Friday, 5 October 2018

God’s praise and why it matters

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God’s praise and why it matters

"I do not accept praise from men,” John 5:41 NIV

For some time now, this clear statement of Jesus has got me thinking. It has made me to have a deep reflection on what goes on in the secret places of my own heart and what should drive my life. Something inside of us craves for the praise of men. We want to be appreciated. We want approval and admiration from people around us. But from Jesus’ statement, it is obvious that wanting or seeking for the praise of men is a weakness instead of strength. In as much as it is recommended for us to show appreciation, we are not encouraged to seek for appreciation. Jesus said in our passage above that He did not accept praise from men; even when they offered it willingly to Him.

Now let us look at why Jesus did not accept men’s praise and why we should not focus our lives on them.
  •  Men’s praise can be short-sighted and blind because of man’s limitations and weakness. Our secret lives can be hid from their eyes. Our motives can be covered. Man, by nature is limited, therefore, the praise that man gives to us carries that weakness of limitation.
  • Men’s praise can be insincere and hypocritical. When they want to exploit you or to have their way. That a man sings your praise does not mean that he loves you or that he means what he is saying. 
  • Men’s praises can be deceiving because they are not accurate. They can give us a false image of ourselves. This is a very important reason why we should not depend our lives on men praise. What men are telling you may not necessarily be a true reflection of you.
  • Men’s praise can make us lose our heavenly rewards. In Matt.6., Jesus commanded us not to accept men’s praise when we do good deeds, otherwise, we will not get any heavenly reward. It therefore means that we must always stop men when they start this praise songs if we do not want to be empty-handed in heaven. This is one reason why I personally advocate for secret giving.
  •  Men’s praise can make us not to accept God’s estimate of us. Men’s praise can soothe our hearts and we say that all is well when actually all is not well. God’s estimate of you is what matters when you stand before Him and not what any man has got to say. Jesus focused His life on what the Father wanted; and so must we.
  • Men’s praise can set us up against God because it feeds the flesh. Men’s praise can make our heads to swell up. We are to push every praise that men give to us back to God who alone is worthy of all praises. When the flesh is fed, it grows big and makes us not to act in spiritual ways. The flesh will definitely meddle with the praise that is due God, which in itself can be very dangerous, hence do not accept at all. Look at what happened to Herod in Acts 12:18-24.
  • When the mirror through which you see yourself is the opinions of men, the praise of men and their estimation of you, you can be very sure that the mirror is a broken mirror with distorted images of you. You can be several times wrong.

Why do God’s praise matter?
  1. His praise brings fulfillment, wholeness, comfort and real validation. In as much as it is good for husbands and wives to appreciate one another as a way to encourage good needs, you will be a very unfulfilled person in this world if you depend your life on the praise of your partner. The Master’s well done is enough and guarantees sharing in His happiness. In Matt.25: 19-21 and as a matter of fact in many other parables of the kingdom, the commendation of the Master is what matters in determining the final destiny of the servants.
  2. His opinion, estimate is the correct opinion. The truth about you and your circumstances can only be defined by God. Only He can tell who you are and what you are, your worth and your value. It doesn’t matter the opinions of others.
  3. He is both the King and the Judge. His opinion is the only opinion that will survive both for now and for eternity when all other opinions become irrelevant. He is a major witness in His court. His testimony / witness is weightier than any other. The Father’s testimony mattered to Jesus. John 5: 34-44.

If God’s praise matter, then what?
  1.        We will obey Him because He alone matters.
  2.        We will focus on our lives purpose and assignment on Him because He has the final say.
  3.        We will be men driven by conviction because His opinion alone matters.
  4.        We will prepare ourselves for meeting with Him because His judgment matters. 


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Thursday, 13 September 2018

A Letter to Men of God by Ven. Augustine Chukwubikem Ezeigwe

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This was shared by Echi Nwogu but I think that it is a very timely elderly counsel by this seasoned man of God, the Venerable Augustine Chukwubikem Ezeigwe.

Dear Man of God,
If nobody tells you this truth, please you should not fail to always remind yourself: A man of God is not God, he is a man! In essence, at your highest flow in the Spirit, you are yet a man, and you will ever be a man. It is unfortunate that people, out of ignorance, tend to treat men of God as if they are spirits who don’t live in a human body. I tell you, Sir (and so I say to myself also), if people accord you such 'honour' as of divinity, no matter how greatly God is using you among them, please be wise, humble and reasonable enough to reject such. Why? That is no longer honour, but worship and it is dangerous for your life. It is capable of making you a Man Off God.
Yes, the Bible asks people to give honour to whom it is due, and by virtue of your labour, you are one of such (Rom. 13:7). For leading well, you should even be counted worthy of double honour (1 Tim. 5:17). But you must not forget that there is a difference between honour and worship. Many times, what people give to men of God (and what many men of God quietly demand of the people) is worship, not honour. Men like Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:11-18), who knew the implications of being hero-worshipped, quickly tore their clothes and cried against such. As Cornelius, fell down to worship him, Peter said: "...Stand up; I myself also am a man." (Acts 10:25-26). Sir, you, yourself also, are a man!
It is worship for people to assume (and for you, as a man of God, to present yourself so) that you have answers to all troubles in life. When people saddle you with their numerous issues, please learn to point them to God or other people who could be of great help to them. Ironically, many pastors are not wise enough to say No to church members whose lives will continue if they drop dead. Members have toothache, they go to the pastor; they have menstral pains, they go to the pastor; they want to build house, they go to the pastor, as if the man is built to solve every problem. And, sadly, to prove that you are a superstar, with the hidden fear of losing your fame or honour among them, you also fail to embrace the use of professionals (trained in these areas).
I ask you, precious servant of God, what stops you, when you know that your own marriage is in danger, to take a back seat and allow a church member, whose marriage is a model, take the message on a Sunday that marriage is meant to be discussed? When you know that, that sister, though not ordained, is a proven financial manager (by life and ministry), what stops you from excusing the pulpit for her when critical issues on finances are to be discussed? Might I remind you, Sir, that you are actually not built to solve every problem. Matter-of-fact, you are like an entrepreneur coordinating the various factors of production. Please, note that in your congregation, there are many MOGs who are not answering to any title.
Sir, what task would you give Bill Gates if he were your church member, born again and spirit-filled? Or, you would go ahead to preach on the topic, the "Nitty-Gritty of Social Media," when you have Bro. Mark Zuckerbeg in your church? It is only God Who is omniscience - the All-Knowing; man of God, you are not and you must not try to pretend that you are or allow people make you one. Recently, I found a wisdom from an elder and I realised later that it is one major reason the men of old lasted in the hands of God, as far as His work is concerned. This wisdom is called SELF-EFFACING! In all you do, as a man of God, let Christ deface you, for Him alone to be seen. Sir, seek to promote Christ and His kingdom alone, not yourself. What l say to you, I say to myself. May God help us

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Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The Christian's response to Marie Stopes Family Planning for the unmarried sexually active women

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Marie Stopes, through their Country Director in Nigeria, Mr Effiong Nyong, advised sexually active single women to embrace the use of Family Planning methods in order to prevent unwanted pregnancy. This is reported in The Nations Online. He made a case for unmarried sexually active single women to avail themselves of the opportunity of the services of their NGO to obtain both short-term and long-term Family Planning methods. As a way of explanation, to be sexually active means engaging in "sexual activities that involve penetration of the penis into the vagina or the anus". So when Mr. Effiong canvases for sexually active single women to obtain Family Planning methods, it means women who are not married but are actively having sex outside wedlock obtaining Family Planning methods that will enable them to continue in their lifestyle without getting pregnant.

This sounds very absurd and shows desperation on the part of this non-governmental organization to push their agenda and ensure that sex is liberalized and all the consequences of sexual acts, in this case by unmarried women, are down-played or removed. The absurdity of this campaign shows in the title of the write up itself, "Family Planning good for unmarried sexually active women". What has an unmarried woman got to do with family planning? Which family is she planning? She is single; she is not married, hence cannot plan for any family in this context. The key word is 'family'. It becomes obvious that the problem is not how to control birth or number of children but how to validate a lifestyle. Pregnancy is one of the things that can result after sex, hence when an unmarried person is engaging in sex, he/she should bear in mind that this act can result in pregnancy.

The Bible teaches us that sexual activity is to be carried out only within the confines of marriage, where there is commitment, trust and care. (1 Cor.6:18-20). Sexual activity outside of marriage is called fornication, adultery and uncleanliness. (Gal.5:19).

Any attempt to encourage sex outside of marriage or to minimize its consequences is actually ungodly and in pursuance of anti-Christ agenda who opposes God's purposes. That is what this piece of advise from Marie Stopes is set to achieve. It tells people that it does not matter what anybody thinks about it, you can continue in your illicit sexual lifestyle, as long as you can avoid unwanted pregnancies by using our Family Planning methods, everything will be fine. But that is very far from the truth. Everything will not just be fine. Never be deceived into thinking that you can violate God's laws and stipulations, live against God's purposes and at last be free from the consequences of your choices. (1 Cor.10:8).

Choosing to be sexually active while not married is choosing to live against God's commandments. It is choosing your pleasure above God's laws. It is being hedonistic which means engaging in the pursuit of pleasure at all cost even above reason. While we do not have anything against married people planning their FAMILY with the services of Marie Stopes, as servants of God, we condemn this promotion targeting unmarried women. God wants His people to be holy and His people must read in-between the lines and abhor anything that will bring defilement to their bodies and eventually  disqualify them before God. Holiness still pays both for now and for eternity while immoral lifestyle has its consequences also both for now and for eternity. God bless.

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Bishop Avenya spoke truth to Vice President Osinbajo

Sphere: Related Content This video was posted by Akume Raphael. I love the boldness with which Bishop Avenya spoke. I hope that other Church Leaders will follow his example instead of following politicians for filthy lucre.

Nigeria is bleeding and our leaders seem to carry on as if nothing is happening. They make empty promises as we wait for the next attack. Please continue to pray for this country.
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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Bishop Cyril Okorocha steps out of the Cathedral in style

Sphere: Related Content I am thrilled seeing this symbolic action from the former Bishop of Owerri, Bishop Cyril Okorocha. If we are not careful, our hearts may be deceived and we forget that every power is transient.


Video provided by Ven. Echi Nwogu

One of His academic mentors, Prof. Andrew Walls, a renowned World Missiologist, Historian and Social Anthropologist, describes Dr. Cyril as 

“A meticulous Scholar of an extraordinary intellect, integrity and giftedness, very articulate and yet endowed with a down to earth and thoroughly humane pastoral heart which seems to exude with the loving presence of the spirit of the Living God which touches everyone around him with a graciousness which can only be described as coming from his Lord, Jesus Christ whom Cyril always says is everything to him”.

 When I gave my life Christ in the late eighties, it was the Follow-up Series developed by this Bishop, then a Reverend gentleman, that we used for our Young Believers' Class. He was then at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. Testimonies abound on how he served his people, making sacrifices and leading by example. There is a story of how he rejected monetary gift from the Governor Rochas Okorocha, who he asked to go and use the money to pay the Pensioners. Even as he is retiring, when some of the Bishops are squeezing their Dioceses dry using all kinds of means with the help of their yes-men, a send-forth colloquium was organized for Bishop Okorocha where some well-wishers gave him some gifts and he is grateful to God. I pray that God will take care of him even in this retirement. Please pray for him.

Reference

Brief profile of Bishop Cyril Chukwunonyerem Okorocha, Anglican Diocese of Owerri, Online: http://owerrianglican.blogspot.com/2016/08/brief-profile-of-bishop-cyril.html (Accessed 13/06/18)

Nigeria is boiling – Anglican Bishop, Vanguard Online:
https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/06/nigeria-boiling-anglican-bishop/ (Accessed 13/06/18)


Life as a Nigerian Bishop, Jesse Zink, Online: https://jessezink.com/2011/06/11/life-as-a-nigerian-bishop/
(Accessed 13/06/18)







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