Christianity

Hope: foe or ally?

by Admin on

How long can a man survive without hope? If all hope was to be lost, would you live to see the next minute?

<em>take a man’s hope away and you take away his will to live.

The longest time breath held voluntarily (male) is 24 min 3.45 secs and was achieved by Aleix Segura Vendrell (Spain), in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 February 2016.

Aleix Segura Vendrell is a professional freediver. The attempt took place at the 17th Mediterranean Dive Show. (source: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-time-breath-held-voluntarily-(male)

Humans cannot survive without oxygen. science has taught us that after about 6 minutes, the brain begins to die irreversibly if deprived of oxygen. How Vendrell achieved such feat is breath-taking literally! maybe science needs a review, as usual.

How long can a man survive without hope? If all hope was to be lost, would you live to see the next minute? It is impossible to answer this question correctly unless you’ve lost ALL hope at least once. Those who may have been able to help us are those who have taken their own lives in an irreversible act of suicide, but unfortunately they are no longer with us.

while there is life, there is hope.

There is that constant feeling that things will get better, that even if they don’t we will get better and find other ways to survive. Hope is a man’s best friend, a frustrated soul is quick to turn and cling to some fibres of hope, some wish that a turn around might be just around the corner.

I work in the hospital, and it is a daily affair to see people filled with hopes of recovery either for themselves or for a relative. Sometimes, hope delivers and meets expectations, other times, it doesn’t show up. Even at that, people still cling to it. They are quick to invoke a close cousin of hope, Fate. So often do we resort to fate whenever hope falls short. We accept and move on.


protracted hope wearies the soul.

Euthanasia is a difficult topic and raises a lot of ethical debate, many thanks to hope.
One time at work, a pregnant woman was to be operated upon urgently to ensure she and her baby stay fine. After the operation which I was a part of, the baby who at the time of delivery wasn’t responding as expected was still not showing any signs of improvement. The baby had already been resuscitated promptly by every means available. After a few more tries, the baby was still blue. We had done our best and hoped the supporting system instituted for the baby would eventually work. About 30 minutes later, there was a constant loud cry coming from the ward, it was the same baby, now all pink and responsive, as though nothing was ever wrong.
That example will make me always hang on for every other unresponsive baby, because, who knows, it just might make it too. No matter how many babies fail to make it eventually, the memory of that one who made it will breed hope.

Miracles, testimonies of turn-arounds breed hope and make people wait situations out. Hope is strongest when there are no other options. It is the currency of the penniless – more rightly, It is the currency of us all, most palpable when we’re down and out.

Situations that could easily have been put an end to linger and continue because we wait it out and cling to hope. This is no argument to support suicide or an attempt of it, but rather, situations of the living that we should totally turn our backs on. Let me give you a few examples:

Josephine has lost an arm, four teeth and all her pride. She related her ordeal yesterday, when we realised her wounds were inflicted on her by her husband. It’s been going on for 5 years, she had hoped he’ll change.

Coker has been married for four years now, with children. He wants a divorce. He can’t cope any longer. His spouse has remained the careless woman she has always been. He knew this even before they got married, he thought she’d outgrow it and become more responsible when she becomes a mother. He had hoped she’ll change.

Lanre left home at 5am on saturday morning. He was bent on getting fuel at all cost regardless of the fuel scarcity. He was confident that his early rise will yield. His fuel tank gauge was already lit with the warning sign. A hundred (100) meters later, he passed a filling station already having about 50 cars waiting in line even when the station was yet to open. “Just turn around and go home”, an inner voice told him. No, i’ll just check the next one, he thought. He repeated this thought at 1000m, 2000m and 5000m. The car has finally come to a halt and won’t start. It’s 5.45am and lanre has begun a compulsory jogging back home. He had hoped he’ll find fuel.

Fidelis has now made it to his final year in the 7th year of his 4 year course. He has the many industrial strikes and political ineptitude to thank for that. He finished top of his class and as the best graduating student in the university that year. His parents are well to do and had plans lined up for him to get additional qualifications outside the country. Fidelis was too patriotic for his parent’s liking. It is the reason he was just graduating after rejecting an opportunity to study abroad for his first degree. He has definitely learnt his lessons now, his dad told his mother at his convocation. Fidelis has hope to blame for staying back and finishing late; the same hope he clung to at the times he almost lost it. he had thought the new government were going to fulfill their promises.

Hope that here will soon be better is what keeps us from going there; hope that there will be greener, is what pushes us away from here.
Hope is a pill that must be taken for the right ailment, lest it becomes poison.

Yet, hope may really not be the problem or the enemy; but “hope in what or who” speaks volumes.
as long as hope lies in things uncertain and things powerless, it will shatter or be shattered, occasionally it will yield.
As for me, my hope is nowhere near this world or any of the things or people in it, not even myself. I have found undwindling hope, self-kindling in fact, in God alone, powered by Jesus, the Christ.

Sing with me if you will,

My hope is built on nothing else
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus name
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand.

I wish you the kind of hope that makes not ashamed.

Oluwatosin Fatade

Pray

by Adenike Omosanya on

 

He said, constantly should I pray
Every day as I walk on the way
And on my bed at night even as I lay
So as to thrive and not fall prey
To the world and its perils, as cheerless as grey

These are warnings given by the creator
For thousands of years ago he gave us a vindicator
Yet right in our midst lurks the devil, the heinous predator
This fight is ours, we choose to lose or be a victor.

Though a choice had been given to us to make
But the decision is rightfully ours to take
From the options spread right before us even as a lake
Life and death – either one, we can’t eat and have our cake,
So we must follow the path each day we wake

The only thing we can find in God as a default
Is the undeserving love He gives as the result
Because reigning with him at the end is his utmost desire
And not until he gets us, will He ever retire.

Adenike Omosanya

SINGLES CLASS

by Alexandra Akinnadeju on

Written by Alexandra

I ended my last article (read here) with the banquet. Do you know I forgot to mention one really plain guy who was standing unobstructed in the center of the room? You know him!
So I belong to this group on WhatsApp for singles. It’s really been a blast. It’s refreshing, slightly different from all the relationships discussion groups I’ve been in on. It’s been quiet lately till I woke up this morning to a post by the admin-1 Cor7: 33-34
We were admonished to read it in as many versions as possible— yeah google it!
I’m like as what?
That I shouldn’t think about getting married. Hian! Even bible used that word “single”
But the verse wouldn’t go away, so I meditated on it all day and Eureka! I realized who it was I missed in the banqueting hall. While I was busy checking out the Dangotes and Einstein’s of my world, there he was, all and more than I’ve dreamed or asked for – Jesus.
He wants me.
And my heart stopped beating!

I realized my so called singles lesson have been me lounging in “why marriage” refresher courses. I have been observing my real class from afar. No wonder I missed him. Who could have missed such lovely eyes (I tell you he wears his heart in his eyes).

The single life isn’t a life of pursuing illusions and moping around. It is not a life of letting society tell us where we should be and what we ought to be doing. All your mates are getting married they say and so they would because we aren’t dominating the conversation. We are not acting like people who have been loved and are in love. No wonder, prince charming has been on the run, we look more like homeless destitutes than the pampered princess he seeks! We are hormonal, we are vague and full of it. We hide under personality traits, broken umbrellas and keep missing our classes.

So get up, there are places to go and things to do. Right within us, should be a woman who wouldn’t think ourselves incomplete but totally married to her lord.
A woman who would have eyes for Jesus alone! Who would seek him out in a room and no one else.
A woman who is fulfilled in her singleness, that if marriage was not placed on the table. She wouldn’t seek it.

AM I EVEN READY?

by Alexandra Akinnadeju on

Written by Alexandra

I am one of those people who think they are long overdue for marriage. I dutifully read all godly and some secular articles/books there is on the subject. Don’t get me started on songs and movies- or aren’t they part of the education? I mean Fireproof, Courageous, War Room, and so on. I have listened to a thousand and one sermons, the preachers all end up saying the same thing. In fact I almost screamed this February when my pastor started a series on relationship. Again!

I have observed the do-s and don’t-s of the single life, I think it’s high time I was rewarded with prince charming.

Do you belong to the school who has kept the bed undefiled? Isn’t it high time we got in on those moments? Hold hands like we want to, be able to kiss on the bus without bothering who would see and just laugh into each other’s face. Stop! Rewind, no fast forward! The way married women around me talk, think, and rush just to get home to their chores, the care. The being concerned about worldly things isn’t romance but service.

And to the final bubble buster! Do you know how people write romantic letters to their future spouses? I just read a profound one moments ago. I see those letters as a summary of one’s expectations in thoughts. Well this letter got me asking myself and you, do you think more on the virtues or the look? Do you think more of the nights than the challenges you would face together by day? Are you aware he would have weaknesses, something that you will find irksome?

Let me chip in a final word, if God were to bring me into a banqueting house of baes/boos? Kind of like the one Adam was taken to, just here no baboons and gorillas! Just the people in your life…..the Luke Warms, The Rich young fool, Almost Perfect Samsons, slightly built Paul, Handsome Absalom………just between you and the device, you and me, I think God knows that though I’m saying where is Isaac? I am no Rebekah yet!

Are you ready?

Held

by Adebayo Akande on

Written by Adebayo Akande

 

 

The sky fell,
All was let loose from hell
In the mix of nimbus and hades
We stood, in the face of the clipper’s blades.

The world came crashing.
Thuds, bangs, booms, abounding.
Mares haunted dreams, aches taunted hope
Yet we clung on, like we had some strobe

Many times we questioned our minds
Were we dumb, had we left reason behind?
Who were we to think we’d live through this?
How in the world could we be at peace?

I believe we didn’t so much hold on, we were held!
By an arm so strong, to a love that melds and welds
And that heart still beats, with us, for us.
Life is worth living, because the greater one lives in us!

Why Easter?

by Adebayo Akande on

Written by Adebayo Akande

IS CHRIST REALLY THE REASON FOR THE SEASON?
I received a text message on my phone wishing me a happy Easter celebration and it ended thus “you’re the reason for the season.”
I dismissed the last statement as a typographical error, but again what could the sender have had in mind and then mis-spelt? I’m used to seeing “Jesus/Christ is the reason for the season”, I also send same to people during Christmas and Easter. That message was deliberate, and it got me disturbed. How can you remove Christ, and replace Him with me, as the reason for the season?
But I have come to learn that it is foolhardy to judge a matter or a person without taking time to critically examine the circumstances. So I set out to do some thinking.
The reason for a thing/event is the main purpose for which it had to happen. Think about some key events and experiences in your life and try to decipher the reason for some, if not all of them.
Now to the meat of the matter…
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, following his death on the cross, yes?
So then what/who would be the reason for Easter? The answer to this would be the reason He had to die and rise again.
Let’s see some scriptures:
Hebrews 2:9; “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Romans 5:8; “But God commended His love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 8:34: “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. “

Romans 4:25: “Who was delivered for our offences, and raised for our justification.”

1 Cor 15:17: “If Christ be not raised, then your faith is in vain, and you are still in your sins.”

Most, if not all scriptures that talk about His death and resurrection are clear as to why-for sinners!
He died to take away all our sins. He rose up and declared us not guilty. All He did was for us. He did nothing for himself. Such love, what a savior!
So you and I, the church, are the reason for the season. Jesus Christ, at the centre of it all, remains the essence of the season.
He did it for us. He was born for us, He lived for us, He died for us. He is risen, and now sits at the Father’s right hand making intercession for who? For us!
This is the height of devotion. This is the ultimate love.

He is committed to us, more than we ever could to Him.

So this season, celebrate the risen Lord, who now lives in you, works through you, who loves you like you are the only one alive.

He is the essence; we are the reason for the season! Without Him, we are nothing! Without us, He needn’t have died.

Killing death

by Admin on

gathering to feast on His flesh and blood
for in His death we live?
Nay, in His life we live and move
for He did not stay dead,
but conquered death by dying.
Literally paid death in its own coin!

Because He lives after tasting death,
I live forever, having believed
the potency of death diluted,
Its flavour made bland,
and its sting, numb.

Jesus Lives.
I live.

Guest turned Bride

by Alexandra Akinnadeju on

By Alexandra Akinnadeju

Seeking for Love,
Searching for Affection;
Ignoring wisdom’s advances,
To the market place I went.

My eyes was only on the bargain
The Price at which I would bid
Not nurturing the seeds I had
Heart empty, I sought.

While love waited at the altar,
I stood lost in line;
He is love,
And Love is not a thing.

Turning aside to see,
I saw his heart
All in his eyes
And eyes only on me

Did he not see my stains and my twisted frame?
If I fooled Him to believe, maybe I’ll believe it too
I had come like everyone else
But I would be his bride it seems.

Standing before me,
Had always been my Prince
I had been invited to my own wedding
I won His heart without a bid!

Though my heart held no affection,
He still beckoned
Broken, I donned my veil,
And walked down the aisle.

Learning from the Ants 2

by Alexandra Akinnadeju on

Written by Alexandra Akinnadeju

The Unhygienic Competition

This piece is a continuation of my study with the ants, my little cousins and nephew.

My not so little nephew, Ayo; and my little female cousin, Bolu had this thing going throughout the holiday – a very special love-hate relationship. It all started when mom declared Bolu the best behaved kid of the season. What is not to love? Unlike the boys, she is not rambunctious (except when they are all after my phone); she doesn’t track dust or mud through the house after playing football; you need not force her to take her bath, wear a clean dress or wash the dirty one; there was no occasional bladder spillage before hitting the toilet – something the boys tagged puberty from excessive playfulness and disruption of bed time, whatever that means. She is all girl!

So Ayo tried to beat Bolu to it by being the best at his chores. Although there is no separation of chores by gender in my house, there is a pattern with room for overlap. The girls run the kitchen while the boys run errands mostly outside the house. In addition to keeping the sink empty of dirty plates, Bolu also ran errands. Ayo hated this interference because even out here he seems unable to shake off this kitchen champ. When trying to be first at running errands outdoor won’t do, he denied any attempt from Bolu to assist and when the praise singing didn’t turn in his favor, he became mean to her.

I’ve been in Ayo’s shoes, despising someone in school for being a know-it-all, envying someone at home or downright spiteful of someone in church ‘cause they appear to be everyone’s favourite. Sometimes we even pick on people for things they have no control over, like being taller than us, being prettier or having a better handwriting. Petty, isn’t it?

God gave us all diverse abilities as he saw fit Ephesians 4:7. That someone is getting the attention doesn’t mean we are less important. I did choose Ayo over Bolu for any errand, because he doesn’t mind getting dirty (and yes those were needed sometimes) plus he would sprint back and forth in record time. The chores result mostly in the meals then the dirty plates. My little nephew didn’t realize that; getting dirty, not being really interested in sink duties all day, sleeping late because of silly cartoons all add to the charm of who he is – our own little man!

So God loves us as much, equally, whether we are on Forbes list or just trying to be a regular at prayer meetings! If your day of praise-singing hasn’t arrived yet, don’t hate on those being celebrated; just wait your turn and be good in whatever you’re good at. Make sure you’re really good at something.

Learning from the ants 1

by Alexandra Akinnadeju on

Written by Alexandra Akinnadeju

Last Christmas was one the best I have had in years. I had the great privilege of spending it with my little cousins and nephew. Nothing beats being the favorite aunt in the world except a little me-time with my phone. Those amazing little creatures know how to turn on the magic – a little hug, cute innocent brown eyes staring up at you earnestly, the most sincere please-s in musical voices and prompt responses to my every whims and needs. Did I mention that all these adoration was because they wanted my phone?

They have a beautiful way of playing the digital games on it that has me observing them. My own special spiritual experiment – outsmarting Solomon – having the ants come to me, lol!
They would be like “aunty, what is this game about”? And while I launch into the thrills and turns of the car racing or whatever game has caught their fancy (yes I love games too) I would discover I’m busy speaking to myself. They are already at it, playing the game turn by turn! Woeful performance is not a deterrent! These chaps are relentless till they master the game. Once they’re on this mastering track, I would have to hide my phone to save some power on it! Don’t get me started on missed calls.

Fast forward to the spiritual inference and conclusion of my experiment. Newsflash! I am excited about who I get to be in this analogy – I get to be GOD. And the children, my cousins and nephew, represent all of us. Like me, God is excited, in love and interested in us (not experimentally, but with Fatherly interest), He answers our questions. But so unlike the children, we don’t receive the word or answers to our questions excitedly and with a readiness to explore unfamiliar territories. We see every avenue to exercise our faith as a puzzle. Like Martha (sister to Lazarus and Mary in the Bible), we get so hung up on the details.

We spend so much of our time pondering on every fact from ABC; the direction of the wind, the sea level; instead of sowing our seeds. My little buddies don’t sit around letting me discourage them with the list of pitfalls in the game. They just get on with it. Is it car racing, they race. Ninja fruit game, they slice.

Instead of believing God is on our side, seated on a mercy (grace) seat and looking lovingly at us as we do our thing; we believe he is busy peeping intently at us via heaven’s CCTV waiting to see us fail, and then punish us. No my little buddies don’t care that they ran down my batteries yesterday, they are back again the next day to beg for my phone.

Those little dudes are masters at disappointment and are not afraid to play again and again, even in the midst of uncertainty, amongst a crowd (of themselves). Meager scores is a thing to defend and laugh over, just before the next round! These chaps know that with practice, they would excel. So is faith, Hebrews 5:14 told us to keep practicing it. Peter told us its gold, it would be tested. We are not supposed to quit because we said it would rain but there is only a handful of cloud out there. We must go from ‘if this be your will’ prayers, to ‘effectual fervent prayers that avail much’; and from there we must reach a level where we exclaim “Father, I thank you for always hearing me”!

Oh yes, perfection is possible! And remember always that God isn’t like LASTMA lurking somewhere invisibly at the highway as you drive, waiting to catch you when you run a red light or take a wrong turn. Just drive, if you get it wrong there will be road signs to guide you safely home; you might arrive your destination later than planned but you’ll arrive! Don’t stop driving.

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