Even Great Men Struggle

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”

Wonder

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

Celebrate the Difference

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

Untouched. Unmoved.

Unchanging. Unending

Transforming. Upending

So we are treading. Softly

Unknowing. Uncertain

We are reeling. Weakly

Unloving. Unforgiving

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

Arriving. Finding

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

Exert Yourself

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.

Acceptable Service

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.

Purpose Talk

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.

Selah

Losing Fear

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