Sometimes I wonder how Elijah got to the point of telling God he wanted to die – the point where he felt he was no better than his fathers. He must have felt helpless. That moment of his life was no doubt an unbelievable contradiction. Here was a man who held a whole nation to ransom, without whose word the rain would not fall, asking God to take his life. It was the point where Jezebel threatened to kill him, and he ran for his life, ending up in the wilderness. It was a point of exhaustion, where he was completely drained and unable to summon inner strength for the journey ahead of him. Hear his words, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” Continue reading “Even Great Men Struggle”
When evening shadows grow pale
And the noise of the day’s hustle fades into a hum
When darkness decends over the busy city
And devout men in various attires
Head in response to houses of prayer
I sit in meditation of Your awesome wonder
Wondering if you are listening to my heart
Broke and broken, harassed and shaken
By colleagues and bosses, malicious and vicious
You wonder if your voice might be heard
If a place was reserved for you in His courts
Then you might plead your own cause
As bright stars fill up the moon-lit sky
And the scent of your prayers rise up high
I heard Your voice in the temple on holy day
When the saints gathered in Your presence
Your voice was as the sound of many waters
Though what I hear now is both still and small
And I cannot but wonder if that will be all
Wonder. Such a wonder You are in Your ways
Ageless and unchanging, You are full of many days
Toyin Taiwo © 2016
Yellow. And Red
Green. And Blue
Cream. And Coffee
Milk. And Chocolate
White and Black and You and Me
And everything that’s in between
Contrast and complement
Within the space that fills the earth.
The space. That fills
That occupies. Unseen
So we are treading. Softly
We are reeling. Weakly
In cycles of Love and Hate
We cough up what we ate
Now needless. Now endless.
Now beginning. Now ending
Now returning. Newly starting
From the beginning of beginnings
Traces of nothing
It never was to start with
You started. And finished
All alone in the darkness
Because you chose to
Loathe the difference
Between us. The difference
Between You and Me
Toyin Taiwo © 2016
As we run our race, it is important to cultivate the art of exerting ourselves. No one will prosper greatly who does not exert himself in his profession. This statement is especially true of Christians. We must exert ourselves in studying the word of God, every man for himself, and in continuous prayers, every man for himself. To be lazy is to hope we can get by on a few nuggets of truth here and there or a word of prayer from this fellow and that fellow. The promise of the New Testament is that every man will know God for himself (Jer. 31:34, Heb. 8:11). The premise of our call as believers is that every Christian will be a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:3).
The challenge to spend time in God’s word and in prayers is not only for the clergy. All of us have a duty to grow our spirits and renew our minds with the Word. Do not be a lazy Christian. Read the Bible. Read it every day. Check things you have heard from others for yourself in the Bible – do not take anyone’s word for it. And be sure to spend time praying, every day.
Our service to God is from the spirit, the inner man. The value of our service and sacrifice is not in the time we spend, or the strength we expend, but in the surrender of our hearts to God as we serve. We cannot serve God without total surrender of our person to God – for then our service would be unacceptable to Him. The strength for acceptable spiritual service comes from the One we serve, and that strength is only released into our weakness and inadequacy.
The point of what I am saying is this: we cannot take pride in our service to God (and humanity, by extension) because God is the giver of all grace and every good thing. Our service must begin from a point of admission of our insufficiency and inability, even if we seem sufficient and capable. It is crucial to acknowledge the supremacy, ownership, and authorship of God in all we are, and all we have. It is only from that point of acknowledging our emptiness without Christ that we can truly offer acceptable service and sacrifices to our God and Father.
The beast just visited me
It wore a hood
And spoke in hushed tones
Seemed in a bit of a hurry
Told me to gather my belongings
I ignored it
And rolled over on my bed
Not even sure how I heard it
It spoke a strange language
After muttering for a while
It turned abruptly from me
My purpose in life is pretty straightforward, and one way to put it is this: to represent God as accurately as possible to my generation. In that regard, I am on a journey of faith, and a work in progress.
I say “journey of faith”, because representing God to my generation is a continuous task on a day-to-day basis. I may get it right one day, and get it wrong the next, but I continually strive by the working of Christ in me to get it right every day, every moment. The element of faith in that journey implies that I cannot trust in my power or ability to achieve this task. Rather, I have to depend continuously on the power of Christ at work in me to always get it right.
I say “work in progress”, because my ability to represent God accurately improves as I continue day after day, to spend time reading God’s word and talk to Him in prayer. If I stay true to that course, I will become better at making decisions that reflect the true nature of Christ within me. I will also become better at telling the difference between the things that matter to God, and the things that do not, what pleases Him, and what does not.
I started out on this journey when I received the life of God into my heart by accepting Jesus as my Saviour and Lord. And it will be a continuous journey of faith and work in progress till I return to my Maker.
I was a captive. Of fear.
My fears – they held me by the throat
And threatened to let me go
If I ventured beyond the boundaries
They lovingly set for me.
You see, I was raised to court safety
To keep a safe distance from trouble
To use my senses, and ensure I am enclosed
By walls of security always surrounding me.
So I was always secured, heavily guarded
By my fears – the experts on security.
They set my boundaries, told my stories,
Made my choices, lent me voices,
Even threatened my friends and family
On my behalf. So I was always safe.
Safe, but never free. I was a stranger
To the vicissitudes of an adventurous life
To the uncertainties of risk-taking
And the attendant rewards
Of inventions and profits unimaginable
New lands and foreign ventures
Were strangers in my world.
Till one day,
One day while my fears were closely watching
I looked through the window of hope
And beheld visions of a different reality.
I had new dreams and saw beyond security.
I saw possibility, no, possibilities.
Possibilities in different shapes and forms
That demanded courage and sacrifice,
That demanded selflessness
Armed with courage, equipped with knowledge,
I began a journey into the unknown,
A journey to define the future.
Embracing my destiny, I let go of my fears
And found that all the while,
It was I who held on to my fears, afraid to fail
I had been my own limitation.
So I let go, and rode the tides of life,
Learning the lessons, winning some battles,
And while learning to win the war,
Failing some classes.
I enrolled in the school of life
And found freedom in the pursuit of purpose
Knowing I could fail, but learning how not to fail.
Now a stranger to fear, I know no limitations,
I have no boundaries, and fear no incursions
In my journey to pursue purpose, and fulfill destiny.
Toyin Taiwo © 2016