A Golden Year’s Thanksgiving
For the past few months, I have carefully thought about how to mark a milestone in my life this year 2023. The past few years afforded me the opportunity of meeting many people who have positively influenced my family, including myself. They have contributed to our growth and progress. I desired to spend a day with such a group of friends.
It is challenging to get friends and family together for interaction and fellowship in a good and enabling atmosphere. Different things bring people together and different things keep them apart. With just one life to live here on earth, how we live and share it determines our impact here on earth and in eternity. Our world is so full of walls and personal spaces that sometimes keep us ignorant of many things. Yet the human in us craves love and companionship. We are so busy with routines of life that we forget what humanity is about.
These days loneliness, depression, and hurt are becoming the norm, maybe because we fight our battles alone and enjoy our successes alone. We know we need one another to succeed in various ways. We need information that would help shape our life, our destiny, and eternity. Sometimes our mental health is revived by breaking out of our self-made prison to interact with others and feel accepted. Although we know we need this, we seem to keep lacking the motivation and initiative to take the first step. We often need to step aside from our routine way of life and do something different.
Occasionally, to achieve a new thing we would need a different approach. A new approach is not always an easy task. There are things to consider. Will this pass? What would people think? What if it fails? How about resources? How will this come across to some people? The list continues. But then, we pause to check our intentions and choose the best approach to the goal we are aiming for.
As I had benefitted so much from inspirational music, one of my birthday wishes this year was to fill a day with heart-warming inspirational songs. And being fortunate to have a good number of godly friends that sing well, we formed a friendship choir and prepared ourselves for a mini-concert. Songs were presented as solo, duet, and friends’ choir. We were glad to sing the songs of Zion in an atmosphere of peace, love, and godliness.
It was a great privilege to have Arlene present “His Eye is on the Sparrow”, Stella and Kunle sang “Along the Road”, and Sharon shared her testimonies with tears and backed it up with the song that God gave her when she was going through a very difficult time titled “Be not Afraid”. The friendship choir sang: “What a beautiful name”, “There is power in the name of Jesus”, “Amazing Grace/My Sins are gone”, and “What a Friend we have in Jesus”. Amanda and Olivia drove several kilometers and stormed the place with their piano, guitar, and violin. Obinna opened the floor of the Thanksgiving reception with his assorted music played from the clarinet. We could feel the presence of our dear Heavenly Father in our midst.
The Tale of a Birth.
Another desire was to briefly share about my journey in life thus far. Life would never have been life without people in it. So the presentation started with funny stories and funny pictures of some of the guests. As it was unexpected, it caught them by surprise and rent the atmosphere with laughter. It was such an incredible moment. I talked about the first family that invited my family to their home for Canadian Thanksgiving, several friends that have taken me out for breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. and I quickly added that I wasn’t soliciting a dinner invitation, and we all laughed about it. But then, I received three invitations after the event.
Having said all, we gradually dug into the aspect that was very dear to my heart: the place of God in every aspect of human life. Displaying my childhood picture alongside the older one tells a lot of stories scientifically and spiritually. Fortunately, we had a dynamic group that consists of many Medical Doctors, world-class Professors, Seasoned Nurses, Pharmacists, Lawyer, Pilots, Scientists, Accountants, and politicians; the UCP Candidate for Edmonton South was in attendance with his Queen. We also had an audience of passionate men and women of God, like the MC who is giving up his career to minister love and Christ to the homeless and needy, etc. The meeting comprises many ethnic groups of various beliefs.
At a point during the presentation, we delved into the science of conception and the beginning of life. We reviewed the principle of procreation picking it up from the point of spermatogenesis and oocyte activities as the pediatric Doctor watched in assertation. Looking at the featured 8-week-old fetus picture that was on display and being reminded that we were all once in that innocent and helpless state at one time, we paused to reflect on the mystery around life. What is life? Who was the original designer of conception, uterus, and fetus, the complexity of the human system, and why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Can science explain life really without a reference to what was made already? Why should people question the existence of Superior power in the creation of life? We knew we can diagnose many things in the laboratory but, not God. I don’t think we need a high level of intelligence to know that whoever designed a human being could never have been a human. We shared the word of wisdom as quoted:
“Man, who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue.” (Job 14:1, 2).
Expatiating on these verses; our age on earth, no matter how old, is but a few days in eternity. Every day comes with its challenges. We were born one day, so fresh, flowery, and radiating. We gradually grow old and one day we will leave our body behind as the spirit and soul go back to their Maker. So, nobody is continuing here forever. That is the mystery around life. There is an invisible Power of the Almighty God behind every life. If we give God a chance in our hearts, we will find Him and feel Him. At the end of the presentation, we had a period of reflection and rounded the section up with prayers asking God to help us know Him and understand His love for us.
Postgraduate Grant Opportunity
Before the meeting was over, I put Greg Goss, a seasoned Professor from the department of Biological Science at the University of Alberta, on the spot to address the people on his active grant for First Nation and Black graduates (for Permanent Residents and Canadian Citizens). There is functioning funding available in Greg’s Lab for training and mentoring the people in that category. This is to encourage the graduates in that group to advance in their careers. The funding could be executed at any Canadian University, starting from the University of Alberta. If anyone is interested in applying, feel free to contact Greg. You can also contact us for more information.
The Journey of Faith
God told Abram to take the step of faith by following His leading as He guides him on a journey of faith to an unknown land which flows with milk and honey. Abram trusted God and obeyed. Many blessings came upon him because of his obedience which started with the change of his name to Abraham.
Generations upon generation, lesson upon lesson, blessing upon blessing, year rolling into the year, and God remains faithful to His words. At various milestones, the expounded products of obedience must observe a Passover and recount the goodness of God. And God will continue to honor His words as He gives the grace to keep following His guidance.
When we allow God to give the lead in every area of our life, we will never go astray. Even if we stumble at any crossroad, the Master of the Way will reach out to help if we allow Him. He is still God!
“I Hold To You, Lord”
Sometimes, our heart is so heavy that we have no words to construct sentences for expressions. Sometimes, our paths are so crowded with risks we must choose from, including the risks in the known and the risks of the unknown.
Sometimes, prayers become an uphill task, and wilderness experience takes its toll on us. But then, we scraped every fragment of strength left and crawled into the chest of the Almighty God. In His response to our feebleness, the ever-caring Father infused our souls with songs of hope and gently restore our strength and courage.
These are the inspirational messages this song, I Hold To You, Lord, is carrying. It is a song of prayers, hope, commitment, consecration, confidence in God’s promises, and assurance in God’s faithfulness.
The song was first inspired in 2017 but suffered some setbacks, as it must taste its own contents. In 2018, John Olubobokun, a respected man of God and a dedicated songwriter, was impressed upon the heart. He was contacted right away and his response was not disappointing. He rose to the task and made music sheets out of the song. In early 2022, Lena Gauthier, a God-fearing professional musician inspired me to take the song to the next level. She was contacted to rearrange, harmonize, and perform the song.
“I Hold to You Lord” is a core song from the heart, a soundtrack of life, and as quoted by John Paul F, “it is the moonlight in the gloomy night of life”. The song is inspiring, heartfelt, heart-pouring, and a connecting cord to the throne of grace and mercy. I pray that the song will transform life in every facet of life in Jesus Name.
Thanks for visiting this page and for taking the time to read through the blog. I hope your heart is blessed with the song!
Our Visit to Wabamun Lake
Our Visit to the Lake
This summer has been great, much better than that of the past covid-infested ones. Knowing it would not last forever, we decided to take advantage of the season to refresh our spirit, soul, and body. So, we jumped into a car and drove kilometers to one of the beautiful lakes in Alberta, called Wabamun Lake. The weather was great, and the gentle breeze that welcomed us into the park lifted our spirits. Who were We? We were friends who wanted to spend some time together in prayer and fellowship, sharing kindness and love through the love of Christ.
We arrived at Wabamun, bringing surprise gifts to share with strangers that come our way. Gradually, people started coming, and shortly everywhere was filled with people, from children to seniors. People were not afraid to talk to one another and play together regardless of their status.
On our part, we started with hiking. Unlike Jasper and Banff, we weren’t worried about bears or some wild animals. Our hearts were more focused on the greatness of God as we walked among nature which reflected the majesty of our dear Lord. There we poured our hearts to God in praise worship and presented our petitions before Him. God’s signature was written all over the places as the trees stood tall in their beauty, and grasses lay low in the calmness of the forest. The birds flew from one branch to the other filling the air with their melodious music. Connecting with God in such a cool and calm environment was easier than anyone could imagine. The experience reminded us of a song written by Stuart K Hine, “O Lord My God When I in Awesome Wonder”:
O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder, consider all the works thy hand hath made, I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed;
When Through The Woods, And Forest Glades I Wander, And Hear The Birds Sing Sweetly In The Trees. When I Look Down, From Lofty Mountain Grandeur And Hear The Brook, And Feel The Gentle Breeze.
Then Sings My Soul, My Saviour God, To Thee, How Great Thou Art! How Great Thou Art! Then Sings My Soul, My Saviour God, To Thee, How Great Thou Art! How Great Thou Art!
Our next move was to find a place to sit for the next activity. After searching, we settled under a cool shade among the trees and green grasses. It was natural for us to reflect on the faithfulness of our God in our life. Our wants and desires often obstruct a grateful heart that we forget to thank God for all His goodness in our life. A songwriter wrote: “Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God has done! Count your blessings, name them one by one *And it will surprise you what the Lord has done”.
As each of us brought in something to eat, we had more than we could finish. For a balanced day, we included sports activities. While we were eating, a couple of young ladies and a young man walked past us, and we greeted them. From there, we delved into a conversation that led us into asking those beautiful youngsters if they believe in God. One of them quickly replied, and I paraphrase: ‘no, I don’t really believe in God. I know I used to follow my parents to church when I was younger, but I didn’t understand what was really going on there. Right now, I am trying to find my own faith”. Her smiling, sincerity was great. I had been in her shoes before. My Mom, blessed memory, just wanted to plant God into our life by force. She would always drag us to the church. Whenever my mother prayed and any of us children dozed off, we would get a painful pinch. I would always get that pinch because her prayer time was always too early for us as children. So, I started staying far away from her each time she was leading prayers because I knew what was coming. In that church, I had no idea what was going on. I just followed our dedicated mother to attend the services. But the mother was so happy that she could bring her children to the presence of God. Every God-fearing parent desires godly children. And what would be the joy of any godly parent? “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” 3 John 1:4. So, mothers are doing their best in the best way they know.
Let me quickly drop this for parents reading this, never give up on praying for your children. Those seeds of prayers will germinate in their life one day. Back to our short-term friends. We shared our past experiences with them, including how Jesus found us, rescued us from our sins, purged us from our self-management, and transformed our life. At the end of our interaction with them, they found peace with Christ and willingly gave their heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, beaming with hope and joy as they went on their way. Praise God.
Hope in Hopelessness
To have more fun, we headed towards the lake area. On our way, we noticed something, a fallen tree. Everything about that tree was scraped to the ground. For one reason or other, it was decked to its visibly lowest level. Dried and hopeless in appearance but made perfect for smooth stepping. Against all odds, that tree budded. It brought forth stems and flushed in its resilience. I wonder how many legs had passed over that grounded tree. But still, it regained life and began to sprout.
Situations happen in life. Sometimes, we feel high, other times, we find ourselves inside our boots. Our actions and reactions at such a critical time would determine the extent of our recovery and victory. Just like the tree grew its roots to remain connected to its source of life, those that retain their relationship with God will never run out of mercy in adversity. That is why we must consider God in all things.
While hatred and bitterness hurt their bearers, love and kindness refresh souls and spirits. As we shared the little gifts we had prepared, smiles and joy became contagious. There is enough stress in our world already, more kindness is needed. A songwriter wrote:
Show a little bit of love and kindness, Never go along with hatred blindness Take a little time to reach for joy and wear a happy face. Sing a little bit when the days are dreary, Give a little help to a friend who’s weary. That’s the way to make the world a happy place.
If a stranger could walk to us with a present, how much more God who “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”?
When we gave out the last package, we knew it was time to drive back home. Now we are ready for the winter.
Love Versus Control
If God has not placed LOVE above Control, our world would have gone into extinction a long time ago.
What are the attribute of love as related to relationship? Check this blog: https://livingwordsoflife.com/2021/02/14/the-attributes-of-love/
Keep Your Focus
During the earthly ministry of Jesus, many people hoped that He would be a political activist, influencing the political power. But the sent Savior understood His calling and recognized His ministry. He knew what the will of God was. So, He simply faced the preaching of the words, going everywhere to do good.
Every ministry has its purpose, understand yours and keep your focus.
Mark 16:15,16: And he(Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Initially, it was just a picture like any other. Then, it caught my attention and invoked my curiosity. I began to wonder if there was a deeper meaning behind this beautiful depiction. In my wonderland, I drew closer to the frame for a better look. That was when I saw the implication behind the picture. The message was so simple and clear that someone could write a book about it.
Life is like a stage built for drama. You come, act your part, and leave the stage for another person. Regardless of how encapsulating we think our roles are on that stage, at one point or the other, we must move aside for others so that the play of life can continue. As it is with life on earth, there is no permanent position. Nothing is ever truly permanent on earth, not even this world we live in. As life is everchanging and ever-continuing, somewhere in its near-infinite cycle, we would only be remembered for the small part we played on the stage. People come and go but the footprints we leave, trail after us, so, we must be mindful of the way we treat one another. We should be careful not to make anyone feel like trash or send people to the dungeon of depression due to the ways we treat them
Sometimes, saying “No” and being firm in our decision is a necessity. Even then, God’s words say we should speak the truth in love. There is nothing we have that God has not given, and there is nothing we have acquired in this world that is lasting forever because life ends on earth and continues in eternity.
It is good sometimes to pause and ask ourselves questions: What do I want to be remembered for? Oppression, hypocrisy, partiality, nepotism, envy, arrogance, intelligent but dubious, smiling but dangerous, vision enhancer or vision assassinator…? How do I want to be remembered? Compassionate, loving, kind, caring, life builder, courageous & resilient, man or woman of integrity and loyalty, …?
In the eighteenth century, a preacher and a hymn writer, Horatius Bonar of Edinburgh, wrote a hymn titled: Only Remembered. That is a mind-racking song that we should sing to ourselves often:
1. Fading away like the stars of the morning,
Losing their light in the glorious sun
Thus would we pass from the earth and its toiling,
Only remembered by what we have done.
Only remembered, only remembered,
Only remembered by what we have done;
Thus would we pass from the earth and its toiling,
Only remembered by what we have done.
2. Shall we be missed, though by others
Reaping the fields we in springtime have sown?
Yes, but the Sowers must pass from their labors,
Ever remembered by what they have done.
3. Only the truth that in life we have spoken,
Only the seed that on earth we have sown;
These shall pass onward when we are forgotten,
Fruits of the harvest and what we have done.
4. Oh, when the Saviour shall make up His Jewels,
When the bright crowns of rejoicing are won,
Then shall His weary and faithful disciples
All be remembered by what they have done.
Only remembered, only remembered,
Only remembered by what we have done;
Thus would we pass from the earth and its toiling,
Only remembered by what we have done.
Regardless of our past, we can still make our way right with God by asking for forgiveness as we humbly repent from our misbehavior and allow the cleansing power of His blood to purge us from every form of the Adamic nature.
King David cried out: “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with You, …” Psalm 130:3-4. Thank God for the forgiveness through Christ.
Acts of Apostle 17:30-31 (NKJV) says: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Christ makes a difference in the lives of those who welcome Him into their life.
WHEN I LOST AN UNCLE, A LESSON OF A LIFETIME
Sometimes we wonder why people of God go through some harsh situations, especially after they have prayed and expressed strong faith in God. While some are sincerely confused, some feel disappointed, while some are just mad at God. Is it the nature of God to allow His children to go through pains while He simply looks away? No! If God permits some situations, He has a reason for it. God looking away from the suffering of His only begotten Son paved the way for our salvation. Our debts were paid in full and access to the throne of grace was granted. Before I learned this lesson, as a young convert in Christ some years back, I struggled with God, especially after losing a dear one.
When I gave my life to Christ as a teenager, my family could not understand what I was looking for in religion and why my lifestyle had to change drastically. Every effort to talk me out of my decision failed and resulted in very harsh treatment. I knew they loved me so much and wanted the best for me, but the path I had found, which brought me much peace and hope, they had found strange. As a result of my decision for Christ, I became a lone ranger with no one to turn to in my family. However, I had an uncle who I admired and who was the only one that seemed to understand my newfound faith in Christ. I looked up to him for quite a number of things and always felt comfortable around him and his family.
One day, we got the news that there was an accident, and he did not make it. My heart was ripped apart. Thousands of questions rushed to my head about God. I was almost starting to feel insecure. With my heavily confused mind saddled with unresolved questions, I traveled down to our hometown for his burial.
There was no doubt that God saw through my crowded mind. He must have seen my inner struggles and confusion as a young convert. He was waiting for me to answer some of those questions. As we sat quietly under the canopy that temporarily housed the remains of my uncle, and the heads of those in attendance stooped in sadness and sorrow, the minister climbed the pulpit to start his preaching. He shared a story that enlightened my heart to date, which I will try to paraphrase. So, he began…
There was a man who was desperate to know the way of God. He went on this quest while fasting and praying, saying, “Lord, I want to know your way of operation”. One night, the man got tapped on his shoulder by someone who said to him “You have been praying to know the way of God and how God works?” The man replied, “Yes”. Then said the stranger, “I am the Angel of God sent to attend to your request.” We would be visiting some places, and I would need you to come with me.
Without wasting time, they embarked on a journey. Their first stop was at the house of a man known to be very wicked in that community. Both the Angel and the man following him (whom I will call “Mr. Trust”) appeared to have lost their way and needed direction. They sought help from this man, but he would not give them any attention. After much pressure, the man asked his little son to show them the way. As they were crossing a bridge, the Angel pushed the little boy into the river and allowed him to drown. Mr. Trust was taken aback and confronted the Angel vehemently on that atrocity. The Angel simply said to him, you want to know the way of God? Follow me. So, they kept going.
They arrived in another man’s place, a good man and a child of God. He was so happy to see them and welcomed them warmly. In his excitement, he went into his bed chamber, came out with a golden cup that was gifted to him to show them. He loved and cherished the cup so much that he could not stop talking about it. When his visitors were leaving, the Angel stole the cup. “How could you be an angel of God and be a thief at the same time?” Said Mr. Trust. The Angel answered once again, “You want to know the way of God? Follow me.”
They arrived at the home of another man who was not only bad but also evil. He did not give them any audience at all. Instead, he treated them wickedly. When they were leaving, the Angel gave the man the golden cup he stole from the good man. Right away, Mr. Trust stopped and said to the Angel, “This is not right. I don’t think you are the Angel of God. My mind must be deceiving me taking you by your introduction.” The Angel said to him again, “You want to know the way of God? Follow me.” So off they went until they arrived at the house of an elderly man.
The aged man had a good reputation in his community and attracted the love and affection of the people around him. But he was a poor man. What he had left was a dilapidated house with leaking roofs everywhere, excluding a little corner where he usually squeezed himself in. Immediately he saw his visitors, his spirit was lifted, as he joyfully received them. He started discussing his predicament with his visitors and shared with them how he had been praying to God for provision. Although, he did not hesitated to tell them that he was tired of staying in that tiny little corner, he told them that regardless of his situation he still thank God for the safe little corner he had left. They encouraged him to keep praying, believing that God would certainly answer his prayers at the right time. However, while they were leaving, the Angel turned back and burnt down the little corner left for the man.
At this point, Mr. Trust said to the Angel, “I am done. I need no other proof to confirm that you aren’t the Angel of God. You have not done anything right since we embarked on the journey. I am going back.” And he was serious about his decision. When the Angel could not persuade him to keep following, he then asked him for a chance to explain every situation. The man obliged, and the Angel began.
You see, the way of God, no one can fully comprehend. God works in diverse ways, and He remains a just God. Let’s review the reality behind each scene. The first man we met was such a wicked man that he had done a lot of evil to the people in that town. He was so deep in occultism that people could do nothing to him. The people in that community were only waiting for the day the man would die so they could retaliate against his only son. That was the reason the boy was pushed into his death. The man would have to face the repercussion of his wickedness to the full.
On the second man, that good and godly man with the golden cup, if he ever drank from the cup would die because the cup had been poisoned. He deserved to live and see the glory of God. Thus, the reason the cup was taken away from him and given to the wicked man to drink. The unrepentant wicked soul must drink from the wrath of the judgment of God.
Isaiah 51: 22-23: “Thus saith thy Lord the Lord, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again:
23 But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.”
Wao! exclaimed the man. How about the poor godly old man? Angel replied, underneath the house of that man were minerals and gold. Because the man was a good man with good records in the community, people would come together to raise a small dwelling place for him on his land. While they are doing that, they would hit the minerals and gold that would change the life of the man forever, which is the answer to his prayers.
So, the Angel told the man, that the way of God is past finding out (Roman 11:33). Remember God’s words in the book of Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”.
There are many things we would never comprehend about God because that is why He is God. We must live by faith according to what is revealed unto us through His words. Walking with God requires absolute faith in Him. If we walk with him with human reasoning, we will never walk far. Many situations in life may appear to have crushed us or cause us to doubt the goodness of God. But those that know their God will be strong in their faith. We must know that without faith, it is impossible to please God. If we have come to Him, we must believe in his faithfulness. Job said, “Though He slays me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” (Job 13:15).
In any situation, our God is still good. Whenever he allows us to pass through fire like the three Hebrew children, we must know that He will never leave us alone in it. When we find ourselves at any crossroads of life, we must trust God to make a way where there seems to be no way. Whenever we are at a standstill in front of a red sea or river Jordan like the children of Israel, we must believe in God to part Sea. Whenever the gates of Jericho seem to be strictly shot against us and its walls are standing firmly tall between us and the fulfillment of our God’s given promises, we must remember that at the shout of hallelujah, the walls of Jericho were brought down flat without a single weapon. When we are dying of thirst, and the only available water is the bitter water of Marah, we must remember the God that made bitterness turns sweet. He is still God. We can always trust the everlasting Light amid our darkness, for no darkness ever comprehended Him.
God has our interest in mind and desires our peace, victory, and salvation. We can always trust His wisdom and plans for every stage of our life, even if we do not understand Him in that situation.
The Snow White City
Waking up this morning to see the entire community and city turn white as gentle fluffy snow rests upon every branch of the trees, I was quickly reminded of the goodness of God, His mercy, love, compassion that fails not. Anything could fail but never the faithfulness of our dear everlasting Lord!
Sometimes, pain and weeping may tarry through the darkness of the night but surely joy comes in the morning. While the weeping tarries through the night, we must tarry in the presence of God to get our strength and victory back. God is ever faithful, loving and caring. He said in His words in Isaiah 46:4:
“And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.“
Rest in the Lord and trust in His possibilities, greatness and wisdom. He will bring you out of any situations and fill your life with His goodness.
Yes, the presence of our God covers the land, as the air fills the space, sending forth the message of hope and love. God rules in the affairs of the world and has the final say still. God’s creation power has not lost its value and will never lose its power.
As we continue to live “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Roman 15:13