Thursday, December 30, 2010
Over the past couple of days, I have picked up my notebook to prepare an entry a time or two. All to no avail. There was a particular time I came up with something but just simply discarded it. Not that it wasn't good enough, but it wasn't just the state of my heart at the moment.
I'm in this place where lots of dreams of the future are popping up. It's a good thing i tell you. But what gets me off track most time is when I just try to fend for my self, take care of myself and have it all calculated. I forget the Giver of the dream and chase the dream. It's life draining and time wasting. As christians, the God we serve calls us to a place of surrender, a place to lay down our burdens and rest in him but it's amazing how most times we just want to sort it all out ourselves. Personally, I have discovered that it's the laziness to cast hope on a God we cannot see to do things we can see for us that gets us on the quest to fend for ourselves. 'wait for God' my heart whispers to me mostly in my moments of decision but I just tell myself ' I can go ahead and have it all right now'. The trick is we think we do our hearts a favor by keeping it from expecting for God to happen, the truth is we do ourselves more harm cause any journey without God utterly ends up in disappointment and despair. We are crushed, angry and disappointed. We have placed our hopes in things that wouldn't satisfy us if we stuck to them from now to eternity. What are you talking about exactly I can hear you ask.
Every sin is rooted in trying to take a fast path to a place of fulfillment. For example, a father looking for self fulfillment takes up a career and pours himself into it even at the expense of his family. He forgets the fact that it's in Christ we find our true self. He says he is a Christian all right, (at least he goes to church on Sundays and during the week sometimes if he is chanced). Ask him how he forgot such a vital truth about finding one's real self and decided to look for it in a career. He might say something like this ' I waited on my knees but nothing seemed to be coming forth. It seemed I was losing the part of me I had instead of finding the me I didn't know. The career seemed more promising. I could work so hard and people would say look at him he works so hard'. We rather jump on our fast cars promising to take us to our destinations than wait for God to lead us there. The destination we get to with our fast cars isn't always what we had in mind when we started the journey but by the time we finally realize the damage is done.
A young man settles for sex before marriage and other perversions, thereby fulfilling a God given dream or desire by jumping on board of the fast cars the world offers. He fulfills a legitimate desire in an illegitimate way . The search for pleasure has kept some in the fast cars of alcohol, one night stands, masturbation and even the lesser and more subtle devils of obsession with media, hard work, fashion, religion and even church service.
A scripture comes to mind. Jesus standing in the temple in Jerusalem. Note, he isn't standing in a red light districts filled with prostitutes nor in a wild club where people are having party orgies. He stands in a temple filled with religious men and woman and also maybe just maybe a lady who had just visited our wild club and bringing a sacrifice to atone for her sins. It's in the midst of a place like this and during a ceremony ( which would even bring more people to the temple) that He calls out ' if anyone thirsts let him come and drink'. It's amazing that Jesus promises a drink, something that would satisfy our thirst yet we try to quench them with things that only make us more thirsty after a bit of ecstasy. Jesus in a different scenario promises a woman from Samaria who had had more than five sexual partners before meeting Jesus that if she took a drink from Him, she would never thirst again. God calls us with the traffic lights we see while we are in our fast cars, "drink from this water and you never thirst again". With the promise of our fast cars we hop along, one more try, one more shot, one more time and we would arrive. Sometimes he stops us right in our tracks with the red lights of that heart break, that disappointment we experience when we put all trust in other people hoping they would come through for us. Our God is indeed merciful
I CAN'T LIVE A LIFE WITH THIS WAY OF THINKING
Paul uses a word in the holy book that makes us all turn our heads by calling the galatians 'foolish'. He then asked then who has bewitched them?. Do they think the journey they started in Christ (by his Spirit) can be completed in the arm of the flesh? I have seen Christians having a good laugh at this scripture found in Galatians 3:1-4, but if they only knew, if we only knew that God was speaking to us in these couple of verses we might just rethink our lives. Really who has bewitched us? We know who but we just live our lives like he doesn't exist. We mimic him in our movies with a red puppet holding a fork and grinning. If we only knew. If we only knew the anger with which he is angry with God. If we only knew how much he longs to destroy God's beloved ( that is us) body, soul and spirit in order to get back at God. If we only knew he is nothing like the red puppet with a long tail holding a fork that we think him to be. If we only knew he somethings manifest as an angel of light. If we only knew what Dante saw when he said that the prince of darkness is a gentleman. If we only knew.
I'm not saying all this to scare us back to our closet and develop a sort of agoraphobia or go in search of holy water to sprinkle on you and all your belongings. Like I said when i began this entry, I have seen the devil trying to get at me from all sorts of angles in life. His plan- to kill, steal and to destroy. His strategy - by telling us over and over again ( through various avenue) like he did in Eden that our God would fail us if we trust him with our desires.
This morning I heard myself whispering to myself ' God, are you there'. He has already said in his word that he will never leave us nor forsake us. Life circumstances have made me doubt that over time. An evidence came from my speech by asking the question if he was there is morning. But to live life with doubt, like James says in the bible is to be like a ship in the open seas tossed to and fro. We can't live a life with this way of thinking. We are headed to be unstable and incoherent if we try to. As a man thinks so he is, our thoughts become our actions and we end up living our lives 180 degrees from what we 'say' we believe and the world starts to wonder what In the world is wrong with us
WHAT IF WE WERE REAL?
What if we were real? What if we live the life we've been called to live as lovers of God. Drawing near to his heart with every daily step
The importance of knowing the plan of the enemy isn't to draw us into a kind of fear of him, it's to draw us to the one who alone is able to save us from his wiles. 'Draw near to me' God calls in James ' and I will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts, you double minded'. Isn't it interesting that our faith ( being sure in our hearts of the things being promised by God of which we are earnestly also expecting) is the channel by which we fall in love with God more. Faith works by love. Faith is the substance of things 'hoped' for. There's no faith without hope. Faith, hope and love.
Our quest as Christians is to fall deeper in love with God by drawing nearer . Seeking him through prayer ( which simply means COMMUNICATING with God. . The psalms are a good place to start if you are wondering how, but bear in mind, just be real cause God knows what's in your heart before you speak), through his written word ( the bible, we should note that it's through the written word we get the revealed word and they never contradict) and meditating on His word (that's how it sticks in a world were everything seems to move so fast). A journey of a thousand miles starts with a step and as Christians we do not journey alone. As we carry our cross, God carries us. As we fall in love with God and draw nearer, what we do is punch the devil in the face.
SLOW DOWN TIME
For me I believe God is calling me to place to just wait on him and seek his face. God can do is a truth we often forget. He is powerful. There's no dream he has put in our hearts that he can't bring to pass. With man some things are impossible but with God all things are possible.
I was with a friend yesterday day and a word he said still keeps ringing in my head. 'we have a great destiny before us and the devil knows it and he's out there to make sure we don't fulfill it at all cost'. Let me encourage you friends, the greater the trials and temptations, the greater our God given destiny. It's high time we wait on God for the strength we need to live life. ' They that wait on the Lord' the prophet Isaiah proclaims 'shall be renewed, they shall walk and not be weary. They shall run and would not faint'. This is a call to us as Christians. Our hour of temptations should be an avenue to please God thereby breaking the devil's heart. Our times of trials, an opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus by raising a God-song in that valley where it seems God is absent, thereby hitting the devil in the butt. How do we get the strength to stand the times of trials and temptation. We don't have to stand if we are on our knees before the King of kings. The answer is like I said, seeking God.
As I close this entry and thinking of a joke to share in the end, I'm geared to live life on a new level. It's time to step out on the stormy seas but this time with Jesus, our source who we must be relevant to at all times. It's slow down time guys.
WE COULD STILL USE A CHRISTMAS JOKE
I once heard of a boy who was allergic to peas and just didn't like the idea of heaven. One day his teacher in Sunday school asked him why. 'I just can't stand heaven cause I know there are a lot of peas there' he replied. ' what gives you that idea?' the teacher asked. ' Don't you know the line of that Christmas song called Silent night that goes 'sleep in heavenly peas''. The teacher was just too shocked to correct that it was 'peace' not 'peas'.
Guys till next time. I'm expecting the new year, I hope you are too. Merry Christmas still. Bye for now. Your boy the King's Son. Always remember
U R LUVED :)
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Sunday, December 26, 2010
GET YOUR BOXING GLOVES READY
I have a confession to make when I was little (say like 6 or so) I always thought Boxing day was a day dedicated to the Boxing game. I dreaded the day, praying we would go out somewhere so I won't have to watch boxing all day. I loved car racing those days (formula 1, I'm still pretty much a fan but the time isn't available to sit in front of ESPN watching cool cars running a track). These thought process changed the day I mistakenly ( really I shouldn't have ask ) asked my uncle what day was Formula 1day since there was boxing day. He didn't hide his laughter. He sure didn't. Bless his soul. He laughed so hard before giving me a long lecture about boxing day being a day dedicated to picking up gifts (dropped by Santa) from the Christmas tree. That was then. What gave me a sense of nostalgia today was a tweet I saw on my timeline this morning (I guess the person was trying to be funny but just simply reminded me of the foolishness of my childhood) which read 'It's boxing day and I just got my gloves ready. I'm ready for the competition' ha ha ah. . . Lame. Lame and dead :P
I woke up groggy today. It took me almost a hour to drag my self out of my duvet. Yesterday was family Christmas party and I had such a great time. I got back late and also slept late. I guess that added up to my waking late and groggy. As I dragged myself out of bed, I punched my dock-station as the music of Shelly Moore through the air waves ( bless her). ' God please help me through this day' I muttered. I had a Sunday school class to teach and I hadn't even prepared a note. 'Lord, What would I say to your people? I'm not even ready for this class'. I just drifted through and got to church thinking of what to say. I still felt groggy. Seriously I felt like sleeping all day. Then it came to my mind ' I have nothing, I am nothing'. It's sad how we rely so much on our preparation instead of God's strength and power to carry us through. Now don't get me wrong. To prepare and get ready is a wonderful thing. It's what soldiers are meant to do. 'Be prepared' says the Boys Scout motto. In fact I feel anointed when I'm prepared and gotten my stuffs in place. But the beginning of all things called disgrace is when we think we can change hearts by our public speaking skills and knowledge. It's a bad position I tell you. There's a beauty in letting God use us in his work and we being aware of it. When the miracle happen (it would be one cause you know that human strength cant achieve what just happened) we would realize that it's only a powerful God that can do this. I love skill. I hate sloppiness and indiscipline as a person. But sometimes we are just caught unaware. It a good thing to always realize even when we are aware that it's God working through us in working for him. The glory would be to him alone. Remember he would never share his glory with anyone. When we want to share in his glory by relying on our own skills, He simply removes himself, cause he already said he would NEVER share his glory. He cherishes his word more than his name.
Back to my class. At the end of the class I was changed and blessed. It was just like some divine podcast was playing through my mouth. I wasn't the one speaking and I knew it . God spoke.
In a hurry to get back home to rest, a church member crossed my path. Greetings and all. 'How was Christmas?' he asked. 'Great' I replied, ' we had this family party and I just didn't have enough time to sleep well'. ' oh, you are experiencing an hangover, sorry' he said. He walked away so fast before I could explain to him I didn't have any alcohol. I rolled my eyes and walked away.
GOOD TO MEET YOU
I got home to sleep but I sure didn't sleep. My friend had a party and I already promised to be there. So I relaxed a bit, had some chill out time and off I was again. My arrival, party booming, music playing, beautiful people, I like! :)
For me, there's just this 'deepness' ( I know the right word is depth but let's just put it that way, I kinda sounds better). I experience when I meet people. A chance to know them. An opportunity to know another soul. A box of potentials. An individual with unique characteristics. It reminds me of the greatness of our God. We are unique, that is special in our own way ( I think it's C.S. Lewis that said each person knows something no one knows . . . So true). Welcome the party. Meeting new people and even old friends you've long seen is so much fun. I landed at my party table with four amazing individuals ( one I know, the other three were beautiful strangers). It was the conversations that just got me. Straight from the heart talk about life and all. It's an amazing thing when we put down our walls and just talk. And that was what we all did. Grinning and happy. I had the time of my life. To all the guys at my party table 'good to meet you'.
It all brings my mind back to an honest conversation I had with a friend on my way back from church today. She had been away for a while and we were simply catching up. It was so refreshing. Life is beautiful when we lift each other up be it in the place of constructive or transparent conversations. Nothing compares to the joy derived. In fact life is all about conversations. Conversation with God (prayer), conversation with self ( listening to the desires of your heart) and conversation with people ( my friends and I at the party table . . .serious I'm not trying to be nasty. LOL)
I was furious when my friend ( the one who organized the party) told me a few days ago that he had a new dog and he named her Diva. He is a dog lover ( I think that's his third or fourth, I'm really sure) and I'm okay with that. but what's with the name. ' the girls would hate you for that' I wanted to scream. 'Beyonce is a Diva not your dog' I wanted to correct.
Diva is a cool dog, you can be assured about that. I think I caught her wagging her tail once or twice. But I just don't see the point. I'm not venting but cool girls are called Diva, cool dogs are given names that end with the letter y like risky, suzzy, skippy, ricky, yuppy not diva.
My advice to guys reading, don't name your dog Diva. Your girlfriend might just get all emotional and you are wondering what's going wrong with our relationship. Nothing went wrong, you just simply gave what belongs to her to a dog! Wisdom is needed guys ( I would sure remind my friend about that too. . . He he he). Till next time its your boy Ayo Stephens a.k.a The King's son. Be blessed
U R SIMPLY LUVED :)
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Without much I do, below is the verse, please do enjoy, a Christmas gift to you
IF THERE WAS NO CHRISTMAS
If there was no Christmas where would I be?
If the twenty fifth was just another day in December what would I do?
I did be hopeless
You are the Hope that gave us reason to hope
No You; no Christmas
No You; no me
You have made us more than we are
Now there's a chance to dance before the father
He adorns us with beautiful robes of righteousness
We can call him father
He has called us sons and daughters
Now there's a place at the table
Even beggars from the street sides are invited
We have a privilege to dine with the King of kings
We can call Him our King
He has called us His friends
Now there's a seal of promise
The bride has been found
And with great glee she makes herself ready
She is His body
Her radiance a glory
We can call him lover of our souls
He has called us the 'The Beloved'
If there was no Christmas where would I be?
I would have no place at the table
I would be naked without a robe
With no lover; who would my heart desire be for?
But with the season
The story changes. . .
Our God was born in a manger so we wouldn't be strangers anymore
The author of the story becomes a character of His story and history is changed!
The Shepherd leaves ninety nine just to find one
The Lover goes on a wild and dangerous chase to win the heart of his beloved
All this and more at Christmas
These are the action points of our story
Or rather turning points for those who see the essence of the story
Christmas changed our stories
Christmas changed my story
If there was no christmas, there would be no me
Beyond a time of celebration
You have given a reason for celebration
In this season I find my reason
The reason is You
You are the reason for the season
Cause without You
There would be no Christmas
P.S. - I spelt 'technically' tenichally at the beginning of this post ( thanks to auto correction you read the right thing). I think I need some sleep. Bye for now and you keep remembering. . .
U R LUVED :)
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Saturday, December 25, 2010
Notice :Please read to the end. It's important you do.
'Nothing is wrong with me' i console myself for the 6th time in 5 seconds. I just had to start this write up again, I mistakenly hit the delete button on the former and I almost beat myself for that. But not again. . . Mirror mirror on the wall, I'm not the foolish boy I use to be anymore.
I once beat myself for hitting the delete button. I wrote something so nice. So nice I was sure Oprah would beam when she read it. I was already practicing how I would act shocked incase she called me on her syndicated show and proposed 'would you like, like to write a book with me?'. Don't worry, I didn't plan to pass out. My reply as I planned was to say in the hunk guy kind of voice ' i did love to' and grin up to my ears. My daydream became a nightmare when I mistakenly hit the close button on Microsoft word without saving. I mourned my write-up for a week. The truth is I almost killed my self for it and I drained the energy I could have used to write something better to worry and blame myself for what I could never have back. The situation was horrifying in it's own sense. Soul torture class A. A week later I decided to move on, the same step I could have taken a second after every thing happened. Some of you might just think that scenario to be quite silly and dumb. 'why should I beat myself up just on a piece of writing, who cares' I can hear you say. But how many times have most of us pressed a long pause button on life because of a situation that came to rock our boat. We didn't see it coming. It all seemed random. Random disaster. It hurt us so bad and we cry at our ceiling 'WHY?'. Friends these are what I call 'life typos'. We don't see them coming but they come our way still.
A conversation I had with a friend whom I have been working together with on a project comes to mind. 'Life' I remember saying 'would always ask us questions. Our attitude to life situations is a measure of the answers we give'. A Bad answer answers for a long time I tell you. A few tips on answering life correctly are answering the following question first
- Who are you?
- What are you really living for?
- What really do you want? ( out of life of course)
Come to think of it I wouldn't have written this section if I hadn't mistakenly hit the delete button. Something good from the bad. Hmmmm. . . Without the right attitude we might just be too blind to see the good in the bad in life. It's Christmas, why am I even talking about this? Oh, it's all because I had a typo. Before I mistakenly hit the delete button again, we better move on
WE ARE HERE!
As we sat over a couple of well prepared native delicacies and well seasoned/spiced meat, I really can't remember the exact time the conversation about airbags, hospital wards and broken bones creeped in. It was a party and at Christmas after all. Why should we be having a conversation of things so morbid yet drawing our hearts in and renovating the connection that has grown thin over the year. They are my distant cousins and some relatives. The year has brought so much across everyone's way. A time to relax and reflect. I like! Someone was narrating with so much delight how he had narrowly missed a car crash. He was meant to go on a group trip. He stepped out. The accident was really bad. That was when the stories exploded. Stories of friends finding healing through the year. How some never came back from the hospital ward. Stories of young people losing their life to recklessness. One of the stories just gripped at my heart as my heart raced with fireworks of gratitude. It was one of a girl still on the hospital bed. Yet to recover. Severe brain damage. It stole her speech. And I'm like guys WE ARE HERE. It's not by our own doing. A relative seconds it by saying out loud ' it about the grace of God'. Oh yes it is. No greater gift for this day to have my family members whole and hearty laughing and talking their hearts out at christmas.
A lot has happened through the year and this guys are right here with me. I'm thankful.
Now the day is over and I'm still pondering grace. Two things happened today that shook a bit of human wisdom out of me.
It's the way of the world to always have something to offer. If you don't have something to offer in our world today, you are seen (by the world) as a 'nobody'. We must always bring something to the table to get the things we want.
I was with a group of people today who have these beautiful culture to bring gifts at christmas, drop it and like exchange it amongst themselves (by picking numbers randomly). A number of people came with something, maybe less expecting something more, or maybe more and not expecting something at all. A little boy who came to the group for the first time ( I think) didn't bring a gift. He didn't bring anything to the table. When the gifts were later distributed back randomly, the little boy got the best gift in the room. I was shocked. I really don't know why I was shocked. Maybe cause of what happened or when I heard someone mutter beside me ' but he didn't deserve it!'
CHRISTMAS MEANS GRACE
I'm Learning everyday to be like the little boy. Sometimes the things we bring to the table deludes us of how powerful our God is. We come with OUR skills, talents, charisma and even spiritual gifts. We forget the Giver- the One who gave them to us and call them OUR. Grace as I like to define it is a divine empowerment given by God himself to live life as God intended. It is what gives us the privilege to go away with the biggest gift when we have come with nothing to the table. But we defy grace when we think our abilities and strengths are what gives us a right to earn our blessing. That's not grace, that's craze and it's crazy indeed, we shouldn't be trying it. Let's come to the table this Christmas remembering our Jesus, a man of earthly nature but of heavenly culture who left all for all of us. We don't have to come to the table with any gift. Just come with your heart and put your trust in Him ( put the whole weight of your life on Him). It's then we experience grace for life's race. If you are rethinking trusting and surrendering your life to Jesus today, one thing is sure like the little boy I met today, you wouldn't be disappointed. He will never leave you empty handed. And though 'Life typos' will come your way, you would never regret you did.
I would like to end with something a man said to me today 'the best things in life come free'. How true. Try Jesus. It don't cost a thing.
Till next time it's your boy Ayo Stephens.
P.S- I know I said two stories and I only shared one and you are expecting the other. I promise to share it soon too. I sure didn't forget. LOL
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY HOLIDAYS :)
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Friday, December 24, 2010
And a merry christmas to you all
It's me your boy Ayo Stephens (the voice behind this blog) I know it's been a while and I've been off and on this year. I've been up to quite a number of things and been living with the Chimpanzees ( yeah not literally but my neighbors once killed a chimp right on the little mountain behind my place. . Please let's keep that a secret. . . Thanks). But really in plain words. . . The web browseth not from the land i have been residing this year. All the same life has been good without so many things I always thought I will die without e.g electricity and my massive nokia. It's good to be alive without having to depend on electricity, one amazing truth you would discover is that. . . You aren't a robot.
Lately I've been thinking 'bout a couple of things (including closing down this blog, a thought which I 'binded' right away. . . He he eh) but seriously I've been thinking a lot on ways of improving this blog and making it more communicable, accessible and it serving it's purpose efficiently.
I would like to say that one of the primary aim of my writing is to draw nearer to my Lord and savior that is JESUS and by drawing near, helping people to draw near too. Like we know, most of my writing has been in poetry form. That wouldn't change. I would keep writing as I'm led and inspired, poetry, prose, columns, interviews, heart talks, reminiscences, and so on. I believe God is also mindful that my gift is to help others too. Come to think of it not everyone enjoys verses, but everyone enjoys a sense of connection with the reader, a level of communication that establishes the fact that it's also a human writing on the other side, and that is one of the things this blog looks forward achieving this new season.
IT'S TIME FOR A MAKEOVER!
Various changes would be seen soon in writing formats, in layout and design and more. Let's bear in mind brethren, the face behind the blog would be seen more often. More communication, more trust, more interaction. A Q&A might be on the way too. I'm thinking :)
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU
To serve you better, your opinion is needed. Your advice, your help, your ideas and even your prayers would be much appreciated. You can leave a comment on this note, holla me via twitter (@ayostephens). And please bear in mind, I love criticism too. It is always an avenue for growth. :)
And yeah! Talking about the christmas season, how is it turning out at your side? I and a couple of friends crashed the zoo in my neighborhood today. I tell you, it was fun. And also I've been having a dose of palindromes. Yes, palindromes and I'm loving them. Here are a few below ( try reading them backwards and see how it works. . . He he he)
Madam, I'm Adam
Go hang a salami; I'm a lasagna hog
Yaweh- the way
Do geeses see God
Sit on a potato pan Otis
Wow! Thanks so much. Once more a happy celebration to you.
Leaving you with a thought that continues to stare at me at the back of the paperback i'm currently reading
"You're not much good until you find out how bad you are"
Really, how true is that? Just wondering
Till next time it's me your boy Ayo Stephens.
Remember, U R LUVED
P.S- if you enjoyed this please leave a comment and if you didn't leave one too so we can help you enjoy better next time :D
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Thursday, October 28, 2010
In the pouring rain and turbulent storm
I hear a word above the rushing torrents
In the turbulent storm coming strong
I hear you above the raging noise
Maybe the surprise is that
When I expected you to be far away
You are so close
Stilling my heart
Telling me over and over again
I will take care of you
I will carry you
I have a plan for you
To be honest
It stills my heart
It gives me indescribable peace
It echoes longer beyond the silence of friends
Just keep me close
I believe in you
It’s me I don’t even trust
Help me be found in your love over and over again
Help me trust you
Even in this not so pleasant time
Even with this tears falling
I still hear your voice
It says the same words on a stronger note
Be strong my child
Cause I will take care of you
It brings back sweet memories
You want to raise your hands and make some moves
Dance and sing-along
Its happy music
A nostalgia of good times
A soothing balm for the bad times
You smile as the tune fills the air
It’s not you
It’s the music
And it makes you happy
When prayers bounce back off the ceiling
When words fail
When the quiet time is too quiet beyond words
When the uncertainty of a certain God astounds you
Rest – rest on his love
Know – know that he is God
Believe – believe he is not man that he should lie that he has a plan for your life
Believe again – believe again even when it seems to happen all over again and prayers bounce back off ceiling still
And remember, even when words fail, he never fails
It’s too late to dream again
It’s too late to start a new life
It’s too late to pick up the pieces and build again
If I try what’s the use
If I don’t try, what’s the use
To dream again
To start a new life
To put the pieces together and build
I would try
Cause if I don’t try, it of no use
I would try
Cause it’s never too late to start anew