and His name is…

It was Monday morning, and I was walking along one of the busiest streets in the world, lost in the crowd… It was so easy to be lost! Faceless people getting about their duties in a seemingly innocent fashion. Everyone was in a hurry to do something… The business man racing to catch his flight; the pregnant mother trying to get her two toddlers to school; the cripple beggar desperately pedaling to reach his flying note. No one knew who I was, and I knew no one. But I was convinced everyone had a story. A story they’d like to share if they could just find a ready ear, but almost no man had time enough nor concern to care. I wondered what their hope was.

I mused a long while how amazing the things we place priority on are- University degrees, well-paying jobs, luxurious living. We build a name for ourselves, and desire to be respected and honoured. It’s much more amazing the lengths we go to achieve our dreams. These desires are good, and who wouldn’t like them too? But… how about that which is more important?

After we have added tons of degrees to our archives, and begun our career, after we have built our empires and are named internationally, after we have attended all the world’s major events, and have been listed as one of the top-hundred successful men that ever lived, what next?

(Pause) What will it profit us if we gain the world, and lose our soul? Is anything really worth the exchange? (I mean it, Pause, I said)

Only yesterday, Banke, my friend sincerely asked me, “Is there someone out there who is tired of this world’s system? Wars, crises, diseases, hatred, envy, strife. Is there?” I could only stare back at her with a concerned expression on my face. In a futile attempt to curb these plagues, we delude ourselves with talks of ‘world peace’, and imagine that activities such as sports (world cup or Olympics), concerts, or pageants could unite the world. How frivolous! Maybe you don’t like to think about it, but there can never be ‘world peace’!

Many religions preach many doctrines. False teachings and heresies are on the increase. One truth stands sure. God’s word will never fail. Everything He has said in His word will come to pass. He says that there is ONLY ONE name by which we can be saved. JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY NAME GIVEN.

God is ready to forgive all our wrongs, and to give us all we need.

“First things first,” He says, “Seek me FIRST. Every other thing you need will be added.”

We can only come before God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way because He is the one who died for us such that we are no longer bound by sin and laws. Through His death, He conquered sin and its consequences (sickness, lack, oppression, fear, etc). Because of what Christ has done, we can have peace in the midst of storms, abundance when the world announces lack, joy unspeakable, eternal life. We can have these and more if we will just believe.

Jesus Christ doesn’t promise us a problem-free, stress-free, bed-of-roses kind of life. He assures us that in the world we will have difficulties, but in Him, however, we will have peace. He assures us that He is with us everywhere, every time, and that He would never leave us.

Why would God bother so much about us? We are not even deserving.

It’s simply that HE LOVES US, regardless of who we are.

God’s grace that saves is available for everyone who will receive.

And His name is Jesus Christ. He’s not just a prophet, or the dude downtown who died hanging upon a cross and was buried… He resurrected. He’s alive, and is now seated with God in heaven. He’ll be back really soon to take with Him those of us who believe in Him as our saviour. He is again giving you this chance to accept Him as God and Saviour.

Won’t you?

I’ll pray with you:

Lord God, I believe in my heart, and confess with my mouth that Jesus Christ is Your Son, and saviour of the world. Thank You for loving me so much that You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me. I accept Him into my life as Lord and saviour. I believe Your word about everything it says You are, and I know I am transformed by Your word. I give You my life, and I crown You Lord over all I am, and all I have. Thank You for the salvation of my soul. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Welcome to God’s family.

Chinazar Okoro©2010

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PERSPECTIVES

I glowed as he showered words of commendation upon me. I vaguely remember most of what my unit leader said, and four years have passed, but I can explicitly remember him saying almost speechlessly, “Chinazar, you are such an asset.” I remember because he said it more than once with the same sincere and grateful expression on his face that made me smile broadly and want to do more.

I stood obediently before my project supervisor only to hear him out as he told me what a lazy and unserious student I was! He was so furious I could see he couldn’t unleash his venom as dangerously as he wanted to. I felt the righteous anger begin to rise inwardly and the need to suppress it overpowered me. Amongst all three students assigned to him to supervise, I was the most committed, not because I was zealous for working with rats, or because I had a crush for Pharmacognosy, but simply because I passionately hate delayed work. It has a wonderful way of tugging mercilessly at my heart and preventing me from doing the other things I really love to do. And secondly, he’s acquainted with my dad!

“How dare you go home for a whole weekend?” he accused truthfully (anyway, that was my number 3 charge), and to whom had I left my work?

“Aaarggghhh,” I winced inwardly as he glowered at me, expecting me to defend myself. Mr. Deko was such a telltale, and after I had begged him too! I made sure to tag him ‘houseboy’ in my heart, before returning my attention to my supervisor who was now asking me to take my liver tissues and ‘gerrout’ of his office…

Because of my principles, I’ve been described as very wicked by some people; and some others have said I have a large heart (not cardiomegaly), and not surprisingly, also by some who earlier described me as wicked.

The point’s not that hard to miss. You are qualified by the attribute you exhibit to a person or to a group of people. That’s why a financial donor to an organization would be termed ‘generous’ whether or not his family is getting their basic needs met. That’s why a mistress would sincerely think her lover is ‘sooo caring’ when he leaves his pregnant wife and 2-year old child at 10.00p.m to celebrate her 21st birthday. And that’s why the wife who won’t give in to divorce because she wants an ideal home for her kids is seen as weak.

You really can’t fault the conclusions people arrive at as to who we are, because for the most part they have no idea where we are coming from or what we’ve been through. All they can see is the proverbial tip of the iceberg- only a part of multifaceted you; and they should be forgiven because they are not omniscient.

Backed by this knowledge, it’s not so hard to be modest when applauded for good works. Really, there’s nothing to be so excited over because merely pushing the wrong button could elicit a volte-face. I still carry with me, the words of my once-upon-a-time unit leader, “Shut your ears to the applaud of men”. Doesn’t that just make sense?

I am not intelligent because you think I am. Otherwise, Albert Einstein would think I was a complete ignoramus, and then I’d be that too!!! You see, who people think we are is not the crux of the matter. No one’s idea of me defines who I really am.

He knew the wrong things I’d do, yet chose to love me. He knew I’d deny and betray Him, but that didn’t change anything either. When I was on fire for Him, He didn’t love me more. While I was smeared with filth, He concluded I was worth dying for.

I choose to believe Jesus Christ about who He says I really am.

Chinazar Okoro©2011