Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Mercy

*Dusting away one year old cobwebs threatening to choke me to death*

Hi guys. I cannot even sneak in as I haven't delayed posting here, I have all but abandoned this blog. My bad. I always promise to do here goes... I promise to do better with this blog, by His grace.

A lot has happened in the past year. I left my job for another and I left that for another...well, back to an old gig that has required me to relocate...story for a later blog post. There are thoughts and feelings about the new job and relocation that needs to be expressed but let's go to the topic for today.

Has anyone read Romans 9? In your spare time, please read verses 13-26 particularly verses 15-16. If you have read it, does it not just stop you dead in your tracks and make you question what you thought you knew about a walk with God.

Let's see what Romans 9:15 says:

 For He said to Moses, I will have mercy on who I will have mercy on and I will have compassion on who I will have compassion on.

I read this during my devotion today and to be honest, it was one of the scariest things I have read in the Bible. This verse is derived from God's conversation with Moses in Exodus 33:19. It was referred to by Paul in expounding on the overriding effect of God's decisions. If you go further and go to verse 16, Paul went on t o say, it is not to him who wills or to him who runs but of God that shows mercy. I tell you, these two verses frightened me. I got to the office today and I began reading up on what God was trying to show me by these scriptures. Before we get to that, let me let you in on my initial reaction.

When I read that God will show mercy to whomever He pleases, I knew instinctively, that the mercy would be given on a selective basis. I immediately wanted to know what the selection would entail. I discovered that though there was selection involved, THERE WAS NO ALLUSION TO A SELECTION PROCESS!!!!!! How weird is that? It would be easy to just assume that the selection is random, but knowing what we know of God, He is a deliberate and precise being. NOTHING  is ever random. Still there is no selection process. 

As a human, I have undertaken exams all my life. Nothing ever goes for nothing. The selection process for moving on to the next class was usually 48% and above, if memory serves. Displaying competency and aptitude at a new job would set serious contenders apart from those who never got invited for a second interview. Even with my parents, the selection process for a child that obtained favor (despite unconditional love) was proving yourself academically.With all these human pre-conditioning, it is quite easy to see how I jumped to the search for the pre-qualifiers for God's mercy. To my disappointment, there was none. My disappointment was further compounded by verse 16. I then began to panic. My thoughts were:
 "but Lord, you asked us to become born-again, I did.You asked us to shun sin, I try. You said we should be cheerful givers, I'm learning, why then will these not be taken into account to qualify me for Your mercy.? I think You have set humanity up to fail if You have pre-selected those who will obtain mercy."

I was frightened to shut up point when I read verses 19 -21 which states:
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

So as you imagined, I had silenced my unholy indictment of God, but I still had questions. However, when I was praying, I remembered that God has promised to give us anything we ask in the name of His son, so I prayed for mercy in Jesus'name. But I still had questions. It was imperative that I understood how I fit into the mercies of God because for me, a picture of an unfair God was what was painted but I was in no position to answer back to God.

Guys, what I discovered was it was not an unfair God but a PARTIAL GOD and thank God for that!!!!!!!
In digesting the effect of Romans 9: 15-16, I read up some commentaries. My summation includes things understood from those and what was revealed to me.  Verse 16 is the key to understanding verse 15. I mentioned the fact that we were used to selection processes earlier. As people, due to this ingrained mental state, we look for how to qualify our own goodness to God to make us worthy of His love and grace. I listed all my good works to God this morning and what He was making me understand was 'it is not about those at all'. Your goodness will NEVER  be good enough for God. God IS good. That is one of His names. How can you be 'gooder' than HE WHO EMBODIES GOODNESS????? So forget about your shabby goodness.

In fact, were my goodness to be taken into account, I won't qualify for a heavenly stick of gum! The issue here is, by not considering my so called good works, He was displaying His majesty, His magnanimity, His faithfulness and His goodness, by announcing to the world that yes, she does not qualify based on her will or her works, but she qualifies BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lord, you are good!!!!!!!!!!!!!It just makes me want to shout!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We limit God when we bring our human ideals of how things are done into the fray. This is a corrupt system where nothing goes for nothing. In the heavenlies, it is common to receive unmerited favor and mercy. So where I was looking for a selection process, there really was none. The selection is done based on God's majesty. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do to win God's favor. You can't buy Him with your tithes and offering, You can't guilt Him with your tears. You can't bribe Him by giving to the church to curry His favor. Psalm 106 says "He saved them for His name's sake". Not because they gave, were good or had perfect lives. While those things are great in themselves, they are mostly human standards which we hold ourselves to. In doing what He does, God does it for Himself, to bring glory to His name, not to validate your own 'good works'.While God is not a debtor to man, the only key to making all those work is TRUST. Putting all our trust in God is the only human sacrifice or 'good work' recognized by God. It shows that we understand His majesty and the fact that He does what He does for us ONLY for His name's sake. He does what He does simply because He is God! Outside Him, we have and are nothing, despite what the world says. 

Verse 19-21 that equally frightened me mute was referring to me at the time (covering face), but in understanding the preceding facts, I now know that this is a response to those who challenge God as to why He is displaying His majesty in granting mercy to those who the world would ordinarily deem unworthy. God is then saying: it really is none of your business how I choose to go about My business. If you want some of this mercy, come to Me and trust in Me. If you can't do that, I will brook no backtalk from you. I made you and your will must remain subservient to Mine. I am not given to human ways of selecting who is worthy. Worthiness or lack thereof is at My sole discretion

I tell you, I feel so blessed, so privileged. I was so depressed this morning. Thank God I didn't perish in my lack of understanding. This is the type of thing that could make you loose faith if not understood in context. 
Let's just say instead of scaring me, Romans 9:15-16 and other accompanying verses has given me new found hope. 

Enough of my sermonizing. Any thoughts on this?

P:S: It feels good to be back!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Letting go.......Letting God

We’ve all heard the saying ‘Let Go, Let God’ . Most people (including me) equate this to mean in times of trouble or in a perplexing situation,  hand over to God and He will see you right. This is not a wrong interpretation, but I’ve discovered that it has multiple application.

I’ve been listening to a message from my Pastor, Pastor Flow (COZA stand up!!!! Whoop!Whoop!!!!) titled ‘The Dynamics of Prayer’. The message is profound. But what really struck a chord was the part unforgiveness plays in holding prayers in abeyance. This is not new, we have to forgive others so we can be forgiven. I’ve known this since Sunday School, so no biggie. BUT, I had never really examined the issue of forgiving someone and what it entails. Let me give you a little background about my kind of person. I’m very quick to anger. Extremely quick. I get angry and say anything that comes to my mind. Once I’ve said my piece, the red mist evaporates and I’m done. At the moment when I’m angry, I absolutely detest the person who has caused the anger but when I’m done, I rarely ever keep grudges.  I’ve always operated on this knowledge of myself. So I pray and ignore forgiveness, cos after all, I don’t ‘hold’ people.

Something happened at work yesterday that combined with the message I’ve been listening to and my devotional today, caused me to re-assess forgiveness and how I justify it.
From my description of myself, I take very minimal crap from anybody. I don’t really fear people and I would ordinarily avoid a confrontation but if it ever comes down to it, I am not above a ‘verbal’ ass-whooping. Lol.  This abrasive character was borne out of the fact that I was bullied in Junior school and I swore it would never happen again. Let’s leave that aside and go to what happened at work yesterday.
I got into work, said hello to everyone including a senior colleague who came in behind me.  I went about my business. A short while later, a friend of mine asked if the senior colleague spoke to me. I said no and she said she was saying  (behind my back) that she should have sent me home cos I was wearing a light brown skirt.
I literally blew my top! I'm like this steeewwwwpid woman. But madam cherry, that’s a trivial issue now. Well, I agree. It is trivial. But when taken in the context of the fact that
  1.      The colleague in question was wearing a bright red shirt and looked decidedly unprofessional
  2.   I have been told repeatedly that I’m the most professionally dressed female in the firm.
  3.  I have a strong sense of occasion (and style....if I do say so
  4. Brown is a universally accepted somber color
  5. This colleague attempts to frustrate all the single, younger ladies in the firm
  6. There is no handbook so the issue of color is decided on the whims and caprices of the more senior staff  .
  7. The colleague in question has told me categorically, even though she tried to mask it as a joke, that she didn't want me working in the firm
  8. And many more

then, it  is no longer trivial and becomes a person picking on me. I don’t tolerate that. I fumed to my seat with the potential conversation we would have playing in my head. I kept hoping the confrontation would not take place because I couldn’t see it boding well for the two of us. There was no way I would have come across as polite in that conversation. I would have dressed her down and damned the consequences. The confrontation never happened. She didn’t say anything to me.I went home and was still fuming. I told my sister and cousin what happened whilst fuming. My sister jokingly called me a ‘Ja-Rule’ our inside joke for fighters. We laughed it off and it was a wrap.

This morning, I was doing my morning devotion and the devotional talked about the little things we consider insignificant that pulls us away from God. The Holy Spirit ministered to me and I related that to what happened yesterday and the message I was listening to. I realised I was still ‘holding’ her and a couple of people. My theory about me was wrong after all. I asked God to forgive me and teach me how to forgive and let people go, specifically her.  I thought: well, that’s the end of that. But this same morning, whilst getting dressed, I devised in my mind, a plan to wear a light brown suit to work next Monday, JUST to get a rise out of my colleague and watch her come and tell me a suit is not professional. I realised I still hadn’t let her go!!!!!!!

I’m like ‘phew...this Christianity lark is HAAAARRRRRDDDDD’. Right then, the Holy Spirit told me that being Christ like is not hard, it is the ability to show humility that is my challenge. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit pointed out that Jesus said if we’re slapped on one cheek, we should turn the other, not swing back. My problem, and I’m sure it is the same with a lot of people, is my massive ego. My ego tells me I’m being taken advantage of and it is because I’m being quiet and to show people my ‘true colour’. But that so called ‘true colour’ is not least, it is not who I want to be any longer. Not that I will be all sluggish and crap, but I want to be able to live peaceable with all men as much as it is possible.  To achieve this, I have to be able to humble myself and let go of infractions that I inflate in my head, thanks to my ego. I realised that only when I let go of these things, can I truly be free to let God in to teach me  how to love and forgive as He intended; not the surface crap I have always done that has the potential to hold my prayers in abeyance.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Song of the Week

I heard Monica do a version of this song at the BET awards and I was blown away. I had to go and look for the original cos I knew it would be stunning. The song is titled 'I love the Lord' by Whitney Houston and it is a soundtrack for the motion picture 'The Preacher's Wife'. This song is spectacular it talks about how we run to God in times of trouble and he hears our cries. It packs a powerful punch folks! There's no visible difference in the studio and live version (as far as I am concerned) It is just Whitney at her finest. I love this song so much, I have put up three different versions as well as the lyrics and I dare you to spot any visible difference in the delivery. She was truly, a star. Look out for goose bumps. As Whitney said at the end; I love the Lord. Do you love Him? Say you love Him. Enjoy and have a great weekend. Ciao bellas!!!




I love the the Lord, he heard my cry 
And pitied every groan, long as I, I live 
And troubles rise, I hasten to his throne 

Oh, I love the Lord 
I sure do, surely do love the Lord 
He heard, he heard my cry 
And pitied every groan, yes he did 
Every groan 
Long as I live, long as I, I live 
And troubles rise, troubles rise 
I hasten to to to to to 
I'll hasten, I'll hasten to his throne 
I'll hasten to his throne hold on hold on 
Tears are streaming down my eyes 
I'll hasten, I'll hasten to his throne 

Yes I will, I'll run 
I know I can go to his throne 
I know I can go, I know I can go 
I'll hasten, I'm gonna run 
I know I can go, I know I can go 
I'll hasten, I'll hasten to his throne 

See I can run, Lord you know I will 
When there is nowhere to go I know I can go to you 
I know I can run to you oh 
I'll hasten, I'll hasten to his, his throne 
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah 
I'll hasten, hasten to his throne 
Surely gonna be here 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Love through God's eyes

This morning I was getting ready for work and I was listening to some gospel songs on my phone. I can't remember the specific song now but the singer said something about how God is in love with her. I've listened to this song a thousand times and I like to sing it but it doesn't really resonate with me. For instance, I can't even remember the name of the song. It is like background noise. But this morning, that phrase got a hold of me and just would not let go. I had a deeper understanding of love as God feels it for us.

The thing is we talk about God's love and it has been taken as a given but I've never thought much about it. It is an over-used figure of speech; 'God is love' or 'God loves us so much that He sent His only son to die for our sins' and numerous other catch phrases. If anyone out there is like me, who grew up in a Christian family, then we all grew up hearing these things.
A person like Prince Williams knows that diamonds and rubies are precious stones, in theory but he can NEVER have the same level of appreciation for them as most of us would. I mean, he probably grew up playing  dress-up with the crown jewels. He grew up with Picassos, DaVincis and Rembrandts on the walls of his numerous palaces. He knows they are nigh priceless but they are still paintings that adorn the walls of his 'houses' as we all have them. I don't know if the analogy I'm trying to make is coming across as I intend. But I grew up knowing of God's love for me.... but I just knew. I did not fully appreciate the weight and gravity of it till this morning.
God comes down to our level to explain things to us using illustrations we are familiar with like we are in kindergarten simply because He wants us to get it.  I like talking about relationships. That's what I do in my other blog. So, I was given an epiphany regarding God's love and I want to share it with you.

 First of all, it is not love for lip service sake. You know how you luuuurrrrrvvvveeee Drake. Or you 'loves me some Beyonce' Or you would 'absolutely die if I don't get a pair of these gorgeous Louboutin shoes cos I love them so much'? Well, not that kind of love. God is IN LOVE WITH US. Did you catch that? In love with us.
Being in love with someone speaks of an on-going relationship. An established and solid relationship. My parents are in love with each other . Their relationship has existed for more than 30 years. That's love. But beyond being in an on-going relationship with us is how He feels about this relationship.
You know how you feel when you just start dating someone? That giddy feeling where you talk all the a 24 hour day you talk for 22 hours and sleep for 2. You miss the person for the 5 minutes break you take from speaking sooooo much that you can last for only 2 minutes of the 5. You say 'hang up' ....' hang up......' so much to the annoyance of those nearest and dearest to you, that they plot to steal your phone and hide it yet you still find a way to communicate through....I don't know...smoke signals or something. That sickening first couple of months in a relationship where no one exists in the universe but the two of you. It eventually wears off when you settle into the relationship and the honeymoon phase is over. If you know that feeling and you've felt that feeling; that's how God feels about us ALL THE TIME.  How fantastic is that?

We give God butterflies in His tummy! Imagine that! Little you in the corner of whatever town you're reading this from, gives the King of glory butterflies in His tummy. Check this out; God is soooo crazy about us, so much so, He tattooed our names on Himself. My name is tattooed on God's person. The bible said 'we are inscribed on the palm of His hands'. He didn't hide our names somewhere like his backside o. It is visibly etched on the palm of His hands. Wow. Let me put that in some context.
You're dating a guy/girl, you are soooo in love. You can't believe how in love you are. You feel so amazing and you wonder what you can do to show this person how much he/she means to you. Ping! Light goes on in your head: Why not get a tattoo of his/her name? A tiny discreet one on your neck, or back of his name, nickname or something that is peculiar only to the two of you. You head up to the tattoo parlor, get the tat done and now that person has a visible evidence of how much you feel that person means to you. 

Imagine 6 months down the line, that person dumps you. Asides from the requisite bad feeling from the break up, you now have the sour permanent reminder of how you desecrated your body for this person.  How broken will you feel? I believe that's how God feels every time we turn our back on Him. My over-active imagination imagines how He would lift the palm on which my name is written, whenever I go astray and look at it long and hard, with so much sadness and heartbreak, willing me to come back to Him so we can carry on with our love.

I now see love through God's eyes by relating it with love as we humans feel it. Except God does things bigger and better than we ever can and that includes love. We love because He first loved us. I have never understood what that meant. God appeared afar and too big to be concerned with little ole me. So I have never considered the way my actions might affect Him beyond knowing that He would strongly disapprove of some of the things I did. I never considered the extent of His love in proportion with the impact of my actions. I believe that this revelation was my dose of 'act right'. Mistakes may abound in the future but having this at the back of my mind will certainly weigh in on how I act.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Maiden Voyage

So I now write a christian blog. 


I'm a bit skeptical about starting this blog as I have a blog that's already barely making the numbers but I figured; eeeeehhhh, why not.

Now, CherryChatter still exists. I'm not replacing it with Naija Church Girl. Also, I don't have a split personality; a mean one that rolls her neck and talks about other people's relationships and a nice one  that puts her hands in prayer pose and talks church. Not at all. It is one personality producing the same mean blog under two different headings, written by the  same mean person. I kid, i kid.

What this is, is a blog that chronicles my journey and my observations as a christian, hawt young woman living in today's Nigeria. It is a no-holds-barred, honest  account of how I juxtapose my burgeoning faith with issues such as the attraction to the opposite sex, secular music, friends, just life in general. In short, how I have determined to live my life according to the dictates of my faith. I have a lot of struggles. There has been so many ups and downs and there's sure to be more topsyturvy movements in this journey but I am ready (or at least I think I am) I have a lot of questions and concerns on how to make this work and I hope to meet a lot of like minded people to thrash out some of my issues with.

But inspite of what is thrown my way, I promise to keep it real and keep it light. This is not amateur bible bashing hour. I don't know that much scripture anyway. I'm just a girl who loves Christ and wants to find her identity in Him. It won't be at all preachy and it is very non-denominational.

So welcome, to Naija Church Girl powered by CherryWine. Lol.