What do I do Lord?

There are so many questions which need answering, decisions which need to be made and, there are a host of factors which could have an impact on the decisions we eventually make. This often leads to delayed decision making, erroneous conclusions and we are then plagued by the guilt we feel for having made a wrong choice. For many of us, this is why we pray.

We would greatly appreciate the help of the Lord so that all our decisions are accurate. We would like to have clear visions and dreams so that we do not err, but we walk in precision. We spend hours on end in various religious gatherings praying and asking lots of questions, believing that our consistent asking will bother God enough to answer us.

It occurred to me as I meditated on some scripture today that we have one-sided conversations with God, and we call these “prayer”. When we do pray, we sometimes get a glimpse of a response – perhaps a dream, a scripture comes to mind, a message hits you as you listen, or even a vision. When these revelations don’t seem to align with our personal theologies and beliefs, we are quick to discard them and continue praying. I noticed three examples from my meditations that reminded me of the need to dialogue with the Lord, and not to continue having these one-sided conversations.

Abraham (Genesis 18:16-33)

When the Lord was set to cleanse the earth of the perversion and the human depravity prevalent in Sodom, He revealed it to Abraham. We see from the scriptures that Abraham had a conversation with the Lord about what was revealed. The conversation has enabled us to understand the level of depravity where not even ten righteous people could be found in that whole region. The Lord was not offended by Abraham’s questioning and intercession (prayer). He had the conversation and clarified Abraham’s concerns.

Ananias (Acts 9:10-19)

This man was called a disciple of Christ and he lived in Damascus. At that time, the believers had only just spread out of Jerusalem due to the persecution of the church, championed by Saul. Imagine his shock when he had a vision, from the Lord, saying he should go and pray for this same Saul! He didn’t discard the vision, though, but probed it. He asked questions to clarify God’s expectations in view of the facts he had – Saul was a renowned persecutor of the church.

Again, we see that the Lord was not offended by Ananias’ questioning and probing (prayer). He clarified the intent of the vision and reassured Ananias of His support.

Peter (Acts 10:9-23)

This was the famous apostle who had a strong connection with God. He had moved on from being timid about his faith in Jesus. He had been baptised in the Holy Spirit and many had come to know the Lord through him. Miracles had been performed through him. This same Peter had a vision, in the place of prayer, where God was asking him to do something that was contrary to his background, his upbringing and his previous beliefs. He didn’t discard it; he had a conversation with God about it (prayer).

From the scripture, we see that he was still wondering about the kind of conversation he had just had even after the prayer time was over when the physical confirmation showed up at his door. Peter trusted God enough to have a conversation and to clarify the revelation, so he would not walk in error.

It is important that as believers, we have conversations with the Lord. Our one-sided petitions, intercession, and sometimes our rants, need to evolve into dialogues where we are able to speak with the Lord about our requests; we receive directions, instructions, or revelations from Him and we clarify them against the written word (the Bible). We can enjoy this level of access to God through the Person of Jesus Christ. An active relationship with the Lord Jesus is the only way to get unlimited access to God. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we have access. We then ask for and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to us as our Helper. The Holy Spirit immediately empowers us to walk in higher dimensions of access so that we can have intimate conversations with the Lord and clarify His will for our lives at every point.

The next time you ask the question, “What do I do Lord?”, take time to wait for an answer and clarify that answer by having an intimate conversation with the Lord by His Spirit.

Blessings!

Joy Isa

There’s a Right Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

This week, I am reminded of the value of time. I lost a dear brother recently and paused to reflect on the impact his life had on so many around us. I found myself thinking about the need to complete as many projects as I could effectively carry out within the shortest possible time; the need to deploy all the talents I felt God had given me so that they are multiplied was intense and I almost got carried away by it. I had to pause and remind myself that the right time for Mr A is different from the right time for Ms B. The right time for me, now, is to know God more and to do His will.

Knowing our limitations and our frailty as mankind, as compared with divinity, should make us yearn for more of God’s grace, God’s strength and God’s help. The Lord has promised us constant support in the Person of the Holy Spirit, our Helper. We, therefore, have no excuses; we have no reason to fall and remain grounded. Even if we fall or derail, we immediately return to the Lord and He is faithful to set us back on track. We have no reason not to live life at or in ‘the right time’.

Think about your current situation and you just might find that you are majoring on some minors! Flip the switch! Focus your attention on understanding your times and seasons and the plans God has for you at this time. Fulfilling those plans at the right time is the way to go!

The Fear of God?

Why is it that our skin crawls and we are sometimes uneasy when we sense that God will visit us and speak to us in a gathering? How is it that we automatically become defensive, we begin to repent of all sorts of sins so that God doesn’t see or refer to them? We even sometimes withdraw from anyone who can share a word of knowledge concerning us. Why are we so afraid of our Heavenly Father’s presence?

I am reminded of the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. They hid from the presence of God because they were afraid. They, who went on walks with God on a daily basis previously, were now afraid of His presence (Genesis 3:8-10). Why were they suddenly so afraid?

This fear (dread) comes from a feeling of unworthiness due to our shortcomings which we often call human frailties. The focus on our humanity limits our willingness to engage with divinity because we know that the flesh (fallen human nature) cannot stand before God. God’s essence, His purity, is so intimidating that we cannot understand how He would stand to be with fallen, depraved humanity (John 3:3). Thank God for the sacrifice of Jesus, through which our humanity is saved and ransomed from the fallen nature.

We all need to be saved from the kidnapper (the enemy) who swindled us out of our authority on earth. Jesus Christ paid the ransom with His own blood. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we are saved. Why then do we still get queasy in God’s presence?

Everyone can be uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. We can also become very uncomfortable with the familiar when we feel a rebuke coming along. We all get uncomfortable when someone calls us out on a disposition they do not appreciate, on a word spoken that they felt insulted by, etc. We are all uncomfortable when we make mistakes and when we embarrass ourselves.

We feel unworthy to be in God’s presence in certain gatherings because the focus has moved from God to us. We focus so much on our unworthiness that we do not understand God’s divine nature of love. There is absolutely nothing we can do to make us more deserving of God’s love. That is a done deal. Unfortunately, there is so much we do which limits our belief in and access to God’s love.

We must not limit God in our lives. We must return to the place of fellowship with Him so that He can work within us to be more like Him. Don’t limit God’s presence in your life by living in guilt and condemnation, by living at a low-level spiritually. Engage God! Have conversations with Him and stay with Him. When you flesh (humanity) feels queasy in His presence, that is a time to adjust your lens and focus on His love. That is the time to access His rebuke and His correction…It is the child that has the attention of his/her parents that is corrected; neglect is a sign of no loving parents.

Don’t be afraid of God. Love Him and you will become increasingly more comfortable in His presence. Even if you make a mistake, you will run to Him and repent, because it will be an honest mistake, it will not be a premeditated sin. Even if it is premeditated sin, please return to the Lord; don’t let the enemy keep you away from God (Luke 15:11-32).

One of the synonyms of fear is dread – as we have discussed. However, another synonym is reverence. The fear of God you experience should be the reverence of God, not the dread of God. Those who should dread God are the devil and his demons because they have no hope of salvation. Man, created in God’s image, has hope in Jesus Christ. We should revere God (Proverbs 9:10) and enjoy His divine presence when we gather in His name.

Blessings! Joy Isa

How To Turn Water Into Wine.

I enjoyed reading this article from @Praise George. I think you will too!
Enjoy.

Praise George

How To Turn Water Into Wine.

Hello everyone. How are you doing today? I want to share with you this message the Lord dropped in my heart: how to turn water into wine.

The very first miracle that Jesus performed was at a wedding ceremony in Cana of Galilee. Being the very first miracle he performed, it will give us an insight into how Jesus operates, how he performs miracles and how we can align ourselves with his will to experience those same miracles in our lives.

There was an invitation.
Jesus was invited to the wedding. John 2:2, Now Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding.
It all begins with an invitation. An invitation is a powerful thing. An invitation gives you access to a place, to a person or to an event. In this instance Jesus was given an invitation to attend a wedding. An invitation…

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Accolades

Matthew 21 tells the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. It is interesting to read that the disciples had to go and untie the donkey from a certain spot. That means someone tied the donkey there.

That someone is not named but he or she played an important role in God’s kingdom. Accolade, especially the accolades of men, does not equate to heavy impact on an eternal scale. Simple obedience to God’s little instructions can lead to real greatness!

This individual was part of the fulfillment of a prophetic declaration which had been made hundreds of years before in Isaiah 62. Could this individual be you? Would you obey those simple inspired thoughts that come in the place of private fellowship with God?

Don’t despise your inspiration to do what is perceived as simple, insignificant or even weird. Be led by the Spirit and the Word (the Bible). Spend time with God in the place of prayer and meditation so that you can discern His voice. Then, simply obey!

God gives the best accolades! They last forever. 🙏🏾💃🏽💃🏽💃🏽
#realaccolade
#alisteningheart
#lovingthelord

She simply obeyed!

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Matthew 26:6-13. Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

  • What inspired this woman to do this? This was what we would call a prophetic act but as far as we know, she was not filled with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not been released to live within men at that time. How would she have known that she should take that bottle of perfume and pour it on Jesus’ head, in front of all those people?
  • It would have taken tremendous courage at that time to do something like this. She moved as God moved her. She simply obeyed an inspired thought and she ended up on an eternal platform!
  • We are all created by God in His image and He is able to speak to our hearts. We all have a choice, however, to obey the inspiration of the Lord or to discard it. Our consciences bear witness with us that we can do what is right and recognise what is wrong, inappropriate or unacceptable, from a very early age. This is made clearer when we see accidents caused by people ‘driving under the influence’. Without corrupting influences, more importantly with positive, biblical influences, we are able to follow God’s inspiration.
  • This woman’s solitary connection with Jesus changed her destiny forever. She gave all that she had; according to witnesses, she wasted her life savings on God (in obedience to an inner prompting) but she reaped eternal recognition.
  • From the point when she poured our this precious perfume to the point of her death, she probably couldn’t have imagined the far-reaching implications of her simple obedience. We still don’t know her name. We do recognise her action: an act of faith, a demonstration of her faith in God and in the Lord Jesus.
  • There was nothing to receive from this offering in the eyes of men. It was a ‘burnt offering’; poured out with nothing expected in return. She didn’t set out to give so she would receive; she just obeyed and walked away.

I am learning, like this woman, to fill my heart with God’s word so that I can obey the leading of the Holy Spirit and walk away. I am learning not to seek out or to understand the multiple ramifications of obeying these promptings, but simply to ascertain that the inspired thoughts do not go against God’s word. I am learning to ‘walk on water’ when I hear or I sense the Lord encouraging me to come.

Walk by faith; believe that your obedience is bringing God pleasure and is fulfilling destiny and He will glorify Himself through you.

Blessings.

Joy

Help! What time is it?

UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES YOU ARE IN

There is an incredible need to be well aware of the physical, spiritual and economic times that we are in. The global economic trends are a pointer to the need for discernment in investment, in the workplace and in business practices and relationships. The same applies to the physical and the spiritual atmospheres we currently create around ourselves. There seems to be the need to belt up, closely analyse and reflection on the varied elements of what we call our ‘status quo’. Let’s examine three stories (case studies) from the bible to help us with our reflection.

CASE STUDIES

 

King David (1 Samuel 30: 1-31)

Just around the corner from a great victory over a formidable enemy, distress, contention, and a form of defeat or failure assaulted David. The enemy kidnapped the families of David’s men, including his own wives. Imagine going out to war and vanquishing the enemy, only to return and meet a raided camp! In response, he encouraged himself in God – he remembered the faithfulness of God over the years and he believed that God had the answers to his current problems. He deliberately spent time seeking God’s opinion concerning a course of action – he did not go in his military might. He asked God for specific instructions concerning his response to this affront by the enemy. He understood that the battle was won by the wisdom and direction of God Himself and all the glory must, therefore, go to God alone. He was not selfish with the booty – all the warriors had a share. He believed in the team, active and inactive.

Prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17, 18, 19)

Elijah had many highs and lows in his lifetime, some he seemed to manage well and others not so well. His most popular high was when he called fire from heaven on a sacrifice during a time of famine. That was swiftly followed by his most popular low point; when Queen Jezebel threatened his life and he fled. A careful study of chapters 17 to 19 will reveal a great deal of passion, faith, as well as uncertainty and, in his peculiar case, a transfer of baton.

Samson the Judge (Judges 13, 14, 15, 16)

Samson was a man ordained to be different, selected from birth the bring deliverance to his nation. He needed to fully understand his specific instructions for life and walk by them – regardless of what anyone else thought. He started off abiding by his unique code of conduct but then veered off course when he was drawn away by his sensual desires. In this case, he had specific instructions concerning relationships and marriage which he disregarded, and which ended up costing him his dignity, his honour and ultimately, his life. Such a high price to pay!

Summary

These three men had some understanding of the times they were in but responded differently. We – of necessity – must seek to understand the times we are in economically, physically and especially spiritually.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

It is a good idea to make a note of the thoughts and ideas that come to mind as you reflect on these questions over a few days. 

Economically:

  1. What’s my budget for expenses? What ‘spare money’ can I play with?
  2. What can I save? What do I need to save?
  3. What can I invest? In business, in myself for career development, in property, etc.
  4. What can I give to the kingdom?

Physically:

  1. How am I taking care of my body? Do I have a healthy lifestyle?
  2. Where am I in terms of my relationships with people? Am I at peace?
  3. Single – Am I ready (getting ready) for the responsibility of marriage? How am I preparing?
  4. Married – Am I building up stronger ties with my spouse and my children? What’s my household like?

Spiritually:

  1. Do I know what God is saying about this season?
  2. Do I believe I must hear God’s specific instructions to be successful?
  3. How am I building up myself in the knowledge of God?
  4. How do I preserve myself from defilement, compromise, fear and doubt?

Know who you are; know your season; know your instructions for life!

Joy

Am I a real friend?

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Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people, between communities and or nations.

When I call you a friend, I am assuming that there is a level of connection between us that extends beyond association based on proximity in neighbourhoods, community, workplace or family ties. My friend is someone I care about and someone I pay attention to. According to goodtherapy.org, Friendship is a close association between two people marked by feelings of care, respect, admiration, concern, love, or like.”

I reflect on the concept of friendship today as I am struck by the words in the book of James. James 4:4 highlights the importance of friendship with God.

  • Can I truly say I am a friend of God – we all sing the song anyway, so…?
  • Do I have a close association with God?
  • Do I care for and respect Him – His wishes, desires and needs?
  • Do I admire Him?
  • Do I show concern about His wishes, desires and needs?
  • Without a positive response to all of the above, how can I truly say that I love God?
  • Do I even like Him?

I am aware that for some readers, a reference to the Supreme Being with such simple, humanistic terms may seem offensive and belittling. Truth is, God wants to walk with us like He did with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3); God wants to be friends with us!

Check out Abraham. In Genesis 18:16-32, we see the conversation between the Lord God and Abraham over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. It reads like a conversation between people who have mutual respect for each other’s opinions. This friendship was confirmed in James 2:23, “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God.”

Am I really a friend of God? A better question would be: how can I become God’s friend? How can I have a close association with Him that is marked by feelings of care, respect, admiration, concern, love, or like? I know God is willing so I guess I just need to look to Him and express my interest in getting to know Him more. Could it be that simple? Can I just say hello, and He will answer me?

God has shared His wishes, desires and needs in the Bible, so that would be a great place to start. Read through His word so that you get to know Him more. Ask about Him from others around you. Most importantly, reach out to Him every day; He’s only a prayer away!

Joy Isa

 

 

THE MIND: THE POWER OF INFLUENCE

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The mind is like a computer memory – it records data and feeds us back when we require it to or when we stimulate it. Our beliefs and convictions are stored in the mind and so the mind is really a powerful place. Psychologists say that, in up to 15% of cases, people with certain illnesses such as High blood pressure, Low blood pressure, hypertension and people who have heart attacks need to work on their minds.

 

Man is a spirit, lives in a body and has a soul (mind). We spend hours on end looking after the body – spa treatments, food, exercise, etc. We sometimes feed our spirits by attending church services, reading the Bible, praying and worshiping; which also constitute spiritual exercises. What do we do with the soul, the mind?

What do we deliberately do with the mind? Most times – nothing. The mind has become the junkyard where everything is dumped and the resultant effect…. Garbage in, garbage out.

 

Let’s consider some examples to help us understand how the power of the mind. In a classroom, a teacher meets two children. John has memorised his times tables and can chant them correctly but always in order. James understands the reasoning behind times tables and is, therefore, able to think through given problems at random. Because the James has engaged his mind in an analytical capacity, he doesn’t need to chant in order to recall his timed tables facts. Most athletes, apart from having a coach, have a ‘mentor/chaplain’ type person to give the periodic ‘pep-talks’ that are a vital moral booster. One retired Pro-basket ball player was asked to give advice to some rookies and he said, “If you don’t believe you have what it takes to go out there and beat Michael Jordan, you ain’t going nowhere in Pro-basket ball.” Top executives of multinationals are all hiring motivational speakers to empower their staff to excel.

 

 

What’s all the fuss about the mind? Proverbs 4: 20-23 sheds some light on the matter:

“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ears to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” NKJV. Verse 23 is translated in The Message/Remix as: “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” The Bible often uses the word ‘heart’ to refer to the nucleus of your soul, which is your mind; not necessarily your physical heart that keeps the body going. We are advised to guard our hearts because that’s where life starts.

When the Israelites, led by Moses, got to the land of Canaan, spies were sent in to sample the land and its people. The feedback from the majority was hopelessness and as such God could not take them in to conquer the land. The battles that had not yet been fought were already lost. Numbers 13: 30-33,

“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession for we are well able to overcome it.’ But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people for they are stronger than we are.’ And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from Giants) and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight and so we were in their sight.”

Even if they felt they were grasshoppers, how did they know for sure that the Giants thought the same of them?

When Joshua and the Israelites had crossed the Jordan and were advancing towards Jericho, they were not exactly confident. Spies were again sent in to sample the land and its people and the feedback was unbelievable. The people of Jericho had not seen them yet, but only heard about their exploits; really and truly, the battle was won!  Joshua 2: 9-11,

“…I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”

The Israelites who went out with Joshua and Caleb transposed their own opinion of who they were onto the Giants. We are also guilty of such transpositions. The following is a paraphrased version of an actual story in the life of a newly married couple.

Jolly June was an intelligent young girl who heard repeatedly from her mother that you could never trust a man. She meets and marries Bright Ray – a devout Christian. Bright Ray gets a new job which gives him a higher profile and longer hours at work. Jolly June goes in to visit once and sees the hot babes in miniskirts that are Bright Ray’s new colleagues. Her mind begins to wonder about the contents of the meetings at odd hours. Bright Ray comes home one night smelling of smoke, garlic and perfume – alarm bells begin to ring! Jolly June begins to harass, moan and nag and after a while, Bright Ray gets fed up of not being trusted. He considers his options:

  1. Give in to and try out the temptations?
  2. Walk away from his untrusting wife?

Our mindsets can really break or make us. In the two scriptures we looked at, we saw examples of the mind ‘breaking’ the people. Now let’s see the mind ‘making’ a man.

This is the story of a young man David, going out to deliver provisions to his older brothers who are in a war camp in the Valley of Elah. Unknown to him, his brothers and the rest of the warriors had been terrorised by Goliath, a Philistine giant who had challenged the Israelites to settle the war with a single duel. When David arrived and delivered the provisions, Goliath showed up again and repeated the same words:

“…Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. Bit if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us… I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” 1 Sam17:8-10, NKJV

All the Israelites heard the same words but one man responded differently.

…What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Sam 17:26, NKJV

David’s response was different because his mind was full of the experiential knowledge of God’s power. No one could dissuade him; his mind was set on what he believed and God backed him up! The Israelite warriors were also set in what they believed and so couldn’t imagine ‘fighting’ such a man. They trusted their skills, their armour and because that couldn’t win this particular battle, all hope was lost for them.

There is an on-going battle for the mind that we must win in order to maintain our position of victory in Christ. Goliath was a sight – certainly not for sore eyes- and his words matched his size. There are many ‘Goliaths’ in our day but let us consider just one: The Goliath called TV Series. What we see and what we hear especially about family life can quickly become what we believe. The airwaves are full of such twisted values; far removed from what God originally intended. Little wonder that our lives are advancing in the same direction. When all we see is unfaithfulness in families, it comes as no surprise and we even begin to anticipate similar behaviour from our spouses and our children. Questionable behaviour results in you arriving at such dire conclusions mentally, that your thoughts would make a good script for an episode in any of the leading TV series. The Bible says – to the pure, all things are pure; blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God; all things are lawful but not all things are expedient.

We really must go for therapy at the Spa of Righteousness and get a cleansing of the mind.

“ And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Rom 12: 1-2

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy –meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do and the God of peace will be with you.” Phil 4:8-9

I trust that you’ve been stirred to re-think your mindset or disposition about who you are and what you believe. The next step will be to come up with a specific, strategic plan to deliberately feed on the right nourishment that will result in a sound mind.

Joy Isa

Through the eyes of a child

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It is often so hard to wake up in the morning, after only 6 hours of sleep. I thought I heard the doctor tell mum that I needed 10 hours.

Life is just too much trouble. It’s no fun getting to school with a rumble in my tummy and having to wait until the short break before I eat breakfast. Lunch is just as bad because it is cold and the water is warm. Thank God I have juice today.  Then comes homework. I think the teachers just like to punish us by drowning us in homework! It takes forever to do the work and by the time I’m done, I’m so tired!

I wonder what happened to the good-old-days mum and dad talk about when they were little. Why don’t we have parks anymore where I can play? Why are there so many cars on the road so I’m not allowed to ride my bike? Why are there no trees to climb anymore? I wonder why?

This is the story of the average Nigerian child who lives in Lagos. From as young as 6 months, children are shipped off to different schools and daycare centres at dawn, only to return at dusk. From the various road expansion projects and the current financial instability causing parents to work longer hours, to the vibrant social life of Lagosians resulting in late nights even on weekends, children have literarily been taken off the ‘urgent and important’ quadrants of their parents. These precious gifts from God – who we all work so hard for – are often overlooked in the scheme of things.

We provide good quality education, we provide toys and computer games, we provide nannies and drivers, we even provide ‘lesson teachers’ to support what the schools are doing. The one thing we seem unable to provide is that which is needful – quality time engaging our children. “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.

At this point, I can almost hear the sighs and hisses of guilt-struck mothers and fathers wondering what to do. Where do I get the time to spend quality time with my family? What do you mean by quality time? Does that mean I can’t take my much-needed siesta after service on Sundays because I need to spend time with my children?

Quality time, through the eyes of a child, is this:

  • The time taken to notice that my uniform has become too small and I need a new one even though it’s not the end of the school year;
  • The time taken to listen when I moan about my classmates calling me names;
  • The time taken to teach me to tie my shoe laces for the 14th time so I don’t trip on my way up the stairs in school;
  • The time taken to hold me and tell me I’m special when I feel my peers are all better, faster, taller, better looking and smarter than I am;
  • The time invested in sharing your personal experiences that can teach me to stand tall in the face of pressure;
  • The time taken to share your world with me and ask my opinion on ‘important’ stuff;
  • The time taken to attend my school concerts and assemblies so I can show you off to my friends;
  • The time taken to call me during the day, just to say you care;
  • The time taken to pray with me, strengthening me to face the world alone as I venture off to college;
  • The time taken to take me for my driving test, cheering me as I run the cones down;
  • The time taken to be my parent, my teacher, my friend.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives liberally and without reproach and it will be given him.” James 1:5. Praise God we can receive wisdom for improved time management, free of charge, from the Creator and the Redeemer of Time.

Blessings.

JI