13 Kinds Of People Jesus Encountered On His Way To The Cross

The way to the Cross of Jesus
People Jesus met on His way to the Cross.

Jesus encountered many kinds of people on the day He was crucified. This post takes a close look at the roles played by these people from His trial to His eventual crucifixion.

1. The elders and the chief priests.

These were the religious power brokers wielding tremendous influence over the people and the government of the day. Over time, this strict sect of people became offended with Jesus, because they felt threatened by His rising popularity and the way He has been tackling them on various contentious issues.

They were losing followers to Jesus. And the more accepted Jesus became amongst the people, the less relevant it appeared that these revered religious group became. Out of sheer envy, they delivered Jesus to governor Pilate to have Him destroyed.

They conspired to have Jesus crucified and they had their way, without knowing they were fulfilling a divine purpose. That is why Apostle Paul while speaking of divine wisdom to the Corinthians quipped, “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

Yes, the Lord of Glory was crucified over spurious charges leveled against Him by this sect of unloving religious kingpins.

2. Pontius Pilate.

He was the unwilling partner in the greatest crime of all times. But he was equally guilty as the elders and the Chief Priests who masterminded the crucifixion plan.

As the ruling governor of the land, it was in Pilate’s powers to set Jesus free, having found Him to be innocent of all the charges they brought against Him. But he did not discharge and acquit Jesus because he feared the people more than he feared God.

He yielded to the blackmail of the people that he would be adjudged not to be Emperor Ceasar’s friend if he did not have Jesus crucified (John 19:12) as they demanded.

Jesus-trial
Jesus trial, Source – Bibleexplained.com

Therefore in order to be seen as not being disloyal to Ceasar, Pilate released Barabbas, a guilty man that deserved to die and killed Jesus, an innocent man that should have been set free. What a miscarriage of justice!

3. Mrs. Pontius Pilate

Amongst the participants in the crucifixion saga, if anyone was to be adjudged not guilty of crucifying an innocent Man, Jesus, it would be this woman. She knew the charges brought against Jesus were spurious.

She reckoned that Jesus being innocent should not be killed as the people demanded. To that effect, she pleaded with her governor husband not to have Jesus crucified. But he refused to be persuaded, leaving the woman completely helpless; her plea fell on deaf ears and Jesus was sent to Golgotha to die.

4. Barabbas

This was the ultimate beneficiary of the travesty of justice that Jesus suffered. Being a condemned criminal, he was scheduled to die. But he got a second chance at life when the people demanded him to be released to them instead of Jesus.

Congratulations Barabbas! While you, a convicted criminal was discharged and set free, Jesus an innocent Man was made to face the cruelest form of the death penalty at the time – crucifixion.

5. Judas Iscariot

Everyone knows him as the mole amongst Jesus’ disciples. It was him that gave Jesus the kiss of betrayal (John 22:47-48).

Being a greedy man, the love of money took the better part of him. He sold his Master to the blood-thirsty religious leaders for only thirty pieces of silver.

He later showed some remorse for this ignominious act by returning the money he earlier collected, but it already was too late; the deed had been done. Jesus had been captured and His traducers were not ready to renegotiate the deal with Judas as requested.

In the end, Judas died before Jesus. As he could no longer live with the heavy guilt of selling out on his Lord and Master, he took his own life, thereby sealing his destiny as the confirmed son of prediction.

6. The Multitude

These people consented to have Jesus crucified in place of a notable criminal, Barabbas. Without maintaining an independent frame of mind, they became willing accomplices in the dastardly execution of the evil machinations of the enemies of Jesus.

According to Matthew’s account, the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask for Barabbas to be released to them, and destroy Jesus instead. In response, Pilate flogged Jesus and released Him to be put to death by crucifixion.

That was the final nail in the coffin, the final blow that sealed the deal. And they took responsibility for their action: “Then answered all the people, and said, His blood [be] on us, and on our children.”

7. The soldiers

These were the band of military men directly under the command of governor Pilate. Once their leader had released Jesus to them to be crucified, these soldiers began to have free reins dealing disrespectfully with Jesus.

soldiers
Roman Soldiers (C) Alamy Stock Photo

They stripped Jesus of His own robe, put a mocking royal robe on Him, fabricated a crown of thorns on His head and began to bow their knees to Him in false worship.

Before leading Jesus to the Cross, they spat on Jesus, slapped His head and spoke to Him in derision, “hail the king of the Jews.”

These soldiers gave Jesus vinegar mixed with gall, which a source explained is “...usually given, according to a merciful custom, as an anodyne to those who were crucified, to render them insensible to pain. Our Lord, knowing this, refuses to drink it. He would take nothing to cloud his faculties or blunt the pain of dying. He chooses to suffer every element of woe in the bitter cup of agony given him by the Father.”

These soldiers crucified Jesus, “and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.”

8. Simon of Cyrene

The soldiers found Simon of Cyrene along the way and compelled him to bear Jesus’ cross to the desired destination. Depending on your perspective, you can say Simon was at the right place at the right time or at the right place at the wrong time.

At the right place at the right time because he had the opportunity to enter the illustrious pages of history as a burden bearer for Jesus. On the other hand, as a man in the right place at the wrong time, you may say the soldiers victimised him by forcing him to bear a burden he did not bargain for.

Whatever your perspective is, we will all agree that the history of the journey of Jesus to the Cross would be incomplete without a mention of this (un)willing burden bearer from North Africa.

9. The two thieves on either side of Jesus’ cross.

Then there were two thieves crucified with Jesus, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Both have been found guilty of criminal acts and were receiving the reward of their rapacious iniquities by being nailed to the cross.

Their being crucified alongside Jesus was a rare privilege, one that could have changed their eternal destiny once and for all. But instead of being remorseful for his sins, the thief on the left joined in the league of people mocking Jesus, saying “If you are the Christ, save yourself and save us.” He didn’t have faith in Jesus and he was far too short-sighted to see beyond the now.

Enter the second thief…

He was remorseful for his own sins, accepted his punishment and rebuked his other guy for reviling Jesus. Most importantly, he showed faith in Jesus by making the request that made him one of the first beneficiaries of the “salvation by grace through faith,” which the cross epitomises.

“Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom,” he said. “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” Luke 23:39-43. The second thief was saved at the last minute.

10. The passers-by

These ones had no pity on the helpless Jesus on the Cross. Instead of keeping quiet, they joined in the mocking party, reviling Jesus saying, “…Thou that destroyest the temple and buildest [it] in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

They also were too short-sighted to see the eternal purpose in the suffering of Jesus on the Cross. And of course, Jesus ignored them completely without responding to them and they went down in history as mere passers-by without any specific identity given to them.

11. The centurion and the guards

These were also part of the soldiers earlier mentioned. They are featuring here again because they had the opportunity to confess Jesus as the Son of God.

They had stood directly ahead on the crucifixion stage, guarding the dying men on the three crosses. As firsthand observers, they had witnessed something that gave them the correct perspective about whom Jesus is – the indisputable Son of God.

The records in the Gospels showed that as Jesus breathed His last, the earth quaked, the rocks split and the veil in the temple split too.

“Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.”

12. The Marys and the other women

These were a group of women who have been followers and supporters of the Ministry of Jesus. “Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.”

They did not abandon their Lord at the time of need. Although they stood afar off observing the crucifixion of Jesus, I would say they showed courage by sticking around despite the fear and threat to life they were exposed to at the time.

13. Joseph of Arimathea

You can call this man a secret disciple of Jesus. Nothing about his discipleship was ever reported until he showed up to request the body of Jesus from Pilate for a proper burial.

As with the prevailing custom at the time, this Joseph being a rich man, had prepared a tomb for his own burial. But as a mark of respect for Jesus, he donated his final resting place for the interment of Jesus.

According to Matthew, “when Joseph had taken the body (of Jesus), he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

This singular act is what history remembers him for from that era till today.

This article examined the various characters that Jesus encountered during His trial and crucifixion based on the account in Matthew chapter 27. It is my believe that you have gained some lessons in one way or another by taking a closer look at them.

Share your own thoughts in the comment section below.

©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

It Is Finished!

Statements of Jesus on the cross
Redemption: Jesus finished the work on the cross.

“It is finished.”
It is more than just a sentence…
It is the final verdict from the lips of Jesus,
Meaning, the work is completely done…
Just as it was planned from the beginning.

The price of justice is fully paid for.
The sacrifice is complete and adequate.
I am forever  ransomed, redeemed
My sins are totally forgiven…
A new beginning is now mine.

The veil is rented in two…
The great chasm bridged, blockade removed.
Access to  God the Father is granted
By the sacrifice of God the Son.
My relationship with the Godhead fully restored.

The battle is over… won and lost
My Jesus is the victorious One.
The seed of the serpent bruised His heel
But the Seed of the woman crushed the head of the serpent.
Satan is defeated, shamed, disgraced forever…

Nothing has been left undone…
My past, my present and my future
All fully taken care of by His blood.
The work of redemption is complete.
Nothing can undo what He has finished.

 

P. S: If you like this poem, let me know by clicking on the ‘Like’ button below 👇👇

©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

A Conspiracy That Could Not Cover Up The Resurrection Story

A conspiracy that could not cover up the ressurection story.
Jesus has risen

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day knew very well that Jesus truly resurrected. But they were too ashamed to openly acknowledge it or let their subjects hear it, so they hatched a grand conspiracy to cover up the resurrection story.

I am not setting out with this post to fundamentally prove that Jesus rose from the dead because I believe He did. But I am taking a look at the official falsehood that was concocted to suppress the truth of the resurrection.

If Jesus did not rise from the dead as some people ignorantly claim, there would not have been any need for the religious authorities of the day to invent a theory with the sole aim of trying to refute the resurrection story as we know it.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was a historical event that took place in time over two thousand years ago. As followers of Jesus we ‘know’ this by verified Biblical records as well as the fact that the living Jesus now lives in our hearts by the Holy spirit.

“When I first began examining the evidences (sic) for Christianity, I discovered that [the] belief in the Resurrection does not constitute a blind leap into a dark chasm but rather a step into the light. Indeed, the evidence for Christ’s resurrection is so overwhelming that no one can examine it with an open mind desiring to know the truth without becoming convinced of its truth” —Hank Hanegraaff,  in Jesus’ Resurrection: Miracle or Myth?

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. He is no longer in the grave

Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Easter Celebration

Before Jesus was born of a virgin, there were prophecies that He would be born that way. The purpose of His birth was also foretold and it was fulfilled to the later.

To fulfill the purpose of the redemption of mankind, Jesus had to die. But He assured His disciples that He would rise again from the dead. Whether or not the disciples understood or believed Him at the time is a different ball game.

In the final analysis, Jesus obediently walked the tortuous way to the cross, endured the excruciating pain on the cross and was laid to rest in a cold grave.

But Jesus came out of the grave, victoriously. As the Psalmist had proclaimed centuries earlier, the power of the grave could not hold Him for long. He came back to life. “For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave,” Psalm 16:10.

Recall too that during his earthly walk, Jesus Himself had proclaimed that He would die but He would resurrect. At one instance, He declared, “…The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.” Luke 9:22.

The Chief Priests Did Not Forget The Prophecy

The records in the Gospels show that the religious authority of the day remembered what Jesus said about rising on the third day. In order to block the perceived loophole, they decided to seal the grave properly and also set capable soldiers to keep watch over it, to ensure that Jesus’ body would not be stolen by His disciples.

Matthew’s account states that “..the next day, … the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead..” Matthew 27:62-66.

Having secured Pilate’s consent, the gravestone was sealed up and soldiers were put on the watch to ensure that Jesus’ body would not be taken away and thereafter report that resurrection had taken place. But that was not the kind of resurrection Jesus had foretold.

For instance, after chasing out traders from the Temple, Jesus proclaimed that if they killed Him He would come back to life in three days:

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.  John 2:19.

Not only did Jesus resurrect as He promised, the rising happened in a most spectacular way: There was an earthquake and a heavenly angel appeared in blazing light and glory and the guards passed out at the sight of him.

“And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead [men]” Matthew 28:3-4.

Jesus Resurrection by Victor Uyanwanne
Benefits of the resurrection of Jesus to me

An angel rolled the stone away and Jesus walked out from the grave victoriously. Hallelujah!

Why Did An Angel Have To Rollaway The Stone?

Matthew Henry explains that “… Our Lord Jesus could have rolled back the stone Himself by His own power, but He chose to have it done by an angel to signify that having undertaken to make satisfaction for our sin, He did not break prison, but had a fair and legal discharge, obtained from heaven. He did not break prison, but an officer was sent on purpose to roll away the stone and open the prison door, which would never have been done if He had not made a full satisfaction.”

Jesus did not break ‘prison’. He got a heavenly discharge. He Resurrected with power and glory.

What about the soldiers? They witnessed the resurrection but could not withstand the accompanying awesome display of heavenly power, so they fell down and became half dead.

Enter The Conspiracy…

When the soldiers awoke from their near-death slumber, they went into town to the elders and the chief priests relating the events of the resurrection as they had witnessed it. But after collecting huge bribes, they were forced to change the resurrection story to agree with the wishes of their paymasters.

The guards were made to twist their testimony to say that the Disciples of Jesus had taken His body away by night. As shameful and unthinkable as that arrangement was, there goes the grand conspiracy they hatched with which they tried to cover up the fact that Jesus had truly risen from the dead.

And when they were assembled with the elders and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him [away] while we slept. Matthew 28:12-13

That conspiracy between the chief priests, on one hand, and the guards on the other thereafter gave rise to the so-called stolen body hypothesis, which according to Wikipedia, “…posits that the body of Jesus Christ was stolen from his burial place. His tomb was found empty not because he was resurrected, but because the body had been hidden somewhere else by the apostles or unknown persons.”

Unfortunately, many people then believed the lie that His body was stolen by His disciples. But we know better: Jesus truly rose from the dead, with power and Glory.

The grave is empty. His disciples didn’t steal His body away as the religious authorities claimed. Jesus arose from the dead with power and glory, just as He promised He would.

Jesus lives forever. And He is coming back again to judge the world.

Only a living man can speak. Jesus spoke and has been speaking, saying “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death” Revelations 1:18.

Jesus is alive and we know it. Therefore, the ‘stolen body’ conspiracy could not and will forever remain incapable of suppressing the fact that Jesus resurrected from the dead.

What is your take on the step taken by the authorities of Jesus’ day to cover up the resurrection story?

©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

What Is Your Greatest Joy In Life?

Reason to glory on earth
Greatest joy in life

What is your greatest joy in life? Would you mind giving an honest answer to that question right now?

Before you continue reading this article, pause for a moment. And with your eyes closed, ponder a bit on the above question.

Once you have come up with an answer you are convinced about, hold it up against the brilliant light of the Scripture quoted below. (The purpose of doing that is to ensure that what you hold as your greatest joy on earth properly aligns with what God says should be your greatest joy).

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 9:23-24.

From the above passage of the Scriptures, you can see at least three reasons to glory in life:

  • Intelligence – The wise man glories in his wisdom;
  • Strength – The mighty one glories in his might;
  • Wealth – The rich man glories in his riches.

But God wants the reason for your joy to be beyond the fact that you possess some high level of wisdom, intellectual power, physical strength, wealth or achievements in life.

He wants you to rejoice in the fact that you know Him as “the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth.”

If your greatest joy is based on the things of the world, then your joy will be temporary. But a joy based on your knowing God will have no ending.

I first began to perceive the truths of Jeremiah 9:23-24 at a crucial point in time during my undergraduate days.

One mid-morning like that while reading my Bible, the scripture quoted above literally leapt off the pages of the Bible right into my heart with a force so meaningful that I was left without any iota of doubt on the fundamental reason I should glory in life.

I was doing relatively well in school then, despite the harsh academic environment of that time. My grades were moving up against all odds. I thought that was a good reason to praise God.

“Yes, it was,” you might want to agree with me. But God had to put things in better perspectives for me. He graciously showed me that there was a greater reason I had to rejoice than academic progress.

Now I know better… so I am sharing it with you, with the hope that you will see some light in it too.

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, your greatest joy in life should not be based on the fact that you passed your exams, you got promoted at work, you bought a dream car, moved into your dream home, married your dream spouse, or had some other great goals you have accomplished.

Those are not bad reasons to be joyful. But your joy has to be based on something of eternal significance and not on things of ephemeral value. It has to be based on your relationship with God, not on things of the world.

For emphasis sake, l will have to say it again:

  • Your greatest joy should be that you know the Lord.
  • Your greatest joy should be the joy of your salvation.
  • Your greatest joy should be that your name is written in the Book of Life.

Jesus validated this position during one of the feedback conversations He had with His disciples as recorded in the Gospels.

According to the account in Luke chapter 10, Jesus had sent out seventy-two of His followers to go preach the gospel of the Kingdom around the neighbouring towns and villages. These specially appointed men went out and accomplished the evangelistic mandate given to them by their Master.

More so, they returned with joyful testimonies, declaring that demons were subjected to them in the name of Jesus.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

You would have thought that the identified reason these rookie evangelists were filled with joy was good enough for them to rejoice as they did. But Jesus raised the bar when He responded to them saying, “…do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

“That your name is written in Heaven should be your greatest joy,” Jesus says.

Therefore, whatever you are able to accomplish on earth – whether in spiritual or secular things – should not be your greatest joy. Neither should your joy be in what this world can offer you. Rather your greatest joy should be that your name is written in the book of life in Heaven.

If you are not sure your name is there already in the book of life, you can get it in by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour now. There is no other way to achieve that.

What is your greatest joy in life? Share your views.

©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

3 Of The Greatest Acts Of Forgiveness In the Bible You Should Learn From

Victor Uyanwanne writes on forgiveness
3 of the greatest examples of forgiveness in the Bible you should emulate

Part of the requirements for living the Christian life is walking in love. And you cannot successfully walk in love without walking in forgiveness.

There are many great acts of forgiveness in the Bible we can learn from. In this post, we will examine three of the greatest acts of forgiveness ever recorded in the Bible:

1. Joseph forgave his treacherous brothers.

Joseph was a beloved son of his father, Jacob. He usually wore the multi-coloured robe his father gave to him.

Joseph later had a dream from Heaven that pointed to the events of the future. But his brothers seriously hated him for it. And out of sheer jealousy they disrobed him in the wilderness, threw him into a deep pit to die a gradual death.

On a second thought, they changed their plans, retrieved Joseph from the pit and sold him off to slavery. One thing led to another, Joseph found himself as a slave in Portiphar’s house in Egypt.

Subsequently, Joseph served a term in prison over a spurious allegation of sexual assault on his master’s wife. But after interpreting a couple of dreams while in the prison, Joseph was recommended to interpret a disturbing dream of Pharaoh’s. And by divine arrangement, Joseph became the second in command in Pharaoh’s Kingdom.

Years passed. Severe famine ravaged the rest of the world, except Egypt.

Egypt did not experience food shortages at that time because through divine wisdom and counsel of Joseph, an unprecedented stock of food supply was kept in Egypt.

Back home in the land of Canaan, food scarcity had reached an unbearable proportion. This drew Joseph’s wicked brothers to Egypt in search of their necessary food.

Consequently, they found themselves at the mercy of their long ‘forgotten’ brother who had now become a mighty man in the land of Pharaoh and was in charge of the nation’s food supply. This was Joseph’s ample opportunity to take his own pound of flesh.

As the indisputable prime minister of Egypt, he was in a veritable position to take out a revenge on his brothers and severely punish them for their treacherous behaviours in the past. But not a great man like Joseph; He wouldn’t repay his brothers in their own evil coin. Rather he forgave his brothers and showed them much mercy.

Not only that, he rationalised his multiple travails, which was set off by his brothers’ betrayal, as part of God’s grand design to protect their family’s future interest.

4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years, there will be no plowing and reaping. 7But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:4-7

2. Jesus forgave those that crucified Him.

Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem and the neighbouring towns doing nothing but good. He healed the lame, the blind, the deaf and dumb, and other people with diverse kinds of sickness.

Jesus fed people in their thousands. He taught them divine wisdom like no other teacher or prophet before Him. He even raised some people from the dead.

Despite His widely circulated good deeds, the authorities of the day conspired against Him. They found Him guilty of trumped up criminal charges and had Him mercilessly nailed to the Cross to die alongside two condemned armed robbers.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:24

You would think that Jesus, with all the heavenly power at His disposal, would severely ‘deal’ with these people who unjustly crucified Him. Instead, He extended uncommon forgiveness to them by pleading with the Father not to hold these peoples’ sin against them.

I AM FORGIVEN

3. Stephen forgave those that murdered him in cold blood.

Stephen was an unknown disciple of Jesus Christ; He went in and out with the apostles and other disciples unheralded until the need to appoint deacons arose in the early church.

By general consensus, Stephen was deemed a man full of good reports, wisdom and the Holy Ghost. Therefore, he was privileged to be selected alongside six other deacons to serve in the food distribution ministry of the early believers.

But beyond serving on tables, God’s hand became mighty upon Stephen to the extent that through him a great revival broke out in Jerusalem.

“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” As a result, many people turned to God through his ministry and there was much joy in the city.

His increasing followership and the resultant citywide testimonies on the mighty acts he accomplished, revealed a man who was operating by nothing other than the authority of Heaven. But while Stephen was riding on this beautiful tide of evangelistic miracles, signs and wonders he performed in the land, the religious authorities of the day became offended by him.

In the end, they had Stephen arrested, taken to the outskirts of the city and brutally stoned to death. But before he yielded the ghost, He lifted his hands and prayed for the forgiveness for his traducers and killers.

Stephen showed such a great disciple he was by following the example of his Master Jesus in forgiveness.

“Father please do not hold this sin against them,” he prayed.

There are many examples of acts of forgiveness in the Bible, but these three examined under this post could never be missed out. These are three of the greatest examples of forgiveness in the Bible you can emulate.

Joseph forgave his brothers who sold him into slavery. Jesus while dying on the cross forgave all those who crucified Him. Stephen though being unjustly stoned to death, extended the gesture of forgiveness to those that murdered him.

In the light of these, can you justify any wrong done against you as too grave to be forgiven?

Share your thoughts.

©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

Why Doesn’t The Heaven Open Unto Us During Water Baptism Like It Did For Jesus At Jordan?

baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River
Holy Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove

Several years ago, I attended a Bible Study service in one familiar church. The study that fateful evening had centered on the baptism of Jesus Christ at the River Jordan.

For the most part, I was tremendously enthralled by the descriptive heavenly experience Jesus had at His baptism as recorded in the Gospels. The heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit openly descended upon Him like a dove.

On the other hand, I could not help but ponder over the fact that this spectacular experience of Jesus’ at the Jordan has remained a very unique experience in the history of Christianity till date. Matthew’s account of that event tells us that:

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him (3:16, NIV).

Luke puts it this way, “…the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased”” (3:22, NIV).

“Does anyone have any question arising from this study today?” the Bible study facilitator had asked at the end of the study.

I flung my innocent hand up in the air. And having been acknowledged, I asked, “Why is it that the heaven does not open unto us and the Spirit of God does not descend bodily upon us during water baptism in this era like it did on Jesus Christ as we saw in the study?”

“Victor, are you comparing yourself with Jesus?” yelled one church elder from the far corner of the hall where he was sitting.

He must have felt that my question was controversial or ill-conceived. But I was convinced I asked the question because I wanted to know more, without any ulterior motives.

“Jesus is Jesus and we are not Jesus… We as mere humans should not expect to have a water baptism experience with the heavens opening and the Holy Spirit descending as on Jesus the Son of God,” he further stated.

In my heart as a young adult then, I felt that was not the best answer I could possibly get for that question. But I could not really push any further, else I could have been accused of challenging an elder inappropriately.

Thankfully, the Bible study facilitator stepped in and tried to salvage the situation by giving what I could call a more acceptable explanation to me. He explained that we can receive the Holy Spirit even before, during or after water Baptism.

“What matters”he opined, “is that we can receive the Holy Spirit, irrespective of whether or not He came upon us in a very spectacular way, as was the case of Jesus.”

I can identify with that summation because from my own water baptism experience, the heavens did not tear open (smiles), neither did the Holy Spirit descend on me in a spectacular way like it did on Jesus. But I still was baptized and I still have received the Holy Spirit.

Actually I had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit before I even had the opportunity of having the baptism by immersion in water.

What was your own experience? I hope you would not mind sharing.

Photocredit: Openarmsaustralia

 

©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

You Are As Close To God As You Want To Be

Victor Uyanwanne on drawing near to God
Draw near to God

You are as close to God as you want to be, because He has already fully drawn close to you.

How close are you to God? Do you feel as close to Him as you would want to be?

Without an exception, everyone of us has been given the privilege of being capable of drawing close to God as much as we can be.

If you want to be closer to God, you can. If you feel alienated from God, it is not His fault.

Where you stand with God presently is your choice. You can either move closer towards Him or farther away from Him. Again it is up to you!

In the book of James 4:8a, we are given this inviting challenge:

Draw near to God and He near to you…

Put in proper perspective, it is not that God has not drawn close to you. But you will never know how so close God is already drawn to you untill you first draw close to Him. That is why it feels like the closer you draw to God the closer He becomes to you.

You are the one that determines how close to God you want to be.

You know whatever is hindering your drawing nearer to Him. If you would remove your hands from it and clear the doubts in your heart, you would draw closer to God.

The fact is that God is no longer far from you. If you are not ‘feeling’ Him, realise that you are the one that is not close enough to Him. He is already as close to you as He could ever be.

God gave His son Jesus to die for you. This eternal sacrifice dealt a final blow on the chasm that hitherto separated you from God. Even now, sin is no longer enough reason to cause a separation between you and God.

Do not run away from God because of your sins. Rather, you should run to Him despite your sins.

The price of your past, present and future sins has been paid for in Christ Jesus! His blood covers your sins, so that even when you err, the invitation is already there for you to come boldly to His throne of grace and obtain mercy.

Also, God gave you the Holy Spirit to live in you so that you will always have His ever-abiding presence. Wherever you go, the Holy Spirit goes there with you.

You are never alone. You have His assurance that He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is with you always till the end of the world.

I am fully convinced that God is with you. What I am not sure is whether or not you are fully with God. That is between you and Him.

But if you have fully declared yourself for God, know that He has already committed to being close to you to the fullest possible limit. The remaining part of the challenge for both of you to draw close to each other rests with you to fulfill.

©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

Thomas The Disciple: More Than A Doubter 2

Read: Thomas The Disciple: More Than A Doubter 1

One of the Disciples of Jesus by name, Thomas has been branded the “doubting Thomas,” by all and sundry just because he refused to believe the report of the resurrection of Jesus until he had to see Jesus face to face. For a long time in my life, just like many other Christians, that was the only thing I knew about this disciple Thomas: he was a doubter, so I learnt. But I have now found out that he was more than a doubter.

Unfortunately, Thomas has become “a victim of bad press” over the years. Hence, people always talk about his (understandable) failure to believe the Resurrection story without a physical proof more than they talk about any other thing about him.

But if you check the Bible, you can find some interesting things about this disciple that is worth rehashing. Let me refresh your memories with the following:

3 unheralded qualities of Thomas the disciple.

3 unheralded qualities of Thomas The Disciple:

1. Thomas was humble but inquisitive.

One of the greatest declarations Jesus ever made in His lifetime on Earth was: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

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.

This statement alone sets Christianity light years apart from the so-called other religions of the world. Imagine the audacity of Jesus in declaring categorically, “I am the Way to God, none other except me.”

Jesus either meant every word in that statement or He was an imposter. But you can be sure that Jesus is the One He said He is: the Only Way to God!

Do you know that it was Thomas that asked the all-important question that gave rise to that mind-blowing revelation by Jesus? Thomas’ humility was on display when he asked that question in order to learn.

At a critical point in time, Jesus had announced to His disciples that He was going away from them, speaking indirectly of His impending death, expected Resurrection and subsequent ascension to Heaven. But that puzzling speech from the lips of Jesus proved too hard for the bewildered disciples to fully comprehend. Yet they kept their ominous peace without asking further questions.

Jesus apparently had assumed that His disciples knew where He was going to when He told them He would be going away from them. But it was Thomas who bailed them out by humbly saying to Jesus, “Master, we don’t even know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:5-6.

If Thomas had not asked that question, Jesus might not have had the awesome opportunity to declare that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life: the ONLY way to God.

Thomas Vs Nicodemus With Jesus

Compare this exchange between Jesus and Thomas with the ever popular Nicodemus’s encounter with Jesus in the night. This notable religious leader too is often criticised in some circles for going to see Jesus secretly.

But that singular visit provided the Lord Jesus Christ with the most auspicious opportunity to introduce the concept and meaning of being born again to Nicodemus and by extension to all of us. Perhaps we might not have had it explained that way if not for Nicodemus’s secret visit to Jesus.

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God… John 3:1-7

Just like in Nicodemus’s case, this interaction of Thomas with Jesus proved most advantageous. For one Thomas did not pretend that he knew what Jesus meant by keeping mute like the other Disciples. He was humble and inquisitive enough at the same time to ask the right up questions and thankfully, he got the right answers from Jesus.

2. Thomas was a man of courage and loyalty.

No one will doubt the loyalty of a disciple who is willing to die with or for his master. That was the case of Thomas and Jesus.

Did Thomas ever express any willingness to die with Jesus? The answer is definitely, ‘Yes.’

Jesus once had a near-death experience while in Judea. The people there wanted to kill Him but He managed to escape from them.

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. John 8:59

However, Jesus later received a special message from Mary and Martha that their brother, a friend of Jesus’, was terribly ill unto death (John 11:1-3). So Jesus began to make plans to visit them again in Bethany. But all His disciples except Thomas, were like, “Master, you dare not go back again to Judea because you almost lost your life the last time you went there.

Our man Thomas, unlike the other Disciples, did not protest the decision of Jesus to go back to Bethany despite the assumed danger ahead. He showed uncommon courage by not only encouraging Jesus to go back there, he also showed a great deal of loyalty to Jesus by offering to go with Him or even to die with Him, persuading the rest disciples to do the same.

Jesus eventually went to Bethany. There He performed one of the greatest miracles ever: bringing Lazarus to back to life.

3. Thomas was outspoken and influential.

Thomas was not a man to die in silence. He was one that spoke his mind whenever he had to. For instance:

  • When the other Disciples did not say anything when Jesus thought that they should know where He was going, it was Thomas who spoke up and informed Jesus that they did not know the way, neither did they know where Jesus was heading to at the time.
  • When the other Disciples protested to Jesus going back to Judea due to the threat to his life, it was the same Thomas who insisted that they should all go with Jesus despite the perceived death threat.
  • When the other Disciples informed Thomas that Jesus had risen and appeared to them, Thomas was still able to stand his ground, maintaining a very independent opinion that until he saw Jesus with his own eyes and felt His pieced body with His own hands, he would not believe.

From these examples, one can safely surmise that Thomas had the ears of the other disciples: they listened whenever he talked. In other words, Thomas had a good level of influence over the rest of the disciples.

Beyond the popular belief that Thomas is a doubter, let’s also begin to see that:

  • He was a humble person, admitting it whenever he didn’t know or understand what Jesus said;
  • He was bold enough to ask imperative questions that provoked revelations from Jesus;
  • He was a fearless and loyal disciple of Christ who was willing to risk his life with Jesus;
  • He was very outspoken and more influential than he ever got credit for.

What do you think?

©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

Thomas The Disciple: More Than A Doubter 1

Thomas the Didymus, Apostle Thomas

When you hear the name ‘Thomas’ in the Bible, what comes to your mind? If you are like most people I know, I guess your mind will immediately think of ‘the doubting Thomas,’ the incredulous member of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ.

Thomas came to be associated with that uncomplimentary adjective when he understandably doubted the impossible news that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. This was because as at the time the risen Jesus showed Himself physically to His followers, Thomas was away to only-God-knows-where.

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. John 20:24

While Thomas was AWOL, the news of Jesus’ Resurrection had broken out amongst His disciples giving them great joy. And Jesus had presented Himself to His disciples too. But Thomas would take none of that, saying, he would not believe the resurrection story until he saw Jesus face to face.

The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. John 20:25.

Talk about someone who says seeing is believing! That was our man, brother Thomas. Don’t you know at least one person in your life that is like that, who will not believe anything except he or she sees it? Or maybe you are even like that yourself!

Thomas had his wish come through, but not immediately. It took another eight days before the doubting disciple became a confirmed ‘believer’. That was how long it took before Jesus appeared physically again to the Disciples.

Of course, Jesus was not ignorant of the fact that Thomas had not believed the Resurrection story. Hence He said to him, “….Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” John 20:27.

It sounded like Jesus was saying to him, “Thomas, why do you doubt so much? Here, come touch me, feel me now… Are you convinced now?”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:28-29

At that juncture, all the doubts in Thomas had vanished. With the overwhelming evidence right before him, he had no other choice than to acknowledge the ‘First Born from the dead’ as both ‘Lord and God.’

Beyond the popular view that portrays Thomas as a doubter, a sceptic or an incredulous person, the outcome of this recorded exchange between the resurrected Lord and His hitherto unbelieving disciple, Thomas, affords us one of the indisputable written firsthand evidence of the physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ available to us today. It is a valid record that after His Resurrection, someone actually touched Jesus by the nail marks on His hands and feet, and His arrow-pieced side.

This showed a solid and indisputable connection between the same Jesus that was crucified on the cross and the One that resurrected and showed Himself to His disciples that He lives.

Beyond being labelled a doubter for seeking a physical proof before believing that Jesus had resurrected, Thomas should be appreciated for the role he played in having Jesus present Himself again to His disciples (and to the world) in order to further verify His resurrection from death through a conscious physical examination of the resurrected body.

In what way do you relate to Thomas behaviour? Was his doubt justified? Your comments are welcome.

©CopyRight 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

​Jesus: 8 Special Things About The Baby That Changed The World.

Jesus, the baby that changed the world
Photo credit: pinterest.com

The birth of baby Jesus was not an ordinary event. In His birth, divinity became humanity. It was the beginning of the unfolding of the grandest heavenly agenda in bringing salvation to mankind.

Jesus was not an ordinary man that lived. He was the God-incarnate. As we celebrate His birth at Christmas, let’s remember some of the things about the baby or the man Jesus that changed the world.

Here are 8 special things about Jesus that rewrote the history of the world:

1. Jesus’ miraculous conception by a virgin.

Mary the mother of Jesus was a virgin when she got pregnant with baby Jesus.

The conception of Jesus did not take the usual union of the male sperm with the female ova. He was supernaturally conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit of God. This is the most unique conception in the history of mankind.

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35.

2. His conception by a virgin and birth were undeniable  fulfillment of Prophecies.

The birth of Jesus Christ by a virgin was not a chance occurrence. It was a miraculous event in fulfillment of a divine prophecy given several years before He was born.

Notable Prophet Isaiah had spoken well ahead of time:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14.

3. Jesus got His name several centuries before He was born.

Not only was the virgin birth of Jesus prophesied, His name, Immanuel (Hebrew) or Emmanuel (Roman) was also revealed long before He was born. As Prophet Isaiah stated, “…The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

“God with us,” that’s the meaning of Emmanuel. God had to take on the form of man, to be with man to be able to save mankind. Hence Jesus had to be born on Earth like a baby.

Unique things about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

When it was time for the fulfillment of the promise, an angel announced to the ‘highly favoured’ Mary, “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS” Luke 1:31.

Jesus is Saviour. His name revealed His purpose: to save the world from sin. An angel also later confirmed the Isaiah prophecy to Jesus’ would-be-earthly-father, Joseph, saying:

And she  shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” Matthew 1:21.

Apostle Matthew further educates us saying, “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23.

4. He wasn’t born to earthly royalty, but angels heralded His birth.

Apart from the divine promise of Jesus’ birth, angels announced His birth when it took place.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:9-11.

5. The birth of Jesus is the proof of God’s love for the world. 

God gave His Son to the world to show that He loves the world. As recorded in the gospel according to John,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

6. Jesus was born to die.

Jesus was born to be the Saviour of the world. To be Saviour He had to die for the sins of the world. At Christmas, we celebrate His birth and at Easter, His death and resurrection.

Speaking about His then impending death, Jesus said, “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him….” Matthew 26:24a.

What was written about Jesus in this regard? The New Living Translation of the same verse makes it clear:

For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago…

Babies are born to fulfill their purposes in their lifetime. But it was in Jesus’ death and resurrection that He fulfilled the ultimate purpose of His birth – the redemption of mankind.

“In order to save the world, Jesus had to die for it. He came and lived the perfect life and then died the death we should have died. The true meaning of Christmas is that Jesus was born to die. Because He was crucified and then rose from the dead, forgiveness of sin and assurance of heaven is now offered to all who believe” (John 1:12) –  Richard Dehaan.

7. Jesus is the only man in history with the complete tripartite cycle of birth, death and resurrection.

Men are born, they live, they die and they remain dead. But Jesus was born, He lived, He died and resurrected. He is alive forevermore.

The living Jesus proclaims:

I [am] he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Rev. 1:18.

8. He is the only one giving eternal life to anyone who believes in Him.

The baby Jesus that was born by a virgin, Mary, lived and died but resurrected. He is alive forevermore giving eternal life to all that comes to Him.

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. John 10:28.

Jesus was more than a baby. He is the God-incarnate. As the Saviour of the world, in Him lies the eternal hope of mankind. Remember that as you celebrate this Christmas.

If you like this article, feel free to share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter. WhatsApp, Google+, etc.

©CopyRight 2016 | Victor Uyanwanne

Conversations With Atheist 2

Conversations with atheists 2

Background Post: 16 Sobering Things Every Atheist Should Know 

This is the second post in the series, conversations with atheists. In the first post, we saw the comment of an atheist who claimed he is not destined for the love of God. Here in the second post, we will explore the conversations with another commentator to the referenced post,  16 Sobering Things Every Atheist Should Know .

During my interactions with him, he asked what came across like honest questions. So I was obliged to respond to him as much as I could.

Please enter the conversation (it is a bit long please).

Commentator 2

Hi there.

This is just my opinion but what a terrible and hurtful post.

I mean what happens to the less fortunate in life who have to deal with the ‘devils temptations’ on a day to day basis compared to the person who is wealthy and rarely troubled in practical terms. I mean a young person living in an impoverished third world country cannot be judged the same as a middle class Londoner and if that’s the case I disagree strongly.

I mean if I was a small child and a group of people burst into my home and killed my brother, raped my mother and sister and burned my village and turned me into a child soldier would I be judged the same throughout my life as someone who works as shop assistant in a grocery store in London. How does that work? Surely there’s going to be some issues there regarding level playing field.

Not to get all judgemental or anything but God doesn’t even seem like that nice a thing to be honest. He seems like a mystical dictator representing thug life and using life as a playground. I demand I go to ‘hell’ consider it my protest. I mean c’mon, god seriously needs to get his house in order.

Would you say anything about god is dubious or questionable? I personally hate how it plays on fears we all might have and frankly I just don’t have time for it. If you don’t believe in god, are you able to love? God is love, what even is that? I mean These are the kind of statements you hear during a weekend spent taking hallucinogens.

I feel we all have a god of sorts inside us that is our morality, standards, aspiration etc… A life-long developing mentality.

How can anyone know god exists? I accept you can believe of course but this post is something else.

I don’t really believe in anything, I guess there could be a higher power of sorts out there, maybe not. Who actually knows?

Have a great day:)

My Response

Hi G, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate that you had to share your ‘opinion’ as you called it. But I feel that probably a few things weren’t clear to you.

Of course, there is a ‘Higher power’ as you chose to call Him. But we know Him as God, the creator of Heaven and Earth. Whether you believe in Him or not doesn’t take away anything from His existence, because He is all sufficient by Himself. But it is in your best interest to believe in Him.

In any case, you seem not to know anything about Him as you painted Him a wicked ‘man’ which He is not. I will like to introduce Him to you as a loving Father who loves you so much He made a provision for the redemption of your soul. Or haven’t you ever wondered what you would do about your sins?

Of course, anyone can know that God exists – including you. Because anyone who seeks God with all His heart will find Him. Many people around the world have found Him and so can you!

What He wants from you now is to have a personal relationship with Him through His son Jesus Christ. Feel free to let me know if you want to know how this works.

In response to the issue on judgment you raised, I will tell you one thing: God will not judge anyone based on whether you lived (as you put it) in London or in some third world country or any other part of the world for that matter. His judgment will be based on the simple but vital question “Did you accept or reject the grace of salvation which I (God) offered to the world through Jesus Christ?.”

It will be an individual thing and everyone will answer for himself; you will answer the same question too. And your lifetime is your only opportunity to decide on that.
You have a nice day too!

Commentator 2

I see but surely one’s decisions will be greatly influenced by what has happened in one’s life. Like I am going to find it a lot more difficult to accept salvation if one has been tested in far more hurtful ways and a tougher environment than say another.

Thanks for the reply.

My Response

G, I agree with you that one’s experiences in life may affect his decisions. That’s understandable. But having experienced a hard life doesn’t mean one cannot accept salvation. In fact, there are several people whom it was their suffering/hardship that led them to accept salvation. When they found that they reached their end, they decided to seek God and got help.

Jesus Christ actually made a special invitation to everyone experiencing burdens in life. He promised them rest they can’t find anywhere else (Matthew 11:28).

But one should not actually wait until he reaches a dead end before coming to God. In any case, whether one has a good/easy or a hard life on earth now, everyone needs God. No exceptions.

Commentator 2

Also someone born closer to the time the events of christ etc… took place are going to have a much easier time having faith than those born thousands of years later. It seems like such an uneven playing field.

In an ideal world, it would be great to be able to believe in a just fair god but if god said such and such is wrong and that such and such is right would that be the way no questions asked because it is the will of god?

I mean what about women’s role in the society (what’s that all about!), the LGBT community who just want to be happy or dietary stuff. In terms of how out of touch God is with the world, it amazes me when the bible I think says that if you lust after a woman you see on television you have committed adultery, seriously? What do you think about these?

If anything god really lacks foresight as the world has developed to the extent that it is nearly impossible to adhere to his laws.

To me, he is a dictator with some proper disturbing views that maybe was a sign of the times but still.

For example, how would you interpret the following?

Numbers 31:17-18

“Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves”.

Thanks

My Response

G, I appreciate your time here. So I will try to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge. (Pardon the lengthy words please):

  • I understand your assumption that people that lived around Jesus Christ’s time would find it easier to believe in Him than the people after that time. But that’s not exactly what Biblical records and history tell us. There were people who rejected Jesus then as there are people who are rejecting Him in our days now. One thing is sure though: there are more followers of Jesus Christ now in the world presently than there have ever been at any time in history. The Gospel of Christ is what people need to hear to believe in Jesus Christ, not whether or not they lived in Jesus time.
  • God is a God of justice. But He didn’t say we should not ask questions, as you suggested. In fact in Isaiah 41:21, God Himself challenges us with this: “Present your case,” says the LORD. “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King. In another place, He says to us “Come now, let us reason together…” Isaiah 1:18. So if we have questions, feel free to ask. The only difference is whether or not one asks genuinely.
  • Of course, God has roles for women in the society, no doubt about that. But it may not be in the way some people have understood it to be.
  • Everyone (not just the LGBT community you mentioned) has right to seek happiness and God approves of that too. In fact, Jesus says He wants our joy to be full. But it is in knowing God that there is a real joy and happiness.
  • G, God is not out of touch with the world as you suggested. It is even more appropriate to say that it is the people of the world that are losing touch of God. All men, including you, need to get know God better.
  • You sounded funny with your comment on ‘lust’. Be reminded that the dictionary defines lust as “strong sexual desire.” Is it appropriate to have a strong sexual desire for any woman you see on TV, (as you put it)? I will let you know that God doesn’t want people having strong sexual desires for someone OTHER THAN THEIR SPOUSE. I hope that’s clear enough?
  • You can’t keep all the laws on your own; no one can. But you can accept Jesus and He will give you the grace to please Him.
  • God is not a dictator as you believe. The story of killings you referred to in Numbers, was God’s judgment on the Midianites for their ‘sins’ AT THAT TIME. But you see, by the grace that Jesus Christ has brought to the world, God is not PRESENTLY judging people that way. We are in a time of GRACE now. As the Bible says, “God is patient towards us all, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” And NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!

Thanks for your time.

Food for Thought.

  • Does it make sense that someone would demand to go to hell than believe that God exists?
  • Will God judge anyone based on where he lived ( whether he lived in developing or developed country)?
  • What is the basis of morality of atheists, since they don’t believe in God?
  • Is suffering leading people to, or away from God?
  • How do you explain the love of God to an atheist?

What do you think?

How About Sharing The Gospel With A Smile?

Why can't you smile as you share the gospel? Good news is fir sharing.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is goodnews and goodnews is for sharing. But do you share goodnews with a frown on your face? No!

How come you always put on a very ‘serious’ face whenever you share the gospel? How about sharing the gospel with a genuine smile plastered on your face?

This last Sunday morning, I was driving to church when I noticed a middle-aged lady standing at the edge of my street handing out some gospel tracts to passers-bye. Such practice is a usual sight in the part of Lagos where I live, so there is nothing spectacular about it.

But as I looked closely at the lady, I observed that she was wearing a very serious look, not smiling at all. Her hands were handing out the supposed printed messages of love but her face didn’t show any happiness or enthusiasm. That got me thinking!

“Why can’t she just put on a smile while dishing out those leaflets to her target recipients?” I asked myself under my breath as I waited for my turn to negotiate the intersection next to where she stood.

I didn’t mean to judge her but I couldn’t resist thinking about the observation as I drove along to my destination. But before I could push the thought any further, it dawned on me that many Christians make the same mistake while sharing their faith with other people. (I am not exempting myself either).

I recall an incident in that regard in the year 2000. I boarded a city mass transit bus to work. I took the opportunity to openly share the gospel with everyone on board. (Unlike what is obtainable at present, preaching, advertising etc were not banned on some public buses then).

My voice was loud enough to be heard in all corners of the vehicle. So I declared the gospel message to my audience to the best of my understanding….

  • “Jesus loves you, He died for you and is calling you into a personal relationship with Him…”
  • “Only Jesus can save you. There is no other name through which you can be saved….”

I went on passionately along those lines for a couple of minutes with all the energy and enthusiasm in me. But I didn’t realise how too straight-faced I was until I overheard a co-passenger say something like,”This is not a quarell here, we got your message.”

Really? I was preaching like it was a quarrel? Of course I didn’t realise it. But whether the comment was unwarranted or not, I got the message…

A natural smile flowed from my heart to my face as I heard that comment. My voice had been too tough and my look so stern, may be. I took the unsolicited correction and began speaking in a more loving way, without compromising the message.

Since then, I have come to know better on how to carry my face or body language while sharing about Christ with someone – be it on a one on one basis or with a larger audience. It doesn’t mean the gospel should be preached with levity or with a “take it or leave it” kind of attitude.

Agreed that the message of the gospel is a serious message. But it has to be delivered in love.

  • Realise that the gospel is better shared with love, with a smile than with a frown.
  • The gospel is a message of love. It should be shared in love.
  • Let not your attitude confuse your hearers.

I mean, you tell someone that Jesus loves him or her wearing a frown on your face? How do you reconcile that? Let me say it again:

  • The gospel is goodnews.
  • Goodnews is for sharing.
  • The gospel is goodnews that should be shared with joy and enthusiasm.
  • The gospel should be shared in love, always.
  • If you are telling someone that the Lord is good to you, don’t show otherwise; don’t look like God has forsaken you. As you preach the gospel to someone, don’t let it be a case of “Your message is lovely but the look on your face betrays it.

    Sharing the gospel is a divine call. Why can’t you share a smile as you share it?




    ©CopyRight 2016 | Victor Uyanwanne

    Conversations With Atheists 1

    Are Atheists not destined for the love of God?

    Earlier in the year, I published 16 Sobering Things Every Atheist Should Know. It was a sequel to a previous blog, To Those Who Say There Is No God. Both posts were specifically written with atheists in mind. And as expected they elicited all manner of reactions from people, especially avowed atheists.

    Some of the discussions that followed To Those Who Say There Is No God, have been previously published in the series When You Encounter An Atheist For The First Time. Beginning with this post, we shall be starting a new series titled Conversations With Atheists.

    The purpose of the series will be to highlight some important parts of  the online interactions I had with some people who commented on 16 Sobering Things Every Atheist Should Know, with a view to opening up the issues for further discussions and impressions here and beyond.

    But first, we will need to take a look at some extracts from that referenced background post:

    • Even though I believe that God exists, I am aware that there are people from around the world who do not believe in His existence.
    • Life is meaningless if God did not exist.
    • The fact that some people do not believe in God does not diminish Him by any measure.
    • The Bible is the manual of life God gave to man. It is the final authority on anything there is to know about God and His creation.
    • God loves you even if you don’t believe in Him. The fact that you don’t believe in God does not mean that He is angry with you. In fact, He loves you too much to be angry with you.
    • It is true that there can be many ways to arrive a given destination. But when it comes to going to God, Jesus Christ is the Only Way.
    • According to the Bible, anyone who says God doesn’t exist, is a fool.

    • You can turn from atheism to God. Your life on earth is your only opportunity for you to know God, if you miss it you miss out forever.
    • You became an atheist by choice; you were not born as one. You get to know God by choice too.
    • God is big enough to handle any (mis)guided thoughts you might have about Him. But nothing can be sorted out without your cooperation.
    • You yourself know that you are not perfect; you are not without blemish. In order words, you are a sinner who needs the forgiveness of God. If you would make up your mind to seek Him in faith, you would find Him
    • You may not believe in God but you should understand that you are still answerable to Him. One day, you will stand before Him to explain how you lived your life here on Earth and what you did with the offer of grace by His son Jesus Christ.
    • There is a future reality called hellfire. You don’t have to go there if you decide to accept Jesus Christ now that you are still alive.

    Many WordPress bloggers liked the post. But there were some readers that didn’t, as indicated by their comments. The comments and my responses to them will form the basis of Conversations With Atheists Series.

    Needless to say, some of the comments from the professed atheists who responded are too abusive and unsavoury to be reposted here. We will therefore make do with extracts from some of the ‘reasonable’ conversations. (But if you don’t mind reading the largely offensive vituperations of the militant atheists that invaded my corner of WordPress as a result of that post, you may want to refer to the comment section of the original post).

    God and Atheists

    Let the conversations begin with this reader/commentator who felt that he is not destined for the love of God

    Commentator 1
    I don’t really know what I was expecting when I opened this page. But I have to admit I wasn’t expecting this.

    This posts makes precisely no attempt to meet atheists at common ground or to have a message that might resonate or anything. It’s just an opportunity taken to preach, claimed to be aimed at atheists but very much written in the language that could rightly make someone think other religious people were the audience; almost literally preaching to the choir.

    Surely you have encountered the basic point that the Bible is only convincing to people who already believe…

    I don’t mean this to come of rude, but I think it would benefit your writing for atheists if you actually take a moment to really think about the message you want to send, instead of just threatening them with Hell (which they don’t believe in) and telling them they’re wrong (they already know you disagree with them and so would say that).

    My Response
    Thank you for reading and commenting. The purpose of the post was to present the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is to the atheists, not to establish a common ground as you expected.

    … The issue of Hell is not a threat (I thought I mentioned that in the post) as you took it to be. It is an avoidable terrible future reality I tried to mention in love. The fact that you don’t believe in it doesn’t preclude its existence.

    But wait a minute, let me be a bit curious: how come it was the mere mention of hellfire that caught your attention more than the love of God for you as explained in the post?

    Commentator 1
    I’m not currently destined for the love of God.

    My Response
    My understanding is that God loves us all, including you! So I would like to ask you why you feel “not currently destined for the love of God.”

    Commentator 1
    First of all, to avoid patronising conversation later on, I want to point out that I am having this conversation from within the Christian narrative, even though I don’t accept it as true. That’s probably too obvious to need pointing out, but I’ve had the ‘atheists can’t talk about that stuff’ argument used against me before.

    Anyway, I’m going to be sent to Hell by virtue of not being able to believe: (1) a God exists; (2) a human sacrifice is a good thing; (3) perfection was ever a reasonable expectation of a person.

    My Response
    The death of Jesus Christ was a perfect sacrifice, without which the redemption of the human race would have been impossible. It is however not an approval for human sacrifice as you suggested.

    God raised Jesus from death and He is alive forever. Therein lies the eternal hope of all men, including you.

    Food for thought.

    • Do Christians have a “common ground” with atheists?
    • Why would someone say that God giving His Son to die for the sin of mankind is an act of human sacrifice, or is it?
    • What would make a man close his heart to the love of God, to the extent of believing that God’s love is not for him?

    What do you say?


    ©CopyRight 2016 | Victor Uyanwanne

    Who Is Your Internal Consultant?

    Holy Spirit and you, Victor Uyanwanne

    Consultants possess expertise in their given fields. They are often willing to help out in solving other peoples’ problem if they are engaged for that purpose, usually at a fee. Consultants can help you or your business:

    • Clarify ‘issues’ through research or data analysis;
    • Improve operational efficiencies;
    • Solve specific business problems;
    • Make informed business decisions;
    • Meet other specific needs you may have as their client.

    As good as they may be, no consultant is all-knowing and all-powerful; they are often limited by the level of their knowledge, trainings and experiences in life. But the Holy Spirit does not suffer from any limitations. His wisdom is unfathomable and His power is limitless.

    The Holy Spirit has been given to you by God as your ever-available Internal Resource. That means you can have Him as your personal Consultant to help you clarify issues, make better decisions, solve problems and improve your overall personal efficiency and effectiveness in life.

    What is your relationship with the Holy Spirit like? Do you see Him as your biggest Partner in progress? Don’t you think your relationship with Him can be better than it is right now?

    Several years ago as a new believer in Christ Jesus, I read Dr. David Yonggi Cho’s Holy Spirit My Senior Partner. In that book, Dr. Cho shared how he had been walking in close relationship (or partnership as he put it) with the Holy Spirit in his ministry and life.

    He talked about the need to depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit for best results in our lives and circumstances. For instance, as a young preacher then, he said he would never stand before the congregation to preach to them except he had received a specific message from the Holy Spirit to share with the people.

    That way, he was able to preach timely messages that met the specific needs of someone in his audience. It is not surprising then that Dr. Cho refers to the Holy Spirit as his senior Partner.

    Just like Cho, all believers in Christ can have a meaningful partnership with the Holy Spirit at their individual levels. The good news is that He is already a willing and competent Partner, just waiting for us to engage Him. That is why He is in us in the first place!

    As I examined the Bible Scriptures over the years, it has become very clear to me what role the Holy Spirit should play in my life as a Christian. He is my:

    • Helper
    • Guide
    • Comforter
    • Enabler
    • Teacher
    • and all….

    But whether I am completely depending on Him to be all He should be in my life is a different matter altogether. I know the story is not too different for many believers I have come across over the years in my Christian journey.

    Truth be told, all of us ought to be depending on the Holy Spirit for directions and guidance in life more than we are presently doing. We will suffer for it if we don’t. We will be happier if we do. For instance if you want the best results, you can use the leading of the Holy Spirit, in the following areas of your decision making:

    • Who to marry.
    • Where to invest in.
    • What job to accept or reject.
    • Which social organisation to join.
    • and so on and so forth.

    There is no limit to the areas of guidance the Holy Spirit can give you. He is there for you in whatever aspect of your life – from the mundane to the spiritual.

    Along this line recently, I read the personal testimony of Steve Sawyer wherein he referred to the Holy Spirit as his Internal Consultant. That expression embodies the spirit of this post. So I am borrowing those terms from him for the purpose of this discourse.

    In that article, Sawyer explained that the Holy Spirit is His internal consultant because:

    • The Holy Spirit is always with him;
    • The Holy Spirit can answer any question he has with His Truth, because the Holy Spirit IS Truth;
    • The Holy Spirit teaches him every day the best way to respond to anyone in any environment or context.

    It is not hard to see that all the above points are in line with what the Bible tells us the Holy Spirit will do in our lives. He is the Spirit of Truth and He guides us into all truth. He is in us as the voice that tells us what to do if we will listen to Him.

    In this complex world where you have to make important decisions, wouldn’t you want to have accurate guidance and direction in all areas of your life? That is possible if you make the Holy Spirit your Internal Consultant.

    What do you say?

    How You can Know God At The Friendship Level

    Rick Warren's 3 levels of knowing God

    There are two kinds of people on Earth: Those who believe that God exists and those who don’t. Amongst those that believe God exists, whether they do know God to the extent of having or contemplating a friendship relationship with Him is a different thing altogether.

    Over the past few months that I started this blog, I have had myself writing some articles specifically addressed to atheists – those who say there is no God. The latest of such articles being 16 Sobering Things Every Atheist Should Know.

    In this post, I will be talking to those who already believe God exists. But I must add that it is not enough to believe that God exists without knowing Him personally.

    Apart from believing that God exists, there is the need for you (and of course everyone else) to get to truly know God and know Him at a deeper level. That is why, as Christians we invite people to know God by calling them into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, His Son.

    Without a personal faith in the finished work of Christ, no one can know God at a friendship level. You shouldn’t miss that point.

    Distinguished and best-selling Author, Rick Warren, in one of his devotional articles, stated that there are three levels of knowing God: recognition, acquaintance, and friendship.

    As the title of this post suggests, our focus here is mainly on knowing God at the level of friendship. But allow me to put in a word or two about the named three levels as I understood them:

    1. Recognition level

    At this level, you know that “God is there,” but you don’t know Him personally. In other words, you know that God exists but you have not yet entered into a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, through whom only one can get to know the true God.

    1. Acquaintance level

    You are at this level if you know God just a little, but that’s all. Even though you may have come to know God through acknowledging Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you are yet to develop that relationship into a deeper level of robust friendship.

    1. Friendship level

    At this level, you have come to know God very well. You are not perfect, but you now know God as your Father.

    You have established a healthy relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ and you are staying committed to that relationship and you know it. You see God as your friend and you relate with Him as such; you talk to each other.

    We can be friends of God

    Knowing God at a deeper level

    God wants you to know Him and know Him very well. In Christ, He has offered you an eternal friendship relationship. This friendship will flourish to the extent you are willing to investing your time into it through regular fellowship with Him.

    To know God at a deeper level, you have to know Him at the friendship level. And this level is not exclusive to some people. We are all called to seek a deeper level of relationship with God.

    In James 4:8a, we read the words, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” You see, you are the one that should intentionally draw near to God in order to know Him deeper – at the friendship level.

    In Christ Jesus, God is already fully drawn to you. I may as well say this: You are as close to God as you want to be!

    Once you have established a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ, it means you have entered into the most valuable relationship of your life. But like all good relationships, it has to be consciously cultivated and nurtured for it to develop into a deeper level of friendship.

    To know someone deeply, you have to regularly talk to, or spend time with, him or her. Knowing God deeply is not different from that. Except you are willing to regularly fellowship with God, talk to Him as a friend and let Him talk to you too, you may never get to know Him at the deepest level possible.

     

    Do you desire to know God at the friendship relationship level? Feel free to leave a comment.

     

    ©2016 CopyRight | Victor Uyanwanne

    6 Simple Reasons To Forgive Offences

    Benefits of forgiveness

    Everyone needs forgiveness.  On the other hand, everyone needs to offer forgiveness too. And as you well know,  ‘everyone’ here includes you!

    “If there is no offence, there will be no forgiveness,” they say. And if someone offends you, you have the choice to either forgive or hold a grudge. Either way, there is always at least a benefit or a consequence.

    Giving forgiveness to your offender may not be easy, but it is worth your while to extend it wherever it is needed.  Other wise, you would be shooting yourself in the leg if you hold on to the offence, without forgiving.

    Here are 5 simple reasons you should learn to forgive others and let go of that vengeful feeling you may have against anyone who offended you:

    1. God has forgiven your offences and He expects you to forgive others too.

    We have all fallen below God’s standards. But by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, He is no longer holding our sins against us; we have been forgiven.

    By the same token, you should no longer hold anyone’s offence against them: forgive them! It is more beneficial to give forgiveness than to hold it back.

    1. Unforgiveness is a big weight, free yourself from it.

    Some offences against you may appear too terrible and hard to forgive. But guess who suffers more when you refuse to forgive others? You! That’s right, you!

    I once heard someone say that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting another person to be hurt by it. That’s absurd. Isn’t it?

    You may choose to disagree with me but it is in your best interest to forgive anyone that offends you. The burden is too heavy to bear if you don’t forgive.

    1. Don’t you expect others to forgive you too?

    No one is perfect – and that includes you! It is self-deception to think that you have never needed or will ever need forgiveness from anyone.

    Meaning that if you ever expect to be forgiven when you do wrong to others, (which I know you will, because you are still human), then you must show the same gesture to others who wronged  or offended you.

    1. Happiness and unforgiveness don’t mix.

    Personal happiness is one of the most pursued goals in life. But a heart that refuses to forgive will never find true personal happiness and fulfillment; You reduce your chances of finding happiness if you deliberately fail to show forgiveness to others.

    Offering forgiveness is a veritable avenue to let off some toxins impeding your emotional health. Just as tobacco smoking is injurious to your health so is unforgiveness unhealthy for your emotional well-being.

    I AM FORGIVEN

    1. You have the capacity to forgive, no need pretending otherwise. 

    “I am unable to forgive,” you might say. That’s not true my dear. No matter how deeply you might have been hurt, you can still forgive if you chose to do so.

    It is even easier if you allow God to work through, and in, you. By the power of forgiveness God has put in you, you can forgive any offence against you.

    Use that power of love that is already in you to forgive others their offences. You will be happier for it.

    1. Forgive yourself to be able to forgive others.

    Forgiving others entails forgiving yourself. If you can’t forgive yourself, neither will you be able to extent forgiveness to other people.

    Do you love yourself? Then you must forgive yourself so that you can forgive others or even receive forgiveness  from other people too.

     

    Is there any offence against you that you are yet to forgive? You would continue to be hurt if you choose not to forgive. But you will enjoy a sense of release and peace if you will decide to forgive that offence today. It might be a tough decision but you can take it.

    Those who say revenge is sweet have not tasted the power of forgiveness. Has  giving or receiving forgiveness ever benefited you? Please leave a comment.

     

     

    ©CopyRight 2016| Victor Uyanwanne

    3 Solid Things That Will Make a Christian not Suffer Identity Crisis

    The real you is not the one that stands in front of the mirror every morning. The real you is inside of you. The word of God is the mirror that will reflect your true identity. As a Christian, your true identity is in Christ. It is only in Christ (the Word) that you can discover your true identity….

    (Victor Uyanwanne in 11 Powerful reasons you should improve your interest in the Bible).

    I know who I am.

    Your identity is who you are. And as a Christian, who you are is important, but who you are in Christ is far more important.

    That brings me to this important question: Do you know who you are? Or better still, do you know who you are in Christ?

    You should know who you are! If you don’t:

    • You will go through life not maximizing your full potentials;
    • You will suffer from identity crisis; being unsure of yourself, unsure of why you exist in life;
    • Your self-esteem will not be at the right level;

    You will end up being unhappy or depressed, emotionally. And of course, you deserve better than that! That’s why I am writing this post.

    I know who I am.” That’s the title of the monstrously successful hit song by popular Nigerian worship gospel singer, Sinach.

    There is no time I play that song that I don’t get inspired by its lyrics, which are deeply rooted in the word of God. I could never be depressed or unhappy with a song like that on my lips.

    But just like many other Christians, there were times I wasn’t so sure about who I am in Christ. I would often ask myself questions such as Am I really saved? Are my sins truly forgiven?

    Does God love me personally? Am I completely acceptable to God? Does He have a purpose for me? Am I Sure I am qualified for Heaven?

    Looking at myself back then, those were not easy questions to resolve. But once I began to look more in the word of God than in my feelings, the pictures became clearer. As I began to see myself in the light of God’s word, my doubts began melting away.

    I am not saying I’ve got everything figured out yet. But at least, I am not where I used to be; I now have a firmer grip of my real identity in Christ than before.

    Having said that, I don’t deny that it is possible for a Christian to suffer an identity crisis. But you don’t have to, or why should you?

    Many of the identity issues you might face as a Christian will arise if you continually focus on something different from what God says you are. Whatever you might have gone through in the past or you may still be going through presently, they should not make you confused  about your true identity.

    Who God says you are is your true identity. At any point in time, you ought to be able to say “I am what God says I am.” That is to say, you have to always align who you think you are with who God says you are.

    How can this be achieved?

    As a Christian, here are 3 three sure ways out of the problem of identity crisis:

    1. Knowing who you are in Christ.

    It is good to have a very firm grasp of who you are in the Lord. Who you are by your spiritual birth is far more important than who you are by your natural birth.

    In other words, who God says you are matters more than who others, or you, define you to be.

    At a crucial point in His lifetime, Jesus was cross-examined by the authorities of the day. “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” They asked him.

    “I Am” was Jesus response. No mistake about it. He knew who He was and He embraced it with all His heart, even though it carried a fatal consequence – He was condemned to death! (Mark 14:61-64).

    Jesus Christ never suffered an identity crisis, why should any Christian for that matter?

    1. Embracing who you know you are in Christ with all your heart.

    It is one thing to know who you are in Christ and another to completely embrace it with all your heart.  Sometimes you may not feel like you are what God says you are. But it doesn’t depend on how you feel about it. It is a matter of the integrity of God Himself.

    You have to apply faith and accept that you are who God says you are. Stand on it even if your senses try to tell you otherwise.

    Embracing your identity in Christ is the key to guaranteeing that you will not be caught up in the quagmire of an identity crisis.

    1. Living your life according to your revealed identity in Christ.

    In Christ, you are a new creation, old things have passed away. The point has been made that who you are in Christ is your true identity. And that’s the identity you should live by.

    “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9.

    I know you are familiar with the things spelt out in that quoted scripture above. If you embrace them with all your heart and live by them by faith; If you see yourself in the light of who God’s say you are, you will never again suffer from identity crisis as a Christian.

    I know who I am in Christ.

    Let’s take a further look at who you are in Christ:

    • A new creation. Old things have passed away in your life. You have been reborn.
    • Disciple of Christ. You are not a ‘nobody’. You know and follow Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.
    • Light of the world. You show the way; you are a trailblazer. Your light shines forth even in darkness.
    • Ambassador of Christ. You are a VIP (very important personality); an approved representative of Heaven on earth, with full benefits attached.
    • Salt of the Earth. The world needs the flavor God has put in you.
    • Son of the most-high God. You are valuable. It cost God His only begotten Son to get you to become His Son too.
    • Royalty – You are a royalty, you became one when you got born again.
    • Holy and righteous – God has declared you guiltless. Your sins are completely forgiven.

    The Bible didn’t leave us in doubt about who you are in Christ.

    Knowing, embracing and living by the revealed identity you have in Christ are solid things that will make you not suffer the issue of identity crisis. And your life will take on a new meaning if you can get to the point where you can boldly say: I know who I am!

    How does knowing  who you are in Christ help you overcome any problem of identity crisis? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

     

    ©CopyRight 2016 | Victor Uyanwanne

    16 Sobering Things Every Atheist Should Know

    You should hear this if you are an atheist

    … Belief in God isn’t blindly based on acceptance of the Bible as truth, or simply because the argument makes sense, but because when we begin to truly look for him, we begin to find him everywhere. In nature, in science, in supernatural experience, and perhaps most compellingly of all in the transformed lives of the people who have already believed in him – Martin Saunders, Contributing Editor, Christian Today.

    As a follower of Jesus Christ, I know that God exists. But I also know there are atheists everywhere around the world – people who do not believe in the existence of God.

    Just like Jesus wants us to do, I owe it to such people in particular and to humanity in general, to tell them about God. Not just because of the earthly benefits but for the eternal significance as well.

    That was why I earlier published To those who say there is no God. The post was an open letter to all those who believe that God doesn’t exist. The comments it generated gave rise to the When you encounter an atheist online for the first time series previously posted on this blog.

    As you well know, I can’t force anyone to believe in God. But I can at least let them know some things that may help them make up their mind in the affirmative. After all, acknowledging Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and personal Saviour remains a decision everyone has to take by him/herself.

    So if you are an atheist, here are 16 sobering truths I wish you to know.

    1. God exists – whether you believe it or not.

    I had to say that first because it is the main thrust of this discourse. This article is of no effect if God does not exist. What is the point of life if there was no God?

    Sorry to disappoint you: the fact that you do not believe in God does not diminish Him one bit. He is an all-sufficient God. Even if you change your mind and decide to believe in God today, it still does not add to His value.

    But you know what? It is in your best interest both in time and in eternity to acknowledge Him. I hope you will find the impetus to continue reading after hearing that!

    2. To know God, check the Bible

    The Bible is the manual of life God gave to man. It is the final authority on anything there is to know about God and His creation.

    If in your search for God, you have not checked the Bible, then you have been looking in the wrong direction. And if you have checked it before, you have to check it again. This time, do it in faith.

    God has revealed Himself to mankind through the Bible. The Bible has the correct answer to all the questions about life and the after-life. If your disbelief in God has come from reading other books, it is now time you read the Bible with an open heart and with faith.

    3. God loves you, I thought you should know.

    Contrary to what you might have heard about Him, God is a loving God. As the Bible puts it, “God is love.” God loves you even if you do not acknowledge Him yet.

    You don’t believe in Him, He loves you. You hate Him, He still loves you.  Because of that love, He does not want you to perish in your ignorance of, or disbelief in, Him.

    He would rather have you come to Him humbly in faith through His only Son Jesus Christ, whom He allowed to die in the hands of wicked people for your sin and those of mankind.

    4. God is not angry with you.

    Has anyone ever told you that God is angry with you? That will not be true! The fact that you don’t believe in God does not mean that He is angry with you. In fact, He loves you too much to be angry with you.

    God should have been – and He has every right to be – angry with you for not believing in Him. But His Son Jesus Christ has paid the price for you once and for all. For now, you are covered by His abundant grace.

    The only thing that can provoke God eventually is if you fail to acknowledge the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for you before you leave this earth. If that happens, there is nothing God can do for you again; His anger would then no longer be restrained on the other side of this life.

    Anyone who fails to believe in God while alive will be eternally separated from Him after death.

    5. Jesus Christ is the only Way to God.

    That is an audacious claim, I know. But it is not outrageous.

    It is true that there are many ways to arrive a given destination. But when it comes to going to God, Jesus Christ is the Only Way; there is no shortcut and there is no roundabout way.

    There is no other way to God apart from through Jesus Christ.  That fact cannot be overemphasized.

    Jesus Himself declared unequivocally: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:16.

    6. You are not the first person to doubt the existence of God.

    I guess you know that already! There have been people before you who did not believe in God and there will still be people after you who will not believe in Him.

    For instance, Marilyn Adamson confessed in her expository article Does God exist?: 

    I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly…

    However, the fact that you are not alone in the disbelief in the existence of God should not give you any comfort. Being in a state where you do not believe in God is not the best place you can be.

    What are you if you say there is no God?

    7. The Bible has a word for anyone who doesn’t believe there is God.

    You should hear that word as stated in Psalms chapter 14:1:

    A fool says in his heart there is no God.

    That is it. According to the Bible, anyone who says there is no God is a fool. Such persons may or may not be educated, lowly or highly placed in the society, if they do not acknowledge God, they are fools. That may sound harsh I know, but then it is the harsh truth.

    So you can see that it is wisdom to acknowledge God. It is foolishness not to.

    I know there are people who think they are wise so they think have no need of God. But for such people, the Bible says, “In professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

    No matter how you feel about it, there is no wisdom in saying there is no God. If I say there is no God, it means I am foolish.

    The only good news after this is that this kind of foolishness can be cured. The cure is to turn to God in faith through Jesus Christ.

    8. There have been people who turned from atheism to God.

    Sad to say, some people have died in their atheism, thereby sentencing themselves to eternal damnation. But thankfully, there have also been people who moved from atheism to faith in the true God.

    For instance, freelance writer and lecturer, Philip Vander Elst tells his own change story in the expository article  From Atheism to Christianity: a Personal Journey. He gives us a glimpse into who he was before he came to acknowledge God:

    Growing up in a non-Christian family with intellectually gifted but unbelieving parents, I used to think that belief in God and the supernatural had been discredited by the advance of science, and was incompatible with liberty. Religious faith seemed to me to involve the blind worship of a cosmic dictator, and the abandonment of reason in favour of ‘revelation

    Similarly, in Five atheists who lost faith in atheism Martin Saunders, a Contributing Editor for Christian Today, writes about some “former atheists who found that their belief in nothing ultimately led them nowhere.” These people were intellectuals who departed from their avowed atheism to robust faith in God. That can be your story too!

    9. Your lifetime is your only opportunity for you to know God.

    The nine months spent in your mother’s womb prepared you for the life on earth. Similarly, your life on earth prepares you to be birthed into eternity.

    Therefore, your life on earth is your only opportunity for you to know God, personally. If you miss it, you miss out eternally.

    I don’t want you to miss out. Hence, I am writing this post to you as an individual.

    The point is, if you do not get to establish a personal relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ while you are still alive, you will inevitably be faced with the stark reality of being forever separated from God. That’s not something to look forward to, I must say.

    10. Whatever misgivings you have about God can be handled.

    That’s a promise, trust me! God is big enough to handle any (mis)guided thought you might have about Him. But nothing can be sorted out without your cooperation.

    As Saunders stated, “when we begin to truly look for [God], we begin to find him everywhere. In nature, in science, in supernatural experience, and perhaps most compellingly of all in the transformed lives of the people who have already believed in him.”

    You were not born an atheist, just as I was not born a Christian. I became a believer in Jesus Christ and so can you.

    At some point in your life (or is it over a period of time?), you came to believe there is no God. You have your reasons, rightly or wrongly, for the claim that there is no God. But He is such a gracious God that He would not force you to acknowledge Him.

    Therefore, if you would make up your mind to seek Him in faith, you would find Him. This is a guarantee because God said through prophet Jeremiah that:

    “… ye shall seek me, and find me [God], when ye shall search for me [God] with all your heart” Jeremiah 29:13

    11. God has numerous children and He has room for you too.

    The key is in your hands! God created everyone but not everyone is His ‘child’. I hope you didn’t find that confusing?

    The children of God are those who believe in Him through Jesus Christ. You may say you do not believe in God. But it is that same God that you don’t believe in that created you.

    Does God exist?

    It is true He created you but He cannot force you to become His child. Becoming his child is something you would have to do out of your own volition, without any force from me or from anyone else.

    To become a child of God, you have to be given the right. As the Bible says “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to … But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become sons of God” John 1:12

    The good thing is that the right to become a child of God is yours for the asking… even right now!

    12. If you die today, where would you spend eternity?

    Would you not want to find an answer to that question before it becomes too late? That’s a question not only for you but for all humans. There are only two possible options – eternity with God or eternity without Him.

    Fortunately, anyone who believes in God through His Son Jesus Christ has already settled that issue. For such people, there is nothing to fear; their place is in God.

    You already know that the fact that you don’t believe in God does not preclude you from dying. And death is the gateway to eternity.  Once you die, you have lost all the chances of ever knowing God.

    Your present life is the only chance you to make the decision about where to spend eternity – with God in Heaven or with satan in hell. There is no sitting on the fence between the two choices.

    Failure to choose God is already an automatic choice for hellfire. Hope that doesn’t sound too harsh?

    13. The question of sin cannot be cured except in Christ.

    There is no substitute to Christ at all! Even you yourself know that you are not perfect; you are not without blemish. In order words, you are a sinner who needs the forgiveness of God.

    I didn’t say that to condemn you, but rather as a kind of reality check. You have to know this (in case no one ever told you before now): just like all humans, you are a sinner because you were born that way.

    Sin is the nature of all men. You cannot solve the problem of sin on your own; you need help – God’s help.

    The only authentic remedy for sin is in the blood Jesus Christ. All it requires is a simple faith in His sacrificial death and resurrection. It is only in believing in God through Jesus that your sin nature and its eternal consequence can be permanently dealt with.

    14. You are accountable to God, now or later.

    This is inescapable! You may not believe in God but you should understand that you are still answerable to Him. Whether you chose to accept Him or not you will still be accountable to Him for your actions.

    One day, you will stand before Him to explain how you lived your life here on Earth and what you did with the offer of grace by His son Jesus Christ. I thought you should know that too.

    15. There is a future reality called Hellfire.

    Many people don’t like to hear that word ‘hellfire’. But I care about you too much not to warn you about it!

    It is the final destination reserved for everyone who rejects the salvation that Christ offers. The place was originally meant for satan and his angels. But sadly, anyone that rejects God has sided with satan and so will ultimately end up where satan himself will be confined to too, forever.

    You don’t have to go there if you decide to accept Jesus Christ now that you are still alive, otherwise, hellfire will be an inescapable reality. This is not a threat; it is the truth I just tried to share in love.

    16. Very far from God is not too far yet.

    You might think that you have gone a long way in the journey of your (wrong) belief that God doesn’t exist. But I would say you are yet to reach the point of no return. God is ready to accept you as his son/daughter if you give Him the chance now.

    Once you realise that you are on the wrong part, the honourable thing to do is to retrace your steps. Anyone who fails to acknowledge God is already on the wrong path.

    If you don’t want to end up in the wrong destination, you should not continue on the journey in the wrong direction. The prodigal son found his back to his father, so can you!

    Forget about the wrong things you might have been told about God. Dismantle your previous mindset and seek God yourself with all your heart and with faith.Give Jesus an invitation into your heart and I can assure you He will honour it.

    Would you acknowledge God through His son, Jesus Christ now?

     

    P.S: To you that believe in God through his Son Jesus Christ, if you have any sobering thing you would want an atheist to know that doesn’t fall into any of the ones listed above, do me a favour by commenting. You may be the voice that someone may hear to turn to God. Those that have contrary opinions are also welcome to comment.

     

    ©CopyRight | Victor Uyanwanne

    What if Christ had not risen from the dead?

    By Victor Uyanwanne

    Benefits of Christ resurrection from the dead

    Easter affords us Christians around the world the opportunity to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on a larger scale than most of us would normally do. But apart from this, our lives should actually reflect the resurrected Christ on a daily, continuous basis.

    Therefore, we should be able to say:

    For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

    And

    …. that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4.

    As I said in my previous post, “The resurrection of Christ from death is the foundation of our Christian faith, the assurance of our salvation and the hope of our eternal glory.” But here is a natural question to ask:

    What if Jesus had not resurrected from the dead?

    Paul addressed that issue in his first letter to the Corinthians: 

    12But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. I Corinthians 15:12-19.

    From this familiar passage, we can surmise that if Christ had not risen from the dead:

    • Our preaching of the gospel would have been in vain. It would have been an exercise that has no eternal significance. All preachers would be liars, and the gospel would be a deception.
    • The Christian faith itself would have been nothing. Christianity would have qualified as a dead religion, devoid of power and the life of God.
    • Our sins will remain unforgiven. We would have been eternally separated from God.
    • There would have been no hope of redemption and salvation for mankind. Mankind would have been lost in sin forever.
    • Those that died in Christ would be lost forever. There would no assurance of Heaven and our hope of ever seeing them would be dashed.
    • As Christians, it would mean that we are losers now and hereafter. It would have been a double tragedy. As Paul puts it, we would be the most miserable people on earth.
    • There would be no resurrection of the dead. There would be no hope beyond the grave. Everything about life would have ended here. No reward for the righteous and no punishment for the wicked.

     

    But now that Christ conquered the powers of hell and resurrected from death, we can be sure that:

    • The preaching of the gospel is not in vain. The gospel is not a fraud. In fact, preaching gospel has become a necessity because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

     “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” 1 Corinthians 9:16.

    • The Christian faith is valuable. It is the Way to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. No other way.

    There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

    • There is hope of redemption and salvation for every man alive. With the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, “the grace which brings salvation has appeared to all men” Titus 2:11.

    For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13.

    • There is hope for anyone that believes in Jesus Christ either in this life or in the life to come. Our future in Christ is assured.

    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3, NIV

    • It is a proof that there will be resurrection of the dead. As Christ arose, we have a glorious hope that transcends the shores of this earth.

    But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 1Corinthians 1:12.

    Jesus arose from the dead with power and glory. Sooner or later all believers in Him will go the same way. Hallelujah!

    Christ’s Resurrection from Death: What’s in it for me?

    By Victor Uyanwanne

    Jesus ResurrectionSeveral years ago in my church in Lagos, as teenagers then, we were asked to make a presentation on the topic: “The birth or the death of Jesus Christ, which one is more important?”

    We were divided into two groups. The first one proposed that “the death of Jesus Christ was more important than His birth.” The group asserted that if Jesus had not died for the sins of the world, mankind would have been doomed forever.

    They posited that “It was the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus that brought salvation to mankind.”

    Hardly could that be faulted by any Christian. But there was a little challenge. Or wasn’t it?

    I was on the opposing side and the lead speaker as well. My team and I had our profound arguments to advance too, to counter their position and establish ours that “the birth of Jesus Christ was more important than His death.”

    “If Jesus was not born in the first place, He would not have had the opportunity to die for the sins of the world,” we argued.

    Interesting!

    The congregation clapped and clapped as each group dished out their arguments and counter-arguments. But there was no set panel of judges to decide which group won or lost the debate. It wasn’t necessary to have one, I guessed.

    In the end, there was no victor and there was no vanquished. The moderator, an elder in the church, simply climbed the pulpit and declared: “Jesus Christ was born to die. Both His birth and death and resurrection are all important.”

    The congregation again clapped and cheered until we (all the debaters) exited the stage, happy.

    Born to die, but resurrected in power

    Yes, Jesus was born to die. But that’s not the complete story. The complete story is that He resurrected on the third day and now He is alive forever.

    It is because of His death that man can live again. It is in believing in His death and resurrection that every man can have eternal life.

    Without the death and resurrection of Christ, the Christian faith would be useless. And all Christians  would be big time losers!

    As I write this post, I am fully aware of the period we are in – Easter period. About three months ago, we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ and now we are celebrating His death and resurrection, which Easter represents.

    At Christmas, we said, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” In the same vein, at Easter too we can also say the same thing because that’s the truth. He is the reason we celebrate Easter, a commemoration of His eternal defeat of death and satan and all the powers of hell put together.

    The resurrection of Jesus from death is the greatest event in human history. All the powers of hell were unleashed to stop the event from taking place. But the power of God prevailed and Jesus the son of God arose from the dead with all power and might.

    In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, satan was completely disgraced. Paul gives us an insight into what happened:

    And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:15.

    The good news is that Jesus won the victory for you, for me and for everyone else that believes in Him. We ultimately will be resurrected to reign with Christ eternally.

    Jesus victory is my victory, and yours too!

    The resurrection of Christ from death is the foundation of our Christian faith, the assurance of our salvation and the hope of our eternal glory. Thinking about this alone should give us pure joy.

    Happy Easter to you and your family.

     

     

    Victor Uyanwanne is on a mission to inspire as many people as possible in as many ways as possible in as many places as possible to achieve their goals and lead a balanced life.

    No Longer In the Grave

    Written by Victor Uyanwanne

    Resurrection of Jesus Christ
    Easter Celebration

    The Lord I serve

    Is no longer in the grave

    On the third day

    He came out alive

    Some Angels rolled the stone away

    And my Saviour came forth

    The Lord I am serving

    Is no longer in the grave.

    I penned those words about thirteen years ago. I was on holiday in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria during the 2003 Easter celebration with my elder brother and his family.

    On the Easter Sunday morning, I stayed in bed reading Luke’s account of the resurrection episode (Luke 24:1-7):

    On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’

    As I meditated on that Scripture, the Holy Spirit quickened my heart and a heavenly song welled up from within me. I jumped to my feet and I began to sing in other tongues and then later in English (which I perceived was the interpretation of the tongues):

    “No longer in the grave.”

    Yes, Jesus is no longer in the grave. And it was not His disciples that stole Him away as alleged in the propaganda churned out by the religious cum political authorities of that era.

    Jesus Christ resurrected from death with great power and majesty. God would not allow His Son to suffer decay:

    …..because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay Psalm 16:10.

    Speaking by the Holy Spirit, Peter tells  us that:

    But God raised him [Jesus Christ] 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.

    That’s the crux of Easter celebration: Jesus Christ, crucified and buried in the grave, conquered death and rose from the dead and never to die again.

    That is what separates Christianity from other faiths. No religious leader in history resurrected like Jesus did.

    All other religious leaders (before and after Him) died and remain rotten in their grave. Death still kept them in its grip till date. But for my Lord Jesus, it was impossible for death to hold Him captive. He died and came out from the grave alive.

    Jesus Himself declared:

    I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:18.

    Jesus Christ is no longer in the grave. He has conquered death once and for all. And He is alive forever.

    Like Sheep in the Midst of Wolves

    Written by Victor Uyanwanne

     

    Sheep in the midst of wolves

    You are living in a world where it is not so cute being a Christian any more.  As a Christian living out your faith, you will often have to face hostilities – whether subtle or pronounced – from some people you come in contact with in your daily life.

    There seems to be people everywhere who oppose you simply because you chose to live out your life for Christ. The opposition could come from unsaved family members, your neighbours, your colleagues at work and even from people you meet on the street or in shopping centres.

    But why is it like that? The answer is not so far-fetched: people love darkness more than light.

    And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.   For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.   But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
    John 3:19-21 KJV

    Please read on from my newest article LIKE SHEEP IN THE MIDST OF WOLVES published on Naked Christian blog.

    Thank you.

    To Those Who Want To Live in The Wisdom of God

    There are so many remarkable characteristics of Jesus Christ that we see from reading the Gospels. We can see His love and compassion for the people, His unparalleled knowledge of the Scriptures, His power over natural forces, His positive leadership traits, His eloquence and boldness, His humility and obedience, His faith and His wisdom.

    Why can’t you as a Christian always display these sublime characteristics as Jesus Christ did? More specifically, why can’t you as a Christian in your everyday living demonstrate heavenly wisdom in dealing with people, things and situations like Jesus to bring glory to God?

    To those who want to live in the wisdom of Christ, please read my recent article published on  Naked Christian Blog:  5 WAYS THE WISDOM OF GOD WILL MAKE YOU MORE CHRISTLIKE

    6 Unique Reasons You Should Embrace The Love of God

    St. Valentine

    It is Saint Valentine’s Day once again. Suddenly our love for one another is awakened again.

    But beyond the usual focus on couples’ love, friendship love and family love that pervades the air in times like this, how about talking about the love of God for us too?

    The love of God is the greatest love there is. It is the love for all seasons.

    Those who neglect the love of God will never ever be able to truly love. It is God who gives us the capacity to love.

    God has put His love in our hearts.

    And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5.

    Valentine’s day should not make you go searching for love in the wrong places. Neither should you go doing things that make it look like you are desperate for love.

    God’s love is already given; and God’s love is for you. It is reliable and available every time.

    Here are 6 Unique Reasons You Should fully embrace the Love of God

    1. You are already infinitely loved by God.

    Even if no one else loves you, be aware that God loves you beyond measure. He loved you before you were born, He loves you till now and will continue to love you for the rest of your life.

    God proved that His love for you has not limit when He gave His son to die for you.

    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV

    1. God’s love for you is unconditional.

    If God was looking to love only those that measured up to His standards, then He would have no one to love, because none of us would qualify.

    God loves you because God is love. His love for you does not depend on what you did or what you didn’t do. He loves you irrespective of your individual performance – whether you measure up or not.

    Does that sound too good to be true? But it is the gospel truth!

    1. God’s love is all inclusive.

    Whether you are a Christian or not, whether you believe in God or not, whether you are black or white, male or female, whether you are homosexual or heterosexual, God loves you.

    Whatever you are and wherever you are in the world, God loves you. There is no one in the whole wide world that God doesn’t love.

    God loves you the way you are. But He will never leave you the way you are. His love is a life-transforming love –  His love will change you for the better.

    1. Nothing can separate you from the love of God.

    God will never walk away from you. He will never break your heart if you embrace His love. And no circumstance is strong enough to separate you from the love of God.

    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35 NIV

    God is the most faithful lover there is. He sticks with you in good and in bad times, every time.

    1. You can experience God’s great love which He offers to you freely.

    God’s love has been bestowed on all mankind; It is already given to all.  All you have to do is to receive it. You receive it through simple faith in Jesus Christ.

    Receiving the love of God into your heart will be the greatest experience of your life. It will transform you in many ways.

    1. If you accept the love of God into your life and live by it, it will preserve your heart on earth and prepare it for eternity. This is a bargain that is available only in Jesus Christ. You cannot get it anywhere else.

    Your heart will never be satisfied until it embraces the love of God. Valentine’s Day love will come and go but the love of God remains. God’s love is love for all seasons. Embrace it now.

     

    ©CopyRight | Victor Uyanwanne

    11 Powerful Reasons You Should Improve Your Interest In The Bible

    Why you should read the Bible

    Read the Bible Often

    The Bible is the authentic life manual for every Christian to live by. Yet not all Christians take reading the Bible as seriously as they should.

    There is something in the Bible for everyone to benefit from; ‘milk’ for the babies and ‘meat’ for the adult. Therefore every Christian ought to make reading the Bible a priority in their daily lives.

    THE BIBLE IS WITHIN YOUR REACH

    In addition to the traditional hard copy Bibles we are all used to, the use of technology has greatly enhanced access to the word of God. From the Bible apps on our smart phones and tablet devices to the relevant Bible softwares on our laptop and desk top computers, we can easily and conveniently read the word of God.

    If you haven’t been reading your Bible as you should, the problem is not that the written word of God is not accessible to you. The issue is that you have other things taking your attention.

    You shouldn’t be too distracted, too lazy or too busy to read the Bible.

    IT IS TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE

    Would you want to drink the ‘milk’ and eat the ‘meat’ in the word of God on a regular basis? Here are a few questions for you to ponder on. (If you will answer ‘yes’ to any of them, it means you should be reading the Bible more frequently than you are currently doing):

    1. Do you want to know or love God more?

    God knows and loves you fully already – whether you read the Bible or not. But if you want to know or love God more, you cannot afford not to read the Bible. God has revealed Himself to us through His written word.

    The love of God, His power, integrity, mercy, justice, provision, protection – and other things about Him – are all clearly shown in the Bible Scriptures. Through fellowshipping with Him in the word, you will get more and more acquainted with Him and His ways.

    1. Do you see reading the Bible as an absolute necessity?

    It doesn’t work well for anyone to force you to read the Bible regularly; the choice has to be yours. But except you consider it absolutely necessary, you may not be able to cultivate the self-discipline that will help you ensure regular reading of the word of God.

    As a Christian, the Bible should not be a book you read only when you have the time. It should be a book you intentionally create time to read, daily. If you love God with all your heart, you should love and read His word too.

    1. Do you value the word of God?

    If you value the word of God enough, you will create find the time to read it –  no matter how busy you are. It was Job who said he valued the word of God more than his necessary food (Job 23:12).

    Job wasn’t as privileged as you are in this generation; he didn’t have the word of God ‘compiled’ in one document for him as we have it in the Bible. Yet, he paid attention to it whenever God spoke to Him, esteeming it more than his important meals.

    Like Job, how about saying, “I won’t eat breakfast today until I have read the word of God?” I am not suggesting that you become legalistic about it. I am just saying you should value the word of God enough as not to neglect reading it regularly.

    1. Do you believe the Bible is still relevant for your life today?

    The Bible is not a book to be confined to ancient history, as some ignorant people say. It contains timeless principles of life that you can live by even in this information age.

    There is hardly any situation you face in your daily life that the Bible hasn’t addressed – directly or indirectly. From leadership issues to interpersonal relationships, from marital to business affairs, from health matters to conflict resolutions, and so on, the Bible offers time-tested principles you can successfully operate by. But how can you operate by them if you don’t know them in the first place?

    1. Do you want to know your real identity?

    The real you is not the one that stands in front of the mirror every morning. The real you is in side of you. The word of God is the mirror that will reflect your true identity. As a Christian your true identity is in Christ. It is only in Christ (the Word) that you can discover your true identity.

    You may never appreciate your true identity until you look in the mirror of the word of the God. The questions of who created you, who you are, what happens to you after this life: The answers to these questions and more are addressed in the Bible.

    1. Do you accepts its’ authority as final?

    The Bible contains the word of God. On its pages you can find God’s final verdict on the issues of life. If you don’t hold the word of God as the highest authority in your life, you may not be so interested in finding out what He says by reading and studying the Bible in faith.

    For instance, the people of the world practice sex outside of marriage and consider it normal. But God’s final word in the Bible shows that both premarital and extramarital sex are against His will for His children. God approves sex but only within the confines of marriage. If you don’t know it how would you take a stand on it?

    1. Do you desire your prayers to be more effective?

    James tells us that one of the reasons for unanswered prayer is ‘praying amiss’. You pray amiss if you fail to pray according to the will of God.

    Studying the Bible is a fundamental way of knowing the will of God. The more you understand God’s will, the more on point your prayers become and so the more effective your prayer becomes.

    1. Are you committed to doing what the Bible says?

    A key requirement of Christian discipleship is doing the will of the master. To do the will of God you have to know the will of God. To know the will of God you have to study the word of God.

    The word of God is the will of God. That’s a relationship that can’t be disconnected. James advised, “Don’t only hear the word, do what it says.” Hearing or reading the word precedes doing it.

    1. Do you want to be able to share its’ truths with other people?

    One of your greatest privileges as a Christian is that of communicating the message of the gospel of Christ to other people. How can you share it properly if you don’t know it well enough?

    For instance, Philip was able to correctly explain a passage of Isaiah to the Ethiopian Eunuch because he was familiar with it. I know the Holy Spirit is there to help you in sharing the gospel, but you have to regularly plant the seed of the word in your heart by reading, studying and meditating on it.

    1. Do you want to better understand the events of the future?

    The Bible is historical as well as prophetic. There are many things spoken about in the Bible that have come to pass already. There are still some more that are yet to come to pass.

    For instance, one day, Christians will be taken away to meet with the Lord Jesus Christ in the sky in the event commonly known as the Rapture. Reading the Bible will give you an unparalleled insight into some of the events that will happen hereafter.

    1. Do you take care of your physical body?

    We are often advised to take good care of our body by eating good food, exercising regularly and having adequate sleep. Doing all those will promote physical well-being. How about taking some steps to promote your spiritual well-being? Reading the word is a key consideration.

    The word of God is food to your spirit as physical food is to your body. You maltreat your spirit man if you fail to nourish it regularly with the word of God.

    The Bible is the written word of God. If you love God with all your heart, you should love and read His word too. Read it regularly not with a casual attitude, but with the kind of seriousness and faith it rightly deserves. Don’t wait until you have the time before you can read the Bible. Create the time to read it.

     

    ©CopyRight | Victor Uyanwanne

    What To Do When You Fall To Your Lowest Point

    Written by Victor Uyanwanne

    The Prodigal Son's story

    Sometimes you feel your back on the floor even when you would rather be up there in the sky. “Life is not fair,” so goes the common saying.

    Sometimes you reckon it is your fault; some other times it is not. But this is not about apportioning blames as much as it is about doing the right thing.

    But, “What should you do when you find yourself on your lowest ebb?”

    The choice is yours: either remain on the floor and be trampled upon to death or you do whatever is necessary to get back on your feet. It might not be easy but it can be done.

    “It is okay to fall, but only when you don’t stay down”. That was a line I borrowed from a cartoon movie I happen to watch on Disney Junior with my three years old son. I think the wisdom in it is clear. It is not falling that is bad, but falling without getting up.

    When you do fall (we all do sometimes), don’t stay down. Get up and pick up your life again.  You can’t go anywhere lying down.

    This was a lesson learnt in a hard way by a man driven by his youthful exuberance to the brink of oblivion. Despite his grievous mistake early in life, he rose back on his feet. His human dignity was restored when he took the hard decision to go back home.

    Welcome to the world of Kito.

    Kito was a tall, handsome and promising young man. He was every lady’s dream man. Every lady wanted to have him and every young man wished they were him.

    Kito was born into a wealthy family. His father was one of the richest and kindest men around.

    Unlike some other young men of his age, Kito had everything going well for him. He was born into a wonderful family, was always well fed, had the best apparels to wear, owned the coolest ride in town and had a retinue of servants at his beck and call.

    However, Kito felt he needed something more from life: freedom – absolute freedom from parental control and freedom to explore the worlds afar off.

    Kito woke up one day and made an uncommon request to his father.

    “Daddy, please give me half of your life savings. I am entitled to it as one of your only two sons.”

    Lord Yom was dazed over his son’s unusual request. He stood speechless momentarily, pondering and gazing endlessly into the cool morning sky.

    “I can’t believe my ears. What has come over this boy?” Yom managed to mutter under his breath.

    That kind of request had never been heard of in the history of the people of his culture and beyond.  No good child ever demanded the sharing of the estate of a father who had not yet passed on.

    Irrespective of the negative perception of his request, Kito had made up his mind. There was no going back on the idea of heeding the alluring invincible call from the outside world.

    Kito, who had relatively been a good boy all along, was about to rewrite history – in a negative way.

    As one poet puts it, Kito was:

    A chosen son! A precious child, free and pure!
    Parents watched over him! Protected, and secured.

    He grew into a man. Was seduced by Satan’s charms.
    Christ’s commandments forgotten. The devil, inflicted harm.

    Kito’s loving father was saddened by his son’s unpalatable decision to leave the home. Reluctantly, he obliged the young man with the half of his estate as he had requested.

    Having received what he asked for from his daddy, Kito ventured out into the far country with prepaid debit cards fully loaded with enough cash to do all kinds of financial transactions and support a frivolous lifestyle.

    “At last, I am free to live my life freely the way I want it,” Kito assured himself. But he was so shortsighted he couldn’t see very far into the future.

    With the confidence of a man with a huge balance in his bank account, Kito travelled far and wide to the most exotic places in the world.

    He lavished his portion of his father’s hard earned money like there was no tomorrow. He began to throw wild parties, with plenty beautiful ladies in attendance.

    Multiple fair weather friends found hiding places in Kito’s nest, exploring the advantage to the fullest. To them, life with Kito was a life filled with enjoyment.

    The Prodigal Son Partying Away
    Partying Away. Photo credit: burienlittletheatre.org

    With enough cash flowing out from Kito’s deep pockets there were no dull moments; everything was well taken care of. Drinks, food, women were freely enjoyed at Kito’s expense.

    Kito did not invest any portion of the huge wealth he extracted from his father; neither did he engage in any productive venture to earn additional income. He spent all he had until there was nothing more to spend.

    Then came the harshest economic down-turn in town. Kito became confronted with an awful reality: when you keep spending everything you have without investing any part of it or earning additional income to it, one day you will have nothing left to spend.

    This simple economics proved a hard thing for Kito to understand until it was too late. He had spent all his resources before he knew it; he checked his pocket and found no cash left to spend.

    When he tried, as usual, to get some currency from a nearby ATM, the machine vomited the card with an alert message indicating “insufficient fund.”  His heart became broken.

    “What is happening to me?” Kito asked himself, so far away from home.

    He wiped his eyes to be sure he wasn’t dreaming. But then the harsh reality had begun to dawn on him: He has fallen to his lowest point.

    Life was no longer the same with Kito. No more money to spend. Nothing to call his own. No friend to help him out.

    Without cash, the ladies found no reason to keep him warm anymore. His friends had deserted him. Kito was left alone to bear the brunt of his indiscretions.

    Worst of all, he could no longer afford to pay his rent. Consequently, his landlord threw him out into the streets where the elements took turns in teaching him some hard lessons he would never forget.

    Things moved from bad to worse for Kito until he had no more food to eat. He began to associate with some pig farmers with the hope that he could at least be given some pigs’ food to eat. But he got nothing from the make-shift employers while the unpalatable economic realities in the land lasted.

    Spending without Saving

    For several nights at a stretch, Kito went to sleep on an empty stomach. As the hunger pangs continued to buffet his stomach and with no one around to call a friend anymore, Kito came to his senses. He realised that even the servants in his father’s house had a better economy than the one he found himself in.

    “Why don’t I go back to my father?” he soliloquised.

    It was a hard decision which he had to take because he knew he had thoroughly messed up his life. He wasn’t sure his father would receive him back. “But it was worth it to try”, he finally reasoned.

    Kito decided it was time he made a radical change. With the decision to return to his father, a new beginning was ushered in for Kito:

    • With a remorseful heart, Kito took a decision to return to his father;
    • He acknowledged he had sinned not only against his father, but against God too;
    • To his pleasant surprise, his father accepted him back, forgave him of the past misconducts;
    • His father even threw a talk-of-the-town welcome home party for him;
    • His relationship with the father was fully restored as if he never offended his father.

    Kito reached his lowest point in life, but he didn’t remain there. He returned to his father remorsefully and was met with abundant grace and unconditional love.

    Just like Kito, all of us have gone astray like sheep without a shepherd at one point or another. Some of us have fallen from grace to grass. It is now time to go back home, where love and grace await us.

    When you reach your lowest point and you don’t know what to do, return to the Father – God. He will help you sort out things. There is enough grace in God to accommodate your inadequacies.

    My dear friend, you were created to be in a relationship with God. May be right now you feel like all is not well that relationship with Him. There is still hope for you because God longs to have you back.

    This is a call to make a new beginning with God. His love and mercy are enough to accommodate all your mistakes and indiscretions.

    Your lowest point should not be your ending point. No matter how far away you think you have gone from God, you have not reached the point of no return yet. Like Kito, take your chance and return to your Father.

    God is gently calling out to you, “Come back to me, I am here for you.” Will you heed the call?

    —————————–

    This article was inspired by the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” as told by Jesus Christ in Luke 15:11-32.

     

    When You Encounter An Atheist For The First Time Part 3

    Written By Victor Uyanwanne

    Marilym Adamson Quote

    We are now in the third post in the special series highlighting an online discussion I had with an atheist. In the last post, we saw the said atheist claim that he was a ‘devoted Christian’ for several years before he switched to atheism.

    In response to that, I sought to know if he ever had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. His answer to that question together with my own comment forms the basis of this post.

    The Atheist, TAB

    It wouldn’t matter if I told you that I had a “personal relationship with Christ” because you would just come back with I wasn’t doing something right and missed it.

    The long and short of it is, there is no god. There is no Jesus. Modern religion is just the Zeus stories evolved into some place where we cannot go to prove whether the gods are there or not.

    I don’t believe in anything of this sort because it cannot be proven. To quote Hitchens, what can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”

    It’s all rubbish. I chose to reject the god worldview and live simply as my own man with the world around me as it is.

    Good sermon though. You got it down. It’s a shame that it misleads so many people away from a life of curiosity and learning to one that is simply satisfied with not knowing and looking forward to a world for which there’s no proof or evidence for.

    My Response

    I read your comments again TAB. I am glad that you also took some time to read mine.

    I am convinced you got the message already. So there wouldn’t be much use repeating myself. But allow me to say that Zeus compares in no way with our Lord Jesus Christ, who died and resurrected. Did you ever hear that any god claimed to have died and resurrected?

    Dear TAB, God is real and so is Jesus Christ His son. The proof is in me and in anyone that believes. If you seek Him with an open mind and with faith, you will find Him.

    Allow me to end this comment with a quote from Marilyn Adamson, who once didn’t believe in God:

    When it comes to the possibility of God’s existence, the Bible says that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God.1 On the other hand, for those who want to know God if he is there, he says, “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.

    I would like to hear your thoughts.

     

    Still ahead: When You Encounter An Atheist For The First Time  Part 4

     

    WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER AN ATHEIST FOR THE FIRST TIME Part 2

    WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER AN ATHEIST FOR THE FIRST TIME  Part 2

    Written By Victor Uyanwanne

    Hell is avoidable

    Welcome to the second post in this special series of my encounter with an atheist.

    In When You Encounter An Atheist For the First Time Part 1, I began sharing my experience on an online encounter with an atheist who responded to my previous post, To Those Who Say There Is No God

    In this continuation post, we will see what the said atheist categorically thinks of God, amongst other things. As with the first post, both his comment and my response thereto are presented here unabridged.

    The Atheist, TAB

    “I guess I should elaborate a while. I was a devoted Christian for about 15 years before I converted [to] Judaism. I no longer believe in God and have not only rejected Jesus, but [I have] also blasphemed the Holy Spirit.
    The god of the three monotheistic faiths is a sado-masichistic (sic) tyrant who creates us sick and demands us to be well, at the threat of eternal hellfire. What a spoiled twat. Who needs that?”

     

    My Response

    TAB, thank you for throwing more light into your position. Now I know where you stand on the belief in the existence of God.

    When you said you were once “a devoted Christian…” I would really like to know exactly what you meant by that. [I am asking because] I am familiar with a few people who call themselves “devoted Christians” simply because they go to church regularly, help the needy, gave money in church, fast[ed] two times a week, ate holy communion, par[took] in Christian events and all that. But they have not come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as their individual Lord and Saviour.

    The next questions I would ask would be these: Did you ever come to the point of having a personal relationship with God, by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Personal Saviour and living by His grace? How did you arrive at the point of not believing in God anymore as you indicated?

    I am not to speak for the other so-called monotheistic faiths you referred to. But for the avoidance of doubt, the God that I believe in is the One who “… so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This God is calling us (all mankind) into a personal relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ who died and resurrected for our sake.

    This God is a God of love and He could never be a tyrant as you called Him. Only someone who hadn’t known God would describe Him as such; those who truly know Him know better than that.

    At creation God created man in perfect state of health. It was the corruption of sin that gave birth to the issue of sickness (and other evils), which you wrongly attributed to God. If for anything, God wants us well – in spirit, soul and body.

    Hell is not a threat from God as you put it. It is a real place prepared for satan and his angels who rebelled against God.

    [Please allow me to add that] it is not the will of God that anyone should perish and go to hell, but rather it is the will of God for all to come to repentance and be saved through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Unfortunately rather than accepting the Lordship of Christ, many people have sided [or are siding] with satan [till date]. For such ones, hell is a beckoning reality.

    But to anyone who is still alive, hell is absolutely avoidable if they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. [To answer your ending question directly, I would say] we definitely need that God who has made a way of escaping hell through faith in Christ.

    Please share your thoughts – whether as a believe in God or as an atheist.

     

    STILL AHEAD: WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER AN ATHEIST FOR THE FIRST TIME  Part 3

     

    ©Copyright | Victor Uyanwanne

    When You Encounter An Atheist For The First Time Part 1

    Written by Victor Uyanwanne
    RELIGION AND CHRISTIANITY
    The Difference between Christianity and Religion

    I have never met an atheist face to face before. But I was fortunate to encounter one who recently visited this blog and was kind enough to leave a comment.

    I had just published on my blog a post entitled To Those Who Say There Is No God.” In the post, we construed an atheist as one who believes that there is no God. The following points were also covered in the post:

    • I am a Christian and so I believe there is God;
    • There are enough pieces of evidence within and around us to prove that God exists. And so I wondered how some people find it so easy to claim that God does not exist;
    • That according to the Bible, anyone who says there is no God is not wise;
    • That Jesus Christ Himself told us during His earthly walk that He is the ONLY WAY to God.

    Following that post was a protracted online discussion with an atheist blogger who engaged me over his claim that there is no God. The full content of the online exchange between both of us has now been packaged into a five-part series to be posted on this blog, beginning with this one. (Note that instead of his real name, I will simply refer to the said atheist blogger as TAB.

    The Atheist, TAB

    I grew up “spiritual” with no religious training other than the random christianity events for holidays. As an adult, I became a Christian, then got into messianic christianity. Then I rejected christianity and became a Jew. Then I rejected that too. I can’t say with 100% certainty that there is no god, but I’m about as certain as saying there probably aren’t unicorns either.

    Ultimately, it was my incessant needs to have questions answered. Religion couldn’t answer them. I found the natural world to provide a better source of understanding the world than a sky man watching me.

    My Response

    TAB, thanks for stopping by and for commenting. As you found out, engaging in the so-called Christian holiday events doesn’t make one Christian.

    To be a Christian is to ‘know’ God. To know God, one has to begin with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which is based on faith.

    It is not religion or religious training that can save anybody, but faith in Christ. Anyone who talks about being a Christian without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is involved in mere Religion, not Christianity.

    It is good that you have not come to that point of categorically saying there is no God. I hope I understood you well there? If yes, then I take that to mean that you still have an open mind about this ‘God exist or not’ stuff.

    When it comes to ‘searching’ for Him, God speaking through prophet Jeremiah said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). This shows that anyone who seeks God with all his heart will find Him. You can say it is guaranteed!

    I am not talking about religion in the common sense of it because religion is not what makes the difference. The difference comes from beginning a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

    In my own case, I found that knowing God through Jesus Christ has helped me [to get] answers for the questions that most troubled my heart. So if you don’t mind, I would gladly recommend that you establish a PERSONAL relationship with Jesus Christ. Only then will some things begin to add up for you.

    You said the natural world have helped your understanding [more] than the Man in the sky. First, we believe that God put the natural world in place too. In fact, the Bible has it that “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1). Although some people do not agree, nature itself speaks eloquently of the existence of God.

    Simply put, the natural world was created by God. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20.

    Secondly, my own concept of God includes the fact that He is inside of me through the Holy Spirit, not some unimaginable being out there in the sky as you put it. I totally understand if the last statement didn’t make any sense to you.

    In conclusion, let me add that what God offers us is a close personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, not religion. This is what true Christianity is all about.I once heard a preacher explain it like this:

    Religion is man[kind] attempting to reach God, whereas Christianity is God reaching out to man[kind].

    Understanding this simple analogy will make a whole lot of difference in anyone’s life.

    If you have the time, you may visit the link [below] for some [more] answers:  http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html?gclid=CKjkj8Hg38kCFScFwwod0dILxg

    PS: To all my readers, please let me know what you think – whether as a Christian or as an atheist.

    Up Next: When You Encounter An Atheist For The First Time Part 2