“Go, hug the Transformer!”

Have you ever been told to ‘go to blazes?’ Sorry, someone probably spoke out of turn. But on my side of the globe, what people say is, “Go hug a transformer!” This conjures up pictures of Tom from TOM AND JERRY getting zapped with electricity. We get to laugh as Tom walks away in jerks of static, while Jerry runs off laughing. By the way, it’s been over thirty years. The sooner Tom realizes he’s never gonna get Jerry the better it’ll be for him.
So Tom is staticky, not the calm and conniving Tom we’re used to, for a moment. We could say he’s a different person … er, cat. A different cat. He’s ‘transformed’!
While it looks comical, electric shock is no joke. It’s death. So please don’t go hugging the transformer on your street, no matter what anyone says!
But then there’s another Transformer I think we all should hug and embrace. And while this one has many good perks, it will most assuredly KILL you! But that’s why we should embrace it.
OK, I’m not suicidal, in case you were wondering. This Transformer is different, trust me.
Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may be able to test and approve what God’s Will is, His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

So that we can know and do what pleases Him, God wants to change the way we think, changing our mindsets to become like His. A change in your mindset will change you. It is letting go of who we are so that we can hold on to who he wants us to be.
Remember the Hulk from Marvel comics and movies? He was originally a man called Dr. Bruce Banner, who was exposed to gamma radiation. This transforms him into a green hulking monstrousity anytime he’s exceedingly angry. The Hulk can do a lot of things that Bruce Banner can’t, such as having titanic strength and leaping to near-stratospheric heights. He was transformed by an exposure to radiation.
To be transformed, we need a spark. A jolt. Some electricity. Like hugging a Transformer?
It’ll be the death of whosoever dares to embrace it, but he or she will leave as a different person. Staticky, bursting with electricity.

For us to live the New Life in Christ we must let the old life with its mindsets die daily. We need some electricity. I think of the Grace of God as electricity (have you read my previous post, GRACE LIKE ELECTRICITY). While it has been made available to us, we need to deliberately recieve it. Embrace the source.

And the Source is JESUS, the Word of God Himself. He is the One we ought to embrace. He has made the Grace of God abound to us, but we need to recieve it.
Our minds are renewed as we interact with Him in studying the Bible and talking with Him. Just like interacting with a friend, soon we begin to think and talk like Him. We’re transformed as His grace fills us.
And we become more like Him, thinking His thoughts and doing His acts. We would have His heart, growing in love and abounding in it. We can’t do it on our own. We must recieve His electricity. His Grace.
Then, we are ready to get started, holding on to Him in all our ways.

Don’t you just wanna embrace the Transformer?

A not-so-major motion picture: TRANSFORMERS
A not-so-major motion picture: TRANSFORMERS
Part of a series of humorous movie posters I made for this blog.
That’s the transformer on my street. Who knows, it might actually be a robot from space! Go figure!

Advertisements

Watching my Tongue… Watching my Mind

I thought I was blessed with the knack for attracting embarrassing circumstances until I found out that others also had their own share. But really, I tend to get into some pretty weird circumstances. I used to feel bad about it until I learnt to laugh about them. No kidding, I think God knew what He was doing when He made me. Ha!
Whenever I got into these circumstances, my mind automatically ran through either of the following responses:
“You’re such an Idiot!”
“You’re a fool, Emmanuel. A big fat fool. You know that, don’t you?”
“Oh shut up! Shut up! You’re not an idiot.”
“But you know you are!”
Wow, it seemed to give me some comic relief to have these conversations in my head, keeping the pasted smile on my face. But I learnt that it was wrong. These words have their effect on me, be they funny or not.
The words we speak, as sons of God, had better be good because they are important. God has made me His child, and no matter what seems to happen around me, I gotta keep my mind focused on what He calls me.
I realised that the things I say are a product of whatever’s going on in my mind. What do I fill my mind with? Stuff from what people say around me or in the movies (however interesting they may be), or with the Word of God? The latter is the best, of course, because it always tells the Truth.
Someone once said that our hearts are like buckets filled to the brim with water. When the bucket is pushed even slightly, it’s the water that spills out.
When push comes to shove, when situations around try to push you off your centre, what spills out? What is your response? What do you say? Or think? Or do?
I’m learning to fill my mind, and align my mindset, with all God says I am. Letting God change the way I think. The Bible calls that ‘renewing your mind’ in Romans 12:2. We do that by constantly interacting with Him in prayer, and studying His Word. So if seemingly weird situations come up, I trust God to keep my response (in words, actions and thoughts) according to His own responses.

So do I still get into embarrassing stuff? You bet I do! But my response?
“You’re such an i…ntelligent child of God!”
“You’re a f…riend of God. A wonderful friend of God!”

And that’s who I am.

To Please my Commanding Officer

A couple of posts ago I hinted that I’d be joining the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) here in my country. Just in case you were wondering, nah, it’s not the military. The NYSC is a program organised by the Nigerian Government (yeah, I’m Nigerian) to place graduates of universities and colleges into service for the nation, for one whole year. Some get to work in hospitals, some in industries, and some of us get to teach in schools (yup, I’m a teacher alright!)
During our 3-week orientation experience (aka bootcamp) one fact was constantly drilled into our heads: that for the next 12 months our lives belonged to the government. They would be responsible for us, but we were going to serve them. I mean we weren’t even given a choice! They gave us uniforms, and we were consistently indoctrinated on what service to the country means. It felt like they were trying to brainwash us! And that’s not the half of it. Everyday, from early in the morning till evening, we were drilled by military personnel: standing in formation under the hot sunshine for hours (some folks fainted), marching, standing at attention anytime the anthems were sung, discipline — it was like they were punishing us for being civilians! Ok, I’ll admit it was also fun, but I still felt like they were trying to turn us into mindless pawns, or robots!
But it gets better.
Now we’ve been deployed to our places of assignment across the country, and this writer’ll be teaching for the next 12 months (and he’s loving it! The kids are amazing, thank God!) I’ve noticed that wherever I go in my corps uniform, I’m respected. People bow to greet me, elderly folks see me and bless me with prayers (in my country, the blessings of elderly folks are placed in high esteem); it’s all been pretty cool. But you see, I can’t let it get to my head. It’s not me they respect. It’s the people I represent — the government — that they respect. But it’s still been fun to be a celebrity (hehe).
It’s all come at a price, though. We live by a strict code, barring us from living like others. For security reasons I’ve been seperated from my lovely laptop (sniff!) That may seem like a small price to you, but not to me. Besides, we have given up some other stuff such as the comfort of home, friends, the lives we’re used to, etc. We represent the government here, so we gotta be good.
It’s got a military ring to it.

But then, I also am of another military breed.
Paul wrote, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him.” (2 Timothy 2:4).
Following Jesus is like being in His army. It means we’ll live only to please Him. Actually, that’s the best way to live, because it’s got a Great Reward.
It comes at a price too. We don’t just live like anyone else would. We don’t simply blab because We have the freedom to. We don’t simply do stuff because we can. If He doesn’t want us to, we don’t. On the other hand, we speak and do stuff if and when He wants us to.
In case you didn’t notice, let me lay it out for you: YOUR LIFE IS NOT YOUR OWN!
We were made to live for Him, to please Him. That’s what following Jesus means.
It’s not everytime that this is easy, I know. But He’s told us that to follow Him we must deny ourselves. It’s like He always says: to live for Him we must first die to ourselves. That’s the way to life. And the rewards here and beyond far outweigh the hardship of submitting to His leadership. There’s glory and honour involved, but remember, it’s still all for the One that called us here. He’s not a sadistic mind-controlling dictator. He’s crowned us with His glory because He loves us. Following Him is the best thing that could ever happen to us. Really.

I too am undergoing training in His Service. By submitting myself to the guidance of His Word and His Holy Spirit, I’m allowing myself to become what He wants me to be.
A soldier pleasing the One that enlisted me.

‘For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’
Romans 8:18

SO WHAT HAVE I BEEN UP TO?

Hello there! Emmanuel here!

I just wanted you all to be updated on some of my latest projects. Hope you like ’em! God bless ya!

If the Son therefore shall set you free, you shall be Free Indeed!
If the Son therefore shall set you free, you shall be Free Indeed!
Hupernikao means 'More than Conquerors' in Greek.
Hupernikao means ‘More than Conquerors’ in Greek.
Well, I thought that the Avengers were the equivalent of conquerors in modern pop-culture.
Well, I thought that the Avengers were the equivalent of conquerors in modern pop-culture.

GRACE LIKE ELECTRICITY

Whenever there is electric power in your house, all you need is to plug your gadget into that socket, turn on the switch, and let the power stream in and bring it to life. The only limitation to the power received is the amount of electric current streaming in your house.

God’s grace is like electricity. It gives us the power and ability to do ALL THINGS, in an amazing way. All you need to do is to plug in to the socket. If you are not a son of God, your life is like a square plug that cannot enter into that round socket. But if you are a son of God, you are plugged in for Christ is the socket, the Door [for the sheep]. When you agree with God and His ability to do amazing things through you, you turn on the switch, and an amazing life powered by the grace of God springs forth.

And don’t worry about low voltage. You see, the Bible tells us that God has made His grace ‘abound’ (or gush out in large amounts) to us, in Ephesians 1. It also tells us that Jesus is the Grace of God to us. He is the One that empowers us to do all things. Jesus described it as ‘living water flowing from your innermost being’. David described it as a cup that overflows in Psalm 23. The supply never ends as long as we keep receiving.

I believe God’s intent is not for us to try to do things in our own strength, but through His. We can’t handle it all by ourselves. We weren’t made to. Just like your average electrical appliance. Say, a television? The television is made for viewing, but it is useless without electricity. Oh well, it could be used to block a hole in the wall or in the ground, to squash a bug, or to even play basketball! But that’ll only ruin your television, BADLY! But plug it in, and you are set up for the most amazing experience of your life … well, as far as televisions are concerned. Televisions work with electricity. You were made to live by the Grace of God, in the strength that He gives, and with the Life that He is.

Eternal Life. Abundant Life. Life to the Full.

And when we receive His Grace and allow it to empower our lives, we see who we really are made to be in Christ Jesus. So like Paul, you can boldly say, “By the Grace of God, I am what I am.”

“I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

His Grace is free for God’s sons.

Plug in.