That was yesterday.
She sat presently in her office, worried to her stomach, hand on chin, eyes glued on the computer screen, yet seeing nothing. Somewhere deep in her heart she knew that the pastor was right. That it was just a passing phase. But the reality of the situation was getting too much for her to bear.
“I could almost hear your work screaming out loud.”
She was startled.
“What’s the matter with you Easter?”
“Oh nothing really. I’m okay.”
“You’ve not been yourself of late”. Harriet stated.
“Just a state of the mind, it will wear off soon”
“I sure hope so”. Harriet turned and walked to their office locker, “you’ll be amazed what worry can do to you”. She turned to Easter. “Want some coffee?”
“Yes please. Thanks.”
Harriet pulled open the locker, brought out a flask and poured two cups of coffee as Easter admired the wine-coloured skirt-suit of her colleague; a beautiful spinster of 31.
“Come to think of it, what could be your worry?” Harriet inquired. “You have a good job, happily married to a very handsome man—“
She started towards Easter who interrupted her.
“That could be my worry; but I have no fear. I have someone greater than all that.”
“You humbug you!” Harriet placed a cup of coffee on her table “someone I know?”
“You’ve heard about Him. But you don’t know Him; yet.”
“Who could he be?” she asked excitedly, leaning closer, eager to hear the name of the new man in her life.
“The living God, He’s more than able”. She smiled.
“Oh come, don’t start this religious thing again!” She turned away in disgust. “I’ve been a Christian all my life; born into a Christian home I should know God!”
“Should? That’s more like it. There’s a whole lot of difference between being born a Christian and being born again”
“You could be impossible sometimes”. Harriet shot her a glance taking her seat at her table close to Easter’s. “But I’m glad you’re out of your worrisome mood”. She started at the computer keyboard.
“Who knows, the Lord could have sent you to pull me out of it. Thanks anyway, I feel better.”
But what has righteousness with unrighteousness? Or light with darkness? Why would a believing child of God go sharing her challenges with an unregenerated person? What kind of advice or counsel will come out of that?
Most often in our desperation to find solutions to the challenges facing us, we veer away from godly counsel and open up a portal or doorway that ought to remain shut. And it is he that opens (breaks) the hedge that the serpent bites.
We feel we can always handle whatever we hear, forgetting that words are spiritual seeds, and as such may not bring forth fruit there and then. But in the long run, after perhaps some months, and even years, bring forth fruits that would threaten our Faith.
Who do you share with? God is interested. He asked Adam
“who told thee thou wast naked?” -Genesis 3:11
“Who have you fellowshipped with?” God seemed to ask. For His name’s sake, He is interested in the company you keep and what information you share.
He asked Hezekiah, through the prophet Isaiah,
“what said these men? And from whence came they unto thee?” -2 Kings 20:14
Who are you speaking with? God is interested! Sometimes we think they don’t matter, yet they do! Man fell when he shared certain information with a stranger. Daniel, Shadrack, Meshach, Abednego and other Jewish children were carried into captivity because their forefather, Hezekiah entertained strangers.
Who are you sharing your deepest challenge with? A work colleague? A neighbour? A relation? Or a God-fearing pastor?
God loves you and has sent you His servant, the Pastor. Share with him. We all need to unburden our hearts sometime,but not just to anybody. That is why God gave you THE pastor, he is the best person to speak to. Take your challenge to God through your pastor, but rest your faith in God.
Christ, the burden bearer will surely, lift the burden off your shoulders.
Meanwhile, a powerful church service was in session with Esther and Deborah in attendance.
After he left that morning, she cleaned up the flour-strewn kitchen. It was then she decided to see her pastor for counselling.
This is one opportunity that believers seldom use. They suffer in silence, not sharing their burdens with anyone; not even with their pastors, but the Bible enjoins us in Galatians 6:2 to bear one another’s burdens thereby fulfilling the law of Christ, which is love.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” – Gal 6:2 (KJV)
However, most Pastors, Elders, Deacon and Deaconesses are so engrossed in their private affairs that they have no time for their brothers and sisters in the Lord. Some that give audience do so in a hurry. And some do so to have tales to tell; to see the skeleton in other people’s cupboard and have what to preach. And things spoken of in confidence, become the root of malign rumors. In the house of God! Where then is the love that Jesus stands for? The love He so preached in the book of John 13:34 and 35, that we should love one another even as He has loved us; for by that love would people know that we are His disciples?
Her pastor was different though; caring, loving; a full time pastor who made time to attend to his flock, individually.
“He hardly gives me money anymore for the up keep of the house” Easter lamented in the pastor’s office.
“How then have you been coping?” Eunice, the pastor’s wife was alarmed.
“Only on my salary but that is not what I’m worried about. He’s getting more and more unattached to the family. He seem not to care anymore”.
“Listen to me Easter”, the pastor started gently. “You have no worries. It is only the devil trying to make you believe you have problems or worries. Put your trust in God and you will overcome.” He studied her a while. “Or have you forgotten His word in Mathew 11:28, ‘come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest’. There is no better place to rest than in the Lord. Just submit yourself totally to His will and commit everything to Him in prayer”.
“I do but it’s taking forever!”
“Don’t despair, Easter, God’s time is the best”. Eunice encouraged. “The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11, that He makes all things beautiful in His time. Don’t forget you are not the one fighting the battle. He does, but gives you the victory”.
“Precisely, He sees everything that is going on. He knows everything. Just commit all to Him in prayers.”
Today, Christians have become dismembered. We stand alone as individuals, rather than together as a “body”, needing one another. We keep situations of agony and pain to ourselves, and this hurt us. Many are dying in silence.
The command is for us to share with and be interested in the welfare of fellow brothers, that we may perhaps be used by the Lord to bring them solution. But we have everyone, dismembered from others because of the fear that we might be made a laughing stock. This has also further deepened the disunity of Christians brought about by denomination.
Yes, true. Many leaders are flippant with their tongues, but I think we still need to share; else the burden will not only remain but become heavier. God did did not create us, saved us and called us to be “islands” in Christ. No.
Beloved, share your burden with someone: don’t carry it alone! If the person becomes a backstabber, he or she will have the Lord to answer to.
Remember, a problem shared is a problem solved.
To be continued
It was a quiet Sunday morning. One devoid of the usual Lagos noise, as most people were laying in bed, oblivious of the sun shining in all its splendours.
Up with the rising sun was Easter-named after the Christian holiday-whose spirit was high as she sang praises unto God, while fixing breakfast for her family.
She recalled the previous night. A wonderful one she had had in a long time. An experience she had almost forgotten. She knew marriage was not always an easy thing, but never anticipated that it would plunge into the gloom like it did. Not after the promises and vows.
But should man really be trusted to keep promises? Man, a creation that can change with time and tide? Only one is unchangeable; the creator. Glory be, for He is not man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent. Has He spoken and would He not bring it to pass?
No doubt, God was still on her side. She sang louder, recalling the intimacy of the previous night and looking forward to a Sunday with her husband. After church service, they would come home and consummate their love life.
Lost in thought, she did not hear the kitchen door open and Richard stepped in. He regarded her spitefully for a while.
“Take care”, He said, “I ‘m going out”.
She turned suddenly, loss of words.
“what?” He asked rather stern.
“I was hoping you’d go with us”
“To Church?” He blurted out as though it was an abominable thing to do. Do I go with you before?” He asked seeing her nod her head, “or is this your new way of making trouble?”
“Honey, God is—“
The hand moved like lightening, striking her across the cheek and shutting her off before she could finish her sentence. The force of the slap sent her staggering unto the bowl of flour on the kitchen cabinet.
“God is what?” He snarled like an enraged animal, kicking her legs off the floor and she fell to the ground with a thud; her face a mask of flour.
“I’ve told you not to mention that name in this house anymore.”
Like the fury of a mad man, he rammed his tennis shoes again and again into her sides as her cries of pain filled the house.
“You can go to your church if you want to, but don’t you ever try persuading me again!” He let up at last, breathing heavily, eyes blood-shot, as he stared at her with disdain written all over his face.
He took a step backward and turned to leave but came face to face with their seven-year old daughter who was glaring at him in fear. He could sense some animousity behind those frightful eyes, as tears built in them.
However, even that could not deter him from going out. He stormed out and Deborah ran to her mother in tears.
They sat in a corner of the little inn; one of their many get away spots. He could afford bigger and better Hotels but chose to meet with her in remote places where their whoredom would not come to light. At least to those who knew him. Places where the deceit and evil imaginations of in their hearts were played out to reality.
He ordered more drinks as excitement or what he thought it was, enveloped his total being. He was a prideful man, unbending in his beliefs and desires, regardless of who gets hurt.
Richard looked across at Ronke. A big, almost massive woman that is ready to do his bidding anytime, anywhere for a few contracts. A woman, who though beautiful enough to have a husband of her choice, chooses to remain single and unattached and even brings other women to him! A married man? He did not understand, nor did he care, so long as she came, when he called.
He had had his heart seared with a hot iron (1 Tim 4:2), leaving the path of uprightness and delighting in the ways of darkness, of ignorance, all in the name of fun.
“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” -1 Tim. 4:2
She picked her glass of black-foamy-beer, her eyes glistering with the euphoria of the moment.
“When are you going to approve my contract, Richard, I need money urgently”.
“I told you that there is a new company policy that prevents me from awarding or approving new contracts till the backlog of debts are cleared”. He answered, reaching for his drink, “Of course you can be rest assured that yours will be first I’ll approve”.
‘I need money to finish the work in my supermarket”.
“Sorry, my hands are tied there, I can’t help you”.
“Or would you loan me some, handsome” she cooed, robbing her legs against his under the table. He smiled.
“Even if you call me pretty, that will not swell my account”.
“But tell me, Richard,” she started rather seriously, “what do you do with your money, I know you hardly touch your salary; not with the fat bonuses contractors give you?”
“Do you give me? Or are you not a contractor yourself?”
“Ah!” she uttered with a pout. “But I give you more than just bonuses! “she reached across the table and touched his cheek lovingly.
The effect on him was instantaneous.
“How much do you want?”
“Three hundred thousand naira”.
Many men spend more outside , on strangers that would not be there for them tomorrow; especially in their hour of need.
This is also true of some women.
But, is this a manifestation of the untamed greed in all of us?
What do you think?
I would like to hear from you.
Have you ever wondered what people see in you to want to be around you? Especially your spouse; husband, wife?
What if in ignorance you cover, douse or kill the thing, would they still want to be around you? That is what self discovery is all about.
Many a home would have been saved the pain of separation and divorce had the couples taken the extra time to really get to discover themselves. No, I’m not talking about the man studying the wife or the wife studying the husband. But the man studying himself and the wife studying herself!
Who we are is so often dictated by society and people around us. That was the life Jacob lived until God encountered him.
We seldom know the uniqueness of our being; that much has been hidden in us that needs to be discovered!
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” – Proverbs 25:2 KJV
I am sure its not everything in your city that you know or are aware of. You are a city! You do not know yet all you need to know about you. The human body is a complex machine. Self discovery is the key!
It is not actually a lack of radiant look that is the problem but a lack of personality! Until you are an original, you are not a personality and therefore not beautiful. You are just “another person, not “THE” person. And this is mainly from copying others and listening to advice of unqualified people, like Jacob did.
Copying others will not bring out the best in you. You are a peculiar person; fearfully and wonderfully made.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” – Psalms 139:14 KJV
You are an original, dare to be unique!
There are things that God has created in you that cannot be found in any other. Those things are the real beauty in you. They are the things that God used to draw your spouse to you. That is why what I call beautiful may not be so to you.
The entire world is waiting for you to manifest those things. Don’t copy others! Don’t do what they are doing! The fact it works for them does not guarantee it would work for you. Neither does it mean that anything which fails to work for them would not work for you.
What would look so stunningly beautiful in another, may not look good on you.
Imagine a fat woman who decides not to play down her natural figure, but admires a slim woman wearing a mini-skirt and goes to make the same.
“Horrible”, you would say!
But imagine the same woman who accentuates her natural beauty by wearing a flowing skirt. She would no doubt look stately and attractive.
Copying others destroyers your creative ability as you would be too busy looking at others, to think of what is best for you.
Years ago, in the 70’s, at Adeniran Ogunsanya area of Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria, I was a pace-setter. I still am (Ah..hem, chuckle!).
Most children that lived in that area were from wealthy parents, who had between between three to four cars, because of the even and odd number plates driving-alternating days. My neighbours had easy access to money and could afford whatsoever they wanted: designer clothes, shoes, toys, magazines, etc. After school hours, we had morning and afternoon sessions then, each would push a car out from their compound and drive around, have fun and go shopping.
Coming from a middle-class home, my father had only one car. I had no access to the luxury and affluence that others had, yet I was the pace-setter in fashion! How? Next week!
But know there is so so much in you that needs to be discovered. Remember, made in the image of God you are deeper than you know!
……. to be continued next week.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Psalm 139:14
She was in high spirits. The children, three of them were in institutions of higher learning and were away from home. Not until the end of the semester before they would come home again.
They were together alone as when they started; before the children started coming.
Her husband had gone to work and she knew by experience that he did not remember that day was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They had surmounted the odds together: family pressures from both sides, financial pressures, business pressures, etc; pressures that threatened to tear them apart. but glory be to God for with every pressure came a greater strength and determination to continue. Every pressure had left them more bonded than before.
I was not easy, but looking back, she cannot but thank god for those times. for so the bible enjoins.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
She hurried with the cooking, after which she went to the salon to have her hair fixed. A particular hair-style was on her mind and she asked for it. She had seen it on some other women and it was a breath-taking sight each time she saw it. That style was the rave of the moment. It made the wearer accepted in social circles as being “current” or up to date.
Some days earlier, she had gone to her dressmaker and asked also for a particular design that she admired. it was a design in one of the international fashion magazines. A design that looked stunningly beautiful on the model.
She was all out to please her husband; to present her very best to him. The flame of love was still in their marriage and she desired to fuel it to burn bigger than before.
Back home, she set the food and dressed herself. Like a teenager going out on a date for the first time, she spent some time in front of the mirror, admiring her new hair-style and the new dress.
Not long afterwards, the door opened and her husband walked in. She flashed a genuine smile at him, savouring the shock and surprise written on his face.
He stood staring at her as though he had seen a ghost. His gaze went to her hair, down to her dress and finally their eyes locked.
“Surprise! Don’t you like it?”
“Like what?” His face squeezed into a frown.
“The hair, the dress!”
“What is that?” He asked in disgust.
Her shoulders drooped and her voice trembled.
“You, don’t like it?” She stammered, less confidently. She could feel her pride dissipating through the pores of her skin.
“You look ugly in that hair-style. And the dress looks……..” , he shook his head, not finding the proper word to use.
“Thank you” she said angrily storming into the room with tears brimming in her eyes.
So much for trying to please her husband.
All she wanted was to excite her husband by bringing out the beauty in her.
However all she did was copy other people, and failed to be herself. She could not see herself, and so did not really bring out the beauty inside of her. She simply mirrored the beauty of some other women; women her husband did not marry and maybe did not fancy! She ought to have sought after what was best for her, not what was best on others; what her husband saw in her before asking her hand in marriage; at least it is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Like finger prints, there is a uniqueness about each individual person that is peculiar to just that one person. We may look alike, but not really the same. It is that uniqueness in people that we actually call “beauty”!
God hides this beauty, this uniqueness, for us to locate.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”
Proverbs 25:2 KJV
Everyone is ugly, but potentially beautiful; till we have searched out this unique matter hidden in us!
Many are in bondage to satan through “what will other people think of me?” And “what are others doing?” They go about copying what others wear or do. Paul said that people who compare themselves with other people are not wise.
Many homes have been broken, not due to a lack of love, but for the demonstration of love which was not properly done!
Beloved, you are fearfully and wonderfully made! You are beautiful! Locate the beauty in you and accentuate it!
Remember, your discovery is your beauty!
– to be continued next week.