The Greatest Gift Is Love

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them.

She said, “I don’t think i know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat”.

“Is the man of the house home?”, they asked.

“No”, she said. “He’s out.”

“Then we cannot come in”, they replied. In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.

“Go tell them i am home and invite them in!” The woman went out and invited the men in. “We do not go into a house together,” they replied.

“why is that?” she wanted to know. One of the old men explained: “His name is wealth, “he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love”. Then he added, “Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home”.

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. “How nice!!”, he said. “Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!”

His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?”

Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!”

“Let us heed our daughter-in-law’s advice,” said the husband to his wife. “Go out and invite Love to be our guest.”

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.” Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: “I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?”

The old men replied together: “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would’ve stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!”

What an inspiring story.

In life we all wish and attain to be successful and wealthy. Leaving behind the most important thing which is Love. When we love one another in our; homes, office, friends and family and so on. We will experience a great difference in life.

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The New Chance: His Love

How have you reacted to the murder of Jesus Christ? Did you laugh when you heard? Cry? Ignore? Or have you taken the chance that His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection affords you?

Evilness, corruption and disarray,
The world is full of it today.

Yet He was loving, compassionate and filled with care,
When I was so ignorant and stuck in sin’s lair.

He endured nails, blood and shame,
While I laughed at His terrible but patient pain.

Before the death He said, “I shall rise from the grave, I will,”
And His covenant He did fulfill.

He loved us, He cared for us and saved you and I,
And now I’ll take the new chance of His love and turn from Satan’s desperate cry.

How Can I Love Jesus More?

A question from a concerned reader.

Love is never centered in the external things we do, but in the longing of the heart. The Pharisees read and memorized many books of the Scriptures, prayed long prayers, fasted two times a week, and strictly adhered to all of the religious requirements that they had been taught, but they did not love God. It is great to read the Bible and pray, to sing and praise, and to do all of the other external aspects of religion, but only if we first love God.

Jesus said of the Jewish leaders of His day that the people honor Him with their lips but their heart is far from Him (Matthew 15:7-9). Love towards God is making God the object of one’s affections in the heart. The first and great command is to love God with all of our hearts. As we draw our hearts towards our God, the heart’s desires for sin will weaken.

You ask how you can love Jesus more.

Love is a command in Scripture. Love is drawing our hearts into another. We grow in love as we draw our hearts towards our Savior. We long for Him.

We seek to be with Him. We treasure His company. We meditate on His words. We adore Him. We thank him from the heart. We spend quality time with Him. We do not see Him as the means to something else, but He Himself is the special treasure we seek.

May Jesus become the love of your life, your joy, and delight. If you draw your heart to Him, you will gain a treasure that will supersede the passing pleasures of sin.

Anonymous

Help Save Baby Oghene-Marho Peace

I hate this! I hate this so much. God have mercy. This breaks my heart. I can’t imagine a young child going though this Lord. Please help. Regrann from @owambenaija – This 4months old has a HEART CONDITION and needs surgery .
.
TEMPTATIONS come in diverse forms and so when we pray “Lead us not into temptation…” most of us still take it for granted. First I am personally appealing to all MEN and fathers reading this TONIGHT to PLEASE take out a little share from the Friday night /weekend groove money and assist a fellow father trying to save his child.

Nothing is more devastating than the pain of parents being helpless and unable to save their innocent child.
I have spoken to this Young man, he doesn’t have #15Million for the life saving surgery his 4months old baby OgheneMarho .

I appeal to us all, if 15,000 of us can give just #1k each today, we can help this little child’s live.

Mothers who know how vulnerable their little angels are and Ladies still praying to God for the gift of motherhood please also transfer the little you can to this child’s account.
I will provide the father and family’s phone number if you need to speak to the father/them personally.

The doctors are also available to speak to any organization interested in lending a hand.

Please for the sake of humanity, I plead with all kindhearted individuals reading this to just transfer #1k to this account and it’s also fine if you can afford to please give according to your capacity.

May God keep delivering us from temptation.

ORHERUATA PEACE OGHENEMARHO , ACCOUNT NO :3127623347. FIRST BANK.

To those also going to PRAY tonight for this child, Atleast share this on your page as we never know whose PAGE the angles of help might be following.

#SaveBabyMarho

Giving To Charity When You Don’t Have Money To Spare

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody. I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty, than the person who has nothing to eat.” – Mother TeresaLet us beg from Our Lady to make our hears "meek and humble" like her Son's was. We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully. Do not let a chance pass you by. It is so easy to be proud, harsh, moody and selfish but we have been created for better things. Why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts?    - Mother Teresa

The life of Mother Teresa is a great example of a charity giver and lover of kindness to humanity. She believed in loving people more than yourself and do the little you can do to contribute to one’s life, adding a smile to someone’s face can go a long way.

Portraying my point to the subject matter, giving to charity when you don’t have money to spare. This can have a negative effect on you. However, if you value being able to help others and contribute, you may feel upset or even guilty that you’re no longer in a position to do so. Or perhaps you’ve rarely or never given to charity in the past, but you’ve been moved by the suffering caused by the financial crisis – yet you yourself have little money to give.

The good news is that there are a number of ways you can make a real difference, without much money. Here are three ways that you could put into practice today, whatever your financial circumstances. Why not give one a try?

You might not be able to contribute N5,000/month to a good cause, but how about N200- N500? Foregoing a fast food package once a month could give you enough for this.

Remember that next time you think that your N200 or N500 note won’t make any difference. It’s like voting; each individual’s act may be as insignificant as a single drop of water, but add those drops together and you have a river strong and powerful enough to sweep change across the world.

Save Your Spare Change

Do your pockets end up full of small change? Many of us have a jar of coins gathering dust at home. How about saving up all your nickles and dimes for a month, and donating them to charity (dropping them into a donations jar is an easy way to do this). You’re very unlikely to miss them!“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.” - Mother Teresa

You could take this idea further by asking friends or colleagues to join in. How about putting a big jar in the kitchen (or some other communal location) at work, and asking people to drop in any change that they have? One of the reasons why many of us contribute little or nothing to charity is because we just don’t get around to it – you’ll be giving your colleagues an easy and quick way to change the world!

Get Sponsored to Do Something

If you don’t have any money of your own to give to charitable causes, how about giving someone else’s? No, I’m not suggesting a Robin Hood plan of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor … instead, you ask people to sponsor you to do something. (If possible, get your whole family, or some work colleagues, on board.)

Your options here are really only limited by your imagination. And don’t think that you’re too old, or that your kids are too young; tiny children can participate in simple events like sponsored walks, and one a person who is between 70 and 79 years old I know has just abseiled from the roof of a hospital building to raise money for their geriatric ward.

Doing a sponsored event is also a great way to break out of your comfort zone, or to do something you’ve always wanted to try but never plucked up the courage to attempt!

Here are just a few of the many sponsored events you might consider:

  • Ask people to sponsor you to lose weight (get healthy and raise money for a good cause)
  • A sponsored walk (anything from your local park with the kids, to walking the Great Wall of China)
  • Running a marathon or taking part in an organized cycle event
  • Abseiling, bungee-jumping, hang-gliding…
  • Using one of your skills: For example. If you’re a writer, how about organizing a “sponsored write”?

Exterminate The Spirit Of Guilt And Condemnation

As a Christian, we experience the presence of guilt when we sin or do something bad. After fallen into the temptation, we start having this condemnation thought in us that God is angry and whatever we have asked will not be answered.I'm free from the past, free from guilt, free from shame, and free from condemnation. I'm free with a freedom that can only be found in Christ. Christianity is not about being bound by a set of biblical rules; it's  about being set free.   Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:12 #collarbone #tattoo #freedom #free #words #verse #romans

I was surfing through my old notes and saw one of Joyce Meyer’s writing about this particular subject.

“How much time do you waste feeling bad about yourself? Whatever amount of time it is, it is too much! Even if you are not where you want to be in your walk with God, you don’t have to feel guilty and ashamed. You can rejoice that you have made some progress. Jesus, who began a good work in you, will continue developing and perfecting His work in you right up until the day of Christ’s return. When the devil attacks you with guilt and shame, you can say, “I may not be where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be! God is working in me right now, and each day I improve!”

My friend, your problems are not the root. When you go through an evil day, you are like a sickly plant with sick leaves. You may have leaves of sickness, poverty, a broken marriage or depression in your life. But these are just the leaves. These are just the manifestations of the root. It would be foolish to attack the leaves because they are not the cause of your problems. We all know that there’ll be no leaf if there is no root.

Joseph Prince in one of his preaching discussed something similar in dealing with the spirit of condemnation.

When there’s condemnation, there’ll be fear. When there’s fear, there’s going to be stress. And when there’s stress, there’ll be manifestations of the curse.

Now, if you disagree with me that the root cause is condemnation, let me refer you to Genesis, the book of beginnings.

Do you know that Adam was planted in the midst of a finished work? Everything was prepared for him. But the devil told him that he needed to do something to qualify for all the things he had already qualified for. The devil gave him a mistaken identity. He said, You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4–5)

The truth is that Adam was already like God! But Adam believed the devil, ate the fruit and fell. And the curse came.

Before there was poverty, sickness and death in Adam’s life, there was stress. How do we know that? Well, God said, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread…” (Genesis 3:19) And sweat speaks of stress and self-effort.

But if you go deeper, you will find that there was fear. Do you know what Adam said to God when God asked him where he was? He said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10) Adam was afraid. He was fearful. So the deeper root of stress is fear. But before he was fearful, he felt condemned.

The deepest root of all is condemnation.

Trending: New Music By Steve Josh Titled “I Do”

This is a sponsored post.

Gospel

From his much anticipated album “Love Is”, Steve Josh a talented gospel artist and soldier for Christ drops his new single titled “I Do”.

This song delivers a strong lyrics on love, happiness and joy between two people in love. Weddings are beautiful and what makes it perfect is the music that gets the groom, the bride, family and friends all dancing and getting their grooves on.

I Do is an afro-pop music that will go viral, hit the waves on air and blogs around the internet. I rate this song a top notch hit single for everyone to hear.

Enjoy!

Download Steve Josh I Do

Kindness — Hidden Camera Ad Warms Heart

This is one video have seen that shows us how to be kind to people. Not just people but strangers.

 

It is a hidden camera ad, where a kid without a jacket is cold at a bus stop in Norway. The majority of passersby at the bus stopped took the time to help.

The point of the ad from SOS Children’s Villages Norway is to raise awareness of the children suffering in Syria. They ask, “Will you lend a hand?”

You can see the translation in English by clicking the “CC”. Personally, I liked it better without the translation.

Be an everyday Hero.

Originally posted on Brad Aronson’s Blog

Guilty

Was she really guilty?

Guilty of something? No, there was no chance for she to have been guilty of something that caused pain or heartache to others. Hilda was only a normal lady; a lovely entity made of flesh and bone, that just was looking for somebody to love her, just the way she was.

Why does somebody have to set rules for love? Who said that only the ones that fit in the beauty standards have any right to be loved? Hilda was on this earth to enjoy her own existence, not to please others. Those jealous hearts could keep talking trash about her. She had no time for bitter words. They could stay forever in the darkness, hiding behind their own fears. But she was more determined to keep her head up. There was no reason to hide in shame. Love is always a tender flower, lightening all hearts up. There’s no use in shaming somebody for loving freely. isn’t that the way love must always be? No being must cage a beautiful bird like love is. Hilda was happy with her truth, so while others tried to keep her down, she would enjoy long days under the sun. She really deserved them.

A true story from an Anonymous

Lessons to Learn From Apostle Paul As Christians

Paul was an inspirational man of God and there are many things that we can learn from him.

Who was apostle Paul?

Paul of Tarsus (c. 10 – c. 67), originally named Saul, was one of the most notable of early Christian missionaries, his prolific writings forming a major portion of the New Testament. His influence on Christian thinking has, arguably, been more significant than any other New Testament author, though he himself very likely never knew Jesus in life, but was converted to his faith by a vision which appeared to him in his efforts to suppress Christianity.

For Paul, killing Christians was committed as an act honoring God. Though he was out to bring an end to the early Christian movement, it was motivated by reverence for the law. We can become so immersed in religious traditions that we miss the actual spiritual move of God when He causes a shift. If we are disconnected in the spirit we’ll act out of former understanding and not the “right now” word of God.

The apostle Paul never seemed to exhaust the topic of grace – what makes us think we can? He just kept coming at it and coming at it from another angle. That’s the thing about grace. It’s like springtime. You can’t put it in a single sentence definition, and you can’t exhaust it. When Paul was in prison, he never siezed a day without praying and asking for the grace of God. “Lord your grace is so sufficient”. If he can be saved from all the killings and persecution of Christians, surely it’s just by the grace of God.

So why should we take the time to learn from a previously known murderer? Especially someone who tried to kill off the very thing he later promoted?

Here are lessons to learn from Paul;

1. God can use ANYONE

Of all the people that God could have used to bring so many people to Him, he ironically used the man who had been killing Christians. God changed Paul’s heart and used him for His glory. It’s almost difficult for us to understand why God picked Paul of all people, but honestly that’s what makes Paul so relatable to us. Even though we aren’t murdering other people, we still don’t deserve the second, third, fourth, etc. chances that God willingly and gracefully gives us when we mess up. The fact of the matter is that God cares about everyone . If God can use someone like Paul to do that much good, then that should be encouragement to know that He can use anyone, including you!

2. No one is beyond the saving grace of God.

God was more than willing to forgive Paul for the countless lives that he took and for all the bad things that he had done. God gave Paul grace and transformed him into a completely different person. Like Paul, God can do the same for us. We are broken people that can be transformed by God’s saving grace that He so lovingly gives to us, even though we don’t deserve it.

3. It’s okay if you mess up.

I know that as Christians, we can be really hard on ourselves for our mistakes. It can be tempting to think that if we mess up, that God won’t love us anymore. Paul killed tons of people in his past. He tried to stop Christianity. Even still, God forgave him, had a purpose for him, and loved him. Know that if you make a mistake, it’s okay. We are not perfect people because we live in a sin fallen world. It’s impossible for us to be completely perfect, and that’s why we need God in our lives. Don’t get discouraged by your mistakes, but allow God to use them to transform and strengthen you so that you can be an encouragement those around you.

4. How to get your priorities

Paul talks about how “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
In Philippians 3:7-9, Paul talks about how everything else of this world is garbage compared to his relationship with Jesus Christ. He knew that nothing else in this world even mattered. God was number one in Paul’s life. I don’t know about you, but that can be a pretty difficult thing to do. It’s so easy to put other things in that number one place in our lives: school, work, family, friends, relationships, anything that we find important. But Paul shows us that when it’s all said and done, the only thing that matters is our relationship with God and that He is number one in our lives.

5. What it takes to be with God forever

Building off of point #4, we know that Paul recognized the importance of a relationship with Jesus. He also recognized that’s what’s going to get us into Heaven. He shows us that there is a difference between knowing something about Christ and actually knowing Him on a personal level. In Philippians 3:9-10 Paul writes, “..that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ- the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” In other words, Paul realized what is so hard for us to understand: We can’t do it on our own . Our own good works and merit isn’t enough to get us into Heaven because we’re not perfect, nor did Jesus die for us to be perfect. Good works is the product of faith in Jesus Christ, and salvation is about a relationship with God. Knowing Him is the goal.

6. Our past doesn’t define us.

I’ve heard it said, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”
It’s pretty clear that Paul had a very dark and wicked past, but he didn’t let that define him. Instead, he grew and learned from it and was transformed into an incredible man of God. In Philippians 3:13, Paul writes, “…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” One thing I have recently learned is that Satan is not God, he just wanted to be God. So since he isn’t God, he cannot see what is in front of us, so that only leaves one weapon for him to use: our past. He’s gotten good at it too; putting the thoughts of “I’m too far gone for God to use me” or “I’ve made too many mistakes for God to love me” into our heads. However, our past mistakes do not define us. They only provide opportunities for us to grow. God knows we are imperfect people, so He will love us regardless, and nothing that we can do will ever change that.

7. The importance of quiet time.

Paul wanted to know more and more of Jesus. He spent quality time with Him as often as he could. In Philippians 3:10-11, Paul writes, I want to know Christ- yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Paul knew that the only way that he would get to know God on the level that he wanted to was by spending time with Him in His Word and through prayer. Paul shows us the importance of quality time and that it results in knowing Christ intimately and personally.

8. How to care for others.

Paul’s life and his works make it evident to us that he cared for others.
Acts 17:16 says, “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.” Because Paul had a heart for the Lord, he also had a heart for His people. In Paul’s engagement with others, he didn’t act as though he was better than them, but instead fueled his conversation with compassion. This is an important thing to learn from Paul, especially in our interactions with others about faith. Nothing about it should be condemning, but instead out of genuine love and compassion for God and His people.

9. Humility

One thing that really sticks out to me about Paul is written in Philippians 3:12. Pauls says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Now if there was anyone that could brag about how on fire they are for God, of all the good things that they have done for Him, or all that they have surrendered for Him and accomplished through Him, it could be Paul. But Paul recognizes that he still has room for growth and doesn’t let pride consume him. Paul’s humility amazes me and it is something that we can definitely learn from and aspire to.

10. How to be content in any situation.

In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul writes, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in an and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” The secret of Paul’s contentment was that he drew his strength from the Lord. He learned to rely on God’s promises and strength to help him be content in any situation. He knew that God would supply him with everything that he would need and that God ultimately knew what was best for him. I tend to be the type of person who stresses and worries, so I know that this is a very difficult thing to accomplish. However, I know that with God’s strength, it is possible for me to accomplish this.

11. How to stand firm in Christ.

In Philippians 3:20-21, Paul writes, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” The way to stand firm is to keep our eyes on Him. It can become so easy for us to be distracted by everything going on around us, but we need to remember that this world is not our home. Standing firm means to resist the ways of this world. Don’t get discouraged or lose heart when you mess up, but instead continue to press into the Lord. He promises strength, so with Him, you can stay true to the Lord.
These are just a few points that we can take away from Paul, but there is so much more that we can learn from him. All in all God used a man who was wicked and transformed him into an evangelistic dynamite. In all of these points that we can take away from Paul, know that you are not too far gone for God to use, that He has a purpose for you, and that in His strength, He can use you to do great things for His kingdom and glory.

Meadow Hall Foundation Presents: Back To School Drive Project

In the words of Late Mother Teresa.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” – Mother Teresa

Meadow Hall foundation started this project “Back to school drive” to challenge the low factor of children having access into schools or school materials. The foundation is keen on reaching out to 1000 children and more to enroll them back to school, instead of staying at home or roaming the streets.

For your donations, kindly send to: Meadow Hall Charity Foundation (Access Bank 0695140643)

Your contribution will go a long way for these children.

For more information, sponsors, or partnership;

Email- info@meadowhallfoundation.org or

Call- 07058012288

Thank you for your interest and contribution.

Photos: Happy Birthday Pastor Seun Uwubamen

I know my peeps and my peeps know me. Have always said we June celebrants are warriors. I just have some few words to say Mummy.

You have proven to be more than a Pastor, you are my mother and friend. God will enrich you and enlighten you, your work and deeds he will crown with great success.

In everything you do God will enrich you and strengthen you, he will gift you the holy spirit to be your helper. You are a woman worth celebrating.

The bible assures me that the will of God is good and acceptable, and perfect so on this your special day I wish you a happier and memorable birthday and pray the will of God comes to pass in your life. Happy birthday mamalicious mum.

We celebrate you!!!

The More Difficult Life Is, The More We Appreciate God’s Forgiveness and Grace: Williams Story

I have been thinking about all that GOD has done for me. I have no words to adequately express the love and the appreciation I owe to GOD. To whom much is forgiven, much is required. GOD help me to honor You in all that I do.

No matter what we’ve been through in life, no matter what had happened in the past, no matter what we’ve done and think it’s in for given, we should always look up to God, because God is love. Here is Williams story….

Why I am a Christian

I was a child of rape,
Fatherless,
Unloved by a mother, not wanted, neglected, beaten, burned and abandoned,
Fostered and then adopted by those who did not cherish nor protect,
Molested, raped and shamed,
Told was a mistake, no good, would never amount to anything,
Cursed, kicked, slapped, whipped, beaten,
Learned by example that alcohol and drugs would numb the pain,
Runaway,
Bullied, beat up, drug overdose and left for dead,
Hospitalized, juvenile incarceration, defamation,
Hopeless, angry and alone,
Crimes led to prison,
Attempted rapes, countless fights, stabbed repeatedly, and in isolation hatred consumed,
Unwelcome, homeless and hungry,
Never begged, but ate out of dumpsters and occasionally worked for food or cash,
An object of another’s deviant sexual behavior, who were beaten and money taken,
Alcohol warmed on cold nights,
Lonely women in bars were nothing more than a bed to sleep in,
Uncaring, indifferent, selfish, self-loathsome,
Attempted suicide, and angry that even death evaded me,
Immersed in the bar-tend culture,
A stripper, an escort, drug dealer, a player,
Woke up high, went to bed drunk, every day for the next twenty years,
Mean, calloused, vile and vulgar defines the man I had become.

Then the unexpected happened!

GOD graciously revealed the truth of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross of Calvary to save a wretch like me. So real was GOD’s presence as tears of joy washed away a lifetime of anger and pain. Gone was the guilt of my sin against GOD. Knowing that by accepting Jesus as my Savior and LORD, GOD had declared me righteous.

Nothing in my past had power over me anymore. It was then that I realized why GOD chose me. I know hurt. I know pain. I know intimately the hopelessness felt by all people today. But most importantly, I know that GOD can save. What I did, I no longer do. I’m not without sin, but, the sins I used to love I now hate. When I am wrong I am quick to ask for forgiveness. And shockingly, GOD has birthed in me a sincere concern for the needs people have, and the urgency for their eternal salvation. I am becoming a very different person, and this is my testimony to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is never too late for God. If you know God has done so much for you in anyway and you feel to share your story. You can be anonymous or can reveal your identity, whichever way we will respect your decision.

If you want to share your story, send via mail:

motivatedfree@gmail.com.

Loneliness Is a Powerful Enemy: True Story From Anonymous

Loneliness affects us all at some point or another. Jeff’s testimony reminds us that God can fix even the deepest loneliness.

For years, decades, before I became a born again Christian, loneliness was my best friend. As the old saying goes, “with friends like this, you don’t need enemies.” Even when I was a sophomore in college, I had to admit that I was isolated from my fellow human beings. I took a course in adolescent psychology with Dr. Elizabeth Hurlock, who, in one lecture, described “the star isolate.”

This type of personality might be someone who is popular, who excels, who has friends, and is generally gregarious; yet, he or she at a deep psychological level is isolated from other human beings. A similar problem was noted in Sylvia Plath’s book The Bell Jar. Sylvia was herself a poet who experienced a sense of isolation and intense torments of loneliness even though she was married. Eventually, she committed suicide.
And sometimes this loneliness is described as fear of intimacy or closeness with others. However, it is worth noting that loneliness is not necessarily a condition experienced by “loners” only, but can be experienced by anyone. In fact, one of the classic books in sociology, The Lonely Crowd, written by Leonard Riesman, Nathan Glazer, and Reuel Denny in the 1960’s described the remarkable loneliness found within the American social order despite a superficial gregariousness and friendliness in the population. For Glazer, Riesman, and Denny, this was associated with the “other-directed” personality, people who were trying to please others, to somehow fit in with the expectations of others, but who lacked a solid core of inner motivation and purpose. Another personality type addressed in The Lonely Crowd is called anomie. The person with anomie actually has a deficient self concept, neither able to achieve purposeful behavior from within, nor to pick up sufficient cues from others to become “other-directed.” Rather, they lack not only character, but lack identity. It is defined by the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values; also: personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals.”

If one grows up as an only child as I did, that in itself is not the basis of one’s loneliness.

All only children do not find themselves as experiencing extreme loneliness. As we see above, loneliness is not mainly defined by behavior, but by inward conditions based on one’s values, identity, purposes, norms of behavior, ideas about who other people are, what they expect of one, the extent of competitiveness in one’s personality, the sensitivity of as well as the capacity for empathy of the individual, and the degree to which one’s personality is self-absorbed.

Further, as I learned from the pain of bitter experience, the books on sociology and psychology consistently omit one’s relationship with Almighty God when depicting the sources of one’s loneliness and alienation. Thus, the spiritual dimension of experience, which is the linchpin of all other variables is neglected.
When I had the privilege of teaching Expository Writing at Pennsylvania State University, the course was developed around the concept of alienation. All our studies in reading essays, poetry, and short stories as well as the writing assignments were built around alienation of self from self, alienation of man from woman, alienation of humankind from nature, and alienation of self from God. Despite my lack of faith in Christ, I had been influenced to some small degree by the writings of Soren Kirkegaard, and saw that my own experienced belief in God was accompanied by an even stronger alienation from God, and I was interested in examining that sense of alienation. In fact, looking back on my mindset at that time, it is clear to me that my greater interest in my alienation than in seeking God was itself indicative of my fallen and sinful condition. In today’s theology, we could say that that other alienations between self and self, between self and others, and between self and nature were horizontal alienations. And alienation from God is a vertical alienation.

I had friends. I went to parties. I was elected to various leadership positions as an undergraduate student. I was hired into various prestigious teaching positions as a graduate student. I went out on dates. Some girls liked me, but one described me as “conceited,” another said that I always had to be right and was too argumentative, and there were others whom I wished to impress but who were never impressed by me. I helped one young woman to find a doctor so she could get an abortion in Washington DC. My mother had not described me as good looking, but would always say that I was “interesting looking.” I took that to be a euphemism meaning I was not good looking. This was augmented by my hair beginning to come out little by little beginning in my twenties. Would I be able to marry before I lost “the bloom of youth?”
I had told my father about my fear of not being able to find a wife, and about losing my hair. He chuckled in a friendly way and told me not to worry as he would help me find someone. I didn’t know what he meant by that, but felt that somehow, some way, he would come through for me. Nonetheless, although I looked like a scholarly and decent young man, I continued to have an inordinate and adolescent concern about whether or not my appearance was acceptable and attractive. However, my father died when I was twenty-one, and I felt I no longer had someone to support me with my wife-search problem.

Fast forward now through almost two decades of heavy drinking, failed relationships, setbacks in my academic career aspirations, more than ten years of writing and editing employment in marketing and consulting publications in commercial banking and export/import , various temporary college and high school teaching positions, writing of hundreds of poems, short stories, and essays, odd jobs including school bus driver, security guard, retail small appliance clerk, teacher of physically handicapped and delinquent teens, attendant to the developmentally disabled, lathe operator, livery car driver, high school English and social studies teacher, and global wanderer (I took a job teaching in an international school in Teheran, Iran where I contracted amoebic dysentery among other horrible experiences).

Thus, I had gone from the heights of Ivy League education and contacts with some of the country’s highest political figures and executives to some of the grittiest jobs on the planet. I had had lunch with and attended meetings with the likes of Sen. Gary Hart and Sen. Alphonse D’Amato and with various dignitaries of U.S. Customs, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, and leaders of business in exports, imports, and banking. Yet, during my years of wandering, I was assigned to guard the Harvard Club in New York City, but didn’t tell anyone that I held a degree from that institution. Another time, I was guarding a store in Midtown Manhattan, and in walked my former boss, a VP from the large commercial bank that was my former employer – she was a graduate of Princeton – and there I was guarding the merchandise. We exchanged embarrassed hellos.

During that time of wandering, I was a security guard at a construction site. I occupied a portable toilet that had been converted into a guard shack with a small space heater, and I sat in there during the dark night hours with sub-freezing temperatures outside. On one of my shifts, local ten year old boys climbed the scaffolding at the site and began pelting me with rocks, as I hid in my “shack” while the stones came raining down.

My uprooted wandering meant I had fewer and fewer stable relationships. I would move from place to place, getting along with people; yet close to no one. The loneliness I had known when I was an undergraduate “star isolate” grew deeper and more intractable. Living in the midst of the most populated city in the USA, I became increasingly lonely. Who was I? Why was I on this planet? What hope was there for me?
In an attempt to connect, I went to a meeting held by an old woman in a Catholic Church. She represented a teacher in New Mexico known only as The Professor. She seemed lonely too, as lonely and an outsider as much as I, but she had stability in the philosophy of The Professor, a strange blend of yoga meditation and exercises, Roman Catholic doctrine and practice, and a written collection of “The Teachings of The Professor.” The Professor, an individual whose name I learned was Cyril F. Kilb, lived in New Mexico and was in charge of an entity called The Motivational Research Institute. I became more and more involved with The Program.

At first, there were only two of us who were regular attendees at the meetings in the church, but eventually the other lady dropped out, and CVD continued to meet with me alone for a number of years. At first I felt some relief from the loneliness I had been experiencing. In CVD I had made a connection. She was someone I could talk with about what was happening in my life everyday. We would meditate at each meeting, and that made me feel so-so “spiritual.”

In fact, I was so grateful that I began making larger and larger weekly contributions to The Program. I took a second job so I could give more money to The Professor (she would turn the money over to him), and also to keep busy, with the assumption being that keeping busy would help take my mind off myself and thus, to some degree, ameliorate my loneliness. It worked up to a point: someone to talk to, keeping busy, having someone to have dinner with, being accountable to another, and activities at the local Catholic churches like attending masses, saying the rosary, praying through the stations of the cross, and feeding the homeless all gave me a sense of connection and purpose. CVD had become my closest friend as well as my teacher and my spiritual [sic] director. I remained in that relationship for more than ten years. She was the only person I spoke to at any length except for a few brief polite conversations with my neighbors.

When I broke free of The Program, I found myself alone again. After ten years, I had no one to talk with. Someone I knew said she saw me talking to myself in the street. She said I looked deeply disturbed. I had experienced a life of desperate loneliness from my teens until I encountered The Program. In The Program, I felt exploited, but I still, for the first time as an adult, had someone with whom I could talk and confide on a regular basis. Then, after leaving, I was more lonely than ever – more than in my days of being a star isolate, more than when I was oppressed by the competitive demands of graduate school, lack of intimacy, and lack of love in my life. More than in my days of wandering.
Wait….! Did I not just mention “love” in a previous sentence? Finally, in The Program I had made a connection. I had stabilized. I had stopped wandering. I had someone to talk to. I had someone to discuss my problems, successes, and personal failings with. Yet, it was an exploitive relationship. Was there love? When I stopped participating, when it was over, I was talking to myself. I was experiencing loneliness even more intensely than in my days of wandering, than in my student days, than at any point in my life. Now I was plunged into even deeper despair. I no longer had a loneliness based on being other-directed or from the psychic dysfunction of anomie.

I really knew the agonies of Hamlet’s deep query, “To be or not to be, that is the question….” I understood MacBeth’s agony which I had recited in high school when he says, “Life is a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing….” I experienced the loneliness that comes from a sense of utter meaninglessness, utter absurdity, and utter hopelessness. My soul was bound by pains of experiencing the profoundest sense of rejection, dislocation, isolation, and above all, lovelessness. These terms defined my loneliness. My very being was experienced as a dirty, used mop that had been cast into the waste bin of time and space.

Yet, I had considered myself a “seeker” throughout my 20 years of wandering. I was looking for truth, for God, for ultimate meaning, for a point of perfection, even for absolute perfection. As early as 1975, I had an argument with a couple of folks in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania about the relativism of the many competing philosophies, beliefs, opinions, points of view, etc. that I observed. Everybody certainly had a right to his or her opinion, but all I saw were all those competing “right views” emanating from millions of egos. How could it not be that some might be more right than others? And if another point of view was more “right,” then there would have to be a standard for assessing that rightness? Or, perhaps the truth lay in a point of view that wasn’t expressed by anyone? These were some of the questions that assailed me. Wasn’t there a more credible approach to living and to thought than the one I observed? The Program had seemed to be the answer; yet my outrage at turning over so much money to The Professor, and the cul de sac it seemed to be when I left in a state of terror, dislocation, and despair showed me that what I had thought was true and absolute was bogus and illusory.

I kept writing, kept seeking, kept reading books, kept teaching, kept talking, kept searching for love. Only later would I understand that actually I was not seeking at all, but running away from “the Hound of Heaven,” who was calling me to His kingdom and His love, truth, and eternal life.

Then, during one lonely Christmas season in 1987, I was busy cheering myself up singing Christmas carols in my furnished room in Midwood, Brooklyn. As I was singing and rejoicing in Christ’s birth, comforted by the singular peace of “Silent Night,” gentle but powerful words invaded my stressed out brain, “You must be born again….” I had seen many televangelists, and listened to them on the radio. At the suggestion of one radio preacher, I had laid my hand on the radio and prayed that I would forgive a previous boss for having fired me. (I was still under the illusion that religion was a form of magic, and that it includes different magical rituals.) I really had no understanding of salvation by grace through faith. It was just say the “right words” [sic], practice the “right rituals” [sic], and do the “right deeds” [sic] in the name of Christ, and then, well, then you were going to escape hell, and could walk with dignity and hope on this earth. However, I was soon to learn what Martin Luther, John Calvin, the Puritan fathers, Jonathan Edwards, and millions of others found in the testimony of their walk with Christ.

“You must be born again….” I heard these words, and balked. They came as thoughts, but I sensed deeply they were thoughts from God. “But I am born again, aren’t I?” I protested. . Again, the words penetrated to the deepest center of my being, “You must be born again…there’s a church for you on Flatbush Avenue.”

The next day, I walked the four blocks up to Flatbush & Foster Avenues. Looking left and then right, my gaze fastened upon a large cross hanging in front of a storefront church. It was a classic sign. The words on the cross read, “JESUS SAVES.” I approached the front of the church, and there was a telephone number to call. Later that day, I called, and a woman with a heavy Jamaican accent answered the phone. I asked when the next service was, and she said that in two days there would be a children’s play – not a real service mind you – but a family night when Christ’s birth would be celebrated.

Two nights later, I arrived and the lights were dim as the play had already begun. As I sat down, one of the old women of the church nodded hello to me, and patted my arm. “Jesus is love,” she said, repeating the words two or three times to me as the play proceeded. Her name was Sister Duncan, and her words were so reassuring, so kind, and so comforting. After the play, the congregation sang a few praise songs and hymns, and, at the pastor’s suggestion, the evangelist who was leading the singing had an altar call. Because I was partially obscured by a pillar, neither the pastor nor the song leader even knew I was in the room.

When the call was made, I left my seat behind the pillar and walked down the aisle to the pulpit. I had gone there hoping to be born again, hoping that there would be an altar call as I had seen many on TV, and it seemed that the desires of my heart were answered. At that point in time, I did not know that I was being led by the Holy Spirit. I did not understand that I was being led by Christ himself to a new life in Him, but I was still filled with expectancy and excitement at the prospect, however vaguely defined, of being born again. My deep longing for a deeper walk with Him was being answered by the God of all creation. Had he not put that longing in my heart? Had he not pointed the way during my long, lonely, labyrinthine walk out of my atheism and overly-intellectual approach to life (my pride and false sense of self-sufficiency)? On that night, I was led to take a great turn in the road of life, and to begin to walk 24/7 with my Lord and Savior.

Then, following my answer to the call, I learned that the church was having a baptismal service in two weeks. Normally, they have instruction sessions for those who would be baptized, but recalling Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch, the pastor agreed with Philip’s rhetorical reply, namely “what shall hinder you?” and admitted me to be baptized in two weeks.
Since that wonderful time 25 years ago, I have never looked back, never regretted nor questioned for one second becoming a Christian. After two years in the church, many of the old Jamaican ladies who had grown up in the church, and saw me almost six days a week (I was always in church or visiting other churches) assured me that I was truly born again, and I found a rest, hope, peace, love, and joy that I had never experienced in my entire life. Yet, I still had a lot of growing and maturing to do, and believe that I am still growing in Christ as he sanctifies my life, and leads me on the path of being made “conformable to Jesus Christ” as he readies me for my heavenly home.
So many times I have acted in many strikingly un-Christlike ways; yet, He never failed to show me His mercy and forgiveness as I have struggled to conform myself to the Word of God. He has given me wisdom where I have been ignorant and inept. He has shown me how to be more kind and compassionate when I felt disgust, and wanted to walk away from problems or people. He has given me more patience and peace when I wanted to blow my top.

He has replaced my lonely book-centered life, with family love and a Christ-centered life. He replaced my discouragement with teaching, and restored me to my career as a teacher even when I was past 50 years old. Now he has given me a healthier body to help me better enjoy my old age, and to better serve him. He has opened my mind to be able to understand theology, which I had been unable to fathom or penetrate until about eight years ago. My search for truth, begun decades ago in the Ivy League, through many trials, temptations, and snares, through sidetracks of all kinds – high status sidetracks, dangerous sidetracks and sidetracks into extreme poverty – and through the wrongheaded attempt to blend Eastern philosophy and practice with the Truth of the Christ, I came to know He Who Is The Creator of the Universe, and Who Saves Through the Power of His Life, Death, and Resurrection.

Will Suffering Ever End?

Image result for woman suffering

Would you say….

  • Yes?
  • No?
  • Maybe?

A lot of questions have been raised about sufferings in the world. Watching the news lately is so scary as people tend to portray hate with one another, nature battling with humans, hunger, terrorism, and so many more…

Sometimes we feel God has turned His back away from the world, letting evil things happen to anyone who deserves the punishment. As a believer everything is in the bible, the revelation is already coming to pass as we pass each day just by His Grace.

Please will like to know your contribution to this issue. And how we can be of aides to affected victims of war, love one another, and also spread the word of God.