Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Faith garden

Hi Christoggers! 
Is your faith-garden blooming?
It's gardening season and as predictable it is, that the Christmas season means the shops will be packed full of 'gift-hunters', so it is, that the garden centres will be packed full of 'plant-hunters' in the springtime. A little bit of sunshine and we are ready to transform our gardens, (for those with green fingers), into scenes of radiant colour. From seeds to seedlings and young plants to trees, there will be room for them in our garden because we will find a way!

It is surprising how much of our time these colourful beauties are going to take up in the next few months. They will definitely be needing more than sowing and planting; there's the watering and the feeding, the pruning and weeding and not to forget dead-heading the flowers! With all these in mind, we still take on the task willingly and voluntarily!

"Christian, christian, how does your garden grow?" Could you imagine spending so much time and being so dedicated to your 'faith-garden' - your christian walk? Mmmm! If your natural garden 'must' be at it's best, how much more your faith-garden? To enjoy your natural garden, you will have to put in some effort and the same goes for your faith-garden! You will need to sow the Word and make sure it's properly planted in your ground. It needs to be watered and fed by your praise and prayers and don't forget to prune the branches that belong to the Law of sin and death family! Weed out those seeds and seedlings contrary to the word of God before they become deeply rooted, grow and choke the good Word you have sown. Everytime there is noticeable growth, dead-head the flowers - people and things which were once beautiful but no longer have a place in the next phase of your life. Realise that not all flowers that budded in April will still be on the plant in August. Some are there just for spring, some just for the summer and others for the entire season of flowering. Now, for those who are not into gardening, I am sure you have a passion for something - fixing an old-timer, painting, baking or just anything that takes your fancy, that can also take up your spring-summer season.

Whatever requires a lot of your time also 'steals' from your time with God. How can you redeem some of this time? By feeding your spirit while you work. Housework became less of a chore and something rather more pleasant for me, when I started listening to christian music - recorded or on the radio, or sermons, even from YouTube, while I worked. I hardly work in the garden without having 'something' to listen to and I must confess, that this makes me work even longer than I intended to! In other words, as much as possible, take care of your faith-garden - your christian walk, anyway and as often as you can. Spring and summertime seem to be seasons when we 'relax' and take an unplanned 'break' from God because we become so busy, sometimes too busy, enjoying what the good Lord gave us - at his expense!

So, as the weather warms up, don't let your faith-walk grow cold. Till next week, keep on walking in christ!

Yorz-in- Christ,
Funmi Akinmade (Lahyorz)

Image courtesy of Detanan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Access to Jesus

Hi Christoggers!

Can you access Jesus?
By the end of this week, many christians around the world will be going to church to celebrate Easter. For some, this is simply a yearly ritual and for others, it's just part of their family Easter celebrations. For those who see church as an extension of their christian life, Easter is simply part and parcel of that.

Is there anyone in these crowds on their way to church looking and hoping to gain access to Jesus - in church? I sincerely hope not! Jesus never lived in a church so he cannot be found there! Jesus is married to the church and that is where you'll find him - by his bride. If, in an attempt to gain access to Jesus, you don't know where to start, may I suggest stopping and staying where you are and calling out to him. The church building is where the church, the bride of Christ meets and you may or may not 'see' Jesus. There are people who have been in a church for decades but still have no access to Jesus because they think it's the pastor's job to give them access! Jeremiah 29:12-13 says: 

Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Amp Bible)

The church community is where you learn how to be Christ's perfect bride and grow in him! When we try and convince people that Jesus can only be accessed when they come to church, we make them prisoners of life who are still stuck in the world without an escape route. I am not advocating avoiding church but the most important relationship that is needed is one with Jesus not with a church. How then can one get access to Jesus?
  • Jesus' Call - In Matt 4:18-22, Jesus noticed Peter, Andrew, James and John while they were busy on their jobs. He then called them and they followed him. Jesus can interrupt your routine or plans to call you into a relationship with him. Will you be able to hear and respond positively? His call is ALWAYS to better and greater things but the busy-ness of our lives and the value we place on ourselves cannot only prevent us hearing but also accepting this call.
  • Your invitation - In Mark 5:21-24 and 35-43, a man by the name of Jairus invited Jesus to his house to heal his sick daughter. On his way there, Jesus was interrupted by a woman who needed healing. Jesus attended to her and was still willing to go to Jairus' house but almost did not because Jairus was interrupted - by negative circumstances. He was informed that his daughter had died and therefore had no more need of Jesus. Before the seed of doubt rooted, Jesus encouraged Jairus to 'keep his believer' believing. Your situation cannot hinder Jesus coming to you but your rejection can.
  • Jesus' invitation - In Luke 19:1-10, Jesus invites himself to Zaccheus' house. Zacchaeus was a man unworthy of Jesus' company and certainly undeserving of his blessings because he was a sinner. The problem with this was that this opinion was not Jesus' but rather, that of people who in reality, were worse than Zacchaeus. Jesus knows who you are and still wants a relationship with you in spite of how you and the world see you. Jesus is more interested in who you will become in his presence rather than who you were in his abscence.
Nothing, absolutely nothing can stop you gaining access to Jesus. There is nowhere you are on this earth, from which you cannot reach him. If you ever feel so low and think you're in the pit of hell, (and this is not swearing!), I know a man who's been there. He went down into that same hell, crushed the devil and took back the keys to your freedom! He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens (Rev 3:7b). Hell could not restrain him and death could not suppress him! Call on him - he's accessible 24/7!

Till next week, keep on walking in Christ!

Yorz-in-Christ,
Funmi Akinmade (Lahyorz)

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The all-weather coat

  Are you weather-proof?
Hi Christoggers!

I was hoping to get a spring coat but this past week, the weather went through the four seasons of the year! An ALL-WEATHER COAT would have been the ideal thing. Could you imagine having to carry different types of coats for each season around with you everywhere you went? So, it's sunny and you feel happy and put on your bright yellow coat but when it's overcast, the dull grey coat comes on the scene. In other words, what you look like is determined by the weather! It sounds funny, almost ridiculous to imagine that anyone would do this, doesn't it?

Now, let's compare this situation with the life of a christian. Sunday is 'Holy day', so the cheerful attitude is on display. On Monday, it's a grey day and the very thought of having to go to work puts a downer on everything else! Tuesday is a red letter day - the bills are due and the monthly income is not due to be paid for another week or so: Welcome 'Gloom'! Wednesday should be better and it was, until the neighbour's dog jumped on you and got mud all over your work clothes. Now you have to go and get changed and run the risk of being late for work - again! Thursday is pre-Friday so, your mood is lighter - it's almost Friday! Roll on Friday! Thank God it's Friday!! It's time to let down your hair, for those who can ;)) and yes, you've got it - relax! Everything else can wait - you deserve to rest!

Okay brothers and sisters, let's get real and I'm addressing 'me' too! The question now is, when is the real 'you' and 'me', (pardon my grammar), ever going to be seen? When is your coat going to be that of righteousness and not of worldliness? Everyday of the week presents an excuse to exhibit worldly attitudes but when are you going to put on your ALL-WEATHER COAT meant to weather every storm the world may throw at you? This coat is NOT just for protecting you but also for exhibiting you. You are on show for the world to see and the world would certainly like to know if your action matches your profession!

Keeping negative emotions under wraps is not the easiest thing and I should know! Being in Christ does not stop you having problems but helps you handle problems better. There is a constancy we need to have, a steadfastness we need to show, that is not just about faith confession but character transformation. If there were ever a coat that needed to be put on and permanently kept on, it would be one of steadfastness - not in what we are expecting but in whom we have become. This all-weather coat is one of righteousness; being right with God and being right in God through Jesus Christ and it is what identifies us as belonging to God. This coat simply says - not me but God, not my will but his will, not by my power but by his Spirit, not my effort but his grace, not deserved but still given, not qualified but still honoured, not able but in and through Christ my Lord, I weather every storm yet looking unweathered, I go through deep waters yet not overwhelmed and through fire, yet not consumed (Is 43:2).

No matter the weather or the season, your coat of righteousness needs to be on you 24 hours a day. You need it to walk with God; it's your status symbol for who you have become - in Christ! So, keep it on through every season; this coat of righteousness can weather ALL storms! Till next week, keep on walking in Christ!

Yorz-in-Christ, 
Funmi Akinmade (Lahyorz)


Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net