Mind Controller

Jim Morrison said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind”. The honest question is: What do we actually allow to control our minds? What is it that informs our opinions, beliefs, and actions?

The mind is very powerful. Like the Digestive System, it will process whatever we feed it with. But there is something that l love about this digestive system, it breaks down food, assimilate useful substances, and excrete (discard) waste products. The nutritionists advise a healthy diet for a healthy life.

David Jesse, a wise and beloved King who had seen ups and downs of life, declared in Psalms 119:15-16: I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

A lawyer named Paul who, also became an Apostle, advised Christians at Phillipi to be careful about what they allow in their heart. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

There are many factors out there competing with the love and grace of God in the life of believers. Allowing the words of God to control our minds will keep pushing us back to God and His way. A life shaped in God’s words is more peaceful and fulfilling than the one controlled by the media, feelings, society, people, achievement, pleasure, ambition, privileges, etc.

Only God’s words can properly straighten the crookedness in man. That is why it better to allow God’s words to be our mind controllers.

MIRACLE OF DELIVERANCE FROM AN ACCIDENT

Amidst the fear and concern of Covid19, North America and some other parts of the world enter a dark, cold winter. The winter season is a period when every driver must relearn how to drive, during this period, vehicles change their wardrobe of tires into ones adapted for the season. Social distancing is natural on the road if accidents are to be prevented. Otherwise, someone might end up either in a ditch or tangled in a chain of collisions. Thank God for all the systems in place to keep people safe on the road. However, sometimes, it could get helplessly serious. But thank God for His faithfulness all the time.

Lois once found herself in such a frightening situation. Find below the testimony of her deliverance.

​Driving became treacherous as I came off the north end of the Quesnel Bridge heading home.  Black ice, the kind that you cannot see, covered the three lanes ahead but I was unaware of this.  The Whitemud freeway had been clear up to this point and the speedometer on my car had crept up to the speed limit.   

​As I left the bridge and rounded the curve in the road a shocking scene was before me.  Cars were sliding everywhere.  The two lanes immediately in front of me were blocked by cars sliding crossways and there was no time to get into the far outside lane.  At that same instant a cry came from my lips and immediately I heard these word as if a voice was speaking inside my head. “Hold the wheel steady, don’t touch the brakes, and when you get there, there will be a way through.”   —These words were just there in my mind.  As I gripped the wheel, I wondered how I would ever maneuver between those cars, there is so little room?  But even as I wondered, my car was upon the scene and I sailed through.  Strangely enough, there was plenty of room.  The cars on either side seemed to slide out of the way.  This must have been an odd sight to any on-lookers, cars sliding everywhere and my car speeding through without ever slowing down.  I left the scene behind me knowing that I had been delivered from an accident.  

​​Now I recall the one-word prayer that came from my lips as I approached the ice-covered stretch of road.  It was all I had time for —‘Jesus’.   Miracles take place when we use His name.  Jesus said, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”  Help in the time of trouble is just a breath away when you know that one called Jesus, God’s Son.  That help is there for whatever lies around the next bend in the road.

I remember those words, “ when you get there, there will be a way through.” Today, I look at other circumstances that seemed impossible and I’m calling on the name of my Savior and Friend.   He can be your friend too, just for the asking.

Lois Hathaway

Hope Still

No Matter What, Never Give Up

While taking a walk amidst trees of various types and various history, l came across this particular tree that took me aback. It was once marked for uprooting because it was dried out and seemed dead. But on one side of it was a flourishing branch shooting out. I could not but take a break in front of it and flow in the inspirations flowing out of it.

 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

Job 14:7-9 (KJV)

AS A WOMAN, HOW DO YOU FIGHT YOUR BATTLE?

Battling is what everybody faces every day. It comes in various ways depending on the individual’s peculiarity. Many soldiers go to war but not all return. Some die on the battlefield; some are injured and wounded; some are emotionally or psychologically traumatized. Regardless, many go through it safely while some even become outstanding experts. So is the life of everyone, including women. 

Women face different challenges according to their situation. The challenge of a mother is different from that of young ladies and from that of a wife. The circumstances surrounding each person defines the uniqueness of their battle. How we fight our battle would determine the extent and quality of our victory. It is worth noting that not every conflict is worth our time and attention. That is why we must choose our battle with wisdom. There are things we should just let go.

For us to have consistent victory over the challenges that cross our path, there are things we must possess:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Understanding
  3. Wisdom
  4. Kneeling knee (Prayers)
  5. Faith
  6. Patience
  7. Perseverance, etcetera

Let us take counsel from the words of God through some wise ancient men. The book of Proverbs 4:7-9 (KJV):

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honor when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”

The battle could arise from any angle; marriage, family, health, finance, government, profession, child training, etc., we need wisdom to handle our issues. Before wisdom, we need to have good knowledge and a perfect understanding of the root cause and the factors surrounding the situation. That is when we can apply wisdom in tackling it. It is necessary to be patient and diagnose the situation before jumping into a solution.

Many of us women are too sentimental and fragile. The enemy usually takes advantage of our fragility to break us down and take charge of the situation. But once we know the rule of the game well, we are no longer be vulnerable. Wisdom knows when to talk and when to keep quiet, when to react and when to let go.

Be Soft with Your Words

Harsh words stir up anger, so be soft with your words.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”.

Proverbs 15:1

Honestly, many women need to work in this area. One husband said he wishes God could allow men to be slapping their wives once in a while. This speaks volumes. Conflict arises in many homes because the woman of the house would not stop fighting with her mouth. Two wrong cannot make a right. A wise woman will pick her words with wisdom.

Let Your Words Be Few. 

“Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.”.

Ecclesiastes 5:2

It is not about the quantity of the words we blast out, but the quality and presentation of our conversations. That and looking for an appropriate time to present our views.

Be Prayerful

As a woman, we cannot afford to be prayer-less.

Proverb 14:1 says: “The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”

A wise praying woman builds her home, life, career, the life of her children etc., on her knee in prayer. Even when she lacks the required wisdom she knows where to find it:

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5.

So, we have no excuse. When Peninnah was busy showcasing her children and her husband was busy with wine, Hanna was busy having a private time with God. Everyone has something to be busy with. Eventually, Hannah got a unique child whose history abides until today. Esther, the beautiful queen of Persian king Ahasuerus did the impossible under the influence of prayer, and as a result, the lives of many Jews were bought back. Set your priority right in the place of prayer, reinforce your war room, and you will posses your victory in the Lord.

We must have noticed the consistency of prayer in the comments of our ladies who contributed to this topic in ‘Ladies Interactive Talks’ group. Prayer never fails, especially fervent prayers. Prayer can penetrate the thickest situation and break it apart. Sometimes, it may entail going into fasting and praying for some hours, or some days. Like Jacob said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Genesis 32:26. Jacob did not release that angel until he got his life changed and was empowered to face his enemies and fulfill his destiny in peace. Sometimes, we may consider engaging some sincere friends to join us in prayer. When we kneel before God in worship and prayers, He will certainly stand for us, fight our battles, and grant us our requests. Every drop of tears matters to God. Prayer can move any mountain and fill every valley. It has the power to turn life around and softens the toughest bones.

Exercise Faith and Patience

To please God, it is required that we have faith in God’s ability to fix all things.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’ Hebrew 11:6.

After we have done our best and prayed, we should leave everything in God’s care. The time and method God chooses to answer our prayers is left to Him, and this may vary from one person to another. Therefore, we must wait for God patiently.

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isaiah 28:16

The Rapture Experience

Thanks, Ashley, for inspiring me to write this experience.

The year 2016 and 2017 were challenging years for both my family and me. We went through a situation that almost drenched our faith, especially me. In December of 2017, my family decided to fly to the State for a National Retreat (a yearly Christian program that the church organizes globally). We desperately needed some time with God as a family. We needed time to heal and the strength to move on. We planned to stay back in my sister-in-law’s place after the retreat for a holiday.

During the retreat, we lodged in a hotel that allowed us to focus on God throughout those 5 days programs (thanks to our pastors over there). The first 2 days of that retreat could be referred to as a period of weeping and crying. Every congressional song penetrated my soul and spirit like an arrow and launched me into ceaseless tears.

The remaining part of the program was a period of healing, renewal, and revival. Before this period, my spirit had suffered deep dryness and was almost dying of spiritual malnourishment. During the programs, it was like my thirsty heart was thrown into a pool of refreshing water, swimming like a fish in the ocean of life. I got so many insights from the words of God that I penned down accordingly. The ministers, the teachers, the choir presentations, etc., were fantastic. You could tell that they were operating under the power of prayers. There was no doubt the presence of God was in the place.

I started the retreat with tears and ended with rejoicing. God is forever faithful. It was like that retreat should not end. Anyway, we must go back home to face the world again. We returned to my sister-in-law’s place in Rhode Island.

The next day, after my family had gone to bed at night, l decided to stay back and go over my notes. I pulled out my Bible, my pen, and my notebook. As I started going over my jottings, I somehow dozed off. The next thing l saw was me in a place amidst some people. We were all busy doing one thing or the other. Suddenly, something happened, and the next thing was that people started flying in the air and disappearing. Immediately, l knew it was rapture taking place.

If there was any time l was sure of making it to heaven, it was that period. I started preparing myself for my turn. I began to feel something happening in my body… I was in that experience when I suddenly found myself still sitting on the bed with my notebook and my pen in my hands. The fear mixed with confusion gripped my soul tightly and won’t let go for a moment. I quickly turned around to check my husband. Thank God he was there sleeping, like a baby. I climbed down the bed and went to check my children. They were all still there deep in sleep. My heart could not still stop pacing within me. I reached out to my phone and started sending out random messages to those l knew were really children of God. I wasn’t getting instant response as it was already late in the night, but we were 2 hours ahead. Eventually, I got some responses and finally got my relief; rapture had not taken place. It was too tormenting that night but relieving in the long run.

Bible is an ancient book that contains a lot of prophecies. Hundreds of these Biblical prophecies had come to pass, while some are still pending. Among other prophecies yet to be fulfilled is the prophecy about the rapture.

What is Rapture?

Rapture comes from the Latin word ‘rapio’ meaning ‘caught up’ or ‘carried off’. Simply put, it is catching up or carrying off of the believers in Christ; the wise virgins who have given their life to Christ. They live above sins and are diligently waiting for the rapture which could happen any moment.

‘For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.’

1Thessalonians 4: 16-18

The enemy is also aware of the rapture and would do anything possible to hinder any Christian from making it. Temptation, trial, tribulations, challenges, persecutions are out there to challenge believers waiting for the rapture. The stain of sins would disqualify any believer who yielded himself or herself to it. The Bible says without holiness no one shall see the Lord (Hebrew 12:14). The temptation of life would post itself strategically to trap any believers in their careless moment. False prophets, the business-minded, celebrity pastors would be there to misdirect the ignorants, to suit their purposes. Carnality and offenses might creep into the congregation of people of God to drain grace out of the life of any vulnerable believers. These are the reasons believers cannot afford to sleep off at this late hour but to watch and pray. Regardless of the situations out there, we have confidence in God’s words that He who has begun a good work of salvation in us will bring it to completion. God’s grace is fully available to carry us through as His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

If you are believers, you can not go back now to those things you have left behind. All the bridges you burned don’t try to find them; that songwriter warned in his song titled: ‘Don’t turn around to the things you left behind’. You must set your face like a flint and walk right unto the promised land. Don’t turn around to the things you left behind.

If you are still undecided about Christ, it is getting dangerous now. Jesus Christ is loving and patient. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. His hands are wide open waiting for you to jump in so He could catch you and embrace you in love.

Who is sufficient unto all these? Thank God, our sufficiency is of God. He will hold our hands and lead us on. My honest prayer is that God in His mercy will have mercy on every one of us and grant us daily grace that diligently awaits the Christ coming in rapture.

Here Am I

Surrendered

As I quietly listened to Erin’s testimony as she prepared for her water baptism, so many things jumped out to me. Below are the testimonies. I hope you get inspired by it.

Hi! My name is Erin Lessmeister and here is a little bit about how the Lord has worked through my life.

Christianity is more than just going to church every Sunday… I needed to make my faith my own

I grew up in a Christian home which was a huge blessing and I have gone to Ellerslie for pretty much my entire life. Growing up, I would say my faith was very surface level. I went to church just because my family took me, but I didn’t really understand the meaning of Christianity, and that it meant having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When I was in grade four, I went to Lone Prairie Camp for the first time, and the Lord used my experience there to help me begin to understand that Christianity is more than just going to church every Sunday with my family. I began to learn that I needed to make my faith my own. I remember praying that week as a camper that I wanted to start a personal relationship with Christ. Since then, I have had many ups and downs in my relationship with Christ.

{Are you ashamed of being associated with Christ?}

All throughout Junior High and grade 10, I was very focused on myself and my main concern was what other people thought of me. I would mostly try to hide the fact that I was a Christian and that I went to church because I was afraid of judgment and disclusion. I really disliked the fact that as Christians we are meant to set ourselves apart from other people because I desired acceptance from others a lot more than I desired Christ at that point in my life.

I had only been living life for myself, separate from Christ

During the summer after grade 10, the Lord used my second year of Christian leadership training at Lone Prairie Camp and the Mexico missions’ trip through Ellerslie youth, to change my heart and make me realize that I had only been living life for myself, separate from Christ. Through those experiences, the Lord led me to make the decision to change schools after grade 10 to go to the same school as some of my Christian friends and this change helped me to take steps towards living out my faith in my daily life but old habits of wanting to be accepted by others and not wanting to set myself apart still crept in.

Christ is not just meant to be another part of your life but He is meant to be your whole life

This past year, I did a year of Bible school at His Hill in Comfort Texas. The Lord used this year to grow me in my faith immensely. One of the main things that I learned through my time in Texas was that Christ is not just meant to be another part of your life but He is meant to be your whole life. The Lord made me realize the importance of dying to myself and living in complete dependence upon Him. There are still many areas of my life that I have not yet completely surrendered to the Lord and this is something that He is still working in my heart but I am so thankful for the ways that He is continually growing me and helping me give up control and trust Him.

…I have been challenged to trust the Lord and know that His plans for me are much better than the plans I have for myself.

I had to go home 2 months early from Bible school due to the current state our world is in, which was really difficult for me. Through the way my plans got changed, I have been challenged to trust the Lord and know that His plans for me are much better than the plans I have for myself. Since being home, this has only continued. I am so thankful for the ways that the Lord has faithfully worked in my life and for the ways that He has brought me to Himself. One of the verses that I have clung to lately is Philipians 1:6 which says:

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philipians 1:6

I chose to get baptized today as a public declaration of my faith and acknowledgment that I will continue to follow Jesus all the days of my life. I am so excited for where He will lead me and how He will work through me in the years to come.

The Light

Light lightens our path

A group of friends recently met to discuss this topic: The Light. Everyone was contributing to the topic subject as to what the light signifies. Someone said: ‘where there is no light, there is darkness, and we can do whatever creepy or bad things we want to do’. Of course, darkness accommodates all kinds of shady things, but when the light comes in, it reveals every hidden thing. One can imagine a world without light, but there is no doubt that light is not only essential, but it is good.

Light lightens our path; it guides us in the moment of darkness and leads us out of it without hurting ourselves. Seeing well keeps us from stumbling. We cannot afford to stay afar off from the light. No wonder Jesus said,

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.

John 8:12

Two thousand years ago, that light of Christ shone brightly in the world of darkness and ignorance. These days that Light shines in the heart of those who are open to God’s way and His words.

 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus our Messiah

2 Corinthians 4:6

TURN THE LIGHT ON

Many times, we wonder why miracles of all kinds are not as prominent as they used to be or are expected to be. While some lights seem to be growing dim, some are gone out already while many people grope in self-made light. Darkness seems to have crept into some places where light is meant to be. We now see men as trees and are complacent in dying light. 

This is the time we review the type of light we carry and the intensity of that light. We get to turn the light on and make it shine brighter.

There are some stains, shortcomings, and situations which have blended so well into our life. These stains push us much closer to darkness than light. It would take a brighter light to reveal and expose the stains before we could ever think of getting rid of them. The light of the words of God refines us, shapes us, and keeps us on the right path. It illuminates our paths and reveals unto us different areas of our life wherein we are falling short or falling apart. But the question is how much light do we carry? In other words, how much of God and His words do we carry? 

How much of GOD fill our activities and our thought per day/week/month/year? 

For this reason, it says, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Ephesians 5:14

We get to turn the light on once again. We get to rekindle the fire and light that have gone out. We get to examine the intensity of the light we carry. Sometimes, we need a break to re-fire.

 SHARE THE LIGHT

The whole world lies in darkness and is in desperate need of light. Those that have been lightened are supposed to be the light of the world, following the Master’s footsteps. We can be that light that helps others see. We all need one another. Jesus said:

I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

Acts 13:47

LIGHT IN DARKNESS

Sometimes, we find ourselves in a situational darknessThe fact that we are working in the light does not mean we would not encounter darkness occasionally. God is, however, ever available to lighten our paths

For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness.

Psalm 18:28

God can speak light into our darkness and straighten every crookedness. The temptation to grumble may be stronger in such a situation, but we need the grace to trust God and keep holding on to His words. Grumble not in darkness, but rather seek the light of Christ that guides out of darkness into the light of life.

To trust God in the light is nothing but trust him in the dark—that is faith.

Charles Spurgeon

A PROPHECY

The time to shine is now. “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60: 1- 3 (NKJV).

Encounter in the Park

Meet my friend Lois! I believe God has something to pass across to someone through her testimony below.

While visiting the town of Brooks, Alberta, my grandson and I headed for the park in the early morning of the Labour Day holiday.  I was not sure why, but it was a beautiful day and going to the park seemed the right thing to do.  In a new town it’s important to make contacts but I had no idea what awaited us.  Joshua was cozy in the “snuggly” that I was using to carry him.  I wrapped my sweater around his bare legs that were sticking out beneath so they would stay warm.  The little sun cap I put on his head would ward off the chill of the morning. Being with Joshua is always special. 

            Looking over the crest of the hill I saw children playing in the park.  I strolled up and chose a swing which was made by hanging a tire on its side.   Joshua and I lazily drifted back and forth with the rays of the sun falling on us.  Two little girls next to us seemed to enjoy going up and down the slides.  I started a conversation.  “No”, they replied, they didn’t live nearby.   The older one said they were traveling and had spent the night in the car.   She explained that they didn’t usually sleep in the car but their mom didn’t have any money.  This caught my attention. An older brother about ten, approached bringing a large collie on a leash.   His name was David. He came over to see the baby and Joshua gave him a big smile.   I noted that these were healthy, well adjusted children.  Then the mother came over and explained that they were returning to their home in B.C.  Her car was low on gas and she would have to wait another day here.  The banks would open after the holiday then she would be able to get money from her account.  She went on to explain that her bank card had become damaged and she was not able to get any more cash out of the instant teller.   I got up to leave and she walked along with me for a few steps.  Her sweater was light and she mentioned something about the chill of the night.  Their car was parked on a side street.  I wondered how it would be to sleep four in a car and what about the big dog.

            “I hope you have some money for food,” I said as I started to leave. 

            “Oh, we’ll manage”, the mother said. “We have some peanut butter sandwiches”. 

            I walked on, wanting to do something to help but saying nothing.  She called out to me, “Have a good trip back to Edmonton.”  Wishing her well in return seemed empty.  How could I just leave them.  They needed a good meal.  They had already spent most of the previous day waiting around.  But more than a meal, they needed to get home to B.C.  I walked on with Joshua, still deep in thought.  One could sometimes find vagrants in a park, but these were beautiful children and their young mother.  I could not just leave them.  

            I went and found granddad and the two of us walked back to the park.  They were still there, the children, the dog, and the car with the Ontario license plates.  “Here’s money to take you home”, I said handing the mother some bills, and I added,

” God bless you.”   Oh, she replied, “You’re a Christian too”.  Some tears rolled down her cheek and she wiped them away with her hand. 

            Through misty eyes she explained, “I prayed and God gave me assurance he would take care of us”.   Now I had tears.

As we walked away I turned at the brow of the hill and in the distance I saw the figure of the mother and little girl standing together.  She raised her arm and I waved back.

            “So, that is why we went to the park early in the morning.  Yes, you were there, Joshua, and I’m writing this down so I won’t forget to tell you.”   “You, my precious grandson, were just five months old.”  

            Much to our surprise a letter arrived several weeks later thanking us for the help and thanking God for his mercy.  Enclosed with the letter was a money order for the seventy dollars,  money we intended as a gift.

            “And so, my dear Josh, we are reminded once again that our heavenly Father cares very much for us.” I learned much from this experience.   I understood that this young mother was a woman of faith for she had relied on God to care for her need and had not conveyed any apprehension to her children.  More than ever I learned that God can be trusted.  I recall that as I went to bed the night before that memorable happening, I was thinking that I must be up to enjoy the early morning sun.  These thoughts were probably coming to my mind as the mother was praying.  But best of all, through this experience the one concern on my heart was taken care of.  I now knew that God would care for my son and his family who had just moved to this town.  This had been the prayer on my heart as I went to bed that night.  While I reached out to care for another in need, God brought a wonderful assurance to my heart that he would answer my prayer.  Now, five years later I can see how God so wonderfully provided for my son and family.  And I’m thankful that our grandson was a part of this experience.  It is now time for me to share this story with him.

By Lois Hathaway

Mother’s Burdensome Religion ???

Has your mother ever forced you or drag you to church? How persuasive or persistent was your Mom on church attendance and membership?

My mother’s strong faith was very notable for as far back as when I was a little girl. I grew up noticing her love for God. Initially, it was not a problem, but as time went by, it became a bit of a burden to me. She would pray in the morning, evening, and sometimes in the afternoon when breaking her fast. Everyone staying with us had to attend her early morning and evening prayers regardless. We had to kneel beside her in a row during prayers. As a little child, I wanted my early morning sleep desperately, but with mother, early morning prayer time was not a choice. The fact that my mother was praying did not stop her from checking on every one of us as she would intermittently open one eye to monitor us. During the prayers, if anyone dared to dose off while she was praying or leading prayers, the person would be awarded a deep pinch from her. Due to this, I started avoiding kneeling anywhere close to her. I had received so many of that pinches in the past and was always sure I would get one before every prayer session finished. As we grew up, my mother wanted us the children to join different activity groups in the church and be serving God. She would prepare us for early morning ‘Mass’ and lead us to church services.

Surprisingly, I kept running into different people who shared the same story with me. A good number of them with much more intense stories. Many of them, mainly women, described how their mothers forced them into attending church by all means. Some, it was not really their mother but the actions and reactions of their pastors, clergymen, priests, preachers, etc. Some even shared how their Sunday school teachers or youth pastors were being judgmental or threatening in their teaching. Unfortunately, many were offended, and many turned their back on God because of these issues.

Come to think of it, why are some mothers so strict about church stuff? What is their intention? Honestly, in most cases, these mothers mean good. In normal circumstances, every good mother wants what is best for her child and would do anything possible to make it work. They have tasted the goodness of God and know He is worth the sharing. All their efforts, strictness, forcefulness is just out of a pure heart most of the time. No responsible mother would be unconcerned about the fate of their Godless children. It is the joy of all God-fearing parents to see their children walk in truth, just like John expressed:

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth”.

3 John 1:4

These mothers must have wanted their children to be given to the things of God and be deeply involved in church activities. I can still remember my mother’s words of prayers. I can still feel her desires and longings.

If you have ever been in my shoe, I would humbly like to appeal to you to take a second look with an open mind. Many mothers did what they did because that was the best way they knew how to do it. They did all they did because of love and not hatred. They meant good and not evil. They wanted the way of peace and salvation for their children and did not commit a crime in doing so. They still deserve our love, appreciation, and respect. The best gift that any mother could ever give her child is CHRIST. As the world continues to promote (probably unintentionally) rebellion amongst youth, mothers see beyond. They are the personal manager of their children as opposed to the generic management style of the world’s system.

Even if we have witnessed the excesses of our mother and felt we were being pushed unnecessarily, we should realize that they are still our mother who cares about our eternal value. The mistakes of our mother do not change the reality of God and the Christian faith. Jesus is the only way, the truth, and the life. Modernization can never change this fact. Everybody knows that sins, waywardness, drunkenness, lies, theft, jealousy, hatred, adultery, pride, fornication, etc. are real. No system of the world has succeeded in eradicating these shameful acts of men. Only Jesus can save from sins. Wickedness will continue to plague the world, but those that come to Christ will be kept safe under the shadow of His wings. We should be wise in not letting the offense in our parents’ mentoring style determine our eternal destiny.

Some people also have their story on how they were misrepresented, judged without trial, deceived, persecuted, or mistreated by their pastor, church leadership, or family at one point or the other. We must understand that we are all human beings. We sometimes see things in different ways. Our mode of approach, which in most cases is influenced by our background, culture, exposure, education, carnality etc., differs. People make mistakes, and the devil can use anyone against anybody. That is the reason we must ensure our relationship with God is personal and focus on Him mainly.

A friend once shared with me how a youth pastor led her daughter away from God as he introduced her into drugs and alcoholism. Another friend shared how her mother’s health kept deteriorating because her pastor would not support her mother’s medical treatment. The children were left to deal with the mess. There is no doubt there are a handful of unfortunate situations and bad influences in some churches. However, the fact that these things happen in some places does not speak for the generality of the church. Therefore, it is not wise to pick up quarrels against God because of the behaviors of some people. When you seek God sincerely, He will guide you to the right church where your soul could enrich itself in the truth of the gospel.

One of the people I spoke to who detested the religion of her mother, said to me that she found faith in the spirit of an insect, which is what she has been worshiping. If we refuse the right path, there would always be an alternative; something to fall for. The enemy is out there waiting for potential captives. He would supply all the pleasures you could ever imagine at the expense of your soul.

Your life is significant and precious before God, and I would like you to know that being a child of God does not stigmatize you. It brings meaning into your life and makes your life count. Walking with Christ saves you from all kinds of troubles, afflictions, sicknesses, and headaches. It helps you handle so many challenges in this world that ordinarily would drag people onto their knees. Even when situations come, you will receive strength and grace to go through them and come out successfully. We should never allow the offenses of the past to define our presence or endanger our future.

Regardless of any situation, Christ remains the Lord over everything. He is loving, understanding, caring, patient, and merciful. If God were to mark iniquity, none of us would be able to stand. But when mercy finds us, the story of life is rewritten in redemption. Hope replaces despair freedom replaces servitude. Please, give Christ a chance to shine His light into your heart. His love for you is unquantifiable. Believe me friend, Christ loves you still.

Akinloye, O. Margaret

Who is Your Mentor?

WHO IS YOUR MENTOR?

I remember driving to work one fateful night. The weather was so bad that visibility was almost zero. The full light of the motor vehicles met their match that night. Darkness covered the land as the snow-packed ground every made the road very slippery. It was difficult to see the road markings. The journey of supposed minutes eventually took more than an hour. At one point, I missed the road, driving in another direction before realizing it and found my way back. After traveling some kilometers, I caught up with a car driving in front of me. The driver was weathering the storm of snow, fog, and a thick cloud of darkness. It was a sort of relief to me; I now have a vehicle’s taillights to follow. I would take advantage of the car to lead me on the trip. Driving has never been an issue when there is inspiring music, but not that night. So, that driver would be my unsolicited and adopted lead and mentor. Little did I realize the lessons I would be learning afterward.

Although I started following the light of this car very closely, I was also automatically restricted and limited to its speed. I became at ease in Zion. My adopted lead would battle the weather and clear the road for me to navigate. However, the car speed was so slow that I could afford to make some essential calls and take some pictures. I nearly forget the time-sensitive obligation I had to fulfill. Suddenly, I noticed a vehicle approaching behind me at a higher speed. Within seconds, he overtook my adopted lead and I. Wow! The courage of the driver kindled a fire in me. I pull out from behind the other car, drove passed it, and ran after this new one. All I needed was a vehicle’s taillights to lead me out in the dark hour, and this truck seemed to have a brighter one. His speed was also better. My worry and timidity that moment varnished, giving way for confidence. I recovered some lost time within a few minutes of following this new driver.

However, I began having second thoughts after driving some kilometers behind this vehicle. I became uncomfortable with the speed of the truck. This speed was ok on a regular day but not on a wintry one, as I kept struggling to keep up with the speed of the driver. I doubt if this driver ever knew someone was desperately following him. Did he know but just wanted to prove his superiority? Come to think of it; he had his plans and schedule before leaving home that day. Also, his vehicle was more suited for that weather compared to mine. ‘It is unwise for me to keep following’, I said to myself. However, I needed the light from his car so much. Also, I never wanted to return to the slow speed of the former driver.

So, I made my choice and decided on a safer speed. As the truck was going farther from me, the darker my path was becoming at those moments, and the more I felt safe: not too fast, not too slow. I started weathering the storm alone at my pace and eventually reached my destination safe and happy. Although I was late, it was not unexpected.

Why didn’t I consider turning back when I first saw the road condition? Challenges are part of life. A proverb put it this way: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Ralph quoted:

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters to what lies within us.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Of course, I had turned back from a trip before because of unsafe road conditions. We just need to listen to our inner voice, as guided by the Spirit of God.

For days, different lessons from this experience kept flashing before me. I saw very clearly the importance of choosing the right mentor. I understood that your choice of mentor could slow you down, waste your gifts, kill your dreams, or change your destiny. I also learned how possible it is to have a mentor so buried in his high speed, in his plans, in his own goal that he becomes so insensitive to the need and safety of his mentees. Also, some mentors will never allow anyone else at the forefront, and no mentee must go beyond their level. Intentionally or unintentionally, some people are just that way.

your choice of mentor could slow you down, waste your gifts, kill your dreams, or change your destiny.

On the flip side, mentoring is not easy. It demands lots of sacrifices, commitments, and risks. It is a huge responsibility which many never dare venture. So, those willing mentors worth the appreciation and commendation. Many of them never work for gain or what they would eventually gain from their mentees but just wanted to give their best. However, as commonly said, “A leader’s error is a leading error.” So, a good mentor is open to constructive criticisms and willing to improve. The mentor who never listens to mentees, who believes he is above mistake and unwilling to take responsibility for his wrongdoings is not worth following.

The mentor who never listens to mentees, who believes he is above mistake and unwilling to take responsibility for his wrongdoings is not worth following.

Dr. W. F. Kumuyi, a unique scholar and pastor, gave an extensive and revealing message on the significance of mentorship in his message titled “Every Esther needs a Mordecai”. There is no doubt that life generally revolves around mentors and mentees. So, everyone needs someone. However, it is necessary to choose our mentors with care and wisdom. As there are many good mentors out there, so also are the bad ones. Imagine a mentor like a typical Tortoise in the world of Cheetahs. But “slow and steady win the race”. Really? There is more to that story. Also, an unreasonable and dangerous high-speed mentor would drive his mentee into a ditch one day. Many mentors have made mentees, while many have marred others. We do not have to be examples of mis-mentored mentees. Don’t rush it. Choose wisely, choose prayerfully.

Choose wisely, choose prayerfully

We must never forget that: CHRIST IS THE ONLY PERFECT MENTOR WHO CAN BE FOLLOWED BLINDLY.

Jesus said:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep”

John 10:11 (KJV)

“…I am the way, the truth, and the life…”

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

John 14:16, John 8:12 (KJV)

As the steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord, Christ will surely lead aspiring mentees to the right mentor at the right time, if we let Him.

Akinloye, O. Margaret