Thursday, 10 December 2020
Sunday, 29 November 2020
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. Job 23:8-10. ESV.
Does what Job described above look like your current experience?
The hiddenness of God is an experience every godly saint go through from time to time – a situation where like Job, you have a feeling that God seems absent in the midst of your earthly struggles. You feel that God seems to be very far and has suddenly distanced Himself from you. You look for all the exciting experiences you had before with God when you first met Him and they seem to have all gone or not satisfying anymore. It is true that sin separates us from God and makes God to distance Himself from us. However, if it is because of a sinful life style, once you repent from it, God forgives and relationship is restored. But in most of the times when we feel this way, you look into your life to see if there is any active sin that is making God to seem very far away but you cannot pin-point anything substantial, and yet God seems to hide Himself from you. The truth is that the hiddenness of God is not always caused by your sins or any bad thing you have done and you are not alone.
This crisis is possible to happen in the midst of a dragged problem or a troubling situation you cannot explain, like in Job’s case. When tragedy happens, we all tend to asking God why, seeking for answers. Even those that encourage you not to ask God why, live with the question in their hearts. But not many of us get an answer to those questions of why. The truth is that when we are in the midst of a difficult experience, no matter how terrible it may be, the power of that problem breaks when God speaks. We tend to handle tragedies better with peace when we know God’s perspective. In this case, God seems silent, saying nothing. Nobody can actually tell the number of weeks, months or years that existed between Job 1 and Job 38, but we suspect that it was a long time. The challenge is that within this period, there are these strange voices that will be speaking very loudly, but they do not offer the answer that you seek. It was not easy for Job to fight off the voices of his wife and his close friends who, instead of helping him, exacerbated the situation and hence increased the intensity of his desire for answers. Yes, God eventually revealed Himself and spoke and that brought closure to Job’s questions. I pray that He speaks in your situation today.
This situation can also occur because God is drawing you up to a new level of relationship with Him. He may be up to something bigger than where you are currently. He hides, as it were, and expects you to pursue Him in a closer relationship. In the course of your earnest seeking, He teaches you something new and takes you to a new level of experience. Attitude is developed, patience is learned and childishness is done away with. Who does not want to remain in that first childish experience when God seemed all around you and responded to almost every word you uttered, even when we asked amiss? Who does not want to remain in that responsibility-free state where everyone cared for us and we cared for no one? The truth is that that is what happens when a new baby is born, even spiritual babies too. Nobody wants to leave a baby to stay on its own unattended to. But there comes a time when the baby has to grow, though still being loved and cared for, the person is left with little or no supervision because he or she is expected to be responsible and be able to take decisions according to all that he or she has been taught. God trains us so that we can manifest as sons representing Him in the affairs of this earth. You do not need the pampering of childhood to know that God is with you and loves you. If you continue to follow hard after Him, He will reveal Himself, His purposes and His ways to you.
It can actually be a period of great test of faith to proof something in your life. We often want to permanent a specific experience or even make an idol out of a single experience. We always want to re-invent the experience because that is what gives us the feeling that God is with us. If we do not have the experience, we feel God is very far away and has abandoned us. God may actually be drawing us out of ourselves, exposing the utter hopelessness and helplessness of our strength so that we can wholly put our trust in Him. The fact that we feel He is far does not really mean that He is far. It may truly mean that He is essentially active in our lives. He removes the cherished experience, breaks the arm of flesh and desires that we look up to Him for help.
The hiddenness of God happens because of the incomprehensiveness of God’s nature. Even though God can be known, yet no man can claim to have comprehensively known Him. He is an eternal mystery Himself, hence, no matter your experience with Him, you are still short of knowing Him. The revelation of God we have in nature, in the Scriptures and ultimately in His Son is the extent that is revealed to us, and that is enough for our salvation, but God in His essence is still bigger than what is revealed to us. We know God when we know Jesus Christ. Though the experience of this knowledge is often sensed at the realm of emotions and feelings, it is important to note that we walk by faith in what is revealed and not by our wavering feelings. Good feelings are good and God sometimes grants us those nice feelings as we experience Him. However, our lives should not be lived based on feelings but on faith. That is why without faith, it is impossible to please Him. He that comes to God must first of all believe and that is a prerequisite. Faith is a prerequisite at the beginning of the journey, it is a prerequisite in the journey and is also a prerequisite at the end of the journey. Nobody is discountenancing the validity of your feelings but valid feelings do not mean that they represent truth. Truth is what is revealed and what is revealed should be taken above our feelings. In practical terms, it means that the feeling of God’s distance does not mean that God is very far away because He is ever with us. Heb.13:5 says “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” NIV. The truth revealed is that God is with us, even in every difficult and painful situation. We have to live at the level of faith in God’s written Word and not at the level of our feelings.
Now I want to humbly note that what I share here does not give all the answers to the issue of the hiddenness of God. For example, some have complained and asked why the God of love should make knowing Him very difficult, in spite of all the efforts of some people to sincerely seek Him. I have a brother who many years ago complained to I and my wife how he was willing to give his life to Jesus Christ but in spite of all his efforts, God seemed not to be easy for him to find. It is a real and practical challenge of many people. We led the brother to Christ but nothing seemed to have happened. We continued to pray for him until after many years, God cleared the cloud in his mind and made Himself known to him. He loves to reveal Himself to all who sincerely seek Him.
Firstly, what this teaches me is that I should always respond to God as he reveals Himself to me. Postponing my response is being presumptuous as He is the only One that takes the initiative to reveal Himself. Secondly, we have to trust His heart even when we do not understand what His hands are doing. We trust His heart that He has good intentions and good thoughts for us and will do what is good and right. Finally, as Henry Blackaby said in his book, Experiencing God, when you are confused in the middle of your walk with God and cannot seem to know where He is working currently in your life, continue doing the last thing you are sure God revealed to you and in due course, the cloud will clear. God loves you. Remain blessed.
Thursday, 12 November 2020
Thursday, 1 October 2020
"The Bible speaks very plainly about the flaws and failings of even its most heroic figures. The ultimate hero of the biblical stories, and the ultimate hero of our own stories, is not the human being in all of his or her sin but the God who works through sinful people to redeem them and accomplish his purposes." Christianity Today.
Yes, the ultimate Hero in all of our stories as saved and redeemed sinners is not the Papas and GOs, the Bishops and Archbishops, Abraham or David or Peter or Paul. I am not the ultimate hero in my story. The ultimate Hero is God Himself, the God who loved me when I wasn't thinking about Him, sent His Son to die for me, raised Him from the dead, and pursued me like a "good man" wooing the "woman" he loves for a loving relationship, not for His benefits but for my benefits; He won me, cares for me and has made abundant promises to me which has eternal implications beyond this present life. My God, You are the Ultimate HERO! Amen.
Friday, 25 September 2020
Please for the sisters in this story for healing both physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. Also pray that the perpetrators be brought to justice and that they may be encountered by the Lord.
The Church must go back to preaching the Gospel of Jesus which transforms lives and cultures and brought the fear of God into the lives of our communities. This "gospel of health and wealth" we have embraced can only make us weaker and weaker everyday because it has no spiritual power. God bless.
Saturday, 5 September 2020
Yes, total and unqualified power is not meant for mortals to exercise. Absolute power is power that is independent and autonomous. It is not accountable and submits to no one. An office with absolute power makes laws for other people but lives above the laws it has made. It cannot be questioned and owes nobody any explanation. Absolute power exercises unguarded freedom without boundaries. This freedom is the reason why the occupiers speak freely and often carelessly. They can say anything, do anything and expect nothing else from those listening or watching them but to accept everything without questions. People with absolute power normally do not have good men around them. Praise singers, hypocrites and yes-men are the only ones that can hang around for a long time because they are the only ones that can be accommodated. Good men and old friends can only be accommodated at the early stages of the assumption of office, but once they settle down, they begin to drop their old friends one after the other.
The fact is that some offices, at their creation, do not have absolute power but some demagogues and power mongers can convert it into such by changing the laws and intimidating the people. The power of the office can also be converted into absolute power when they are raised above criticism, favoured and judged unlike other men and some mysteries created around them and their positions. Through this conversion, we have created tyrants on pulpits, thrones and other seats of power.
I dare say that God, the Creator, never made anyone to exercise absolute power. No one, I repeat, no one is endowed with the qualities and character to carry and discharge absolute power. The fallen man does not have the capacity to handle absolute power. He needs a horizontal as well as a vertical accountability in order to discharge justice and do what is right.
Any office that has absolute power will produce unintended monsters as its occupants. Put a saint to occupy an office that has absolute power embedded in it, it will not turn him differently. He may manage to resist at the beginning but give him many years to come, he will become what others before him became – monsters. Any office, be it religious or political, with absolute power embedded in it explicitly or implicitly, is a killer of morality. It is a pit and a grave yard, even for the most pious.
Many that exercise absolute power do not seem to understand what they have turned into until they leave office, if the position has that provision and the occupants allow the transition to continue. Then looking back, many ask themselves, “who did these despicable things? Who wrecked these havocs?” They will see that they have left in their trail broken lives trampled upon, dreams caged or destroyed, crying and weeping souls who could not save themselves from their cruelty and others just crushed because they dared to have an opposing view. There are some who unfortunately do not have the privilege of after-office reflection. They die in the position of power and are only left at the mercy of history.
Every office, whether political or religious, except occupied by the spirits, must have a sort of regulations and laws that guide the actions and or inactions of the occupants. The occupants do not make the laws that regulate the office, they submit to the laws that established the office.
Lord Acton’s words in 1887, contained in the letter he wrote to Mandell Creighton, who later became the bishop of England, are very instructive here. Mandell was writing on “The Papacy in the Reformation Epoch” but instead of presenting history the way it was, he tended to ignore or defend the atrocities committed by the Roman Catholic Popes who used the “papal courts of the Renaissance”, the inquisitions and tribunals to convict people unjustly and tortured and burnt many at stakes. Lord Acton accused Creighton, “you say that people in authority are not to be snubbed or sneered at from our pinnacle of conscious rectitude. I really don’t know whether you exempt them because of their rank, or of their success and power, or of their date… I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favoured presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.” Most of the Popes exercised absolute powers and like already mentioned, they turned out to become one of the worst dictators in the history of Europe.
If we want to live in a decent society, we must not fall into the fallacy that the office sanctifies the holder of it. Because every office is occupied by fallen men, we must create accountability structures that will help the occupiers to do what is right. Constructive criticisms and engagements must be advocated at all times without fear or favour. Though often bitter, but it reminds us that we are mortals. Even when the position is religious or the occupier is pious, we must not pretend or assume that the occupier cannot do any wrong or that the office has sanctified him or her. If you are the person in position, do not destroy the accountability structures you met on assumption of office. Strengthen them instead. Accept your critics as a gift and resist the temptation of increasing your powers, except you want the office or position to destroy your morals and integrity. Because you are a mortal being, absolute power will also corrupt you. Yes, absolute power is not meant for mortals. It is meant for only the Immortal God to exercise.
Finally, we need each other to remain the humans God wants us to be. Our hearts, as fallen men, need to be transformed and tamed. Only the acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and continual submission to the Holy Spirit can do this great work in your heart and mine.
Friday, 14 August 2020
What is happening in Southern Kaduna is very worrisome. I watched a syndicate session organized by Southern & Middle Belt Christian Forum and hosted by a social media television channel some days ago and the revelations are disturbing. In this twentieth Century, a people group is being attacked almost on a regular basis, women and children are killed, many are wounded, the remnant are displaced and the attackers come back to occupy the abandoned places of the victims. As one of the contributors alleged, these attackers are enabled by those in government. In fact, he claimed that the grazing reserve that the government created some years ago have been expanded with land belonging to the indigenes and Fulanis of different nationalities come to settle there and almost all the attacks come from this settlement. Islamic Emirates are created by the present State Government over a people group that is predominantly Christians and animists. He alleged that a case in point is the Adara Kingdom whose traditional ruler Dr. Maiwada Galadima was gruesomely murdered after he was kidnapped on his way going home from a meeting he had with the Governor. Though ransom was paid to the kidnappers, yet they killed him and his wife. Instead of appointing a new king for the kingdom, a new emirate has been created that will oversee the area.
Other contributors equally alleged that it is not just that the government is supporting and enabling the attacks, the military and security forces are accused of being complicit in the unfortunate situation. In a situation where the State Government will declare a curfew, every member of the community stays at home with the military manning the check points, yet the attackers will evade all the check points, enter and attack the sleeping communities, murder and maim for hours without any challenge, then when they have completed their mission and gone, the military will yet again enter these ravaged communities to arrest the youths who come out to protest the killings. On some occasions, a contributor alleged, the military will first enter the communities and search and confiscate and arrest those who have bows and arrows, locally made guns and matchets in their homes and almost as they leave, the attackers will come back to ravage the communities. Several reports have been done on these wanton and senseless killings. The narrative presented by the State and Federal Governments is that it is a communal clash, yet the question is “what is the essence of government if not to resolve cases such as this and bring peace?” If they are communal clashes, will the government stand by and see a genocide committed under its watch? The army brass said that it is not a genocide but “activities of criminal elements on both sides and not ethnic cleansing as it is being claimed”. The problem with this narrative is that it is only one side that is continually doing mass burials as reported by CNN here.
However, the question actually is, “must we wait until it degenerates to what can be categorized as ethnic cleansing before the government stop the killings?” Who are the providers of these weapons? Why is every section of the country complaining about the same ethno-religious group?
As Christians, the purpose of this review is for us to earnestly pray for our governments and those in authority. Also, we need to start to speak up and engage at all levels so that security can be restored and we can “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim.2:1-4 ESV). We have to start to speak out because we do not have another life to live than the one we live now. No other time to make impact than now. No other generation will deal with our issues than our generation.
Today it is Southern Kaduna, where will it be tomorrow?
"Speak up for those who
cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Wednesday, 29 July 2020
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 the context of sleeping with a man. 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.
Thursday, 4 June 2020
It is with this kind of love alone that we can be united and build community. That is the only thing that can cause us to have burden when a brother/sister is in problem so that we pray for him/her. Just as the church prayed for Peter (Acts 12:5), and Jesus prayed for the church (Jn.17). Only this kind of love can make people to have genuine interest in the affairs of one another and pray for each other. Family altars will be filled with prayers for others who are in one need or the other; even without the individual knowing it. Instead of making the weakness of a person a subject for gossip, it is made a topic for prayers.
The early church practiced love and when people saw it in Antioch, they called them Christians – Christ-like (Acts 11:26). Jesus said that “by this shall all men know that Ye are my disciples” (Jn.13:35 KJV). Love is the criteria for the people of God to be seen by the world as Christ’s. We remember that the apostles knew how important mutual care is and appointed 7 deacons to handle the affairs of welfare. The love was genuine and they increased tremendously. (See Rom.12:9,11; 1 Jn.3:17-23). Love is the greatest. One of the challenges of the contemporary church is making sure that the church is not dominated by bureaucracy and organizational hierarchical politics that they forget to take good care of their members. It is a lie that if you take good care of your pastors and they live well, you have taken care of the church. Taking good care of the church institution with teeming members struggling with the basic provisions is an indictment to the so-called wealthy church. The life of the members, without any contradiction, is the life of the church.
• A church committed to holiness and right living: The apostles taught the members to abhor sin and live righteously as children of light. Because of the challenges and accusations from the Jews, especially, trying to find a loophole or an opportunity to discredit the gospel, the early church committed themselves to letting their light shine. The people saw their good works and glorified God.
The first day Peter preached, he asked them to “repent…for the remission of sins” and “save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:38a, 40b). Later at the Solomon’s Porch, Peter urged his listeners “repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:19) RSV. The church knew the real devastating nature of sin and were exhorted to avoid it. They lived for God. The teachings of the apostles emphasized the issues they majored on. Peter instructed the church, “as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct”. (1 Pet.1:15 RSV). The writer of the book of Hebrews also declared “strife for peace with all men and for holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb.12:14). Both leadership and the led all gave themselves to living up to what they claimed they believed. The life of the church was different from the life of the world and the border line was very clear. Peter even agreed that this kind of living can change a man without speaking to him. (1 Pet.3:1). Though persecuted, their righteous living was an indisputable challenge to their accusers. They prospered.
• A church obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit: Finally, we see that the church was filled with men and women who were willing to do the bidding of the Holy Spirit. They recognized that the Holy Spirit is the One in charge of His church and they listened to Him. He has to lead and teach His church. He was allowed to work unhindered. Peter broke his Jewish barrier and entered Caesarea in order to preach to Cornelius in obedience to the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:17-20). They buried their sentiments and obeyed the Holy Ghost in their first Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15: 28-29) where they decided the fate of the Gentile Christians as concerns the Jewish dogmas. When the Holy Spirit asked them to separate Saul (Paul) and Barnabas in Acts 13, they obeyed. Paul on one occasion was forbidden to speak the word in Asia and in another occasion, he was stopped from going into Bithynia to preach the gospel (See Acts 16:6-10). He was asked to enter Macedonia. In all these circumstances Paul did not argue with God. He obeyed. Because they were obedient to the Lord of the harvest, they had abundant prosperity in the work. He showered His gifts on them and they were continually edified. They increased.
In conclusion, we have seen the 7 things the early church was committed to which made them successful. If we are to succeed in our generation and prosper as a church participating in God’s agenda, we must consider seriously these points. If we desire to get the kind of results the early church got, we ought to do what they did. It is left for us whether to be a church on the wheels or a sleeping church.
Tuesday, 19 May 2020
“Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?
Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.”
Good night Ravi-Ji.
Friday, 8 May 2020
1. Enroll in Online Courses most of which are cheap and free of charge. Example: LinkedIn e-learning, Google e-learning, MS in Financial Engineering offered by WorldQuant University, Udemy Education Courses, Coursera etc. Use that Internet Data to do online courses instead of just Social Media.
2. Learn new hard skills on you own like Musical Instruments, Disc Jockey (DJ) etc using online guides.
3. Attend Webinars to horn in your skills in your profession.
4. Engineers can learn AutoCAD, Primavera P6, Project Management/Project Controls, Unanet Risk Analysis, etc.
5. Attend Training and upgrade from Occupational Safety to Technical Safety. Attend training according to your profession like Data Analysis etc
6. Pastors can enroll to obtain Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Theology or Management etc etc.
The truth is that we can all do something about our personal development now. Make that choice today, focus and you will be glad you did.
God bless you.