Thursday, 22 June 2017

Think On It

One of the many things I have learnt in life is to think deeply; to consider and/or turn things over in my mind. I must admit though that I sometimes over think things, which can be bad too; but, in my opinion, not as bad as not thinking enough before we act or speak. I still make a lot of mistakes because I sometimes make jokes that are often misconstrued, so I have to try even harder. It is easy to think the people around you understand you so well that you can’t be misunderstood but it is not always so. Many relationships and even lives have been destroyed because someone didn’t think enough. It is also very easy to assume that because one was emotional, it is okay for them to speak without thinking, but the impact of those words spoken in that emotional state may be irreparable. It is human to be emotional but we have to think before we speak and when we are too tired to think, I suggest it is best to remain quiet; indeed one may be considered smarter than they are just because their words are few. Furthermore, it is wise to do so because God counsels that we do so and there is none wiser than the He in whom wisdom resides. If He counsel that we be slow to speak then it must be the right thing to do.

James 1: 19 “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to angry.

Our God is deep and thoughtful. One of the things that is revealed about God in His Word, is the fact that He thinks things through. If God did not want us to know that He thinks then He would not share with us some of the process that led to Him making certain decisions. The bible lets us into His thoughts concerning the destruction of Gomorrah and several other such things. God lets us know that He puts all the information available to Him together and weighs them before He makes His final decisions. He truly is one who weighs all actions. In weighing actions, He is thinking enough. He listens well and processes the information He has before making the decisions which He speaks. God is letting us know that we have to be deliberate even about the things we say. Sometimes, we speak so many words that it is apparent we do not remember that those words would be called up at that crucial point of judgment. If and whenever we find that we spoke without thinking, we must take responsibility for our many words. Let us think enough to be certain that what we communicate is what we intend to communicate. Our hearts can be judged from our words so think on it enough to have the right thought in your heart. We owe it to ourselves to ourselves to think through before we speak or act.

1 Samuel 2: 3b “For the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed (examined).”

Mathew 12: 34b “For whatever is in your heart determines what say.”

So becoming like God is also thinking things over or enough. There are women who think it’s a sign of femininity to say things that are obviously not thought through. Such ladies don’t think much before they speak and as a result often sound very silly. I daresay that it is another lie of satan; part of his agenda to ruin God’s creation. How can the help fit for anyone be made an unthinking being? Our God is all wise; He definitely did not make women to be unthinking beings. The godly woman is a deep thinking woman out of whose mouth comes wisdom and not craftiness or silliness; hence this woman is not crafty nor timid but confident, powerful and operating with a very sound mind like any other child of God yet very controlled. Refuse to allow anyone make you feel you are strange just because you think enough. You have a sound mind and you are meant to use it.

Proverbs 12: 23 “The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their foolishness.”

Proverbs 22: 3 “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes on blindly and suffers the consequences.”

Indeed King David, who wrote most of the Psalms, was a deep thinking man who would often commune with his heart. In a number of the Psalms he wrote, he was deliberate about making us think even more on them so he would often write the word “selah” which is translated “think on this”. We have made many bad decisions because we didn’t think enough on a thing or we acted before we thought through and it was too late to “take it back”. The prudent man thinks way ahead of whatever he perceives would happen. Some things have to be thought through and decisions reached before one faces a situation that one has perceived is in the future. When God gave us a mind and/or will, I guess one of the reasons is for us to think. God wouldn’t even force or compel us to follow despite that He wanted us so much He sent His only Son to die. He wants it to be for us an act of will so that it is a thought through decisions to love Him. It is an act of will. Something we elect to do. If He would let us think through that, then He must want us thinking. We are thinking beings though, as is often said, too much of everything is bad.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Learn From Ammon

We must be careful to counsel one another correctly just as we must be careful where we seek counsel and what counsel we accept. Now more than ever before, our counsellors are just as important as us listening. This also suggest that we have to be careful who our friends are because we listen to them. It is only normal to hear those we spend a lot of time with even without any intention to do so. It is only natural to hear voices that consistently speak around one yet we can’t afford to listen to just anyone. We must prayerfully choose who we listen to especially when it comes to issues that pertain life. Indeed, every decision is important and sometimes they may not just affect the decision maker, but several others too so that a decision based on bad counsel may also impact on several others changing lives for the worst forever. Ammon, king David’s son who fell in love with his sister and loved her so much he fell ill, could not have intentionally ruined his family and set himself up to die. Not even the evil friend and counsellor, his cousin, gave much thought to the consequences of his counsel; and like him, we also often do not give much thought to the consequences of our wrong counsel.

2 Samuel 13: 2a & 3a “Ammon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill … but Ammon had a very crafty friend-his cousin Jonadab.”

I believe that at that point in time, both the counsellor and Ammon were only thinking of themselves and the pleasure of getting exactly what they wanted when they wanted it and in the way they wanted it. I guess it is not the worst thing in the world to long for a thing but we must learn that not all we long for should or would be ours. Even when some of these things are within our reach, the fact that we can’t have them is a reality, one we must accept from time to time. Ammon knew his longing was wrong but he had never learnt contentment or self-control. He never learnt enough discipline to hold back when he longed for something he could not have. It is easy to talk about Ammon but believers are doing just whatever we long to do these days despite the Word of God and/or the Holy Spirit. Indeed, some still get raped by believers today under the pretext that the women wanted the sex but this is because the rapist is so self-consumed and/or absorbed, he chooses to believe in the lie he has told himself. The truth is such people are only too desperate to have what they want despite the consequences. They also would have found counsellors for themselves, who are like them and share the same spirit Shimeah.

2 Samuel 13: 5 “Well. Jonadab said, I’ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are ill. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you’ll feel better if she prepares it as you watch and feeds you with her own hands.”

Ammon did not want to control the evil longing for his sister; instead, he allowed his desire control him and for everyone that thinks the fact that “we could not help ourselves” makes an evil thing okay, Ammon and his family endured the terrible consequences of his action. Self – control is absolutely important if we must fulfill our destiny. No wonder God counsels that we need this fruit of the Holy Spirit. Ammon could have had several other women but he wanted this very one and wanted her right away so could not wait to marry her. It is sad to observe that though Shimeah’s family did not suffer as a result of his counsel, it was the beginning of a lot of pain for David’s family. It is therefore, of utmost importance that we learn self-control and contentment even if we were not taught it by our families. It is never too late to learn it as the Holy Spirit indwelling us has that virtue in His nature.

2 Peter 1: 5 “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control…”

It is okay to appreciate a good thing and not have it. It is okay to appreciate what God is doing in any other life and not attempt to ruin it because it isn’t happening in yours. Please let us stop counselling one another wrongly. We must be able to remind ourselves that we can’t have all we want and even if we will have it, it may not be at the time we want it. It is time to remind ourselves of things like self-control. We don’t have to bring down one another. The pleasure derived from evil never last long. It never measures up to the pain caused.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Listen… You Need Understanding

Recently, in the course of a conversation with my Pastor, I recalled David’s last conversation with Solomon before he passed on and I have since given it a lot of thought. I realized that Solomon already started showing signs of wisdom and understanding before he was crowned king. Apart from the fact that God already chose him, he seemed in my opinion, to be the only one of David’s sons, who acted appropriately enough to enter that office. So that though the prophetic word concerning his destiny had been spoken, he walked appropriately enough to ensure that word came to pass. His discussion with David just before David died, gives some insight into the person that Solomon was. It showed him to be a man who listened carefully and as such, had great understanding. David appeared to be giving him uncompleted instructions concerning different people but Solomon understood him and knew what he was expected to do concerning each person and/or instruction. Indeed, David also showed that he trusted him enough to let him exercise his discretion with regard to dealing with the persons that he needed to deal with and he obviously exercised the discretion correctly.

1 Kings 2: 6a “…do with him what you think best…”

1 Kings 2: 9 “… you are a wise man, and you will know how to arrange…”

Though David’s words were few, Solomon obviously did not miss out anything. He heard his father’s heart in those very few words and made the right decisions regarding each person showing that he had good judgment. There is something about paying earnest attention. It helps us hear even what is left unsaid accurately “reading between the lines.” Sadly, we very often don’t pay attention enough to hear the things that are left unsaid but therein often lies the little details that help our understanding so that we may respond appropriately. Understanding is so important that God counsels in His word that we get understanding. In asking us to get understanding, God is letting us know that it is our job to develop it. It is not done for us; neither is it taught us; but it is our responsibility to get it. The skill and/or ability to make good judgment is already freely given by God, we just need to sharpen it and we have the Holy Spirit to help us.

Proverbs 4: 5 “Get wisdom; develop good judgment.”

Proverbs 4: 7 “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgement.”

To get understanding, one needs to be able to hear and also listen. We need our hearing sharpened and patience to listen that we may hear what is left unsaid and hear it correctly. According to Oxford dictionary, to listen is to “pay attention to” whilst to hear is to “perceive with the ear the sound made by someone or something”. Many of us hear but don’t listen so how can we then make wise decisions? We remain timid and/or immature because we do not have understanding. We often are either not open to receiving any information because our minds are already made up or we believe we are correct or our attention span is just short so we don’t listen long enough to even take in any new information. We must begin to listen again. We must take control of our minds and ensure that it does not stray when it should be listening. Indeed our difficulty with listening is some of the reasons we are unable to access the hidden treasure in the word of God that would move us forward. One has to pay earnest attention to the God’s word to increase in wisdom and understanding. When the bible talks about ‘hearing and hearing’, it is talking about listening enough to take in information.

2 Timothy 1: 7 “For God has not given us a Spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

If we would listen enough, we would discern more accurately and be saved a lot of trouble. Just imagine what would have happened if Solomon did not really understand David, I am certain that some other persons would have counselled him out of his instructions and they may do so out of ‘love’ for him. Indeed even his mother almost misled him in asking him to let Abishag be given to his brother Absalom. Understanding makes one bold and confident as against a lack of it which makes one nervous and confused strengthening one’s flesh. Please get understanding and it is your decision.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Do Not ‘Replace Sheer’ Grace With ‘Sheer License’

I definitely cannot claim to be old enough to be numbered amongst those who have a head full of white hairs; but I do have a few of my own and have seen enough seasons of life to know without a shadow of doubt that God’s word is unchanging. His word is so settled, not even His grace can change The Word and I am eternally grateful for that. The unchanging nature of His word makes it easier to have confidence in and/or trust Him completely. His stability is something everyone needs and even more so now as the word becomes more unstable. It gives me great pleasure and joy to serve a God whose word does not always require authentication. God authenticates His word Himself. This is all some of the reasons we have hope. We are certain that He is not playing games with us so that we can trust Him enough to look forward to the coming to pass of that which He has said. No wonder the bible says Hope will not fail: How can it, when it is in a God whose word is certain forever?
Romans 5: 5 “And this hope will not lead to disappointment.”

Psalm 119: 89 “Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven.”

It is therefore sad to find that there are those who would like to make nonsense of this word and yet claim to depend on it as well as being lovers of God. These are indeed, “perilous times” when we must live deliberately and carefully so that we are not swayed from The Truth. The truth is under attack from all fronts, within and outside the church, we just must be careful what we accept. The gospel that was once handed down is still the only gospel. Jesus Christ who came to teach and/or share this truth, has not returned to teach another and will not return until He comes for His bride. So where are all these strange gospels which permit us to live carelessly come from? These gospels we now enjoy which only talk about benefits leaving out responsibilities creating the impression that since Christ bore all the consequences of our wrong, we can continue in wrong doing since we once invited Jesus Christ into our lives. We have a big problem.

Romans 6: 1 – 2a “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? Of course not!”

Jude 3b - 4 “I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into our churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.”

God’s word clearly tells that Jesus Christ took away the sting of sin so that anyone who accepts to cede authority of their life to Him, compels sin to let go of their lives thereby breaking the power or control of sin, and enjoy the benefit of doing so. This entire process requires God’s help from the beginning to the end and that help is in the person of The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s presence in our lives and the help He releases to facilitate our living the way and doing the things God desires, is grace. It is the strength to do what God would have us to do or live the way God would have us live. Grace never contradicts the power of God; instead it facilitates our becoming like God. Wherever God is revealed, grace is present because it is one of the things that make Him who is. It is a characteristic of God; for He is full of grace. It is therefore a little disconcerting to find some who want to create another gospel which they call the gospel of grace. There is only one gospel and upon which our faith is built; that gospel is one of grace and is rooted in the cross. To gain full access to and enjoy the benefits of grace, we must also come through the cross.

Hebrews 13: 13 “So let us go out to Him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore.”

We must be very careful and sensitive as believers otherwise we would be deceived. God already warns us in His word that there would be a lot of deception in the last days so please look out for yourself. There is a lot going on “in the name of the Lord” but recall that we were already warned when He said some would come telling how they did a lot in His name and they would still be turned away so it is much more than doing things in His name; it is more of how much we let Him live in and do things through us. Our faith is not complicated; it is simple as our God is. Hence, God says not many wise or noble make success of this faith.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Set Your Priorities Correctly ... For Your Success

Keeping up with writing articles for my blog has not been the easiest thing especially in the past few weeks. The several things that compete for my time daily have made it a real struggle; yet, it is something I believe I should do and writing it gives me great pleasure. The truth is, we only have twenty-four hours in one day so there will always be several different things competing for our attention. The things we choose to do each day, to a large extent, determine whether or not we will make a success of life. If we neglect the ones that are of utmost importance for those that could wait or can even be left undone, then we have major challenges. Setting our priorities right daily is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves daily. From day to day, our order of priorities may change and not necessarily because any particular ‘to do’ is less important than the other but at a particular time or day, one thing is most needful and it is important to make the right judgement call as to what is most needful and do it. We must learn to prioritize correctly.  
James 4: 17 “Remember it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”

To not do what is right is bad inspite of the excuse or reasoning that made one postpone. To not even know what to do is worse which is why God gave us a guide in the person of the Holy Spirit who would always let us know what we ought to do. As I get older, I realize more and more that prioritizing correctly is a must for success in life. Even prioritizing correctly when to speak can make or mar a request. It is of utmost importance to know what is appropriate and the appropriate time to do the appropriate. Prioritizing wrongly can be very costly and may cause irreparable damage. Though Esther understood the magnitude of the problems the Jews faced, she realized that she need to seek God and His counsel for her to have good success with the King Ahasuerus.

Proverbs 3: 27 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power …”

Hebrews 5: Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Good is not necessarily nice; it is the most appropriate thing, done or said at the most appropriate time. Something may be nice but inappropriate and as such, not good. A good thing done at the wrong time, may become very wrong. Prioritizing correctly is our responsibility and a major one. It is one of those things God won’t do for us. He does all that is required to help us correctly determine what is needful, including even giving us a Helper in the person of The Holy Spirit; but He will not make that judgment call for us. To priories correctly, God has left us to engage our brains whilst remaining connected to our God given Helper who would provide us with enough information and grace to aid us as we prioritize. If we allow Him guide us, He would ensure that we do things in the right order.  Indeed a wise man is not often the man who knows everything but one who knows enough to appropriately discern what is right to say or do in the moment. It is not always right because it sounds nice. There is an appropriate time for everything; it is best to act when it is right to do so and/or speak when it is right to do so. Any act out of its season cannot be in sync.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1 “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

Prioritizing correctly starts with giving God His rightful place. If God is in charge in any life, we are guided right. He takes the job of being Lord seriously. His reason for taking on that job in any life that yields to Him is to ensure that such lives come to “and expected end” which is always good because God never does evil so that everything orchestrated by Him for His children is good. The fact that He is Lord in a life suggests that the life is fully yielded to Him and does not resist Him. It takes a deliberateness to yield to God and remain yielded to Him. To have Him and our relationship with Him at the very top of our priority is not something that happens carelessly because there are several other things competing for that place. We must make effort to ensure that our relationship with Him always has pride of place in our lives. When believers do not prioritize their relationship with God correctly, most of their decisions would be wrong and they would ultimately end up less than God planned for them. Let us reorder our priorities if need be, that we may fulfill our destiny.  

Friday, 28 April 2017

The Background Is Also As Powerful A Stage …

I have missed writing these articles. What started as a short break almost became permanent; but for “that reminder phone call”. In my mind, I became too busy to write even when there was something in my spirit to share. Let me share this little information- blogging was never my idea. If you have been blessed by any of the articles we put out here, it may interest you to know that I only started writing these articles because I was prodded so hard, I had no option but to write. My “prodder” created my Facebook page and my blog. Despite her very busy job schedule and responsibilities as believer, wife, mother and sister, she posted my blog for several years and only stopped because I insisted it was too much work for her, along with her several other commitments. Interestingly, her name would not appear anywhere on my blog except as a commentator neither would you see her name written on my Facebook page as the woman who put it together but it is my firm belief that for every positive impact made on any life by any of the blog articles, heaven smiles at her also. She also made that call reminding me that one or more people miss the articles; again pushing to ensure that I continue writing.

1 Corinthians 12: 12 “The body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body.”

John 14: 16ESV “And I will ask The Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever”

In this role, she reminds me of the Holy Spirit, an ever present Help, who though unseen, has a very strong presence. Interestingly, He never struggles to be seen. Anyone who ignores Him, will discover that it is not wise to do so; but if one relies on Him, they will be blessed. His presence in any life makes a huge difference if such persons are able to allow themselves take advantage of His presence. Isn’t it interesting that God would make such a ‘powerful Help’ unseen? Despite that He is often at work doing awesome things in and through us, He remains silent making us appear much smarter than we are and leaving us the option of whether or not to acknowledge Him. Though it is best to acknowledge Him, even when we deem to forget to do so, He remains committed to helping us. He seems to me that perfect example of the unprofitable servant whom we ought to be.

Luke 17: 10 “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, we are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.”

1 Corinthians 12: But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where He wants it.”

So today, I write for all those whose God given roles place them seemingly “behind the scenes.” I write for all who think they have been slaving away to ensure that someone else “looks good” on their God given stage and are now feeling frustrated. You are as powerful and blessed as the person who is out there. For every good word spoken about the person out there for all they do, heaven is pleased with you. You are just as useful as that person and who knows, you may just be sowing seeds toward your own future “stage appearances” because you would also need people to help you make it perfect. How would you have ever known what it takes if you never had the experience that gives you room to see the difficulties without the pain that comes from making mistakes whilst on the public stage. There is so much to learn which can’t learnt with a bitterness filled heart. Your role is no less; it is also a stage albeit one behind the scenes. Your strength adds to increase the strength of the one whom you facilitate. Please note that the more public stage isn’t just those in public offices or roles; the public stage is any role that puts one “out there” whether it be husband, boss and or any other role that requires us to work to ensure that another succeeds at their God given responsibilities whilst we remain unseen.

1 Corinthians 12: 22b & 24b ESV “On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable … but God has composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it.”

I want to remind you today that the one with whom we have to deal is indeed a rewarder. Not only is He very mindful of all we do when we do them as ‘unto the Lord,’ He also rewards. Though His reward may seem to take a little longer than it should, be assured that it will come. It is impossible for Him to forget to reward us. Just as I close, I think it is only fair that I let you know the lady who set me on this path - Bola Essien Nelson. May God bless you. Thank you.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

THE MAN SAMUEL PART 1

This was a man given to God. His mother desperately sought a child from God who gave her Samuel. It is worthy of note that she waited on the Lord despite the pain she felt from all she went through from Peninnah’s torment. Peninnah and her children deliberately sought to make Hannah’s life miserable for the fact that she had no children. She felt so bad that all the love her husband showed her did not make her happy. At some point her husband got so frustrated with her that he asked her if he his love wasn’t enough for her. Her unspoken response was revealed in her turning to the Lord thereafter; she obviously realized that his love could not meet her need. Indeed, only God can satisfy the deep yearnings of man’s heart. So, she prayed for herself; nobody can pray for you like you. At best, their prayers will add to increase the strength of yours. Waiting on the Lord is sometimes a long and uncomfortable journey but it is personal and God will come through at the appointed time. The journey only last for a while.

1 Samuel 1: 8 “Why are you crying, Hannah? Elkanah asked. Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children. You have me – isn’t that better than having ten sons?”

Isaiah 54: 6 “For the Lord has called you back from your grief-as though you were a young wife abandoned by your husband… For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will call you back”

Hannah realized that it would take more than her husband to change her circumstance; for he was but a man and as such, was limited in his ability to meet her need. Only God could give her a child though the child would come through the natural process which involved both of them. It sometimes gets tough waiting on a God whom we don’t see physically. Even when we hear His voice, man’s mind is so vile it would even attempt to question the authenticity of the voice and even if He chose to appear physically as God, satan working through our minds may give us reasons to question the reality of what one saw. It is indeed easy to look to mere mortal for what only God can do and somewhat take-out one’s frustration on that mortal. We must adjust our expectations from man. Such expectation has led people to unknowingly worship man. Spiritually powerful as any man may be, He is not God. At the end of the day, you will be disappointed. Such disappointments have negatively impacted on some people’s mental wellbeing and even destroyed some others. Thank God she was able to turn to God in god time.

1 Samuel 1: 10 – 11 “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed unto the Lord. And she made this vow: O lord of heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for His entire lifetime …”

When she turned to God only, we are told that He answered and gave her Samuel first. He could have given her twins straight up since He intended to give her other children but He does as He pleases. Interestingly “as He pleases” always is tied to what is best for us. Our God is so mindful of us that whatever pleases Him always includes what is best for us. He will not use anyone without blessing them even when He knows that the blessing may be abused. It is not in His nature to take people for granted. He desires commitment but will not force or compel anyone. Obviously, Hannah’s heart was in the right place. After having waited for a child for so long, what mother would so willingly give Him to the Lord even whilst He was yet a child trusting the Lord to care for Him? How her heart must have ached; yet her desire to give God something that meant everything to her was stronger than her longing for self- satisfaction. I wonder how much we can let go of for God; yet we want the blessings that Hannah had. The strength of her prayer rested in what she was able to give up for God and her sacrifice was rewarded. For some, the day Hannah left her baby in the temple would have been a day of great grief and regret. No doubt she would have missed Him and had her fears as to what may become of him seeing Eli’s children were evil; but none of that was enough to stop her leaving Him behind. Her desire to give God what she thought was worthy was stronger than her need to please herself.

Hebrews 6: 10 “For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to Him…”

Elkanah also, was a man who feared God and met His religious obligations toward God. He must also have consented to Hannah giving their son to the Lord despite the possibility that he may be her only son – the wife he loved deeply. It is against this background that the man Samuel was born.