Rise

Rise
Above my fears and your misfortune
Above your failure and my weakness
Today could just become your day
But first, you will need to rise again

Rise
To the tune of your glorious anthem
And the rhythm of my solemn pledge
To the challenge of restoring the ruins
And the labour of saving your name

Rise
Above this injustice and corruption
Beyond the limits of manipulation
Rise to the status of true nationhood
In unity and peace, by faith making progress

Rise
My beloved country, my dear friends and family
Above selfish interests and personal gain
Beyond finger-pointing to solution-finding
Until a great nation on the earth we truly become

O.J. Taiwo
Oct. 1, 2014

Joseph

Though a solitary wanderer lost in foreign lands
Yet stayed true to the culture of my native home
The blessings of my father were far much greater
Than amazing bounties found in everlasting hills
Eminent among brothers, a prince among sons
Humbled by circumstances; loved by my father
I found unusual favour with my Father above

He who brought me out of a dungeon so I could
Sit on thrones and teach wisdom to noble men
Makes for a wondrous tale every time it is told
Though depressing as I wandered through it all
And this births my message to every generation:
Hold on to faith as you go through the process
My name is Joseph: a fruitful bough by the well

Altars and Wells

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…

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On Loving People

The greatest treasures anyone can ever have are people. We are also the greatest trials we can ever experience. I write today to ask you to value the gift of people in your life, to pray for them and nurture them. Loyal and supportive, reliable and faithful, dependable and honest – people with the right disposition are the greatest blessings you can ever experience. The reverse is also true – people with the wrong disposition are the worst experiences you can ever have. And so, a crucial life skill we all require is the capacity to discern people rightly and respond to them correctly.

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A Prayer for You

Hello, dear friends! I wish you a happy new month of September. I’m grateful to God for the gift of life and the blessing of family and friends. I am especially grateful for God’s gracious gift of eternal life, freely given to those who believe in Jesus Christ our Lord. May His name be praised forever. As though in a flash, eight months of the year 2020 have flown by, and we are now set upon the last few months of this extraordinary year that has brought the most unprecedented changes to our lives.

I want to encourage you to set out this new month with determination and devotion to pursue whatever your heart is set on. Do not dither, waver or be idle, but act with commitment and give your best. As they say, procrastination is a thief of time, and time waits for no man. Great things are achieved when we commit to action, one day at a time. COVID-19 has been a great disruption, but our lives go on, and many are making progress. Whatever your hand find to do, be sure to do it wholeheartedly.

This is my prayer for you – that your hand will be strong to perform the tasks God has called you to, that your vision will be clear in times of uncertainty, that your perception will be accurate in the presence of deception, and that your heart will fully embrace all that you are called to do. I pray that God’s Holy Spirit will order your steps into His perfect will, and that you will look back on this month with praise to God. All of this I ask in Jesus’ precious name. Amen. Have a blessed month ahead of you!

I Judge Him Faithful

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?”

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Thirty-Two – The Encounter

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.

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Come, just as you are

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance (Luke 5:32)

The irony of getting into a relationship with God, the righteous and holy Maker of the universe, is that He requires nothing of us except that we come to Him, just as we are. Jesus was clear during His days on earth, that He came in order to call sinners to repentance. His words are a reflection of the Father’s desire. So God knows that when people come, they come because they need help, not because they are good, strong or righteous. God is not ashamed to receive people in their weakness; He expects them to come just as they are.

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Growing up into Him

God’s desire is for all of His children to grow up and become like Him. For this reason, he gave us a template of what we need to become: Jesus Christ. In Jesus, we see a perfect example of what we should look like when we have grown up to become like our heavenly Father. We can benchmark our growth and progress by comparing how we live with how Jesus lived while on earth. However, our growth does not come by comparison. Growth comes when we feed on God’s Word, the living bread that truly satisfies and nourishes.

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God is Good

God is good. As I reflect tonight, I cannot but agree with the testimony of Scriptures and the saints through the ages who have affirmed unreservedly that “God is good”. In spite of the hardships, sorrow and difficulties faced by many people in the world today, the truth remains that God is good. We fallen in a fallen world, but we are beneficiaries of the goodness and mercies of the living God, who causes the sun to rise on the good and the evil, who sends rain both for the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45)

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