It was the happiest day of my life

It was the happiest day of my life when I allowed Jesus into my heart. My heart was flooded with joy and unspeakable peace. In Him I found a friend like no one else would ever be. Just like new lovers, I was always seen with Him; talking, praising, worshipping – I couldn’t get enough.

Day by day, he came. He entered the parlour, went into the dining room. Oh, the dining room! There were lots of breaking of bread. He opened my eyes to mysteries. I learned, relearned and unlearned. I just couldn’t get enough. Every minute with Him was priceless.

Until one day, an old friend came knocking. I peeped and asked what he wanted. “Just a few minutes, then I’ll be out of your hair,” he said. My heart told me not to, but his dazzling smile, pleading eyes, and obliging countenance were enough to compel me. He smiled and entered.

He was with me when Jesus came. I quickly hid him in a little room. Jesus came in, looked at me deeply, and asked. “Is there anything you would like to tell Me?”

“No.”

His countenance fell.

Our fellowship was not so sweet. But I bothered not, I was eager to conclude the story I was being told by my old friend.

When I was alone again, I ran. To the small room. Where he was. He invited me to a party the next day. I agreed.

The next day, I felt very awkward at the party. I missed Jesus. But I can’t bring Him here. This is not really His “thing”. As I was contemplating leaving, my old friend came and introduced me to his other friends. Little by little, I warmed up to them. I forgot the time.

When I got home, Jesus was waiting for me at the dining table. “It’s time for our breaking of bread,” He said. I dragged my feet to the table and half listened, half slept. Jesus suddenly stopped. 

“You were late today. Where did you go?” 

“Oh,” I said uneasily. “Out with some friends”.

“Can I come with you next time?”

“Oh no, never mind. It’s not your thing.” 

“So why would you go to a place I can’t go?” He queried.

“I can go wherever I please. I don’t need your permission. I’m done with today’s fellowship. Please let’s meet another time,” I said.

Jesus, my ever-gentle friend, did not argue. He picked up His scroll and left.

It broke my heart to see him go. But I was too proud to call Him back, to tell Him I was wrong.

The next day, I went late again. I dropped a note at the doorknob for Jesus. You can start without me. I will join you soon.

The next week, I dropped another message. Please, Jesus, can you not use the dining room? Some friends are coming over. The guest room is all yours.

On and on it went. I stopped bothering to check the guest room. I was so busy with my old friend and his friends. 

One day, while reveling with my friends, I remembered MY FRIEND. I asked for help, but none came. I dragged myself outside. My old friend came out and saw me. “There’s more for you here. The party’s just begun. Come and join us.”

Then I saw the loop: I was reveling in discontent, reveling in sadness, reveling in emptiness. I shook my head with a firm “NO” and trudged on home. 

The night was cold. The wind bit into my skin. I was tempted to go back but I soldiered on. Home. Jesus. Warmth. 

I got home. Looked in the guest room. Saw Him, with His oil lamp. Waiting for me. As always. He looked up at me. “You came today. Welcome.”

A tear slid down my cheek. I went to Him, knelt and sobbed. No words. “I am here for you, I love you,” He said

Like a lamp bursting forth, I broke down in tears. After an hour of reconciliation, I gave Him some keys.

“What are these for?”

“They are the keys to my home, my heart and everything I have. I surrender it all to you. I can’t control my life right. But you can. So, I surrender all.”

Jesus smiled His oh, so loving smile, touched my head and said.

“All is forgiven. You are free”.

I have never regretted that decision.

EMENIKE CHINWENDU VICTORIA

©2021

Now we know

For we are not ignorant of the devices of the enemy
With all the vices going on in various parts of the world
We are firm in the promises of the Lord in His word

The scriptures contain the truth we need so we search
It helps us guide our heart with all diligence all the way
We keep on with the fight of faith for fear is a defeated fellow

Now we know, we wrestle not against flesh and blood
This war we fight neither with swords nor physical strength
But the weapon sharper than two edged sword; the word

So we let not our hearts be troubled for He is with us
We put on the breastplate of righteousness in all
And walk with our heads high in victory parade always

Lady Nancy
© 2020

Enough

“Madam, would you like anything else?”

No.

I’ve. Had. Enough.

I’m done with this junk you serve on a platter
This sorry excuse of a diet
That I swallow,
To convince myself that I’m eating
A 5 second prayer, one verse of scripture
To convince myself that I’m growing…
I’m sick of it!

I’m tired of your new recipes
Food that feeds on me.
Superficial Christianity with a dash of religion,
Truth served rare with ego stuffings.
Glamorized gospels that are far from good news
leaving me bloated, constipated
full of myself and void of Him.

And what’s with the drinks?
Sweet to taste, but leaves an unquenchable thirst
words promising but empty
incapable of answering life’s burning questions
Don’t you serve Living Water??

And why is your food so costly?
your charges are outrageous!
My relationship with God, My peace, My joy, My destiny is too high a price.

So I’m sorry Mediocre Christianity
I won’t be having any more.
I’ve. Had. Enough.

Damaris Akhigbe
(C) 2020

Hello Fear

Hello Fear!
Dear dear! I know you well.
I saw through your charade especially the times you sounded like you cared.
Yet I gave you room in my mind.
Grace found me and faith came with him so there’s no more space for you.
You were never really my friend, for you held me back from being the best version of me.
You clouded my dreams and blurred my visions.
You made clever speeches about how you’re shielding me from disappointment and hurt.
Your truth is all a sham!
I’m free from your grip now and I know you, you’ll never give up.
But I also know your voice too well to open up again and let you in.
Take your walk of shame with every sense of pride you’ve got,
IT’S OVER!

Ijeoma Obi
© 2020

It Makes No Difference

It makes no difference
If we are so different
That the nozzle
Of our presence
Does not exude reverence
Or give preference
To the one that gave life
It’s essence

It makes no difference
That we’ve become Workaholics
Busy with the work of the Lord
Without having time to fellowship
With the Lord of the Work

An Usher
That has not developed
The receptacle to usher in
The presence of God
Is a bouncer

A church member
That keeps a seat in Church
But does not keep in touch
With the Word he hears
From the church
Is a “Chairman”

It makes no difference
If we are not different
From the world
We were called to change
Instead, we rejoice and be glad
With our hands in chains

Why will a creature
Be forming Socrates
That he becomes so creative
In denying the existence
Of his creator

Why will the media
Become the truth
We crave to hear
Than the very Word
That gave “hearing”
To the ear

King Uwe
© 2020

2 Corinthians 12:9

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The power of Grace was more evident to me when God came through that year in that simultaneous dramatic events of life.

Being one of the best students in my faculty, many would not believe I could be struggling to understand Statistics and Research Methodology because I had a previous brilliant performance in a related course; but the truth was their “efiko” was having a tough time understanding the course. Their “efiko” was empty in statistics.

Not only that, their “SU” brother (Scripture Union brother) was seriously romancing with lust and about to lay with her, but being a leader in the fellowship, time was preventing the showdown. You can imagine the congregation model about becoming the specimen in the devil’s laboratory.

All of that was happening two weeks to the examination. So on this fateful day, I can’t remember what made me to pray. I had never seen myself so broken before. I prayed that God would grant me access to understand the most difficult course in my life and help me to lose appetite for immorality. I prayed until I fell into the hands of sleep.

It was incredible that, I was among the best students for the course when the result was released; and unbelievable how the passion for lust was lost in me. Indeed, I was helped by God’s grace for it saved me from failure and the sweet poisoned hands of lust.

The beautiful thing about God is the unending love to save us from the messy lifestyle. He is always ready to deliver us from danger zones if we will cry out for help.

There is assurance that He has sufficient grace to help us in times of need if only we will approach His throne of grace for inexpressible mercy and grace in times of need as rightly put in Hebrews 4:16. God needs our boldness and openness in running and speaking to Him when things are not going as they are supposed to.

The problem however is that many times we want to prove superheroes and pretend to people around us that things are fine whereas we’re on fire. However, it is only when we have the understanding that God only strengthens us when we expose our weaknesses to Him, until then, we will continue to struggle with our infirmities.

God is beckoning on you to see that the activation of His strength for you is in presenting your weakness to Him. God’s strength cannot be released nor His power be on you if you are still running in your strength.

Beloved, I beseech you to pause, present your area of struggling and infirmities to Him. For it was written in Isaiah 40:29 that, He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength; and in verse 31, the clause with assurance states, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Won’t you pray for strength for your accepted weakness?

© Josh’ Oloyede Oluwafemi.

Your pride

I searched her face for a sign: something, anything to convince me about the Principal’s statement a few seconds ago but there was none. I couldn’t feel my legs anymore as I dropped back into my seat and Mrs. Hakeem rushed for me.

When I got a call from the office of the Principal through his Personal Assistant stating that I was needed urgently, a lot of thoughts fled through my mind. I had just returned from lunch at the office when the call came in. I didn’t know what to think. Was Simisola sick? Did she have an accident? Did her father show up –as he had been threatening he would—at her school? It just didn’t cross my mind that Simi, my only child would be involved in bullying of any sort. So I was amazed when the Principal said, “your daughter flogged a child into coma.”

As soon as the call had dropped, I picked my purse and keys, locked my office and left the building in a haste. I only remembered on my way out to call Mr. John, a colleague, and ask him to tell anyone who asked that I was called at my daughter’s school.

The drive to Simi’s school that afternoon was filled with mixed feelings. Unlike the normal excitement and ecstasy I felt when going on the usual monthly visits, I was filled this time with fear and rage. What had happened to her? I feared. “Oh, is it that man, her uncaring father who had come to take her? I raged. Whatever it was, I would soon find out.

I hurriedly pulled over at the Visitors’ park and didn’t notice the windows were still wound down. The security tried to call my attention but I ignored him. It was Harmattan and there could possibly be no rains. The dry winds blew harshly on my face and on my thoughts. I was almost sure by now that it was her Dad, he had come for her.

As I walked to the Principal’s office, I met a few members of the staff. We exchanged greetings. Their faces wore expressions of sympathy and shame. My heart got heavier. I didn’t have an idea what the problem was, so I hastened my steps. In the office, even as the Principal tried exchanging pleasantries, I remained worried. I wanted him to spill the beans as soon as he could. It was until he asked that Simi and the house mistress, Mrs. Hakeem be called in that I began to think, it may not be her Dad after all. Yet I still knew it was a serious matter. I began praying inaudibly.

In a few minutes, Simi came in with head bowed, shoulders slouched and fists clenched in front of her. Mrs. Hakeem walked in, after her. It was then that the Principal started talking about why I was called. He started by saying that Simi had been a good girl. I nodded in panic and saw  Mrs. Hakeem nod too. Then, he said that he was disappointed in ‘my daughter’. She had flogged a 13-year old JSS3 student mercilessly. I sprang up before I knew what I did.

While I was still trying to understand where such behavior came from, he made the statement. “your daughter flogged a child into coma.” That was when I slumped back into my seat and began screaming, “Simisola Ogechi Akala has killed me.” “Madam, calm down, calm down Ma.” I heard Mrs Hakeem say as she rushed for me. Her plea wouldn’t console me.

After about thirty minutes, I am sitting in the car with Simi. I parked my car after I drove us a few meters away from the school gate.

“Simisola, what is your problem?” I ask, not looking in her direction.

My cheeks feel cold from the tears dried up by the harmattan wind and my eyes sting: hot and teary. She doesn’t respond. I pick the envelope that the Principal gave me. I didn’t open it then because he already told me its content- a suspension letter- but now, I open it and pull the letter out. I give it to her to read aloud. She does. I barely hear anything she reads because she is muttering the words.

When she is done, I take her face in my palms and look her in the eye. She begins to cry profusely. I let her go and ask her why she did it. She says the junior girl was rude to her and her classmates were looking to know what she would do.

“So it was your pride that put someone in the hospital and I have to foot the bills now. Eh?”

“She was asthmatic.”

“You shouldn’t have beaten anybody!!!”

“I’m sorry mum.” And she bursts into another round of tears.

“You are a child of God, Simi. Even though your dad is far away, which is best for us, you know how your dad…I point to the car roof, behaves. Love is God’s nature. It should be all you do and know. You would have let the junior go and reported her to the house mistress. Your classmates and some other students saw you right?” She nods.

“They would have witnessed for you. Pride is a very stupid emotion to act on. The Bible says God resists the proud and because you know God does not hate anybody, you understand that he hates such character and attitude. Everything done in pride doesn’t give glory to God. Why are we created?”

“For His glory”

“Good! You didn’t give God glory. You acted in the flesh!”

“Mum, I’m sorry.”

“I know. So what do we do?”

With a voice shaken from crying, belching at intervals, she said, “We will go and visit her in the hospital. I will use all my savings. You say what is best for us to buy.”

I hug her tightly, and say a word of prayer in gratitude for God’s word and His work in our lives when we let Him.

Kendra Okpara
©2019

Golden Boy

One step in front of the other
I watch you plant them
Like a weary traveler who has lost his way
Your back is burdened with a sack full of disapproval
And a lifetime’s worth of disappointment and doubt
But you shoulder it like it’s nothing
You smile at me, golden boy
And make me believe there is beauty to
The cracked burden of the tortoise

You’re just a little eccentric
I tell myself, every time I catch a glimpse of your pain
I believed I could heal you
You made me believe I was,
And I trudged behind you gladly
Cherishing every moment you put the pack down
And opened it.
But you never got rid of anything in the pack, did you?
I think you loved the sweet torture
Of owning exquisite pain
I learned to appreciate the beauty in pain
And see the hope dressed in disappointment

So I did nothing
Till you slipped right off the edge
And scattered in a burst of gold dust
Slapping my face with the truth I should have seen
had your beautiful, golden smiles not blinded me;
That I had no power to make you happy
That love could be as strong as pain
Or could be its equal

So as I stand at the edge of your cliff
I want to hate you
But I don’t
I will remember us as we were
And I will choose to be happy, golden boy
For both of us, I will choose life.

Miracle Ifechukwu
© 2019