Day 17: Following God into the Future #28DayChallenge

The future: that imaginary place where all our problems are solved and our dreams are fulfilled. The younger we are, the more excited we are about the future. It holds so much promise and possibility that we can barely wait to get there. We make plans and write lists and take steps to get to the future we imagine. And as the future unravels, beginning with the next moment after our dreams and plans, it brings questions, choices, and uncertainties – things we did not plan for or expect. None of us knows what lies ahead of us.

Yet the Almighty God knows what is in our future. He knows all the possibilities that lie ahead of us and the outcomes that correspond to every set of choices or decisions we make. He sees the myriad of possible outcomes for every phase of our lives, including those outcomes we could never imagine or would rather not imagine. With that infinite wisdom, He asks us to follow and obey Him. God clearly indicates in the Bible that he wants to lead us (Psa. 32:8). He wants to achieve the best outcome possible with our lives but we will have to trust and follow Him.

Following God into the future means entrusting our plans to God (Prov. 3:5-6) and depending on Him for guidance. It means committing every thought, plan, or course of action to God in prayer, and being willing to change if we perceive that God wants us to do something differently. Following God calls for faith and humility. We have to be convinced God has a plan for our lives and that our efforts are not enough to live a life of purpose. He alone can guide us to live our best lives here on earth.

Approaching life with this mentality, however, can be challenging. It does not shield us from trials, difficulties, or pain. In fact, following God is often marked with difficult emotional experiences such as fear, anger, sadness, frustration, or anxiety. Many who followed God have experienced rejection, persecution, and loneliness. Some had the option to avoid some of these experiences by taking alternative routes or going their own way. Others had no choice and would have had similar experiences had they gone their own way.

However, the beauty of following God is that He walks with us through those experiences. He transforms our minds using His Word and teaches us how to remain joyful amid sorrow, peaceful during a storm, and loving even when subjected to hatred or wicked treatment. Another benefit of following God is that we avoid costly mistakes and unnecessary battles that could drain us of energy as we run to fulfill our purpose. Most importantly, we live to fulfill the design of God for our lives when we choose to follow God.

The future is always bright and beautiful, no matter what phase of life you are in. Of course, it is never lacking in challenges. This is why God wants you to be deliberate in walking with Him, so that He can lead you to lead an eternally impactful life that maximizes your potentials and fulfills His purpose for your life. My prayer is that you will choose to follow Him every day. Amen.

Day 11: Faith, Unfeigned #28DayChallenge

Today, I want to share a few thoughts on faith, particularly in connection with the adjective “unfeigned” as used in the King James Version of the Bible. If you use more modern versions such as the NKJV or NIV, the word will likely be rendered “sincere” or “genuine”. In the first chapters of both his letters to Timothy, Paul speaks about “unfeigned faith”. In first Timothy, he speaks of it as a Christian virtue that works together with love. In second Timothy, he recalls Timothy’s unfeigned faith as he (Paul) longs to see him (Timothy). The word is mentioned both in 1 Timothy 1:5 and 2 Timothy 1:5.

Continue reading “Day 11: Faith, Unfeigned #28DayChallenge”

On Repentance towards Others

In every healthy human relationship, there must be a good dose of a repentant attitude on both sides. We are constantly learning about each other, and finding out things about our friends, families and colleagues. If we are not disposed to “repent” or make changes, we are very likely to keep hurting or offending people we claim to love. We must commit to doing better when we fall short, and our commitment has to be backed up by the right actions. This is the language of true love – making sacrifices for the sake of other people.

On the other hand, the absence of true repentance gives room for breeding of mistrust. We humans are creatures of habit and judgment. We watch patterns and make deductions. When you don’t make changes after you claim to be sorry or repentant, you send a clear message that you do not mean your words. Whether they pick on it quickly or not, people remember, and when the great occasion comes when you need their trust, they will call to mind your behaviour. It is very important that we consciously commit to learning and evolving in every relationship.

Covered by Love

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.

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.

Continue reading “On Loving People”

Unrequited Love

What do you do when the one you love, loves another?

Do you plead for love, or quietly nurse your pain?

Do you wait in hope, or just simply walk away?

Do you silently pray and wish the ache would just abate?

Or do you gather with friends and drink your sorrow away?

Even though it remains, soon as you wake again

What do you do, when your heart is set upon a lost cause?

Toyin Taiwo, 2020

Liberty: a Poem for Nigeria

Today, October 1st, 2016, is Nigeria’s 56th independence celebration. In the spirit of celebration, and in the hope of a better tomorrow, I have penned the following words, because I believe. I believe that Nigeria will not be a failed dream or a failed state – it will come through for us, and we all will make it happen together. I look forward to that day, when all Nigerians will have a reason to believe in the nation, and will gladly sacrifice their lives for the dream called Nigeria, as some have done, and a few are still doing.

Happy Independence Day, fellow Nigerians! I hope you enjoy this piece. Cheers!

 

Liberty

 

I heard Liberty rise like a song

From the quiet street corners in Ibadan.

 

It was echoed as the song of Liberation

On the busy highways of Port-Harcourt.

This song resounded across our nation.

 

It was heard by the streams of Kainji Lake,

Travelled like a bushfire across the Middle Belt,

Engulfing the modern, tasteful mansions of Abuja,

Which like the burning bush, were unconsumed.

 

Its heat was felt in the villages around Yola,

As it blew like a wind across the arid north.

 

From Lagos to Calabar,

Liberty was a song and an anthem

Promising a better tomorrow for the pain of yesterday.

 

From Maiduguri to Birnin Kebbi,

Liberty was a fire and a whirlwind

Whistling in the ears of the poor and oppressed.

 

It was a call for emancipation, a demand for freedom

“Let my people go” became more than mere words

As everyday people unshackled one another.

 

Every man freed his neighbour with the truth

From the bondage of ignorance and illiteracy,

From debilitating lies and disabling deceptions.

 

Love became the new “babariga”

As unity became a national ideal,

And the continent shook in trembling response

As a sleeping giant finally rose to walk.

Toyin Taiwo © 2016

In Love

Like a freshly blooming daisy, you came and

Lit up my world

Smiling brightly and laughing heartily, with

Twinkling eyes

And talkative eyelashes and beautiful teeth.

 

Beautiful teeth

Were the reason I fell in love with a queen and

Your tender heart

Was the reason I stayed in love with a woman

Of great strength.

 

Tell me now that you fell in love with me too

As I did with you

That this love is why you are holding on to me

And will forever be.

 

Toyin Taiwo © 2016

Of Memory and Music, Love and Expectation

Hello there! It’s been a few days since I posted here; busy with work and writing too. It usually takes a lot of hard work to put up something I find worthy of reading or which captivates my own attention. And I have a few pieces of poetry I have been working on – I pray they turn out well so I can put them up.

In the meantime, I wrote two short pieces today, two seven-liners that evolved almost out of nowhere, but which captured some deep thoughts in my heart. I hope you can relate with them one way or another.

So this is the first piece, which is woven around memory and sounds:

Memories swathed in unfading music,

Each memory unique with its own song

Line every path wherever I may turn

As I journey through the maze of history.

The future awaits with own set of tunes

Amazing sounds; I hear them in visions

It is time for us go over to the other side.

The second piece speaks plainly on love and where we expect to find it (not what it is, which is another matter). Here goes:

 

We found love in unlikely places

In food courts and game centres

In the smiling eyes of cute babies

And helping hands of kind strangers

Maybe we were, indeed entirely wrong

To have sought love only in certain places

For love has always been wherever we went

 

I hope you enjoy them or find them stimulating and/or tasteful, the same way good food stimulates the mouth to salivate. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Kindly use the comment box below. Do not forget to like and share. Thanks for stopping by!

O. J. Taiwo