What would you say if your wife was ripped away – An article by Marshall Segal

Once in a while you come across a Christian that lives out their faith in a way that inspires you to desire more from your relationship with God. That’s exactly what I felt after reading this article about Monty Williams, an NBA coach who lost his wife to a tragic car accident not long ago.

Below is the article written by Marshall Segal, which you can access by following this link: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-would-you-say-if-your-wife-was-ripped-away

Alternatively, I have copied and pasted this article here for your convenience:

Almost a year ago, Monty Williams was fired as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans two weeks after his team was eliminated from the NBA playoffs. Many thought he had done enough to keep the job, having just led his team to the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Reporters asked Williams about the somewhat surprising firing. He responded by thanking the organization and the fans, and then gave a reason for the surprising hope that was in him:

God has always been in control of my life. . . . Romans 8:28 is in my heart. All things work out for people who are called by Jesus Christ. . . . God’s brought me through too much to complain and be bitter.

Nine short months later, now an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Monty Williams found out last week that his 44-year-old wife had been killed in a head-on car accident. The other driver was driving 92 mph (in a 40-miles-per-hour zone) when she crossed the center line and careened head-on into Ingrid Williams’s SUV. Three of their children were in the car with her; each survived with serious injuries.

A week later, Monty Williams stood over the body of his wife of twenty years and mother of their five children — Lael, Faith, Janna, Elijah, and Micah — and delivered a powerful seven-minute eulogy.

Having only been a husband for ten months now, I watched with heartache and admiration. He seems to embody the promise of Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” In the end, I took away three lessons from Williams’s faith-filled words and example.

1. In every situation and circumstance, even the most serious and tragic, the most important things we can know or say are about God and his gospel.

Williams says,

What we’ve gone through is pretty tough, and it’s hard, and we want an answer, and we don’t always get that answer when we want it, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that God loves us, and that’s what my wife [lived to], and that’s what I try to, however badly, exhibit on a daily basis. . . . He loved me so much that he sent his Son to die for my sins.

Do you have news good enough to hold you when tragedy strikes? Will you have a tear-filled song of victory to sing when a wave of sorrow crashes into your life? Have you known a Love stronger than the worst grief this world might bring?

Williams went on to say,

The Bible says Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. America teaches us to numb that, and [says] that it’s not true. But it is true. This will work out. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard or painful. What we need is the Lord.

This man appears to have walked with God such that when his wife was suddenly ripped away, he had the resources not only to suffer well, but to summon the world to his Savior. His grief doesn’t resound with self-pity or bitterness, but with strong and resilient hope and selfless compassion.

As he clings to his God and to the gospel, his loss declares and displays the power and the beauty of the cross.

2. Those who have been forgiven by God are free to forgive in full.

Williams says,

Everybody’s praying for me and my family, but let us not forget there were two people in this situation. And that family needs prayer as well. And we have no ill will toward that family. In my house, we have a sign that says, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We cannot serve the Lord if we don’t have a heart of forgiveness.

Williams is living out the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21–35). The servant owed the king ten thousand talents (the equivalent of 200,000 years of work), and since he couldn’t pay, the king intended to sell him and his family into slavery. The servant pled with the king, and the king showed him mercy and forgave all his debt. Then the servant turned and refused to show mercy to someone who owed him just a hundred denarii (the equivalent of 200 days of work). The king heard of this and threw him in jail for his lack of mercy. Jesus says, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).

Monty Williams had been forgiven too much to hold even his wife’s death against anyone. How much could someone possibly steal from you today? In Christ, God has forgiven us a million times more. Therefore, having been showered with his undeserved love and mercy, we have been freed to dumfound the world and forgive any debt in full.

3. God miraculously works in our worst suffering to tell the world about himself and his love.

Williams ends by saying,

Let’s not lose sight of what’s important. God will work this out. My wife is in heaven. God is love. And when we walk away from this place today, let’s celebrate, because my wife is where we all need to be, and I’m envious of that. . . .

We didn’t lose [my wife]. When you lose something, you can’t find it. I know exactly where my wife is. . . . I’m going to miss her. Let’s not lose sight of what’s important. God is important. What Christ did on the cross is important.

In the midst of the most terrible tragedy and immersed in one of the greatest potential distractions from God in human history — professional sports — the gospel has suddenly and brilliantly emerged. The loss silenced the media’s obsession with scores, trades, and championships long enough for us all to hear that Jesus alone is Lord, Savior, and Treasure. A God worthy of trust and worship in the death of a wife is a God worth hearing about.

It’s another reminder that God relentlessly turns our tragedies of suffering into triumphs of his glory.

A Song for the Suffering

Williams’s resilient faith and hope reminded me of a moving song by Shane & Shane, Though You Slay Me.

Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

At the 3:22 mark in this video, John Piper says,

Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain, from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.

I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something! It’s not meaningless. Of course you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen.

When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you’ve got cancer at 40, when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out, don’t say, “That’s meaningless!” It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory.

Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach his word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.

Ingrid Williams’s death is not meaningless. We cannot now see all that God is doing, but I pray that he will sustain Monty’s faith in the difficult days ahead, reminding this bereaved husband and father again and again that he is infinitely loved and cared for by his Heavenly Father. May God protect Lael, Faith, Janna, Elijah, and Micah from the evil one as they mourn and miss their mom for years to come. And may God spread the beautiful testimony of this family’s faith throughout the NBA and throughout the world, bringing many to everlasting life through the tragedy and victory of this wife and mother’s death.

Powerful stuff right? This is why I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this inspirational story with you. I truly hope you have been inspired by Monty Williams to press on towards a more intimate walk with our God.

Marshall Segal (@MarshallSegal) is executive assistant to John Piper and associate editor at desiringGod.org. He graduated from Bethlehem College & Seminary and is editor of Killjoys: The Seven Deadly Sins. He and his wife Faye live in Minneapolis.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who is my neighbour? The Mega Pastor, The Worship Leader or the Good Outcast

It was an unusually wet day in Lagos. The clouds and the wind conspired to conjure up that eerie feeling that something was going to go wrong that day but Steve muttered a thoughtless prayer under his breath, kissed his wife goodbye and rushed out of the door in hot pursuit of a business contract that was going to change his life. Steve had channeled his entire focus and resources to landing this deal and nothing was going to stand in his way today, not even the weather, the uneasy feeling he couldn’t shake off or his wife’s advise to postpone the meeting.

The engine of his 2006 Toyota Camry screamed in protest as he slammed down the accelerator and ate up the road like a crazed formula-1 driver on his final lap to win the grand prix. That inner voice of caution grew louder but Steve pressed on, determined to seal this seemingly elusive deal that was meant to change his life. His horn blared loudly and he cursed at other drivers who drove within the speed limit and seemed to not understand his sense of urgency.

According to the GPS navigation system on his phone, he was only 25 minutes away from his destination when there was a sudden loud bang and Steve’s car veered out of control. Luckily, he had taken a slip road off the Lagos-Ibadan expressway when his front passenger tyre exploded. The road was quiet and deserted so his vehicle did not collide with anyone or anything until he skilfully brought it to a halt. “This cannot be happening today of all days” he thought to himself. Steve angrily got out of the car and assessed the damage. It was then he realized he left his tyre-changing tools at home in his hurry to leave for the meeting. Why? Why? Why? What have I done to deserve this? God are You even up there? Unfortunately for Steve, there was no phone network connectivity where he was. He looked up at the darkening sky and saw the thick clouds forming in readiness for a deluge and wondered if circumstances deliberately conspired against him on that fateful day. He sank down on the floor by his car and buried his face in his hands in defeat but unbeknownst to him, a notoriously deadly gang of robbers were headed in his direction in search of a victim just like him.

Steve heard the sound of a vehicle slowing down to a halt a few feet from where he sat and a ray of hope lit up in his heart. There is a God after-all, he thought to himself. He quickly got up and walked towards the vehicle with eager anticipation. Four hefty, mean looking guys suddenly jumped out of the vehicle with machine guns pointed at Steve. Time seemed to freeze and flashes of blockbuster action movies ran through Steve’s mind but unfortunately for him, this was no movie flick and there was no escape for him. Within seconds, he was beaten up, robbed, and left for dead on the quiet slip road. With every passing minute, life ebbed away from Steve and he wondered if this was how it was all going to end for him. With his last ounce of strength, Steve cried out to God to send help.

As fate would have it, the Senior Pastor of one of Nigeria’s leading mega churches was driving by the exact same slip road about an hour after Steve had been attacked by the robbers. He was being driven in a 2015 Rolls Royce Wraith. His protocol officers, security team and entourage made up the 10-car convoy. The Senior Pastor was on his way to an internationally recognized crusade. He was a kingdom superstar so to speak. In fact, he was going over his sermon notes in his plush and luxurious Wraith, when the car came to a sudden stop. He yelled at the driver and asked what the problem was. He tried calling his security detail at the front of the convoy but there was no network connectivity so he angrily hopped out of his vehicle and stormed to the front to find out why they had stopped. On getting to the front, he saw most of his entourage gathered around a bleeding and dying man. What happened next shocked his entire team! He thundered in a loud voice and asked “Is this why you stupid people want to delay God’s work? Don’t you know I have an important assignment from God to attend to? If you don’t want to get fired, get back in your vehicles and carry on to our destination. This man’s life is in God’s hands. If he’ll live he’ll live and if he’ll die, he’ll die. I can’t get involved. Who knows what he’s done to be in this predicament”.

Steve heard every damning word coming out of this uncaring mega pastor’s religious mouth. This was a man he held in high regard and had no less than six of his books in his personal library. If he had the strength, he would have given this wicked man a piece of his mind but he was battling to live and had to conserve his energy. Hope drained out of him as the entire entourage got back into their cars and drove off at the command of their pastor.

It had been eerily quiet for the next 45 minutes. Death seemed to circle around Steve when he sighted a pair of headlights heading his way. Hope rose in his heart once more as he wondered if God had finally answered his cry for help. As the tour bus stopped beside Steve’s broken and battered body, he strained hard to see the name emblazoned across the vehicle and was elated to find that it was J-Star, Nigeria’s world-renowned worship leader! Coincidentally, Steve was listening to his latest critically acclaimed album in the car when his tyre exploded. With hits like “Love your neighbour” and “It’s all about compassion”, surely, J-Star would not leave him to perish on this God-forsaken slip road. J-Star got out of his tour bus and walked towards Steve’s body. He knelt by his side and assessed his wounds. He tried to communicate with Steve but he was too weak to respond. J-Star kept looking at his watch and was torn on the inside. Here was a dying man who desperately needed his help and on the other side of the coin was a 500,000 audience crusade that would take his international reputation to greater heights. As he battled with his conscience, Steve wondered what was taking him so long. He expected to have been transported into the tour bus by now but J-Star stalled. The worship leader, closed his eyes, took a deep breath and got off his knees. He looked down at Steve’s helpless body and said “I am on my way to do important work for God and cannot be distracted by the burden of looking after you. I need to create an atmosphere of worship in the tour bus so I can do the same at the venue. I promise to send help as soon as I can. Hang in there buddy…I’ll be praying for you”. With those words, J-Star got back into his tour bus and was off.

It was at this point that Steve lost all the fight in him. He decided that God had abandoned him to die and so there was no point fighting anymore. With the brake lights of the tour bus vanishing into the horizon, Steve shut his eyes and prepared to meet his Maker. Like a stage play production on cue, the heavens opened and torrential rain poured out of the skies with such vehemence. It was as though God was angry at what He had witnessed on that obscure slip road to Ibadan.

Thomas struggled up the slip road against all odds. There had been traffic warnings earlier in the day due to the weather forecasts but for whatever reason, good-natured Thomas felt compelled to make the trip to Ibadan that day. He had never used the slip road before but an accident on the main route caused a serious congestion that inspired him to exit the motorway at the exact same slip road where Steve lay unconscious at this point. He almost collided with Steve’s vehicle when he hit the brakes real hard and came to a halt. Thomas was from a tribe that were considered to be outcasts in the Eastern part of Nigeria. All his life, he had struggled to be accepted for who he was but was unsuccessful in breaking free of society’s label. However, everything changed the day he met Christ, exactly 4 months to the day. He was still a baby Christian in every sense of the word but his honest and transparent relationship with God meant that he was sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, although he felt these were just random thoughts coming into His mind. Thomas stopped to catch his breath and thank God for saving him from colliding with Steve’s vehicle when he caught something in the corner of his eye. Another random thought came to his mind: “DON’T JUST DRIVE ON, STEP OUT OF THE CAR AND TAKE A CLOSER LOOK”. Thomas wondered where such a crazy thought came from because after all, this was a deserted part of town and robberies are never far away from such places. Besides, it was raining cats and dogs outside. He shrugged off the thought and tried to start his engine when it hit him again, this time, much clearer than the last. Thomas shuddered as he felt a Presence in his car. Thomas sensed this was no ordinary thought. He decided to take a step of faith and obey. He got out of the car into the pouring rain and ran towards the figure. He was shocked to find that it was a man bleeding to death. Thomas quickly checked for a pulse and found he was still alive. He took off his jacket and wrapped it around Steve and used all his strength to lift him up and place him in the backseat of his car. Thomas was filled with compassion for this stranger and felt and urge to pray passionately for God to save his life as he drove frantically towards town to seek help. Steve remained unconscious the whole time.

Thomas was not familiar with that part of town. He had also left Lagos earlier in the day to attend the crusade at Ibadan. The crusade had been much publicized and he was looking forward to hearing the word being preached by one of the country’s leading pastor’s. He was also excited at  the prospect of seeing his favorite worship leader, J-Star, perform live. Little did he know that in Steve, his path had crossed with these two individuals. Thomas kept driving in the dark stormy night, praying and asking God for help. The random thoughts were flooding his mind at an increasingly frenetic pace in the form of directions. You could say they were intelligent guesses but somehow, Thomas followed his thoughts and ended up in front of the only 24-hr hospital in that part of town. He rushed into the reception area and got the attention of the medics who responded excellently and transferred Steve to the Intensive Care Unit for medical attention. Thomas was told that emergency surgery would have to be performed on Steve but the hospital needed to know who would be financially responsible before proceeding with treatment. When Thomas was told how much it would cost, he knew it was going to be a sacrifice on his part. It was getting rather late and he had to leave for home if he was to get back safely. Thomas weighed the cost in his mind and put himself in Steve’s shoes. As he battled with his thoughts, a scripture came to mind: Luke 6:31 – “Think of the kindness you wish others would show you; do the same for them”. Thomas decided to trust God and believe that he was on that road on that dark stormy night to save Steve’s life. It wouldn’t make any sense to back down at the finish line. He pulled out his Visa Card and made the payment for the procedure. Just like that, his entire savings for the past 6 months were sacrificed on a total stranger but nothing could compare to the sense of fulfillment and joy in Thomas’ heart, knowing that a fellow human being, who God found precious enough to send His Son to die for, was going to live because of him. He got back into his car and breathed a sigh of relief before saying a prayer in thanks to God and turning up his J-Star CD to worship God on his drive back home.

Meanwhile, the crusade went better than expected. The mega pastor worked up the crowd of 500,000 with a powerful sermon on how we are to love our neighbours sacrificially. J-Star melted the hearts of the crowd by belting out tunes about the love of God from his latest album. The obscure outcast, Thomas, got back home safely that night. He may not have performed in front of 500,000 people. He may not even get the gratitude he deserves from Steve when he regains consciousness. He may never be repaid for the medical bill he covered that night but rest assured, heaven bore witness to what he did. He displayed true love for his neighbour. The God kind of love.

Could Thomas be any more like Jesus who died as an outcast to pay a sacrificial price to show us God’s love and asked for nothing in return? When we love God by loving our fellow man, we are being Christ-like. The world may see you as a weird outcast when you love people but never mind, God sees your heart.

1 John 3:18 – My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love.

What type of neighbour are you?

Posted in Creative, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

It’s all a Game of Thrones

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a huge fan of the HBO television series we fondly refer to as G.O.T. Since Game of Thrones first hit the screens in April 2011, I have followed every season judiciously. There is a huge debate out there as to what type of shows believers should and shouldn’t watch but that’s a matter for another day.

For the purpose of this blog post, what I am interested in sharing with the rest of you is the fact that in the heart of every man, woman and child is a game between good and evil; a game between light and darkness; a game between God and the devil; a Game of Thrones. The kingdom being fought over is your heart and the only person who can determine who eventually sits on the throne of your heart is YOU! 

I guess the question to ask at this point is: who have you given access to sit on the throne of your heart? Everyday the Game of Thrones rages in our hearts and minds. Everyone and everything is competing with God to sit on the throne. Is it your spouse? Your pet animal? Your health? Your children? Your job? Your money? Your material possessions?

Whatever or whoever you permit or authorize to sit on the throne of your heart becomes a god to you. When our Heavenly Father made us, He expected us to enthrone Him as King of our hearts but He also gave us freewill to choose for ourselves. Love is never true love until it has a choice and God has empowered us to make that choice. Most if not all of us at one point in our lives or another have tried to enthrone something or someone other than God as King of our hearts. In your personal experience, did your money fill the longing in your heart? Did your job quench the hunger in your spirit? Did your material possessions bring you unspeakable joy that never wanes? Did your spouse take all the tears and pain away forever? Did your addiction leave you forever satisfied? The answer is a resounding NO probably! Nothing and no one can sit on the throne that God is supposed to occupy in your heart and yet leave your deepest longings filled and sated.

Mark 12:30 says 30 And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment.

From the above Scripture it’s clear that there can be no room to share the throne of your heart between God and any other. He deserves all the prominence and preeminence. This is the first and principal commandment because it is simply what we were created for.

Like they say in G.O.T, “winter is coming”, and this is true for every human being because all will face a physical death eventually. We will all stand before the glorious throne of the Father and give account of what we have done with the lives He gave us. Why wait until then? Why not start now by enthroning Him in your heart today and standing before His Presence as a precious son or daughter, basking in the warmth of His love.

Whatever or whoever is sitting on the throne of your heart other than God is a usurper and must be removed. Ask God to help you dethrone all such idols and make room for Him to dwell as the King of your heart.

Exodus 34:14 – You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.

Posted in Devotionals | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Divine Perspective: The gift of seeing life through God’s eyes

Ephesians 1:18 – 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

Life is all about perspective. One sees the glass half full, the other sees it half empty. One believer sees his chastisement as punishment from God, the other sees the very same thing as clear evidence of God’s love for him. One gives his resources fearful of the fact that it is diminishing, the other gives joyfully and with the full confident that he can never outgive God. Perspectives. Your destiny depends on it.

I remember very vividly the difference between my first experience in the operating theatre and the second. Both were a world apart. Why you ask? It’s simple. Perspective. The first time I was operated on, I did not know Jesus Christ in an intimate way. Life at the time was all about me, myself and I. I was the captain of my own ship and laying on that operating bed, my perspective was filled with fear. This captain came to the sudden realisation that he was helpless in the situation. My life depended on the performance of the surgeons…or so I thought. I trembled with fear as the anaesthetist counted down from 10 to 0! I wasn’t sure I would make it through the procedure. Fast-forward to 8 years later and I find myself on another operating bed. This time though, I know that I am not alone because my Captain is with me. My perspective was totally different. I wasn’t afraid in any way. In fact, I was excited that God was going to get the glory from my healing. I joked with the surgeons and calmed the fears of my loved ones. Even if I didn’t make it, eternal life awaited me. That’s the power of perspective.

One scripture that totally changed my perspective on life is Romans 8:28 –  We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

Here we have an assurance that nothing happens randomly but rather, God is partnering with us, steering the course of our lives and actively causing our life circumstances to fit into His good plan for us. Wow! What a perspective to have. Why worry when we know that there is a good plan for us into which everything we experience, both good and bad, must fit! It is liberating once you are able to truly grasp the truth of this scripture.

There are several instances in the bible when having the right perspective ushered men and women into glorious destinies in God. Joseph would never have survived through his ordeal in Egypt and emerge as Prime Minister if he didn’t have the right perspective. David would never have survived the persecution he received from Saul if he didn’t have the right perspective. What about Job who suffered so much? Could Moses have faced up to the mighty Pharaoh if he had the wrong perspective about the call on his life? Would Daniel have survived the night in the lion’s den without the right perspective? I don’t think Abraham would have offered to sacrifice Isaac if he didn’t have the right perspective about who God was.

Perspective can make or break us. Remember the 12 spies who were sent to scout out the promised land? Ten of them came back with the wrong perspective and we all know the disastrous consequences that came as a result. Joshua and Caleb on the other hand refused to adopt the wrong perspective and it is clear to all that their destinies were very different to that of their contemporaries.

We must remember that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places and are no longer fighting for victory but rather, from victory. We must have the right perspective about God and then about ourselves and others before we can handle life’s circumstances the way God expects us to.

Jesus had the right perspective on the storms of life. He was never disturbed, shaken or moved because He knew His Father and was secure in His identity as His Son. Perhaps the picture of Him sleeping peacefully in the boat whilst the waves roared and tossed the vessel to and fro is the best way to summarise the blessing of divine perspective. Who wouldn’t want to see life His way?

Posted in Devotionals | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New deliverance, new song!

It was about 12:50am on the wee hours of Thursday morning. It had been a near-perfect day up until that point. I had finally closed a property deal after several frustrating months. Things were looking up. My wife and I had said our prayers and I was drifting off to sleep. That was when in an instant, all hell broke loose. 

I cannot go into the details of the injury I sustained so unexpectedly but suffice it to say that it was scary, painful and potentially life-threatening. Being a pharmacist, I applied some first-aid using an ice-pack and some anti-inflammatory painkillers. In hindsight, that single act probably made a whole lot of difference because the swelling was less than it should have been, making it less likely to become a complicated health issue in the long run. 

After about 30 minutes of applying first-aid and praying together, my wife and I took a decision to seek emergency medical help. Anyone who knows Nigeria well, knows that it is unfortunately not a place that greatly values emergency services. We drove from one hospital to the next, only to be told they couldn’t take me in. At about 2:15am, we finally found a 24-hr hospital and I registered immediately and saw the doctor. Unfortunately, he was very young and inexperienced. He looked annoyed for having had to wake up and attend to me even though he was on call! He suggested we go back home and wait till morning to see a specialist in that health area. 

The next morning, at about 9:30am, we set out to find a specialist. We quickly found out that there was a dearth of such specialists in Nigeria. Most of the top hospitals didn’t have one and we were quite surprised and perplexed. Panic was going to set in but I kept that at bay by continually praising God and trusting Him to heal me completely. After some frustrating trips to hospitals, I had an idea to do a simple google search on my smartphone and within seconds, we got the directions to a specialist clinic very close to where we were driving past at the time. 

We got into the clinic and registered as usual. We were informed that the consultant only came into the clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I was either lucky or highly favoured, depends on how you want to see it. We waited for about an hour before I went in to see the specialist. After our discussion and his physical examination of the injury, I knew I was speaking with a true expert and that really calmed me down. He concluded that I only needed rest, painkillers and a course of antibiotics for about a week and everything would be fine. We shook hands and I went back to the waiting room to meet my wife and wait for us to be picked up. However, after about 15 minutes, I was told the consultant wanted to re-examine me. I thought it was unusual but went back inside. He did a different kind of physical examination and based on my reaction, he concluded very confidently that I had to have emergency surgery within 24hrs! I believe this was another miracle because if I had left the clinic without a re-examinaton,  the outcome of the natural healing process would have led to unwanted complications.

The ride back home was a rather somber one. My family and I were contemplating those scary words the consultant spoke: “you’ll need to have emergency surgery”. Knowing my medical history, the implications of such a surgery going wrong would be disastrous. My parents were very reluctant for me to have the surgery. They demanded a second opinion. Outwardly, my newly wedded wife was calm, strong and supportive but can you imagine what emotions and fears she must have been battling on the inside? Barely one month has gone by since we tied the knot and here she finds herself preparing her mind to see her spouse being put under the knife under general anaesthesia! The stories we hear in Nigeria don’t make for very pleasant reading either. A lot of people die daily from not being able to wake up from routine operations. All these factors contributed to the fears and concerns expressed by my family but I had a peace in my heart. I had prayed about it and I knew that I had to do that surgery and that God was going to see me through it all. 

It’s true that there is tremendous power released through agreement prayer but how many agree with me that there are certain prayers that can only be said alone. Some examples are Hannah’s prayer to God for a child, Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the prayer of Jabez. There are times when our soul comes to a place of total helplessness and we know in our heart of hearts that we need to reach somewhere deep down inside to call on God to deliver us. That was what I encountered on Thursday evening. After resolving in my heart to go ahead with the surgery, the next thing I had to do was to work on convincing my family that it was the right thing to do. It helped that I am a medical professional. More importantly, I asked God to strengthen their hearts for me. Whilst my wife made dinner for me, I was led into an unplanned session of prayer, worship, and warfare by the Holy Spirit. It was beautiful. When I was done, every shadow of doubt in my heart was gone. I knew everything was going to be okay.

The specialist had warned me that the swelling would get worse before it got better and that larger swellings made surgeries more difficult and complicated. So I asked God for a miracle. I asked Him to help my body defy the norm and cause the swelling to shrink rather than increase. My wife and I ended the night with a simple prayer of agreement and we slept blissfully. In the morning, we cracked jokes and felt very positive about the procedure I was about to undergo. My parents were still worried about the specialists change of mind about needing surgery so I went online to a neutral website and downloaded his profile. It turned out he was one of the best in that field, not only in Nigeria but in Africa! He had pioneered several complex procedures in the continent and was specialist to high profile individuals like former Presidents and the like. I counted it as another miracle. God had led us to the best with just a simple google search! However, just to pacify my parents, I spoke to another specialist whilst I was waiting my turn to be called into theatre. He not only concurred that I needed to do the surgery but also personally knew the specialist who was about to operate on me. That finally calmed my folk down and shortly after that I was called into theatre. 

Eight years ago, I found myself in the same place in a hospital in Canterbury, Kent. I was alone. It was unexpected. The weather was cold and treacherous. I was told it was life-threatening. The main difference between that day and my most recent surgery was Christ. I didn’t know Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour in 2006 but I certainly knew Him better in 2014. Whilst I was trembling with fear in 2006, I was very calm and confident about the outcome of things in 2014. Christ had reassured me in my heart that He would see me through. And even if He decided to end my journey on earth, I was certain I would spend eternity with Him in heaven. I didn’t have such an assurance in 2006. If your life were to end today, do you know where you will spend eternity? This is a very important question you must ask yourself. It made all the difference during my surgery. 

When the anaesthesia wore off, it took me about 2hrs to regain some energy and be led to the car that took me home to rest and recuperate. The surgery was a success and even more so because the swelling had miraculously reduced rather than increase as it would normally do. My pain levels were also miraculously low. I was given some strong painkillers but I could honestly do without them. It’s a miracle that I can walk about and do most things for myself. My recovery is happening at blistering speed and if you saw me today, you wouldn’t believe I just underwent major surgery. 

What the enemy intended for bad, God turned it around for my good. He wanted to instil fear in my heart but now I have a deeper trust in God. He wanted to sow seeds of discouragement in my fresh marriage but this has only served to draw my wife and I closer through prayer and her selfless care of me. He wanted to destabilise my family and rob us of our peace but together, we have overcome the devil and secured the deliverance of the Lord through praise and thanksgiving. Murmuring and complaining are far from our tent because our past experiences in God have taught us better. 

Like the Psalmist said in Psalm 144:7,9 – Reach down Your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me…I will sing a new song to You, O God. 

As I look back at my life and recall the numerous situations God has delivered me from, I find that a new song emerges from my heart from every new deliverance. By song, I don’t mean a literal song but rather, a new depth of knowledge in God, a new fondness of Him in my heart, a new revelation of His love, a new level of trust in Him and so on. In this particular case, God reminded me through His Holy Spirit that greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world. 

I wonder what the next song of deliverance will be for me. I wonder what new song will emerge from your heart as God takes you through the next life challenge. Whatever it is, remember brethren: “Greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world”. 

I am still recovering from my surgery on Friday. I was given two weeks to fully recover but I am not prepared to wait until then to begin singing my new song of deliverance. Thank You Jesus for healing me once again.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I went to Hell & Heaven – The testimony of Teresa Barrios

The following blog post was actually a comment left on this blog by Teresa Barrios. I read it and was moved to ask her permission to share with many others, which she kindly granted. These are her own words unedited:
I’m nobody famous or rich. I’m just an ordinary working Christian person. I dreamed this about 15 years ago and I have only shared it with a limited amount of people. However, Ive been feeling guilty for years for not doing what I was told to do. So, I decided to end my guilt and to tell my story to everyone that I can reach.
That moment of time in my life was very difficult for me, because I was dealing with the loss of my mother. I was not in my right state of mine, and I experience something new to spark up my marriage. Then, after experiencing several events, I started to question myself because I felt guilty sharing my husband with another woman. Their were many times that I wanted to stop this behavior but I was convinced that sharing love is not a sin. I continue having doubts, so I then decided to ask God for an answer. One night, as I was praying in bed to Jesus Christ, I asked Jesus to reveal to me the truth about being bisexual. Then, I went to sleep.

I recall falling down into a dark long tunnel and being grabbed by something as I continued falling. I could not see anything, I was in total darkness and it was a long trip down. Finally, I fell onto the ground and my body felt cold. I didn’t have shoes so I felt the cold dirt like texture between my toes. I could smelled burning hair and flesh. Somehow, I knew I was in Hell. As I was standing I started to pray and asked God to take me away from here. As I prayed I heard a deep horrific voice saying to me, “Terri this is not a dream, your really here so nobody is going to hear you or save you. Your mine!” Then, he would laugh and tease me by touching me and whispering in my ear, over and over again. I then fell to my knees and accepted my punishment. I prayed to Jesus, “I’m sorry for my sins, I accept my punishment and I will always love you Lord. The Devil continued laughing and saying, “this is not a dream, your mine!”.
I still continued to pray, “Please Jesus, come into my heart, my soul, my mind, my body, and my blood.” Then, I saw a dim pin like light bright up Hell in seconds. I then saw the beast next to me. The beast was enormously huge animal like creature with horns, I was just a tiny person next to it. The dirt was red in color and unrecognizable animal like creatures were all around me crawling on the dirt, At a distance I saw many pits with bursting fire out from it. And I thought to myself why is it cold here? I then saw Jesus standing in the light. I raised my arms as a child to be carried, as I flew to Jesus. I thanked Jesus for taking me out of there and giving me a chance. Then, I asked Jesus, why was I there for so long. Jesus told me “I wanted you to experience being in Hell”. As Jesus and I went up the tunnel, I saw creatures in bedded in the dirt and its arms trying to touch me but they couldn’t. Then I remember seeing a beautiful gold color city that look like Jersulium.

As I entered the city I saw my deceased mother at a distance. I wanted to go to her but Jesus stopped me and told me I could not talk to her right now, I have to show you something. The next thing I remember I was standing in front of two huge doors. The doors opened by it self. The room was white, there was no furniture in sight, the white walls were so high that I couldn’t see the ceiling. Jesus, told me “this is your home” but you have to go back and save your son and husband. Also, you must share this experience to as many people as you can. I said okay. Then, Jesus and I walked outside. Again, I saw many people of all ages and my mother at a distance. I raised my hand and waved goodby to my mother. Then, I immediately woke up gasping for air.
Till this day, I don’t know if it was just a dream or if I died for a short time. I finally, did as I was told by God. I hope the unbelievers will read my story and accept Jesus Christ as their savior. There is one God and the way to heaven is with Jesus Christ our only true God.

God bless you all.

I don’t know about you guys but this is truly a life-changing testimony. Lately, I’ve been sensing in my spirit that God is warning His children against complacency and lukewarmness. I sense the Holy Spirit warning God’s children to work out their salvation with fear and trembling otherwise many will be surprised to find that they will have to spend their eternity away from the Presence of God. Let us wake up and smell the coffee before it’s too late!

Posted in End Times, Inspirational | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The War for our Children’s Hearts

I’m not yet a father but I’m very worried about what I see happening in the world around me these days. The thought of bringing up children in the world today is one that terrifies me frankly.

I’m a firm believer in the fact that the home is the primary place for children to receive truth that not only informs but forms their character. Christian summer camps, Sunday school, Church youth programs and so on are nice and helpful but they can never take the place of the home as the most effective teacher of Christian values.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6.

In case you haven’t noticed, we are in a culture war. The degradation of morality around the globe today is far-reaching. Even worse is the fact that the vehicles conveying these anti-Christian cultural values are increasing in number. Social media, advertising agencies, sports, work, leisure, entertainment, music, the arts, recreation and so on, are increasingly bent to complement a popular culture that is subtly and in some cases, overtly determined to obliterate every trace of Christian truth from public consciousness.

If we fail to bring up our children in the way of the Lord, the world will gladly step in to fill the void. It’s a scary prospect to think of allowing a culture that has lost all sensitivity and given itself to sensuality as described in Ephesians 4:19, to form the way our children think about authority, service, responsibility, amusement, justice, mercy and other important character issues.

Today, children are being brought up in a 2 Timothy 3 kind of environment. The Apostle Paul described it this way:

Remember this! In the last days there will be many troubles, 2 because people will love themselves, love money, brag, and be proud. They will say evil things against others and will not obey their parents or be thankful or be the kind of people God wants. 3 They will not love others, will refuse to forgive, will gossip, and will not control themselves. They will be cruel, will hate what is good,

Sound familiar? It does to me! The bible says we should no longer conform to the way the world thinks but the world has a nasty habit of trying to force its way into our homes. It is impossible to quarantine our children from the world system. In fact, we’re not called to cower in fear and hide from the world but rather to go into all the world and dispel the darkness with the light within us.

So how do we raise children who are light-bearers of the good news? How do we ensure their minds are renewed with God’s way of thinking rather than the prevailing thoughts of popular culture?

It’s clear that we have a huge responsibility to instruct our children in the way of truth during their formative years. If we get complacent or relaxed about consciously providing our children with a culture rooted in God’s truth, we can be rest assured that the militant popular culture which is increasingly anti-Christ in its beliefs will have more of an influence on our children than we will ever have.

It’s our job to pass on a culture of value to our children. If we fail them in this, we have failed them big time. Like Joshua, let’s take a stand to ensure that despite the popularisation of a militant cultural viewpoint that is increasingly anti-Christian in its approach, we and our households will serve the Lord.

But if you don’t want to serve the Lord, you must choose for yourselves today whom you will serve. You may serve the gods that your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River, or you may serve the gods of the Amorites who lived in this land. As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

Posted in Devotionals | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments