Practicing Forgiveness

Today’s post comes from our regular contributor David Etim, who is writing from Lagos, Nigeria. Today he shares the wisdom he has gained from practicing forgiveness.

Sun, Forgive

For me, lack of forgiveness is a spiritual virus, a monster that can destroyed us spiritually.I have also learned from my journey of faith that the more I practice forgiveness the more easier it has become for me. My practice of forgiveness is based in biblical scripture. The Bible often counsels against this lack of forgiveness.

Watch out that no bitterness take root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble hurting many in their spiritual lives –Hebrews 12:15

Furthermore, for me, the Bible’s counsel regarding lack of forgiveness is as relevant today as when it was written.

God’s Word says:

 Try to show as much compassion as Your Father does–Luke 6:36

and

Your attitude should be the kind that was shown by Jesus Christ–Philippians 2:5

It is true that some out of envy and jealousy do petty things that hurt me, but I have decided how to respond to those hurts: I will do all I can to make the person happy by showing love.

For me, forgiveness is a biblical command and it is always worth it to stand on my conviction without compromise. What happens to me is not nearly as important as what happens in me.

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Many Sources of Inspiration

Today’s post comes from our regular contributor David Etim, who is writing from Lagos, Nigeria. He shares with us the many ways he finds inspiration on his spiritual journey. His wisdom comes from a deeply Christian perspective, and also holds value for us all. It is also a beautiful transition from our theme of inspiration to next month’s theme of blessings.

Wisdom, Interfaith, Candles

Progress gives inspiration. And inspiration? That is what allows me to make my way towards greatness.

I have found inspiration in looking at what Gloria Copeland says,

Even if it seems costly at the time, always do what God puts in your heart to  do. Your whole future may depend on it.

I found inspiration too in what is written in the Bible. Hebrews 10:35 says,

Do not lose your courage, then, because it brings with it a great reward.

And in my own life’s progress I have found inspiration. On my birthday last month, I was given a number of gifts including  an additional job and  a self-contain apartment in a parsonage. These were great progress in my life and gifts from God.
God has used this providential turn of events to teach me to know God better, to become more obedient to God and to give me inspiration combined with steadfast persistence.

Finally, I find inspiration in the people God has sent to my life. God will always bring the right people, at the right time into my life, and their steady love for God and humanity are a constant inspiration to me.But there is more. Contact without inspiration is a waste and inspiration without improvement is a great waste as well. Take for instance, ever since I came in contact with Searching Sophia’s Pockets, there have been a tremendous improvement on my writing skills. This work inspires me too.

Inspiration is the key to aspiration. Inspiration averts expiration. Inspiration comes little by little developing my capacity and moving me to the next level.  I enjoy this supernatural ride of divine inspiration, which enables me support my projects with the spirit.

Please celebrate the many sources of inspiration with me, and celebrate their source.
God is awesome! God is wonderful! God is All-Inspiring!

Success and Modesty

Today’s post comes from our regular contributor David Etim, who is writing from Lagos, Nigeria. David provides deep insights that show us that modesty and success do not have to be opposite in our lives. in fact, David believes that there is  a way to see modesty and success as linked to one another, that a type of modest success exists.

modestsuccessIn all honesty, my life as an individual has been dramatically influenced by people whose lifestyle have been moderate both in the Bible and in the secular world such as: Rick Warren, David Oyedepo, and Bill Gates, just to mention a few.  I believe my worth would have been far less than what it is today without access to the life-changing stories of these men. When the spirit of modesty influences a heart, it will be reflected in the way the person lives, and leads them to a success rooted in modesty.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “Modesty” as “showing regards for conventional decencies.” I am of the belief that modesty is not thinking less of myself; it is thinking of myself less. It is also my belief that living a modest life will make me very successful and productive.

In my banking days when I was in a training, one of my course-mates said to me, “Etim, your lifestyle does not fit our environment.” He meant that I lived more modestly than the rest.  When the course ended, I was singled out as not only the youngest in that course as one of the top three in the whole course. My modest lifestyle did not go unnoticed. Modesty pays! Even the bible notes modesty and rewards it, according to Gen. 6:9-10: “Amidst all mankind at that time, God singled out Noah…….He tried always to conduct his affairs according to God’s will.”

There is no way around it. Modesty and success are not opposite, but in my life at least, modesty has brought success. So I say, to God alone be all the glory!

Defining Strong Faith

Today’s guest post comes from David Etim who is writing from Lagos, Nigeria.   David, who wrote in February about Love and Childcare, retired as a career banker in 1998 to strengthen his commitments to God. Today, he shares his journey of finding strength of faith through the Bible and God. Even when we come at spirituality or faith from different paths, there is still wisdom to be gained from  the love David has for his faith and the strength he and others find there. 

“What is faith? It is the confidence assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT).

Faith is something I cannot do without. My faith determines what happens to me, and without faith, life seems pointless. My faith may sometimes seem small but it is strong.

” …Abraham never doubted. He believed God, for his faith and trust grew ever stronger, and he praised God for his blessing even before it happens” (Romans 4:20 TLB).

I think that true faith results in actions. Faith without action is mere theory. Strong faith trusts in God for the results. When I walk daily by faith, I  hope to please God.

In a branch of my bank where I was working in 1995, we were unable to meet the profit target set for the branch. The bank management’s decision was to demote the branch at the end of the financial year, if we could not meet the management’s expectations.

In the light of scriptures I had faith that God would help me. ” If you will only let me help you, if you will only obey, then I will make you rich.” ( Isaiah 1: 19 TLB).

I sought the Lord in prayer, asking: “Lord you promised me that Your Presence shall go before me, and that I shall see prosperity”.  The Lord told me, “Preach My Word on Prosperity”.
During fellowship hour in the morning, because I was the branch’s Christian fellowship assistant coordinator, I told them what the Lord said. To God be the glory, the branch was not demoted, rather, there were mass promotions.

I have also witnessed strong faith in others.  Recently, a young lady offered her January pay to local children’s home. I asked her what the reason behind her decision was.  She told me that she loves children, and that, children are the heritage of the Lord, citing, Psalm 127.  Secondly, she told me she is expecting something from the Lord. I quoted Matthew 9:29 and told her: “…Because of your faith it will happen”.

I believe strong faith is simply obedience in love. Strong faith has to do with sensing the direction you are moving in and knowing that something good is in the making.

Love is a Choice

Today’s post from David of Lagos, Nigeria helps us transition from the theme of Love into our March theme of Choices. David shares with us how his faith helped him navigate the choices and challenges of his love life. So here’s David’s wisdom for all of us, as we navigate our own choices, our own loves, and our own spiritual journeys.

We live in a world of choices. Love is a choice. Dating and marriage are choices. According to the oft quotes phrase by Chinese philosopher Laozi, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” My journey of a thousand miles in search of a life partner began with the first step of a choice.

During my days working as a career banker my search for love was rather pathetic; I made choices, and my love life hit a brick wall twice. During these years of disappointment and rejection, I made up my mind never to engage myself into another relationship.

I chose to remain single in life, never to marry. I strongly believe that singlehood is a choice not a curse. I held onto Isaiah 56, especially verses 3 and 5 in the The Living Bible translation, which say, “…Don’t let them think that I will make you a second-class citizens. And this is for the eunuchs too. I will give them – in my house, within my walls a name far greater than the honor they would have received from having sons and daughters….”.

Yet, I also learned from Scriptures how others made better choices about who to marry, and I also understood that the choice of a life partner shows a lot about our priorities in life. I learned that spiritual qualities are more important than physical appearance. I discovered a plan towards marriage when God says, “….Remember that in God’s plan men and women need each other” ( 1 Corinthians 11:11 TLB ) and ” I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do….” (Galatians 5:16 TLB ).

From my experiences and readings I realized life can be fulfilling when you are connected to someone worth living forever. At this point in my life, I would love to say, “Holy Spirit thank You for the closed doors. Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, you were re-directing me to something better……a marriage of spiritual qualities and special comfort.” This is my dream, wish and prayer for that special person whom the Holy Spirit chooses…but for now, I remain single.

Life is full of choices and life is very interesting. I found strength in the Scriptures, and now I am like a pearl merchant on the lookout for choice pearl…… “All I need is faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).

Love, The Bible, and Childcare

Today’s post comes from David Etim who is writing from Lagos, Nigeria.   David voluntarily retired as a career banker in 1998 to strengthen his commitments to God and to serve humanity better. His post shows the wisdom he gained about love in the Bible and through caring for someone else’s child.

Steve Maraboli once said “The bank of love is never bankrupt.” I believe this is true.

Life is very interesting and fulfilling when you are connected to someone worth loving forever. Once, a young widow visited me to inform me that she has been gainfully employed but she didn’t have a place to keep her son while she would be on shift from 5.00a.m. – 11.00 p.m. Her efforts to find a place to care for him while she was working were all unsuccessful, and what could she do now? She asked me.
I told her to bring the boy to me. He was one year and six months old when I began to care for him. His mother was very happy and expressed her heartfelt gratitude toward me for helping to care for her son.

God gave me special grace to take good care of the young lad as if he were my biological son. The most exciting aspect of it all is that I do not have a biological child and I have never been married.

I found help in the Scriptures, where God unveils a recipe for love:
“Well, where is he?” their father demanded. “Did you just leave him there? Invite him home for supper.”
…Anyone who takes care of a little child like this is caring for me….. Your care for others is the measure of your greatness” ( Luke 9:48 TLB ).
“There is no one like Timothy for having real interest in you, everyone else seems to be worrying about his own plan and not those of Jesus
Christ” ( Philippians 2: 20 TLB).
“but we have always cared for orphans in our home, treating them as our own children” ( Job 31:18 TLB).

When he was of age, I began taking him to school and after school sessions. His performances from play group to kindergarten have always been excellent and remarkable. We are all very happy.

I believe, when God locates someone whose concern is all about helping others, He will direct His grace towards such person. The good thing in life is that what you make happen for others, God will make happen to you.

Through all my experiences, I have found that people do not really care how much we know, but how much we care.
“… I have told you all my feelings; I love you with all my heart. Any coldness still between us is not because of any lack of love on my part, but because your love is too small and does not reach out to me and draw me in” ( 2 Corinthians 6: 11-12 TLB).