Friday, 25 March 2016

Boaz - "The righteous shall not make haste".

"Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning." Ruth 3:12-13 NIV.

In our previous post here, we looked at the high moral strength exhibited by Boaz and how every Christian, especially leaders have to take it up as a challenge and resolve to live above board. We concluded in that post with the words "Don't give up. Fight and win because your purity is God's will. You can make it. This is meant to encourage all men to pursue excellence and purity in their relationships; pursue purity in their thoughts and conducts. We can win; we can overcome if we believe, no matter what is going on around us today". In the midst of the moral decadence we are experiencing today, you can still remain a Christian if you want. You can live a holy live if you want.

We are not yet done with the life of the man, Boaz. We want to highlight the self-control he showed and his willingness to follow the established rules, even though he had the opportunity to violate them with bold face. After he listened to Ruth, he asked her to "stay here for the night" and the record continues "So she lay at his feet until morning" Ruth 3:14, and yet she left him that morning still intact the way she met him. God will help us to begin to live in ways that will restore trust and moral integrity that Christians are known for. God will help us as leaders to model this kind of moral strength to both our children and our congregations who watch us day by day. Moral failure can deal a great blow to the faith of our children and those we mentor, even when we have sincerely repented ourselves.

Look at the passage above again and observe how Boaz was ready to wait for the kinsman-redeemer who was closer to Ruth's late husband than himself to make up his mind on whether he would marry Ruth or not. Imagine that if the man was interested in Ruth, Boaz would have missed the opportunity to marry her. He would have lost out despite all the help he had given to her, yet he did not mind. The help he gave to her had not attachments. The attitude was "if she is mine, I will definitely have her, but if she is not  mine, let the will of God be done". "...he that believeth shall not make haste" Isa.28:16b KJV. This fundamental Christian attitude is scarce today among us. We violate ethics, break codes of conduct and oaths of office because of our ambitions. Christian leaders who compare themselves with others push the church member unjustly so as to get the kind of financial wealth they desire; 'no time to waste', 'now or never'. In fact, today if you pray "Lord let your will be done" some people will look at you as if you do not have 'faith'. Boaz was ready to wait for the right thing to be done, even taking a step that makes him vulnerable.

Finally another thing to learn from Boaz is his carefulness to avoid scandal from something he was doing with his whole heart. He made effort to ensure that onlookers did not misunderstand him, even though his heart was free and he did not commit any sin. Ruth was made to leave very early in the morning before anyone could be recognized and he told her "Don't let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor". Though he did not have anything to hide, he was still concerned not to have a scandal around his life. There are many things that can be out of our control, however, we are expected to play our part in things within our control. When I hear some arguments put up by some Christian leaders who travel alone with a member of the opposite sex for programs and conferences, some leaving their spouses behind at home, I cannot help but to really wonder where we learned such carelessness from. We allow and even engage in careless jests and relationships and when scandals eventually break out, we are left only to start explaining and defending ourselves. In most cases, scandals move faster than your explanations. Careless lifestyles can cause us problem when we allow them and they will affect the effectiveness of our Gospel testimony.

Boaz was indeed a man of honour. Let's learn from his life. In part 3 of this series, I will be sharing a few lessons from the life of the kinsman-redeemer.
God bless you as you celebrate the Good Friday.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016



Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,

A few weeks ago, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) issued a statement titled THE NEED TO PRESERVE THE PEACE AND UNITY OF NIGERIA. Of concern to the Christian Elders is the deteriorating state of national security, the free fall state of the economy, the inflammation of religious tension through the misappropriation of state powers, a worrisome foreign policy that is evidently skewed in favor of Islamization, as well as the increasing impunity of the Fulani herdsmen, amongst many other issues.

The National Christian Elders Forum was established by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to make statements in defense of Christianity in Nigeria, as well as promote peace and unity among Christians and Nigerians, as a whole. The NCEF is made up of Christian Elders from the six geo-political zones in the country.
In the build up to the 2015 elections, majority of Nigerians expressed great hope that there would be CHANGE in the nation. However, ten months after the new government was sworn into office, credible apprehension can be expressed given the policy direction of the new administration. We hope that the buildup to these policies do not result in full blown Sharia which President Muhammadu Buhari had promised Muslims in Nigeria.
A number of worrisome issues readily come to mind:
a)      The apparent disregard for the Constitution, by Mr. President in many instances. For example, N900 billion was released in bailout package for states without Appropriation, the government was run for five months without a Cabinet, international commitment are being made without recourse to the National Assembly. All these are acts violating the Constitution.
b)     Including Nigeria in the Saudi Arabia Military Coalition of “Muslim/Arab” nations would appear that the Foreign Policy thrust of the present administration is to make Nigeria a satellite state of Saudi Arabia. The strengthening of the nation’s democracy and security for all should remain the greatest priority of Government. This we see to have been negated by the President’s fiat/unilateral decision to enlist Nigeria in the 34 nations Muslim/Arab coalition. Given the emotive and sensitive nature of this unilateral Executive decision, it should have been handled by Mr. President in line with our democratic culture through popular discussion and participation by the citizenry, or at the very least, through the National Assembly.
c)      Attempt to fund deficit in the 2016 Budget through issuance of Sukkuk loan which is a “Sharia compliant loan.” Nigeria is not a Sharia compliant nation.
d)     The consideration of establishing “free visa” arrangement with Islamic D8 nations. These countries are: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey, and of course, Nigeria.
e)      The apparent Islamization of key security positions in the country.
f)       The apparent disdain and contempt of Mr. President for Christians in Nigeria as demonstrated during his interview on Al – Jazeera on the objection of Christians to Nigeria’s involvement in the Saudi led Military Coalition to fight ISIS.

We wish to remind Mr. President that he was brought to power through the votes of Nigerians, Christians inclusive. Mr. President should kindly remember that the over 50% non-Muslims in Nigeria did not vote for the nation to transmute into a Sharia compliant nation. Mr. President assured Nigerians that he is “a convert” to democracy but we are disturbed by the direction of his administration.
We are aware that there are presently Islamists in Government prepared to execute the Islamization Agenda. Any nation in which Islamists believe that they are sufficiently strong to exercise influence rarely experience peaceful cohabitation amongst the divergent groups within it. This is the current situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the Sudan. Islamism thrives on injustice, inequality and unfairness. We urge Nigerians to remain circumspect so that the Islamists do not drag the nation down the path of destruction.
We wish to express tremendous shock at the proposed Kaduna State Religious Bill. The proposed Bill contravenes Section 38 (1) of the 1999 Constitution. We should remind the Government of Kaduna State that religion is personal and no one has the right to legislate on how individuals worship. We call on the Kaduna State Governor to retrace his steps from this ill-advised venture.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Boaz - The moral challenge

"Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning." Ruth 3:13 NIV.

The passage above was Boaz's response to what we may call Ruth's 'marriage proposal' to him. There are many things we can learn from the life of Boaz which I believe is a challenge to us as Christians today. Ruth was there alone with him in the field, in the middle of the night, but he did not touch her. He was a rich man and was qualified to claim Ruth to himself, but he exercised self-control. He had been showing favour to Ruth since the harvest started. She had gleaned from his field severally, but he did not exploit the situation as it presented itself. To say it in our modern words today, he helped Ruth and Naomi to have something to eat. He helped her to have something to do temporarily. However, he did not allow these to make him to exploit the vulnerable woman. "Lie here until morning", he told her but never touched her.

Many people have thrown morality to the winds. Many men can no longer be trusted with the opposite sex no matter who the woman is to them. We have had cases of people sleeping with their best friend's wife or fiance. What of those who sleep with maids who serve them in the house? We seem to see every woman as a sexual figure without considering the stories behind these figures we see. We have a generation that has bought into the worldly deception that sex is the high point of happiness. Sex is now a god. Everyday, sex is being advertised and sold to us through the means of the TV, Print Media and the Internet as if you are missing the whole world if you do not engage in it. If a girl says that she is a virgin today, her friends will squirm and make her feel very awkward.

The churches are not a 'safer place' any more. A lot of stories of pastors abusing the privilege God gave to them abound. Every now and then, you hear stories of one moral failure or the other among church leaders. We are indeed in a big moral crises. Our children are confused because we do not model purity to them and cannot answer the questions they are asking based on the sensual information they are exposed to.

But, is it possible to live a holy life today? YES IT IS! Is it possible to show the kind of moral strength Boaz exhibited in the passage above? YES IT IS! That moral strength is what we need today.Boaz was a man of honour and integrity.

This is not meant to condemn or discourage anyone struggling to come out of a moral failure. Don't give up. Fight and win because your purity is God's will. You can make it. This is meant to encourage all men to pursue excellence and purity in their relationships; pursue purity in their thoughts and conducts. We can win; we can overcome if we believe, no matter what is going on around us today. We once shared A Letter to Christian Men by the wife of Tim Challis on this website and we still think that every man should think seriously about it. We can be different from the world. We can make a covenant to be the Boazs of today.

Write me if you were blessed or have any need for counselling. Drop a comment. God bless you.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Something is fundamentally wrong with "Health and Wealth" Theology

I do not intend to dig very deep into many Bible passages today to confirm that "Health and wealth" theology is fundamentally wrong. What I intend to do is just to draw our attention to a few things that are happening around us and compare them with a few happenings in the Bible and ask us to continue to pray for the church.

As we speak, Christians are going through persecutions all over the world especially in China and many Islamic nations. Even nations which are not necessarily Islamic are experiencing a huge increase of Moslem attacks on Christians. Just look at this report on Uganda and notice the number of Christians that have been attacked and killed. Remember it was in Uganda that Bishop Umar Mulinde, a 37 year old sheikh turned gospel preacher was attacked with acid after a preaching engagement. We issued the prayer alert here. Thank God that Pastor Mulinde survived but never the same physiologically but still strong in the spirit.

In China, there is a revival of attacks on Christians. Many pastors and church members are being arrested and put in prison without any court process. Crosses and worship centers are being destroyed. One significant thing is that even the so-called approved churches, the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and the China Christian Council (CCC), are not left out this time around. Amazingly, the church has grown from about one million in 1966 to about one hundred million strong at the beginning of the 21st century.

In Nigeria, almost on a weekly basis, a major attack is carried out on Christians and perceived Christian communities either by the dreaded Boko Haram or the Fulani Herdsmen. Christians that stand on righteousness are discriminated against,in some cases are oppressed where they cannot help themselves.

All these seem to agree with the Bible passages "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" 2 Tim 3:12; "Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 2 Tim 2:11-12; "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33NIV. The Book of Acts is filled with stories of how the church grew in the midst of attacks and persecution. We are encouraged to pray, identify and support those who are subjected to suffering due to persecution.

Now how do all these agree with the prevalent preaching that if you are a Christian, everything will be working for you; you will not suffer; you will become rich and wealthy; you will not get sick; any enemy that stands in your way will die etc etc? Is this not the reason why there is no difference anymore between us and the world? As Christians many of us compromise everywhere because we do not want to suffer any inconvenience and want to remain in the same boat with our peers and friends. We do not want to offend anybody so that we are not called names. We care less about the persecuted brethren and often think that it's their fault. Most church leaders accumulate wealth, caught in the competition web, and become so rich that you wonder whether they have the desire to go to heaven; yet so rich in the midst of very poor brethren who are being encouraged all the time to continue to contribute for the welfare of the church leaders. One of the tests for correct interpretation of Scriptures is that the application of such interpretation can cut across cultures. For example, a correct interpretation of a Scriptural passage cannot mean a different thing to a Christian in America and a different thing to a persecuted brother in Uganda. Even though cultures are different, ways of application may differ, but basically, the passage means the same thing. Anytime a Scriptural passage is interpreted in different ways, there are only two possibilities, either one is wrong or both are wrong. Definitely both cannot be right.

Let us begin to bring our churches back to the Bible. Pray for pastors and teachers of God's Word for boldness and sincerity in teaching the truth. Pray that emphasis on faithfulness may come back to the church. Pray for revival in our churches, that we may experience the move of God in our time. God bless you.