Yesterday I got on a wrong train.
I had just finished speaking at a seminar somewhere in London. I was tired and distracted. I was also in a hurry to catch a connecting train which was pre-booked. I was on the right platform waiting for my train. When this train pulled up I thought it was the right train and got on.
Ten minutes into the journey I discovered my mistake. I studied the map and the direction the train was headed, I didn’t recognise ANY stops.
I was in trouble.
To tell you the truth, for a moment I was anxious. All kinds of crazy thoughts ran through my mind.
Where is the destination of this train?
How far is it from where I wanted to go?
What area of the city was it going? Was it a dangerous part of the city?
I was concerned because it was getting late. I wore a suit and carried some luggage. Wearing a suit in the wrong part of town, at night, would make me a target that could not be ignored.
If you got on a wrong train in New York, you better start praying because the NYC subway is very confusing. People who have lived in New York for a few years tell you that it can be confusing.
Fortunately for me this happened in London.
I studied the underground map on the train to see in what direction the train was headed and how to correct my mistake and get on the right train.
As I studied the map, I found a station I recognised. I wasn’t very sure if it was the same station I knew or this was another one with a similar name.
Now there was hope.
For the next twenty minutes I rode on this train knowing that I wasn’t supposed to be on it, knowing that I was headed in the wrong direction, knowing that it was a waste of my time, but there was nothing I could do about it. I was uncomfortable in my seat. All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind as I sat there. How will the journey end, I wondered. My fellow travelers had no idea what was going on in my mind. They probably wondered why I got up so many times to study the map above my head. Continue reading
The danger of depending on your gift.
For some months I wondered what happened to a gifted and powerful prophet, Apostle Arinze ( not his real name) and why I was no longer seeing him on television or hearing about his exploits. Apostle Arinze drew large crowds to his programs which held in open fields and in big halls. He was in demand because of his prophetic gift.
The way his fame spread everywhere you would think that he would be like that forever. You would think that nothing would be able to come against him or his gift. He seemed so invincible, untouchable and powerful.
But suddenly he stopped holding his crusades and big programs broadcast live on television. He had a series of problems which essentially shut down his ministry and banished him to irrelevance and obsolescence.
Recently Apostle Arinze was dragged to court for owing about $1million dollars and couldn’t repay the loan. He said he wanted to use the money to jump start his ministry. If you knew Apostle Arinze about two decades ago you would realize that his ministry was essentially dead.
But how could this have happened? How could somebody so successful, so powerful, so gifted become irrelevant? What happened to Apostle Arinze that banished him to the backsides of life?
The bible says that the gift of a man will make room for him. Proverbs 18:16.
The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Romans 11:29
The fact that God does not take back your gift does not mean that the gift will last for your life time no matter how you live your life and no matter what you do.
One thing we must understand is that your morality affects the operation of your spiritual gift.
A spiritual gift, no matter how powerful it may be, is carried by and resident in an earthen vessel. For we have these treasures in earthen vessels that the power may be of God and not us. 2Corinthians 4:7
Earthen vessels are human.
Earthen vessels are weak.
Earthen vessels make mistakes.
Earthen vessels are fragile.
Earthen vessels are imperfect.
Earthen vessels can fall.
Earthen vessels can break.
Earthen vessels can fail.
The effectiveness of a gift is determined by the state of the earthen vessel within which it resides.
The strength or weakness of the earthen vessel determines the productivity of the gift. A gift in an earthen vessel is very far from perfect. A number of things could go wrong rendering the gift in the earthen vessel ineffective.
If you depend on a gift in an earthen vessel, it could disappoint you. Continue reading
Mom and I were at the Saturday market in Epe town. She bought some pepper, onions and spices. Our next stop was the fish market which was by the lagoon. Some fishermen tied their boats to the wooden pier and brought in their catch for the day to the market. We stopped by the table of a young woman selling fish, crabs and snails. Mom pointed at some fish and the fish seller set them aside. While mom haggled with the fish seller, I looked around at the other fish sellers in the market. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed an elderly woman watching me. She regarded me for a while, then she stood up and started walking towards me. As she got closer to me, she kept her gaze on me and it made me uncomfortable. I moved close to mom and held her hand.
The woman came over to where we stood but her eyes never left me. There was something about her eyes. I had seen that look before when I read dad’s books about the southern parts of the country, where the oil companies had damaged the ecosystem, poisoning millions of fish with oil spills, turning fertile farmlands into a dark, depressing, barren wilderness. The woman grinned at me but her eyes were cold, lifeless, like…dead fish.
The woman spoke almost in a whisper. “Good morning.” She pointed her head at me. “Do you know that your daughter is from the sea?”
Mom regarded the woman in silence.
“Do you know that they want her back?”
The fish seller handed over mom’s fish purchase and mom dropped it inside her market bag. Mom gave me a ‘shut-your-mouth look,’ then began walking away from the woman. But the woman followed and caught up with us.
“Is what I am telling you strange?” the woman asked.
Mom looked around to see if anyone was listening to what the woman was saying. Nobody seemed to pay us any attention.
Mom’s face was creased with concern. “Why won’t you people just leave me alone? What do you want from me?” mom asked.
“I do not want anything from you. I wanted to let you know that if you do not return her, there will be consequences,” the woman whispered.
Mom seized the woman by the hand. “Have I not suffered enough? What consequences are you talking about? When will this torment come to an end?”
The woman was silent.
“Please tell me how to stop this. I have suffered a lot because of my daughter. It has been one calamity after another. My husband left me when he found out that she was a gift from the ocean goddess. What should I do?”
The woman regarded mom with some intensity. “Your daughter is too powerful to live with you.”
Mom looked confused. “You keep talking about her powers but she has never shown any powers. She is a normal child,” mom lied. Mom knew I had some powers. She knew this since the day I brought in a squid into the house.
The woman knelt down on one knee so that our eyes were on the same level. “Lara, you speak to fish, don’t you? I know you do. They know you are here. They feel you. They hear you.” She stood up and spread her hands towards the fish market. “Speak to them.” Continue reading
This article will bless your soul, give you clarity, peace of mind and help you focus your energy and resources for greater productivity.
“My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.” Bill Gates “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”Bruce Lee
There is a principle of war known as Mass – superior, concentrated combat power at the most advantageous place and time is used to achieve decisive results.
We should employ our strength where and when it would have the greatest impact and yield the highest return.
For every activity there is aright time and procedure, Ecclesiastes 8:6
One of the ways the enemy attacks us is through confusion – we waste time thinking about all the stuff we would like to do rather than doing any of them.
One goal at a time. Jesus admonishes us to concentrate on a day at a time (Matthew 6:34). A day deserves our focussed attention and concentrated energy. And it is the…
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Water Girl. Chapter 1.
The first time it happened I was five years old. I was playing in the garden with my dolls. I was surrounded by the sweet scent of jasmine and rose. Mangoes pregnant with ripeness, were weighing down the branches of the mango tree, pulling them to the ground. I stood up, grabbed a mango, changed my mind and returned to my dolls. I wiped the sweat of my brow with the edge of my pink dress. Mom had told me not to do that again, but I did it. I heard a noise and I looked up. It was like a screen opened before my eyes and I entered another dimension. The garden disappeared and I saw a wall of water towering above me. I looked up at it in wonder. I was not scared, rather I was curious and reached out to touch it. The water poured over me and I was submerged in it. It felt strange but I was breathing normally under the water. I saw sea creatures I had never seen before, even in my story books. I bent down to pick up my dolls but couldn’t find them. I turned around and that was when I realised that the house was no longer behind me. I called out for mom. Moments later I woke up with mom and dad kneeling beside me. Mom was crying. “They have come to take away my daughter from me,” she said. “My enemies have come to take her away,” she wept.
Dad said nothing. His eyes were alert behind his glasses. He had a puzzling expression on his face. He took off his glasses and wiped the sweat on his face with the back of his hand. He knelt down beside me and asked me a question.
“Lara, how did you get your clothes wet?” he looked around the garden searching for the source of the water. He didn’t find it. He turned his gaze back on me.
Until he asked me that question I had not paid attention to my dress. I looked down at my dress and it was dripping with water. I had this strange urge to lick my lips. My lips were plastered with salt. I stood up and looked around me. It looked like the sea visited me in the garden and when it retreated, it left memories of itself behind. Seaweeds hung from the mango tree, twisted around the fruits and littered the ground. There were blue, green, white, orange coloured sea shells on the spot where I had been playing with my dolls. The strong smell of sand and salt hung in the air around us. The strange thing was that we lived five miles away from the ocean. My parents took me inside the house and changed my clothes. The garden was cleaned and we never spoke about that incidence again. Then another one happened.
One day I ran into the house with excitement and showed mom what I had found as I played in the garden. Mom took a look at it and screamed. Dad ran into the sitting room, saw what was in my hand and stopped in his tracks. It was a squid, alive and wriggling in my hands. Dad took it away from me. He put it in a bucket of water, drove all the way to the lagoon and released it into the water. When he returned, dad sat me down beside him on the largest chair in the sitting room and asked me several questions which I could not answer. How did I get the squid? Where did it come from? Did someone give it to me? Did I leave the house at any time to play in the street? My parents must have come to the conclusion that their questions were futile.
Several incidents later, my parents were advised by some of their friends to seek spiritual help for my situation. They tried some churches but got tired of the pastors pushing me down to make me give up my powers. They decided to take me to a juju priest who lived in the forest. We drove outside Lagos, parked our car in a village and were led by two men into the forest. After an hour of following them through narrow forest paths, we arrived at the hut of a juju priest. It was built on a large clearing in the forest. The priest made me sit before him on the earthen floor while he consulted the oracle. He held some cowries stringed together by a white thread. He threw them on the floor before him. After looking at the cowries for several minutes, the expression on his face began to change into concern. He shook his head and glanced at me in disbelief. Finally he set the cowries aside with trembling hands. He looked up at my parents with terror in his eyes.
“I cannot help you. This is beyond me. Take this child away and leave my house,” he said. My mom quickly grabbed my hand and pulled me up. As we left the hut, he shouted after us. “And do not bring her back here.” Continue reading