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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The Pastor’s Secret 4 (Short Story)

The sermon notes he was preparing for the following morning were scattered on his table.  He picked up a note and read it. He sighed deeply, pushed aside the papers,  stood up and paced his study. It had been four days since he spoke with Susan. What was going on in her life, in her marriage? Had Bassey changed his ways or was he still treating her bad? This silence was almost driving him crazy. A thought scurried through his mind and he stopped pacing. Had Susan found a man? Had she found somebody who would treat her with the respect that she deserved? A frown creased his forehead. From somewhere within him anger rose up slowly like steam rising from a pot of hot okra soup as he contemplated the possibility that Susan could betray him in that manner. He sat down heavily on the orthopaedic chair he had bought to help with his lower back pain. It didn’t seem to be working. The pain shot through his back and he stood up again. Surely Susan couldn’t have met another man and abandoned him after all the work he had done for her? She should understand that he was important to her happiness. She should recognise that he was a man who has feelings for her. He had gone beyond the boundaries of counselling her and now took her life as a project. No, it felt more like a calling to make her happy, to put a smile on her face and deliver her from the misery that Bassey inflicted on her daily. That man was nothing but an animal. Continue reading

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When God Shuts A Door

When God Shuts a door.

Revelation 3:7
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.

Samuel Akins worked in a bank for fifteen years until there was a change in management and he was laid off. After searching for another job for months he came to the realisation that his skill-set was useful in the banking industry and the banks had no vacancy for a man at his level. After he bemoaned his situation for a few more months he started praying and asking The Lord what to do with his life, that was when Lord stirred up an idea He had given him some years earlier which was to venture into real estate development. When The Lord gave him that idea he was comfortable in the bank and refused to explore it. But after months of joblessness and dwindling financial resources he was desperate for solutions to his situation, so he pursued and developed that idea. Today the company he launched about ten years ago have built impressive estates in various cities in Nigeria. In an interview he ascribed his success to ‘the door God shut by being laid off at his bank.’ He said if that hadn’t happened he wouldn’t have ventured out to launch his company which has brought him immense success and emotional satisfaction.

God opens doors and shuts doors in order to establish his kingdom and effect His will, plan and purpose in our lives.
No one likes to talk about shut doors. We all want The Lord to open new doors for us, and keep on opening them, not shut the ones that are already open to us. Continue reading

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