Goodness and Mercy

Goodness and Mercy
©Brenda Mangalore/Sashé Studio

“A man of faith does not live in anticipation of evil”… Dr. Okey Onuzo

When we pray (especially at meetings or gatherings or maybe even personally), we would usually conclude by saying the Grace and the last verse of Psalm 23.

It opens with, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…”

Been thinking upon this for some time now.

It is amazing how people say this so much and yet have a fear of evil/or bad things befalling them.

It says “Surely…” Surely speaks of certainty. It leaves no room for contest.

Our disposition to daily life should be rooted in this confession.

Expecting everyday that good things will happen to us.

Expecting goodness always, and mercy where we do not measure up

It is way way better to expect good to happen than live perpetually in fear of evil.

So, here is my own paraphrase of this wonderful verse of scripture:

“Surely, goodness (good things, people, news, circumstances, favours, tidings, opportunities, blessings and God’s inexhaustible supply) and mercy (covered by the blood of Jesus that speaks better things on my behalf) shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD (sheltered, fed and nourished, clothed, shielded and protected, rested, with absolute peace of mind) forever.” Praise God!

Feel free to add to the list.

God bless.

Cuddled in Heaven…

Jay2

On the 10th of June, 2016, my second son, Jeremy Chikasi Chinedum, went to be with the Lord after a rather brief illness. He was only 19 months old. I stood there and watched his transition. Never have I felt so helpless, so unable to do anything, so… As he struggled to breathe in those final moments, especially in the face of the gross inadequacies in our healthcare system, God knows I would have done anything to keep him here.

Pain!!! Soul-searing, heart-wrenching, mind-curdling pain!!! The tears flowed freely. It was not just my eyes crying, it was every part of me – spirit, soul, and body! So difficult to comprehend…

I said to myself in that moment, that this is not an experience that anybody should ever have.

Jay, as we fondly called you. You are sorely missed! It has been a month now but it all still seems like yesterday.

I was saying to your mum a few days ago that it was though you knew you were not long for this world and so your zeal and zest was to explore as much of it as you could in the time you were given.

You climbed everything. As long as it could be climbed, it had to be, and possibly sat on.

Jay4

All our barricades, even the ones that worked for your elder brother, did not work for you. You somehow found a way to get around them. For you, the television was one giant iPad, and I used to look on in amusement at the confusion on your face, when the screen did not respond to your little touches. The bookshelf was a wonder maze for you. You had learned quite early the art of moving side-stools to whatever was out of reach in order to reach them.

Here are the things I so miss…

The scream of ‘Daddyyyyyyy…’, when I get back from anywhere

The successive world wars that were each episode of trying to feed you cooked food, especially when you knew mum and dad were in the house.

The ‘Jay’ Dance. Ah, your feet were meant to dance, and dance you did. With little provocation and at the slightest opportunity, you were off in all sorts of jiggles, twists and turns, as far your little legs could carry you. You danced with glee and with the cutest giggles.

All your expressions: kikar (when you wanted water); caryi (when you wanted to be carried), yight (when PHCN decided to grace us with it), AC (the generic term for all switches), tanku (thank you), iPar (to indicate when you wanted the iPad) and then there is your favorite song, ‘I love you, you love me…’.

Ah, Jay!!!

You were the quintessential ‘gum body’. For you, body contact was everything; whether it was me, your mum, and especially your brother, once you were with any of us, you just had to sit on, lie on, or sit by the person. You also did not care whether your brother complained or not, as far as you were concerned, that was the way to stay.

The AC switch will definitely miss you. It was like a magnet for you, and the best of toys. Off on, off on, off on … you went with it at the slightest opportunity.

Like your elder brother when he was the same age, putting off the TV while we were all watching it, was a favorite sport. Picking up the remote control was essentially to change whatever channel anyone was watching. It was as though your little mind felt that staying on one channel for prolonged periods was bad for health.

Your brother is still trying to get to grips with it and misses you sorely. Sometimes, he inadvertently makes it difficult for us when he starts asking about you and wanting to see you. He and I were going out once, and it was about to rain. He said, ‘Daddy, it’s about to rain’. When I asked why, he said, ‘I do not want the rain to fall on Jesus’ head when he is bringing Jeremy back’.

You were everyone’s darling. Jerry Okoye was a popular appellation in Church. I still see you running around the whole place and being carried by everyone.

Jay, we miss you so. The last five words are a pitiful expression of the current reality.

I have never had to pray for your brother as much as I have had to pray about you. Some of the revelations concerning you were quite scary. There was just something about you that made the enemy so afraid, and he had tried to hurt you several times. It would appear that he has succeeded, but as usual, he cannot comprehend the big picture. Just like it was said concerning our Lord, if the princes of this world had known (fully understood God’s plan), they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. If only he knew… for I know there is always a plan. God does not do arbitrary things.

God has helped us tremendously through this time. He has surrounded us with love and people, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. It has not been easy. My heart still bleeds, the occasional tear still escapes, but I know it is gradually mending. More times now than in the past few weeks, I remember you and a smile comes to my face instead of tears to my eyes. I choose to focus on God’s grace to us this period, rather than focus on the pain.

I draw comfort from sensing that the Lord Himself personally supervised your passing. Your brother said a few hours after you had passed that he was happy that you are happy (how on earth he knew and sensed that, beats me). Jesus is taking care of you now. I sometimes imagine you playing with the angels and having fun exploring the reaches of heaven, frolicking on the streets of gold, having the time of your life and eternity.

A part of me is in heaven. I have one more reason to make sure I get there. A part of me wonders what you would look like when I eventually see you, if you would still be a little boy or a man fully grown, if you would still call me Daddy or (do not know what else), if…

You have joined the cloud of witnesses cheering us from the grandstands of heaven. Seeing you once again is a great impetus to run this race even better.

This is my tribute to the 19 months we had you. Left to us, we would not have let you go but this is the reality we now have to live with. If we did not have you, we would not have such pleasant memories.

Jehovah…, You are God and Father. I bow to you now and always. Though my heart and emotions feel like they are in shreds, yet I submit to You. Everything that You do is good (may be painful in the interim) and always works out for good. My trust is in this and that You are constantly with us.

For all who have stood with us during this period (family, friends (close and distant), colleagues, and  church members), may God be with you and I pray you never experience such pain. Your love and care is most appreciated. The title of this piece was taken from the title of the poem written by the Junior Church of The Stone Church, Abuja (which I must confess, I have not had the courage to read).

At the graveside, I said I will see you again… We may have buried you, but God has not buried you. How that will work out, only time and eternity will tell.

Adieu son. Sleep well. Have fun with Jesus and I am sure He is as excited to have you as we were when we had you.

Praise God.

Loved forever,

Dad

More Than Your Local Issues…

Many Christians know that we are engaged in spiritual warfare, but for most of us, the perception of that warfare is not really as it is. We think of it in the sense that the enemy, the devil, is out to stop our progress, to stop our prosperity, to stop us from being rich… This kind of thinking is so local to ourselves and our issues, that it fails in every way to represent what God wants to do in, and through us.

We forget that the primary reason the enemy resists us, is to try to stop the purpose of God from being fulfilled on the earth, from being fulfilled in our lives.

We need to understand that the first aspect of the purpose of God is that Christ be formed in our hearts and lives. Without this purpose being accomplished, every other one is moot. God’s primary purpose for us is to be like Christ, to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8: 29, Gal. 4:19). The enemy understands this also, so keeps us distracted with all sorts of pursuits, wrong teaching, wrongly focused spiritual exercises, essentially frustrating the grace and the purpose of God. In a sense, we have become like soldiers armed with sophisticated and deadly weaponry but shooting in all sorts of directions, with no coordinated fire, and making absolutely no impact.

We then spend our lives running in circles, not really making much spiritual progress, and essentially hitting our heads against the ‘wall’. Endless pursuits that offer no real spiritual advantage. Pursuing ‘enemies’ both real, contrived, and imagined, instead of chasing after God.

Till we realize that our most important pursuit is to be like Christ in all that we are and do, then we will never make the impact on our world that God expects from us. We will never be able to, like the early church, ‘turn the world upside down’ for Christ. We will always be the pursued not the pursuer. The victim, not the victor. The oppressed not the oppressor. At the mercy of the devil and his cohorts. Our ‘Christianity’ will never find the true fulfillment that God intended.

When this primary purpose of God is established in our lives, then all the things we seek and so strongly desire, become ours. They come into our lives with the ease and grace that God promised that they would. They come as a blessing that adds no sorrow. They come with much grace in a manner that preserves our lives rather than decimates it.

We need to clearly know and understand that as long as our purposes are not aligned with God’s, they fail to matter in the general scheme of things. God’s purposes have far-reaching intentions, way beyond our own ‘local’ issues.

So, focus on God. He will show you what to pray, how to pray, and what to do. This strengthens you to resist the enemy’s attempts to frustrate God’s purpose in and for your life. Focus on Christ. Everyday of your life is supposed to see something about Him birthed in your life. The Apostle Paul put it very clearly in Ephesians 4:13 as the purpose for God putting ministry gifts in the Church.

…Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:… (KJV)

This is God’s main purpose for us. This is the basis on which our Christianity will be judged. This is the pathway to continuous victory in life.

God bless…

 

Tribute to Friendship – 20 Years and Onward

One Family Under God
One Family Under God – Reunion 2013

I cannot say exactly how it all started, but when I count some of the good things that have happened to me, being part of this great circle of friendship ranks among one of the best.

Our origins date back to 1994, to those days in Prelim Science, our first year in the University of Ibadan. I cannot now say what triggered it all, but in retrospect I think a passionate love for God was key to our coming together.

That first year in Ibadan was particularly interesting. Lectures at the Faculty Lecture Theatre (FLT) and New Lecture Theatre (NLT) and particularly, rushing from the one to the other in a bid to get good seats due to the huge number of students in the class. 7am lectures. Some of us keeping seats for some of us… tsk tsk tsk.

From that first year, some our ‘traditions’ were set. We met every Friday evening to pray. We prayed almost every Friday from that point onwards (as long as school was in session) till we graduated in 2001. Ah! We prayed. Those prayer meetings were one of the major highlights of the week for me. From pre-clinical to clinical school, from beside FLT to the University College Hospital (UCH) football field, we prayed. We realized that Medical School was a daunting challenge and survival required strength greater than any we could muster. Writing this, I am a bit overwhelmed with nostalgia. I recall some of those meetings, the singing, the prophecies, the intercession, the worship…

We dined. We had gourmet cooks amongst us and generally, we had no lack of culinary skills. Many of us (mostly the guys) could hold their very comfortable owns in that department. So, from room to room, we shared alimentary fellowship. Saturdays were devoted to these events. I cannot now recall the frequency, but it was another thing to had looked forward to from time to time. I also recall that somewhere along the line in clinical school, this particular aspect of our social lives fell by the wayside…

We studied together. We had some serious ‘eficos’ (bookworms) among us. We had regular discussion group meetings which tended to increase in intensity as the different MBBS exams reared their ugly heads.

If you are reading this, I guess you have basically realized that the majority of us are doctors.

We are Ibo, Yoruba, Itsekiri, and some we cannot directly classify. Yet, despite our cultural diversity and sometimes very obvious and strongly held differences, we have remained as one. Our diversity and level of intellect also mean we do not always agree, especially considering that it easily gets quite hot under the collar for a few of us; however, we have weathered the literal storms and are still together.

We are Nigeria and an example of how its people should live; where cultural identity does not matter, love and acceptance rules the day, looking out for one another is vital, and praying for each other is critical for survival.

We are Christian. We believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and hold Him so dear to our lives.

We believe in the sanctity of marriage; that the family is the bedrock of society; and that having homes built on the foundation of love and faith in God is vital to bringing about much desired change in society.

We are not all here though and I would like to use this opportunity to pay tribute to Dr. Samuel Adejumo. Your passing was a great pain and loss to us, but we know that you are in a much better place, and we all look forward to seeing you someday at the feet of the Master.

So many stories to tell, some experiences that may sound stranger than fiction to some people. There have been joys and there has been pain and there have also been nights under the almond tree… wink!

So, before this begins to get very boring, this is my celebration of over 20 years of dear friendship and my being thankful to God for bringing all of us together. I love you guys and you are simply the best.

As I end this, I say to us all that there is always a reason. God brought us together for a purpose, both for our collective benefit but majorly to bring glory to His name through something much bigger than us all. Selah!

God bless…

PS: Funny that it took over one year to write such a short piece…. Hmmmm….

Triggers of a Generational Blessing (Part II)

Welcome to the concluding part of the series Triggers of a Generational Blessing. My prayer is that as you read, the Spirit of God will breathe upon your heart and guide your feet towards triggering a general blessing for your lineage. Be blessed as you read.

“… For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” – Apostle Peter

Triggers

The scriptures tell us that the things that were written were written for our learning, that through them, hope would be instilled in us (Rom. 15 vs. 4), and that they also happened as examples especially for us who live in these present times (1 Cor. 10 vs. 11).

So then, what do we learn from the stories in the previous post?

  • Obedience to God

From Abraham’s encounter we see how his obedience to God triggered a blessing that was well beyond anything he could have imagined in his heart and mind. God blessed Abraham for his obedience in spite of the extremely difficult (in natural terms) instructions he had been given. When the Lord God saw that Abraham was ready to obey to the letter without any hesitation, He quickly called to him to stop, and then swore by Himself to bless Abraham.

It is pertinent to point out, that this was not some random event or occurrence of obedience. Reading Abraham’s story, his obedience to instructions by God is chronicled through each page of his life; the sacrifice of Isaac was like the tipping point which brought with it the blessing.

  • Obedience to Parental Authority

The Rechabites were blessed with perpetuity in their lineage because they honoured the word of their father Jonadab more than that of Jeremiah, who was acting on instructions from God. In today’s world, that would probably create a conundrum for the average Christian. God knew that their father had issued them a number of instructions, one of which was that they were not to drink wine. Yet, He commanded Jeremiah to take them into the house of God and give them wine to drink. This was a test of their obedience, not to God, but to the instruction of their father. It was also supposed to serve as a lesson in obedience to the rather rebellious house of Israel. The Rechabites honored the word of their father and till today as sure as God’s Word stands, the descendants of Jonadab are still on the face of the earth.

  • Initiative

King David did not receive any instruction from God to build Him a house. He also made no sacrifice or pass through a test of obedience in his case. In actual fact, the price of David’s blessing was the price of an idea or even more accurately, the price of a perceived need. David felt it was wrong for him to dwell in a house of cedar while the Ark of God remained in a tent. His immediate resolve to do something about the situation caught God’s attention in a wonderful way. David unwittingly connected to something that was in the plan of God for all of humanity. God’s plan was for the Messiah to be a legitimate heir to the throne of Israel. David’s initiative and God’s blessing for it set him up to be the father of a dynasty of kings from which the King of kings would eventually physically descend.

Exhortation

The work that was done at Calvary was complete. The Lord Jesus said “It is finished” and indeed it is. The Bible clearly tells us that we are new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5 vs. 17), ALL THINGS are become new. He blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that were against us and that were contrary to us; He took them out of the way, nailing EVERYTHING to His cross (Col. 2 vs. 14). Rom. 6 vs. 4 tells us that in the same manner Christ was raised from the dead, we should walk in newness of life.

Take a step back for a moment and study the lineage of Abraham, David, and the Rechabites. God asked Abraham to leave his country, kindred, and father’s house to go to a place He would show him. Abraham’s ancestors were most likely involved in idol worship. His ancestry did not have any effect on his obedience to God and did not count one bit when God pronounced the blessing. Abraham had developed a lifestyle of continued obedience to God (e.g. leave your father’s household; circumcise all the males in your household; send Ishmael away; sacrifice Isaac etc.). In Isaiah 1 vs. 19, the bible says that if we were willing and obedient, we would eat the fruit of the land, as Abraham proved. This kind of blessing could care less if one’s ancestral antecedents were rooted in all kinds of maleficence.

For King David, it is worthy of note that his ancestral lineage included Rahab the harlot, who was his great great grandmother. Now, that did not stop God from anointing him king or from blessing him with an eternal dynasty of kings.

Based on the principle of First Mention, it is likely that the Rechab mentioned in 2 Samuel 4 was the ancestor of the Rechabites. You would see from that scripture that he was not a good man. He was a murdering opportunist who in a bid to curry favor from King David, along with his brother Baanah, slew King Ish-bosheth while he was in bed having a siesta. Somewhere along his lineage, Jonadab came along (2 Kings 10 vs. 15 & 23). Jonadab was allied with King Jehu in ridding Israel of the idolatrous mess Ahab had created. You would think that the evil deeds of their father would prompt them to change their name and probably be known as the Jonadabites (because of his good deeds) instead of the Rechabites. They kept the name but heeded the righteous instruction of Jonadab, and God blessed them for it. Also note that Jonadab became the reference point for this blessing, as it applied to his own lineage.

Salvation through the precious blood of Jesus Christ wipes the slate clean for any person who comes to gives his or her life over to Him. It takes care of whatever the past may have been. It provides the opportunity for a future that is beyond comprehension; as the scripture puts it, ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory’ (Col. 1 vs. 25 – 27). It puts us under the lineage of Abraham and makes us heirs according to the promise. It gives us opportunities to trigger our own heritage of blessings that would span generations yet unborn rather than struggle under burdens or curses we had no part in. Moreover, Christ has been made every curse in the whole wide world for us (Gal. 3 vs. 13 – 14). This knowledge, this truth, gives us power and the freedom we need to embrace the blessings.

In conclusion, triggering generational blessings is not restricted to the Old Testament Bible characters alone. The things were written for us to learn from them and to know what we can accomplish as well as the things we cannot. We live in a much greater dispensation than they did, and we are thus empowered to do so much more than they ever did. I strongly believe that through a lifestyle of continued obedience to God and to parental authority (physical and spiritual); through taking spiritual initiatives aimed at pleasing God and being led by the Spirit of God (an unparalleled advantage), we have opportunity to trigger blessings that would run through our entire generations for years and years to come.

Remain Blessed…

Triggers of a Generational Blessing (Part 1)

Welcome to the first of a 2-part series on Triggers of a Generational Blessing. Enjoy your reading.

One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade ~ Chinese Proverb

Introduction

In today’s Church world, it is quite common to see a handbill, a poster, a billboard, or some form of advertisement that offers an invitation and an opportunity to the reader to have any generational curses over their lives broken. Whatever the title, the message is rather very clear. The premise is that a whole lot of believers are struggling under generational curses that need to be broken in order for them to find the relief, comfort, and prosperity they so eagerly and strongly desire. The target audiences are those believers who have struggled for years with issues like financial prosperity, finding a marriage partner, conception, marital problems, etc., and who have seemingly done everything they know to do and have still made no headway. The spiritual diagnosis then suddenly becomes that they are most likely under generational curses which need to be broken. These curses are due to some of the evil activities and deeds of the ancestors, a classic case of “… The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge…” (Jer. 31 vs. 29).

Interestingly, you do not hear too much (if you hear at all) in the church about generational blessings. During one of my personal studies and reflection, the Spirit of God prompted this issue in my heart. The bible clearly tells us about both generational blessings and curses cf. Deut. 28 vs. 4 & 18. Both arise from the deeds of our forebears. However, the undue emphasis on the curses, especially after the awesome work that was done on the cross of Calvary on our behalf, is rather disheartening to see and hear.

Generational Blessings

A generational blessing is a blessing that originates from a progenitor and runs throughout the lifetime of his entire lineage. Let’s look at 3 examples in the Bible.

Image: http://www.peace.org.au

Abraham

God blessed Abraham with such an amazing blessing – a blessing spanning both his physical generation and a spiritual generation – which is in full effect even to this day.

15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son– 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Gen. 22 vs. 16 – 18 (NKJV)

The latter part of verse 18 tells us that Abraham’s obedience to God’s voice was the reason for the blessing. The writer of Hebrews (Heb. 6 vs. 13 – 18) emphasizes the seriousness and profound nature of God’s promise to Abraham. God swore an oath by Himself (there isn’t anyone greater) that He would fulfill His promise to Abraham. Abraham’s continued obedience to God brought such a blessing that even those of us who are not direct physical descendants, have become partakers of the blessing through Jesus Christ (Gal. 3 vs. 29). Praise God!

King David

Chapter 17 of 1 Chronicles tells the story of God’s covenant with King David. The king had moved into his new palace and then came to the realization that while he dwelt in such opulence and magnificence as befitted a king of his stature, the Ark of the Lord was dwelling in a tent. He spoke to Nathan the prophet about this and Nathan told him to do all that was in his heart. That same night, the Lord spoke to the prophet and gave him a message for the king. God essentially said that right from the time He brought Israel out of Egypt, the Ark of His presence had always dwelt in a tent or in a tabernacle, and that He had NEVER (emphasis mine) asked any of the rulers of Israel why they had not thought about building Him a house of cedar. He then goes ahead to chronicle David’s history and ends with the promise of an eternal dynasty of kings; of a Son who would build a house for God and whose throne would be established forever (vs. 7 – 14).

Reading this story, I get the impression that God was so thrilled and moved with David’s intention that He could not help but bless him. Even though God had said that David would not be the one to build the temple (1 Chron. 22 vs. 6 – 10), His promise of a Son who would build a house for the name of God is what we see fulfilled today in Jesus Christ.

The Rechabites

The Rechabites were a relatively unknown family whose story is tucked away somewhere in the middle of the book of Jeremiah (chapter 35). God sent Jeremiah to test the Rechabites – to prove their adherence to the command of their progenitor Jonadab (the son of Rechab) not to drink wine. This test was to serve as a general example of obedience to the house of Israel. Interestingly, the setting for this test was in the house of God, in a chamber with pots full of wine. Despite what I call the ‘spiritual pressure’ from Jeremiah, the people gently turned down the offer. Jonadab’s commandment to them not to drink wine was esteemed greater than the offer by the Man of God. God set them as an example of obedience before the children of Israel and then in turn blessed the Rechabites with the blessing of a perpetual generation for the honour they accorded the word of their father Jonadab.

TO BE CONTINUED…

God bless

THE ADVANTAGES OF OUR DISADVANTAGES

Very inspiring read. We’ll done DrSwag

KINGDOM COME

image001

Achilles, born of an immortal! Dipped into the river Styx as a baby, he became invulnerable. However, the heel of his right leg was not soaked by the magical water and that became a disadvantage. The weakness was exploited in the battle of Troy when an enemy shot at him with an arrow. The projectile pierced the vulnerable heel…..

Saint, born of God! Baptized into the blood of the lamb, comes out complete in Him Who is the Head of all principalities and powers. Yet besieged by human frailties and weaknesses on a worldly battle field to the dismay of the God whose genes he bears. Saint, bowed and bloodied by the trials of life, hangs his head, consumed by the thoughts of the thorns of his fleshly disadvantages….

However, a disadvantaged Saint is in good company….

PROTOTYPES OF DISADVANTAGED SAINTS…
Sarah: 90yr old infertile woman with physiologically packed up…

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A Seed Sown in the Earth…

Yesterday, I was so deeply moved by the experience I am about to narrate. I attended the funeral of the father of a dear friend in Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria.

Just to give you a bit of a background, my friend’s dad died at 64 years of age. Prior to his demise, he had been ill, but the day he went home, he went from his sleep. He had been an itinerant minister for most of his life and one of his main passions was to see the people from his tribe and place (Ebira land) come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When he died, his son was very heartbroken. In his own words, ‘if anybody had faith for the man to be healed, I did’. In other words, he so strongly believed God was going to heal his father and restore him to life and ministry, but that was not to be, for reasons best known to God. The burial was fixed for the 22nd of August and preparations began to be made for the funeral ceremony.

Friday, the 22nd of August dawned with very heavy and angry skies. The rain started at about 4am and for some reason, was rather unrelenting. I woke up that morning rather concerned about the journey (safety on the long drive) and then the rain (interfering with the day’s proceedings). As I knelt to pray, mulling over my concerns in my heart, I sensed the Spirit of God ask me why I was unduly concerned about matters for which the outcomes had been determined already. He said, ‘the man you are burying today was a precious servant’. Now, that set an interesting tone for the day.

So, we set out for Okene. It rained all the way (torrentially in some places) from Abuja to Okene and that journey took 5-plus hours to get there (especially because of the rain). By the time we got there, the service had started and a dear preacher was speaking about the life of the deceased, his dedication and service to God, and also preaching the gospel to the large crowd that had gathered from every nook and cranny of this country to honor the life of this great man. The moments leading up to, and the altar call were quite inspiring. Was so glad to see people step up to yield their lives to Christ.

It was still raining…

His last son’s tribute to him nearly moved me to tears. It was genuine, heartfelt and most especially, true. It was the tribute of a child who dearly loved his father and was loved in return.
‘I would like to declare to you, that our mourning is over!’ This was my friend’s opening statement when he was called to give the appreciation and vote of thanks on behalf of the family. ‘My father’s death (paraphrasing to give the general gist) will be the beginning of a revival that will sweep across the length and breadth of Ebira Land…’

The sun was beginning to break through the clouds…

As the coffin was lowered into the grave, the minister broke with tradition and asked that the wife and then his sons (he had 5 boys only) to scoop earth onto the coffin 3 times each in the dust-to-dust rites of the ceremony. His wife did not say anything as she performed the rites (and understandably so). When his first son took the shovel, as he cast the earth upon the coffin, he referred to his father’s burial as a seed being sown into the earth which would spring up to bear the fruit of a revival that would sweep through the whole of Ebira Land. He said that ministries would spring up through this, bringing many to Christ.

It was a powerful and awesome moment. I could sense the Spirit of God at work in that moment. I also in a flash, understood the purpose of God even though His manner of bringing it to pass was quite painful to all of us.

I looked up and the sun was out in all its glory. You would not have imagined that less than an hour before, it was still raining. Indeed there was such a shine that some of us were beginning to feel quite sweaty.

I learned a few things yesterday and had a few lessons reinforced again:
a. The thought rings in my mind so strongly that there is no reason worrying about outcomes that God has already determined.
b. To think that the torrential rain was going to make a mess of the proceedings only to have brilliant sunshine (akin to some sort of endorsement) when it mattered most. God is always in control.
c. That God works His purpose on the earth solely for the glory of His name and that purpose supersedes any desire we may have or express.
d. God’s purpose centers on the bigger picture and beyond what we can even sometimes envision.
e. Heaven most (if not at all) times would require a seed to accomplish its purpose; and there are times when that seed may be our very lives…

I am not sure how many houses he built in his lifetime, how many degrees he bagged, or even the number of cars he owned and drove, or how big his bank accounts were; but one thing I am pretty sure of, this man would have received a ‘Well done you good and faithful servant’, from the Lord Jesus Christ for the work he did while he was still alive. No greater prize in all of the universe than to be welcomed home with those precious words. When all is said and done, that is the only thing that really matters.

God bless…