From Where You Are

From Where You Are.

Genesis 13:14-15
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had left him, Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;
For all the land which you see I will give to you and to your posterity forever.

Lot had a fallout with Abram his uncle. When the Lord commanded Abram to leave his country, he took Lot his nephew with him. As Lot journeyed with his uncle he began to prosper. Lot prospered so much that his herdsmen began making trouble with Abram’s herdsmen creating strife in their camp. Abram was a man of peace. He wanted there to be peace between him and with Lot so he asked him to choose an area of the territory in which they grazed their cattle.

Genesis 13:9
Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me:if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

Abram was a man of integrity so he asked Lot to choose first. He asked him to choose any area of the territory that he liked. This was risky because Lot could have chosen the area of the territory that had streams and rivers. Lot chose the very best part of the territory, land which was well watered and moved away from his uncle Abram.

Apparently all that was left to Abram was the ‘bad’ area of the territory in which they lived and grazed their cattle. But Abram was unperturbed by the state of things. His nephew had chosen the best part of the land leaving Abram with ‘nothing’. However, Abram had a covenant relationship with God. God was the reason why he had left his father’s house, left his people, left his country and embarked on a journey of faith not knowing where he was going but trusting that God knew what He was doing and He was going to deliver on His promises.

God waited for Lot to depart before He appeared to Abram because Lot wasn’t going to be a part of the supernatural event that was about to happen in Abram’s life. God will re-assign, relocate, remove some people from your life before He takes you to the next level in your walk with Him. Some relationships will have to be terminated if you want the Lord to move supernaturally in your life. After Lot left, God asked Abram to lift up his eyes and look ‘from where you are.’

God wasn’t interested in what had happened in Abram’s past or even his present situation. God was interested in what He had purposed for Abram and his descendants. He was focused on bringing Abram into the blessing assigned to him and his lineage.
God said: ‘Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward.’
This was going to be a supernatural demonstration of God’s power. Continue reading

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The Gift, Part 2, Short Story

Shade felt the warm rays of the sun caress her face and her eyes flickered open. She turned her head away from the sun and saw the picture of Kola her fiancé smiling at her. Next to that picture was the picture they took on a boat in Dubai with the Burj Khalifa in the background. She had fond memories of that weekend in Dubai. She tried to smile but was rewarded with a headache.

She sat up in bed and noticed that she was still wearing the clothes from yesterday. One thing she never did was wear her work clothes to bed. She got out of the clothes, rushed into the bathroom and took a shower. Minutes later she emerged from the bathroom, did her beauty routine and put on some new clothes.

She entered the kitchen and made herself a cup of mint tea. The heat of the brew helped to clear her head. The clock on the microwave oven read 9:23am. A frown creased her face as she looked at the time. She never slept this late on a Saturday. She was supposed to be at the gym at 7:00 am, but she had missed today’s session by two hours. She pushed aside the cup of tea as concern rose up in her mind. She remembered going to Uche’s apartment. She couldn’t remember leaving it or what happened afterwards. As hard as she tried she couldn’t remember where she had been last night.

Her phone beeped and rescued her from the agony of trying to figure out where the last eight hours of her life went. It was a text from Kola, her fiancé. He was on his way to her apartment and wanted to know if she was back from the gym. She evaded the question. Yes, she was in, she ended the conversation. He had requested for a key to her apartment but she had refused. They were not yet married and until then he had no right to barge into her apartment whenever he wanted. She needed her own space where she could think her own thoughts, process freely and do as she pleased. She felt some sadness as she looked around her apartment. She would miss this apartment when she moved into Kola’s house in Magodo after they returned from their honeymoon. She had so many fond memories, secrets locked in the walls of this house. After living here for seven years, the environment, the people, sights of Surulere had become a part of her life. She wished she could keep the apartment and return to it when she needed some alone time. But society wouldn’t allow her do that. It would be regarded as an act of rebellion for a young bride to retain her former apartment. Her mother would see it as resistance to marriage or the fear of moving into an uncertain future with her husband. She stood up and touched the leaves of the plant that grew in a pot by the window. She liked the scent of the flowers when they blossomed. There were other flowers pots on the balcony but this one was special. She even gave it a name. Cher. Its flamboyant colours reminded her of the ageless, iconic rock artist.

*******

‘Where were you last night?’ Kola asked her as he drove.
‘I was at Uche’s place then I came back home to sleep,’ Shade avoided his eyes.
Kola gave her a curious look. ‘I called your phone over ten times but it was switched off. When did you start turning off your phone? We had an agreement that our phones should always be on in case of an emergency.’
‘I must have forgotten,’ Shade said without conviction.
Suddenly Kola veered off the road and entered a gas station. He found a spot and parked the car. Shade looked at his face and feared for what was about to happen. This could very well be the end of her intended marriage to him.
Kola held the steering wheel tightly. Shade watched him.
He turned to her. ‘Shade, I am going to ask you one more time. Tell me the truth. I know you weren’t with Uche last night. I called her at 11:25pm. She said you had left her apartment and you said you were going to your mother’s place. I called your mother and she said you were not at her place.’ Kola paused and rubbed his palms together. Shade said nothing.
He continued. ‘I was tempted to call your pastor and let him know what was going on but it crossed my mind that if I brought him into the matter, there were questions I wouldn’t be able to answer. He could also tell us to call off our wedding. I didn’t want that to happen, so I didn’t call him. but if you don’t start talking to me, I will call your pastor and tell him what is going on.’
Tears came to Shade’s eyes as she listened to Kola. She saw the end of her relationship with him. She saw the wedding cancelled. She saw herself shamed out of the church. She saw herself mocked by fake and false friends who would rejoice about her break-up with Kola Owolabi. Her face would be splattered on social media platforms and people would call her mean names. Continue reading

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The Gift, Part 1, Short Story.

 

‘This looks so good on you,’ Uche said admiring the necklace on her friend’s neck.
Shade smiled. ‘And it is real gold,’ she said with some pride.
Uche examined the pendant that swung from the chain. She had a concerned look on her face. ‘Shade, this looks like a mermaid. Why are you wearing it?’
Shade caressed the pendant. ‘This was a Christmas gift from deacon Soleye in church. It came with a matching bracelet.’
Uche sat back in her chair. ‘Deacon Soleye gave you a necklace and bracelet as a Christmas gift? That doesn’t sound right. Why would he give you such a gift when he knows that you are already taken by another man? What did Kola your fiancé say about this?’
Shade’s eyes fell like a child who was caught lying. ‘I didn’t tell him about this.’ She lifted her head. ‘And I will really appreciate it if you kept this between us.’
Uche regarded her friend with suspicion. ‘You mean a man gave you such an expensive gift and you didn’t tell the man you are going to marry? What is going on here?’
Shade was silent for a moment, then she turned to Uche. ‘Kola is my fiancé and not my husband. We are not yet married. Should I tell him everything that goes on in my life? Shouldn’t I have some privacy?’ she asked.
Uche’s mouth hung open as she regarded her friend in shock. ‘I don’t understand. Are you telling me that the introduction and wine carrying ceremony you did in Osogbo counted for nothing? Remember that Kola was ready to go ahead with the whole wedding formalities but you said he should wait until April. Why you did that I have no idea. That guy was ready to marry you but you said he should wait and now you are saying that you want some privacy in your life? Are you really sure you want to get married? Uche asked her friend.

‘This is not what you think it is. You are taking everything out of context,’ Shade said.
‘What context? Isn’t Kola your fiancé anymore?’
‘He is but this gift has nothing to do with our…’ Shade stopped talking mid-sentence. She tilted her head away from Uche as if she was trying hard to hear something. Uche noticed the far away look she had in her eyes.
‘Shade, are you okay?’ Uche asked her.
Shade dropped the glass of orange juice she was drinking on the table. ‘I have to leave.’ She began to look around to put her things inside her bag.
Uche gave her a look. ‘Why are you leaving? You haven’t spent thirty minutes in this house.’ Shade said nothing. She was still looking around her to make sure she took all her items with her.
Uche regarded her closely. ‘Where are you going at this hour of the night? This was supposed to be a sleep over. Is it your mother?’
Shade nodded, her eyes not really focused on anything. ‘Yes, it is my mother. She needs me now,’ she stood up. Uche got up with her and held her hand.
‘Shade,’ Uche looked into her eyes. ‘It is almost 11pm at night. You told Kola you would sleep over at my place. Why are you changing your mind? It seems so sudden.’ Uche noticed that Shade’s hand was growing cold. She dropped it and stepped back. ‘Shade, I don’t think you should go anywhere tonight. Wait until tomorrow morning and I promise you that I will go with you to go see your mother.’
‘It will be too late by then. I have to leave now.’ She reached for the door and opened it.
Uche watched her leave with trepidation. Continue reading

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The Pastor’s Secret 6, Final instalment.(Short Story)

 

He stood before the door to the private hospital room with trepidation. He hesitated and muttered a short prayer. What lay behind this door, he wondered. He wanted Susan to be okay. Two nurses walked past, giving him side glances. They whispered to themselves and looked back twice as they walked down the long hospital corridor.
He stepped into the room and stopped. Susan lay on the bed sleeping. In spite of the bandage tied around her head she looked beautiful. He stood by her bed side observing her breathing. She opened her eyes. When she saw him, she forced a weak smile. ‘Thank you for coming,’ she said.
‘How are you doing?’ He asked.
‘The doctors say that I will live.’
He didn’t want to pressure her but he had to know what happened to her husband. ‘How is Bassey?’
Susan shut her eyes. When she opened them they were angry. ‘Please don’t ask me about him. He is the reason why I am in this hospital.’
Ogedengbe ignored her. ‘Where is he?’
She was silent for a moment. ‘He is dead,’ she started crying. Ogedengbe stood there not knowing what to tell her.

******

The maid brought in drinks and set them on the centre table. As soon as she left the room Susan turned to Ogedengbe and kissed him on his lips. Ogedengbe didn’t know how to respond to her.
‘I have wanted to do this for a long time,’ Susan said, kissing him again.
Ogedengbe’s mind was racing. He was in the house of a man who was buried ten days ago. This was supposed to be a condolence visit but it was getting out of hand. He looked into her eyes and unbriddled passion stared back at him. He wanted her, but not here, not now, not like this. Continue reading

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The Pastor’s Secret 5 (Short Story)

He entered the sitting room and sat on the sofa. He picked up the remote and surfed through channels, his mind pondering the possibilities that existed in his relationship with Susan after this new information he had acquired purely by accident. Ogedengbe did not consider himself as spiritual as pastor E. A Adeboye or Bishop T.D Jakes, but he could recognise God’s providence when he saw it. Listening to Susan’s conversation with her husband was an act of divine providence. It was a sign that God wanted him to move on with his plans for Susan. How else would you explain this wonderful gift that was given to him even without his asking? A placed his hand on his forehead trying to sooth a twitching vein. No matter how he felt, there was only one meaning to what happened this evening: God wanted him to deliver Susan from the hands of that monster called Bassey Akpabio. He will assume the role of a deliverer sent to her by God; his relationship with Susan would be an act of mercy. No, it would be a supreme act of God’s grace on his hurting daughter who desperately needed help.

The thought crossed his mind that he was married and this would be a sin in the sight of God and man, but he waved it off as you would an irritating mosquito buzzing around your ears. As a deliverer he was entitled to some collateral benefits arising from his acts of mercy. What was wrong with Susan thanking him personally with her love if she so desired? She could reward him with some money, but he didn’t want her money. She would be his reward.

The thought he had swatted away returned, this time louder, like an enraged bee. Yes, he knew this would be considered sin in many religious quarters but he refused to be judged by any of those hypocrites who pretended to be better than him. His face creased in anger as he thought about the religious licence his colleagues had given themselves to contravene all the sacred teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ by acquiring material things and heaping up money like pagans who didn’t know God, yet they preached publicly that their followers should follow God.
‘Hypocrites!’ Ogedengbe spluttered, throwing out the word like a piece of stone found in a meal of beans.

‘Who are hypocrites?’ Ngozi asked, walking into the sitting room. Continue reading

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When God Gives You A Warning.

When God Gives You A Warning.

Colossians 4:17
And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

Years ago brother Fred was on fire for God. He always talked about how we would do great things for God and the kingdom. He was someone you would love to hang out with if you had a hunger and thirst for the things of God. Influencing and impacting the world for Christ was his passion, everything else was secondary. He was involved in some small business supplying items to a large company. In the process of time the company began to give him bigger contracts and with this came more opportunity to travel the world and make more money. It was like the heavens opened on him and the money poured into his business. Soon he spent more time in foreign countries, pursuing his business and meeting new contacts. The money grew. Then I noticed that he stopped talking about his personal involvement in ministry. He stopped talking about how he wanted to impact the world for Jesus. Now that he was actually going round the world, something he had prayed for for years, he had lost the zeal to pursue the vision. He said he wanted to ‘make more money and give it to the church’, as if God was indigent needed his money to run the affairs of the kingdom. He attended church to pray for his business, not to pray concerning the dying fire in his soul. He had money but he had lost the zeal to pursue the ministry God gave him.

Let us look at some lessons from our text.

1. Paul said he should ‘take heed’.

Paul singles out a man named Archippus and sent him a warning. If it wasn’t so important Paul wouldn’t have mentioned it in his letter to the Colosians.
What does this mean? It means to be careful, to watch your step, to evaluate your actions and make sure you are doing the right thing, you are going in the right direction, you are pursuing the right thing. Why did Paul tell him to be careful? It was because this was a serious matter and if he made a mistake it would be detrimental to his relationship with The Lord.

Archippus, take heed.

You should substitute your name for Archippus. Be careful because if you are not careful you will make a big mistake with your life. There are different kinds of mistakes in life. Some mistakes can be corrected. Some are difficult to correct but you can still manage and struggle to live with the consequences of your wrong, unfortunate choices. But some mistakes cannot be corrected and are impossible to live with. If you make such mistakes you have essentially thrown your life away, you have abrogated your destiny, you have shot yourself in the foot, you have used your own hands to destroy your life.

Paul was telling Archippus that he had only one opportunity to do this, and if he missed it there was no way to fix it. Paul was saying, ‘You cannot do this again. If you miss it, if you miss this opportunity to pursue and fulfil your calling, you would have essentially wasted your life. I don’t want you to waste your life, so be careful.’ Continue reading

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When God Moves You Out Of Your Comfort Zone (Part One)

 

Deuteronomy 32:11-12
As an eagle stirs up her nest,
flutters over her young,
spreads abroad her wings, takes them,
bears them on her wings:
So the Lord alone did lead him,
and there was no strange god with him.

 

When an eagle wants to train its eaglets to fly, it stirs up its nest. The eagle brings the young eaglets out of the nest, picks them up, flies to a high point and releases them in the air. The eaglets experience free fall. It is at this point that they learn to flutter their wings and they become stronger. The eagle repeats this process until the eaglets learn how to fly. An eaglet will never learn to fly until it is pushed out of the nest, which is its comfort zone.

In the same way, when The Lord wants you to pursue a new assignment, when He wants to take you to a higher level in life, when He wants you to unleash your potential, He pushes you out of your comfort zone and brings you into a new situation in which you are compelled to use the abilities that have been lying dormant, untouched, unutilized within you. The Lord may give you an instruction to resign from your comfortable job  and start a business or expand an existing one; launch a ministry; pursue a new career when all you want to do is relax and enjoy the success of your current career; or relocate to a foreign country and start afresh.  In such situations you are like the eaglet pushed out of it’s nest or dropped by the eagle into free fall: you are compelled to flap your ‘wings’ and fly. Continue reading

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