“Banke, is there something on our faces?”
Dad laughed over dinner. “You’ve been staring at your mom and me since we left
told you she was weird,” smirked Lanre, Banke’s younger brother.
Banke said with a shamefaced smile. “I’ve been thinking about something Pastor
Yemi said during youth service today.”
tell,” Mom said, serving beef stew over her jollof rice.
said that people who’ve been married for a while tend to start looking alike
because of all the time they spend together,” Banke said. “Only I don’t think
he and Deaconess Tayo look that similar. So I wondered if maybe you would since
you’ve been married longer.”
what’s your verdict?” Dad asked.
think Banke looks like her phone because she’s always using it,” giggled Lanre.
Lanre!” Mom scolded. “Before you answer that, Banke, would you say that your
Dad and I behave alike?”
Banke replied. “I was just thinking that you two don’t look very much alike
either, but I can always expect you to do or say the same things.”
clean our rooms and do our homework,” Lanre put in helpfully.
right,” Dad nodded. “You mom and I are pretty much on the same page these days,
but that wasn’t always the case.”
Banke asked in surprise.
It took time and getting to know one another better to bring us to a point
where you now think we act alike.”
just like our memory verse from Corinthians last month,” Mom added. “The one
that says we are transformed into God’s image the more we spend time beholding
or contemplating him. Just as people who spend a lot of time together start
looking or acting alike, we also start looking or acting more like God the more
time we spend praying or reading His word.”
have noticed that Pastor Yemi and Deaconess Tayo like the same songs and often
talk about the same things,” Banke said. “His message makes more sense to me
now. And I want to act like Jesus, so I’ll try to spend more time with him and
less with my phone!”
Lola and her parents applauded as
the founder of a Nigerian charity was honored by a global media network for her
contributions to society.
family must be so proud,” Mom said with a smile.
nodded. “I know I would be!”
want to be like her when I grow up,” Lola chimed in. “If I’m as worthy as she
is, I could be head girl at school one day, not just class captain!” For a
moment, Lola’s eyes sparkled at the thought, but then her shoulders slumped. “Who
am I kidding? I’ll never be good enough for anything like that.”
what’s all this?” Mom asked in surprise.
She listened closely as Dad explained Lola’s misadventures as class
captain in school earlier that day.
Lola sighed when Dad was done. “I knew I should have waited until recess to
read Dami’s note, but she writes the funniest things, and I just couldn’t help
myself. What if that happens again next
time I’m chosen to be class captain?”
right,” Mom nodded. “Chances are you’ll do the same again next time.”
for the vote of confidence, Mom!”
Mom continued with a laugh, “there’s someone who can help you do the right or
worthy thing next time, and every other time after that.”
and Dad won’t always be there to help me,” Lola began.
we won’t,” Mom agreed. “But Jesus is. He sent the Holy Spirit to help and guide
us through life. When we follow His leading, the Holy Spirit connects us to
Jesus, and enables us to abide in Him.
right,” Dad put in. “In fact, Jesus said that without Him, we can do nothing;
only by His power can we live the lives He’s called us to.”
Lola said, “God doesn’t expect me to be worthy all by myself? And Jesus will empower
me to live worthy of the great things I am called or chosen for?”
you’re getting it,” Mom smiled. “The key
is to abide in Him by His Spirit.”
Lola flung her backpack into the car
and slammed the door behind her. With a snort, she folded her arms across her
chest and scrunched her face into a furious scowl.
Silently, Dad navigated
out of the primary school parking lot and eased into traffic headed towards
their home in the Ikoyi suburb of Lagos, Nigeria. “Rough day?” He asked finally,
meeting Lola’s eyes through the rearview mirror.
“It was horrible!” Lola exploded. “Mrs. Coker
made me class captain, but then embarrassed me in front of the whole class by
saying I wasn’t acting like one and that Ronke should take my place. I hate her
and I’m never going back to school!”
“That does sound
rough,” Dad agreed. “Why did she do that?”
hesitated. “All I did was read a note Dami passed me. It was really funny and
we were laughing when Mrs. Coker came back to the class.”
“What were you
supposed to be doing?” Dad asked.
“She gave us an
assignment,” Lola replied. “But I was already done, and she didn’t even look at
“Hmm,” Dad said thoughtfully.
“This reminds me of a Bible verse in Ephesians, where Paul encourages believers
to walk worthy of the calling with which we are called.”
“What does that
mean?” Lola asked.
“Paul wrote to
believers in Ephesus, reminding them that God had called them to be His people
and representatives in the world. He encouraged them to walk or live in a way
that would honor God and the high calling.”
“Oh,” Lola said.
“Being called or
chosen to be class captain is quite an honor,” Dad continued. “I’m sure Mrs.
Coker picked you because she believed you would act in a way that would set an
example to the rest of the class and show them why you were chosen.”
“But I didn’t,”
Lola said quietly.
“Not today,” Dad
said, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t do so tomorrow, or the day after.”
“I’ll have to go
back to school for that to happen,” Lola grinned. “Then I’ll be the worthiest
class captain ever!”
“There was a new kid in school
today,” Tobi said to his mom. “His family just moved back to Nigeria from the
nice,” Mom said. “Is this his first time in Africa?”
shook his head. “He said he’d been to Kenya before, but never Nigeria.”
Mom replied. “Everything must seem so strange compared to what he’s used to.”
he kept referring to football as soccer,” Tobi said. “I had to let him know
that football in Africa is not the American type.”
laughed. “Well, I hope you were nice about it. Cultural differences can be very
frowned. “Mrs. Dada asked me to show him around during the break. I almost
missed getting picked for a football team because of it. He thought everything
was strange – even our desks. I hope I don’t get stuck with him tomorrow.”
doesn’t sound like you,” Mom said, raising an eyebrow. “You usually like
meeting new people. Is there something about this kid that bothers you?”
shrugged. “He’s just so different. I
don’t understand how he could have a Nigerian name like Sola, but not know
anything about his home country.”
Mom said gently. “Have you forgotten when you took that summer exchange class
“No..o” Tobi said hesitantly.
how bad you felt because some people said you talked funny? Or how everything
seemed so confusing?”
was different!” Tobi protested. “I was a foreigner over there, and not everyone
was nice about it.”
no different than how you feel about Sola,” Mom said quietly. “Even though he’s
a Nigerian native, he’s still like a foreigner here because he’s lived abroad
all his life. When the Israelites moved into the promised land, God told them
to be kind to the foreigners that lived among them because they had been
foreigners in Egypt, and ought to know what that felt like. God loves
foreigners, and he takes care of them. As God’s children, we should do the
hung his head. “You’re right, Mom. I was treating Sola like the Israelites were
treated in Egypt. I hope Mrs. Dada pairs us up again tomorrow. I have a lot to show
Over the past several months, I’ve taken a step back from regular blogging to consider the direction in which I want to take this site and my writing explorations in general. Starting today, I’ll be trying out a new series of story based devotionals for children of all ages, and might even sprinkle in a few new Adventures in Bilandia!! Please don’t hesitate to let me know what you think!
According to a certain poll, four of
the top five New Year’s resolutions are weight loss, increased exercise, reduced
food intake and general health. An abundance of quick fix diets offer short cut
solutions. The more people eat, the less they want to. The founder of a popular
weight loss program presents a unique perspective on this conundrum. She
believes that overeating is an emotional problem which can only be solved
After Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 men,
plus women and children, he slipped away by himself in order to prevent the
crowd from forcing a kingship on him (John 6:15). The next day, the crowd went
looking for him, prompting Jesus to state “you want to be with me because I fed
you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.” (John 6:26)
When the people declared that they also
wanted to perform God’s works, Jesus “told them, ‘This is the only work God
wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.’” (John 6:29), to which they
cunningly replied, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you.
Our ancestors ate manna [in] the wilderness; Moses gave them bread from heaven
to eat.” (John 6:30-31)
Noting their fixation on food, “Jesus
said, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.
Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:32-35) He then explained
that anyone who ate the living bread (his flesh) would live forever (John
6:48-58). Hearing this, “many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.”
The crowd was so focused on
perishable food as a means to immediate satisfaction that they missed Jesus’
message of eternal fulfillment. Behind all dissatisfaction or ‘hunger’ is a
void within us, which only God can fill. Jesus is the ultimate solution to
every emotional problem we face.
MORE: Read Isaiah 55:1-3 for God’s
invitation to receive food which truly satisfies.
NEXT: Think about the primary sources
of discontent in your life. How do you attempt to satisfy them? What can you do
to obtain the true fulfillment that Jesus offers?