NO TIME TO PLAY

Below is a wonderful poem written by Dianna (Mrs. Joe) Neal which I thought to share. I know it is not Children’s Day, but it will surely bless you. Enjoy!

"Our Community Place Sandbox" by Artaxerxes

“Our Community Place Sandbox” by Artaxerxes

My precious boy with the golden hair
Came up one day beside my chair
And fell upon his bended knee
And said, “Oh, Mommy please play with me!”
I said, “Not now, go and play;
I’ve got so much to do today.”
He smiled through tears in eyes so blue
When I said, “We’ll play when I get through”.
But the chores lasted all through the day
And I never did find time to play.
When supper was over and dinner and dishes done,
I was much too tired for my little son.
I tucked him in kissed his cheek
And watched my angel fall asleep.
As I tossed and turned upon my bed,
Those words kept ringing in my head,
“Not now, son, go on and play,
I’ve got so much to do today.”
I fell asleep and in a minute’s span,
My little boy is a full-grown man.
No toys are there to clutter the floor;
No dirty fingerprints on the door;
No snacks to fix; no tears to dry;
The rooms just echo my lonely sigh.
And now I’ve got the time to play;
But my precious boy is gone away.
I awoke myself with a pitiful scream
And I realised it was just a dream
For across the room in his little bed,
Lay my curly-haired boy, the sleepyhead.
My work will wait till another day
For now I must find some time to play.

Dianna (Mrs. Joe) Neal

CONQUER THAT WORRY!

No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27, New Living Translation)

For days, Ella had not quite been herself. She sat on her bed in her hostel room, staring into space. She was thinking hard about the way her life was going. “All my money don finish ehn! So wetin I go come do now sef*?” she thought to herself.  Her dad had just died last year, and her mum was struggling to keep up with the burden of caring for her and her three siblings. She had spent all her pocket money for the month, and the month was not over yet! Worse still, she still had some study materials to buy as the First Semester exams approached. And to crown it all, her store of food was empty! Life couldn’t possibly be any tougher. She was wondering how on earth she would be able to survive under these very unfriendly circumstances.

I am sure many of us can identify with Ella’s case. Sometimes, things just get so tough that we become so anxious about how we will survive. Of course, Ella was very worried about her wellbeing and that of her family, just as many of us would be.  If you were in Ella’s shoes, won’t it be normal for you to worry yourself to exhaustion? Would there be anything wrong if you became fretful about the future when you don’t know where your next meal would come from?

First and foremost, what really is worry? In my own definition, worry is getting so preoccupied with an issue to the extent that it makes you uneasy. It is fussing about something continually such that you can’t really relax anymore. People worry about all kind of issues: what to eat, what to drink, what clothes to wear, what business to do, where to work, who to marry, etc.

But people don’t just start worrying without a reason. I have found out from careful observation that worry is closely linked to fear. When fear gets a hold of you it becomes easy to worry. We worry because we are afraid! The challenges of life which confront us may look so huge that we soon succumb to worry.

Parents get afraid that they won’t be able to pay their children’s school fees, so they begin to worry about how to get the cash. As years roll by, an unmarried lady may begin to worry about getting a husband or missing out of the whole fun of marriage. A loving mother is afraid that her sick baby will die, and so she becomes overwhelmed with worry. Youths look at the fashion in vogue and out of the fear that they may be mocked by their friends for not being up to date, they start to worry about the clothes in their wardrobe!

Another major cause of worry is the inordinate desire for money. If a man is under the control of the love of money, he will always find himself worrying when he doesn’t have money or the things money can buy. Money can either be a slave or a master in someone’s life. Woe betides those who have made money their master! While money can be a very good slave, it is a terrible master. Money loves to be a master over the lives of people. It can dictate the pace and mood of their lives, whether they are happy or sad.  Those who live for money will live troubled lives because it can develop wings and fly away like an eagle! (Proverbs 23:5)

But then, what’s the big deal? You may ask, “Don’t I have the right to worry if I’m afraid of something”. Or you may remark, “You don’t understand what I am going through!” While some people don’t really see anything wrong with worry, others don’t know how to deliver themselves from its strong hold.

In His Word God has promised to take care of us (1 Peter 5:7). He assures us of His mighty love for us. He doesn’t promise that hard or turbulent times won’t come, but He promises to carry us through them. Jesus Christ in His famous Sermon on the Mount reiterated this truth. He made it clear that if God takes care of the flowers and the birds of the air, then we have no reason to be anxious or worried about life. Are we not more valuable to God than flowers and animals?

Therefore, when we worry we doubt God’s love for us. By worrying we tell God that He can’t be counted upon to deliver His promises. We make God look like a liar! Worry shows that we don’t count Him faithful to us. One painful truth which we don’t always realise is that worry is a sin! It is a sin because it is disobedience to God’s Word. We are commanded to take no thought for our life (Matthew 6:25). “Take no thought” means do not be anxious or worried.

Isn’t it interesting that worry appears harmless? But it aids the destruction of many. Worry weighs us down and it is detrimental to our health. Research has shown that worry interferes with our normal life causing depression and stress. It lowers the immune system thereby opening our bodies to infections and diseases. It also speeds up the ageing process. Surely, God knew about the dangers of worry!

It also weakens our spiritual immune system by destroying our shield of faith. We can’t worry and be in faith at the same time.  This makes us vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. A worrier will usually be weak spiritually. And pitifully, there are many children of God who are worry champions!

So how do I get delivered from the strong hold of worry? The antidote to worry is faith! Like I said earlier, you can’t be in worry and faith at the same time. Just as worry destroys faith, faith destroys worry. Faith is the assurance that God is faithful. It means that you can rely on His word and promises. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. When you are full of God’s Word, then you can be full of faith.

When next you are tempted to worry, remind yourself of God’s promise to take care of you. Someone once said, you can’t keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting on your head. Also, though you can’t keep thoughts of fear and worry from coming to you, you can at least keep your mind from being overpowered by such thoughts.

There have definitely been times when you thought all hope was lost, but God came to your rescue. He made a way where there seemed to be no way. He supplied your need through someone you least expected. Instead of worrying, remind yourself of such times, believing that God will help you again this time. Learn to commit your fears and challenges to God in prayer. Mention those issues and ask God for His help. Then spend time to thank God for fulfilling His promises. You will be surprised at how the solutions will come out of nowhere! The Apostle Paul puts it aptly:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 4:6-7, New International Version)

God is more willing to help us than we are to be helped! Worry never helps; it only makes us feel that we are helping ourselves. It never solves our problems, but it compounds them. Nobody has ever added any value to his life by worrying. Many of the things we worry about never happen! It is actually foolish to live in worry.

The wise man is he who knows the God who is interested in every detail of his life, and commits every single problem to His care. He knows that God cares for Him so He chooses to master his fears and worries with the Word of God. Conquer that worry and don’t let it lord it over you!

Living in a Crooked and Perverse Generation

LIVING IN CROOKED AND PERVERSE GENERATION

Look all around you and you will not need anyone to tell you that the contemporary world that we live in has gotten worse and far crooked. Corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of our daily lives; no aspect has been spared. In politics, business, law practice, the judiciary, the academia, civil service, and even in our religious institutions, you can see the devastating effect of moral decadence and the lack of the fear of God. I remember telling some friends that things were bad during my childhood days, but I’m quite shocked at the way they have deteriorated over the years. Things are really awful!

Interestingly, the evil that we see today in our national life and in the world at large did not start recently. The bible makes it clear that these moral evil and spiritual wickedness go way back to the early times. For instance, homosexuality and licentiousness were evident in the daily life of Sodom and Gomorrah. The stench of their wickedness went up to God, and He released His holy judgment on them all with fire and brimstone, save for Lot and his family. Therefore, these things are actually not new. The difference is with the intensity and impunity with which men and women, both old and young, live their lives in rebellion to the Lord Almighty. Things which were generally unacceptable and outrageous have become the norm, all in the name of fashion and freedom. Surely, God’s fiery judgment will descend on many!

Instead of complaining and whining about the state of our world, it is imperative that we find out what the will of God is for us as Christians in the midst of all this mess. In Philippians 2:12-16, the Apostle Paul was admonishing some Christians on the need for them to walk in obedience to God and live out the salvation which they had received in Christ Jesus. It is not enough to say that we are free by the blood of Jesus, and just sit around and do nothing! God expects us to manifest this freedom and live for Him every day. Paul encouraged these believers to walk in reverence to God, timidly shrinking from anything that may offend God and discredit the name of Christ.

He further charged them to avoid grumbling, faultfinding and complaining against God. They were also warned to desist from quarreling, questioning and disputing among themselves. Thus, their manner of living was to be pleasing to God, and edifying to men. Paul assured them that this way their lives would be faultless and beyond reproach. Their lives would be beacons shining out brightly in a dark world. They would become a hope for the hopeless and a standard for the confused in their communities.

 Honestly, the world around us is dying very rapidly! Can’t you hear the desperate cry for help?! God saved us from sins and commissioned us to be the Saviors of the helpless and sinful people scattered everywhere we find ourselves. We are not supposed to just pass through this world without making any impact. If we fail to act, so many lives will rotten in sin and eventually perish in hell.

I’m amazed at how many of us who call ourselves Christians live in the midst of all the mess and confusion around us. Instead of being the salt of the earth preserving the lives and destinies of others, we join in the rottenness and sinful activities of those whom we should be saving. We ourselves are confused just like the rest of the world! Our idea of holiness is so warped, and we know little or nothing about pleasing God. Our lights are so dim that we are hardly recognized as Christians (true Christians, I mean). We are not like 7-Up! The difference is not clear! The truth is that it’s either we are not born-again at all, or we are not following the footsteps of the Lord Jesus at all.

Now is the time to get up from the past and start seeking God with sincerity and hunger. We must take a stand for the Word of God, and be bold about what we believe. Now is the time to stop the hypocrisy and get right with God. Now is the time to pray and work! Now is the time to be righteously rugged if we are to make any impact.

Christians are not in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation by mere chance. God ordained and planned that you and I will be alive today as members of His Kingdom. We are not here for play! We must understand our crucial role in the scheme of things, and give ourselves wholly to this mandate.

We are here to be beacons shining God’s marvelous light for all to see. Our lives must stand out! The difference between us and the rest of the world must be stark clear, both in deed and in word. There is no time for foolish endeavors and worthless dreams, we must press on with a clear understanding of God’s purpose and plan for our lives. To make the needed difference in the midst of all this corruption and confusion, a crop of Christians must arise who are not concerned about what others will say or think about their utter obedience to God and His Word. This dark world desperately needs brave and effective Light-bearers.

We are here to be the salt of the earth in our generation. Salt is a substance which comes into a thing not for its own sake but for the sake of that thing. Whenever salt is added to food it brings about a change. God placed us where we are so that we can bring His heavenly sweetness to the lives of men and women whom we come in contact with. Our words are supposed to be seasoned with God’s Word like salt so that the hearers will be blessed and not destroyed by what proceeds from our lips. Over the years God has preserved the lives of the perishing because some of His people called upon Him to show mercy. This is one of the numerous privileges we have because we are God’s people. Now is the time to start deploying the rights and privileges we have in Christ for the sake of others and not for our own selfish desires.

If we fail to arise and shine in the midst of this thick darkness, then we can’t blame anyone for the destruction which will continue to sweep the lives of hapless men and women around us. We ourselves will be to blame. If we lose our taste as salt, then our lives will be utterly worthless to God and man no matter our achievements and medals. If we fail, the devil will continue to hold sway in this crooked and perverse world.

This is a clarion call to serious Christianity. It is a desperate cry for conscious Christian living! This call demands serious ruggedness like that exhibited by Daniel and his brethren, and Paul and Silas. Remember that when light decides to shine in the midst of darkness, there’s bound to be some amount of resistance from darkness. Don’t expect to have a really nice time living for God in the midst of all these callousness, hypocrisy and godlessness. But be rest assured that with God it is possible. You are the light of your world! It takes divine strength which only God Himself provides to be able to live right and do exploits when most people appear to have gone insane!

 Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).

 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

Philippians 2:12-14(AMP)