John1:14 ESV

 “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”

April 1, 2024

Sweet Jesus’ Smile

Praise God for those
who in their hearts
trust Jesus so
their every word,
their deeds, their thoughts,
their obedience
to His Word
work in their hearts
and with their hands
and with their feet,
but most of all
upon their face,
their eyes aglow
with glory from
His glows, showing
forth with fire and
light for all the
world darkened so,
then most of all
a brilliant smile
which warms and shines
for it reflects
sweet Jesus’ own.

Yes, the very best lives are all about Jesus. How could we who experience Jesus’ Resurrection Power in our daily lives fail to give Him glory. Like Mary Magdalene, we must declare with victorious joy,  “He is Risen!”  In my own Christian life I have been challenged and inspired by the lives of totally surrendered believers, whose lives declare day-to-day the glory of living with Jesus as their Savior and their Shepherd.

Pastor Haggai accomplished much in the Lord’s Kingdom, but lived his life humbly, always pointing people to Christ, not himself.

As I settled into life in Nigeria, I faced many surprises, most of them pleasant. I had never in my life met such exuberant friendliness in so many people. I had never run into such a hunger for learning, and in particular, for learning and living out the Word of God. I had never met people who so naturally honored God and desired to serve Him. In reality I also had to face some big adjustments, but those were mostly physical, and God gave grace, and triumphed over them all.

Many of my most pleasant surprises came in the person of Nigerian Christians who both challenged and inspired me in their Christ-likeness, in their joy  in Christ, and in their daily strength in the face of difficult circumstances. From the first time I met him, Pastor Haggai impressed me. When I encountered him in class for the first time,  I was surprised to see a grown man among these fourth-year English students. No one had actually told me how Baptist High School allowed Pastor School graduates to earn a diploma as a means of improving their credentials in the national pay table.

Needless to say, I was impressed with this influential local Christian leader, willing to put on his school uniform five days a week and to write sentences on the board and take quizzes just like his younger classmates. The more I got to know him, the more impressed I became. He almost always wore a great big smile. In a culture which emphasized respect for position, age and leadership, Pastor Haggai cheerfully stepped down into the role of a student, and always did his best. He daily reminded me of Jesus, who stepped down  from Heaven to become like one of us, so he could clearly demonstrate the godly life among us.

After years of faithfully serving  a growing Tudan Wada Church, which also developed a strong English section, Pastor Haggai gracefully stepped down and moved back to his own village, where he served as  their Pastor until his retirement. His leadership there came at a crucial time in the midst of ethnic and religious persecution of his people. God had this strong, humble leader in the right place at just the right time.

I have to mention Pastor Haggai’s providential combination of excellence in pastoral service along with his humble, congenial spirit which encouraged people to heed his Biblical preaching, teaching and mentoring. And to top it off, he had the biggest, the broadest and most genuine of smiles. God’s Love shone clearly in that smile.

Now, his daughter serves as Vice-Principal at Baptist Hgh School, Jos. She and her husband minister actively, carrying on, and extending the impact of his life of humble service. They bring faith, love and hope into the midst of some of the neediest around them, following in Pastor Haggai’s footsteps, just as he so faithfully followed Jesus.

How powerfully, how beautifully Jesus shines through the lives of people like Pastor Haggai. Even as such people smile Jesus shines.

If you haven not read It’s All About Jesus, you can order it in printed or digital form from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian and Westbow This book contains inspiring  stories about the wonderful Christian people I met in Nigeria and Niger.









2 Comments on “

  1. I met Mrs Hannatu Adriana nee Haggai as a jss1 student. She taught us Bible (CRK) and on the first lesson she taught us the school purpose. She was my one of my favorite teachers in jss. Had no idea this was her father. Seeds planted for Christ truly grow and yield manifold fruits. God bless

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