Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not… – Lamentations 3: 22
MY PAST LIFE
Fighting And Stealing
I was born into a family of six, four children comprising of three boys and one girl. I’m the third boy. I grew up with my dad in Lagos; my mom wasn’t really around. She only came around every December and traveled back after then. I didn’t really like living with my dad because he didn’t talk much, only when it was necessary. It made living with him boring.
When I was five or six years old, I discovered that I had some bad habits, majorly stealing and fighting. A certain day, my dad and I were watching a movie, and I sneaked out of his presence to steal his money. I usually didn’t steal from people when they were absent. I preferred to steal from them when they were present so I wouldn’t be a suspect. This was the period when coins were still much in use. Also, it was common for kids to have holes in their pockets then, and I still don’t know the reason till now. Anyway, I had a hole in my pocket that I wasn’t aware of and I had put the coins in there. I think there were four coins. As I tried sneaking back into the parlour where we were, one of the coins fell out of the pocket onto the ground and made a loud sound. My dad turned. He looked so shocked, he asked me when I left the parlour and when I started stealing things. I couldn’t utter a word and he dealt with me that day.
Nevertheless, I still couldn’t stop stealing. It went on and on. The days ahead were full of stealing, lying, fighting and such like. It seemed as though I developed new skills in stealing and doing evil things with each passing day. My dad didn’t let me be; he never failed to discipline me whenever I did wrong. Even with all that, I still couldn’t stop stealing.
In 1998, my dad was transferred to Warri, Delta State. When I got to Warri, I discovered that the set of people I saw there were quite different from the people in Lagos. I really loved their lifestyle. I got admitted into a nursery/primary school that was opposite another school. My school was one filled with rich children and I really didn’t like the school because of the kind of people there; rich, unexposed children. I preferred the other school opposite mine because they were rugged and “Aje-Kpako” (tough, streetwise) children who could survive anywhere. As a result, I made friends there and didn’t even have friends in my own school. I would sneak out to the other school during break time and stay there. Most of the time, I wasn’t in school but on the streets playing games which usually ended with us stealing and then running back to school. We would steal people’s money mostly.
Flogging & Punishment Didn’t Work…
Looking back now, I really thank God for protecting me. Back then in Warri, the people didn’t care how young you were; you would be burnt alive if caught stealing. I remember one time when a young boy who stole food seasoning was caught, he was burnt! Fear was so palpable during that period. God really protected me from getting into such problems even though I stole a lot.
During those times I kept sneaking to the other school, my dad caught me many times and even had to send spies to check on me. I was usually shocked when on getting home, he would tell me, “You were not in school today.” This happened even when he was not in town when the incident occurred. I was unaware that he had spies on me at that time. The beatings from my dad were quite a lot during those days; he never tolerated my bad behaviour. When my mom would complain about her missing items and try to blame my older siblings, my dad would immediately know it was me because he knew me that well. To show that he has pardoned a wrongdoing, my dad would flog the culprit. Until he does, we know he hasn’t forgiven. So, he loved ‘forgiving‘ us because he wanted us to be good, responsible people who lived godly lives. Thus, his mercy was the flogging.
We lived within the premises of a company which had two gates preceding the house where we stayed. There was a rule in the house that we were never to go out of the first gate. I had never stepped my foot outside the first gate and it was really annoying to me as an adventurous child. There were children there that we could play with, but my dad wouldn’t permit us. I was really a stubborn child and started to disobey him after a while. I would go out and come in before he returned. I really didn’t know how he knew but each time I went out, he knew and a sound beating was sure to follow. Most days, my dad would
buy a bunch of canes and newspapers on his way home instead of buying bread or ice-cream for the kids. It was usually annoying and I stopped bothering to open the boot of the car to see what he brought. He was trying to show us mercy and love and I didn’t like his version at all.
Usually, after being punished, I would repent for about a week or two and then go back to my former ways. I would tell myself, “I will not do ‘it’ again” so that the punishment would not be doubled the next time I erred. My dad was becoming tired, but I couldn’t stop stealing…
He became so tired of me that he called my mom to come take me away. I remember being really surprised to see my mom in April, 1999. I inquired into what brought her and she said she was to take me to the village for a few weeks after which, she would bring me back. I didn’t know what discussions they’d had. That was the first time I went to my village.
My mom took me to a prayer house and we sat there for almost an hour, before the so-called prophetesses came out. When they came out and I saw them, I hated them with so much passion that I started looking for something to steal from them. I was pretty unpredictable, I could just do anything to anybody and you couldn’t judge my actions by my calm face.
They told me to kneel but I didn’t want to, my mom had to look at me in a knowing way before I did. They told her she had to buy some things for them to start cancelling the problem. I told my mom not to buy anything but she told me to shut up. The lady said it was the demon talking through me and I said I didn’t have a demon. They gave mom a list with some weird things that she even wondered where she would get them from. The sum of the items on the list was about 30,000 naira. That was a lot of money then, it was up to a month’s salary. When she told my dad, he disagreed and told her to bring me back, that he would do it his way. My mom persuaded him and paid half of the sum with her own money. Then, the people started praying. I was supposed to stay there for 3 days yet they refused to give me food on the first day. I had to call the persons in charge and ask them why it was so. I was then given food once after my complaint and no more. I didn’t take that lightly so I ran away from there very early the next morning.
Since I was coming from Warri, I knew how to mingle easily with the guys around. I stayed with the kids I saw playing football in a field after I made friends with them. When the prayer house people searched for me but couldn’t find me, they had to call my mom and she came to look for me as well. I stayed a whole day and played with those kids I met. My mom finally found me at the field, she was so angry. I explained to her that I was fed only once and that my dad wouldn’t be happy to hear that. My dad kept urging her to bring me back to Warri and this caused a little misunderstanding between them. My dad had to come to the village and take me back with him to Warri.
When I returned to Warri, I was calm for a while in order to give my dad rest from my problems. It wasn’t as though I was happy with what I was doing. I really wanted to stop because I loved my dad and mom and didn’t want them worried about me but I still found myself doing the things I didn’t want to do. It was so frustrating. My dad didn’t want me to start secondary school in Warri so that I wouldn’t mingle with the guys there, so he sent me to the village and I started my secondary education there.
SCHOOL IN THE JUNGLE
Survival of The Fittest
Back then, I used to do a lot of creative things, so my dad sent me to a Technical School. My parents didn’t tell me I was going to school in the village because if they did, and I didn’t want to go, I would somehow prevent it from happening. I didn’t like talking much or telling people things either. My dad took me to the village suddenly and I saw my mom had already made my school uniform, bought my box and done all the necessary things, without my knowledge.
The next day, we went to the school. I didn’t know it was one till we got there. It was a Government Technical College. The place looked so bushy that within me I wondered if it was some new punishment considering the fact that I had not done anything bad in the past week. I wondered why I was being brought there to school.
When we got to the hostel, there were people sitting in front of it, and they looked my dad’s age. That was either the year 2002 or 2003. My dad dropped me off, gave me 500 naira and left. Someone approached me; he was called the “Senior Prefect (S.P) of Non-Prefects.” He held in his hand the exhaust pipes of two motorcycles painted black and joined together at the ends. On it was written “GTC“. The signpost of the school also read “Government Technical College” but theirs stood for “Government Training Criminals.“ I was perplexed, then he told me to read what was written on what he was holding. When I did, he told me, “Welcome to GTC.” The fine was #500 and that was all I had, so I gave it to him and took my things inside. I had a rolling box. It was when I went inside that I understood why they called the school “Government Training Criminals.”
Everyone had iron boxes, even down to provision lockers. There was no wood. By the time I had passed the seniors standing by the door, of all the provisions I had, there were only three cups of garri and sugar left. While they ransacked my provisions, they were surprised to see that I didn’t say a word. Most of the other students they did that to cried or complained. I kept my mouth shut. All the while, I was wondering if that was one of my dad’s new methods of punishment. It was like I was in a cell. I was the only one with a ‘rolling box‘ in my hall.
I woke up the next morning to find that my box was gone. Instead of being furious, I was sort of amazed at this kind of school, wondering if it was really a school. I asked someone if they had seen it and he had this look on his face that said, “Don’t you know how things go around here?” It was annoying. All my things were inside the box; school uniform and the rest. We were driven out of the hostel to go to school and I had no clothes to wear. I was so frustrated. I couldn’t call dad because his number was written on a piece of paper which was inside the box. I was stranded. I didn’t know what to do at all.
At some point, I needed to use the toilet which happened to be a pit toilet. On getting there, I saw my box torn; the books, school uniform and most of the other things stolen. I just had to carry the box the way it was to the hostel. I was so angry with my parents. Finally, I was able to go out of the school and call my parents. I noticed that people outside didn’t like to associate with the students of GTC. The sellers didn’t sell to the students on uniform, the men that rode commercial motorcycles didn’t carry the students on uniform either. They hated the students so much. After I had pleaded with a lady for a while she finally allowed me to make the call to my dad.
During that period, there was a riot in school; it was with the school adjacent to GTC and they even fought and killed some people. At the time, there was a department in the Technical School that produced guns, so most of the cultists and strong seniors were in that department and had guns of their own which they used during the riot.
Adapting to The Wild
I called my dad and told him that I didn’t like the school and I also explained to him that students died there during riots – they just buried them and gave their belongings to their parents, and that’d be all. He asked if that was the reason I called, when I said yes, he told me not to disturb him, that I was lucky to go to a school where they just killed people, and that in his time, they usually ate people. I was so angry with my dad. All I had to do was to survive.
I had to learn the survival skills and way of living. I made sure I had limited property; just enough to survive on. The school was a place where people fought all the time and one had to carry himself proudly to survive there, if not you could be bullied, even by your own classmates.
I was annoyed at the way people picked on others weaker than themselves but I began to live like that. There were many cult groups in the school, and it was one of the tools of survival in the school. Also, fighting added another step to your rank in the school. All one had to do was build up their status by growing in rank till they got to a point where they could be left alone and not picked on by others. I had a school-father. He was a criminal. Most times he would tell me he wanted to travel to see his parents, and I would wonder if he thought I was foolish or too small to understand what he did. I knew he usually went to steal because he would come back with things and give some to me. There was a time I was cleaning his things, and I found a gun. I was actually amused. I studied his lifestyle to see if I could apply it to mine, and when his class left, I started the application. I joined a cult in school, but I was so quiet and calm and I behaved in a calculated manner.
Women & Indian Hemp
I started smoking Indian hemp in Vocational 2, (that is, JSS 2). I remember watching a movie where someone was smoking. That ignited the passion in me to smoke and I started smoking paper and doing drugs too! I would bully people, steal from them and all that. Most times I was outside the school.
The only things I took seriously in school were my practicals. I made sure I did them. I wasn’t really interested in the theoretical part because classes were uninteresting. A teacher could be teaching, and a senior student would come in and start to flog students. There were fights between classes and levels, some of which could only be resolved by the army. It was really crazy. The fights were bloody and horrible.
My stealing habits increased, and to add to that, I started having lust issues. My school was not a mixed school so there were only male students. There was a guest house close to the school which had prostitutes, though. Students would go there to sleep with the women there. When I started going there, I just couldn’t stop. I gave myself into immorality. I can’t recall a week passing without my committing fornication while I was in that school. It was like a tradition in school, and what made it worse was the air of competition around it and the pride that went with it. I grew up this way.I wasted my days in secondary school, living a life full of wrong and bad attitudes.
I also fought a lot. The Police Station was sure for me.
By the time I left the technical school, I was tired of my life. My dad talked to me a lot about life, and I thought to myself that I hadn’t been living the kind of life I was supposed to live. I concluded that when I gained admission into the university, I would be better and drop some of these bad habits and ways of life. Before I left Technical School, I had another school father. He was a high person in Uyo, a cult executioner. These people had the highest rank in Technical School I had ever met. I studied his life and adopted it too; it was always as though I could stay around someone and adopt his lifestyle like a magnet. I used it as a means of survival.
COMING TO THE UNIVERSITY
Church Activity…and Immorality
When I came out of Technical School and gained admission into University of Uyo, I found a church and started attending. I found out that even though I tried to repent, it wasn’t working. Maybe it was because I hadn’t made up my mind yet, or maybe it was because they weren’t preaching what I was supposed to hear.
I started having lustful desires for the females in the church. I took it upon myself to ask them out. In fact, before I started, they had already started asking me out. I asked about six of them out them out and slept with them, but when I noticed that the six of them were friends, I had to run away from there. Then I stopped going to church and that went on for a long time. I was part of a fellowship too. I was part of a drama group that acted dramas in different churches and a dance group also. I found out that wherever I placed myself, I would do something bad there, and then I would run away. But I was sleeping with my fellow actresses so again, I left the drama group because I was tired of the mess I was creating.
Working with Cultists
I met my school father again who was in a cult (before he was caught and put in prison). I started helping him sell his ship [drugs] but I wasn’t initiated into the cult; I was a tricky person. I kept learning more about the cult group even though I wasn’t initiated. I came up with good plans and they loved me for that – cultists do not just barge into places they want to rob or when they want to bully someone, they draw up plans to avoid being discovered. The people drawing up the plan sometimes would draw up wrong plans, and that would lead to the death of the cult members. There was love among us, but no trust.
My first position there was being an ‘intel’ man, giving information on where the operations would take place. When they noticed that the plans I drew always worked, they took me deeper in without remembering that I was not initiated. We would go from state to state doing our thing.
I was promoted in the cult group and given cartel men, about six. I started selling my own ship [drugs] and I was the boss. We could “drive” and have up to 300,000 naira and then spend about 3 days in a hotel, drinking and smoking. That became my life.
Mammon, Lust, & ‘Sugar Mamas’
I gave myself over to immorality too. I started living my street life. I’d go to clubs every Friday without failing to dance, drink, smoke, have sex and all. My life was centered on ensuring that from Monday, I had enough money to ‘flex’ (spend extravagantly) my Friday nights.
At some point in time, I had a sugar mommy (cougar). The woman came to me and said that her husband worked off-shore, and that if I could sleep with her for two weeks straight in a month, she would give me 40,000 naira. I agreed, and stayed in her hotel room sleeping with her for the two weeks. After the two weeks she gave me the 40,000 naira she had promised. I kept doing that till she started connecting me to other women, because she was traveling with her husband outside the country. I started having calls from numbers I didn’t know, calling me to come and sleep with them for money. I just kept going around doing it for the money, because I loved money so much – I even lusted for it. I couldn’t do without the money; the more the money, the worse I became.
There was a time I think the demon came on me so hard that I set a target to have sex with all the prostitutes in Uyo. After then, I was so weak and sick, but I couldn’t stop. It was as though when I tried stopping, it got worse. I was so blind.
Robbing a ‘Customer’
At a point, I started selling cocaine for a certain landlady. We had issues, and I landed in the police cell, but came out.
Then, there was a certain sugar mommy that wanted me to give her a child for 500,000 naira. I was the kind of person that didn’t joke with my first-born child, and so I didn’t want to give anyone that child, except my wife. I didn’t want to, but after a lot of contemplation on what that kind of money could be used for, I agreed. However, I set her up. I told her that before I did anything, she would have to transfer half of the money to me. She sent 200,000 naira, and said she would send the rest later. She liked to take coffee a lot, and so while boiling the water, I secretly applied Indian hemp into the water for the coffee. She slept immediately she took it. I stole her phone, the money with her, took her car keys to steal the money in her car as well, and ran.
I left Uyo for a while and went to Calabar to ‘flex‘ (spend) with the money. I threw away the SIM of my number that she had. (I used to have a lot of SIM cards). I think I lavished the whole money in two days.
On The Run
When I came back to Uyo and relaxed for a while, I was given a post in the cult that involved rituals, being a cocaine marine. I rejected it and it brought problems with my cartel men and the rest of the gang. They found out I wasn’t initiated and I told them I’d rather die or fight with them than be baptized in the whole ritual thing. That was what brought the major problem. They started looking for me and I ran. I left Uyo for about three months, and consequently, I left school too.
That was in my third year. They looked for me in school and wanted to kill me. I went to a village in Akwa Ibom. I left for a whole semester, about four months. I couldn’t come back to school. When I heard they were arrested by SARS [Special Anti-Robbery Squad] , I came back to Uyo. These guys mentioned that I was part of them and that I was involved in what they did, even though I wasn’t, so SARS began looking for me. It was really a hard time. I had to run again.
A GLIMPSE OF THE LIGHT
First Steps In Faith…
I was tired of running. One day, a girl I had been admiring for a while, who lived in the same compound with me, gave me a Scripture passage. She had come out that morning to take her bath while I sat outside smoking. I called her with the intention of asking her out. I told her I had been planning to talk to her and she told me that she had been planning to talk to me too. Inside of me, I thought, “Yes! It has clicked.” She went inside her room to dress up and came back with a small Bible. She talked a lot with me and left. Of all the things she said, what struck me was 1 John 5:14 – ‘Now, this is the confidence that we have in Him; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us…’
After our discussion, it was as though any time I wanted to smoke, I would think about ‘His will’, wondering what it really was. A few days later, I called her and asked her about it and she said that even though I had a problem, if I was willing to give my life to Him (Jesus), He’s willing to save me from that problem. She also said that God sees the heart and that I had to ask from my heart. I pondered on the things she had said for about a week before I finally gave into it.
Now that I think about it, it seemed the more I pondered on the Word, the more I was being saved from the inside. The more I meditated on it and kept trying to understand it, the more I was changing and becoming soft and the more I wanted to give my life to Christ.
I called her and told her a summary of all that happened to me and she told me that, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17); not just hearing, but doing. She talked about how faith without works is dead (James 2:26), and told me about believing without seeing. She said that faith is acting upon the belief that I don’t see. She added that the only way I could prove to God that I believed was for me to act upon what I believed which meant believing and surrendering to the SARS, even if it meant I would be killed, but my soul will be saved. She prayed for me and told me not to forget that life doesn’t just end here, but continues, even beyond this age.
I went to SARS finally to report myself. There was a man that knew me and started hailing me, but I told him I wasn’t like that anymore, and that I had already given my life to Christ. The man was shocked. He said he didn’t understand. He said, “Do you think that your God will deliver you from there?” I told him exactly what the girl said; if God doesn’t deliver me, then He wants them to punish me, but if He delivers me, then He wants to deliver me. I said those words. He told the other man there, and they told me that they had shot two of my cartel men dead, and there were some who were still in the prison.
The head of SARS fined me 30,000 naira to go free. It was so miraculous! (I can’t recall where I got the money; whether I told my mom and she gave me, or I stole it from her. I really can’t remember). I cleared my name and came to Uyo to stay with a friend. I love reading. I remember thinking, “Okay, I’ve given my life to Christ.” I went and bought some Christian books to start reading.
I stayed with a wrong friend. I shouldn’t have stayed with him. Instead of taking my small light to where it could stay alive, I took it into deep darkness. It’s not supposed to be so. I met some other friends while with this friend. All of a sudden, I started going back to my old ways. I was back doing the bad things again, going to clubs on Friday nights. That was the lifestyle of the guy I lived with. During that period, there was some smoking and other bad things too. I would ask myself questions, but push it out of my mind and continue my thing.
God’s Mercy In Times of Trouble
Then a big problem came – I was accused of drugging the young man I was staying with to the point of death by his mother. That would mean that if the child died, I would end up in jail or be killed. This affected me terribly; I started going downhill: smoking, drinking, going after women and doing a lot of bad things again.
My academics suffered tremendously because of the accusation. I was traced by the university authorities through my registration number and was made to face many investigation panels in school because of the incident. The young man’s father was a staff of the university which was an advantage in pushing through with the case. But God was still fighting for me during that period. God is so loving! He loves everybody; whether you’re dirty or clean, He still loves you. He loves everyone He created. That was when I realized that whether you’re living in sin or your life has been broken by sad events, you are still loved…
The mother of the child swore to make sure I do not go scot-free. She said that even if she didn’t win the right way [the law], she would kill me before her son dies. I was so afraid for my life but God was there all that time, there for me. I don’t know how to explain this, but I was able to understand ‘Jesus as the Carpenter’ [it was like a voice in my head teaching me about it.] Carpenters build, repair and fix things up. No matter how broken a chair is, a carpenter can fix it. I knew it was God speaking to me just like I knew He was fighting for me because I couldn’t do anything to help the situation. Around that time, my friend gave his life to Christ! He started attending God’s Lighthouse and was trying to invite me but I refused because I didn’t really like church and all that came with it.
The person I was being accused of drugging had some mental issues. I had chosen to stay with him out of care, or maybe love (as we often say). Once he tried to remove his clothes and run out but I didn’t allow him, I stopped him. Maybe God saw the love I had for him, and God chose to show His own love for me because loving your neighbour as yourself is the same as loving God (as I’ve come to learn now).
God Spoke To Me…
Still around this trying time, I got three dreams, with similar pictures. The first dream was told to me by a friend of mine who called. I had not seen her for years. She told me she had a dream where she was approaching me in an uncompleted building, and at the same time, the police arrived and started chasing me – I ran. That same day at night, I also had a dream. I was chased by a policeman, and it was as though everywhere in Akwa Ibom State was filled with uncompleted buildings. I just kept running. When I woke up, I felt very tired and I couldn’t move my legs.
Then the following night, I had a dream; the setting was the same as in reality – the clothes I wore, a lantern, the things in the room, in fact everything. The only difference was that in the dream, I had a Bible although I didn’t have one physically. In the dream, I tried to read the Bible but the lantern went off and the room got dark. I tried to put it back on but I couldn’t read. It was like something pressed me; I struggled and struggled but I couldn’t overcome it. At the dying minute, I suddenly opened my eyes and at the same time, the power (electricity) came on. The bulb in the room shone the brightest I had ever seen in the house. I was so scared that night, but that was God trying to speak to me.
It was at that point I came to God’s Lighthouse. I finally yielded to my friend’s invitation. When I came and heard the Pastor preaching, I couldn’t doubt anything. Light was really radiating from the Pastor and it went into me.
During that period, I searched my heart, and gave my life to God again.
New Life In Christ
I realized I needed Jesus Christ badly when God delivered me from the hands of the woman whose son I was accused of drugging to the point of death (it was a very serious case that could have led me to my early grave). The way everything worked out pointed me to the cross of Jesus, which I felt was saying, “Without me, you can’t overcome your problems.” I would have been dead by now, twice (attempts on my life were made twice), but God is so loving. I realized what He meant when He said, “I make My sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and send rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45). I learnt that no matter what we are passing through, no matter how broken we are, He’s faithful and just to save us from all kinds of problems. All we need is to come to Him and obey Him.
During those days of pain and sorrow, God taught me a lot of lessons about what life really means through my experience. But the most important lesson was that, “Experience is not, and can never be, the best teacher.” When I was living as an unbeliever, I normally thought my life was all in my hands and with my money I could do all things my way, and the way I wished. But that wasn’t true at all. I used to think I could live life to the fullest the way I liked it, that I could control my life with my hands, and that I knew what I was doing, what I wanted for my life and how I wanted it to look like.
But I was very wrong, stupid and so ignorant about what life really means. Most times people don’t understand the meaning of life! Life is unthinkable when we are not walking in the light of God’s Word. A lot of us think life is all about our mums giving birth to us, then they train us up, we pass through primary and secondary schools to the university, then we get married, and after that we give birth to our own children, and after that we get a good job so we can train our children up and live a happy life.
And after all these things, the same process continues all over again, living in deep sin and letting our hearts get full of darkness. A lot of us in this race of life just spend all the time on ourselves, running the race of life with darkness in our hearts, in a world full of darkness, without the light of God’s Word – God’s Word is the foundation of what life really means.
How can we see when the eyes of our hearts are blind, full of sin? How can we understand the real meaning of life, when we don’t want to be humble and seek for light? We don’t want to stop sinning! We just think life is all about living to please ourselves. Always remember, God gives grace to the humble and hates pride.
The Holy Spirit (not ‘Experience’) is the Best Teacher
I am always thankful to God for His loving-kindness and mercy on me during those days as an unbeliever, for not letting me die as a sinner before I could understand what life really means on the other side. Experience is not the best teacher, because while we are still trying to experience life our own way the foundation of God’s Word, who is Life Himself, we might end up dying in the process and this has happened to most of my friends. Not all of us came out of that experience alive.
Everyone’s time is not the same; my time is different from yours. We’ve all got our timeline to run. How much love did we sacrifice out of our hearts? Remember the Bible says, His ways are higher than our ways. The Lord sees the hearts of men. Moreover, the ways that seem right in the eyes of men can be evil in the eyes of God; and some men’s sins come after them immediately, but others come after a time, because all times are not the same.
Understanding God’s Word: The Light of Life
How can we understand the setting of a room when the light is turned off? How can we see a pit in front of us when we are blind in a dark world? We would fall into it, and great would be such a fall. And if we have no light still, how can we come out of such a pit, when we can’t see? An external light won’t bring you out of that pit, but an internal light which shines out from our hearts will show us the way out. It must be done from our heart first! Experience can’t be the best teacher. We might end up not coming out of that pit. To be taught, we need to study the Bible (the Word of God). When we give our TIME to do this (very important), the Holy Spirit will teach us all things – personally, and in the church setting through our pastors/teachers. Amazingly, this became my story as I was taught scriptures constantly in church and encouraged to sit with my Bible personally. It is the entrance of His Words that gives light, the light which pushed away the darkness in the room (my life) and brought me understanding.
The Bible says, “In all your getting, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7). And the words of God give us understanding when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour into our sinful dark hearts. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:3-5).
What was John trying to say here? In my own little understanding, John was saying that in Him (Jesus) was life and the life became the light for men to see in this dark and sinful world. Now, when the words of God dwells in us richly (by hearing and reading the Bible which was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the holy men of God), and we obey what we’ve read, this word will be stored up in our hearts, and will give us life, and this life will become light inside the room of our hearts. No matter how small the light is, it’ll shine in darkness.
But always remember, we are still in a world full of darkness. What happened when I began to study God’s words was that the eyes of my understanding was made to see. However, I know I still need to press on because more light is needed to see and understand. Therefore spending time with God is very important.
A little advice [as I was taught in church]: Don’t always feel busy doing irrelevant things when you know for sure the reason you’re still alive today. The air you’re breathing isn’t yours! The time we spend with God (not just praying, but steadily studying His words so we can observe/obey them) determines how much light we will develop from the inside of our hearts. And the more we keep pressing into knowing His Words, meditating on it day and night, then this light will grow bigger and bigger till it comes out of us, shining into the world. When this happens, we will now be able to see what this world is really made of. And understanding will be given to us about life in every stage we climb successfully. Only then can we realize that life without the counsel of the WORDS OF GOD is not life at all. This is what I realized; that my life is not in my hands.
It’s Possible – Just Do As You’re Told
Please, no matter how dirty and broken you are, don’t forget the work of a carpenter. It was for this reason He became human. Our Lord Jesus was a carpenter [builder], and carpenters create things from nothing. He alone can fix a broken heart; money and possessions can’t fix that. His words are living and powerful to break any chain holding us to sin. Always remember, before you start ‘muscling’ saying it’s by your strength; that you’re just but clay in His hands. To be a Christian isn’t by speech, but by obedience. God has saved me from my sins, and now I am a free man in Christ. It’s possible!
Taking practical steps to instructions is called “FAITH” which involves hearing and doing, while taking instructions without practical steps is called “DISOBEDIENCE” which involves, hearing without doing. FAITH & DISOBEDIENCE have not been friends from the onset.
‘No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.’(Matthew 6:24).
So, from my little understanding of what God taught me, we must obey and accept JESUS CHRIST into our dark hearts, and that can only happen when we open the door of our hearts for Him to come in by being humble to seek Him diligently.
He’s always at the door of our hearts waiting to bring us peace and healing.
God’s Amazing Love
You O LORD, created me and I know that from my heart because I can feel it. I heard it was out of LOVE, You O Mighty GOD started speaking LIFE into this planet. I wish I could feel and carry Your heart concerns more… Your WORDS are POWERFUL, O GOD… I see why David the chief musician said in Psalms 8, ‘O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens! When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?’
I can’t even imagine how tiny we look in front of You, O GOD. I see why the devil believes and trembles; because he knows that there’s a GOD, who through Him all things were created, and without Him nothing was made that was made. This is why I am taking it VERY PERSONAL!
Even the mind doesn’t understand how amazing its Creator is. Now I understand why Isaiah said: ‘Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of men, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him,’ (Isaiah 64:4). It’s all about Love.
Dear LORD, please, we just want to love You from our hearts and with everything in it. The doors of our hearts are open, and we believe LORD, please help our unbelief. Come live inside of us, so that we can live to understand what You did when You created us out of Love in Your likeness – as scripture says “you are gods!” Even with how tiny we are in the universe, you humbled yourself, even till death. You took up human form, because that was the only way You could come and give us life, a life that generates light beyond measure. The light that shines both day and night, giving us the peace the world can’t and will never provide. You gave out Your love from creation, and gave it again at the cross. You gave us the scriptures, Your Spoken Word, with a lot of promises in it. Even with all these promises, You gave us a ticket to Our Father’s Presence. Dear Father, it’s a privilege to serve and worship at Your feet. Help us to love and obey You all our days. Amen.
What Is Life?
A lot of us think life is all about being born, getting trained by parents, passing through primary and secondary schools to the university, get a good job after which we get married, and give birth to our own children, train our children and live a happy life. And the same process begins all over again. In the midst of this, we may be living in deep sin. A lot of us in this race of life just spend all the time on ourselves, running the race of life without the light of God’s Word which is the foundation of what life really means. How can we see when the eyes of our hearts are blind, full of sin? How can we understand the real meaning of life, when we don’t want to be humble and seek for light? We don’t want to stop sinning! We just think life is all about living to please ourselves.
Always remember, God gives grace to the humble and hates pride. The truth is that we can’t control life because we didn’t create ourselves. Anything that was created has a creator. For example, the phones, laptops, everything we are using here today on earth didn’t just come into existence on its own. Someone somewhere created it out of nothing. In the same vein, there is a Creator behind the air we breathe today, behind everything you can imagine. There’s a Word, and through which all things were created. And these created things live because He lives. And out of love, we were created in His likeness.
What I am trying to say here is what Jesus said in Luke 12:15-23, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, what shall I do? I have no place to store my crops. Then he said, this is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, you have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, you fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.”
The money you have, the houses you have built and all the earthly things you possess does not define life. We think life is all about having all these things, but that’s not true at all. Jesus said in Matthew 24:35; “Heaven and earth will pass away with everything in it, but my words will not pass away.” This is because His Word is the foundation of the world; His Word brought all things into existence. He spoke life into us because He Himself is Life. This is the main reason we need to humble ourselves and seek understanding, so we can understand what He did when He spoke Himself into us. We have no idea what it means to be created in the likeness of a GOD. It must be out of Love! Based on the little understanding I have, one of the purposes for which we were created, was to “LOVE” because it was out of love He created us in His likeness – and God is Love.
We can’t see God, but we know one thing for sure about Him, He is “LOVE”. Out of love He created us, still out of love He died on the cross for us all. He died for the just and the unjust, so that the eyes of our hearts can be made to see again, for we were once blind in our sins. Everything He created was out of love. This is the main reason why Jesus said in Matthew 5:44 – “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” The next verse tells us that “He makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the sinners.” Love is the only way forward.
Life is a race, but we can’t run in the darkness without the light of GOD’S WORD, without the counsel of His Words. We need to hold do to the light given to us out of love. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His ONLY begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He is the life we need, not the ‘life’ the world gives. This race set before us is like a pattern. To unlock a phone which has a pattern, we need the right pattern to do that. So it is with God. To unlock God’s power and a lot of blessings into our lives, we need the right pattern, which is obedience to God’s Word. Obedience unlocks God’s power.
More Stripes For Those Who Know
Hearing the law does not make people right with God. They will be right before Him only if they always do what the law says (that means there’s a ‘hearing and doing’ here). There is a Day coming when God will judge people’s secret thoughts through Jesus Christ. The Word is all we need to stand on as a foundation of what life is. Jesus said in Luke 12:47 – 48; “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few.”
Whether we know or not, there’s a reward for everybody when the Lord comes. There will be good and bad rewards, so the question is, which one do we want to partake in? Oh! God, I only wish we could understand what He meant when He said “will be beaten with many stripes.” For most of us who were born into a Christian family, we fall in the category of those who knew the Father’s will [again this is dependent on how much truth you were exposed to], who have the written law. What I am trying to say is, God is love, for the fact that I am still alive proves that to me a lot. I used to say“I have got my wheels, my way”, when my life wasn’t in my hands. God can take it from us at any moment in time. Romans 9: 20b-21 says; ‘will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay.” And in Jeremiah 18, the Lord took Jeremiah to a potter’s house just to show him so that he could understand what it means to be a Creator. We are like clay in a potter’s hands, and God is the potter.
Spiritual Warfare is Fought From Within
What happens in the physical realm is a manifestation of what is happening in the spiritual realm. So if what happens in the spirit realm gives birth to what happens in the physical realm, then brothers and sisters, “it’s not by our muscles, but by the spirit of God”. Eph 6 says; “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
The only way to fight in the spirit realm is to put on the full armour of God (through faith and obedience) and go down on our knees, praying with all prayer and supplication in the spirit. It was through Adam (man) that sin entered the world, so before we can see how much darkness there is in the world to clean it up, we must first clean up our hearts, so that through us, the world will be clean also. This is one reason Jesus said in Matthew 7, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” The cleaning starts first from us…
– Bro UE
Bro U. E. still enjoys God’s tremendous love and mercies daily. He is a very skilled Graphic Designer. He serves in God’s Lighthouse, a congregation in Southern Nigeria, and he grabs every opportunity to put his skill to use for the Kingdom of God. He cheerfully contributes to the work of reaching out to people through his beautiful designs.
He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
© God’s Lighthouse 2017.