Archive for March, 2009

March 30, 2009

10 Things Tuesday


Family: yes, this includes the annoying brothers too. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without them. They nag, pet, scold, praise and even criticize me into shape. Not always pleasant but whatever notions of grandeur I might secretly harbour dissipates as soon as I get home. Sigh

Friends: especially now that my friends are so far away, I appreciate them. They try to keep in touch and even though I have not seen them in a while, I know they have my back.
Sweetheart: I am always thankful for him. He loves me and has no problem showing it. My American and British sisters may not understand that, but if you are African, specifically Nigerian, you know how extraordinary that is.

My new kitten: well, it’s not here yet but it will soon be. I’ve been trying to think up a suitable name; for some reason I just think it will be female. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to wait till it actually gets here but I’m so excited!

Francis and Felicia: these are the two teens I was working with. A few days ago I told them I was not going to work with them any longer (if you want to know why check here). Anyway, I still went on praying for them and I told God if he really wanted me to work with them, he should bring them back. Well, yesterday Francis walked into my flat. He came to ask me not to give up on him. It was a milestone for me; we are not there yet but we are certainly on our way.

The Teenage Girls I’m working with: I write about them often. We just finished the book of Ruth in the Bible and I wanted to know if they understood what we’d studied so I asked them each to give me one life lesson from Ruth and apply it to their lives. I was astonished! I just want to thank God for what he is doing in the lives of these young ladies and also for the lessons I’m learning as I work with them.

Rest Time: I have had two weeks of rest. That is not good for the Guest House because it means there have been no guests; but to be honest, it has been terrific for me! After hosting over 30 people for 2 weeks, I think I deserve the rest.

God’s word: ahh… now that is something to be grateful for ALL the time. However, I was just thumping through the Bible and I got this message that ended up as my Something For The Week post.

The Peace that transcends all logic: I have been going through some stuff that would normally have made me all miserable and morose. It’s funny that I have only told God about it and despite everything, I feel a peace that defies all that is reasonable. I should be sad, or at least feeling ill used and sorry for myself; goodness knows I’ve tried but I just can’t seem to manage it. I have peace and I’m loving it!

God’s fingerprints around me: I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I practically live smack dab in the bosom of nature. It definitely seems that way to me sometimes especially when yesterday, these group of pheasants came almost to my doorstep. I have been looking out for them. They came around my house once but did not stay long. Then last month they came to sand bath at my backyard; unfortunately my camera had run out of battery power then. So imagine my delight when I looked out the window of my kitchen and saw them marching. Of course, before I could get my camera they were long gone; I was only able to get the shot of one and it’s not a very good shot at that. Still, it shows that the Lord’s creatures are everywhere.

pheasant
Where I live is an ornithologists’ dream. Heaven knows what this bird is but it sure got my attention!

bird

Yay! I’m so proud of myself I actually got to do the Ten Things Tuesday post today. Now let’s hope the internet does not act up. Ten Things Tuesday is a meme which is hosted by Mrs Brownstone. Check it out; it definitely changes your perspective about life.

March 30, 2009

Whose Father Was He


I read this lovely piece by Errol Morris on The New York Times site. It held me riveted and I just had to read it till the end. It is a lovely poignant tale. Here is parts of it:

The soldier’s body was found near the center of Gettysburg with no identification – no regimental numbers on his cap, no corps badge on his jacket, no letters, no diary. Nothing save for an ambrotype (an early type of photograph popular in the late 1850’s and 1860’s) of three small children clutched in his hand. Within a few days the ambrotype came into the possession of Benjamin Schriver, a tavern keeper in the small town of Graeffenburg, about 13 miles west of Gettysburg. The details of how Schriver came into possession of the ambrotype have been lost to history. But the rest of the story survives, a story in which this photograph of three small children was used for both good and wicked purposes. First, the good.

Four men on their way to Gettysburg were forced to stop at Schriver’s Tavern when their wagon broke down. They heard the tale of the fallen soldier and saw the photograph of the children. One of them, Dr. J. Francis Bourns, a Philadelphia physician on his way to tend to the wounded from the battlefield, was intrigued. He convinced Schriver to give him the photograph so that he might attempt to locate the dead man’s family. Perhaps he was touched by the poignancy of the photograph – three children, all under the age of ten, now without a father. As a life-long bachelor he might have yearned for a wife or family of his own. On the other hand, perhaps he saw it as an opportunity for financial gain.

Dr. Bourns returned to Philadelphia with the ambrotype. He had it copied by several photographers, producing hundreds of inexpensive duplicates in the carte de visite format. The carte de visite photograph, roughly the size of an index card, could be printed in multiple copies, allowing for much quicker mass production of a single photographic image than ever before. Because there was no way of printing photographs in a newspaper, Bourns knew that he might need dozens if not hundreds of cartes de visite to put the image of the three children before the eyes of someone who knew them.

But the story had to be circulated as well, so the photographs were supplemented by a series of newspaper articles, the most prominent of which appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Oct. 19, 1863, a little over three months following the discovery of the ambrotype. It appeared under the heading, “Whose Father Was He?”

Read the rest here.

Errol Morris: Whose Father Was He? (Part One)
Published: March 29, 2009
Untangling the mystery of a Civil War photograph, part one.
March 29, 2009

Something For The Week


somthing-for-the-week

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

March 28, 2009

Dancing With God


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When I meditated on the word Guidance,
I kept seeing ‘dance’ at the end of the word.

I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing.

When two people try to lead, nothing feels right.

The movement doesn’t flow with the music,

And everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.

When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead,

Both bodies begin to flow with the music.

One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back

Or by pressing Lightly in one direction or another.

It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully.

The dance takes surrender, willingness,

And attentiveness from one person

And gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word
Guidance.
When I saw ‘G’: I thought of God, followed by ‘U’ and ‘I’.

‘God, ‘U’ and ‘I’ dance.’

God, you, and I dance.

As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust

That I would get
guidance about my life.
Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings

And mercies are upon you on this day and everyday.

May you abide in God, as God
abides in you.
Dance together with God, trusting God to lead

And to guide you through each season of your life.

This prayer is powerful and there is nothing attached.

If God has done anything for
you in your life,
Please share this message with someone else.

Interceding in prayer is one of the best gifts we can receive.

There is no cost but a lot of rewards;

So let’s continue to pray for one another.

This was forwarded to my email this morning and I just had to share it. Have a wonderful weekend!

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March 27, 2009

What to do When the Bible Does not Make Sense


open-bible-the-word-powerpoint-thumb_medium

When I wrote the topic of this post, I knew a lot of readers would see that as borderline heresy. But let’s be realistic here, there are times you read the Bible and you have a great, big question mark on your forehead. What??

The Bible is a very personal book; I have discovered that the same verse in the Bible will have five different meanings to five different people. Which is why sometimes, the Bible just does not make sense to the person reading it at a particular time. For those familiar with biblical scripture, there are times you read and there seems to be divine clarity; everything just seems to come together in what is often times called rhema.

Rhema is defined as the inspired revelation, word or insight from God; it is an enviable experience…this is when the word takes on a life of its own. Unfortunately, that does not always happen and not everyone gets to experience rhema all the time. There are times, especially for me, when I read the Bible and it’s almost indecipherable – like I’m reading English quite alright, but it does not translate to my brain as English. When that happens, what do you do?

I remember as a child, I went to my mum and complained about the problem. She gave me two solutions:

  • Pray. She said I should ask God to make it clear for me since it was His word anyway. And truly, the Bible is Life and it has a Spirit of it’s own. Asking God for clarity and understanding works like a charm. Sometimes. Colosians 1:9 says “… We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.” But the verse of scripture in James is even more specific, it says: If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking (James 1:5) …It can be as simple and as straight forward as that. Even then, there were times when I would pray but there just seemed to be a block in my understanding. Mum had another solution
  • Just Keep Reading. Yep. That was it essentially. She told me that sometimes it did not matter if I understood or not, I should not stop reading. The Bible is not always understood by the rational mind; sometimes while the human mind grapples with some part of it, the Spirit man is soaking it up and storing it for an appropriate time. That is the essence of continuing to read regardless. It is not until you are in a situation like Jesus was when he was tempted by the devil in the wilderness – when you find yourself in such a situation or in a place where you desperately need encouragement and reassurance of God’s love, then the scripture you thought you did not understand filters back into your consciousness to rebuke, inspire and comfort.

So as a born again Christian, when you are reading the Bible and it just doesn’t seem to make sense, remember: PRAY and KEEP READING!

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March 22, 2009

Giving Up or Giving In – Internet Cafe Devotions


Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

After looking at the verse in Galatians, what specific “fruit” (love, joy, peace…) do you find yourself lacking in your daily life? Give an example if you can.

What circumstance in your life shows your weakness with the specific “fruit” you mentioned above.

Growing up, I heard a constant refrain from my mum “you are too impatient!” Over the years, I don’t think I’ve gotten any better. It is not as though I have not tried to become more patient or asked God to make me more patient it’s just that each time I think I am finally improving, something happens to show me that that is still a problem in my life.

I wrote some time ago about two teenagers I was working with, I even did an update post then yesterday, I asked them both to stop coming to me. Well, I told them the agreement we made was cancelled and I was stepping back from their matter and issues. OK, I have never been known for patience; that is one of my greatest faults – I am very impatient. Still, I don’t know if this course of action is a sign of impatience.

I discovered these children had been telling me series of lies and worse still, they were using me! At least it felt that way. The girl (Felicia) stayed with me in my flat for two weeks and I tried to be a friend to her. I let her know I was available anytime if she wanted to talk. And guess what? The very day I released her to go back home, she went straight to the boy’s (Francis) house and they had sex. According to her, that was the first time. I felt so hurt and I was even more distressed when she told me she did not know if they used protection! I wanted to bash her head against the concrete floor! Where the mission base is located in Plateau State, has a high rate of HIV/AIDS infected people. The mission clinic holds a counseling class for them each week and you would be astounded at the number of people who attend. Then this Felicia girl tells me that against all advice and pleas, she still went ahead and had sex with a boy from that area without protection! If I thought or suspected that she was stupid before, now I have ample proof. (I’m still so mad!)

Looking at the facts before me, I felt I was not doing them any good. I told them that I did not see the usefulness of their continuing to come to me since they ignored everything I said. They tell me what they think I want to hear then go behind my back and do whatever they please. Therefore, I freed them of any obligation they felt they had to me.

It was not easy for me. I was miserable for the rest of the day. I felt as though I was giving up on them. I kept asking myself if I was giving up or merely giving in to the inevitable. I wondered if maybe I should have been more patient with them. I still don’t know. I am not a very patient person, though in my defense, I try. When the misery got unbearable later in the night, I decided to take it to the most patient One. I prayed and told God of my decision and why I felt the need to take that decision. I told him I was not happy with it but I did not know what to do. Then I said that if He felt that he wanted to unfold his plans for their lives and use me in the process, then he should bring them to my doorstep today (I told you I’m not patient). That way, no one would be forcing them to come to me. Francis would not have the threat of prosecution hanging over his head and neither would Felicia have the fear of her uncle as a motivator. Then, it would mean they really wanted to be helped and though they might make mistakes, it would still be a partnership. I felt much better after that prayer. I forgot to ask for patience, I think I’ll do just that now.

With everything that had happened, you can imagine my surprise when I opened the internet cafe devotions website and saw the question posed above. It was like a sharp elbow under my spiritual ribs. That actually, was what inspired me to say the prayer above. So now, I’m waiting (learning patience too). So over to you, which of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit do you find missing in your life?