Pain

“Mummy look, my eye is red”.

Panic shot through me as I examined her eye. Could it be……Lord, NO!

“Did anyone in your class come to school with a red eye?” I asked.

“Yes, Stephanie. Her eyes are red, and mucus was coming out. She said it is Apollo”.

Apollo, (Viral conjunctivitis) had come to my house uninvited, unannounced. What did I do to deserve that?

If she were a stranger, I would have avoided her like a plague. But she was my daughter, and as they say, blood is thicker than water. When she spoke to me, staring with a set of huge fiery red eyes, I didn’t flinch. I held her gaze kindly, like everything in me wasn’t screaming, “Oh back away from me child with your virus spitting eyes!”

“Oh Lord, let this cup pass over me.” I prayed for supernatural immunity but she gave it to me. Twenty something years ago, I caught it and now it’s got me again, that dreadful Apollo, It wasn’t funny.

Apollo gave my daughter slight discomfort, but to me it gave pain. Within three days her eyes had cleared and she played all through. Not me, for seven days I battled, wiping tears and mucus from my eyes night and day until the delicate skin around my eyes became sore. The eye drop I was applying didn’t just sting like a bee, it hit me with feverish feelings and frequent bowel movement that was quite worrisome. My eyes ached so much it seemed the Apollo merely patted my daughter on the back but gave me an upper cut!

Three days before my eyes cleared, I woke up very early in the morning crying, “why me, o Lord?”

“There are people suffering worse physical pain in this world, do you ever spare them a thought?” responded a gentle voice inside my heart. “Some are lying down on hospital beds; some others have been bedridden in their various homes for months writhing in pain.” The gentle voice continued. Then He said, “remember them this morning, pray for them, pray that the Lord of healing visit them.” When I recovered from the shock, I prayed for everyone in pain around the world due to one ailment or another.

Having this experience in the month of Easter brought to mind the pain and sufferings of Christ for humanity. Christ endured the pain of rejection, physical abuse and death on the cross so that He can deliver man from sin and death. It is not easy to bear pain, even if it has a purpose, hence we must never take for granted what Jesus went through to redeem our lives back to God.

Dear FOJ,

This is a week set aside in the calendar of man to remember the sufferings of Christ as well as celebrate His resurrection from death.

The pain of Christ paid for the redemption of mankind; let us observe this Easter with reverence and with a true spirit of worship and thanksgiving.

Yours truly,

Moni.

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We Like What We Like

After seeing the movie, “Legend of the falls” I couldn’t help but pray, “May what I like not kill me.” Two beautiful women ended their lives tragically because of their love for one charming man. I could sit in my living room and say, couldn’t they see that as handsome and desirable as he was, he was too adventurous and mysterious to live a regular, ordinary life? Those are words of reason, but I wonder if anyone ever got crazy about someone else based on good reasoning.

Years ago, I met someone at the university, a young law student whom I liked and respected. We got acquainted and I discovered that he didn’t talk much and I thought oh, what a gentle man. A few months later I discovered that he was one of the fellows that had been initiated into one of the deadly cults on the campus. He was not a gentle man after all; he was someone who could actually stab me with a knife or put a bullet in my head if he received orders to do so.

We are emotional beings and often we get carried away by what or whom we find attractive. I see this nature play out even in little children. A few years back, I went to pick my daughter from a family friend’s house after close of work. When I got there, she was playing in the guest room with her little friends and two of their cousins who had come over for holiday. My daughter didn’t look too pleased to see me because my tired face meant, “Play over; it’s time to go home.” I ignored her and gave one of her friend’s cousins a warm smile. The little girl, close to three years of age, took one good look at me and stretched out her arms. As I lifted her in to my arms I couldn’t help looking surprised. Several minutes later she was still clinging to me and telling me she wanted to follow me to my house! Wow, I thought, so strong an attraction to a total stranger.

Samson, a bible character of extraordinary strength came to a tragic end because he saw beautiful
Delilah and said, “Oh, that’s the woman I like”. What if Samson had reasoned, “This woman is a philistine, philistines are my enemies, what I want from her won’t work.” His parents had a bad feeling about it, they knew that he was supposed to like and marry an Israelite like himself. But then the whole idea of liking someone or something is often processed by our senses. I certainly believe that God didn’t give us our senses for decoration, but he also gave us a mind to think through how we feel about whatever we feel so strongly about. When we use our brains and our minds to examine what we’re attracted to or desire, from all angles, we can objectively say, what I like is good for me, or no, this will ruin me, set me back or even kill me.

Dear FOJ,

Sometimes it’s not so obvious that what we like is not good for us and we just have to take our chances.
But at other times the signs are there, signs we choose to ignore because we say to ourselves, “Oh what’s the use, I can’t help myself!” When we can’t help ourselves God can help us and a sincere heart cry always gets His attention. So when you pray, “Oh God help me”, make it real. Shakespeare in Hamlet said, “To thy own self be true”. You can’t say, “I want what I want,” and “Oh God help me,” at the same time. It’s like trying to build with one hand and at the same time pulling down with the other.

Yours truly,

Moni.

Endless Possibilities

He knew they were hungry and he feed them, He didn’t wait for them to ask him for food. He could have
sent them off to find something to eat on their own but he didn’t. (Mark 8 vs. 1-9) When Jesus looked at the crowd, he saw children, God’s children who had come out to hear him speak for hours. Some were sick and disturbed in many ways and had come to him for healing. Many were lost souls, far from God their creator because of sinful living but Jesus came to change that. He said He came into this world
as light so that children walking in darkness will start to walk in the light. (John 8 vs. 12)

A worldly lifestyle gives a lost child of God false sense of control. You take charge of your own destiny, so to speak, instead of “conveniently” leaving it to an unseen God. Taking control means constantly trying to look out for yourself. Finding God, knowing Him, loving Him is hardly given a thought. Jesus came to change that. He came to tell God’s children that they need to put God first and let Him be in charge of their lives. There is fear that God might not do a good job. Fear that He might deny or delay thereby causing heartache or shame. From our foundation scripture we understand that God is a compassionate Father who sees our needs and meets them before we even ask Him to. He is a capable provider, He wants us o believe this so we can stop worrying and concentrate on having a relationship with Him.

For many children this is a difficult thing to do. Jesus said to the children who came looking for Him after the miraculous feeding of five thousand, “Most assuredly I say to you, you seek Me not because you saw the signs but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” (John 6vs26) When our belly controls us we place our needs first because fear becomes a driving force in our lives.. But when the desire to please the Father propels us, we become driven by love. When Jesus fed the five thousand, most of the people were already thinking of how to go back to town to get something to eat. They didn’t ask Him for food;
as usual they were worrying about how to take care of themselves. But Jesus showed them He lives so that they will not have to worry about taking care of themselves. He can provide anything the children need. Sometimes, challenging situations and circumstances will contend with this truth, for such times Jesus has this to say, “Fear not, only believe.” (Luke 8 vs. 50)

Believing does not happen in the head but in the heart, that’s why it won’t make sense. However God does not leave his children without prove of His love and power. But, it is possible to see the signs and still go to Jesus only because of bread. When God’s children don’t care to know Him, clamoring only for bread, they are being selfish. Again one major reason for selfish attitude is fear; often we are afraid of disappointments or delay and that makes it difficult for us to relax and trust God completely.

Dear FOJ,

When God reached out to us, he did it out of love, “For God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3 vs. 16) The Father wants us to respond to His love with love. If we respond with fear, we will go to Him with selfishness and we will never be able to build a lasting relationship with Him. When we respond with
love, we go as selfless children desiring to know and love Him. And in that love, there are endless possibilities.

Yours truly,
Moni.

NO SHAME IN LOVE

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ , the Father of Mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1 vs. 3 & 4.

A few years ago, at Sunday morning worship, the pastor led a prayer session and one of the key prayers was that God should destroy all attitudes and mannerism that we have imported from the world into
the church. Although I prayed a heartfelt prayer, the weight of that prayer point didn’t dawn on me until. Tuesday morning.

On Monday morning I was feeling low, for some time I’d felt the need to talk to someone about certain things. I needed counseling, encouragement and even prayers. But something had always held me back. Someone might call it pride but really I call it protection. Most people have challenges but they all go on with a smile and a bold face. This tells the world they are confident and happy. And in turn the world admires and respects them instead of pitying them.

Monday afternoon I flipped through a Lifestyle magazine and stumbled on an article that said we must always look confident and happy because this kind of attitude draws people to us and makes them admire and respect us. The writer confirmed what I’d always known but I couldn’t help wondering,
isn’t that a fake and pretentious way to live? It is, but it works and in this world that’s what really counts. How it looks, how it feels. The FACT is that dropped shoulders and a sad face naturally put one off. The writer said anyone who looks like that comes across as someone who wants to be left alone.

I stirred awake at about 3am Tuesday morning and serious thoughts in form of questions poured into my mind. What if that blind man who called out to Jesus as He was leaving Jericho one day with His disciples and a crowd that tagged along acted cool, calm and collected? (Mark 10 vs. 46-52) The woman, a sinner who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, (Luke 7 vs. 37-38) The Canaanite woman Jesus tried to brush off, (Mathew 15 vs. 21-28), and many others who had reason to cry, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” What they did was not dignifying, and nobody is going to admire or respect them for the way they humbled themselves. The writer in the magazine said all they’ll get is compassion but not admiration and she was right. The spectators were always disgusted and offended. But Jesus, the God of compassion, took pity on them and freed them from their challenges. The TRUTH is that, sometimes
what we need is not respect and admiration, but compassion. And the funny thing is that the bulk of the
people we admire and respect in this world don’t have it all together they just pretend to. From time to time they need help and they know how to go about getting it DISCREETLY.

Jesus came to set the captives free. He came for those who needed a physician. The tears of the widow
who lost her only son moved him; the tears of those who wept for Lazarus touched him. He has asked us to be just like Him in this world. Every day we pray, “Lord make me a blessing,” but when we notice a sad face do we stop to think that that could be the answer to our prayer? Instead of turning our backs
and beating it because we fear being infected with the dark mood we need to reach out in love like Jesus would have done. Ignoring the troubled and running off to join the circus of happy faces, real or imagined, is like choosing to play when there’s serious work to be done.

Dear FOJ,

If ever we need help, counsel or prayers and God tells us where to go or who to call we must never be held back by worldly traditions of pride and pretense. And if ever someone needs our compassion, we must be ready to reach out in love. God is all sufficient but He intends for us to need each other, help each other, cover each other, forgive one another. (See Mathew 18 vs. 19, Mathew 26 vs. 38, Hebrews 3 vs. 13, Mathew 18 vs. 20, Hebrews 10 vs. 24 & 25, 2 Corinthians 1 vs. 3 & 4, Mathew 18vs. 21 & 22, and 1Thessalonians 5 vs. 14.)

Yours truly,

Moni.

MISJUDGED

Something is playing out before your eyes, you think you understand exactly what is going on, so you form an opinion and pass judgment. But you turned out to be wrong. Have you ever found yourself in such an embarrassing situation?

In the book of 1 Samuel chapter I, Prophet Eli saw childless Hannah praying in a strange way and he concluded that she was a drunken woman misbehaving in the presence of God. Eli rebuked her sharply, he said:

“How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!”

If only he knew the sorrow and pain that lied beneath! Hannah had to enlighten Eli about her situation and having been corrected; Eli changed his attitude and prayed for her. He said:

“Go in peace and the God of Israel grant you your petition which you have asked of Him.” I Samuel 1 vs. 17.

In Mark 14 vs. 3, a woman anointed Jesus’ head with a very expensive oil and some people took offence. They felt it was just a show and a waste of money which could have been put to better use such as feeding the poor. The bible says these offended men “criticized her, (the woman) sharply.” If only they knew that something significant lied beneath her action. Jesus explained it to them. He said:
“She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for the burial.”

Jesus praised the woman, He said:

“She has done a good work for Me.”

Jesus also made it clear that the woman’s good work has a reward. He said:

“Assuredly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done
will also be told as a memorial to her.”

The woman’s name will never be forgotten. Today we hear of names like Achilles; a legendary great Warrior according to Greek mythology. We also hear of Socrates, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Plato and other great Greek philosophers. To have your name remembered long after you are gone comes at a price. With men, you have to do something great, with God you have to do something good. Not everyone will be able to do something that will cause the whole world to marvel by reason of some special gift but we can all do something that God will consider “good” by reason of simple obedience to His leading.

The fear of being misunderstood can hinder us from obeying God’s leading; it is a trap we must be careful not to fall into. Whenever God lays something on your heart do it, however God leads you in your walk with Him, follow. As long as you are led by the Spirit of God, the Lord Himself will rise up to your defense. He will endorse you and reward you.

Dear FOJ,

We have been wisely admonished to be swift to hear but slow to speak and slow to wrath, James 1 vs. 19. However, if you misjudge anyone like Eli did, the moment you discover how wrong you are, repent. And if you find yourself being misjudged by others, like the woman who anointed Jesus, know that the Lord will vindicate you.

Yours truly,

Moni.