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