13.10.13

Our God


A Mighty Fortress

If I was as wealthy as Bill Gates, or as my brother and country man, Aliko Dangote; but had not the fellowship and friendship of God's Son Jesus Christ I'd have been dead as I write this thought to whomever it might help!


I was attacked by the spirit of death a couple of hours back, 03:00 hours today, 13th October, 2013. I rose from sleep needing to urinate. I noticed I had a painful feeling as if a stick was being forced into my anus. I have never been a homosexual, as I think the feeling was akin to what one might feel should a man force his manhood into your asshole.

I got out of bed and stepped out of my room to use the toilet. As I stood at the door a hazy, dizzy feeling came over me from within my head and in my heart. Like I was going to drop and die, I had no feeling of physical strength in me; I felt drained. It was like I was in shock. I tried to force the urine, but it had gone; my thing had surprisingly speedily shrunk! I thought, if I would just urinate whatever it was would be terminated.

I eased myself down on the floor before I should fall, knowing that something bad was going to happen to me if I did not fight it in some way. So, I started whispering out the name of Jesus, confessing the Blood of Jesus. I put off the interrupting Tv I had forgotten to put off as I slept. I sliced an orange from off the table and forced me to eat it, then I stretched myself back on my bed. The pain had not stopped.

As I laid there I reminded God that I had chosen the covenant of life which He had offered me back in time because I want to live. Then I farted a little, but the pain was still there. It struck me to call my wife. We have different rooms. Our children were all deeply asleep. She took my call and I invited her over and together we prayed declaring, decreeing, casting out, sending back evil messengers and reclaiming our inheritance in God.

As we prayed I felt the anal pain disappear even before we were done. After we thanked God and shared grace, my wife and I discussed a bit about the experience and a thought came to me. It was that I would have died this night if not for my being with Jesus. We are convinced it was a situation of an occultic invocation of death. But our God, a mighty Fortress, enabled us to resist the attack. What God did for our family early this morning could not be bought. If I were the richest man in the world, but be without God, I would be a dead rich man now. I myself want to be wealthy, so do not misunderstand my thought here.

We repelled death and cry of distress from our home by the power in the name and Blood of Jesus Christ. It is a place of greatest power to be. Were I to be anything else good in the world, but without this relationship with Jesus, I would have been dead as I write. I pray that you reading this post would crown your sweet achievement in this life with this saving relationship with our God through your surrendering control to Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son.

My family and I thank God for the benefits of being His own. We also appreciate my many mentors in the Lord, chief of whom are:

- The Jehovah Witness organization for all their wonderful and insightful divine literature I had all through my youth,

- Revd Chris Tunde Joda in whose Christ Chapel International Church I was born again in the Easter of 1987,

- Pastor W F Kumuyi for his scathing and unsettling Life Media messages of the Deeper Christian Life Ministries on righteousness, holiness and sanctification,

- Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye whose Divine Intervention initiative of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in 1998 began God's revolution in my life,

- Pastor Daniel Kayode Olukoya whose Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries led me to know that you can also take the battle to the tent of hell and ravage them,

- Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, the prophet standing in the Watchtower of our land,

- Pastors Oladele, Oyeleru and Osokoya all of the Brethren Church through their incisive teaching of scripture and doctrines.

- Pastor Enoch Aminu of the Pure Fire Ministries whose commitment and dedication to ministry brought me out of a recent wilderness moment,

- Revd (Chaplain) Rufus O Oyedeji of the Infallible Word Assembly who continues to sow into my life and family love, encouragement, intercession,and faith; believing that God has an agenda for me which will ultimately come to be.

For all these servants of our God by whom I have been blessed to learn, and still learn from, I am very grateful. I praise you and give you respect, Father, for your giving me access to their ministries. With God, indeed,  

1.10.13

Staying Still To Hear and To Do


When God Speaks

We are a people led by God. We chose to be, although He is the one who called us. We follow Him willingly, and He is not a slave-driver by any means. We should listen to and obey His word spoken into our situation, if we are not to make Him look like He is unable in our affairs.

When God speaks we are to take it as He says. We don't negotiate His prescription for our well-being. The just lives by faith. The just must live by complying with what God has given as the solution to our needs.

I despair when I feel disconnected to God, when I am not sure of what is going on around me. I hate the moments I've had to lean on my understanding under the pressure of what was happening, though feeling convinced that God would have me do things differently!

The person to whom God gives a word for a situation is really better placed than anyone having all the intelligence of the world. Of what value is dissipation to one who has time for just one shot!? It is a great blessing to be spoken to by God.

If we are willing and obedient we shall eat the good of the land, we are told in Isaiah. So, we know that God has something of use in us when He speaks to us. Often, of course, we find it had to believe; so we trifle with His gesture. And we, like I have, wound our hearts with pain we could have avoided.

If anyone reading this is in any way like me, usually very restless and finding it difficult to slow down unless you crash; please, be still. Stay still, so that God can work in your affairs. Do not time God by your clock. God knows that my life is marred by my impatience. My inability to wait till He gives a green light.

Jesus is the cornerstone laid for us, as written. And if we believed in him we shall not make haste. But, how that is so contrary to the speedy time we live in now! I, myself, have been hasty on so many things in which I should have followed the pace of God. I have not fared better, notwithstanding. Making matters worse, God must now look at me with suspicion that I am unpredictable.

But, I know that my source is God. Perhaps, it is this familiarity that tricks me into presumptuousness.  Things are just sometimes so slow, and I get so in need to do something, rather than wait! I must be the only Christian who is this way! May God give me more grace to overcome me. And I do need all your prayers. 

Take it from one who has a first-hand knowing that you'll be better off waiting for God's word before wading into that murky situation.  Don't mortgage your peace of mind, rest and time through ungodly haste. Be still. Let God speak to you. Then, do whatever He tells you to. It is a great privilege to hear from Him.

Please, don't allow your personality make-up to become an open door through which darkness will overwhelm you. It is still moving about like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour. There need not be another one telling my kind of story. I should be enough!



28.9.13

The Seekers Of Wisdom


Knowing That God Is Always Right

We start to be truly wise when we decide to fear God. We know that fear is crippling, it paralyzes.  No, not that one. The fear which is respect or honor, or deference; that is the fear of God that translates into wisdom.

 ' He who walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him.' (Proverbs 14:2)

We have not really profited if we gained the whole world but stood in danger of losing our soul. I know that the sceptic and the thorough realist would doubt the existence of the soul and the concept of continuing life. However, why not just take a leap of faith over that.

What if you were wrong about life after life? What does it take from you if you lived constructively? As we know, it's a win-win thing. You lose nothing by being good. Someone once observed and noted that a candle does not lose anything by lighting another. Living right is a sound strategy, if you gave it a thought.

It's a shame that in some societies of the world some people, even by law, frown at and resist exhortation. They say it is hate message. The word of God, in which I believe, says that he who wins souls is wise. It is actually an act of the greatest kind of love to attempt to steer another person away from futility, destruction and death. That is what it is. Not hate.

'Where there is no guidance, a people falls; but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety.' (Proverbs 11:14)

We should all return to God, really. I feel that no one should hear the gospel twice and still be sitting on the fence. Believe it or not, there are people and places in this world who have not yet heard about the life option made available to humans through Jesus Christ. They may not accept it, but those others too deserve to be told of that option, one way or another. Someone, or some people got through to us. We too should let the remaining others know.

We cannot let children run loose and expect they'd behave well. Spare the rod, spoil the child. The rod is for discipline, and discipline is not only punishment. It is also guidance, training, persuasion, mentoring and so on. Wouldn't you rather a loved one was preached to and is changed, than be left alone in assumed liberality to eventually run foul of the law? Would the law choose to look away then? Would it call it's demand for justice an hateful act?

It seems to me that sometimes when society runs smoothly we tend to clog it up ourselves, perhaps, to keep us being relevant in that area. Wouldn't it have been better to just leave things be, move on and find something else useful to do?

So, just because we have heard the good news of salvation and scoffed at it does not mean we should not allow others to hear and make their own decision whether or not to live by God's standards. We can never be god unto ourselves. You'll find out eventually. God must be honored in our lives.

"All glory must be to the Lord,
For He alone should be praised.
No one on earth should glory in himself'
All glory should be to the Lord!"



Integrity


A Big Concern In Today's World!

Why make a promise you don't plan to keep?
Why love someone you don't intend to stay with?
Why marry someone you won't want to build with?
Why start something you don't want to finish?

Why take a job you know you won't do?
Why want a life you know you can't live?
Why join a group you know you'll ruin?
Why spoil a thing you know you can't make better?

Why demand favors you know you don't deserve?
Why presume you are something you are not?
Why acquire things you don't need?
Why strive for a place you won't stay?

Questions. Many questions never to be answered. Were we to bother to, we would face our futility. 

Why run for office when all you want to do is serve yourself?
Why ask for trust you know you will abuse?
Why amass the wealth of the people and lament that they are deprived?
Why enjoin people to pray when the solution is in your hands?

God has made everything right, it is our warped ways that cause the problem in the world.  Are we ever going to stop?

   

27.9.13

Behold Our God!


Heralding Good Tidings.

I woke up this morning feeling really down. But as I always have God to talk to, my thought went towards him straightaway.
I had a word impressed on my mind. Isaiah 40 just sprung up there. I was immediately encouraged as I read on.

First the scriptures assured me that my warfare was over and that my iniquity was pardoned. Wow! Talk about getting a lifting for the day, when, but for God being there, I'd have blown me up.
Then, as if God expects it is going to be too good to be taken in easily, He begins to roll out an unmatched list of abilities to validate:

- He is gentle with his people as a shepherd is with his flocks
- He is so awesome that He measures the waters in the hollow of His hands
- He marked off the heavens with a span
- enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure 
- and weighed the mountains in scales etc.

Regarding rulers of nations who presume they are invincible, 
'Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when He blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble'.
God is beyond being compared to anyone. A song in my Igbo dialect translated lauds this:

Jehovah, you are glorious in my situation
Jehovah, you are glorious.
In the skies, You are King,
On the earth You rule;
In the land of the spirits, You are mighty in battle.
Jehovah, you are glorious!
    
Do not therefore say your way is hid from God, nor that your right is disregarded by Him. The Lord is the everlasting God. He is the creator of all the world. He does not faint nor grow weary. No one can read Him.

God gives power to the faint, and to His own who has no might left, He increases strenght. Even youths in their natural strenght and vitality will eventually faint and grow weary, and young men shall fall exhausted. But those who wait upon the Lord, whether they are young or old, they shall always renew their strenght, they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall not be weary when they run, and they shall not faint in their walk.

This was awesome. I needed that. God was there for me. I didn't think anyone would have cared, but the Almighty God spoke timely to me through this word like He was saying :

 'I know you are there'.


22.9.13

United For Greatness

A Lesson on Togetherness

A united family will be great. A great family must invariably be a united one. Disunity in a family often marks the beginning of its breaking and the setting back of all the aspirations of members of such a family.

In a united family the members channel all their love energy, spiritual energy, physical energy and mental or intellectual energy to issues and they would always be successful most of the time.

Unity at home makes the home a place of peace and serenity. When we operate in the midst of people whom we believe have goodwill towards us, we bring out the best we are capable of because we are at peace with the world.

Our greatest support base is our family. If it is threatened we should really be concerned. Your members know you well - your weakness, your strength, disposition and tendencies.
A united family will encourage you to do any good thing you embark on, and they will be watching over you to ensure you do not draw back. As we are openly connected to our family we shall not easily fall into any destructive temptation that ruins life frequently.

It is a wise action and in our best interest to keep our family united. Let us learn from the nations of the world who, despite their diversity, seek to live in peace and harmony because only that condition fosters development.  


20.9.13

Whatever Became Of Lot?


When You Feel You Can't Forgive Yourself!

Lot, the son of Abram's late brother, Haran tagged along as Terah started out on the adventure which only Abram was to complete. It seemed the natural thing to do as, it appears, he was the only child his father had.

When Terah died in Haran and Abram was called by God to continue to Canaan, Lot still went along with him.

It was clear Canaan was a place of destiny and Abram ( later to be known as Abraham) was the one called to that destiny. However, the benefits of that call rubbed off on Lot as he hung around his uncle, Abram.

The thought for this post is derived from what is known of the later days of Lot. I would assume that he married his wife from Sodom. I would also assume that it was the wife that incited him against his uncle, Abram, so that their servants began to quarrel over grazing space for their animals. And when Abram suggested they choose locations and split, Lot possibly was put to it by his wife to choose the region towards Sodom, her land. My reason for thinking this way is that nothing good was known to have come out of Sodom.

And, so it was that Lot left the shade and protection of his uncle, Abram and went to live at Sodom. In the course of time, a group kings made war against  Sodom and overwhelmed her. They took captives and carried them away - people and property. Lot and his house were among the captives.

Abram was told, and he sent a rescue brigade after the conquerors of Sodom. His band defeated the kings and recovered all they took from Sodom, Lot in particular!

Still, Lot apparently went back to dwell in Sodom as later events showed. No further interactions with his uncle was recorded

Then we are told about the evil of the place called Sodom, and how God had sent out angels to verify the outcry against the city. Lot happened to be at the city gate when these angels arrived Sodom. Although, he saw them as ordinary strangers, he risked himself and his family to keep the angels safe from the Sodomites who were bent on molesting them. Yet, until the angels struck their attackers with blindness, Lot did not know they were angels.

The extent he was willing to go to secure the safety of the strangers under his care revealed Lot's goodness. The angels, possibly for this reason and for Abrams sake, granted him and all his people escape from Sodom and Gomorrah just before the cities were destroyed. When he invited the would be husbands of his daughters to escape with them, they so- like -Sodom mocked him and refused his invitation to be saved. As he seemed to be at a loss as to what to take along of all he owned, the angels literally dragged him and his wife and daughters to outside the city gate with instruction to keep going and not to look back. But, when the bombardment from heaven started, Lot's wife looked back in disobedience and turned to a pillar of salt.

All that Lot came out of Sodom with were just his two daughters. No slaves, no trade items, no property. Lot's life  was spared, but he was stripped. 

After the destruction of Sodom, Lot left Zoar, the nearby town he ran to for cover from the hailstones from heaven. But, instead of seeking society, he went up a hill and dwelt in a cave with his daughters. He became a recluse, and although he himself was old, he seemed not to have thought of the future of his his unmarried daughters.

As time went bye, the two daughters of Lot became anxious for their posterity. They devised a plan to have children by their father lest he should die, as he was the only man in their vicinity. The two sons they had by this incest became the progenitors of the Moabites and the Ammonites.

What an abominable end to the story of the man who grew up under the annointing and favor that was upon Abram!

I often wondered why Lot did not go back to his uncle. Abram would have more than welcomed him. And that would have given his daughters chance to be seen by suitors. Is it guilt that he chose the better part of the land when he and Abram separated? Or did he feel awkward being helped  or saved by his uncle all the time?

Lot had such great prospect, but wrong choices cut him off. And it seems, he never forgave himself for all that befell him as a result of his living in Sodom.

The story could have been different if only Lot had returned to Abraham. Our stories can also turn out differently if we would forgive ourselves for our wrong choices, and rebuild the bridges we burnt against our relationships. We are checks unto ourselves. When we remove ourselves to a place where people can not reach us we fall easy prey to devil's abominable manipulation and temptation.  

We need to always stay where the light will be shining on us to keep away the darkness that is lurking around seeking to engulf us! 


   

18.9.13

Jesus Is Largely Believed To Have Come From God.


But How Many Truly Believe In That God Today?

Even the devil believes in God with trembling. So, we ought to do better than him as people of God. Do we live by God's standards today? Or, are we just using Him as a remedy out of many possibilities.


We must all know now that God is never desperate to use anyone, but that we might make our lives meaningful; is why He calls us. God doesn't need us, but we need Him.

'His hands are not short that He cannot (do things for Himself)'

If we believed in God, we would be faithful to Him. Then His words concerning our situation would not seem void. God is faithful, though we are always proven to be liars. If we waited, everything always works out for our good.

If we truly believed we would see God's glory. It takes a very thin line to cross from a place of obscurity and destitute, into God's glory and power. That thin line is called absolute consecration and faith.

To literally see God by one's faith is to completely trust Him for all things and in all situations. Never looking at Him as having disappointed, if things did not go as we wanted.

'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.' Psalm 23:4

Quite so, because even in His seeming inaction; He is actually doing very much that we may not see, just yet. God's purpose is always being done in all and through all things.

Most of us have the appearance of belonging to God, but we never take a stand for Him and the core values He instructs. Let us be for God indeed, in our hearts, going forward. Let us walk with God with conviction, not just because anyone says so. Nor, because it makes us feel respectable in society
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'Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.' Matthew 21:31,32

I would stop making a show of my walk with God today. Is it not time too for you to make that change? It's not for anyone else, it's not a pretense; but it is for my love for God.

 Dear God, please give me grace to follow You and your ways, simply and truly. Thanks. 



17.9.13

'He That Would Be Great..'


When The Last Becomes First

My Anambra state of Nigeria is agog with preparation and contention for the election into the office of governor in November. We are all people, so we must interact. Politics organizes society into structures of duties and responsibilities.

So many people have been stampeding themselves over the bid to be the one to hold that office next. And they are not just doing so for the love of the service. Actually, it has been let out through the utterances of some of them that they are actually preventing some from ever getting there to corner the resources apportioned for the development of the state from the federal purse.

When intending leaders buy their way into office they'll never do the land any good. Good men sit around while people whose agenda is clearly obvious buy their way into office to own the state and do as they please later on. Are we ever going to realize that when our lot is bettered in life it is to use it to emancipate the lowly lot of society and not to yoke them?

A mother once brought her two sons, followers of Jesus, to demand from him that they sit on his left and right in his glory. When the others heard of it, strife and anger ensued from them against the two brothers. Jesus made them realize that leaders in him are not to be overlords of the people. They were actually to be servants to the people.

Can we truly say that these people spending so much to contest the election are doing so to genuinely serve the land? Now, if we know, as 'am sure we do, that this is not going to happen; why are we letting this deception go on? How long is it going to take a society to find the courage to stand for what is right? To take a decision to permit only what is good for it? Have we all agreed to allow our collective good to be purchased by questionable people, notwithstanding that they are called money-bags?

We are slaves to whom we yield ourselves over to serve. If all the parties have given themselves over as platforms for all the unacceptable characters for leadership, then the people should boycott the election until people of integrity and character present themselves for candidacy. We should not just take whomever they push forward to us to vote for. If private candidature will not be allowed, the we must make the existing parties live up to expectation.

If good men would not stand to be numbered in Anambra, not to talk of Nigeria as a whole, then let us have a caretaker government until some find the boldness to raise their heads!

Politics has come of age in Nigeria. Let the good people come out and do something about this merry-go-rounding that only does good to the politicians in power. Today, it is implied that the party in power owns the land. They shut out everybody else and plug their people into everything. That should not be allowed to continue. We all belong here. The party is just a vehicle by which politicians get into power. Their win is not to be viewed by them as a conquest of others.
Jesus said that the first should be the last. Again, this meaning preferring all others over yourself. But our politicians in power look after their own first, and if anything, they pay lip-service to the welfare of the rest of us as an image laundering propaganda.

Let us follow our Lord Jesus truly in his teachings so that we would get the results that he got. Just because people do not know their rights is no reason to continue abusing them without remorse. The majority of the present crop of office holders in our land, and possibly the world over, have made themselves lord and master over the people they govern.

Will we never learn from history? Is it to be imagined that with all the information available to us about our mistakes in the past that we would still allow ourselves to go that same way all over again? Until the least in our land becomes first we would not have gotten it right. If we are a people under God, as we say we are, let us obey him; let us fear him with respect. 



16.9.13

The All-Seeing One.


Is God Really Watching Us?!

'Then the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know." -Genesis 18 : 20,21

As I meditated on the above scripture, it seemed to me that God does not really see what we are doing to ourselves. And it makes sense to the extent that somethings happening in our world today makes one wonder if, perhaps, God does not know.

 He is after all, the God of the whole universe. It might be that He is too busy to be involved without invitation. I suppose that is why we are required to pray always. Praying means keeping in touch, staying connected. 

It was the outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah that made God send His Angels to go and investigate whether things were really as the complaints said.


If God does not see as we assume He does, then it is by our outcry and prayers that He gets to know what we are going through.
If we don't pray, we don't get a redress. If we don't ask, we don't receive. If we don't complain to God, He won't know we are not comfortable with a situation.

There are other scriptures that suggest that the above view is not absolute, but if we went by what subsequently happened to the investigating Angels in Genesis 19 :1-11, it is one sure way of looking at things. Surely, God didn't have to put Himself through that to know what was going on, if indeed, He had been seeing all.

It is, therefore, not to our good to just assume that God knows about a situation, because He just might not Know!

 Tell Him about it. Give Him no rest till He answers you. It seems to me, we need to be a disturbance to Him about it. Then, He would set up an inquiry to do something about the case.




15.9.13

Your X-Factor


You Don't Need X-Factor, When You've God!

The X-Factor show is an opportunity to make one person humongously rich, even if they never use their talent eventually. But they also provide the winner with an opportunity to even continue to get richer by giving them a recording deal that is out of this world. It's so desirable you don't want to pass it off!

However, you are rich already when you have God. When you have God that kind of win is a distraction. All things are already yours. But, all things don't become yours for just yourself. Winner does not take all in God, winner wins for all.

As Regie rightly said, " You have work to do."

  In God, you are blessed ( that is, empowered) to work. It is not for your indulgence. To whom much is given, much is usually expected.

When you have God you don't need X-Factor. You don't need a lift because you are already lifted. When you have God you become a lifter because you carry in you the presence of the Almighty. You are a lifter of lives. God is our guaranteed way maker in life.   



12.9.13

Joint Heirs Or Laborers

Are We, Indeed, Joint Heirs Or Paid Laborers?

Once Jesus began his ministry, he never lacked opportunity to minister - teach, heal or, deliver. People went after him all over. They waylaid him everywhere he went. And he took nothing from them, except give.
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When he needed to pay a tax, he sent Peter to retrieve the money from the snout of a fish in the sea. And he paid for both himself and Peter. He did not call up a special fund raising gathering.

When he had crusades that extended beyond time, he fed the attendees himself; multiplying the fish and loaf brought along by a little boy.

Unlike today, Jesus did not make the people donate monies to him with the claim that it is a practical step symbolising connection to their expected or desired solution.

The church today has become a big money making operation which is worked by very shrewd and crafty business people. Books are written and sold and electronic forms of teachings and sermons are made and sold for profit at outrageous prices. Jesus is being selfishly used without remorse.

Jesus would not have allowed the turning of his 'house of prayer into the den of thieves and robbers.' Sadly, the church and church work in our days have been taken over by those who don't know the heart of the Lord of the 'harvest'. Ministry has become just another profession by which men earn a living!

Just because it is written that 'a laborer deserves his wages,' many people have opted to be laborers, instead of heirs! Few people, whom only God knows, claim ownership of the work. The laborer gets paid for his services and he moves on. He has no stake nor participation in the profit or loss of the enterprise. They want no commitment  They love it just that way. No strings attached.

The true followers of jesus should, as Jesus did, 'be about our Father's business'. One's father's business is one's business. You own it and you do what is required of you selflessly without thinking of getting paid. It is your inheritance, after all.

As we grow in our relationship with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, let us seek to be joint heirs with him indeed; rather than be just paid laborers.

9.9.13

To Live Is To Bear Fruit

The Importance of Bearing Fruit in Life

It is true that every fruit free that does not bear fruit should be cut down, but expecting fruits from a fig tree when it was not the season for figs is not fair. God Himself is the author of seasons.

Surely, Jesus knows well the laws of cause and effect.  Why, then, did Jesus curse the tree for failing to deliver on what is clearly out-of-season expectation? Did he act irrationally as a result of hunger? Was he not the one who withstood Satan's temptation to turn stones into bread after a forty days and nights fast?

'In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside he went to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" And the fig tree withered at once.' (Matt 21 : 18, 19)

A case has been made that he was driving home the point that we needed to be prepared to account for what we are given without notice. But, does this hold true even when the work is in progress?

However, what happened to the tree is instructive. Jesus did not say exactly that the fig tree should die. He said,

" May no fruit ever come from you again!" (Matt 21:19)

I think it translates that for it to never bear fruit again means death. To live, therefore, is to bear fruit, and to not bear fruit is to die.
Because of Jesus' curse of barrenness, the tree ceased to be in the basic condition to live, which fruit bearing condition. God said He will bless whom He chooses and curse whom He will, so we may not fault Jesus' action.

But we have seen that when one loses the capacity to bear fruit, one withers and dies. Really, it doesn't need saying any more that we need to bear fruit to continue living.

 You say, 'what if we can't bear fruit?' We can, because we are alive, so the seed is in us. We would be dead already if we could not bear fruit.

Now, to the aspect of this incident which the church belabours. Faith to do anything.

'When the disciples saw it they marvelled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" And Jesus answered them, "Truely, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ' Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever you ask in prayer you will receive, if you have faith."(Matt 21: 20-22)

It is becoming clearer now. With the argument given above still holding true, I say that the fig tree was sacrificed for the underlying reason of Jesus wanting to demonstrate to us how we can accomplish obviously impossible things by having faith.

And why the tree? It was just a tree. Who knows, it probably just grew randomly. No one likely owned it. Even then, he was Jesus. I suppose he could do anything he wanted :

he took an ass and a colt, which we are not told was returned to the owners; he cast out demons and sent them into a herd of pigs and they drowned with no record of a compensation made to the owners even as it is a forbidden animal, so who is to speak for this tree in a public place?

Faith, never the less, has indeed proven to work wonders. It is not a respecter of persons. Whether it is Jesus, or you and I, faith will empower us to do things beyond ourselves if we would step on it.



8.9.13

Questions I Have About The Triumphal Entry Of Jesus.


When Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, coming to Bethphage he basically sent his companions off to go rent a ride (even though he did not pay for it).


"
And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Beth'phage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If any one says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and he will send them immediately." This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying, "Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass." The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?" (Matt 21 : 1-10)

Why is it important for him to enter Jerusalem on a ride ( an ass ) besides what the prophet wrote?


Jesus knew the script  on him and he was playing it out. I can say there are scripts written for all of us, but we don't know it like Jesus knew his; so we grope. At best we do whatever seems right, and if it goes well with us, we say we found our calling. Really?


And why the ass and the colt? He only rode on one?! It seems to me he walked all the way to Bethphage. Why not walk right on into Jerusalem, after all, he was depicting humility? Hiring a ride to enter Jerusalem seems to me pretentious. He was born in a manger and we don't have any problem with that. His parents did not go and insist that a paid guest at the inn should vacate a room with a note saying ' the Master is about to be born.'


It is worldly and mundane sentiments like that which encourages churches to go out of their way to prop up pastors, making them live like divinity itself. They give people the wrong idea that the ministry has glamor and is to be equated to a secular profession. When they have visiting pastors, a struggling church would walk 'on the skin of their teeth' to task members with hiring for them luxury cars and lodging them in Five-star hotels.


But, if Jesus had walked into Jerusalem maybe the crowd that accompanied him ahead and around would not have been attracted, not to speak of getting involved. Perhaps, riding on the ass was a rallying act signalling that something momentous was about to happen, inspiring them to shout,


"Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"     

7.9.13

The Charge Of God's Promise.



"Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. 
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you, and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."(Genesis 17 : 4-8)

A promise is usually not actionable especially when it is gratuitous. God's promise to Abraham has first a duty :

"This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
Gen 17:11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
Gen 17:12 He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,
Gen 17:13 both he that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money, shall be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.
Gen 17:14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."

and then, implied terms and conditions :

". .for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice; so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him."(Genesis 18:19)

Our charge is to keep the way of the Lord. How do we accomplish this? We are to do righteousness and justice.

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, {think about} do these things." (Phil 4:8) 

As we do this, then the Lord might bring to us what he has promised! Isn't that neat!? The promise is not auto-granted. To access the promise you have to walk worthy of it, and even afterwards; it is the prerogative of God whether or not to bring the promise.

The gain though is that doing righteousness and justice have value in themselves. These are wellness and satisfaction.

Isaiah's " Tell the righteous that it shall be well with him" resounds sweetly deep inside me. It's not a scam. Walking with God you get rewarded anyhow and either way. Thank you Jesus.

If you are still going your own way, why don't you turn around today. What have you to lose? None. But, you have much to gain. Give it over to Jesus today.


6.9.13

God's Call Is A Call To The End.



31 Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there. 
32 The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran. (Genesis 11)

Terah was the first to be inspired by God to leave his land Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. He was given the actual location to go to - Canaan, unlike his son Abram. But he got weary on the way and must have thought it was somehow too much for him to carry on. So he decided to settled for Haran, where he lived and sought comfort trading and prospering and enjoying his last days in plenty.

'..all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran..'

 He abandoned his call and gradually he died, so that another man would be sent.


After the funeral of Terah, his father, God put His hands on Abram's shoulders and put the same demand on him to go to Canaan. 

1 Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’*

4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak* of Moreh.

I am inspired to note here that God doesn't anoint two people for the same job at the same time. One has to finish before another takes over.

It also means that no one can by himself resign from God's assignment. If done, that person stays in limbo till he expires, because God would not anoint another while the first lives. You either use the mantle or you die to make way for someone else to be sent by God to use it.

A calling is therefore a call until death. You want to live, then you better work it! God will not bye-pass you to call another. You have to vacate the space completely.

Terah was prosperous, but he died because he stopped working his call. He settled down off mark. It means again that economic and financial success do not completely mean that all is well with you and God. He might just be accommodating you.

When God has sent you, be sure to keep going till you get to your destination. Don't settle for any comfortable place along the way, just keep going till you get there. It is a dangerous thing to be called by God. It is not to be taken lightly. You can't shake it off. And if you don't do it, He won't let you hang around while someone else is doing it.
Let us therefore be spiritually sensitive to God. It is not unfair for Him to make such demands on us. The life we are given is for a purpose, God's purpose. We are not our own, after all,  no matter what they may be bandying about these days about self-ism.

5.9.13

Lord, Let Our Eyes Be Opened!


When Jesus walked this earth, as we too do now, there were people for whom he was a center of attraction. Every sunrise they quickly got up and hurried out after Jesus, the miracle worker. They just followed him around to see the spectacle of the day. Everywhere he went they followed in a crowd. Some, like today, might even have taken along the media of their era to document what happened. They might have had issues in their lives, but it never occurred to them to obtain solution. Jesus would always be there, they might have thought. They had gotten too familiar with him.

And so it was that fate brought Jesus along the way of two blind men on a certain day as recorded in Matthew 20:29-34. And having heard of all the wonderful works of Jesus till that day, the men determined that he was going to impact their lives too. They had not seen the wonderful works themselves. They only heard the report of them, but they longed to have it done to them too.

So they cried out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" And you know what? All the nice people, the familiar crowd who were always following Jesus shouted them down. They must have spoken to them in so many words why they were not fit to receive the attention of their great 'superstar', Jesus; very much like the way security men codon people away from the pastors and priests of today. The crowd must have told them they were unsociable, destitute, unkempt, unrighteous, beggarly, security risk etc. They might have indeed been all of these, but thanks to God, they could not see to know and possibly be downcast by that awareness.

They cried out the more instead, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David"
Jesus stopped and called them, saying, "What do you want me to do for you?"

My goodness! Is anything ever easy in this life? Jesus could see that they were blind, right? Of course, they needed their sight.
Why then did Jesus ask what they wanted of him? Well, lets consider our world today for a minute. Someone blind in our world today meeting Jesus might ask him for wealth. He would rationalise that with the wealth he could pay for the cure or all needed aids to make him live comfortably without sight. 

Jesus had to know from them what they really wanted. Did they just want alms or any other thing?

'They said to him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened."

Indeed, Lord, let our eyes be opened in this world. Many have sight but do not see. The eyes of our intellect, the eyes of our spirit, the eyes to see and understand the times. Lord, please let our eyes be opened that we may see the truth of what is going on in our days and that we might live with wisdom.

'And Jesus in pity touched their eyes and immediately they received their sight and followed him.'  

Lord, have pity on us too. We think we see, but we are really blinder than the physically blind. We do not know the times nor the seasons. Let our eyes be opened that we may see as we ought to that we may walk as we should, Lord. We thank you Lord.

  

4.9.13

Look Up To The Sky Always.


I lift my eyes to heaven. In this posture, I find I am always elevated above all earthly hindrances  even every other concern becomes insignificant - as I focus on heaven literally gazing up into the expanse of the sky.  The view is so vast, so reassuring that my Source is securely removed away from my physical limitations on earth.

And I remember now the wisdom in this instruction from my Father,

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust (or worm) consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matt 6:20&21) 
   
So, I sit here under the evening sky soaking into my care-ravaged and weather-beaten psyche the unspeakable peace from above. In this day where we describe ourselves by our 'kills' and accomplishment, I am privileged to say that God alone is my strength and my shield, my sufficiency. My everlasting help and confidant.

It is so liberating as I gaze up into the skies. All tension, all anxiety get drawn up, drained from me into heaven. I practically experience the casting of my burden upon the Lord who cares for me.

Looking up to the skies, I am so totally reassured that my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. Thanks, Lord. You are awesome.  



3.9.13

God Is Coming, Wait For Him.


There are days we feel like we don't want to wake up. Inspite of trying to hold up our heads in the face of all our challenges. We all see such days, when our accuser challenges our Maker to our faces and makes us wonder if, like the secular world believes, we're not being deluded.

Remember that God does not change. He is the same at all times. Know for sure that God is coming. Hold on, wait for Him. It may not yet appear what He is doing, but He is doing things. He is coming.

The question is, will He meet you standing your ground when He comes? Would you have left your watch? Would you have left your place of rendezvou?

Our human temperament often betrays us when all seems bleak and lost. We forget that God is time personified. He comes right. But we worry that the flood would flush us away before God comes round to attending to us.


God is always on time. In fact, He is always with us. It is only we have not seen Him respond the way we desire. We let our mind play tricks on us and we bring to manifest that image we fear. That is why we are encouraged in Philippians 4:6 to

' be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.'

So, we tend to want to throw in the towel. Some say, 'so to move on', 'face reality'. Whose reality? Whose report are you believing?
And where move on to? Where else can we go? We are greatly favored in this life that God found us before we were done in.

Many people are still being prevented from seeing God. And we, having been in the light, shall we regress back into darkness?
God is our confidence and trust. He has never failed anyone  counting on Him yet. If anyone thinks God has ever failed him, he is not putting his experience in the proper perspective. But for God, we would all have been consumed.

God is coming, wait for Him. Though we must know that He does not pamper His people, He does not spoil His children! We who are to assess the angels, ought we not be upstanding? Let's be patient, for He is doing so much more than we can readily see. 

What else would be wise to do but to wait, giving Him thanks and praises? Not in a patronising way, but in the full understanding that He has us covered, dwelling in His secret place.

You know, all things eventually work out for our good, for we are God's covenant people through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross. They always do, if only we would hang on there, and not leave our place.

While we wait, therefore, let us begin to do whatever good our hands find to do. It is usually difficult to wait when you are not occupied with something constructive. Let us prepare for the days ahead, as the Spirit leads us, even while we are in this backstage of life. God is coming. Lets wait for Him. 

  

2.9.13

These Are The Days of The Broadways.


It is said that destiny is not to be waited for, but rather to be achieved. I agree. Still, it is not enough reason for us to run upon any road that beckons with the promise of a better experience than we already have.

It's not okay too that many people go through life waiting for life's purpose and niche to come knocking and announcing at their doors.  They never do in many cases. Nonetheless, most people pine away waiting as life passes them bye.

A lot more people get into a flurry of activities in the name of vogue and trend without weighing how they will in the end impact their overall lives. As long as others are doing it. it goes for them. It is more so if that act has a potential to rake in money! Even where it is given that the activity in itself is not bad, some engaging in them are ill-prepared so they under-deliver and hurt the recipients.


" Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many."(Matt 7:13)

God has always shown His ability and faithfulness  to give satisfying and fulfilling success using what the bandwagon opinion has underrated or written-off. All that is needed is that you do something. And in all you're doing make sure they are acceptable to God to whom we must go accountable. And even at that, always give your best effort in all things you do.

People who have a habit of walking with God have proven that as they work out God's righteousness in the things they do all the things for which the unscrupulous compromise in this world are effortlessly added unto them as an aside.

" Enter by the narrow gate;..... For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Matt 7:14)

These are the days of the broadways. People are loving easy life more than decency and integrity, more than honor. But in the long run they give back all that they seem to have enjoyed. Very few people seem to dare to take the road less travelled any more. But that road usually is where destiny is accomplished.

Take that narrow way today, for therein lie salvation and ultimate fulfilment. Those destined to be great are already walking there!



12.3.13

When a woman dies for being fertile - a twist of our confused times!

My wife used to have a friend. I never saw her and didn't know her name. And frankly, it's now too late to care what her name was for the sake of the people who knew her. She died the week-ended 10th March, 2013. 


At a time, I was concerned about my wife's seeming attachment to this woman. She ran a store in their personal home in our neighborhood in Lagos, and my wife wouldn't buy any school snacks for our children except from her store. Being superstitious minded from my life experiences, I felt strange about that and cautioned my wife to desist from buying  things for our children solely from there. But now, too late, I find out it's women talk that bonded them. 
Unfortunately, my wife did not process the information she got from her now- late friend the way I would have; and so did nothing with it - not even tell me until now that it's too late.

My wife's friend was from an eastern Nigerian state. She was born in 1980, a twin. She was immediately taken for a wife by her husband as she was graduating from secondary/high school. She had four children for her husband, the first of which is already in a secondary school.

According to my wife, her friend had recently removed two pregnancies because she did not want to face people talking about her that she was 'breeding like a rat'! A woman who is in her husband's home? Where many others are dieing to give birth to a child?

The husband of my wife's friend runs a chain of pharmacy stores. He built the house they live in, and they keep tenants too. This is to say that he makes enough to maintain even six children!
   
Then she decided to use this family planning method whereby they insert something into the woman's mid area ( diaphram or something). The birth control method was applied wrongly and she kept going to various hospitals where they further mismanaged the complication. My wife said she recommended she went to Lagos University Teaching Hospital, but she said her husband would not let her.

My wife was told on the way by someone who lives in her late friend's house that she had passed on. She called her mobile phone, but she could tell it was her husband that switched it off when it rang! She went to her home but the woman's children, the only ones at home, had only been told that their mummy had gone to an hospital from which she would return soon! They were not told the name of the hospital. My wife ran into one of her friend's children in front of the school a day after who said they'd been told the hospital but had forgotten.

My wife recalled that her late friend once told her that a bit into her marriage a relation of her husband told her what was supposed to be a secret : her husband had previously married a woman who bore him a child. She too died. The husband never mentioned it to her before they became man and wife. She said that the relation who told her the secret died shortly afterwards! The child of the first woman was later brought into her home and she was mother to him until her passing. One needed to be told to know that the child was not hers biologically!

And so a young woman dies unto an husband that from all indication could have saved her life, but didn't. She died trying to keep herself from giving life. What a twist! What a life of confused dissatisfaction we live today! We don't want what we have, but we want what we don't have.

I feel partly responsible for her death because, if my wife had felt comfortable to talk about her friend's issues with me, I might have advised her what to counsel her friend. Then her children would not have lost their mother, nor her fostered child a second mum!

As for the husband, I think that a man who can keep himself alive while wives die on him begs inquiry! May it not be a situation of making meat of wives. It's hard to get myself to feel sorry for such a person in the light of the above points raised.

In our lawless society where people get away with gross abuse and injustice because no one stays on issues long enough to demand transparent answers, nothing can be put past people any more.
            
I wish you rest in peace, late friend of my wife, but not until you avenge your death against conspirators, if any!