Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (I Thess. 5:18, NIV)
Today, I want to send you a quick reminder for a very important Christian attitude: giving thanks! Giving thanks refers to speaking words of appreciation to someone for something they have done (or will do) – an expression of our gratitude to them. While I will focus on giving thanks to God, I also realize that a thankful heart towards God usually doubles as a thankful heart towards fellow human beings. As simple as it is to give thanks, it is an attitude that many have not cultivated because they have allowed their situation to determine their attitude.
The last few days have been difficult for a lot of Nigerians. The #EndSARS protests which started as a spontaneous reaction to police brutality became a wildfire that spread across several cities of the nation. Hoodlums began to take advantage of the protests to wreak havoc, leading to a worrisome security situation. Sadly, on the same day a curfew was declared in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, armed security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters with an unverified number of dead people and several injured. It was indeed a traumatizing experience for many.
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
Here I am, lying in quiet contemplation As you gently serenade my soul With lyrics sung to an eternal tune. You speak peace to my storms And bring an end to my fears. Your words stir my lukewarm soul And awaken my heart to heavenly love
Love so tireless that it chases me Down to depths of depression where I sink Love so true that it pulls me out From the chambers of darkness and death As I fade away from the view of a busy world: A world that moves on with ease When this fragile frame I finally lay aside
Your love draws me out of myself into You Into purpose and service and sacrifice With fulfillment and everlasting joy In Your presence, I find abundance of peace Even in the midst of a troubled world. So, once I was lost chasing shadows in the dark But now I am found, shining brightly like a star
The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I am loved with a love that never ceases or fails, drawn with a kindness that has no precedence. God’s love calls out to me in the day time, whispers to me in the night seasons, heals me when I am wounded and restores me when I am broken. This love, so surreal, rejoices over me with gladness, like a sheep once lost now found. He sings to me joyfully as I lay quietly in the palm of his arms, covered by His love, without care or concern in this world.
One common thread we quickly observe as we journey through the story of the Jewish patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – is their devotion to basic principles that underpin their lives. These men were primarily farmers, owning and raising livestock as well as cultivating the ground. And they were often on the move in search of greener pasture (literally) or better farming conditions. But wherever they went, there were two things they always did: raise altars of prayer and dig wells of water. These two actions have great significance for us now as it did for them then. Let us explore further…
By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11
Somewhere between God’s promise and its performance is the necessity of faith, or the act of believing and acting on what God said. While God’s promises are a function of His covenant mercy towards man, the manifestation of those promises are often a function of our response to Him in faith. This means if no one believes the promises of God, there is no certainty the promises will manifest. Which is why Jesus asks: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith in the earth?”
Yesterday, I turned thirty-two. By design, I was off work – I definitely like to take some vacation days around my birthday to rest and reflect on the past and the future. So, once again, happy birthday to me! For the past few weeks, I have been reading from the book of Genesis, one chapter a day. It has been quite insightful journeying with ancient Bible characters and standing in their shoes as they tried to make sense of their lives and purpose. Yesterday, it was time to read chapter thirty-two, and I thought that was an interesting coincidence.
Hallos! Thank you for coming by. The last few days have been quite busy for me – trying to keep up with work and catch up with other commitments. Who said working from home was easy anyway? Far from it! I put in far more hours than an average day at the office. Right now, I am just going as slow as I can and resting as much as possible. Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking with a few friends on the dangers of youthful exuberance, and I would like to share four points we discussed at that forum; you will find them helpful regardless of your age.
Today has been sad. I received two messages – one from a friend and the other from a colleague. The friend told me about a debt he’s being owed – and how the debtor is playing games with him instead of being sincere. The colleague told me about the death of another colleague, a lively man whose sudden departure has been a huge shock to everyone who knew him. They say death is a debt, and all men must pay. If the one who owes my friend won’t pay him, he, like the rest of us, must pay the debt of death. It’s all a matter of time.
The debtor is never free from the hold of his creditor – he remains accountable for that owed sum, no matter how little it is. When his creditor comes calling, he has a duty to pay up or explain himself. Likewise, our life is a gift for which we must give account to God after our time on earth is done. What account will you give when your time comes? Every man is born a sinner, but Jesus paid the debt of our sins by his death on the cross, so that we who believe are no longer sinners, but sons of the living God, our heavenly Father.
Even then, death is a sure thing for every living soul. The real question is what happens after death. Will you go to eternal condemnation for unpaid sins, or will you go to eternal bliss having accepted the payment made for your sins by Jesus the Saviour? You must make a choice – and that choice determines what happens after you breathe your last. It also determines what happens while you remain alive. Will you live to pursue your own agenda, or will you live to fulfil the divine purpose for which you were made?
P.S. If you would like to accept Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins, please pray as follows: “Dear Jesus, I accept that I am a sinner, and I believe you died for me. I confess that you are my Saviour and Lord, and I am yours from this forward. Amen.”
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt. 11:28-29, NIV)
Life gets busy, super busy. Sometimes, it’s just one area of our life that causes a lot of stress. Other times, it is a combination of the many things we are involved in. Sooner or later, we all find ourselves in that place where it feels like we have more to do than we could ever handle in a lifetime. We just want to switch off and get away from it all – the demands of life and the expectations of people. Then there may be the guilt of having strayed from our relationship with God: we all struggle sometimes to keep it all together.
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Gen 15:6, NIV)
The combined simplicity and depth of this verse amazes me. We often think of God as having great expectations of us, and he does. But what we think of as great may not be God’s idea of great. God speaks to Abram, Abram believes what God says, and God says “You are a correct man!”. I know it is deeper than that, but that’s really how simple it is. Righteousness, in God’s books, has always been attributed based on childlike faith. “If I speak, and you believe, then you are righteous” – that is the Lord’s creed.