THE CHURCH IN THE PRISON

Always Be Grateful To God! ☺

(I stumbled upon this nice piece of words of Exaltation which might help to renewed your mind)

Years ago, our church had gone to visit the medium-security prison in kirikiri, Lagos (now called correctional center).

We took along with us foodstuffs and personal effects like slippers, soap, tissue paper etc, just to bless the inmates.

Having arranged with the officials, we wanted to have fellowship with the church in prison _ Without much ado, the leaders of the church, who were prisoners themselves, rallied the rest and it was time for fellowship.

The medium-sized hall was filled within a short time and after opening prayer, praises started. Like yesterday, I could still remember the passion and the energy with which they sang.

The enthusiasm was contagious. What struck me the most was the excitement and joy that radiated from them.

I looked again and I saw on the chest of some of them, the inscription “CC”. I knew what it meant – “Condemned Criminal.

These ones were not waiting for judgment. No! They were waiting for execution, which could be their turn anytime, unannounced. The State already condemned them to death. The lady who led the praise session was also on death row. A few of them who gave testimonies were on death row too.

These people lived under extreme conditions in prison, for obvious reasons, but they had such joy, unexplainable! Their human rights and freedom had been taken away from them but they could still sing passionately.

Most of them had very little to hope for but they were still grateful. This joy had no explanation in mundane or earthly things. Nothing of this world could explain the basis of the peace some of them radiated.

Invariably, the joy and enthusiasm this church in prison exuded conspicuously dwarfed that of our own, the visiting church and it was obvious to me.

My fellow brethren had asked me to share a word of exhortation with the prisoners after the songs but my eyes already teared up as I surveyed the environment. Singing, but I was lost in thoughts at the sight of a people so jubilant behind bars.

I found it difficult to fight back my tears so I excused myself briefly from the hall, looked for a hidden corner to cry. Oh, I did cry. I sobbed uncontrollably!

I wept because it was obvious to me I had been ungrateful. I was so ashamed of myself for ever complaining.

Deep in my heart, I had been complaining instead of being grateful to God. I had my freedom intact and many things to hope for but I had allowed myself to be bogged down by some life’s challenges and these took away my joy.

I couldn’t sing joyfully, spontaneously and freely like the church in prison. My passion and morale was down even though I still managed to “perform”.

Did I still preach that day? Yes I did. After all was said and done, I could not remember whatever message I preached again.

All I knew was that I visited the prison to minister but I came back home with a message, which is to be grateful! The church in the prison had ministered to me.

Friends, I do not know from where you are reading this piece. You might have so much to hope for and to be grateful for more than you know right now.

I know You might have been taking stock of the year 2019 and wondered how poorly you performed. The lost time and opportunities might have taken a toll on your joy.

You might have wished you took strides more giant than you have done. Some regrets might me setting in as you compare your life with others around you.

Furthermore, I know by now various church programs will be in the works to cash in on your dissatisfaction about this year and your life in general. Expect themes like the “God of the 11th hour”, “the 11th hour miracle”, the 24 hour miracle and etc.

All these are ostensibly designed to put God “under pressure” to deliver within the timeline of 2019. You are probably ready to sow seeds to “key into” all these programs, so as to achieve your aim.

While some of these programs are rolled out in sincere ignorance, for many others, your prophets just want to raise money off you through seed-sowing and “sacrifices” so he can enjoy his Christmas.

Please pause for a while and think properly 🤔 . If your freedom has never been taken away like those I described earlier, then you have so much to be grateful for.

Let nothing steal your joy. Unfulfilled dreams and aspirations will want to sit at the apex of your heart in order to depress it but do not let them.

It is the year according to the gregorian calender that is ending, It is not your life. Those using the coptic calender are still in the second month of their year 2012 and you have to believe me.

If you doubt me, ask them in Ethiopia and they will let you know. Do not allow any pressure of life to send you into a depressed mood.

To him that is joined to the living, there is hope. As long as you have breathe in your nostrils, you have so much to hope and be grateful for.

Let’s be grateful. Be happy! Let God’s joy be your strength.

(“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Isaiah 12:3)

It is a new day!

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