwards, we heard a rattling noise coming from the roof of the car. So my brother looked up to check what the cause of the noise was. Almost at the same moment, he looked ahead and discovered that the two vehicles in front of him had slowed down on both lanes because of a speed bump ahead. He pressed the brakes, and it went flat. He pressed and pressed in quick succession and the car wouldn’t slow down. On his left was a high pavement that ran along. Fortunately, my brother saw a little space on the right side of the road. He made a quick dart to the right and squeezed the car through that space. That action looked like something out of the movies. It was a big deliverance from what would have been a ghastly accident. We could have rammed into the rear of any of the cars ahead at a speed of about 100km/h or we could have hit the man who was standing on the road side at that moment. But we thank God for providing that way of escape for us and averting what could have been a sour chapter in a day we were to celebrate. We checked the brakes afterwards and were able to meet the rest of the family and continue on our journey.

I spent a lot of time reflecting on what happened on that trip (I guess anyone who had that experience would). One way of thinking was to say, if we hadn’t turned back to check on the rest of the family, we would not have been in that situation. We should have waited for them to fix the tyre and then proceed with the journey. But think about it this way: What if the failed brake system was a disaster waiting to happen?! What if the brake failed in an instant when there would have been no way out other than running into other cars or people or causing some major catastrophe? That could have happened. So I think God ordered our steps. He had a hand in the flat tyre. He arranged for us to turn back and made an easier way of escape out of an imminent tragedy. God ordered our deliverance. I saw a reason to give God thanks in the whole situation. Rather than have any regret, we searched out reasons to be thankful. In all things give thanks because all things work together for good for those who love God. We are usually quick to see what went wrong or what wrong steps we have taken. But it is gracious to seek out those moments God’s hands have been at work, where His mercy intervened and where we enjoyed angelic intervention. Those moments are always around us. Search for them and be grateful. God looks at a truly grateful heart and gives more reasons to that heart to be grateful. By this I mean, the more grateful we are, the more of God’s goodness we would see in our lives on a daily basis.

Selah.

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FINDING GOD WITHOUT A GPS (PART 2)

Sometimes, making sense of what God is up to in difficult situations can appear awkward. For some, it could be likened to looking for the colours of the rainbow on a monochrome painting or seeking out the rays of the sun on a dark stormy night. But I want to assure you – and please take this from me because God said it – that God’s love is everlasting and His faithfulness is eternal. So regardless of what you see or feel, His attributes and thoughts toward you remain unchanged.

This is what I have learned…

Don’t stereotype God. Sometimes we try to compartmentalise God and fit Him into a particular mold, possibly based on what people around us have presented as their own view of God. So we expect Him to behave or respond in a certain manner. When we relate with God that way, it is easy to get disappointed, anxious, or impatient. We can also miss God’s movement when He acts. In I Kings 19, we read of God’s revelation of Himself to Elijah the prophet. God told him to stand on a mountain before Him. There was a great wind, then an earthquake, then a fire before a small voice. Elijah might have expected the fire, quake or wind to be markers of God’s presence as He most likely had heard or experienced before. Remember He had just seen God come in a fire to consume the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This time God chose to come in a whisper.  As you progress in your walk with God, you actually find out that the more of Him you know, the more of Him you realise you don’t know. Of course, He is God. He is infinite and cannot be completely known by a finite being. If your mind is fixed on seeing the hand of God in a certain way, you can easily miss out when His hand shows up in another fashion. I have learned this on so many occasions leading me to appreciate the diversity of God. You get to know that really, God ain’t boring. Have a mind that is open to the multi-faceted demonstrations and instructions of God through His Spirit. A lot of the workings of God may go against the traditions you have held unto or even stories that have become doctrines in some churches.

Be mind-full of God. I have heard my pastor, Kola Falayajo use this phrase once and again. God reveals Himself to those who seek Him. Those who have God in their thoughts can more quickly spot a touch of God in any situation than those who give little thought to God or who only think of His presence or absence in the ‘pit’ moments. This is not about being in the church auditorium every day of the week or at every service – which is not bad in itself – but about living a God-conscious life every second of the day, 365 days a year. As we carry on with the business of life each day, what role does God play in our decision making? Is he at the back of our minds or on the front burner? Even for the simplest of choices, decisions or actions, we should bring the influence of the God we know to bear. When your thoughts are about pleasing God in all you do, you would see Him manifest in more ways than you can imagine. When there is a consideration for what God thinks about what you are about to do or say, you endear yourself to Him and you see His signature on everything about you. And even when the dark moments come and you are wondering what role God has played or not played, finding His help is easier because you have a mind already conditioned to seek Him.

Feast on His Word. Now, my premise for this point is that it is a settled fact that the Bible is the Word of God.  John 1:1 says, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. From this scripture, we can infer that if we find God’s word, we have found God. More specifically, a revelation from the word of God is a revelation from God. I encourage people to read their Bibles and know what God actually says. A lot of folks are content with receiving a ‘word’ from their pastor or prophet but seriously, get the WORD from God by feasting on the word. Make a conscious and deliberate effort to take out time to ready the Bible and seek to get an understanding from the Holy Spirit about what you are reading. Have a culture of just reading the Bible at any time, not just at your quiet time or prayer time. It helps build a good support for a God-conscious mind.

God works in very ordinary ways but He doesn’t act randomly. He is quite deliberate in His dealings with us.  I pray that you would be overwhelmed with His goodness, love and faithfulness as your eyes and heart go after Him.

Amen.

Still in His grip.