The little packages………..

A lot of the time,when we pray, we have in mind EXACTLY how we want God to answer us (which is fine since it’s always better to pray specific prayers). We may or may not get the answers we want; it might tarry or might come instantly. His timing remains perfect,nonetheless. Normally, because we are blinded by our expectations; we tend to miss out on the answered prayers just because we don’t like the package. We ignore it and go back to praying the same prayer, the same one that has already been answered.  

Story of my life: I prayed about getting a good paying job, but I had no answer, well, at least that was what I thought. Boy, I was frustrated, lashing out at everyone. Little did I know my answer was right in front of me and I was missing it. For those who don’t know me, I speak pretty good French and I have been blessed with good oratory skills 😅😅. As I was awaiting ‘my dream job’, I had a friend walk to me and suggested I started some sort of tuition which will require the above skill sets. Oh, he didn’t finish making his point, I shushed him there and there. ‘No way, Me? Teach? No way!!’  

Everything you’ve ever dreamed of, will often show up in a different packaging than you were envisioning’- Brenden Dilley 

Why? I was myopic. I couldn’t see the bigger picture. After battling with the thought for some time, I considered it, with half a heart. I spoke to a friend about it, we set the ball rolling and it turned out that tuition was just 10% of the services the actual business was going to provide; there was a lot more this business venture will offer, plus it would create a lot of jobs for others . If I hadn’t accepted the idea, though I fought the thought for a bit, I wouldn’t have known of the other opportunities or doors that will be opened to me. Right now, I’m a hundred percent committed to this. French Buddy(the name of the company) is here to stay, I have a wonderful team and the future is very bright. From this experience, I have learnt not to despise small beginnings. I’m no longer afraid to start small.  

There are many similar and even more fascinating examples in the Bible. A rather famous one is the story of Jesus Christ, who literally came in a small package ‘a little baby in a manger’. A manger? Come on!!! This is Jesus Christ. If some of us were in His shoes, we would have chosen to come down from the skies in a golden chariot with angels singing ‘Here comes the King’ but He chose to come as a baby, who will have to go through the various growth stages before He started His ministry and we can all testify we are here because of His work on earth.  

The Bible also tells us about the story of the heavily indebted widow in 2 Kings 4,verses 1 to 7. I love this story so much because it stresses on the power of God and how He can use the little things we possess to do wonderful things to His glory. This widow had nothing at all ‘except a small jar of olive oil’ and Elisha asked her to collect empty jars from her neighbors. He then instructed her to fill all the jars with the oil and this oil only stopped flowing when there were no jar left. She sold this oil to pay off all her debts and lived on the rest. We can imagine how blown away her mind was. She would have put it up on snap chat if it existed back then. This miracle right here, is the power of God and his ability to perform miracles with the little things. 

Another story is that of Moses. When he got to the Red Sea, the Lord used something so insignificant and small in the eyes of Moses, his rod, to part the Red Sea just so the Israelites can cross over to the other side. This further solidifies the point that God can use the most teensy things to turn our lives around.  

We can observe in both stories that the power of God was paramount, so when He answers our prayers and entrusts us with a talent, idea, gift or package, albeit its size, we need to obey Him mainly because it is not the size of the package that matters but His power, which is greater than everything. The instructions, along with the package might not make sense right now but the results will be fantastic because His plans are always tailored for our good.  

Don’t get it twisted, I am not saying that God gives us only small packages. We just need to remind ourselves that His thoughts are not our thoughts nor are His ways our ways.(Isaiah 55:8). So when it comes to God answering our prayers, we need to keep an open heart and mind so we don’t risk the chance of missing out on His blessings. We need to learn to trust Him, and take the first step in making whatever idea we have a reality, bearing in mind that wherever He sends us, He will definitely provide.  

Sena.  

Losing our religion 

I came across a blog post that spoke of a group of women who went to minister in a strip club. You read right. A strip club! The revelations were amazing: these strippers revealed that they normally received condemning mails and posts from some churches, and were amazed at the level of niceness metered out to them by these preacher women. After a few visits, these strippers were eventually saved by Christ. The part of the story where the strippers stated they received condemning mails and posts from some churches, I must say is a highlight of the everyday ‘Christian’ life(mine included). 
Christians(myself included) are so quick to label others as sinners and unclean. We even think we are better Christians than our fellow Christians and meter out total condemnation to those who are not ‘Christian enough’. We find ourselves consciously or unconsciously enveloped in certain principles and rules and this in turn makes us feel superior to others.  

Interestingly, this act dates as far back as when a Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with Him and was marveled that Jesus did not wash his hand before dining with Him. Jesus in his response to the Pharisee, said the Pharisees were mainly concerned about the outward keeping of the law and certain self righteous principles they follow just so they can look good on the outside but in reality and truth, they were so dirty on the inside. (Luke 11:39-46). Still in the book of Luke, (chapter 7:36), Jesus’ feet were wiped by a sinful woman and again, the Pharisee was surprised that He allowed such a sinful person to touch Him. He replied, using a parable which indicated that one who is heavily indebted will appreciate the cancellation of his debts more than one who isn’t heavily indebted.  

Another example was when Jesus healed the leper on the sabbath. In those days, the Sabbath was to be kept holy and no work of any sort had to be done on this day. According to the Pharisees, the act of healing was a form of work, and were ready to bring charges against Jesus because he had worked on the Holy day. But Jesus asked them a rather interesting question; if their sheep fell into a well on the Sabbath, would they pull it out? or say it was the sabbath so leave the sheep to die? Certainly, they will rescue the sheep.(Mark 1:40-45)  

All these examples are certifications that we need to lose the law and these ‘righteous principles’ and embrace His love. This, he made possible by dying for us just so we can have grace and experience His love thus we need to realize that who we are, what we do, what we possess is not because of certain self acclaimed principles or our hard work, or following a set of laid down rules, but by His Grace.  

Have we forgotten so soon that we used to be lost and He found us? Have we forgotten that Jesus was a friend of sinners? And that all of our holy and righteous ways are filthy rags without His love and His Grace? And that the Cross does not discriminate? And that His Love is for all of us? 


‘Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other, which will bring glory to God'(Romans 15:7) 

 
Kirk Franklin once said, “We want people to be clean before they come to Christ, when only Christ can clean them”. This is the truth, ONLY the blood of Jesus can cleanse them. Nothing but the Blood of the Jesus. In the Old Testament, there was the Mosaic law where one couldn’t go into the presence of God unless an offering was killed, its blood sprinkled all around an altar and its body burnt on the altar. (Leviticus 1:5) but Christ’s death changed everything. Now, anyone no matter how unclean and sinful they have been, can come to God and He will receive them.  

So how do we lose our religion? By taking off the cloak of legalism and self acclaimed righteousness and getting garbed in God’s love. Don’t you want others to enjoy the peace you’re enjoying? the freedom and all the goodies you get from serving Christ? Remember Jesus spent so much time with ‘the wrong crowd’ that it drove the religious and legalists crazy. I’m most definitely not asking you to walk into a strip club and do the same thing the women did, I’m saying we don’t need to allow things like the sinful nature of people, their religious inclination or their social status hinder us from reaching out to them. After all, we are not to judge. Instead, we need to let the love of God take over. These women were led by the Holy Spirit (who is love) and the result was a bridge created for the strippers to cross over to God. All this was because the preacher women lost their religion.  

Let’s remember there’s no fear or discrimination in the love of God. “Here there is no Gentile or Jew,circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian , slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all (Col. 3:11). His love is for EVERYONE, regardless of your background or your past. He wants us to put on the robe of love today…”put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity”.(Col. 3:14) 

I’m on a journey to lose my religion, care to ride with me?  

Sena.  

You don’t have to worry

I used to worry a lot. My mind was always wandering. Maybe because I wanted to succeed so bad so that all my mother’s sacrifices wouldn’t be in vain. Just maybe. Or maybe things were not happening as swiftly and smoothly as I wanted them to. Either way, I was always in a pensive mood and I just couldn’t catch a break. I felt exhausted. Though I did a good job concealing it on the outside, I was heavily beat on the inside. Also,I worried about my future and what it had in store for me. Calling me a pessimist will not match the mindset I had back then but God had different plans for me. You know how they say God speaks to us in very diverse ways? Yeah, I had my fair share of that: It took a tweet for me to check out a song called ‘Intentional’ by Travis Greene. The song really spoke to me; it felt tailor-made for me and what I was going through. I felt okay but there was still that little squeaky voice telling me I couldn’t make it. I was still worried!
So I prayed about it, and God being so good I came across an article written by Pastor Rick Warren called Four Reasons Why We Don’t Have to Worry. In his article, He described worry as a control issue: an attempt to control the uncontrollable. He asserted that worry solves nothing and continued to list four reasons why we need not worry. These reasons were given to us by Jesus Christ in his Sermon on the Mount.

1. Worrying is unreasonable: Matthew 6:25 says ‘Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more than clothes?’. To worry about something you can change is stupid. To worry about something you can’t change is useless. Either way, it’s unreasonable to worry. 

2. Worry is unnatural: Jesus illustrates this in Matthew 6:26 : ‘Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?’ Mankind(you and I) is the only creation of God that worries. God says this is unnatural. 

3. Worry is unhelpful: Matthew 6:27 says: ‘Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’. Worrying doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t bring you close to your solution. It only changes you by making you miserable!

4. Worry is unnecessary: Matthew 6:30 states that ‘If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you- you of little faith’. If you trust in God you don’t have to worry because ‘ God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19 NIV).

Does that include you passing your examination? Yes. Does that include you finding a job? Does that include your meeting your targets at work? Yes. Does that include you finding market for your products? Yes. Does that include you receiving healing? Yes. He is the Great Provider and He will provide for you.

Now the icing on the cake! I recently went for a worship night with Travis Greene at Empowerment Worship Centre in Achimota. Travis Greene shared a simple yet powerful story;
According to him, a few years back, he went to see the movie ‘Avatar’ with a friend. When the movie started, all he saw were blue scary creatures flying around and he being generally scared of ‘any thing that moves but that doesn’t talk’; dogs, cats and definitely blue weird-looking funny creatures, he decided that this wasn’t the movie for him and wanted to leave. But his friend said to him “Don’t leave, it gets better”. The reason for his friend’s bold statement was because he had already seen the movie. 
Now let’s apply this to our lives, many are the situations we face; these situations have our backs against the wall and everything seems so scary and it looks like there is no possible way to turn them around. If you’re reading this, your life is like a movie that was written and directed by God, He has read all the scripts over and over and over again. He is the Alpha and Omega, He knows the end from the beginning so why do we tend to worry if He tells us that the plans He has for us are to prosper us and not to harm us and that these plans will give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). God wants us to know that our lives will get better. It might look scary now but it is definitely going to get better because He makes all things better. There may be scars and wounds that don’t seem like they will heal anytime soon but His word assures that all things work together for those who love the Lord and have been called according to His purpose. He didn’t say all things are good but all things are working for your good. 
This is not to say I am totally immune to  worry. There are some moments I find myself  thinking too much so what do I do? I quickly run back to these simple yet powerful words and I just feel at peace. Oh, it feels so good to have an eternal insurance policy:His Word. 

Sena.