Why Does God Hate Divorce?

… Without a doubt, divorce was the worst season of my life. Nothing I’ve suffered since that time even comes close… absolutely nothing compares to the horrific pain of having a spouse decide, “I Don’t” after saying “I Do” Laura Petherbridge.

divorce

In a previous post, we talked about the fact that God hates divorce. The natural question that would be precipitated by that statement will be:

Why does God hate divorce?

First and foremost, we all know that hate is a strong language, meaning “an intense dislike for.”

On the other hand, Divorce connotes  “the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.”

God says He hates divorce, meaning He has an intense dislike for it.

There must be some good reasons God does not like divorce. And those reasons are what this post seeks to explore.

If you ask me, I would say God hates divorce chiefly because He loves us and wants the best for us. He doesn’t want us to go through the pains, regrets and difficulties divorce action might occasion.

God loves us enough to inform us that He hates for us to subject our spouses to divorce. We all know that if you truly love someone, you wouldn’t want something bad to happen to him or her. Don’t you think God feels that much sympathetic towards us?

I guess you too have your reasons you think God says He hates divorce. (And I would like it if you would drop your views in the comment section of this post). For now let’s focus on what we can glean from the foundation scripture for this post and the previous one.

Malachi 2:15-16 – Let’s read it together:

15 Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his.[b] And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. 16 “For I hate divorce!”[c] says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,[d]” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife” (NLT).

Based on this passage, let’s now explore further reasons God hates divorce:

1. God instituted marriage.

“Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife?” asked Prophet Malachi.

God has made you one with the person you are married to. So why do you seek to be separated from him or her forever?

God instituted marriage for our enjoyment and His will for us is to have it as a life-long union. That’s why we say, “till death do us part” at the point of entering the marriage contract.

It is safe to say that divorce undermines the sanctity of this holy institution of marriage established by God. Therefore God hates divorce.

divorce-separation-marriage-breakup-split-39483

2. God has a purpose for instituting marriage.

God did not only institute marriage, He had a purpose for doing so. The prophet here tells us that God seeks godly children (one translation uses the word “offsprings”) from our marriages.

“… And what does he want? Godly children from your union… Remain loyal to the wife of your youth.”

In order words, God expects our marital unions to bear godly seeds, godly fruits or godly results. You will agree with me that divorce will not qualify as a godly fruit.

Secondly, God also wants married couples to demonstrate loyalty to each other through thick and thin. And divorce flatly defeats that purpose.

3. Divorce has consequences

“To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,[d]” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Wow, did you see that point in that verse you just read? Divorce is cruelty to your spouse. Another translation describes it as treachery.

Many people may disagree with that, but I know God’s word cannot be wrong. God would rather not have you go through the pains associated with divorce.

He hates it for you to bring divorce upon yourself or upon your spouse. He would rather have you shut the door on divorce…

Whatever you think, divorce will cost you – be it emotionally, financially or otherwise. Apart from the couple involved, other associated parties (including your children and other loved ones) also suffer when marriage fails and results in divorce. Divorce will cause you pains, anguish, depression and the like.

As Laura Petherbridge observed from her own experience, “…divorce was the worst season of my life. Nothing I’ve suffered since that time even comes close… absolutely nothing compares to the horrific pain of having a spouse decide, “I Don’t” after saying “I Do.””

***

What’s your own view about why God hates divorce?


©Copyright 2019 | Victor Uyanwanne

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Another Atheist Who Found God

“Being an atheist must be like living in a closed cell with no windows” – Anthony Hopkins.

If you are a movie enthusiast, I am sure you have heard about the name, Anthony Hopkins. But if you haven’t, a simple check on Wikipedia will convince you that he is not a man of mean achievements in the movie industry.

Let’s take a little peep:

“Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins CBE is a Welsh actor, director, and producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992, and was nominated three additional times. Hopkins has also won three BAFTAs, two Emmys, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award. In 1993, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts.”

Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins. Photo Credit: CBN News

According to a report monitored via Godupdates, “Anthony Hopkins is one of the most well-known actors of our time. For years, he was a well-known atheist, too. But all of that changed when a woman at an AA meeting challenged his disbelief with one simple question… “Why don’t you trust God?“”

It was the expression, “For years, he was a well-known atheist” that first caught my attention. But I’m glad to learn that all that has changed.

You must now use the word “former” atheist when referring to Hopkins, because he has become a firm believer in the existence of God.

Not only that, he now “lives out his real life with Christ in his heart. He’s been an atheist before finding God and now he just feels sorry for atheists, comparing a life of disbelief to “living in a closed cell with no windows.”

Sir Hopkins’s transformation and conversion from atheism to Christianity began with his positive response to that question, “Why don’t you trust God?” at a time he was dealing with alcoholism.

A reputable source has it that,”miraculously Anthony says the craving to drink was taken from him, “never to return again.” And he’s believed in God ever since, working day after day, year after year, to grow in his faith.”

In the end, he not only got helped with overcoming the spirit of alcoholism which had bedeviled him, he transformed from being a man who didn’t believe that God exists to one that now affirms that He does.

“When asked in a CNN interview with Piers Morgan if he believed in God, former-atheist Anthony Hopkins replied wholeheartedly, “Yes, I do. I do.”

***

What do you think?

Why Share Your Testimonies?

Has God ever done anything great for you? If nothing (which I doubt), what about the testimony of your salvation?

That’s assuming that you have given the lordship of your life over to Jesus Christ. And even if you have not, it doesn’t mean God never been good to you.

The truth is that if you think well enough, you will find something in your life that you are immensely grateful for, that you should be thanking God for and also be sharing with people around you.

It is a good thing to stand before people and testify of the goodness of God in your life. David once declared, “I will praise you to all my brothers; I will stand up before the congregation and testify of the wonderful things you have done” (Psalm 22:22, TLB)

So why don’t you want to share your testimonies?

Is it fear or shame or pride that is hindering you  from talkingt about the Lord’s goodness in your life? Aren’t you grateful God came through for you when you needed His help?

Whatever is it, let nothing stop you from sharing your testimonies of what God has done for you.

Sharing your your testimonies will bring the following benefits:

sharing your testimonies

1. Sharing your testimonies brings glory to God

The purpose of your testimony is to draw attention to God, not to put you on a pedestal of some sort. It is to exalt the name of the Lord before your audience.

Provided that you do not lie or exaggerate your testimonies, you bring glory to God whenever you share or testify of what God has done for you.

When you hoard your testimonies (and that’s what you do when you refuse to share them with people), you deny God the opportunity to be glorified or exalted before the people around you.

Don’t hold back any more; Share your testimonies with people, because doing so brings immense glory to God and shame to the devil.

2. Sharing your testimonies strengthen your faith in God

It is a thing of joy for you to openly talk about what God has done for you. Apart from the emotional relief or satisfaction it brings to you, it also empowers your faith in God.

It gives you that feeling that the God who delivered you now will do so for you again next time.

In the dialogue between King Saul and the shepherd boy David before the latter when to fight Goliath, David testified,

“The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you” (2 Samuel 17:37).

It was this testimony that inspired David to confront and completely defeat the war veteran known as Goliath

Testimonies are part of your spiritual weapons. Remember the following words in Revelation, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…” (12:11).

3. Sharing your testimonies encourages other people to trust God more

Apart from strengthening your own faith in God, sharing your testimonies can also encourage your hearers.

Let’s say you were in a pit and God delivered you from it. Right now many people are in the same pit you once were. Sharing the testimony of how God delivered you will inspire hope in them and strengthen their faith in God for possible deliverance as well.

Your testimony has the potential of revealing God to people or pointing to them to God. So it is a great disservice to people around you if you fail to share your God-given testimonies with them.

4. Sharing your testimonies slaps the devil big time

If sharing your God-given testimonies brings glory to God, it automatically has the opposite effect on the devil. It shames him and beats him up big time.

Understand this: if your pride stops you from sharing the testimonies of what God has done for you, you are in effect giving the devil opportunity to smile. I will assume that’s not what you want to keep doing.

***

It is a good thing to share with people the testimony of what God has done for you. When you do so, you bring glory to God, you strengthen your faith in God, you encourage other people to trust in God more and you bring shame to the devil.

Do you find it easy or feel ashamed to share your testimonies? Leave us a comment or two.


©Copyright 2019 | Victor Uyanwanne

On The Resurrection Story And The Cover Up Conspiracy

RESURRECTION

It is unfortunate that some people in the modern world have chosen to dismiss the Biblical account of the resurrection story as a work of fiction or a product of deluded minds. But you see, anyone who denies that Jesus rose from the death does so at his or her own risk, one that has an eternal consequence.

Doubters may continue to doubt, but it does not change the fact that Jesus died and rose from the dead.  So He is no longer in the grave

In Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is considered the greatest event ever. In fact, it is the foundation of the Christian faith.

Without it, we would not have a solid foundation for our faith. Without it, what we would have is another dead religion.

Apostle Paul underscored this point when he wrote to the Church in Corinth saying, “And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

Gratefully, the gospel is not useless and our faith is not a useless one either.

Ther reason is that it is a historical fact (despite what some skeptics may say) that Jesus physically resurrected from the dead.

One thing about that is sure, the resurrection of Jesus was not a bolt from the blues. It was something that was talked about long before it actually happened.

There were several prophecies about it. For instance, here is a quote from the book of Psalms:

“…you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay” (16:10, NIV).

When God raised Jesus was the dead, that Scripture was fulfilled.

Jesus Himself talked about His resurrection well in advance. In Mathew’s Gospel, we read of the following account:

“See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day” (20:18-19, ESV).

In essence, Jesus stated that the Gentiles (in this case, the Romans) would condemn and crucify him, but He would rise up on the third day.

Whatc be clearer than that?

Anyway, that was exactly what happened: Jesus was crucified and put in a grave. But on the third day, He came out alive by divine power.

By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also (1 Corinthians 6:14).

An Angel announced to the first women who visited the grave, “…Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay” (Matt. 28:5-6, ESV).

Following this awesome resurrection story, the soldiers who were stationed to guard the grave went to town to narrate their experience. But they did it in away to make them look good.

That gave rise to the cover-up conspiracy as reported below:

And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble” (Matt. 28:12-14, ESV).

Despite this conspiracy, we know that Jesus rose from the dead; His disciples didn’t steal Him away as alleged. “… God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24, NIV).

Jesus resurrected and He is alive forever.

Centuries later, we are still celebrating the risen Lord. That proves that the conspiracy that His disciples stole His body could not successfully cover up the resurrection story. And it never will!


©Copyright 2019 | Victor Uyanwanne

Has God Heard From You In a While?

prayer

I recently watched a movie that inspired the title of this post. It was about a best–selling author who suddenly began to face unexpected personal and financial challenges.

Missed writing deadlines, tax issues, relationship break downs, debts, etc. were some of the pressing issues she was seen to be grappling with. All these made her insensitive, irritable, rude, cold-hearted and unproductive – to the dismay of her friends and family.

The good part was that she knew things weren’t going on so well with her. So she tried to concoct various plans as quick-fixes for her nagging problems.

At one point she seriously contemplated ‘relocating’ to another continent (from America to Africa) to have more time for herself. But she never went through with the plan.

In another occasion, she tried selling off her father’s restaurant business in order to raise the needed funds to settle her outstanding tax and other financial obligations that threatened to have her being put behind prison bars. But her parents opposed this idea very strongly, assuring her that there must be better ways of handling the issues.

Now this is where I am going…

In the heat of her crisis and rejection, this protagonist knelt down in her room and began to sob and to pray saying, “Oh Lord, I know You have not heard from me in a while…”

In what seemed like a short but a heartfelt prayer to God, she poured out her confusion, fears, and problems before God. Although all her problems didn’t varnish all at once, it seemed that things began to work out better for her from then onward.

“Oh Lord, I know You have not heard from me in a while…” That opening line alone got me giggling aloud.

God hasn’t heard from her, or rather, she hadn’t talked to Him in weeks, in months or possibly in years. But now in her predicaments, she remembered she could still talk to God.

You see, it reminds me about people who once had a relationship with God but are now estranged from Him. God hasn’t heard from them in a while too!

May be you are even one of such people. If only you would get back to God like this woman in our discourse or like the prodigal son got back to the waiting embrace of his father. Things would be better for you again.

***

Do you have any comment about this post? Let’s have your opinion in the comment section.


©Copyright 2019 | Victor Uyanwanne

Another Look At The Meaning Of Tolerance

What does “tolerance” mean to you?

I know the word is not new to you as people frequently use it. What I don’t know is how much of its real meaning you have understood and applied in your own sphere of influence.

You may probably have been tempted to think that tolerance strictly means to put up with something or someone with very nasty, horrible, terrible or poignant attributes. Not really!

Please take a good look at the definition below and compare it with what you already know about the meaning of the word:

Tolerance:

“Willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from your own.”

 

I don’t know about you, but the definition above opened up an entirely new vista to me, of which I am glad.

It shows for instance that tolerance doesn’t say we should put up with evil or bad things or bad people. But it clearly portrays “willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from [our] own.”

Now let’s take a closer look at the key aspects of the said definition:

• Willingness to accept…
• Behaviour and beliefs…
• Different from your own…

Tolerance would be required wherever there are inter-human relationships because you will always meet people whose behaviour and beliefs are different from yours.

That’s why tolerance may also be understood as “the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence or opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.

That means you can disagree with someone without going to war with him or her.

It means you should have an open mind towards someone even when he or she has an opinion that is completely different from yours.

Due to a number of varied factors such as genetic make-up, family background, religion, education, geography, exposure, life experiences etc, all of us believe different things and behave differently from one another.

That means that at any point in time in your chequered life, you will always see people who behave or believe differently from you; whose opinions about issues are not like yours. 

The question would then be, “how would you deal with such people?”

group of people standing on dock beside body of water

In order to coexist harmoniously with such people, you should be willing to tolerate them if you cannot change them.

Talking about changing people, experience has shown that many people are aware that some other people do not share their opinions, behaviour or beliefs.

But some times, they are unwilling to accept such other people who do not share their outlook. This is often the beginning of unnecessary conflicts in human interactions.

However, you may only try to effect some changes on peoples’ behaviour or beliefs if possible to suite yours; but you shouldn’t try to use force.

By the way, you can’t change anyone who doesn’t really want to be changed. You can only influence such person.

When it comes to changing someone’s behaviour or beliefs, influence should be the operating word, not force.

Otherwise, you must bring to bare the willingness to accept their behaviour and beliefs which you perceive to be different from your own and which you cannot change.

That, my friend, is the real meaning of tolerance.

Bear in mind that tolerance is a seed; as you sow it, you will reap the sweet harvest.

Don’t you realise that other people would have to tolerate you too?

I believe you know that not all your opinions, behaviour and beliefs are acceptable to everyone you come in contact with!

Although, I cannot guarantee it, other people too ought to be willing to accept your opinions, behaviour and beliefs which are different from their own. That is if they know what it means to practice tolerance.

There is no worthwhile relationships with people that do notnot requ tolerance in between.

Like all good habits, tolerance doesn’t just happen to us; it has to be cultivated deliberately and ‘open-heartedly’.

It is very important to cultivate it because you will need it if you desire to build a meaningful, harmonious and long-lasting relationship of any kind.

Here are a few areas where we can apply the principle of tolerance:

At home, between spouses , amongst siblings or other family members;
At work, between you and your boss, colleagues or direct reports;
In your neighbourhood, amongst co-tenants, etc
Amongst your friends, classmates in schools etc
In churches, with members and leaders alike;
In other organisations /relationships, etc

In fact, anywhere you come in contact with humans, tolerance is needed. As you well know, no body is perfect.

People are different. You are not everyone and everyone is not you. Therefore, there will always be differences in opinion, behaviour and beliefs between you and others.

There would be conflicts all the time in all kinds of human relationships if the principle of tolerance is not imbibed.

The extent to which you realise this differences and how well you are willing to accept and manage them depict your level of tolerance at any given period.

What does tolerance mean to you? Let’s hear from you in the comment section.

******

Previously published on this blog in 2015 as “What tolerance really means.”

On The 6 Jews Said To Have Dramatically Impacted All History

Greatest Jews ever lived
Photo by Stephen Arnold on Unsplash

In a sub-article , How Israel and the Jews have shaped history, Adrian Rogers observed that “As you study history, you learn that the indestructible Jew has left his indelible mark upon history. The Jewish people are not great in number. Of the world’s population, they are only 0.2%. That’s not two percent. That’s less than one-fourth of one percent. Yet did you know that 22% of Nobel Prize winners have been Jews? In 2013, six of the 12 laureates were Jewish…”

Rogers argument is that although the Jews are few in number, they have made tremendous contributions to the development of the world as we know it – be it “…in medicine, health, music, and public life.”

Buttressing his point, Rogers employed rhetoric by drawing attention to some of the useful inventions by Jews:

“Have you ever taken an aspirin? Friedrich Bayer, whose company developed aspirin, was a Jew. Were you vaccinated for polio as a child? The injectable and oral polio vaccines of Salk and Sabin were so effective, the disease has been all but eradicated.

Has the dentist ever deadened your tooth before he started to drill? Alfred Einhorn, who developed Novocain, was a Jew…”

You can head over to Crosswalk.com to read the full article. But here in this post we will further examine it’s concluding paragraph:

“All history has been dramatically impacted by six Jews: Moses, Paul, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, and above them all, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

There are many things we know about these people that make them great. Time and space will fail me to delve into how all six of them dramatically impacted history.

So let us take a little peep into three of them with Biblical history: Moses, Paul and Jesus:

1. Moses

There many things that are remarkable about this man referred to as the meekest man on earth.  As one source noted, Moses is “Universally recognised as the deliverer of his people, the Israelites, from slavery in Egypt, biblical and human history also credit him with establishing Israel’s judicial and religious systems.”

2. Apostle Paul

Paul has been described as the Apostle of Apostles and the writer of two-thirds of the New Testament Bible. As noted in the Encyclopaedia Britannica,  “Paul is often considered to be the most important person after Jesus in the history of Christianity. His epistles (letters) have had enormous influence on Christian theology, especially on the relationship between God the Father and Jesus, and on the mystical human relationship with the divine.”

3. Jesus Christ

Indeed, Moses, Paul, Freud, Einstein and Jesus impacted the history of this world as we know it. However, Jesus Christ is the greatest of all. He is the Saviour of the world. and you know what? He is my Saviour too!


©Copyright 2019 | Victor Uyanwanne

The Question About Knowing Your Final Destination When You Die

A reader recently commented on one of my posts. And I followed his trail to his blog where I read some interesting posts.

In Suicidal thoughts/In case tomorrow never comes, the author asked some amusing questions and suggested that we think or blog about them. I am taking up the challenge here by answering one of the many questions he asked.

Of all the thirty five questions on the list, this one (which was incidentally no 1) tickled my fancy the most:

“If you had the chance to find out where your final destination would be after you die right now at this moment, would you wanna know?”

My immediate response to that question was, “…I am glad that I don’t have to wait till I die to know where I would be when I die. As a believer in Christ, I know I will be with God when I die. Can one be sure about this on this side of the earth? Yes, but’s that’s a story for another day.”

Further to that impromptu comment of mine, this post is my humble attempt at addressing that question in detail. And I am speaking as someone who believes in God through Jesus Christ and accepts the Bible as the authentic word of God.

I reckon that we would understand the discussion better if I broke my ‘story’ into smaller units as follows:

heaven

1. There is an “after life”

First of all, let me affirm here (as rightly presupposed in the question) that there is life after death. And whether you believe in it or not does not change the fact that an ‘afterlife” exists.

If you are a believer, we have an assurance from Jesus Christ that a place is being prepared for us to be when we die. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” John 14:3.

Apostle Paul also made reference to the ‘afterlife’ in some of his Epistles. “If I am to go on living in the body,” he says, “this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (see Philippians 1:21-23).

So my dear reader, recognise that it is a fundamental human error – with an eternal consequence – to believe that we cease to exist when we die; that all we have in this life is all there is, that there is no life after death.

In the article What happens when we die?, Matt Slick points out, “Some people believe that when we die, we just stop existing. Biblically, this is not true. According to Scripture, we continue after death. But, if we stop existing we will never know it. Therefore, the only thing we could “know” after death is if we continue. Is it worth taking a chance on eternity in the afterlife by hoping you don’t exist anymore? It’s a huge risk to take.”

2. You don’t have to wait till you die to “find out where your final destination would be.”

If you have to wait till you to die to determine the question of the ‘after life’ then it would have been too late. Your time on earth is your opportunity to “decide” your final destination when you die.

If you don’t consciously decide on it before you die, you would have automatically decided that you would spend your afterlife without God. Continue reading to see ‘how’.

life after death

3. What the Bible teaches

We understand from the word of God that there are only two possible final destinations for man at the end of life here on earth. One is Heaven, and the other is Hell (Matthew 25:46).

I am sure that you have heard about heaven or hell spoken of from many perspectives. What I am not sure is whether you have firmly understood in your mind what they each stand for.

Suffice to say here that Heaven, is the presence of God, a place full of bliss. Hell, is a place without the presence of God, a place of damnation.

In Revelation 14:11, we are given a glimpse of the kind of torment that will be experienced by the occupants of hell – satan and everyone else who sides with him. “And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”

4. Your destiny is in your hand.

When it comes to deciding where you will spend your after life, I would say it is up to you to decide. First, you have to ‘accept’ that there is an “after life.”

And there are only two possible places you can spend it. It will either be in heaven or in hell.

The only way to spend it in heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Saviour while you are still alive here on earth. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

So it is in your best interest to not only acknowledge that there is an afterlife, but also to plan or prepare for it.

***

Do you believe in the afterlife? What’s your view?


©Copyright 2019 | Victor Uyanwanne

The Greatest Birth Ever

Born to be king

He is God

But He consented to be born of woman

Born of a virgin lady

He became flesh and blood

Taking on the nature of Man

But as He is the seed of the Holy Spirit

He wouldn’t inherit the sin-nature of man.

His birth was not a happenstance

It was a fulfillment of divine prophecy

Part of Heaven’s grand design

To redeem mankind from depravity.

 

In a time like this, yearly

We celebrate the greatest birth ever

The Son of God

And the Son of man

Born to be the Saviour

Immanuel – God with us

Jesus, King

Wonderful, Counsellor

The everlasting Father

The Mighty God

The Prince of Peace

All hail King Jesus!

 

Merry Christmas everyone


©Copyright 2018|Victor Uyanwanne

 

Bartimaeus: 9 Inspirational Lessons From A Blind Man

the story of blind Bartimaeus

The unstoppable man

Bartimaeus was blind but he could hear. He didn’t have the sight to see Jesus, but he had the ear to hear that he (Jesus) was passing his way.

At a certain time in His ministry, Jesus and His disciples visited the city of Jericho. And as they left the metropolis, they  were thronged from behind.

In the process, Bartimaeus, a blind roadside beggar who heard that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was passing by began to call out to Him as loud as he could, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

The people around him tried to shut him down. But the more they tried to make him keep quiet, the louder he shouted. He eventually got the attention of Jesus who healed him of his blindness (Matthew 10:46-52).

You cannot read the story of this blind man without being inspired by his persistent attitude. As I looked at the story again, I realised that there are many things we can learn from him.

The story of Bartimaeus was one of a beggarly  blind man, who could hear, who had faith, had courage, had focus, had a voice, who proved to be unstoppable, and who got his desired miracle: restoration of sight when he encountered Jesus Christ.

The event might have happened over two thousand years  ago but there are life lessons from it that we can apply today in our lives today.  And that is why I am writing this post, with the hope that you will pick a lesson or two.

Here is the account of the story of blind Bartimaeus as recorded in the Gospel of Mark:


Mark 10:

46And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

47And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

48And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

49And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

50And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. ” He began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”

51And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

52And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.


9 Good lessons you can learn from blind Bartimaeus (and apply in your life right now)


1. Bartimaeus had information that Jesus was passing by

“...When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth…”

As I observed in the introduction, Bartimaeus might have been blind, but he could hear. And he used his hearing sense very well. He had correct and timely information that Jesus was coming around.

Whatever situation you find yourself, you need the right information to bring about the desired change.  For Bartimaeus, all he needed to hear was that Jesus was passing through his territory and he knew what to do with that information…

Do you have timely and accurate information at your disposal? Do you have the kind of information that will positively impart your life? Are you even actively seeking for relevant information that will make you live healthier, happier or even wealthier?

You might be shocked that the change you need right now is in the information you haven’t heard yet. Seek information.

Victorscorner

2. Bartimaeus used the information on Jesus presence to his advantage

“He began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”

It is one thing to have the correct information at your disposal. It is another to use it to your advantage. Bartimaeus got it right on both spheres.

He had the correct information that Jesus was passing by, he capitalised on it to get healed. Even if it meant creating a scene,  he was not bothered.

Based on the information available at his disposal, Bartimaeus cried out and he got helped. He was not the only blind person in Jericho who might have heard that Jesus was passing by. But he did not only hear, he also acted proactively based on what he heard.

I have no doubt that blind Bartimeaus must have heard about Jesus healing the blind, the lame, the deaf and the dumb before. He had to do whatever he had to do to get the attention of Jesus, so that he too could be healed.

Bartimaeus recognised an opportunity and he took it; He knew that it was not enough to have Jesus come around his vicinity.  It was his one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get healed of his blindness. So he called out to Jesus for the help he so badly needed.

What good information do you have at your disposal right now that you are not using? It is not enough to have the right information. You have to make appropriate use of it – to your advantage. Bartimaeus would have remained blind if he had not used the information he had to meet Jesus.

3. Bartimaeus had a revelation of who Jesus is

So Bartimaeus called out to Him, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”

In Matthew 1:1, we have it recorded, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…” But He is more than that: He is the long-awaited Messiah, the Saviour, the Deliverer.

Blind Bartimaeus did not only recognised Jesus as the Son of David, he also knew that the mercies of God are with Him. Hundreds of years before that time, God had promised David that He would never withdraw His mercies from him.

but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. 2 Samuel 7:15-16

Now Jesus has become the custodian of all grace… And Bartimaeus knew it!

What revelation do you have about Jesus? Is He your Saviour, healer, deliverer, helper, lover, provider, protector, master? The revelation you have about His identity will often determine how you relate with Him, or call out to Him for help like Bartimaeus did.

4. Bartimaeus showed courage in the midst of intimidation

And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”

Bartimaeus was a very courageous man. Or how else can you explain the fact that he refused to be intimidated into silence by the many people who tried to shout him down?

Strong able-bodied men who had their sense of sight intact wanted to stop this blind man from asking Jesus for help. But, thankfully, he proved to be unstoppable; the more they tried to  silence him, the more he shouted out loud. “Son of David, have mercy on me.”

Think about it, how many times you have abandoned a good project simply because everyone went against you! Learn from this man, and show courage no matter the level of intimidation you may face.

So long as you are on the right path, don’t allow anyone intimidate you into oblivion. Like blind Bartimaeus, shout if you need to!

5. Added to his courage, Bartimaeus showed persistence till he got Jesus’ attention

“And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.”

Bartimeaus persisted in the pursuit of what he wanted. The people wanted to stand in his way, but he went past them. They shouted him down many times, but he refused to be cowed until Jesus got his attention.

At long last, Jesus got to hear Bartimeaus’s call and responded,  “And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise.”

I like that expression, Jesus stood still ! Why? Because of Bartimaeus’s importunity. An interesting twist to the story is that the same people who were trying to shout Bartimaeus down were the same people who were now telling him, “cheer up, Jesus is calling you.”

Don’t you think Jesus would have moved on without stopping if this man had not persisted in calling out to Him for help? You see, persistence pays! So you have to keep doing the right thing until you get the result you desire.

For instance, when you pray once and you do not see any visible result, what will you do? Quit? No – pray again, until your change comes.

6. Bartimaeus had to shed ‘excess weight’ to move closer to his goal

And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.”

What is that excess weight that may hinder you from reaching your goal faster? For Bartimaeus, it was his garment. I don’t know how heavy it was for him to carry but the fact that he had to cast it aside to answer Jesus’s call meant that it was obstructing his free movement.

Mind you, a garment was a necessity for Bartimaeus. But at that time it was coming between him and his quest to receive his sight back, so it had to be dropped.

What is that ‘important’ thing that is holding you down? What necessity are you carrying right now that is slowing your pace of progress? It is time to cast it aside in order to move faster and closer to your goal.

7.  Bartimaeus knew exactly what he wanted. 

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.”

Why was Bartimaeus calling out to Jesus? He knew what he wanted!

Why did he refuse to keep quiet when the people told him to shut up?  He knew what he wanted!

Why did he run as fast as he could to meet Jesus once He invited him on?  He knew what he wanted!

It is not that Jesus didn’t see that Bartimaeus was blind. He wanted to afford him the privilege of making a specific request, and having it granted to him. So Jesus asked, what do you want me to do for you? Our man who already knew exactly what he wanted, replied, “that I may see Lord.”

Do you know exactly what you want in life? If you have been praying, are your requests clear and specific? It is high time you did some personal reevaluation in that regard.

If you don’t know what you want, find out. As someone I know used to say, “If you don’t define, you won’t find.”

Blind Bartimaeus

8. Bartimaeus had faith to be healed

“And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. “

We see in Bartimaeus, a man of courage, a man that knew what he wanted, a fearless man. An unstoppable person. A man with with a voice. All well and good.

But in addition to all that, Jesus himself lets us know that Bartimaeus was also a man of faith. He had the faith that Jesus could make him receive his sight back and it worked!

“And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.”

Faith without works is dead. Bartimaeus’s faith was not dead. It was active, vocal, proactive and well-directed. And it produced result – restoration of sight.

Faith, that’s what it takes to please God. That’s what guarantees that you will have what you asked for.

Whenever you come to God, never forget to apply your faith. It is what will make you whole!

9. Bartimaeus became a follower of Jesus at once

“And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”

You might say that Bartimeaus’s decision to follow Jesus once he got his sight back was a natural response just like some other people who began to follow Jesus after He healed them. But he was not forced; it was a personal decision he made.

If you check the Gospels, you will see that there were people who were healed by Jesus but never bothered to follow Him.  There were also healed people who offered to follow Jesus immediately, but He didn’t oblige them.

For Bartimaeus, everything seemed to be going for Him. Although Jesus had told him, “Go your way,” he still stayed with Jesus and Jesus allowed him.

“…”Immediately, he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” We were not told how long he followed Jesus. But he followed him all the same!

When you are blessed, you should not run away from God. If the blessing of God upon your life –  be it healing, prosperity, deliverance, or whatever else God does for you – drives you away from God, it means you have handled the blessing wrongly. God does things for us to win us to His side and not to lose us.

***

What other lessons can we learn from the story of blind Bartimaeus?


©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

On Forgiveness

Revenge

1. God has forgiven your offences. He expects you to forgive other people too.

2. Unforgiveness is a big weight. Free yourself from it or else you may get crushed under it.

3. Happiness and unforgiveness don’t mix. Between the two, you have the power to choose the one you prefer.

4. You have the capacity to forgive anyone who offends you. No need pretending otherwise.

5. Forgive yourself. If you cannot forgive yourself hardly can you forgive others.

6. No matter what anyone has done against you, find a reason to forgive.

7. Forgiveness is a gift. You can give it even when someone doesn’t deserve it.

8. In the long run, forgiveness is sweeter than revenge.


Any comment?


©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

5 Good Ways Being Grateful For Your Salvation Will Impact Your Life

Everyone alive has something he or she should be grateful for. From the mundane to the sublime, there is always a reason to be thankful.

As followers of Jesus Christ, let’s relate that to our attitude towards the free gift of salvation we received from Above.

Many of us would say that our salvation is what we are most grateful for in this life. And that’s a great thing!

Jesus Himself taught that our greatest joy should be that our names are written in Heaven (See Luke 10:20). So it is well in order to feel immensely grateful to God for our salvation and also allow that joyful attitude to reflect in our daily living.

But do we really live our lives daily in a way that demonstrates that we truly appreciate our salvation? Are we as joyful as we should be?

Probably not! That’s why I am writing this post, because I’m convinced some of us are falling behind expectation in that regard.

Sometimes we are immensely grateful we are saved. Some other times we don’t even seem to remember we are saved. So we go about our lives not reflecting the attitude of gratitude both before God and our fellow man or woman.

It is my believe that if we are constantly thankful to God for the free gift of salvation we received in Christ, it will positively impact on the way we respond to God and the way we treat other people.

In this post, I will highlight five ways being grateful for your salvation will impact your life positively.

5 ways you will be positively impacted if you constantly feel grateful for your salvation

1. You will find it easier to live a life of gratitude, irrespective of your estate in life.

You have the capacity for gratitude that does not depend on your external circumstances. But the question is, “Are you using it towards God and your fellow humans?”

The Bible tells us that “In all things, we should give thanks to God.” That’s a way of saying you should always maintain a heart of gratitude.

I am not saying it will be easy to do. But it is something that can be done, even when life doesn’t go the way you want it.

As someone pointed out, “It is not everything that happens that is the will of God. But it is the will of God that you should give thanks to God no matter what happens.”

Being grateful for our salvation

2. You will live to please God rather than yourself or anyone else.

When you appreciate your salvation as something you could never achieve by your best efforts, but which God delivered to you undeservedly, it becomes imperative that you focus on pleasing the One Who got you saved in the first place.

God paid the highest price for your salvation so He deserves to get your highest love, greatest pleasure and deepest loyalty.

Before you were saved, you were living for yourself and for the devil.

Once you have been saved, you should begin to live your life to the glory of God. Always being grateful for your salvation will help you in that regard.

3. You will love other people more

When you love God with all your heart, loving other people becomes a less difficult challenge.

At salvation, you received the love of God in your heart. This love that has been shared abroad in your heart is what enables you to love other people, whether they are lovely or unlovely.

If you don’t value your salvation, you will underestimate the need to love other people with the same love God has loved you with.

4. You will not live a hopeless life

Hopelessness is a consequence of not having any expectation for a future good. But in Christ, you are guaranteed of a good future.

God has promised to bring you to an expected end. A glorious one!

Our salvation is not an end in itself. It is the restoration of our relationship with God here on earth and it points us to a more glorious future.

As a saved person you have hope in this world and in the world to come. You will not lose sight of that if you are someone that always appreciates your salvation.

Apostle Paul argues that, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” 1 Corrinthians 15:19.

Because of your salvation in Christ, you have been born into a living hope that extends beyond this world into a glorious eternity.

5. Your faith will be strengthened

Ingratitude will drain your strength! But gratitude will empower you.

The greatest thing God did for mankind is sending Jesus to die for the salvation of the world. This singular act coupled with your positive response to it by faith is what afforded you the benefit/hope of eternal salvation.

If you appreciate this on a personal level, it will strengthen your faith in God and in the belief in His willingness to answer your prayers.

Just like Apostle Paul, you will reason that , “He [God] who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32, NASB


In what other ways do you feel being grateful for your salvation in Christ will positively impact your life?


©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

What Are You Grateful For?

There is a saying in Nigeria that if you look carefully within or around you, you will definitely find something to be thankful for.

In other words, everyone has one reason or another to feel some sense of gratitude.

Look within you or around you.  Look back over the course of your life… l believe you should find some reasons to be grateful.

I dare say that it would not be correct for you to say there is nothing about you to be grateful for. So please don’t even go there…

Recently on my Facebook page, I asked this simple question:

Victor Uyanwanne asks a question on gratitude

The responses I received to that question are what I present to you in this post, with the hope that you too will join in the conservation aimed at identifying the things you are most grateful for in your life.

Interestingly, I didn’t have this post in mind when I asked that question. But as I examined the feedback I received, I began to feel the need to use them as basis to write this post.

The following points are the feedback I received from 4 respondents as the things they are grateful for:

1. My salvation. My parents for being there in my formative years. And many other things;

2. For God’s elaborate salvation plan that included me.

3. My salvation, and other priceless gifts too numerous to mention!

4. The legacy bequeathed me by my dad and mom.

All the responses came from very mature people (all of them over 50 years of age each). I would take that to mean that they know what they were talking about.

From the responses of these friends on Facebook, I was able to see that there are majorly two things they are grateful for:

1. For the salvation they have;

2. For the roles their parents played in their lives.

If necessary, I will explore this two reasons in subsequent blog posts. But here, let us just continue the conversation by having you identify what you are grateful for in life.


See also: What is your greatest joy in life?


Are you ready? Let me set the ball rolling.

Just like the above respondents, I am grateful to God for the salvation of my soul. But I’m more grateful that it happened early enough in life for me.

I gave my heart to God before my fourtheenth birthday. This has helped me in so many ways…

It helped me to form my values based on the word of God, shapened and steered my character – as a teenager then – in the right directions.

With my heart already dedicated to God, I found it easier to overcome peer pressure and other teenage vices that would have certainly led me in the wrong direction in life – away from God.

The core values that were instilled in me at that stage of life, have continually proved very useful in my adult life. For that I’m very grateful.

Let me not make this post about me only. It should be about all of us. So permit me to ask you the same question:

Looking back over your life these past years, what are the things you are most grateful for?

Kindly provide your answer in the comment section and thank you in advance for participating.


©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

Adultery Will Cost You!

Fidelity in marriage

Marriage is a special institution established by God for His glory and for the enjoyment of mankind. And we are expected to treat the institution honourably.

Unfortunately, many people have been dishonouring their marriages by not protecting the sanctity of the marital unions as necessary.

Part of the requirements for safeguarding the sanctity of marriage is marital fidelity.

I do not mean to suggest that fidelity in marriage guarantees that a marriage will be happy and successful. But I can state categorically that marital infidelity is a sure way to destroy a marriage or make it fail.

It is required that in marriage, spouses should be faithful to their partners with their bodies. But what do we see sometimes amongst married people?

Adultery – willful sexual relationship with someone else other than your spouse!

Adultery is a grievous sin first before God and then before your marriage partner. Yet, some people engage in it without caring about the consequences.

Beyond the seeming pleasure derived from adultery, alot of pain is caused by it.

Anyone who commits adultery is playing with fire, and should not be surprised if the fire consumes him or her.

Here is a question from someone who seriously contemplated the danger of adultery:

Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Proverbs 6:27

The answer is no! You cannot put the fire of adultery on your lap and expect not to get hurt!

Marital infidelity

Here are additional warning against adultery from the book of Proverbs (NLT):

26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life

28 Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? 29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished…

32 But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself (Emphasis mine).

As a follower of God, you will have known from the Bible that adultery is a serious sin, with eternal implications…

But beyond that, no one will deny that adultery has terrible consequences to the perpetrators and to the people along their paths.

Adultery damages nearly every relationship around it, including the extended family. Forgetting the goodness and mercy of God by giving in to immediate impulse and physical passion brings self-inflicted consequences to the body and soul… Ross Rhoads, Adultery – A Heartbreaking Sin

The following consequences might result from adultery:

  • Loss of reputation
  • Fear of being caught
  • Emotional pains
  • Divorce
  • Financial liability
  • Death
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Unwanted pregnancy/Child
  • Distrust
  • Guilt
  • Loss of job, etc.

Talking about loss of job, that was what happened recently to a university professor in Nigeria. He was dismissed by his employers over a confirmed allegation of sexual misconduct.

Earlier in the year, a recorded conversation between the professor in question and one of his female students went viral in the social media circle in the country.

On that leaked audio, the randy professor was caught on tape soliciting sex from the post-graduate student in exchange for pass marks.

Following the public outcry over the sex-for-mark scandal, the school authority launched an investigation into the allegation.

The preliminary investigation found the professor guilty of the allegation, prima facie, and this led to the accused professor being suspended. However, the professor was later sacked upon the conclusion of necessary investigations.

One reputable media source reported that the Professor “was found to be liable for all allegations of [sexual] misconduct levelled against him… This led to the dismissal of the academic from the services of the university, to serve as a deterrent to others.”

The guilty-as-charged professor was dismissed “to serve as a deterrent to others.”

The need for strict safeguards

That’s one of the reasons I’m writing this post as well. If you realise the inherent danger in committing adultery, you will guard against it.

As David Boehi noted in an article on adultery published on Family Life website, “…All of us [should] realize the need to set up strict safeguards to ensure that we are faithful in our marriage commitment[s]. If I am convinced of what adultery would do to me and to my family, I will watch my wandering eyes, guard my thought life, and avoid any situations that could put me in harm’s way.”

Here is my final advice: Think twice before you commit adultery because it will cost you!


What’s your perspective on the consequences of adultery?

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

On Truth And What You Believe

Belief and morality

One of the eternal words that Jesus ever uttered includes this one: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).

Knowing the truth is the way to true freedom. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

But first, here is the question:

What is the truth?

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” John 14:6.

There goes another audacious claim of Jesus’:

  • He is the Way;
  • He is the Truth;
  • He is the Life.

With all these assertions, was Jesus just posturing or He is who He claims to be? I choose to believe the latter.

Therefore:

  • As Jesus is the Way, if you are following anyone other than Jesus alone, you are on the wrong path;
  • As Jesus is the Truth, if you have not believed Jesus as the full revelation of God’s truth to mankind, you have believed wrongly;
  • As Jesus is the Life, you will not have eternal life except you receive the life that only Jesus offers.

I know these are the kinds of statements that make some people mad. But Jesus did not offer any apologies when He made those audacious claims, neither would I.

a) Jesus is the Truth

First and foremost, truth is a person; Jesus is the Truth and He is unchanging…

So He can be trusted. You accept the truth to your eternal benefits and you reject it to your eternal peril.

There can be no meaningful “commitment to the authority of God” without a firm personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Truth.

b) The word of God is truth.

Jesus is the Word and the Word is truth, absolute truth. So the question of relative truth doesn’t apply…

All contemplations of truth must be hinged on God (through Jesus) and on His Word. You rise or fall to the truth you receive or reject.

That brings us to the question of morality.

The Standard for our morality

The word of God is truth. Therefore, more than anything else, the word of God must be the standard for our lives and the basis of our morality.

More than anything else, our morality should be based on what God thinks. Everything else is sinking sand…

But the choice is ours whether to base our morality on God’s thinking or not.

Our world today gives us three options for how to discover truth: We can choose to base our morality on what we think, on what other people think, or on what God thinks. We really have no other options. Our choice will dictate how we live, how we love, and, someday, how we die. But it’s our choice. What will you choose? – Rick Warren, in the devotional article, “You can know the truth by looking at God.”

The best foundation for our morality should be on God’s truth. Atheists may think otherwise, but I reckon that any question on morality cannot but have God in the picture.

Without God, the source of truth, there can be no a proper sense of right or wrong.

Any philosophy of life not backed by the word of God, irrespective of whoever might have propounded it, cannot be the truth.

The absolute truth as we should know it is the word of God only; whether in part or as a whole, the word of God is truth. I didn’t say so, Jesus did.

Jesus once prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17, emphasis mine).

Yes, the word of God is truth!

But there is a tragedy

Instead of choosing to knowing and living by the truth of God’s word, many people today have chosen to embrace some philosophies that are now destroying the moral fabric of the society.

Many people now believe what they want to believe. And feel they can live their lives how they want it, with or little considerations for the issues of morality.

Writing along that line in a recent devotional article, author of the best-seller The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, reminds us that What You Believe Shapes Your Life.

As he puts it, “What you believe determines your behavior. Your behavior then determines what you become, and that has a direct effect on the direction of your life.”

So you see why the behaviour of the world is going haywire? They have rejected the truth, living a lie and heading in godless directions.

If you think godless thoughts, you will believe godless things and make godless choices!

Knowing Jesus and accepting God’s word as the truth will help shapen correctly what you believe and how you live.


©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

How Do You Define Victory?

Surrender

In the Christian life, victory could be defined as living each day with Jesus Christ at the center of everything. We commonly refer to this as “surrender”, which is ironic.

In the world to surrender means you lose, but when you surrender everything to Jesus Christ you experience the ultimate victory. You experience God’s plan for your life in place of your own plans.

The amazing part of this experience is not knowing what lies ahead… sure this can be scary at times. But I try to turn that fear into excitement knowing that God always has the better plan.

When I look back at the past 46 years of my life, when I was in control, things didn’t go very well… In fact, I nearly destroyed everything.

At the center of it all, was my pride, believing everything was about ME ME ME. At the end of that road, what a waste!

Praise be to God, Jesus Christ intervened and Saved my life.

Consider King Solomon, the wisest man to ever walk the Earth, aside from Jesus Christ. He had all the money and power any man could ever want, he chased after all the things the world would provide, and indulged in all the pleasures. Yet at the end… this is how he felt…

Ecclesiastes 2
11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Do you ever feel like your “striving for the wind”?

I know for many years I felt this same way. The hard truth, which sometimes I do not like to hear, is that we need to stop being selfish and realize there is something bigger out there, a higher purpose, a grander plan.

The good news is that as Christians we are part of that plan, the bad news is that few of us live a life that reflects that truth.

Please do not misunderstand me, fully surrendering to Christ is something I work on every day, not something I have “achieved”.

Think of this process like climbing a Mountain, in that we should continue striving towards that highest peak… to be “Christ-like”.

Much like a Mountain there is safety in numbers when making that ascent (fellowship) and you ALWAYS want to stay anchored along the way (the Word). If one of your brothers or sisters loses their footing, you are there to catch them and bring them safely back.

Photo by Frantisek Duris on Unsplash

What does it mean to fully surrender?, you may be asking.

I delved extensively into this topic in another post, What does it mean to surrender?. But for the sake of this article, to fully surrender means you let go and let God.

Stop trying to force your limitations on life… and spend time with the Lord daily so you can hear clearly what He is trying to tell you.

There are many days when I feel like I have given my all to God, and those days are the GREATEST days… a taste of victory that I can have every day if I choose.

However there are also days when I turn from God and go after things that I want and desire… without exception I always tend to regret those days.

Then I ask myself, why can’t I get this right? Why do I keep screwing up? WHY?!

You want to know what I discovered?

Those days that I regret are the days I chose to love something else in my life, more than I love God. Usually it is myself but it could also be something else. Only when I learn to love God EVERY day will I achieve this surrender I seek.

Would you like to share how you have surrendered or in what ways you try to surrender in your life? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall

Keith Mosher

Keith - Stand tall for Christ

Stand Tall For Christ

www.standtallforchrist.com

(P.S. If you follow my blog today and like the following post, you could win a very nice leather bound Bible, a Celebrate Recovery Devotional and more. Click Here for more information.)

Being A Loving Leader Doesn’t Mean You Shouldn’t Hold Your Team Accountable

Holding your team accountable

If you are leading anything of significance then you will regularly run into many uncertainties, obstacles, and failures. And it is the way you deal with these situations, how you handle things going wrong, that truly defines your leadership.”

Those were the words of Paul Hughes in the post, “Your leadership is defined by how you handle things going wrong.”

Paul is someone who believes that leadership should be founded on love.

According to him, “When a culture has its foundation in love, then it is safe to fail. People start to come out of their comfort zones because they know that even if they make a mistake they are still going to be valued. Instead of being blamed, they know they will be supported and assisted to grow.”

What that means in a way is that a leader who loves his or her team will not take pleasure in dishing out blames to the team if failure occurs along the line; neither will he or she be judgemental.

Rather the leader focuses “…on discovering and truly understanding the cause of the failure, while at the same time being attuned to the feelings of the people involved.”

Paul calls that the Empathetic Discovery Approach. The principle requires that in any situation of failure, you the leader should build shared understanding of the root-cause of the problem through exploration conversations without demoralising any member of your team.

If you jump into conclusions without this empathetic exploration, you are more likely to get your team feeling hurt and getting blamed. And as you know, no one enjoys being blamed all the time.

I agreed with that position when I read it in the original post. But I was also left with the following questions:

Does this approach (of focusing on the root-cause of failure and having respect for the team members’ feelings) preclude a leader from holding people accountable for their actions?

Or is this another way of saying, “Ask what went wrong, not who was wrong?”

Leadership and accountability
Paul Hughes-LoveYourTeam

Here was Paul’s response to that question. (I have his permission to reproduce it here):

This approach doesn’t preclude a leader from holding people accountable for their actions. In fact, it is the opposite.

If you don’t hold people accountable then you aren’t really being a loving leader.

To give an analogy of how the approach I’m describing fits in with accountability, imagine the situation when someone is speeding in their car and a police officer pulls them over.

There is a consequence for exceeding the speed limit, which is getting fined. It is the police officer’s duty to issue that fine.

But the police officer has a decision to make about how they are going to perceive the speeding driver.

One approach is to make an assumption that the driver doesn’t care about the road laws, and then to look down on the driver for this lack of care.

Another approach is to hold back from jumping to conclusions or forming a judgement.

I guarantee that the driver will know the difference, even if the police officer did not say anything. They would sense in a lot of subtle ways whether the officer was holding that judgement or not.

Now, the officer could just issue the fine and walk away. And there is nothing wrong with that.

But think about the possibilities of approaching the situation from a standpoint of unconditional love.

The police officer might want to do the best they can to help make the chance of speeding lower in future, to protect people from preventable accidents. In his case, the loving officer would be navigating the table in my article.

The system first. What if it turns out that the speed signs had fallen down and it was impossible for drivers to know the speed limit.

If this turned out to be the case, the officer would want to arrange for the signs to be fixed to help all drivers.

But let’s say the speed signs were fine. What caused the driver to be speeding?

May be they were stressed out with many different things, and weren’t concentrating while driving.

The loving officer could listen and empathise with this, while at the same time still giving the person the fine. And who knows, maybe just taking the time to listen and to offer an encouraging word letting the person know there is hope amidst their many problems, ends up being a moment that really changes that person.

And then maybe that person is able to sort out some challenges they have that help them in many ways, only one of which is not getting distracted while driving and causing them to speed.

How much better of an outcome is this than just the person stopping speeding out of fear that they’ll get another ticket?

Or let’s say it turns out that the driver really doesn’t care and is disrespectful to the officer. At that point the officer obviously still gives them the fine, which is the consequence of their behaviour. But the officer still has a choice whether to love the person.

The unloving path is to hold the innate worth of the person lower because of the attitude they expressed. Following that path, what is the chance of this interaction actually helping that person?

It’s most likely going to re-enforce the poor attitude they have.

But on the other hand, what if the officer was loving? In this case they would not diminish the worth of the person. They would feel sorry for person, knowing the expressed attitude will lead to pain for them and others.

They would look the person in the eye, and out of genuine love say something like, “I really don’t want to see you get hurt or others get hurt. I need to give you this fine today because you have broken the law and done something dangerous. But I truly hope you value yourself as much as I value you, and stop speeding”.

Now the person may snarl and dismiss the comment. But you never know what kind of seed that moment of genuine unconditional love will plant.

The authenticity of that interaction could play some small part in really helping that person change. And even if that is only the remotest of possibilities, then it is worth it.

Screenshot_20180606-015213~2

What do you think?

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

Don’t Use God As An Excuse For Laziness

Ministers and secular jobs

There is an error that is gradually becoming endemic in our days.

I have seen young energetic men become lazy, laid-back, lethargic and beggarly all in the guise of pursuing God or working for God (Ministry).

Those that are married lean on their wives’ income as sole income and not complementary income to support what they bring.

The ones that are not married seek ladies with steady flow of income to hook up to thereby abusing God’s order.

Some others want their wives to stop working and take care of their children without showing them practically how they intend to provide for their homes.

This laziness has led many preachers to sell their soul by engaging in many unspeakable things to make endsmeet. They are deluded by a voice supposedly from God telling them not to work.

My concern is simple; if God tells you not to work, be sure God’s provision will always be ahead of your needs.

Paul in his missionary journey worked with his hands when there was no provision. And where there was provision, he devoted the entire time in preaching the word of God.

My heart reaches out to women that are saddled with so much burden to ensure their family have the basic needs (food, shelter, clothing and basic-education).

With all these burden, many ‘MOGs’ [Men Of God] expect their wives to perform their nuptial duties at night as and when due. Failure to do so due to fatigue has been used as an excuse for extra-marital affairs.

Let us grow up and revert to the divine order where husbands provide for their homes and wives support.

Full-time ministry is to do the work of God fully with your heart, might and strength and that is also the first commandment. This is God’s minimum requirement for all Believers.

It doesn’t hinder any Man of God from working with their hands pending when their congregation is financially solvent enough to accommodate their financial burdens.

Get this fact straight, dust your certificate, get a skill and start working.

Your heart is with God even at work. Become productive, unburden your wives and lean solely on God.

Shalom!

Jude Agbontaen


Jude recently posted this article on his Facebook page. I obtained his permission to share it with you here on this blog.

You may follow Jude directly via his Facebook handle for more insightful posts.


Question: Should young gospel ministers do other jobs to earn a living? What is your view?

A Man of God Should Bear Good Fruits

The imperatives of bearing good fruit

A man of God will bear good fruits. He is not a man of God if he doesn’t!

In my Nigeria where I live, just like in many places around the world, I have realised that many people are quick to be called “men of God.” But the question is, “are all of them truly men of God?”

What I have also come to realise is that some of those so-called men of God hardly live up to that identity.

I am not saying this because I am judging them. But rather because, it can be seen that many of them are not conducting themselves in ways that bring glory to God.

If someone is a man of God, he should not say and do things that are attributes of men of satan.

How can you be a man of God and your lifestyle has no regard for the word of God?

  • A man of God should conduct himself in obedience to God.
  • A man called of God should seek to please God more than men.
  • A man of God should bear fruits that bring glory to God.

Otherwise, it gives room for avoidable doubts.

The sad truth is that many people who claim to be men of God are really not what they claim. And from such people, we should be wary.

Remember the warning Jesus handed us in Matthew chapter 7:

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

Beware of fake men of God.

The above advice is as relevant today it was when it was given over two thousand years ago. It will be to your own peril to neglect it.

Many people who claim to be prophets are ravenous wolves in sheep clothing. But as Jesus hinted us, “we [will] know them by their fruits.”

A man of God will bear good fruits. He is not a man of God if he consistently bears bad fruits.

One source quoted the late American evangelist, Billy Graham to have said:

“A Man of God is one who depends on the Grace of God, preaches the Word of God, stays in the Will of God, fulfils the Purposes of God, respects the Servants of God, edifies the Family of God, is filled with the Spirit of God, devotes himself to the Ministry of God, loves the Word of God, and lives for the Kingdom of God!”

What’s your own idea of a man of God?

 

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

Pornography: Setting Up Defences In Our Daily Lives And Taking Them Seriously

You are not alone!

Addiction to pornography is a real issue in the world, even amongst some Christians. So if you are one of those fighting the battle against this unwholesome habit, know that you are not alone in the struggle.

But do not lose sight of the fact there is a way out for you. I mean, do not give up on yourself, thinking you have lost the battle already.

No, you haven’t!

The good news is that you can be helped – just like some people have been helped and have overcome the addiction to pornography.

dangers of pornography viewing

The rest of this post is a contribution from one of my readers. In response to my post On Billy Graham’s famed scandal-free life, the author openly shares his struggles with lust and pornography as well as the ways to gain victory over them.

And because I didn’t want the gems in the contribution to be buried away or lost all-together in the comment section of my blog where it was first posted, I have obtained the commenter’s permission to share the full text of the comment here so that many more of my readers can benefit from it.

I have inserted appropriate headings to make navigation of the article easier. I believe you will benefit from reading it.


Hello Victor,

Yes, pornography and lust have been my greatest of struggles. I wish I could say one day Jesus delivered me from those desires but to this day I have to remain on guard at all times.

For your readers I would start with how harmful pornography is, as many people think it is just a normal part of daily life, and countless Christians regularly view it…

Gaining the victory

Victory (which I am hesitant to call it) comes from three things.

First you have to HEAL the wounds of your past that drive you to watch pornography (or any other sin). This healing came to me through Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12 step Program.

What drives sinful behaviours?

Our sinful behaviour is driven by SOMETHING and often times the source lies in our past. When we can learn to truly heal those wounds, we can begin to be free of the bondage.

How do we heal those wounds?

[Through] Forgiveness!

[Realise that God has forgiven us and we should accept that forgiveness. We should also forgive ourselves and others who have offended us.

Recommended: 6 Simple Reasons to Forgive Offences]

Second, we have to set up defences in our daily lives and take this seriously.

The enemy is roaming about like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. The enemy wants to kill us and everything we have worked towards the kingdom of God… So we NEED defences.

Keith - Stand tall for Christ
Keith Mosher – standtallforchrist.com

What are the defences we need against pornography?

1) Accountability partners. We need to have a team (2-3) of trusted people of the same sex we can speak to about our most intimate sinful thoughts. People that won’t judge us and will support us by holding us accountable.

These people should be fellow Christians and it helps if they struggle in the same areas… or better yet have victory in your area of struggle. YOUR spouse should never be on this team… they are usually the victims of our stupid behaviour.

2) Accountability software. Personally I use Covenant Eyes, which sends a weekly report of all my computer and device activity to my accountability team. It’s only $15/month… but is invaluable. There are a bunch of others out there as well.

3) Identify your triggers and defend against them. TAKE Extreme measures if necessary, this is your marriage, your family, your ministry even your life that is on the line!!

For six months I pulled the TV off the wall, and read more books, because there were too many triggers on TV of sexual imagery and I could never predict when they would show up.

I quit ALL social media and still haven’t gone back to any of them. I gave up my smart phone for over a year and bought a flip-phone with no pornography access.

The last thing I will mention, not last in importance, but FIRST… is we need to spend quality time with GOD every day… not as a to-do-list or a good christian checklist. But because God wants a relationship with us, and how do we have a relationship with anyone we never spend time with?

It is Jesus Christ alone that will eventually demolish any strongholds of sin in our lives… but we have to do our part and turn away from our sinful desires.

I am always available for support and questions if any of your readers need help overcoming pornography or lust in their lives. We are in this together, we need to stand shoulder to shoulder on this battlefield.

Stay Strong & Stand Tall.

Keith


Thank you so much Keith for this awesome contribution.

Dear reader, please feel free to make your own contribution to the discourse via the comment section. And if you have any questions, Keith – “a Christian writer and Apologist who spends his time defending the faith, encouraging other Christian believers and serving in his local church” – has offered to provide answers.

Feel free to download his new ebook Shattering the chains of sexual addition. You may also visit his blog, Stand Tall For Christ, for more helpful resources.

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

Introducing all the Marys in the Bible

How many Mary's are in the Bible?

The name Mary we understand is a modern form of the Jewish female name, Miriam (the other variants being Maria, Mariam, Maryam). For instance, in the Old Testament, Moses’ elder sister was called Miriam.

In the New Testament, there were several important women called Mary that were specifically mentioned, especially in the various Gospels.

There was a time I couldn’t perfectly distinguish from amongst all the Marys. But once I was able to clear the confusion, it became easier for me to do so.

Hence this post highlights some things I learnt about the women called Mary in the N.T. One striking discovery was that all these Marys where one way or another associated with Jesus Christ and/or His Disciples.

The 7 Women Called Mary in the Bible

Bible scholars have been able to identify that there are seven Marys in the Bible. In this post, we will take a close look at all the people called Mary as the Bible tells us with a view to understanding them better:

In no particular order, we will now begin the journey…

1. Mary the wife of Joseph, Matthew 1:24

This Mary was the one who found favour with God (Luke 1:30).

She was the virgin through whom Jesus was born; Matthew 1:23: the mother of Jesus.

She was the wife of Joseph, the ‘earthly’ father of Jesus;

She was also the mother of Jesus’ step brothers – James, Joses, Juda, Simon – and sisters. You know that Mary gave birth to other people apart from Jesus!

She was one of the four women that stood close to Jesus while on the Cross. The rest were her sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas and Mary Magdalene.

2. Mary Magdalene

This Mary was from Magdala, from which Magdalene was coined in reference to her home town;

Jesus cast out seven spirits and infirmities from her, Luke 8:2. She later became one of the prominent women who ministered to Jesus.

This was one of the four women that stood close to Jesus while on the Cross. The rest were Jesus mother, Jesus aunty (his mother’s sister) and Mary the wife of Cleopas.

She was also the woman, first disciple and first person to see Jesus Christ after resurrection. Hence, she was the first to bear the testimony of the resurrection to the rest of the disciples (John 20:13-18).

3. Mary from Bethany

This was the sister to Lazarus (whom Jesus raised from the dead) and Martha;

She was one of the 3 woman recorded to have anointed Jesus with oil and wiped His feet with her hair woman John 11:1-2, 12:1-8.

This Mary was from Bethany. During an outreach Jesus had to that village, Martha, this Mary’s sister invited and hosted Jesus in their home.

This was the same Mary Jesus commended for choosing to listening to the Word while Martha was busy in the kitchen (Luke 10:38-42).

4. Mary the mother of James and Joses/Joseph

Two James easily come to mind in the N. T. One was the step brother of Jesus while the second one was the son of this Mary in focus. Matt 27:56.

This Mary was mother of two disciples of Jesus. Both James and Joses also known as Joseph were disciples of Jesus Christ.

This Mary was part of the women that ministered to Jesus, and even followed Him to the cross; Matthew 27:55-56.

This Mary sat on his grave after Jesus was crucified

5. Mary the mother of John Mark

This woman was a widow in Jerusalem, and she owned property in that place.

She was the mother of John Mark, Acts 12:12.

She made her house available for the disciples to gather for prayers, once the persecution escalated; Acts 12:11-17.

James had been kill by King Herod and Peter imprisoned. So the remaining disciples were hiding (or fellowshipping secretly) in this Mary’s house;

Peter after being supernaturally freed from prison made straight to show himself to James and the other disciplines who were gathered in this Mary’s home. From here, he left town and went to other places to continue ministering.

This Mary was also the sister of Barnabas, the one who sold his landed property and laid the proceeds at the Apostle’s feet (Acts 4:37).

Paul in his letter to the Colosians (4:10) exposed the relationship amongst Mary, Mark and Barnabas when he identified Mark or Marcus (John Mark) as the cousin of Barnabas, that is the son of the sister of Barnabas.

6. Mary, the wife of Cleopas

John 19:25

This was one of the four women that stood close to Jesus while on the Cross. The rest were Jesus mother, Jesus aunty (his mother’s sister) and Mary Magdalene.

7. Mary of Rome

Not much record was kept about the character of this Mary. However, the writer of the epistle to the Romans gave special recognition to this woman.

She was greeted and mentioned as the one who laboured greatly for the Apostles. At this point, Paul had joined the believers and had obviously benefited from the labour of love of this Mary. Hence, a special mention was made of her in his letter to the Romans.

This post took a look at the women called Mary in the Bible, with the hope that we can learn one or two things from each of them. What are your thoughts about them?

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

On Billy Graham’s scandal-free life and what we can learn from it.

Keeping the faith

In a previous post about Billy Graham, I came to the conclusion that “Just like Apostle Paul, we could say of him “Graham fought the good fight, Graham finished the race, Graham kept the faith.”

It was also pointed out in that article that most people that know him acknowledge that Graham was a man of great character and integrity, who stayed true to his divine calling of evangelism throughout his active life in ministry.

Unlike many preachers of his day and in modern times, it is widely acknowledged that despite his tremendous success in ministry, Billy Graham led a scandal-free life.

I’m not saying he was a perfect man. But he was a light in the midst of darkness. A mentor to many leaders and an example to his followers.

If you are like me, then you must have wondered how he was able to achieve so much success and fame in life and ministry without being tainted with the popular character pitfalls that bedeviled some preachers of the gospel in his time.

You can say it was a miracle and you are probably right. But apart from that, one thing we cannot disprove is that this highly respected preacher took personal responsibility for his character and integrity. And by the grace of God, he held out strong till he breadth his last.

The Resolve for a Life of Integrity

In an article by a Scott Wise on WTVR, we were given a tremendous insight on how Billy Graham and some members of his preaching team made the commitment to uphold their honour and integrity as ministers of the gospel of Christ:

“In 1948, at the beginning of his rise to fame, Graham and his tight circle of traveling evangelists gathered in California and catalogued the sins that had destroyed the careers of other Christian preachers. Money, sexual temptation and hubris topped the list.”

Please take another look at the three:

  • Money
  • Sexual temptation
  • Hubris (pride or overconfidence)

Are these not the same areas where many Christians leaders have fallen short of the moral standard required of them as followers of Christ?

Graham and his men pledged to avoid all the three. Shouldn’t we do the same?

The ministry team of Cliff Barrows, Grady Wilson, Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea
The ministry team of (L-R) Cliff Barrows, Grady Wilson, Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea. Source: Billygraham.org

The Modesto Manifesto

This was the documentation of Billy Graham’s and his core ministers’ personal resolution to uphold “the highest standard of Biblical morality and integrity” in their lives and ministry with respect to financial integrity, sexual, publicity and partnership with the local church.”

Cliff Barrows, close associate of Billy Graham who was also a member of the manifesto-drafting team was quoted to have said that the Modesto manifesto made it “…settle in our hearts and minds, once and for all, the determination that integrity would be the hallmark of both our lives and our ministry.”

As one commentator also noted, “Billy Graham’s standards are imperative requirements for all ministers” of the gospel and indeed for all those who profess to be followers of Christ.

 

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

Peter, Jesus and the Question of Forgiveness

Forgiveness

The 7 Times Forgiveness Question and the Surprising Answer

The Gospel of Matthew (18:21-22) has a record of an important conversation between Peter and Jesus which bothered on the question of forgiveness.

Peter had sought a validation from Jesus on his belief about the subject of forgiveness. But beyond Peter’s wildest expectation, Jesus taught him and the other disciples an expanded lesson of a lifetime.

Was Peter simply trying to show that he was magnanimous, or he merely wanted to validate his 7 times forgiveness theology? Either way, Jesus had him covered.

Validating your beliefs

When you seek information to validate your beliefs, one of two things can happen if you eventually find the truth:

1. If your belief about a subject is right and you come to find the truth, your belief will be validated by the truth you have discovered;

2. But if your belief is wrong, the truth you find will burst your bubble, deflate your ego. But you will be a better person if you would take dressing from it.

Peter’s experience

The second scenerio was the one faced by Peter in the conversation with Jesus concerning forgiveness:

Peter: Lord, how many times should I forgive my neighbour when they offend me? Is it seven times?

Jesus: Peter, I did not tell you seven times, but seventy times seven.

Wow! Peter was dazed by that response. He just learnt that 7 times forgiveness offered to someone is not magnanimous enough. Four hundred and ninety times was Jesus’ new standard measure.

Of course Jesus was not limiting forgiveness to only 490 times. But that was not what Peter expected to hear. He got the lesson anyway.

Some credits to Peter please?

Despite this shocking revelation from Jesus, I think we should still give Peter some credits here.

First he knew that he ought to forgive his neighbours when they offend him. But he got it wrong when he thought that a neighbor deserves to be forgiven only seven times and not more.

We can see that Peter’s focus was on himself and what he had the capacity to do, without knowing that with a relationship with Jesus Christ, he could have the capacity to forgive infinitely.

Perhaps he had reckoned that he could forgive a person only seven times and nothing more because he couldn’t imagine that one should go on and on doling out forgiveness limitlessly. As we saw, Jesus stretched the limits farther than Peter had imagined.

Another thing we should give Peter some credits for is that he willingly held out his belief about forgiveness against the light of the truth to be revealed by his Master.

I wouldn’t say Peter was testing his popularity by the question he asked. But rather, I can say he was on a quest for the truth. And it paid off because Jesus had the real truth about forgiveness to neighbour revealed to him in a way that he (Peter) never knew.

But then, this revelation of 490 times forgiveness rattled Peter’s theology, deflated his ego and settled the issue once and for all.

What is your take on the number of times we should forgive? 

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

Billy Graham: I Wish I Had Met Him

Billy Graham's Quote

Like Bishop Benson Idahosa, Like Billy Graham

In 1998, Bishop Benson Idahosa went on to be with the Lord.

A fearless Charismatic Pentecostal preacher, and founder of the Church of God Mission International with headquarters in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, Idahosa, remains one of the greatest ministers to have come out of Africa.

Bishop Benson Idahoha
Picture Credit: DunamisBlog

He was a man that preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to the uttermost part of the world. From Nigeria to Africa, America, Europe and other parts of the world, Idahosa took the supreme task of evangelism to all nations with courage, faith and power of the Holy Spirit.

As the first televangelist I came to know growing up in the 80’s, I had great respect and administration for Idahosa. And for many years, it was a secret desire of mine to meet him face to face some day.

As God would have it, that silent wish came to fulfilment in 1997 when he happened to pay a scheduled visit to the Polytechnic town of Auchi where I was schooling at that point in time. Needless, to say, I made it a point of duty to see the Bishop that day and even touched him. It was a fulfilling experience for me – a dream come through!

Outside this shores at that time, one renown evangelist I also heard about so much then was American preacher, Billy Graham. I was not born yet when he held some of his gospel crusades across some cities in Nigeria in the 60’s, but his reputation as a fiery, respectable man of God did not escape me.

In some ways, one could say that Bishop Benson Idahosa was to Nigeria and the world what Billy Graham was to America and the world. While I had the privilege of meeting the former before he passed on to glory, I was not able to meet the latter in person. And sadly, I would no longer be able to do so again on this side of life.

Every one must confess there is God - Victor Uyanwanne
Billy Graham. Source: Billygraham.org

It is no longer news that the legendary American evangelist has recently passed on to glory. He was indisputably one of the greatest Christian leaders ever known in this century; he was a good soldier of Christ here on earth who was highly respected around the world.

As the stories about Billy Graham’s  ministry, life and time on earth continue to pour into our consciousness through various media, I came to realise something I never really knew I had – a wish to have met him.

Unlike being able to meet Bishop Idahosa before he passed on, I would be unable to meet Graham any more.

However, from the many available reports about him, there are some interesting things that one would easily cherish:

  • He was a man of great character and integrity;
  • He stayed true to his divine calling – evangelism;
  • He was highly respected around the world;
  • He was “a spiritual adviser to American presidents…”
  • He was very influential as a christian leader;
  • He insisted on racial integration in his crusades;
  • He remained conscious of Heaven all through his life.

Billy Graham has now left the world to be with with Lord. And it is gratifying to note that he finished strongly.

Just like Apostle Paul, we can say of him “Graham fought the good fight, Graham finished the race, Graham kept the faith.”

Though I never got to meet him while on this Earth, I take solace in the fact that we shall some day meet at the Lord’s bosom – in Heaven that he so much believed in and preached about.

My home is in heaven. I’m just travelling through this world – Billy Graham.

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

 

5 Things That Do Not Make You A Disciple Of Christ

Many people claim to be Christians but they are not. And if one is not a Christian, he or she cannot be  called a disciple of Christ.

Without a personal faith in the finished work of Christ, one could not be called a Christian.

Things that don't make you are ChristianIn this post, we will examine 5 things that though they may appear good in themselves, they are not sufficient to qualify one as a Christian or a disciple of Christ.

1. Having Christian parents.

Yes, you are not a Christian simply because your parents are Christians.

Anyone can become a disciple of Christ irrespective of whether their parents know Christ or not. It is a personal decision. This is where those who see themselves as cultural Christians miss the point.

You are privileged if you have Christian parents. But that does not automatically make you a Christian or a disciple of Christ.

To become a Christian, you will have to enter into a personal relationship with God by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Your parents cannot do it on your behalf; it has to be a personal, conscious decision only you can take for yourself.

 2. Being a member of a local church

Christians go to Church, but truly speaking, not everyone who goes to Church are Christians or disciples of Christ.

Being a registered member of a local Church is good, but it is not the ultimate. Many people are members of the physical church, but they are not members of the spiritual one. Such people are not disciples of Christ.

The Church is the spiritual body of all believers in Christ on Earth irrespective of where he or she lives.

Despite being a member of a local church, you are not a disciple of Christ if you do not belong to the spiritual church, which salvation in Christ offers automatic membership to.

Church
Source: Pinterest

3. Giving a part of your income to God.

Some people feel that because they regularly give the tithe, donations or other forms of giving to the church they have earned their rights to be Christians or children of God. Far from it!

Irrespective of your level of financial support to a local church, you still have to get to the point of having to have personally committed your life to Christ in faith before Heavens can recognise you as a bonafide child of God.

Unfortunately, so many people there are that give money in church every Sunday who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. And as such, they are not disciples of Christ.

4. Fasting and praying.

You can engage regularly in prayer and fasting but that doesn’t make you a disciple of Christ.  A good Christian should fast and pray as the needs arise, but fasting and prayer doesn’t make you a good Christian.

For your prayer and fasting to be meaningful, you have to have a personal relationship with the Lord to whom the prayers are directed.

Without complete trust in the finished work of the Cross, prayer and fasting profits little or nothing.

5. Doing good

Anyone can do good to people; even atheists do some form of good deeds.

You do not have to be a disciple of Christ to do some form of good to other people. But you cannot earn being a child of God or a follower of Jesus Christ by doing good. It is however expected that the disciples of Christ should do good.

In summary, having Christian parents, belonging to a local church, praying and fasting, doing good deeds are good in themselves but they are not what make you a Christian or a disciple of Christ.

To be a christian truly, you will have to have a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. In other words, you must accept Jesus as your Lord and personal Saviour.

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

 

Quote: Religious Legalism Vs The Holy Spirit

Unless you can let go of what you think you know, and fully submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit – abandoning religious legalism wherever necessary – you would definitely be unable to realize your full Christ[ian] potential in this life regardless of your best efforts. –Rev. Wildfire

Religion, christianity and the Holy Spirit

Raising Questions on Apostle Paul’s Calling to the Gentiles

Not too long ago, I published a post that explored reasons proving that Apostle Paul was not an eloquent speaker. That piece was however, concluded on the following note:

…Paul’s speeches were not at the highest levels as he wasn’t outstandingly eloquent as some other speakers in his time might have been. But in no way did the gospel suffer as a result of this perceived lack of oratorial skills. Rather it made it more obvious that the power of Christ was at work in Him

While commenting on the post, one of my readers took the post further by overtly questioning Apostle Paul’s frequent claim of being called to reach the Gentiles. His argument was that even before Paul came on the block, other Apostles such as Peter have had ministry to people other than the Jews.

At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. Acts 15:7, NLT

While that position is correct, as the scripture above shows, it is not enough to discredit Apostle Paul’s claim of being specially called to be a minister to the Gentiles; the argument became overextended when the reader tried to deny that Paul was the Apostle to the gentiles. Apostle Paul, a polished speaker or not - by Victor Uyanwanne

In this post, I present to you that reader’s comment and my response to it then.

The Comment

..I doubt his [Paul’s] claims towards call for the gentiles as other Apostles too spent their life time spreading the gospels to gentiles all the way to India, much farther than Greece or Syria reached by Paul. Paul’s claim of him being a minister for the gentiles and Peter for Jews again is a complete mess as Paul goes out of context.

Jesus had said to Peter and other 10 apostles to go and preach to whole creations, nations… Peter has preached to the gentile Cornelius and baptised him with the Holy Spirit even before Paul ever preached gospel to gentiles…and Yes Peter and other apostles had a possible church for gentile in Antioch even before Paul was somehow converted. I feel sorry for Paul’s misunderstanding and his claims…

My response

Hello, your comment on the post is appreciated…

…That Paul was an Apostle to gentiles is a very known fact. So you would not have sufficient basis to disprove that!

Even from the beginning of his calling, the Lord himself defined who Paul (previously known as Saul) was being called to reach. Perhaps you will need to read Acts 4:9 again, which clearly says:

But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.

No one can doubt that Paul was sent to the gentiles after reading that passage, except of course the person doesn’t esteem the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Time will fail me to begin to comment on each of the other issues you brought in. Suffice to say that Paul was a great Apostle any how you look at it. Thank you.

You can join in the conversation.

Still ahead: Reasons That Confirms Apostle Paul Was Called to Reach The Gentiles.

 

©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

Being A Cultural Christian Is Not Enough

I’m A Christian Atheist.” How Possible?

Recently, I heard something on an international news channel that I consider worth talking about here. An aged author and ostensibly an intellectual man who was being interviewed about a book he wrote (amongst other things) was asked:

“You are an atheist and a Christian. How is that possible?”

“I’m a cultural Christian: I’m a Christian by my culture, but not one by my belief,” he replied.

Really? An atheist and Christian in the same breadth?

Can someone be a Christian who does not believe in God?

The answer is obvious!

Unfortunately, this man in question is not the only one making this type of “cultural” mistake. There are people around the world who think that they are Christians simply because of the home or geographical location they were born into.

Those things as factors may exert some influences on who you become but they are not what will make you a Christian. And of course, being a Christian goes beyond being born into, or living in, any of the so-called christian nations.

I would like to further explore this topic in subsequent posts, but here it suffices to say that being a Christian is not about the culture you were born into or the one you live in. It is about you having a personal relationship with God through faith in His son Jesus Christ.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. John 1:12

Unlike the man mentioned above, it is not enough to to see yourself as a cultural Christian; you should be a Christian by heart as well.

In the first place, being a Christian presupposes that you believe in God. And in fact, a Christian does not only believe in God, he or she also believes in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

It is therefore a mistaken identity to be called a Christian if you don’t believe in God and in His Son Jesus Christ.

What do you think?

©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

12 Promises For Your Health

There is hope for your health.

Healing is for you as the Lord has promised. God is not only interested in your spiritual well-being, He also cares about your body being in sound health.

Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually]. 3 John 2.

This is a post highlighting some of God’s assurances of physical health for you as a follower of His. Through the written word of God, you have been given concrete proofs that good health, either in form of divine health or healing are God’s will for us.

Through His word, the healing power is delivered to you. “He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave” Psalm 107:20.

Promises for your healing

I present to you the following 12 scriptures on healing to encourage and inspire faith in you:

1. He sent out His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Psalm 107:20

2. Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 John 1:2

3. The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health. Psalm 41:3

4. The Lord will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt.  Deuteronomy 7:15

5. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

6. For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord. Jeremiah 30:17

7. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Luke 5:17

8. “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Mark 10:52

9. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. James 5:14-15.

10. “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you. Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Mark 10:52

11. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Rom. 8:11

12. When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. Matt. 8:16-17.

©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

3 Main Reasons That Confirmed Apostle Paul Wasn’t A Polished Speaker

In a previous post, it was established that despite being a very intellectual person, Apostle Paul was not a very polished speaker. But this did not anyway impede his ministry as he was as effective as he could ever be.

It is far better to be plain in speech, yet walking openly and consistently with the gospel, than to be admired by thousands, and be lifted up in pride… (Matthew Henry)

But how can we be so sure that the great Apostle Paul was not a man imbued with so much eloquence? The scriptures bear record of it as we shall see shortly.

Was apostle Paul a polished speaker?

In this post, we will consider three reasons confirming that Paul was not as gifted in oratory as he was in knowledge.

1) Apostle Paul humbly admitted he wasn’t a polished speaker

Even though Paul never exalted his credentials above the grace of God upon his life, he always listed his shining qualifications whenever an opportunity presented itself. So he wouldn’t​ have failed to list the power of oratory as one of his skills he if he had it.

Not only that, in 2 Corinthians 11:6, Paul categorically admitted in his own words that he was not a skilled speaker.

I may be unskilled as a speaker, but I’m not lacking in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every possible way.

You might say that Paul was being humble by openly admitting that he was not a polished speaker. Agreed. But I think that the humility comes more from him pointing out a perceived weakness in him and not trying to cover it up with his strengths than from merely owning up to a skill he didn’t possess.

2) Eloquence was not part of Apostle Paul’s ministry strategy

Paul had a good understanding of what God sent him to do and what He didn’t send him to do. And in accomplishing what he was sent to do, his strategy was to depend on the power of God so that His name alone is gloried as the value of the Cross is made known.

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with eloquent words of wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 1Cor1:17

Unlike Apollos whom we were clearly told was very eloquent in speeches while ministering (Acts 18:24), Paul stated that it was not part of his ministry strategy to display eloquence in speeches as he delivered the gospel messages he was sent to preach. Doing so, according to him, would have undermined the power in the Cross of Christ which he was commissioned to proclaim.

3) The people spoke about Apostle Paul’s speeches not being at the highest levels

Apart from the fact that Apostle admitted that he was not so eloquent in speeches, the people who heard him speak at various times and places also observed it and spoke about it to his hearing. Their observation bothered particularly on his body-frame and speech power.

For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but his physical presence is unimpressive, and his speaking is of no account.” 1Cor 10:10

Paul must have been so diminutive a man some people in Corinth refered to him as a man with “unimpressive physical appearance.” Besides having a seemingly weak appearance, the people also observed that Paul’s “manner of speaking is of no account.” And Paul was fully aware of this uncomplementary notion the people had about him.

However, it has to be mentioned that the people recognised that Paul wrote powerful letters even though his speeches appeared less impressive. It seemed to me that what he lacked in speaking skills was fully compensated by his writing prowess.

Base on the foregoing, you might say Paul’s speeches were not at the highest levels as he wasn’t outstandingly eloquent as some other speakers in his time might have been. But in no way did the gospel suffer as a result of this perceived lack of oratorial skills. Rather it made it more obvious that the power of Christ was at work in Him.

What do you think?


©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne