Don’t Use God As An Excuse For Laziness

Ministers and secular jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shalom!

Jude Agbontaen


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

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


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

Advertisements

A Man of God Should Bear Good Fruits

The imperatives of bearing good fruit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Otherwise, it gives room for avoidable doubts.

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

Remember the warning Jesus handed us in Matthew chapter 7:

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

Beware of fake men of God.

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your own idea of a man of God?

 

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

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

You are not alone!

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

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

No, you haven’t!

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

dangers of pornography viewing

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

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

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


Hello Victor,

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

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

Gaining the victory

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

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

What drives sinful behaviours?

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

How do we heal those wounds?

[Through] Forgiveness!

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

Recommended: 6 Simple Reasons to Forgive Offences]

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

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

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

What are the defences we need against pornography?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Strong & Stand Tall.

Keith


Thank you so much Keith for this awesome contribution.

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

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

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

Introducing all the Marys in the Bible

How many Mary's are in the Bible?

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

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

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

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

The 7 Women Called Mary in the Bible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Mary Magdalene

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

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

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

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

3. Mary from Bethany

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

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

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

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

4. Mary the mother of James and Joses/Joseph

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

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

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

This Mary sat on his grave after Jesus was crucified

5. Mary the mother of John Mark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Mary, the wife of Cleopas

John 19:25

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

7. Mary of Rome

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

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

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

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

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

Keeping the faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Resolve for a Life of Integrity

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

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

Please take another look at the three:

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

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

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

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

The Modesto Manifesto

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

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

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

 

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

Peter, Jesus and the Question of Forgiveness

Forgiveness

The 7 Times Forgiveness Question and the Surprising Answer

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

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

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

Validating your beliefs

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

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

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

Peter’s experience

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

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

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

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

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

Some credits to Peter please?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

5 Things That Do Not Make You A Disciple Of Christ

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

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

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

1. Having Christian parents.

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

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

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

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

 2. Being a member of a local church

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

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

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

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

Church
Source: Pinterest

3. Giving a part of your income to God.

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

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

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

4. Fasting and praying.

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

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

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

5. Doing good

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

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

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

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

©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne

 

Quote: Religious Legalism Vs The Holy Spirit

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

Religion, christianity and the Holy Spirit

Raising Questions on Apostle Paul’s Calling to the Gentiles

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Comment

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

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

My response

Hello, your comment on the post is appreciated…

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

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

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

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

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

You can join in the conversation.

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

 

©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

Being A Cultural Christian Is Not Enough

I’m A Christian Atheist.” How Possible?

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

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

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

Really? An atheist and Christian in the same breadth?

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

The answer is obvious!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

12 Promises For Your Health

There is hope for your health.

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

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

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

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

Promises for your healing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

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

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

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

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

Was apostle Paul a polished speaker?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?


©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

Was Apostle Paul A Polished Speaker?

How much do you know about Apostle Paul of the New Testament?

Many people will agree that he was a man of high intellect, he was knowledgeable, passionate about the course of the gospel, and full of divine revelation.

He knew his way through any kind of argument. As a man highly schooled in Judaism, Paul had a good grasp of law and history as well.

Coupled with the uncommon revelations he received directly from the Lord Jesus Himself, no one could parallel him in the most accurate communication of the gospel of Christ.

It is obvious therefore that there are many fantastic things we can say about Apostle Paul. But was he a polished speaker?

You might think so, but what he said about himself concerning that question may shock you.

You could easily be excused if you pass Apostle Paul as a very eloquent person – a man who is very “fluent or persuasive in speaking or writing.”

That he was very persuasive in his writings is pretty obvious in the way he marshalled his points in the various Epistles penned by him and the many arguments and counter-arguments he had to be engaged in for the advancement of the gospel.

Despite all these, Paul admitted in one of his Epistles that he was not a skilled speaker. Or as he put it, “…I am unskilled in speech…”

But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things (2 Corinthians 11:6).

Although he acknowledged that he is vast and skilled in knowledge, Paul told the Corinthian church that he was “unskilled in speech.”

In other words, you could say Paul meant he was not a polished speaker, a trained orator or a captivating public speaker. Was he just being humble or telling a fact?

What do you think?

©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

A Blank Cheque From Jesus To You

 

During a private discussion with His Disciples, Jesus Christ specifically said to them, “If you ask Me anything in My name [as My representative], I will do it” John 14:14 AMP.

This sounds like a blank cheque from Jesus to you as well!

wp-image--587097977.

What do you think?


©Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

A Conversation With A Jewish Atheist

Some Jews do not believe in God

Introduction

I see myself as a follower of Jesus Christ, who believes in the existence of the Sovereign God and whom I fully recognise as the Creator of heaven and earth and the entire universe. Having grown up in a religious country – although I did not get to accept Jesus  Christ as my Lord and personal Saviour until I was  a teenager – I can recall no time in my life that I ever doubted the existence of God.

But as I grew older, it began to dawn on me that not everyone believes that God exists. Not only that, I also came to realise that there are people whom it is that they do not believe in God, they as well either go out of their way engaging in (fruitless) exercises to ‘prove’ that God does not exist or make all efforts to discredit the notion of God in the hearts of people. These are some of the kind of people I have encountered on this platform.

Before I began posting on this blog, I never got to meet an avowed atheist face to face (I still haven’t met one yet). But after a few posts deliberately targeted at the (unknown) atheistic audience, I began to be engaged in multiple online conversations by self-proclaimed atheists on the internet. Some of those conversations were reasonable while many others were nothing but properly orchestrated hostile attacks from faceless people who claimed God does not exist.

As it turned out, one of the people who engaged me in a most reasonable manner told me he is a Jew but he does not believe in God. A few years ago, the thought of a Jew that does not believe in God, would been nothing but preposterous to me; I would have sincerely thought that all Jews believe in the existence of God, although I am aware that many of them deny Christ His Son. But the sad reality is that even though the revelation of the true God came by the Jews to the world, most Jews in the modern world have turned secular, without retaining any belief in the supreme Being.

In this post, I present to you an online conversation I had with a Jew who claimed he does not believe in God. Enter the conversation, in its original state!

wp-1483187630486.png

Rejection of all religions

Jayson: 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.

Me: Jason, 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 helped me 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 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 attempting to reach God, whereas Christianity is God reaching out to man.” 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

Thank you.

<!––nextpage––>

More Insights on the journey to atheism

Jayson: 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 also blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

The god of the three monotheistic faiths is a sado-masochistic tyrant who creates us sick and demands us to be well, at the threat of eternal hellfire. What a spoiled twat. Who needs that?

Me: Jason, 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 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 two times a week, ate holy communion, partake 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.

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 with Satan. 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. We definitely need that God who has made a way of escaping hell through faith in Christ. Regards.

Conversations with atheists 2

Did Jason ever know Jesus as his Saviour?

Jayson: 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.

Me: I read your comments again Jason. I am glad that you also took 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 that any god claimed to have died and resurrected?

Dear Jason, God is real and so is Jesus Christ His son. The proof is in me and in any one 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. 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.””

At this juncture, Anne of FREEDOMBORN … AUSSIE CHRISTIAN FOCUS (lent me a helping hand with answering Jayson)

Great Message Victor, I was wondering if Jason has died and come back to be so certain there is no God or Heaven or Hell. We have our assurance through The Holy Spirit and as you shared Victor, we can see God in Creation so there will be no excuse. Also The Bible confirms God’s reality without a doubt; there are Truths that only God could have known when He had man record them, such as that the world was round when everyone believed it was flat because they had no other way of knowing and D.N.A which you can read about on the link below, also proves we could not have evolved from animals and there are other Truths too that only God could have known.

Creation – https://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/wow-a-new-missing-link-has-been-found/

Having been an Atheist for almost 30 years, (well I was one in my head not my heart or I would still be one), I was deceived as a young Teenager that I came from an Ape and Jesus who was my Best Friend and the Bible were just made up. I know Satan’s lies and God’s Truth shows without doubt they are lies.

I don’t accept that anyone has the right to reject their Creator but they do have free will to choose to do so and they are also choosing their own Destiny which will be a eternal suffering, it is clear Jason hasn’t asked the right questions so does not have the right answers, sad but True!

Christian Love – Anne.

Me: Thank you Anne for your contribution. Your points were very clear.

Finding the proof of God

wp-1480368724429.jpg

Jayson: Victor, you seem very nice and patient. I’m sure you’re a pleasant person to be around.

I may need to define proof in this case. Something that can be seen, tested, and repeated, like gravity. You can test gravity. Anyone can. It hasn’t been disproven yet.

You can’t test god. There is no way to see that someone is there. I could find no proof of him as much as I wanted to. And the proofs mentioned in the link: Points 1-4 have explanations in science. They’re not explanations that require faith. They’re explanations that you can see for yourself in local university or college. You can email the people who study the world and universe around us. You can also study their tests and see their failures and successes. Points 5 & 6 are completely subjective. 5 especially – last I looked, there was no one chasing me. I’m 100% confident of it. 6 is also incredibly subjective as any other worshiper of any other god, Islam is a hot topic now so I’ll go with that, can state the exact same thing about their god or belief.

Death and resurrection is a common theme in other religions. Yes, I’ve heard of other gods that died and resurrected. Here’s some proof for you: http://listverse.com/2013/03/30/10-resurrected-religious-figures/

Finally, there are over 5000 gods worshipped today. Isn’t it convenient that yours is the right one? And that the thousands of others have the same conviction of faith about their gods as you do with yours. Very convenient. And yes, Jesus has many counterparts in other ancient religions. I should have been more specific mentioning Horus, an Egyptian god, instead of Zeus. Though the Greeks and Romans have their counterparts predating Jesus’ time. Sorry for the rabbit trail…

What’s not tyrannical about a being that is solely responsible for bestowing life, tossing his creation into hell for a disease he’s not responsible for, to be punished terribly for eternity? God has to keep this person alive to suffer. Forever. I don’t think tyrannical is a strong enough word and doubt that one exists in any language to accommodate that level of savagery.

I’ll close with a small thought experiment. I’m interested to hear your response to this question more than anything else.

Stare at a dark sky and consider any one of the dots of light… “for any length of time and then try to convince yourself that God created the whole Universe for one of the 10 million or so species of life that inhabit that speck of dust [in this case Earth]. Now take it a step further: Imagine that everything was made just for a single shade of that species, or gender, or ethnic or religious subdivision. If this doesn’t strike you as unlikely, pick another dot [another star in the sky]. Imagine it to be inhabited by a different form of intelligent life. They, too, cherish the notion of a God who has created everything for their benefit. How seriously do you take their claim?” Excerpt From: Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan. “Pale Blue Dot.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/dm6Yz.l

Me: Jason, thank you very much for the generous compliment. That was huge coming from you.

Permit me to add that I have not always been like that. It was the ‘knowing’ of Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Saviour that gradually transformed my life. What you described of me as being “very nice and patient” is a veritable manifestation of what we refer to as the fruit of the Holy Spirit (in this case, love and patience) in the life of a believer in Christ. Religion didn’t give them to me but Relationship (with Jesus Christ) did.

I am glad you had time to explore the “Is There God” link I recommended. Did you notice that it was written by a former atheist? That speaks volume on its own!

Your observations that her “Points 1-4 have explanations in science. They’re not explanations that require faith. They’re explanations that you can see for yourself in local university or college” are very correct. Sincerely, you got the point there! Even the writer subtitled the article as “….straightforward REASONS to believe that God is really there” (emphasis mine). I assume she had people like you in mind when she penned that piece.

It has never been that the evidences that God exists are not there. But it’s just that some people have chosen to close their minds on them! Recall that you had indicated you were only interested in ‘things around you,’ that you don’t believe in God. I had also mentioned that even things we see around us have eloquent evidences that prove the existence of God, as the article you read so succinctly explained.

You see Jason, it is not everything, however, that can be seen or tested. But the fact that they can’t be tested doesn’t preclude their existence. For instance, we were told in elementary science that we can’t see air. But who will doubt that it exists? “Of course no one!” you would say.

Secondly, I know you do not see gravity with your eyes, but you acknowledged that it exists. In the same way, it is true we don’t see God but we know by faith that He exists. And some of the physical evidences of God’s existence you already have acknowledged to have been scientifically established. Those evidences were neither the product of the so-called evolution nor the aftermath of the ridiculous big bang theory. But they are the handiwork of the Creator God.

However, don’t you know that science itself is very limited in some way? It can ‘test’ only things in the physical realm – things that can be felt, heard, tasted, seen and perceived. But beyond the experiences we get in the physical world (as passed to us by our natural five senses), there is also the spiritual world, which science at its best cannot explain. That’s the truth my dear Jason!

God is a spirit and the Bible says those that worship Him must worship in Spirit and in truth. It is not everything about God that can be scientifically proven. Can you subject a Spirit Being to the crucibles of science? Impossible! This is where faith comes in. “Without faith”, the Bible says “it is impossible to please God.” I guess this is where the lacuna exists for people like you who doubt the existence of the living God!

You said that death and resurrection are common themes in religion. Well I can assure you that those concepts do not compare to how Christianity speaks about them. The crux of Christianity is the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind. This alone sets Christianity light years apart from the so-called other religions.

Jason, Jesus Christ is the only One whom I ever know who declared “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18). He was dead, but He resurrected, never to die again. Are those gods you mentioned still speaking or changing lives today as Jesus Christ is doing? I would say an emphatic NO!

I explored the link to the purportedly resurrected gods you forwarded to me. I observed (not surprised though) that there was nothing fantastic about the so-called gods you referred to; nothing inspiring – all dead stories of dead selfish gods. It leaves me curious why you seemed to have faith in them and yet you claim you don’t believe in the living God that we are talking about here, whom it was that raised Jesus Christ from the dead!

For the records, Jason, I was not born a Christian. In fact no one is born a Christian. (Hope that didn’t surprise you). One becomes a Christian only when one is able to willfully and knowingly by faith ask Jesus Christ to be one’s Lord and Personal Saviour. It is not something inherited, not something that can be forced. It is entirely by choice – the choice of the individual God-seeker.

Those who say they are Christians by birth or by association have only experienced religion and not the Relationship that Christ offers. So I did not believe in God out of convenience as you suggested, but out of my discovery of Him as the only true God, who gave His son to die for me to restore my relationship with Him.

Therefore, again Jason, I say that it is incorrect for you to say that God is a tyrant who threatens to throw us into hell if we don’t believe in Him. Don’t you realise that if what you said was true of God, you wouldn’t be alive here to be engaging in this discourse with me? Because He sure has the power to throw you into hell at once! (Pun intended please). Indeed, God is a God of love, mercy and grace! You believe, you receive!

More so, the first commandment of God remember, is, “Thou shall not have any other God before Me.” So I do not reckon with any of the over 5,000 gods you referred to. But that doesn’t stop me from loving the people that follow those gods; (as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are able to love people whether they believe in our God or not). I can only wish and pray that the followers of the other gods (some of them at least) will one day come to the knowledge of the only true God. After all, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way” until some of us embraced the saving grace God made available to all mankind in Jesus Christ.

If you say Islam is ‘hot’ these days, may be it is for those who are looking for religion. But some of us are not looking for a religion… What we have is a relationship with God through Christ. The difference between the two is enormous.
<!––nextpage––>
Many years ago, a classmate of mine who is a renowned adherent of Islam asked me why I follow Jesus Christ. I answered Him it is because Jesus said He is THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIGHT and that He is the only way to God. I asked Him in return if their Prophet ever said any such thing. He said no. Someone else later told me that their Prophet even said he didn’t know ‘the way’ when his disciples asked him to show them the way. Are you still surprised that I am following JESUS CHRIST, THE WAY? Smiles!

Finally, Jason, I did not really get the clear relationship between the ‘experiment’ you used to conclude your comment and the point of our discourse. It was just too hypothetical to be taken as a valid basis to advance a serious argument of this nature. But I didn’t fail to notice that the writers alluded to God being the creator of the universe. (That alone is significant).

Their argument seemed to bother on ‘whom’ the creations were made for, rather than on whether or not there is a creator in the first place. In any case, as my closing response to that, I will use the following quotations from the Bible which clearly identifies the Creator and the purpose of all creations:

“Thou art worthy, o Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou [God] hast created all things, and for thy [God’s] pleasure they are and were created” Revelation 4:11.

Jason, I know this was a very long response. So I thank you immensely for your time.

Atheism vs Theism

JaysonThat was a long response! It’s been nice talking with you, Victor. We clearly have vastly different world views. I’m not going to counter this due to time and I feel it will not do either of us much good. I have given up on believing in God, and being Jewish, I have absolutely zero interest in adding a 2000 year-old Jew (that got into a lot of trouble with the Romans) to the equation.

However, I do want to point out that patience is not a character trait available only in Christians. I am Jewish (yes, a secular Jew), and have several secular & religious Jewish friends that are exceedingly patient. Additionally, I have several non-Jewish secular friends that are also patient. You can rest assured that you can meet people that are not Christian and possess immense patience.

Take care. Thanks for the fun.
Jason

Me: You got me smiling Jason. It’s been nice talking with you too.

I would say I agree with your position to a great extent this time around. But I was surprised to hear that you were a Jew. I know that Jewish people believe in God, even though some do not recongnise Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

I pray that one day, you find reason to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour. He is the only hope of mankind in time and in eternity.

God loves you Jason and so do I. Regards.

More conversations…

Some parts of this conversations with Jay had previously been published under the series, conversation with an atheist. After reading them, Jayson showed up again and so the conversations continued:

Jayson: Victor, thank you for keeping these posts true to our conversation.

When I began commenting on your post, it was mainly for being in a bit of a mood as I had recently discussed atheism with a new Christian, and was in a bit of an ire.

I was once a devout believer. If you, or your commenters had met me, you would have accepted me as one of your own. But it was in the midst of sorrow, hopelessness, and storm that I could not find his comfort, joy, and protection – the time when I needed it more than any other in my life. My wife was recovering from cancer and our best friend was losing their child.

The loss of faith was not instant. It took years to happen. But the questions those events generated could not be sustained by faith. Faith had no answers. Faith could not make sense of these events. In turn, these events opened my eyes to the suffering not only of humanity but also to the cold indifference of nature to all of life. Then there was the matter of the thousands other faiths that exist and the sincerity and devotion to which those people practiced and believed. Then there was the idea that if other life exists in the universe, if they held similar convictions of faith to their own gods, what would be the likelihood of us believing them?

The answers Faith provided were superficial and only created more questions. The answers to those were problematic in that they only led to conflict.

There are numerous directions to take the conversation. I’ve been working on a writing project for some months to put my own path into order. I’m considering to publish it, and if you think it would be helpful for you and readers to learn another worldview (not convince of disbelief), I’m happy to start putting something together. What do you think?

Me: Jason, nice to have you back here. Not being true to the discussion we had as published here would have amounted to misrepresentation. And I wouldn’t do that!

Sorry to hear about your wife’s cancer. I hope she fully recovered. And your friend’s child too…my heart goes out to them.

Concerning all the issues you raised, please allow me to respond later. For I now I am exhausted from the day’s work and so in dire need of a good sleep. Thank you.

Jayson: No worries. I wasn’t expecting a diatribe.

The following day….

Me: Hello Jason, please further to my earlier response to your comment, here are my additional thoughts as I promised. The issues you raised were many so I take it that my (usual) long response here will not bore you.

I really appreciate the fact that you commented on the initial post. Our exchanges so far have turned that post into one of the most viewed single item on this blog. I have you to thank for it.

Jason, I know by experience that (Christian) faith has answers; answers to issues of this life and the life hereafter. The issue is that sometimes, the answers don’t please the sensual person. More so, the Christian living is a walk by faith, not by sight. That’s why so many people do miss it.

Life can be so hard sometimes that we begin to question the love of God. But it doesn’t invalidate the love. In the midst of our crisis, God promises to be with us all the way. And He comforts us through the Holy Spirit, whom we know as our comforter. God never promised us a storm-free voyage in life, but He did promise a safe-landing.

With regard to the issue of unanswered questions you had, I concede that not all questions can be resolved on this side of life. But I will tell you that there are sufficient answers in the Bible to refresh an unbiased mind. Even the fact that we may never know everything in this life is also clearly stated in the Bible.  But “He is at peace, whose mind is stayed on God.”

Jason, except you are a NASA staff, I do not see why you had to worry if other life exists outside the earth or what ‘they’ believe ‘over there’ for that matter (Pun intended please). As for me, I am satisfied with Biblical explanation that God gave the earth to man to inhabit. The (unproven) possibility of life existing in other parts of the universe, could never stop me from believing in God, the Father of Jesus Christ.

The other thousands of faith you referred to exist because human beings, irrespective of geographical locations, have always felt the need to know “God”. So in a bid to meet this need, they invented various ways to try reaching the “God” they somehow “felt’ in their inner enclaves. This was what gave (and is still giving) rise to the multiplicity of faiths you talked about.

Sadly, these efforts of man inventing ways to please or reach God, have, and will, never be able to find the true God. That’s why there is so much frustration in religion, as you might have possibly noticed.

But you see Jason, Christianity in the truest sense of it is not a call to religion. Like I explained before, it is a call to a Relationship – a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You may ask, what’s the difference? Simple, “Religion is man’s attempt to reach God, Whereas Christianity is God reaching man.”

Religion is doing all it can to try to find God. But God is saying, “I have already revealed myself through my Son, Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and you will have an eternal relationship with Me.” This is not a thing we can grasp by our five senses, Jason, but by our faith.

Finally, you asked what I thought about your work-in-process project to publish your worldview…. I would say, you are free to publish any of your thoughts or research findings. (By the way, does it really matter what I think about it? I doubt!). I read for information, but when it comes to finding/knowing God, the Bible remains the most authoritative voice.

Thank you for your time Jason.

Anne: Thank you Victor, a Loving response for Jason with much Truth.

Me: Thank you Anne for your comment. God bless your heart.

Your comments and contributions are welcome.

P.S:

  1. This online conversation took place in 2015 as comments on my blog posts. Except for minor correction of typos, the discussions were presented unedited.
  2. It would appear that Jason has deleted his blog as it is no longer available as at the time of writing this post.

© Copyright 2017| Victor Uyanwanne

How Did Jesus Handle Favourable Public Opinion?

Jesus did not entrust Himself to the people.

In a previous post, we reasoned that you should not live your life by the dictates of public opinion. Frustration will be inevitable if you let your decisions in life be driven by opinions of the public rather than your life’s purpose.

It does not mean that public opinion will not favour you at times. But you should still embrace it with caution if it happens to go in your favour at any point in time.

You cannot afford to ride comfortably on the tide of public opinion for too long. You can learn that lesson from the example of Jesus Christ.

During His life and ministry on Earth, Jesus faced a lot of persecutions from both the religious leaders of His day and sometimes from members of the public. At various times, He saw Himself at the receiving end of negative criticisms.

But He had it good on some occasions too. For instance, at the celebration of Passover in Jerusalem at one time, Jesus performed many wonderful miracles. As a result, many people in that city came to believe in Him (as the Messiah). In other words, public opinion at that point in time was fully in His favour.

But how did Jesus handle the favourable public opinion?

  • He lingered more than necessary in Jerusalem to enjoy the favourable public opinion? No!
  • He commended the people for speaking good of Him? No!
  • He rode on the tide of the favourable public opinion to promote Himself and His ministry? No!
  • He began to base His ministry’s decisions on favourable public opinions? No!
  • He was completely carried away so much so that He miss-stepped in His missions? No!
  • Did He need or use the favourable public opinion to massage His ego? No!
  • Did he consent to the people to make Him king prematurely? No.

Jesus knew His true identity and so did not require public opinion to validate it. He was too “purpose driven” to be influenced by the vagaries of the opinions of the teeming crowd.

The Gospel of John tells us clearly how Jesus handled​ public opinion:

But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. John 2:24-25.

Do you get the picture now? Even when public opinion was favourable to Him, Jesus did not entrust Himself to the people. Simply put, He did not reckon with public opinion. He remained who He was even in the face of His rising public acceptance in Jerusalem at that point in time.

As you can see, Jesus did not allow public opinion to direct His life. He remained focused. That’s a big lesson for you and I to learn from.

You should not let favourable opinions about you get into your head. If you do, you might be carried away with pride more than you can handle. And if you relish positive public opinion so much, negative public opinion (which are inevitable) will definitely hurt you.

Unlike Jesus, you do not even know people in and out so you cannot always be sure of their intentions. Besides, it does not mean that the crowd that gives you a favourable rating today will not turn against you in future.

Just like they did to Jesus, those who praise you today will be there to ‘crucify’ you tommorrow.

Jesus did not entrust Himself to the crowd, neither should you. Let your trust be in God only, because Psalms 118:8 tells us, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.”

Have you ever been faced with a favourable public opinion? How did you handle it?

© Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

 

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