The Word

Psalm 103:1-2

1 BLESS (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

2 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits–

The Message

Five orange pumpkins sit in a row in front of a distressed, wooden background.

December is here again-the last month of the year 2015. My thanksgiving and gratitude mode has been activated. I look around me and despite all the bad news around us I still feel it is such a privilege to be alive today. I am not taking being alive for granted. For me, it does not matter what the circumstances are-good or bad. All I know is that being alive gives me the opportunity to hope for a better tomorrow. And that is the bottom line.

I don’t think that we live our best lives, by constantly looking forward to our tomorrows, however, that hope for tomorrow enables you hold up today. It makes today easier to deal with. That is why we must all have hope for tomorrow. If you are alive and cannot hope for tomorrow, you are ‘living but dead’. I refuse to live like that. I am alive and extremely hopeful for a great tomorrow. That is what activates my gratitude and thanksgiving at this time.

Why am I writing this? I know that at this time of the year we are usually advised to take stock and for many people that brings the blues. Because we tend to look at all the things that we had planned for the year that did not happen. That casts a shadow on the things that we actually achieved. So instead of being grateful and thankful for our half full glass, we moan our half empty glass. I did not get the promotion. I did not get married. The tenth year of not having children. The business did not meet target. What of all the things that did happen. What about the fact that you were not laid off like 300 others in your office. What about the fact that, you got to know that the guy you would have married was a chronic liar. That discovery has saved you a lifetime of misery. I could go on and on.

I realize that if we do not intentionally recognize and magnify the good things God has done for us, we will continually appraise ourselves as having fallen short. We must look closely at the year and thank God for all the things He has done, big and small. That is what fuels the confidence to keep the faith for those things that are yet to happen.

We also need this confidence to finish the year strong. We must finish the year on a high, because that is what we need to take off in 2016. If we allow the end of year blues to finish the year, you will need to start our life engines from the cold. You know how difficult that can be and how much time that takes. We cannot afford that. We must be energized from the inner man to maximize 2016 from the first day.

That is what being thankful and grateful will do for you at this time. What am I thanking the Lord for at this time? I have to thank Him for me before anything else. I am truly thanking God for being alive. I had experiences that threatened my life, my sanity and everything I believed in 2015. My faith was so stretched that I was forced to go back to what I first believed, just to reinforce my faith. And so that I am alive, and well, and sane and still in faith, for me is a great miracle. I am truly grateful for that.

Another thing I am thanking for, is someone really special. God brought him into my life some 24 years ago and he has remained a major item in my life since then. He married me 3 years after and has been the most stable thing in my life since then, in good and bad times. He is the head of our home, the father of my four children, and still the best thing that happened to me, after Jesus. His name is simply Iyke. I am grateful to God for bringing him and keeping him in my life all these years

I must thank God for my children- Dikachi, Maruche, Ginika and Neto. I cannot thank God enough for them. My son and 3 daughters- family is the best thing God did for mankind. People feel the most hurt from family but they also get the most joy from family. I am so grateful for my kids. They are alive, healthy, and doing great in the lives-academically, socially and spiritually. What more can a mother ask for?

I am also thanking Him for the work of our hands. Getting Dove Eyes back on air was a major breakthrough for me. I had been out of the country and getting back on air was a challenge. But just is a twinkle of an eye, I was back on air. I have the wonderful opportunity to bring encouragement and Godly motivation to all my listeners. That really gladdens my heart. On Dove Eyes, we have been able to air motivating and inspiring stories to enable young people tackle life and win. That is a huge privilege that God has given me and I totally appreciate it.

It was also a difficult year to start a business in Nigeria, but my husband and I took this giant leap of faith and we are still on that journey. There have been rough and tough moments getting Customer Passion Point Limited off the ground, but worth every minute. Our confidence in taking this giant leap of faith is that it is taking us forward to a better and wealthy place.

I am thankful for friendships, relationships that have made life easier for me this year. I am particularly thankful for my bestie, Margaret Amade. I have known her now for almost 25 years and it has been a very rewarding relationship, truly iron sharpening iron. At this time I feel the need to say so. We need to appreciate those that God has placed in our lives.

I also want to thank the Lord for my local assembly for the past two and half years, This Present House. Pastor Tony Rapu and his lovely wife Pastor Nkoyo Rapu have really been a blessing to me. I remember many years ago, when the Lord made me know I would someday sit under pastor Tony’s ministry. It did not look like it would ever come to pass. He took us there after we got back from Tanzania and it has been an amazing experience. The Lord had said so many things to me prior to my getting back from Tanzania. As I stepped into TPH, they were saying exactly the same things-in word, in prayer and in song. It was amazing agreement. This 2015 has been a year where we have all been pushing in to the counsel of God for our lives. In Pastor Tony’s word, there is a call of greatness on my life. He has set the stage and back drop to empower me to answer the call of God on my life. From the very depths of my heart, I thank God for this amazing man of God.

As I write, I know that sometimes it is difficult to be thankful. This is one of those times. This has been a tough year, with our economy being so unstable and unfriendly. It puts pressure on the different spheres of life- family life, social life, even spiritual life. However I cannot afford to keep my eyes on the facts or issues that surround me. I choose to be thankful, appreciative and grateful for surviving these difficult times. I choose to keep my eyes on Jesus, who will continue to enable and empower me to pull through. He is my confidence at this time. I am so thankful for Jesus being the foundation on which my life is built. I have known Him now for 26 years and He has been extraordinarily good to me. Knowing Him makes all the difference. He is indeed the rock on which my life stands. He is a friend indeed. He is father indeed and never fails. I have to thank God for Him.

We all need to trust Him with all our hearts. He will never let us fall or fail. Even in the valleys of our lives, He is right there. Bottom line to living a thankful life is to trust Him. He is faithful. As I get older, I am beginning to realize that life does not guaranty us anything, so every good thing I experience, I should be thankful for.

We need to thank Him for our Nation Nigeria. As bad as things may look, we are actually bracing up to be who we should really be as a nation. I see all that is going on as birth pangs to bring forth the Nigeria of our dreams. It will surely be well with us.

This thanksgiving and gratitude mode stays activated, even to the point we switch to the demand and declaring mode for 2016. I am excited. I am expectant. I am full of hope in believing. That is where my strength lies. I am sooooo thankful. Ck