Tag Archives: meditation time

Still On His Shoulders

Can you remember the article titled ‘Now Picture This’?

I didn’t ask whether or not you liked it.

I asked whether or not you can remember it.

There was an interesting mix of reactions to that article.

Some people loved it.

Others thought that I may have been smoking some herbs or something!

Why did I write it?

I’ve always wondered what the mood in heaven was like during Jesus’ torture and crucifixion; and what transpired when Jesus returned triumphantly to Heaven.

I want you to try something.

Remember Handel? That’s right – he of Handel’s Messiah.

I want you to listen to the Amen finale whilst reading the second half of the article – when the gates opened for Christ to enter.

Don’t be shy.

Give it a try

It’s good to allow your imagination to free flow every now and then – in a positive way of-course.

Although it’s nigh impossible to fully grasp the magnificense and majesty of it all, it’s good to imagine what heaven is like – the beauty – the splendour – the glory; reminding us that despite the trials and tribulations of this life, there is a place we can look forward to going to – where there will be everlasting peace and everlasting joy.

No no no – this is not an excuse to give up on life on earth. You still have a lot do here – for God and for those around you.

Remember – you are here for a reason; to serve and bless the King of kings.

Imagining heaven every now and then serves as an effective reminder of the absurdly high price that Christ paid for us; a constant reminder of what is really important – love and service to God and each other.

So what is dear Segs saying this time????

Very simple

Stop living life as though earth is where it all ends.

Do your best to love and serve God.

Do your best to love and serve those around you.

Do all you can to bless those in need.

No matter what you’re going through there’s someone in a much worse situation.

Let go of the self pity

Let go of the anger

Let go of the anxiety

Let go of fear

Remember – God says ‘blessed is the man / woman whose iniquities are forgiven’.

Through Jesus all your sins are forgiven.

You don’t have to earn it.

It’s a free gift.

It’s not about which church you attend.

There’s no ‘them’ and ‘us’ in Christianity.

Which church you attend, whether Pentecostal, Baptist, or Anglican is irrelevant.

So stop comparing

Stop competing
We are all one family – united in Christ Jesus.

The only factor that is relevant is Jesus.

His two greatest commands are to love God with all your heart, strength, and mind; and to love your neighbour likewise.

Finally, I want to tell you how God cheered me up last week.

I was invited to say a few words at graduation ceremony last Saturday.

My message was on Vision and the importance of Adding Value.

After speaking, I felt rather unsatisfied with my performance. The students and guests really enjoyed my message. But as far as I was concerned I didn’t speak well at all (I’m a wee bit of a perfectionist).

As I’m sure you can imagine I ignored all the good points and focused only on the things I didn’t do well – the points I missed out.

Slowly but surely my mood descended into one of irritation and disappointment; getting more and more upset by the second.

Add to that the weekly Saturday afternoon torture of watching Arsenal disintegrate further and further into something more resembling of an under 9s’ girls team (sorry ladies) than a premier league side and I’m sure you can well imagine how I was feeling on Saturday evening!

Yes, Arsenal won 2 nil but the manner of the victory was so poor. And who knows what they’ll do on Monday night!!

Anyway, I digress.

Fortunately for me a good friend of mine called me on Saturday evening.

Being an astute observer of people’s moods he was quick to ask me what was wrong.

After explaining myself ( I left out the Arsenal bit) he told me some very important facts of life.

1. It’s not every day that we’ll get things spot on.

2. It’s the mistakes and failures that enable us to succeed

3. As sure as night will turn to day God will not give up on us – so we must not give up on Him or on ourselves

The next morning (Sunday morning) I woke up feeling a whole lot better.

A new day

Another chance to be the best I can be

On my way to church I remembered (actually the Holy Spirit reminded me but I don’t want to sound all spooky) that The Experience had been held on Friday.

I remembered that the House on The Rock usually has a service at Eko Hotel’s Expo Hall on the Sunday immediately after The Experience – giving us another chance to worship with Don Moen. There were off-course other excellent international and domestic artists but I’m a huge Don Moen fan so that’s all that mattered to me.

So I decided to go to House on The Rock’s Sunday service at Eko Hotel’s Expo Hall.

After parking the car, I decided to walk through Eko Hotel’s reception area rather than take the more direct route from the car park.

On my way to the Expo Hall I bumped into an old friend.

Whilst chatting in the reception area something wonderful happened.

Can you guess????

Don Moen walked out of one of the lifts.

Like a star struck teenager I said to my friend ‘that’s Don Moen. He’s my favourite Christian musician. I have to say hi. I just have to.’

‘Cool. Go for it,’ she replied.

“Naa, let me not bother him,” I replied.

Fortunately for me my feet decided to ignore my shyness, and before I knew it I had walked over to Don Moen to introduce myself.

“Mr. Moen, so good to see you. I’m attending this church today because of you. You are an inspiration.”

He was so nice. He put his arms around my shoulders and thanked me.

I was absolutely chuffed; totally made my day.

Needless to say the worship service that morning was awesome. Indeed it was during that service that God gave me my previous article – ‘On His Shoulders’.

It later occurred to me that it wasn’t a coincidence that I opted to take a different route from my car to the Expo hall.

It wasn’t a coincidence that I bumped into an old friend in the reception area of Eko Hotel.

It wasn’t a coincidence that Don Moen walked out of the lift whilst I was chatting with my friend.

God simply wanted to cheer me up.

God cares about you.

He’s going to do something to cheer you up today.

Just follow His lead.

Have a fab weekend.+

 

©Segun Akande

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IT’S UP TO US.

‘David said to the Philistine, “you come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty…

“I often try to imagine how intimidating Goliath must have been.

The bible says he was over nine feet tall.

Over Nine flipping feet!!!! Continue reading

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The Positives

As we celebrate another year of independence, I’ve chosen to look at things a little differently.

Rather than rant and rave about all the things that are wrong in our beloved country, I’ve decided to focus a little more on the positives.

After-all, we could all do with a visit from Mr. ‘Feel Good Factor’.

So let’s look at some of the progress that Nigeria has made during the past few years.
‘What flipping progress??’ I hear you remonstrate.

Waaaaiiiiiit!!!

Continue reading

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A Change of Heart

Loving people unconditionally is something I’ve always struggled with. Some people are just so difficult to love!!
But they are!!! Lol… Yes yes yes – including myself!

Shut it!!

Arrogance has often been a major challenge; so too have pride, anger, and a tendency to be easily irritated.
I’ll stop there. No need to add any more.

Yep, that’s me – a few hundred miles away from ‘far from perfect’.

Continue reading

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What’s It All For?

Boy oh boy did I delay on this one!!

The skeleton of this message had been in my mind for quite a while, but sensing that I might not enjoy writing it, I..er, ….. well to be honest I just kept pretending it wasn’t really there, in the hope that I could get away with not having to write it at all.

So much for that plan working out!!

I’m sure that by the end of this article some of you will be wishing it had. Lol

Romans 8 vs 28 says that ‘All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose”.

I’m currently on my way to Gbagada to facilitate a Sales course.

Continue reading

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Divorce Seminar

During the past few weeks several people have asked me, ‘Why on earth are you doing this divorce seminar?’

To be honest I’d rather NOT be doing it.

I’d rather be happily married and not have to think about it!!

But the reality is that I AM going through a divorce.

So too are numerous couples in Nigeria, and all over the world.

The tortuous and often lonely experience of the past year opened my eyes to the silent suffering of so many others.

So, in a nutshell this seminar is for the purpose of helping people (myself included) to accept their situation, accept God’s love and forgiveness, and endeavour to move on with their lives.

It is far better to help, encourage and support one another to get up and press on with life, than to allow ourselves to wallow alone in defeat, anger, bitterness, resentment and self pity, to name but a few.

Continue reading

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Divorce / Separation

Going through a divorce in Nigeria is a challenging ordeal.

We live in a country that loves to celebrate weddings, which is a good thing.

But when marriages experience serious challenges, or worse still, when divorce or separation become a reality, there are very few people or groups you can go to in order to get some respite, advice, guidance, love – call it what you will.

On Saturday 15th September, an interactive divorce seminar will be held at the Ocean Pearl restaurant.

This seminar is NOT about who is right or wrong. It’s about;

– Recognising and accepting one’s mistakes

– Accepting God’s forgiveness

– Forgiving yourself

– Forgiving you ex

– Who am I?

– What is my purpose?

– How to achieve my goals

– When do I start dating again?

Date : Saturday, 15th September 2012

Time : 10am – 5pm

Venue : Ocean Pearl, Ocean View, Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

Bell Phoenix©

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Life’s Too Short

I had an interesting conversation a few days ago with a dear and ‘old’ friend of mine about how short this life really is. Sorry mate, but whichever way you look at it you are now officially old!!!

Yes yes I know, so am I.

Moving on swiftly.

Having agreed on the fact that this life is indeed short, he pointed out the importance of trying one’s very best to enjoy each and every day.

Whilst I fully agree with him I can’t help thinking that it’s such an unfortunate shame that in reality we spend most days worrying about everything and anything; from our bank account balance, to our health, to kids’ school fees, to that transaction, to what’s going to happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, next year and the year after that!!! Continue reading

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Have We Got It Wrong 2

There were some interesting reactions to yesterday’s article – ‘Have we got it wrong?’

Some people felt the article was spot on.

Others were irritated by what they thought was a blatant attack on marriage.

Some even felt the article was a little too tame.

The one thing we all agreed on is that something is definitely wrong somewhere.

Why did I point out those dark divorce rate statistics?

I wanted us all to be aware of the grim reality.

Not to scare.

Not to make those of us whose marriages didn’t make it feel better either.

But to encourage us to ask ourselves why.
As well as to goad us into dwelling on how we can play our own part in preventing those horrible rates from increasing.

For those of you who felt that yesterday’s article was an attack on marriage, I want to assure you that it most definitely was not.

Once again, I fully believe in marriage and really hope and pray to get it right one day.

To emphasise this point I want us to have a look at the following excerpt from yesterday’s article.

Quote
” Have we over-complicated matters?

Further still, has the excitement of the church wedding become so fevered that we have become blind to the fact that marriage is so much more than the wedding day???? ”

What I was implying is that we need to go back to the basics.

As I understand it, marriage is about two people coming together as one to build a life / family / future together.

I now believe that in order for a relationship / marriage to flourish there needs to be a great degree of commitment and selflessness from both parties.

Remember – Jesus pointed out that a man’s love for his wife is supposed to mirror His (Christ’s) love for the church.

Christ’s love for the church (you and I) is unconditional and selfless.

This requires regularly swallowing one’s pride and permanently dying to ‘self’.

In other words it is far more than the wedding day.

If there is one thing our generation seems to lack today, it is a commitment to seeing things through, no matter how challenging the circumstances may be.

Let’s take another look at 1st Corinthians 13.

Love is patient
Love is kind
it does not envy
it does not boast
it is not proud
it is not rude
it is not self seeking
it is not easily angered
it keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
it always protects
always trusts
always hopes
always perseveres

Just taking one glance at the above makes it pretty obvious to me where I went wrong.

I failed pretty miserably in most, if not all of them.

The above verses are so much more important in the context of marriage and relationships than going to church and saying ‘I do’?

I now believe that in marriage we need to permanently focus on the love that is described in 1st Corinthians 13.

This selfless love that the Apostle Paul describes is supposed to be a personification of Christ’s love for us.

Now – remember – Christ said ‘go and do likewise’.

Marriage is supposed to be the prime example of this selfless and unconditional love.

I certainly had to face some painful realisations about my own lack of commitment and selfishness when I was married.

For those of you who are not Nigerian please accept my apology, as I need to focus on our beloved country for now.

As I pointed out in yesterday’s article, we love our big weddings in Nigeria; to the extent that many jump into marriages in order to enjoy the big wedding day and for the general rush and experience of being able to say ‘I do’.

For some it is because of family pressure; for some it is for financial reasons; for some it is simply for the thrill and apparent magnitude of the wedding day; for some it is just to settle down. For some it is love.

Everyone has their reasons; and none should ever be judged.

But what happens next?

Unfortunately many experience disillusion and disappointment. The end result is more often than not a breakdown of communication, leading to an inevitable split.

Much to the irritation of some people I spoke with yesterday regarding this topic I am still a little hesitant to be as blunt as I probably need to be on this topic.

Why?

Because I know that I made many mistakes and I am still learning from them.

Many couples are friends before they marry. But for some reason, as soon as they utter the words ‘I do’ something changes.

Suddenly the pressure of expectations from each other rears its ugly head.

Whereas before they used to have fun and enjoy each other’s company, suddenly the weight of expectation and the pressures that society seems to heap on each individual strangles the life out of the friendship / relationship.

So what do we need to learn from this?

1. From a personal point of view I believe that we need to fully recognise and understand our expectations before saying ‘I do’.

2. We need to ensure that the fun does not disappear from our relationships.

3. We need to ensure that we do not allow society or church doctrines to dictate how we should think, or how we should conduct ourselves in our marriages.

This is what I was referring to when I pointed out that there is no where in the bible that says a man and a woman got married in a church.

Is it possible that the expectations, concepts and precepts of society’s attitude towards marriage and how a married couple should and shouldn’t behave have basically robbed many marriages of the joys of a free, loving and intimate friendship / relationship?

In other words, have our societal ‘norms’ and expectations – be they financial, behavioural, church or otherwise, eroded the authenticity and joys of relationships?

I often wonder which is more authentic.
To be married and living a life in which one is constantly keeping up with appearances for the sake of societal norms and expectations?

Or to be in a genuine relationship of love outside of marriage?

Yes I know. It’s a little radical.

But is it really???

I am not saying one is better than the other.

I’m also not saying that one is right and the other is wrong.

But I have come to the realisation that contrary to how I used to frown upon couples who are not married living together, I now see absolutely nothing wrong with it; so long as both hearts are committed to a lifelong relationship / partnership.

Remember when Samuel anointed David to be king of Israel?!

Let’s remind ourselves shall we!!

‘ When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’

But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’

1st Samuel 16 vs 6 – 8

So – which do you think God prefers?

To be in a marriage for appearances sake or to be with someone out of wedlock but be genuinely in love and wanting to build a future together????!!!

Does the fact that they didn’t go to church to get married mean that the Lord frowns on the relationship???

I am in fact very pro marriage.

My hope and prayer is that the two articles encourage us all to reflect on the importance of love – unconditional love – selflessness – authentic friendships and authentic relationships.

Be true to yourself.

Don’t just be another clone of your church or your society.

Take note – if you’re not true to yourself, eventually the real ‘you’ will come out, and it is very possible that your partner will not like what he or she sees.

Be true to each other – in terms of who you are, what you like and what you don’t like. Surely this is the only way in which you can really know whether somebody likes you for ‘you’.

God gave us all individual minds; individual characters; our own gifts; our own talents.

He purposely created you to be different from the next person.

Don’t be a clone of society.

Don’t be a clone of your church.

Be true to yourself and be true to God.

Remember, in as much as we are all in this together – to support, to encourage and to uplift one another, your relationship with God is between you and God.

For those of you who have never been married I say this.

Don’t be scared.

I firmly believe that marriage is a blessing.

But go into it with both your eyes open.

If you find your marriage in a rut, try as best you can to remember what you love (or loved) about your partner.

Then do your best to practice the love that is described in 1st Corinthians 13.

Finally, we are all on a learning experience; a long journey in which we need to do our best to continue to grow into the people that God created us to be.

On this journey we will make mistakes and we will at times fail.

But we must never give up on ourselves or think for one second that we cannot be better – for God and for each other.

Most importantly we must never ever give up on God’s ability to mould us into the wonderful and loving people He created us to be.

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