DEPRIVED

Family is important and no matter how high we rate it, I doubt if it could be overrated. A family provides emotional and psychological balance for its members. A family also provides a spiritual covering as well as financial and material support for its members. It is therefore tough for anyone to have to face life without the benefits of an immediate family. A lot of people who for one reason or another grew up outside their homes always feel there was something missing. Perhaps this is because a natural order was disrupted. This situation is one of the harsh realities of life for millions of children all around the world.

Have you ever wondered what it was like for Hannah to drop off her toddler with Eli, a man who aside from the fact that he was a respected man of God, was a total stranger? Hannah and Elkanah her husband probably only got to see Eli once in a year when the children of God gathered for worship at Shiloh. Imagine a pastor or an evangelist you only get to see from a far, once a year; how well would you feel you know this person?

How did little Samuel cope? How often did he cry himself to sleep at night while calling for mama? How long before he adjusted to a life of separation from blood ties to that of complete devotion to God?

And what about King David? One moment he was a normal kid, the last born in the family, what we would call baby of the house today, and the next moment he was on the streets living like a vagabond. Yes, David killed a lion and he killed goliath so it’s tempting to say, oh, he was never a normal kid, he was prepared for life on the streets but the fact is at fifteen, he was still a kid. He still needed the day to day emotional, psychological and material support of his immediate family. They were not dead but he suddenly didn’t have access to their love anymore, speak of orphan hood redefined.

In a desperate moment Rachel said to Jacob “give me children or I’ll die!” Genesis 30 vs. 1 if she wanted a child so bad, can you imagine how much she must have loved Joseph? Like crazy, I’d reckon. How do you think Joseph must have felt losing such a special relationship with his mother at a very tender age? Perhaps the boy eventually took solace in the love of his father, (see Gen 32 vs. 3) but even that was soon taken away from him. Imagine the pain and the feeling of loneliness Joseph must have struggled with.

Moses was just a few weeks old when he was separated from his blood family. His mother was alive and well yet he grew up calling a total stranger mother. Aaron and Miriam knew they had a baby brother but getting to play with him was a dream that never came true. Growing up in the palace in Egypt with all the glamour, easy life and sophistication of that time is definitely a life of fairy tale but that doesn’t change the fact that for Moses life was orphan hood redefined.

Samson, David, Joseph and Moses all experienced the pain of separation from family ties too early in life but something beyond that is etched across their names in history; they all fulfilled destiny. For what they lost, they had plenty to gain and the kind of lives they had is an indication that sometimes when God has a special plan for our lives the process of getting in line with that plan might remove us from the kind of life everybody agree to be normal, healthy and even necessary, placing us in a disadvantaged position, so to speak.

Dear FOJ,

If you are one of many who lack the luxury of growing up in a proper home or family setting that doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you or that the future is bleak. You may feel deprived but God has a special plan for your life, a divine purpose. When you fulfill that purpose, it wouldn’t matter whether you grew up in a house where everything was perfect, with everybody cuddling up, or not. Fulfill destiny and all the joy and happiness you long for in the world will be yours. You have all it takes; your relationship with God. Cherish it.

Yours truly,

Moni.

LITTLE

Nine years ago a former colleague of mine made a remark that caught my attention. It was a work day at the office and a television was on in the editing suite of the Management and Events Company. A popular minister of the Word was preaching on cable TV and this colleague of mine after listening for a while suddenly said, “They make it sound so easy.” There was a note of frustration and irritation in his voice. He used the collective pronoun “they” because he felt all pastors were guilty of making accessing miracles through the power of God seem nice and easy; In contrast to his personal experiences and that of a lot of other people.

This young man’s remark flashed through my mind recently while reading the book of Revelations, specifically chapter 3 vs. 8. The Lord Jesus spoke of some people who having just a LITTLE strength, achieved perfection. This further led me somewhere else down memory lane, it’s actually a place in scripture, Mathew 17 vs.2, where Jesus taught about faith, and He said all we need is faith as small as a mustard seed. With faith that little nothing will be impossible for us. Wow, speaking of making the working of miracles look nice and easy.

I consider myself a person with a little strength. I have wished, longed for, and coveted what I perceive to be big strength. I imagine that for me to feel confident about living a victorious Christian life I need this big strength. It then came as a rude shock reading about the Lord’s testimony of people with a little strength who kept His Word and didn’t deny His name. These people achieved the ultimate Christian goals running on a little strength, such as I have.

If a little strength is what I have and all I need to live a life that is pleasing to God then I must know everything about its hidden power. Is there a hidden power? There must be.

Little. With a little bread and fish, Jesus fed four thousand people and there were seven large baskets of left over fragments, Mark 8 vs. 6-9.

Little. With a little bread and fish again, Jesus fed five thousand people, not counting women and children and there were twelve thousand baskets of left over fragments, Mathew 14 vs. 17-20.

Little. With a fresh jaw bone of a donkey Samson slaughtered one thousand men, Judges 15 vs. 15.

Little. From a little jar of oil, a distressed widow filled dozens of containers with oil. She was able to make enough money from the sale of these to settle her debts, 2 Kings 4 vs. 1-6.

Little. From a little flour and oil, the widow of Zarephath baked dozens of cakes to keep herself, her son and a man of God alive during a time of famine, 1 Kings 17 vs. 10-16.

The hidden power of “a little strength”, which every child of God possesses, is the power of God. Angel Gabriel described this power as “the power of the highest”, Luke 1 vs. 35. When our little strength is connected to the power of God, we cannot fail and there is therefore no need to fear. Look at where you are today, and then look back at where you’re coming from. How do you think you’ve managed to come this far? It’s the power of God.

Dear FOJ,

Do you often wish that you have the big strength of brother XYZ or sister ABC? Stop despising and or underestimating the value of your little strength, it is something that God can use. If you take your little strength and offer it to God, He will multiply it to the capacity of strength that you need at every given time, for every definite purpose.

Yours truly,

Moni.

LEARN FROM A MOVIE 2: LAKEVIEW TERRACE

MOVIE TITLE: LAKEVIEW TERRACE
STORY: DAVID LOUGHERY
PRODUCER: JAMES CASSITER, WILL SMITH
DIRECTOR: NEIL LABUTE
LEAD CHARACTER: SAMUEL L. JACKSON

CONTENTION

“And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either”, Luke 6 vs. 29b.

What should you do about someone who maliciously makes trouble for you when you are quietly minding your own business? Rationally, it is proper to fight back, teach the person a lesson or two. People who love to make trouble usually don’t know when to stop so the smart thing to do is to finish them off before they do you. However, in Luke 6 vs. 29b, the Lord Jesus says otherwise. Why?

Sometimes, the words/ways of a wise man sounds/seems foolish but in the end, it works wonders. In Genesis 26 vs. 17-33, something inspiring happened in the life of Isaac; the story of the wells he called Esek, Sitnah, and Rehoboth. When the herds- men of Isaac dug the first well, the herds- men of Gerar contended with them, they said, “the water is ours.” Isaac had every right to fight back but he didn’t, instead he moved on and his men dug a second well. The herds-men of Gerar contended with them again and Isaac still refrained from challenging them. He moved away and dug a third well, and this time there was no contention. Isaac took this for a sign that the Lord had given him peace and he was right because not only did the men of Gerar leave him alone, he prospered. It didn’t take long before the nobles of the land of Gerar heard about Isaac’s prosperity and they came to bow down to him.

Sometimes, you need to hold your peace, certain battles demand for it.

In the movie “Lakeview Terrace”, the protagonists, Chris and Lisa didn’t really need to contend with the antagonist, Officer Abel. There was a mighty fire migrating towards that neighborhood and everybody needed to get out, including Officer Abel. The fire was on the news but the couple paid no attention because they were busy contending with Officer Abel. If they were thinking like Isaac in the bible, they would have quickly put the house back on the market and moved. Lisa’s father, an experienced lawyer gave that suggestion when the couple told him about Abel’s unpleasant attitude but they didn’t listen. In the end, Abel or no Abel, they realized they had to move because the fire kept encroaching on the area.

Sometimes, what someone is fighting hard to take away from you is not your REST, nor your BLESSING. You may need to lift up your eyes and look farther. You may need to walk another mile. It might look like you’ve suffered injustice like a coward but your contenders are actually helping to chase you in the direction of your REST.

Haven said that, there are times when we may need to contend with an enemy and wrestle out of his hands what he has taken from us. So how do we know when to contend and when not to? The thing is to be sensitive to the leading of God. Is God saying contend, or is He saying, hold your peace?

In 1 Samuel 30 vs. 1-9, David contended with the Amalekites and recovered all. In Genesis 14 vs. 1-16, Abraham contended with four powerful kings and recovered all. One thing we all have to contend with the enemy over is our faith, see Jude 1 vs. 3. Our faith is a gift from God (John 6 vs. 64-65), and without it we cannot please God, (Heb. 11vs.6). Neither can we receive anything from God, (James 1vs.6-7). Therefore we have to contend with anything that wants to take away our faith and win.

Dear FOJ,

Peace and love is the way of Christ our Lord so don’t enter into contentions easily or unnecessarily. When faced with a situation that is really bad, seek God’s face and get His approval before you go offensive. Remember, it is God’s power that will fight for you and give you victory so if you’re in it alone you will end up getting frustrated and overwhelmed.

Yours truly,

Moni.

LEARN FROM A MOVIE: LAKEVIEW TERRACE

LEARN FROM A MOVIE.
MOVIE TITLE: LAKEVIEW TERRACE
STORY: DAVID LOUGHERY
PRODUCER: JAMES CASSITER, WILL SMITH
DIRECTOR: NEIL LABUTE
LEAD CHARACTER: SAMUEL L. JACKSON

ANGER

”Sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Anger, bitterness and arrogance are a lethal concoction; anyone high on it will end up killing somebody or getting killed. In the bible, Cain got high on it and killed Abel, Genesis 4 vs. 1-9. In the movie Lakeview Terrace, Officer Abel got high on it and got himself killed.

Officer Abel, played by veteran actor Samuel L Jackson, was hurting. His pain came from suddenly losing his wife as well as the circumstances surrounding her death. She died from injuries sustained in a fatal automobile accident. She wasn’t the one driving, her white boss was. Prior to her death, Abel’s wife worked as a nurse attending to patients with special needs in the comfort of their homes. At the time of the accident, she was supposed to be administering care to one of her patients. So why wasn’t she there? What was she doing in her boss’s car? Where were they going? Abel put two and two together and it equaled AFFAIR.

Officer Abel was a black man and his wife was a black woman. Would he have felt less angry if the man his wife was cheating on him with was black? I don’t know but he was terribly hurt to discover that his wife was cheating on him with a white man. He was a black man in a country that was predominantly white. History has it that the white man has taken a lot, if not too much from him already, so why did he have to take his wife too? There was a lot of race induced tension in this movie; however the core reason for the tragedy in the movie was anger.

Chris, a young white man is married to Lisa, a young black woman. Reading between the lines, In-laws on both sides of the fence appear to be supportive but the whole idea was not such a “pleasant surprise” for them. And the couple, though in love are not spared the inconvenience of an unconventional marriage. Chris complained that he was constantly taking “shit” from black guys because he was married to one of their own. Lisa understood that theirs was not an easy path and she believed strongly that one of the ways to insulate their home was starting a family. Nice idea except that Chris disagreed. In his opinion, having babies was such a big step for newlyweds; it was something that needed planning. Lisa took Chris’s lack of enthusiasm to start a family with her personal; was Chris secretly not proud to be married to her?

When Abel saw Chris and Lisa together, shock shot through his system. That was another white man with a black woman! The couple had just bought a beautiful house right next to the house Abel had lived for twenty years. Abel was resentful and hateful. All he kept thinking was, “no, you guys are not supposed to be together, get this thing out of my face, you’re not welcome in this neighborhood, sell this house and move.”

However, despite all Abel did to harass Chris, the young man remained obstinate because he believed Abel was out of line. The middle aged black cop was old enough to have learnt how to manage his emotions. He was living in America; a white man having a relationship with a black woman was something he would have to live with. But Abel was too angry and arrogant to think straight. When Chris finally said to him, “we’re not moving”, Abel turned to crime. He had failed in his attempt to scare Chris off with verbal threat, so he thought some violence might help him achieve his aim. He didn’t expect things to get out of hand; he didn’t think that the moment he stepped into the dark side he would be signing his own death warrant. In a final show-down that drew the attention of the police, Chris and Lisa managed to escape with their lives but Abel took some bullets that knocked him down and out.

Dear FOJ,

In Ephesians 4 vs. 26, Apostle Paul advised Christians to exercise self control when angry, failure to do so will give the devil a chance to step in and blow things out of proportion.