Mark Altrogge

In Romans 4, Paul tells us Abraham “grew strong in his faith” and urges us to walk in Abraham’s footsteps. To believe like he believed. How do we do this?

In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:18–21)

Look to God’s promise not your circumstances.

In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations (18)

Abraham’s situation looked bleak. God promised him multitudes of descendants, but the only problem was he was well past child producing. “He considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old).” He also considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. Not only was Abraham almost 100 years old, but Sarah his wife was very old, and she had never been able to have children her whole life. How are they going to have children? If Abraham had based his hope on his circumstances he would have given up. But In hope he believed against hope—God’s promise gave him hope in his hopeless situation. He put his hope in God’s promise, not his circumstances.

We may feel hopelessly unrighteous. We may feel like God could never forgive us for the sins we have committed, that he would never accept us. But we must not look at ourselves, just like Abraham didn’t look at himself, but like Abraham, we must believe God’s promise of grace. He counts me righteous in Christ!

Our teenager may seem hopelessly lost. Our finances may be out of control. We may lack direction for our lives. Our marriage might be frustrating or our church might be a mess. Look to Jesus Christ! Don’t look to yourself. Look to the promise of the gospel—everyone who believes in him shall be saved. Look to his promises to draw near to those who draw near to him. Promises to hear and answer our prayers.

Give glory to God

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (20–21)

Abraham strengthened his faith. Here’s how: “He grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.” Begin to give glory to God—start thanking and praising him for his every promise. Thank him for saving you and declaring you righteous in him. He has promised to be with us when we pass through the waters and walk through fire. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He has promised that nothing will be able to separate us from his love. He has promised to give us everything we truly need to glorify him. He has promised that we can do all things he requires through Christ who loves us. Praise him for these things!

We can look to our circumstances—it may not LOOK like God is being faithful. It may not FEEL like God is with us in these waters. It may FEEL like he has abandoned or forsaken us. We may not SENSE his love. But WE MUST NOT WAVER CONCERNING THE PROMISE OF GOD! Rather, we grow strong in our faith as we GIVE GLORY TO GOD, as we are fully convinced that God is able to do what he had promised.

In Ps 43 the Psalmist says “Why are you cast down O my soul? Hope in God for I shall yet praise him.” Keep thanking God, keep praising him in faith in the midst of your hard times. Say, “Jesus thank you that you are with me. Thank you have promised that your steadfast love never ceases. Praise you that your mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”

Growing stronger in our faith is not complicated. Look to God’s promise and glorify him. So, what are you going to believe today—God’s word or your circumstances? God’s promises or your feelings? God’s bedrock pledge of faithfulness or your wavering emotions? Walk in the footsteps of Abraham and strengthen your faith.

Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.


The whole goal of a Titus 2 woman is to train younger women in Biblical, simple-to-measure, Spirit-empowered, love-based living.

Paul did not call for Titus as the pastor to train all the women in these qualities God wanted them to cultivate; rather he called upon the godly older women of Christ’s church. He singles out the women of faith, those who had already learned to love their husbands, learned to love their children, and learned to be reverent, godly, modest and wise–and charged them with seeking out and meeting with every younger woman in the church.

The older women are to have mastered all the criteria and the younger women are trained in the last seven.

1. Living as a Priest for God – verse 3 “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior” 

First the godly character of the older woman in the faith is profiled. Without a reverent lifestyle behaving like a living sacrifice, dedicated to God–none of the rest even matter. That is why Paul starts here first!

Paul first draws a word from the Roman world to capture the entire bearing of these godly role model women in Christ’s church. The Greek word translated “reverent” is used only here in the Bible, and it conveys the idea of priest-like. That word for ‘acting as a representative of a god’ is the word Paul uses to describe the devout and godly character of the Titus 2woman. Older women are to live like holy priests serving in the presence of God. Their sacred personal devotion to the Lord has slowly come to influence every aspect of their lives.

Godly older woman have simply taken Romans 12:1-21 Corinthians 6:19-20; and Galatians 2:20 seriously.

Bodies presented as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, not conformed to this world,but with transformed and renewed minds, in bodies that are temples of the Holy Spirit glorifying God in your body and spirit, which are God’s; no longer living for me, but Christ living through me.

They have presented themselves to the Lord, they have begun to live life the way God asked them to live–as a walking temple of God, as a consecrated priest of God, as a living sacrifice, and as a bondservant of the Lord.

Godly women Living as a Priest for God;

2. Guarded Tongues – verse 3 “not slanderers” 

Next Paul turns the spotlight on the hardest member of the body to control, according to James–the tongue. Twice in his epistles Paul targets a woman’s habits of their speech, saying it is a spiritual qualifier or disqualifier. Though this is a universal problem we all face, Paul specifically says to women who want to serve Christ’s church–guard those tongues. 1 Timothy 3:11 “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkersbut temperate and trustworthy in everything” (NIV).

James 3:2-6 tells us that a tongue out of control, indicates a life out of control; and both can cause much destruction. James goes on to note that the source of all wickedness, especially of an uncontrolled tongue is hell; and it is Satan who is at the root of all gossip, all harmful talk, and all slander. If you are damaging the reputation and ministry of others you are a tool of the devil.

In fact the word “slanderers” here in Titus 2:3 is diabolos, the very name of Satan used of him 34 times in the New Testament. Satan has been a false accuser and so each time he incites a believer to do so they are doing Satan’s work. Satan is the ultimate source of all evil, the root of all wrong behavior; and since James says the tongue is capable of causing great evil, Satan is always close at hand.

Godly Titus 2 women never are to surrender their tongues to the devil.

They are prompted by the Holy Spirit to make sure that what they say is absolutely true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report before they say it–lest they discredit their ministry effectiveness as a godly Titus 2woman.

One common type of talk that hurts is called gossip and comes in many forms that all of us, and especially those who earnestly seek to be aTitus 2 man or woman should always avoid: malicious talk, rationalized gossip/talk, and “innocent” gossip. This usually starts with proper motives and desires but gets off course with unwise sharing of sensitive information, then curiosity sets in and soon the conversation is far beyond the problem and the solution and has become malicious, slanderous, harmful gossip.

So what should we avoid? Never use our mouth in an unregenerated way! What should we do? Tame our tongue by the Holy Spirit as His Word richly dwells and permeates all our lives. Why not like David, make some plans now to change our usage of our tongues?

Here are three great ways to change:

  • Think first: before starting to say something pause a few seconds and ask are these words–true or false; exaggerated or accurate; healing or cutting; grateful or complaining?
  • Talk less: it is a biblical fact that the less you talk the wiser you appear. Plan, prepare, concentrate and enrich each opportunity to speak. Make each a time to speak as 1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.
  • Start now: like David, ask God to fit you for a word retainer, get braces put on that tongue. Don’t waste your greatest tool.

Godly women Living as a Priest for God; with Guarded Tongues.

3. No Excesses – verses 3 “not given to much wine” 

The third godly characteristic Paul focuses upon is the self-controlled, moderation that is to characterize women of every age in Christ’s church. Godly women are Spirit-controlled in every part of their life. They resist excess in any area of daily life. They are not slaves to any substance, slaves to any amusement, any fashion, or any attitude that does not please their Master in Heaven.

Most women in the early church were formerly pagans. Drunkenness was the norm for many women in that society. Drinking was the best way to forget about the problems of being a “slave” to a pagan man who looked upon his wife as a convenience that bore him legitimate children and enhanced his reputation in the community. Because this life was all there is to a pagan, hopelessness led to drunkenness. Paul said that prior to salvation they all were “without hope and without God (Ephesians 2:12).

Coming to Christ changed everything, but old habits are hard to break. The old ways of their husbands would come back, old pains from emotional and physical abuse would resurface, and the temptation to slip back to the intemperance of slavery to wine would grow strong. Lack of physical control of any appetite points to a spiritual immaturity. Both Timothy and Titus were told to beware of women returning to their old habits in this realm of drinking.

Today “not given to much” goes far beyond merely wine. There are so many forms of alcohol never imagined in the Biblical times that can be abused, plus drugs (both acceptable and unacceptable kinds) that can be abused, tobacco that can be abused,, wonderful varieties of food that can be abused, beautiful varieties of fashionable clothing that change with every season that can be abused, housing options, exercise options, recreation options–all that can be abused, and become addictions.

There is a generation of believers who have never tasted a drop of alcohol and pride themselves in that choice–while overeating with daily regularity; and both are condemned by God in Proverbs 23:19-21 side-by-side.

Because of Romans 14:15-211 Corinthians 8:9-13 we see that though the Bible never forbids wine drinking, our liberty is limited by the consciences of other believers and our testimony to the world. The lesson of temperance is consistency.

We must be as cautious of any intemperance; and “not be given to” too much of anything be it the use of money, the enjoyment of leisure, or the establishment of a house to live in. What ever we do is to be tempered by the glory of God. He must be the object and focus of all we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. NKJV

Modern society has elevated fashion almost to the point of idolatry. Clothing stores, newspaper and magazine advertising, and television commercials are like giant billboards that continually proclaim, “We covet clothes.”

Expensive, often ostentatious, jewelry for both men and women is becoming more and more prevalent as a means to flaunt material prosperity and glorify self. We are continually goaded to put our bodies and apparel on parade”.

Godly women are Spirit-controlled in every part of their life. They resist excess in any area of daily life. They are not slaves to any substance, any amusement, any fashion, or any attitude that does not please their Master in Heaven.

Godly women Living as a Priest for God; with Guarded Tongues; and No Excesses. Godly women seek to be reverent in their behavior, careful in all their conversations, and never enslaved to anything but Christ.

4. Visible Integrity – verse 3 “teachers of good things”

The fourth type of godly behavior in Titus 2women is spiritual integrity–godly women live what they teach. They train others in the pattern they have learned. Their walk speaks louder than their talk.

Their life is daily placed under God’s control in all areas: their tongues, their appetites, and their habits. They do not overindulge themselves, they are not overweight-gluttons, they are not pleasure-hungry, and they are not malicious-talkers.

These godly older women were noble in everything and in the way they lived life they taught by their actions what is good!

Titus 2:3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. NIV

Paul always stressed preaching and teaching what he was already living. In his instructions to Timothy he said:

1 Timothy 4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. NASB

Titus was to encourage these older women to develop a ministry of teaching younger women what is good.

Younger women with children were to keep their primary focus at home (see Titus 2:4-5), but the older women would do well to reach outside their homes and share what they had learned with those who would profit from it most.

A godly woman teaches by her life what is good in God’s sight. She carefully chooses the “better part” as Mary did in contrast to Martha. Titus 2women see every area of their lives as an open book that should and does teach Christ’s gracious Lordship. They can say as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ”. NKJV

And who is an older woman? Technically in this passage it was a woman who was past raising her children, some commentators even say the age of sixty as Paul does in the widows list of 1 Timothy 5. But in reality there is no chronological age given.

For every woman in this church there are some older and some younger. To those older, you are to look and see if they are an example of Christ–if they are, ask them to show you what they have learned and how they do it. For those who are younger, you are to seek to get into their lives and help them bring every area of their lives under the gracious Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Every young lady and woman in this church should have as their highest desire the goal of being first a Titus 2 student of some godly older-in-the-faith woman. And, the highest honor, the greatest goal in the life of every older woman in this church is to have the honor of being that older-woman-in-the-faith.

If you have children that is where you must start. If they are grown and gone–ask God to begin filling your lives with younger women into whom you can prayerfully pour the love and wisdom of Christ gleaned from His Word, and by your years of walking in the Spirit!

Every godly woman has the opportunity to teach the younger generation of women in the church. This instruction is to occur in informal settings, such as one on one, small groups, or women’s Bible studies. And this instruction is both by word and example. Many young women today were not raised under a biblical family model. That’s a challenge for the older women in the church.

Godly women seek to be reverent in their behavior, careful in all their conversations, never enslaved to anything but Christ, and teaching by example the way to follow Christ.

5. Earnest Mentors – verse 4 “that they admonish” 

This one word is variously rendered into 4 different English words by the top 4 versions: “teach” (KJV); “admonish” (NKJV); “train” (NIV); and “encourage” (NAS). The context and the word imply that this was to be a process of teaching, explaining, encouraging, training, and holding the young wives to a standard that was unfamiliar to them and yet vital for the success of their marriages and families.

One of the strongest forces for spiritual ministry in the local church lies with the older believers. Those who are retired have time for service. It is vital that we mobilize and use these important people. In my own thirty years of pastoral ministry, I have been constantly helped and encouraged by godly, older saints who knew how to pray, how to teach God’s Word, visit, troubleshoot, and help edify Christ’s church.

In teaching what is good they “encourage the young women” (Titus 2:4). This opening phrase of Titus 2:4 “that they admonish” is one Greek word in Paul’s letter, the word is sophronizo and means, “to train someone in self-control, restore to senses, admonish and exhort earnestly.”

You will note the similarity of this form to characteristics of elders, “prudent” (1 Timothy 3:2), and older men, “sensible” (Titus 2:2). Older women are to train the younger women to learn the art of self-restraint. This training process requires that you older women be committed to being responsible, confrontive, and affirming in an ongoing relationship with a younger woman.

The first four spiritual qualities are all present to make this quality work. God wants a godly woman whose life speaks louder than her words. A woman whose character is noticed and prompts other women to examine their own lives and seek to emulate her joy, her peace, her walk in the Spirit in evident and practical ways. The Titus 2 older-woman-in-the-faith’s life is a pattern for others to use in shaping their own lives.

So the older-in-the-faith, godly women of the church were:

  • to behave like holy priestesses of the Almighty God,
  • showing restraint and discipline of appetites and words,
  • living what they speak so that the younger women want to learn from them how to live and please God in their lives and families.

So what was their very first lesson? Training younger women in loving their own husbands!

Godly women Living as a Priest for God; with Guarded Tongues; and No Excesses; with Visible Integrity; as Earnest Mentors of–

6. Wives who are their Husbands Best Friend – verse 4 “the young women to love their husbands” 

A Christian home in a pagan culture was a radically new thing.

Young women saved out of paganism needed to get accustomed to a whole new set of priorities and privileges; and those who had unsaved husbands would need special encouragement.

The Titus 2 models had the responsibility of training the younger women how to be successful wives, mothers, and housekeepers; and the younger women had the responsibility of listening and obeying.

Among the Bible-believing women of the first century there was a big challenge in “loving” their husbands. For various reasons and in various degrees those women found themselves with either minimal or no “feelings of love” for their husbands. Believing wives almost always want to obey the Lord, thus they submit and fulfill their responsibilities to their husbands–but often only dutifully and not lovingly. It’s not just that loving your husband is a virtue, Paul says that not loving him in a way that he can feel–is a sin!

In Paul’s day, men and women were saved out of a culture where romantic love usually did not exist in marriages. Wives were only seen as the trusted keepers of the home and bearers of the children. Emotional love, psychological needs, and sexual desires were satisfied outside of marriage by most husbands. The opportunities for illicit sex in the Roman world were endless. For most women this was in some ways a relief as they did not have to “perform” sexually on a regular basis for their husbands. But the emotional super-glue that the marital relationship produces was thus absent. Salvation stopped the immorality in most believing men’s lives back then–but salvation did not make them or their wives instantly close, intimate, and life-sharing friends and lovers.

Just as modern pre-marital moral laxity has scarred many young couples into a troubled, often superficial marital relationship, so were most of the marriages of the New Testament church. What was Paul’s Spirit-prompted answer? What was to be the way to solve the distant, detached, and constantly tempted husband daily buffeted with the overpowering allurements of the flagrantly immoral Roman culture?

Christ led Paul to deploy a legion of older-in-the-faith, godly women to go from house to house, become a close and trusted friend of those young wives–and train them in how to become their husbands best, closest, dearest, and most-intimate friends.

Physical or sexual love without romance is soon empty and meaningless; and as Solomon (who had a lot of experience) said, soon becomes “Like gravel in the mouth” (Proverbs 20:17). Paul knew that to protect those newly believing husbands and fathers from the tidal waves of temptation, they must have a vibrant, attractive, satisfying emotional and physical relationship with their wife. Husbands who are drawn to think about and wants to see their wife throughout a day away from home, are protected from attraction and distraction by a wicked world about them. Loving, caring, romantic wives are trained not born.

The key to understanding this bold new dimension of the early church’s training is in the word Paul uses for love. Every believer has already repeatedly been commanded to “love” with agape love which is an action. We are commanded to act in a loving way towards each other, our saved and unsaved friends, and even our enemies. This agape love is not a feeling, it is an action. Paul explains agape love in Ephesians 5:25 and Colossians 3:19 as a husbands acting towards his wife in the same self-sacrificial way as Jesus loves the church.

Women were also commanded to obediently submit respectfully to their own husbands (Ephesians 5:22Colossians 3:18). Peter adds that they were to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit that was beautiful to God and of immense value in the marriage (1 Peter 3:4). This was the reciprocal relationship of a godly marriage on a behavioral level. The commanded attitudes and behavior of believers in marriage is the foundation and the formula for a Christian marriage. But soon it gets back to dutiful, obedient, often unemotional, and detached relationships. So Paul says that it was imperative to go further. Titus is given the key to flourishing marriages and homes–train the younger women in how to cultivate a loving friendship (phileo) with their husbands. This is emotional love.

Agape love is never used in the Bible to describe sexual love or responsibility because emotional love can’t be commanded. The beautiful, intoxicating love that God designed for marriages to have sexually is emotional and those emotions can’t be commanded. We can’t make someone feel a certain way; we can command them to “do” something but not “feel” a certain way. Genuine, Biblical, marital, sexual love is emotional intimacy in the highest degree. God commands willful, agape love; but the emotional phileo love of friendship and sexual intimacy can’t be commanded–it must be learned.

When the younger women saw how the older women loved, respected, admired, and were best friends with their husbands–they were drawn to see that close and intimate friendships with husbands were possible and very profitable for daily life. They learned how to encourage their own husband, how to build him up, how to surprise him with their affections, and how to cultivate a life-long growing and deepening friendship.

“Younger women” refers to those women who are able to bear children or are still rearing children. Since women can bear children well into their forties and the main duties of raising a child last for about twenty years, a woman under sixty could be considered young in the biblical sense (1 Timothy 5:9).

What qualities ought to characterize her life? Love Their Husbands: One word in the Greek text, philandrois, is translated “love their husbands.” Paul used the same terms to describe godly widows (1 Timothy 5:9). It means to be a woman totally devoted to one’s husband. Some women say that their husbands are no longer lovable; but having that attitude is disobedience to the clear Word of God. To help your attitude, keep in mind that loving your husband doesn’t mean you’ll always feel the rush of emotion that characterized your love at the beginning of your relationship. Marriage is a contented commitment that goes beyond feelings to a devotedness–to a level of friendship that is deep and satisfying. If you don’t love your husband, you need to train yourself to love him. Serve him kindly and graciously day by day and soon you will make such a great investment in him, you will say to yourself, I’ve put too much of myself into this guy not to love him! It is a sin to disobey this command.

The best way to fill a home with joy and peace is to have a husband and wife who are best friends–intimately, emotionally, and spiritually.

Experience the life changing power of the Gospel as both old and young women apply these principles to their relationships and interactions.

We learn from the opening verses of Romans that this letter is all about the gospel of God, which centers in his Son. It is the good news of God’s saving grace in Jesus for sinners like me and you. And that good news is all about God’s peace. Paul closes his introduction with this promise and blessing: “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7).

These words come to us as more than mere formalities. They declare life-giving hope to seize and believe. The apostle announces God’s stance—his posture of grace and peace toward us in Christ. Just as the words “loved” and “saints” point back to the designation of God’s people in the Hebrew Scriptures, so this promise of peace calls to mind the great Hebrew word shalom and the Old Testament vision of peace, fulfilled in Romans in the person and work of Jesus. It is no wonder that the formal worship liturgy in some Reformed churches frequently begins with an opening salutation, a word of greeting from God through the minister, often taken from texts like Romans 1:7.

Probably the most famous shalom prayer-promise comes from Numbers 6:24-26, the benediction assigned for Aaron and his sons to proclaim to God’s people.

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

This peace is more than the absence of war and strife. It is the positive presence of harmony, salvation, joy, blessing, and reconciliation—“the state of perfect well-being created by God’s eschatological intervention and enjoyed by the righteous.” [Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 139.] In the context of Romans, it is the reconciliation of believing Jews and believing Gentiles both with God and with each other—both vertical and horizontal. We taste it now whenever we enjoy the fruits of repentance, confession, and forgiveness with each other. One day we will experience it fully.

Who will experience this final peace? Only those who belong to God. The apostle both promises and warns, “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism” (Romans 1:9-11). Whether Jew or Gentile, the one who knows and follows the Redeemer God will treasure God’s saving gift of shalom. On the other hand, the unbeliever who rejects God’s “way of peace” (Romans 3:17) will only reap God’s judgment.

How does someone gain God’s peace? Romans 5:1-2 replies, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” In this compact summary of gospel blessing, Paul tells us (1) that we now have peace with God; (2) that this peace is built on our justification through faith, God’s grace-work of declaring us righteous in Christ; and (3) that this peace produces deep joy. As hymn writer Francis J. Van Alstyne (1820–1915) exclaimed,

The vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Similar themes emerge in Ephesians 2:11-18, where Christ and his cross form the centerpiece of our peace.

What does this gospel assurance have to do with pursuing peace in our relationships? Everything. It fills us with joy, power, and confidence as we gratefully obey God in our relationships. It provides a model of grace to convey to others. And it reassures us that, even if the other people don’t respond in kind, our relationship with the most important and ultimate Person in the universe remains secure. Thanks be to God for Jesus our Lord!

The saving work of God in the Christian, however, does not merely consist of a right standing with God. In salvation God has done something not only for us, but also in us. Our Christian growth—sanctification in its past, present, and future aspects—began with a decisive act by God of severing the spinal cord of sin and making us new people who are now inclined to love and obey him. The apostle Paul describes this internal transformation: “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8). The sinful mind is hostile to God, but the saved mind—the mind captured and controlled by the Holy Spirit—reflects the very life and peace of God’s Spirit, albeit imperfectly.

Isaiah pictures a similar reality with a vivid metaphor in Isaiah 57:18-21 concerning God’s own promise to restore his people.

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will guide him and restore comfort to him,
creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,”
says the Lord.3 “And I will heal them.”
But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
which cannot rest,
whose waves cast up mire and mud.
“There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

In other words—to join Isaiah and Paul—death marks the unbeliever; life and peace mark the believer.

Relational Peace with Others

The twin gifts of God’s reconciling peace through Christ’s cross and God’s inner peace through his Spirit lead to the third peace blessing, namely, relational peace with others. In one of the Bible’s most realistic texts concerning human relationships, Romans 12:18exhorts us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

We find a fourfold call in this passage and its context. First, we must pursue peace as our Christian duty. The apostle commands us to live at peace. To fail to seek peace with people is to disobey God. We have no option.

Second, we must pursue peace with everyone. The peacemaking charge in this text is comprehensive; we must address all of our relationships. Our Lord does not permit us to ignore even one relationship or dismiss any individual. As the apostle declares in Acts 24:16, “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” While this “with everyone” standard is admittedly high, God’s power makes his commands less daunting.

Third, as we actively pursue peace, the apostle urges us to leave the results to God. “If it is possible,” Paul reminds us, we should live at peace. He acknowledges that a peaceful result may not be possible; we have no guarantee that the other person will follow God’s peacemaking plan. As the old saying goes, “It takes two to tango.”

Fourth, keeping in mind the larger context, we must pursue peace in light of God’s mercy toward us in Christ. The entire twelfth chapter of Romans flows from God’s saving grace expounded in detail in Romans 1–11. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1). In other words, we must apply Romans 12:18 against the backdrop of Romans 12:1-2 and the preceding eleven chapters. Peacemaking is but one way we offer ourselves to God in sacrificial worship, and that obedience, like every other command in Romans 12, arises from the gospel of God’s mercy in Christ.

Taken from Pursuing Peace: A Christian Guide to Handling Our Conflicts by Robert D. Jones. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187,

With the current tide on christly living, we can categorically tell you that no one can survive it with a well grounded Prayer life. Therefore it has become necessary to deal extensively with Prayer wholistically. Knowledge is power and Prayer is More Power. Putting both together will make a dynamic Explosive Power-packed life. Using Daniel in the Bible as a measuring stick, we will try to pinpoint areas and perspective of an effective and fervent prayer life. Therefore, Let’s  just dive into it already 

1. Position yourself for prayer by reading Scripture first.

“In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years” (v. 2).

2. Follow Scripture’s lead toward what you should pray for. (If prayer’s the train, make Scripture the rails.)

“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition…” (v. 3)

3. Pray humbly, recognizing your utter unworthiness before an all-holy God.

“…prayer and petition in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” (v. 3)

4. Begin by praising God for His attributes, His greatness and faithfulness. Let God’s character provide the context for prayer, so He’s the center of gravity, not you.

“I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: ‘O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands…’“ (v. 4)

5. Confess your sins, taking full responsibility, without rationalization, spin or self-exemption.

“We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.” (v. 5–6)

6. Permeate prayer with affirmations of God’s amazing grace and your profound gratitude—never asking for what you deserve, but thanking Him that He’s given you infinitely better than you deserve.

“Lord, you are righteous but we are covered with shame…you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you…we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled; we have not obeyed…. All Israel has transgressed your Law and turned away, refusing to obey you.” (v. 7–11a)

7. Before bringing your requests, repeatedly affirm God’s worthiness and your unworthiness—never forget who you are, and Who you’re talking to.

“Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the law of Moses…have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you! You have fulfilled the words spoken…by bringing upon us great disaster…just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us.” (v. 11b–12a)

8. Never blame God for sin, its consequences or for life’s hardships.

“Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD is righteous in everything; yet we have not obeyed him.” (v. 12b–14)

9. Make requests in light of God’s past acts of faithfulness. Rehearse those acts to God, as demonstrated in Scripture, history, and your own personal and family life.

“Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned and done wrong. O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem…” (v. 15–16)

10. Pray for God’s sake, His glory, and His reputation, reminding yourself it’s all about Him, not you.

“Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. …O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” (v. 17–19)

11. Pray with a heartfelt recognition of God’s undeserved grace on behalf of you and others.

“We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” (v.18)

12. God hears our prayers and starts responding to them (when we pray with Daniel’s attitude and perspective) before we can see results, and even when we can’t see results at all.

“While I was still in prayer Gabriel the man came to me in swift flight. “I have come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given…which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.” (v. 21–23)

13. God deploys angels on missions in response to humble, biblically-based, God-centered prayers.

“I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks…I looked and there was a man… ‘I have been sent to you’ …. Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.’“ (10:12)

14. Prayer mobilizes righteous angels, who engage in intense turf warfare against fallen angels, with kingdom claims at stake. Answers to prayer may be hastened or delayed as a result of this warfare.

“But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come [in response to prayer, having been immediately dispatched, but delayed three weeks in warfare]…. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the King of Persia…. Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come…. No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince….” (10:13–14, 20–21)


1. Prayer isn’t passive, it’s active. It’s really doing something. Prayer isn’t the least we can do, it’s the most.

2. Prayer is supernatural. It’s reaching out of the visible world into the unseen world, and tapping into powers beyond this dimension. (Prayer picks fights with demons—and empowers righteous angels to win those fights.) “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).

3. Prayer is never secondary, it’s always primary. It’s not the last recourse, when options run out, it’s the first and best recourse. Prayer is the central work which causes all other work to bear fruit. (No prayer, no power.) “Therefore put on the whole armor of God…take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the gospel…. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly” (Eph. 6:13, 17, 18-20).

4. God’s greatest works, accomplished through prayer, are often invisible to us for now. (What’s visible to us, except in rare moments of clarity, are not God’s greatest works.)

5. We pray now in faith, believing our prayers are making an eternal difference; we anticipate heaven, where we’ll learn God’s breath-taking answers to our prayers, including many that seemed unheard and ignored.

6. There is no greater ministry, no higher calling, no better investment than prayer. (It’s not just right, it’s smart.)

7. Prayer is trusting God that He can accomplish more when I’m on my knees than I can accomplish on my feet.


I don’t like to wait. No, let’s be completely forthright: I despise waiting. There is a certain highway in the city where I live that is notorious for traffic that is snarled for several hours on both sides of rush hour: I avoid it like cream of broccoli soup. Every Sunday morning, there are certain members of my family who move at the speed of a glacier in getting ready for worship, and I’m convinced they make less haste on the days I have to preach. They make me wait, and I don’t like it.

I realize that I am not alone in this. Fallen humans categorically do not like to wait. We want instant gratification. We want life’s knottiest dilemmas solved in a half hour or so. Why is it so hard for sons of Adam to wait? Conventional wisdom says doing absolutely nothing should be easy for us, but it is not.

Over the years, I have learned that waiting on the Lord one of the most potentially sanctifying (and necessary) aspects of the Christian life. It is one of those glorious “gospel paradoxes” that makes us say with the prophet, “O Lord, your ways are higher than our ways, your thoughts higher than our thoughts.” We pray in hope, and then we wait on the Lord to answer. A Christian man prays for a job so that he can provide for his family as God has commanded, and then he waits. A mother prays that God will draw her wayward son to himself unto salvation, and then she waits. We pray that God will make our future path clear, and we wait. We read Matthew 6:34 for a thousandth time for comfort.

The Puritans understood this reality well and developed something of a doctrine of waiting; they referred to it as being in “God’s school of waiting.” William Carey understood it well. He spent many years on the mission field before seeing his first convert. Of greater import, the inspired writers understood it well: Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

As difficult as it can be, waiting builds spiritual muscles in a unique manner. My sinful impatience notwithstanding, Isaiah makes this truth clear: “But they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.” What a glorious promise! And yet, our discontented hearts find it difficult to wait.

Yet waiting on the Lord many good things for us. It:

1. Causes us to pray without ceasing. We are needy and He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He is always faithful and the outcome of our waiting proves Him wholly true.

2. Instills in us a clearer understanding that we are creatures who are absolutely dependent upon our Creator. Though our sinful hearts crave omniscience and omnipotence, we possess neither, and waiting helps us to focus on that reality.

3. Increases our faith. After all, does not the writer of Hebrews define faith as “the conviction of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen?” (Heb. 11:1). We wait and God works.

4. Transfers the doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty from the speculative realm to the practical. In waiting, we actually experience God’s Lordship in an intimate way.

5. Grounds our future in a certain hope. This is Paul’s point in Romans 8:24–25“Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” A glorious by-product of this is that it instills patience, that most elusive of spiritual virtues, in us.

6. Reminds us that we live between the times.When Jesus returns, the not yet will collapse into the already, and there will be no more waiting for an answer to desperate prayers. The Kingdom will be consummated, and Jesus will set everything right. Until then, we pray and wait and are sanctified by God’s wise process.

7. Stamps eternity on our eyeballs. When we bring urgent petitions before the Lord, we wait with expectancy, and the city of man in which we live fades in importance, and we begin to realize that the city of God is primary. As Jonathan Edwards prayed, “O Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.” Waiting helps to do that. It prioritizes the eternal over the temporal in accord with 2 Cor. 4:18, “…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

I love God’s Word and delight in its truth. Yet too often I find that after reading my Bible or hearing a sermon, the truth, so necessary to the wellbeing of my soul, can too easily slip away. The truth that had for a moment captured my attention and my affections can quietly fade amid the clutter and noise of the day.

One of the best ways to remedy this is to practice the spiritual discipline of meditating on God’s Word. It is a discipline that takes time and intention, but one that brings great benefit to the soul. We need to carve out time to lay hold of the truth of God’s Word.

It is a bewildering paradox of our day that the Bible can be so accessible and yet so marginalized. On the one hand our technology has brought God’s Word close at hand. It’s on our phones and tablets and computers and iPods. We have almost immediate access to several versions of the Bible as well as a wealth of sermons and commentaries. But this same technology also threatens to distract us and drown out God’s Word. We have become a culture obsessed with noise and comfortable with clutter. So many sources are bringing input into our lives: TV, radio, online news feeds, Facebook, Twitter…. More than ever we need to make time to meditate, to dwell in God’s Word.

Meditation is pondering the Word in our hearts, preaching it to our own souls, and personally applying it to our own lives and circumstances. It is how we sanctify our thinking and bring it into submission to Christ—taking every thought captive. Paul tells us in Romans 12:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

[All Scripture references are ESV unless otherwise indicated.]

In Psalms 77 Asaph uses three verbs that capture the essence of meditation. When he finds himself perplexed and troubled and cries out to God, he determines to steady his soul by looking to God and laying hold of truth. He says in verses 11 and 12:

I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
Yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
And meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalms 77:11-12).

Asaph uses 3 verbs in the Hebrew to describe what it means to lay hold of truth: He says: I will remember, I will ponder, and I will meditate.

He begins with remembering (zakar)—calling to mind “the deeds of the Lord” and His “wonders of old.” He intentionally takes note of truth and draws it back into his thinking. Asaph reflects on what God has accomplished for His people in the past—events and epics like the Exodus and Passover, the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, the conquest of the Promised Land. He makes an effort not to forget all the Lord has done.

David also speaks of remembering God:          

When I remember you upon my bed,
And meditate on you in the watches of the night (Psalms 63:6).

In Psalms 143, when David is overwhelmed with trouble, he uses the same three verbs as Asaph, beginning with “remember.”

remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands (Psalms 143:5).

We are a forgetful people and God would have us to remember. Meditation begins with remembering, bringing back into our minds the truths and praises and promises of God.

But, second, Asaph also uses a word that is translated in Psalms 77:12 “I ponder.”

I will ponder all your work,
And meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalms 77:12).

This is the verb hagah in the Hebrew. It is found in numerous places in the Old Testament and is translated as “ponder” or “meditate”:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8).

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And on his law he meditates day and night (Psalms 1:2).          

When I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night (Psalms 63:6).

In Psalms 2 it is used of the nations “plotting” against God.

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain? (Psalms 2:1)

The word literally means “to let resound.” It is used in Psalms 92:3 of the sound or tones of a musical instrument as it resonates.

On an instrument of ten strings,                
On the lute, And on the harp,
With harmonious [or resounding] sound(Psalms 92:3).

It is used also in Psalms 9:16.                                

The LORD is known by the judgment He executes;
The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
Meditation. Selah  (Psalms 9:16).

It is not entirely clear if the use of the word here is a musical instruction for the musicians to play an interlude—letting the instruments resound—or if it is an instruction to the congregation—let this truth resound within yourselves.

We find the term also at the end of Psalms 19:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Psalms 19:14).

In other words: Let the inward tones of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord…

This is how we want the truth of Scripture to fill us and impact us—as we hear it and sing it and pray it—as Paul tells us in Colossians 3:16, let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly! Let it dwell in us in a way that resounds and reverberates in and through our lives.

We see another use of the word in Isaiah 31:4that helps us understand its intent. Isaiah uses the word in reference to a lion:

For thus the LORD said to me,
 “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey” (Isaiah 31:4)

The word for growl or roar is this word for meditation. Have you ever heard a lion when he roars? He does not just use his voice. His entire being reverberates. This is meditation. Letting God’s Word resound from within the very center of our being.

Meditation involves remembering, and resounding, but finally Asaph speaks of meditating.

I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalms 77:12).

This word siyach means to muse and wonder and dwell on—to think deeply about something. Used literally it means to murmur, mumble or talk to yourself.

In a negative sense it can mean “to complain.” It is the idea that something has so taken hold of your thinking that you can’t stop thinking about it. So on the negative side—it troubles you and disturbs you and draws out complaint; but on the positive side—it captivates you and enraptures your thinking so that you “dwell on” it. This is the way we want God’s truth to lay hold of us—so that we can’t but dwell on it, so that it captures our thinking and finds it way into our choices and decisions.

The Puritans thought of meditation this way as they described it as “preaching to yourself.” We take the Word of God that we hear and read, and we mull it over in our minds and then bring it to bear upon our lives in personal exhortations.

It is a word that is found often in the Old Testament, especially in the psalms.

May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the LORD (Psalms 104:34).          

I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways (Psalms 119:15).          

Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day (Psalms 119:97).

When we meditate we think about God’s Word. We dwell on it and then as opportunities arise, we preach it to ourselves. We inject it into our thoughts as we make decisions, as we admonish and instruct our souls to choose right things and walk down right paths.

This is the essence of meditation. It is evoking the truth, embracing it and embedding it in our lives. It is intentionally focusing on recalling God’s truth that it might resound in our hearts and become that grid through which we sift and measure our thoughts and actions.

Meditation is a crucial Christian discipline and a vital means of grace that we must treasure and practice. But it is a discipline that takes time and effort. Accessibility can never beat intentionality. Don’t assume that having God’s Word close at hand means you have it close at heart. Carve out time in your day to remember, time to ponder, time to preach to yourself. The world around us can too easily choke out what is needful and good for our souls. Don’t allow God’s truth to slip away from you. Be intentional and diligent and your meditation.

Founders Ministries Blog

by Ken Puls

Fellow Nigerians:

Happy 2018 once again. This year promises to be an unusual one and a turning point in the history of our nation. In conveying my optimistic salutations, I am not unmindful of the unpleasant circumstances that characterised the turn of the year, including the fact that the first “Merry Christmas” uttered by many Nigerians was to their fellow compatriots in fuel queues at petrol stations. I am also saddened by the terror attacks on places of worship during the festive season. My heartfelt condolences go to the families and communities in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas in Benue State who began the year in grief because of the murderous activities of heartless criminals. I pray that they, and every hurting Nigerian, will experience the comforting hand of God and find the fortitude to hope for a happy and joyous year in 2018.

Tomorrow, the fifteenth of January, is Armed Forces Remembrance Day; a day set aside to remember Nigeria’s fallen heroes, those who fought in the First and Second World Wars, as well as those who laid down their lives during the Nigerian Civil War to keep Nigeria one. I salute these heroes and every member of our Armed Forces still fighting in various missions in the world and, in particular, those in the theatre of the prolonged war against Boko Haram.

I am also mindful that tomorrow will mark fifty-two years since the shots were first fired that eventually destroyed the federal foundations upon which our union was originally constructed. We remember the fathers of our nation who lost their lives in the process, the likes of Sir Ahmadu Bello and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. We celebrate the legacies of these heroes past, together with those of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and we reaffirm that their labours shall never be in vain.

I stand here today as I have done in previous years to constructively examine the state of the nation, to evaluate our progress, to appraise our governmental systems and structures against the backdrop of our national purpose and promise, and to awaken leadership to the solemn call to dispense good governance. Very importantly, I stand today to prick the conscience of a nation that has turned the other eye in deliberate sinful silence of a conspiratorial magnitude while Nigerians are being murdered in various parts of the country by marauding herdsmen. I will proffer structural solutions to these and other challenges facing our nation in the course of this address, but first I will clarify issues arising from my public statements regarding my role in the future of our nation.

Setting the Record Straight

On the first day of the year, I shared twelve prophecies regarding the nature of the year 2018 as I had received from God. For instance, the tenth prophecy indicated that there will be an upsurge in the price of mineral resources as well as oil and gas in 2018. Barely had these statements been made when the price of oil topped $68 for the first time since 2015.[i]

However, the twelfth prophecy has become the theme of myriad speculative interpretations and enquiries. While it has brought excitement to some, it has brought anxiety to others. I have since been inundated with messages from politicians and journalists as well as friends and well-wishers seeking clarification or offering advice based on their understanding of those declarations.

I did say that, while waiting on God, the Spirit of God said to me:

“Politics is not over for you. There is still one thing left for you to do: Run for President…I will work it out Myself and make it happen in due course[ii].”

I went ahead to put this in context as I appealed for prayers. I hereby further clarify the twelfth prophecy with the following ten points:

  1. The declaration was not a presidential campaign announcement; it was an invitation to prayers sent out to fellow labourers initiated in our corporate destiny as nation builders;
  2. To the uninitiated, that declaration was news, but to my partners in destiny, to whom indeed the request for prayers was extended, my journey and trajectory in the call to nation building is well known. It began on April 10, 1967 when, as a thirteen-year-old, I saw myself in a vision discussing the future of the nation with two Nigerian leaders, General Yakubu Gowon and Chief Obafemi Awolowo. That vision changed my life; it sustained me as a teenager and propelled me into student politics at the University of Lagos as I ran for the post of Student Union President; it took me into active politics as I stood on the platform with the elders the day the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) was launched in Lagos; that vision shaped my uncompromising non-conformist value system in legal practice, business, ministry, and politics. The subject of the twelfth prophecy is therefore not new;
  3. Nowhere in that declaration did I mention running for election. It is, however, not surprising that politicians and the politically-minded have interpreted it as such. Their narrow interpretation reminds me of Joshua’s description of the sound from the Israeli camp while Moses was away on the mountain with God.[iii]Whereas the Israelites were making merry, to Joshua, a man of war, every sound from the camp was a sound of war. In like manner, every time the word “run” is used in a statement, the politician thinks of elections, while a statesman thinks of the next generation. I am, by God’s grace, a nation builder propelled by the dream of a New Nigeria and hopefully will become a statesman someday;
  4. I am indeed running, but not for elections; it is a race of destiny and the destination is certain. The certainty of this destination is reminiscent of the statement Jesus made before Pilate:

John 18:37 (NKJV): 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

In like manner, to everyone asking what the twelfth prophecy actually means, my unequivocal response remains, “To this end was I born, and for this purpose I came into the world: To lead Nigeria into her prophetic destiny.” It will happen in due course, in God’s way, and in God’s time;

  1. Some may ask, “How then can it happen, if not by elections?” My simple response is that there are biblical precedents, including the stories of Joseph, David, Nehemiah and Daniel; there are also historical precedents, including the case of George Washington whose unanimous election was merely an endorsement, and Gerald Ford who, under the terms of the 25th Amendment, took the oath as Vice President on December 6, 1973, and, following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, was inaugurated as the 38th President of the United States on August 9, 1974, without a single election;
  2. Furthermore, as Jesus said when Nicodemus came to Him by night to make enquiries:

“…The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”[iv]

If God leads me to serve my nation by election into political office, I state boldly that I will accept it with all my heart. In the year 2011, when the opportunity came to be running mate to then General Muhammadu Buhari, God said to me, “You are walking on a path that I have mapped out for you.” In His wisdom, God knew that phase of His plan was not going to lead to election victory, but it was a crucial phase of His plan, and I dare say that the dress rehearsal was worth it. As God unfolds the next phase, my response to Him is simply, “Here I am. Send me.”[v];

  1. The important point to note is that it is my destiny to shepherd this nation into her prophetic destiny, and the time is at hand. The method by which God intends to do it is up to Him; I am neither flagging off an election campaign nor building political alliances. Like David, I will continue to shepherd God’s flock and, in His time and manner, I will shepherd the nation according to the integrity of my heart and the skillfulness of my hands[vi];
  2. For the cynics who query the authority and audacity by which I speak of my assignment to Nigeria, let me remind them of the statement by Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo before the High Court on September 11, 1963, just before he was sentenced to prison for treasonable felony:

“It is, therefore, with a brave heart, with confident hope, and with faith in my unalterable destiny, that I go from this twilight into the darkness, unshaken in my trust in the Providence of God that a glorious dawn will come on the morrow…I…will not die in prison…I am confident that the ideals of social justice and individual liberty which I hold dear will continue to be projected beyond the prison walls and bars until they are realized in our lifetime.”[vii]

History later justified these bold claims. Shortly after his release from prison, he became the Federal Commissioner for Finance and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council in the Gowon administration (today’s equivalent of Vice President and Minister of Finance rolled into one). In this capacity, Chief Awolowo helped Nigeria prosecute the Civil War without borrowing a dime, to the extent that General Yakubu Gowon, in a tribute to Chief Awolowo, acknowledged that the late sage helped save Nigeria from breaking up[viii].  My question to the cynics is therefore: How did Papa Chief Obafemi Awolowo know that he would not die in prison but would be released to serve Nigeria? If they cannot answer this question, then neither will I tell them by what authority I make these audacious declarations;

  1. Having established the fact that I am ready to follow God’s leading in the service of my nation, let me reiterate that what Nigeria needs now is not another election but a return to the drawing board to renegotiate our union. You will recall that, in 2015, I made a similar declaration in the message titled “The Gathering Storm and Avoidable Shipwreck: How to Avoid Catastrophic Euroclydon”[ix]. In that address, I called for restructuring when others were clamouring for elections. Three years later, the majority that was wrong has become the minority, and the minority that was right is becoming the majority, even as restructuring has become the buzzword in our nation;
  2. Finally, I am reminded of David’s response to his brothers’ spiteful cynicism when he accepted Goliath’s challenge. This is recorded for our learning in I Samuel 17:28 & 29 (NKJV):

28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?”

Fellow Nigerians, given the state of our nation, is there not a cause? Therefore, rather than waste time on cynical critics, we draw strength from the words our ears have heard:

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying,
“Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass,
And as I have purposed, so it shall stand…”[x]

The State of the Nation

Some measure of progress has been made within the first thirty-one months of this administration[xi]. However, as was the case with previous administrations, the current government appears to be merely patching the cracks on the wall. This administration anchored its policy outlook on three main thrusts, including security, job creation through diversification, and anti-corruption, yet all around us are signs of retrogression.

As at June 2015, the unemployment rate was 8.2% of a labour force of 74 million[xii], meaning that about 6 million Nigerians were unemployed. By September 2017, despite such efforts as N-Power[xiii] and a range of policies aimed at improving enterprise development and facilitating job creation, the unemployment rate had risen to 18.8% of a labour force of 85.1 million[xiv], indicating that between 2015 and 2017, the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from about 6 million to almost 16 million.

On diversification, despite ongoing efforts, reports indicate that oil continues to significantly dominate Nigeria’s exports revenue[xv], leading to the shortfall in foreign currency in the first half of this administration[xvi]. In essence, we have been unable to export much beyond crude, as oil still accounts for over 90% of total exports revenue[xvii].

The ineffectiveness of the anti-corruption war is seen in the loss of crucial corruption cases[xviii]. For instance, in April 2017, the federal government lost four high profile corruption cases in ninety-six hours[xix].  These losses are in addition to bizarre developments such as the failure of the government to confirm a substantive Chairman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), despite the fact that the same political party controls both the executive and the legislature, not to mention the public showdown between EFCC and Department of State Services (DSS) officials[xx], or the opposition of the Director-General of the DSS to the confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the EFCC[xxi].

Furthermore, nothing indicts the current government greater than its failure in one key performance area that ought to be its strength: security. Despite recent setbacks, we acknowledge the gains in the war against Boko Haram, but highly disturbing is the mayhem being continually unleashed by herdsmen on communities in different states across the country, including Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, Kaduna, Enugu, Edo and Ogun States, leaving trails of weeping and wailing. The recent killings in Benue State are akin to the last straw that is set to break the camel’s back.

Herdsmen Attacks and the Deliberate Sinful Silence (DSS) of the Nigerian State

Not only has the government failed to stop these killings across the country, it has done so against the backdrop of conspiratorial silence, choosing rather to label such attacks “an issue of communal misunderstanding”, as the Inspector General of Police recently did in respect of the Benue attacks[xxii]; it has treated the menace with kid gloves even after the Global Terrorism Index 2015 described “militant” herdsmen as “the fourth most deadly group of 2014”[xxiii]. Worse still, some of these killings have reportedly been carried out in collusion with the military[xxiv].

Recently, the Secretary to the Adamawa State Government, Umar Bindir, justified the bearing of arms by the herdsmen[xxv] but failed to tell where the herdsmen get their guns from and with which government agency these guns are registered. Who authorised them to bear arms? Who gave them immunity against section 3 of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act 1990[xxvi], which prescribes punishment for illegal possession of arms? Who monitors the use of these guns? Why have the relevant government agencies failed to act? In particular, why has the name Department of State Services (DSS) become synonymous with the phrase “Deliberate Sinful Silence” (DSS)? Or is it now the Department of Sinful Silence?

As expected, due to the incapacity of the states, not even the anti-grazing laws of states like Benue have succeeded in dealing with these issues. These one-sided and incomprehensive legislations by state governments that lack the constitutional powers to provide security for their people have yielded little or no results. Therefore, the federal government has become complicit for the following reasons:

  1. By not advancing and vigorously executing policies aimed at pre-empting or preventing these killings even with sufficient warnings: I am reminded of the open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari by a former Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada and Second Republic senator, Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher. Permit me to quote excerpts from that letter:

Your Excellency Mr. President…I am pained that you ignored my advice in my private memorandum to you dated 30th July 2016. I had warned you of the possibility of a horrendous genocide in Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Southern Kaduna, and Southern Adamawa States. I asked you to be proactive and stop the genocide that has been ongoing but which would burst out in the open and shock the world within 18 months. Your office replied my letter…thanking me “immensely” and giving me the assurances that the advice would be heeded…I regret to now inform you that it is seventeen months since my warning and prediction and your government did nothing to pre-empt or prevent the genocide.[xxvii]

  1. By failing to make it an issue of importance in national discourse: Despite the antecedents of the marauders, including the recent Adamawa incidents[xxviii], Mr. President, in his New Year address to the nation, did not consider the menace or the pain of victims of previous attacks worth a mention in his address[xxix];
  2. By failing to give victims a path to reconciliation and the hope of a united Nigeria: It has been reported, for instance, that as a result of the failure of government to act, there have been reprisal attacks on herdsmen[xxx], resulting in a vicious cycle of death and destruction;
  3. By rejecting the call to restructure our nation in order to bring lasting solutions to these and other signs of sectional discontent:

In his New Year address, Mr. President further alienated his government from the voice of reason in relation to the call to restructure Nigeria. In his words:
“…I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about “Restructuring”…When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.”[xxxi]

I totally agree with Mr. President that we need process reforms; otherwise, we would not be appointing dead men to head parastatals[xxxii], but can process reforms replace foundational structural reforms? Never. Be that as it may, let no one confuse the genuine call to restructure the nation with the gimmicks of political opportunists who ride on the restructuring wave for their perceived advantage. Many of them talk the talk but neither walked the talk in the past nor will do so in the future.

Therefore, I say to those who have the power to take the decisions and actions necessary to end these atrocities, especially by restructuring the nation, but have failed to do so for political gains, that they are attempting to establish a city by iniquity and there are dire consequences. I am reminded of the word of the Lord in the Book of Habakkuk: “…For the stone will cry out from the wall, And the beam from the timbers will answer it. Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, Who establishes a city by iniquity!…”[xxxiii]

The current edifice of state has become a deathtrap. All around are cracks on the wall that originate from the structural foundations. Those cracks are dripping with blood and the stones in the wall are crying out. The stones are crying out from Benue State and every part of the country where herdsmen have slaughtered the innocent in unspeakably barbaric attacks while the government failed to act until there were yet more bodies in morgues. The stones are crying out in every state in the federation where workers’ salaries are unpaid and poverty prevails because states are nothing but institutional and constitutional vegetables on life support from Abuja. The stones are crying out because young men and women are leaving the shores of a country so rich yet so poor and are enslaved, prostituted and murdered in other lands. By maintaining the status quo, Nigeria has once again become a land filled with crimes of blood.

Therefore, since state legislation has proved inadequate and the federal government has failed to act, the cries of Nigerians have gone up to God as an appeal to a higher governmental order. The judgement that is written in Ezekiel 7:2327 (NKJV) is about to be executed: 23”‘Make a chain, For the land is filled with crimes of blood, And the city is full of violence.

24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles, And they will possess their houses; I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease, And their holy places shall be defiled.

25 Destruction comes; They will seek peace, but there shall be none.

26 Disaster will come upon disaster, And rumor will be upon rumor. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; But the law will perish from the priest, And counsel from the elders.

27‘The king will mourn, The prince will be clothed with desolation, And the hands of the common people will tremble. I will do to them according to their way, And according to what they deserve I will judge them; Then they shall know that I am the Lord!’”

The Nigerian state has a choice to make on the way forward to lasting peace and prosperity: It is either the path of divine judgment reminiscent of a Jehu revolution[xxxiv] or a choice to renegotiate our union through a pragmatic approach to restructuring the nation. I will devote the last part of this address to reiterating the latter option, hingeing it on an interesting statement made by Mr. President in his New Year address.

Of Impatience and the Expectations of Nigerians

First, I will read excerpts from the 2018 New Year address by Chinese President Xi Jinping that show the heart of a leader mindful of his people:
“Our GDP rose to the level of 80 trillion yuan (12.3 trillion US dollars). Over 13 million urban and rural jobs were created…1.35 billion people are covered by basic medical insurance. More than 10 million rural residents were lifted out of poverty…
…Our country’s great development has been achieved by the people, and its fruits should be shared by the people…
…officials at all levels must constantly hold in their hearts the interests and concerns of the people, and regard the benefit of the people as their highest career accomplishment. They must think for the people, respond to their needs, and work for the greater happiness of the people.”[xxxv]

By contrast, in his New Year address to Nigerians, President Buhari said:
“We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities…We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose.”[xxxvi]

Admittedly, this administration inherited a backlog of woes, including economic recession, an unfavourable external environment characterised by low crude oil prices, and a treasury emptied through corruption by previous administrations. Also, one cannot but agree with President Buhari on the long-term nature of the desired change. After all, China began its journey to economic transformation in 1978[xxxvii].

However, the fact remains that, over the years, Nigerians have been known to be resilient to a fault and to have low expectations of their governments, but if Nigerians are now getting impatient, it could be because they are beginning to realise that fast-paced growth is possible when we get the fundamentals right. In those fundamentals lie the solution to herdsmen attacks and our myriad economic and socio-political problems. It is a call to return to the foundations of our geopolitical structure; it is a call to renegotiate our union.

Facilitating Nigerias Economic Miracle: Revisiting the Pragmatic Approach to Restructuring

Nigeria’s past episodes of oil-induced growth have never been sustained, not even when we had a GDP growth of 33.7% in 2004[xxxviii] after oil prices rose in response to the American invasion of Iraq. However, as at 1963, when Nigeria had not yet discovered its oil, we had the opportunity to build a fast-paced but sustainably growing economy. At that time, the Nigerian economy had begun to grow at about the same growth rate[xxxix]by which Japan would later become the second largest economy in the world within two decades.[xl] By 1962, official reports indicated “a rapid rate of economic growth” across Nigeria[xli]. However, while Japan’s growth continued, ours was truncated by political recklessness and military intervention. This led to the abrogation of the regional federal structure that nurtured that growth.

Fellow Nigerians, this is why I stand on the God-inspired pathway to the New Nigeria which I call the Pragmatic Steps to Restructuring Nigeria[xlii]. I stand on this because it is a return to the winning formula, albeit improved upon and better suited. With this plan, Nigeria can leapfrog, within ten years, the phases of industrialisation to become a global industrial powerhouse comprised of six geo-economic zones.

With this plan, the North Central can optimise its mechanised agricultural potential and harness the Niger and the Benue not just for irrigation but also for hydroponic farming; it can become a centre of world class cattle ranching that will not just quell the menace of herdsmen attacks but also incubate allied opportunities such as meat, milk and leather processing and a range of fast moving consumer goods industries, powered by renewable energy. The zone can then transit to heavy industries, including steel manufacturing and auto-manufacturing, while also harnessing the rivers as inland waterways and tourist attractions.

Meanwhile, the North West can harness its vast arable land by deploying land-enhancing technologies for mechanised agriculture and cattle ranching, while also becoming Africa’s defence manufacturing hub. With this arrangement, the zone will then be provided sufficient competitive impetus to revive its historical potential as a central hub in Africa’s textile industry.

With this approach, the North East will have the opportunity to redefine its identity from being a hotbed of Boko Haram to becoming a hub for cattle ranching as well as pharmaceutical and construction industries, harnessing its unique concentration of mineral resources such as clay, limestone and gypsum.

With its new-found liberty to develop at its own pace, the South West can revive the vision of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The zone will not just resuscitate its vast industrial and agro-allied manufacturing potential; it can become a global centre for warehousing and distribution with its world-class sea and airports. Its intellectually aware cosmopolitan social class can become the catalysts of an African cultural renaissance that will facilitate the rise of new genres of creative and cultural industries. Meanwhile, within the zone, Lagos State can consolidate its position as the African hub of global finance.

The South South zone, with its vast oil and gas resources, currently sustains the nation’s expenditure. Nigeria owes this region the urgent activation of the pragmatic approach to restructuring. This approach will see the zone progressively obtain autonomy over these resources such that it can house a cluster of refineries and petrochemical industries. In addition, it can recover from its history of environmental degradation to harness its agro-allied industrial potential. It can also incubate a renewable energy cluster and become an African shipping hub.

The South East is home to a large population of vibrant entrepreneurs. In addition to potentially hosting a globally competitive agro-allied and energy industrial hub, it can, once again, break records in commerce and industry, and export to the world, innovation, enterprise, and an energetic human resource ready to convert opportunity anywhere in the world in the interests of our nation and continent.

With this approach, within ten years, from a near unitary structure comprising thirty-six states, these geo-economic zones can then evolve into six strong federating geopolitical zones and a Federal Capital Territory, roughly mirroring the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates.

Fellow Nigerians, another important season is upon us as a nation, as a people, and as custodians and protectors of our collective national heritage. A nation should indeed be more than just a mere geographical expression: it should be the sum total of all its peoples, joined together by shared history, values, culture and aspiration, fused into a national ethic and an ingrained sense of identity. Failure to embrace this wise option, brilliantly articulated with patriotic fervour in 1947 by the sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his book, Path to Nigerian Freedom, is at the root of the unfortunate challenges we face today as a people. Indeed, there is nothing anyone, however cerebral or highly placed, can do against the truth, but for the truth[xliii].

Our founding fathers embraced the challenge of nationhood in their season by securing independence from the so-called colonial masters. Our military has played their role, good and bad, in shaping national direction for a considerable portion of our nationhood. The current political class has done its part by facilitating our return to civil rule.

Now, it is the turn of Nigerians: professionals, artisans, students, soldiers, policemen, para-military, academics, market women, drivers, youth, both the employed and the unemployed, as well as every Nigerian who is not an active beneficiary of the present disorder.

It is time for a DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION. The season for complaints and complacency is over. We must seize this opportune moment to translate our collective national disappointment into a uniquely Nigerian REBIRTH.

The current political class constitute far less than one percent of Nigeria’s voting population. To avoid engagement with the powers that have hijacked our collective patrimony is to surrender our national destiny without a fight. And as Cardinal John Onaiyekan said: “Every citizen must be involved in politics…Only people who are irresponsible will say they are not interested; even if you are not interested in politics, politics will be interested in you”[xliv].

Our fight to reclaim and renew Nigeria begins now. Registering and obtaining a valid voter’s card must now be a national priority. If the 2015 elections were critical to our national survival, the 2019 polls are pivotal to our country’s future development. If power truly belongs to the people, it is time for the silent majority to instigate REAL AND GENUINE CHANGE.

As I have declared on previous occasions, what is required to kick-start this process is the creation of a Presidential Commission for National Reconciliation, Reintegration and Restructuring[xlv]. This commission is to be headed by a biblical Joseph-type national figure appointed to provide visionary leadership for the process with the support of six Zonal Commissioners. The visionary leadership will co-ordinate the implementation of master-plans for each of the six Geo-economic zones. It will evolve for the nation a strong anti-corruption-based national value system and stir up uncommon patriotic zeal among Nigerians. It will also attract various domestic and foreign investment packages and float a social impact bond to fund development. The requisite human capacity for the economic miracle will be provided not only by skilled Nigerians at home but also by many others based abroad through Diaspora for Development agreements guaranteed by goodwill and fuelled by uncommon patriotism.

To facilitate the process, the National Assembly will provide the requisite constitutional amendments within the ten years in addition to serving as a monitoring and evaluation clearing house. By the tenth year at the latest, the systems, values and structural underlay of the geo-economic transformation will be codified in a new constitutional arrangement whose preamble is the Nigerian Charter for National Reconciliation and Integration[xlvi] adopted by the 2014 National Conference. The new constitution will be adopted by the Nigerian people through a referendum, such that it can genuinely lay claim to the prefix, “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…”


As a nation, we have an opportunity to rewrite our history and choose a more prosperous future. We can choose to continue to play the ostrich or we can decide to take up the gauntlet and face our national challenges squarely. Just as Moses said to Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV):

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…”

Let it be known, however, that the New Nigeria is like a moving train that cannot be stopped, like a stone that will cause the wicked to stumble, and like a rock that will make them fall[xlvii]; and whoever falls on this stone will be broken, but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder[xlviii], and this nation will fulfill her destiny.

I have said my piece. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear: Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will be great in my lifetime. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare
Serving Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly,
Convener, Save Nigeria Group (SNG)


1. Okoromadu, Festus. “Oil Price Rises Above $68, Highest Since 2015.” Leadership. January 5, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018.

2. Bakare, ‘Tunde. “2018 Our Year of Good Success”, Video, 59:47, December 31, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

3. Exodus 32:17 (NKJV)

4. John 3:8 (NKJV)

5. Isaiah 6:8 (NKJV)

6. Psalm 78:72 (NKJV)

[vii]Dawodu, Segun. “Obafemi Awolowo’s Allocutus.” Dawodu. Accessed January 9, 2018.

[viii]Ameh, Comrade Godwin. “How Awolowo saved Nigeria from breaking up during the civil war – Gowon.” Daily Post. March 7, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

[ix]Bakare, ‘Tunde. “The Gathering Storm & Avoidable Shipwreck: How To Avoid Catastrophic Euroclydon.” Tunde Bakare. January 4, 2015. Accessed January 9, 2018.

[x]Isaiah 14:24 (NKJV)

11Adetayo, Olalekan. “Nigeria @ 57: Presidency releases Buhari’s 57 achievements.” Punch. September 30, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

[xii]Ugwuanyi, Sylvester. “Unemployment rate in Nigeria rises to 8.2%.” Daily Post. August 3, 2015. Accessed January 9, 2018.

13N-POWER. Accessed January 2018.

[xiv]“Nigeria’s unemployment rate rises from 14.2% to 18.8%.” Vanguard. December 23, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

[xv]“Nigeria facts and figures.” OPEC. Accessed January 12, 2018.

[xvi]Ohuocha, Chijioke, and Mayowa Oludare. “Nigeria considers foreign exchange reforms as dollar shortages bite.” Reuters. November 21, 2016. Accessed January 9, 2018.

17See 15

18“Why EFCC keeps losing corruption cases, by Agbakoba.” The Nation. September 3, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

19Tijani, Mayowa. “Orubebe, Ademola, Patience…FG loses four cases in 96 hours.” The Cable. April 6, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

[xx]Akinkuotu, Eniola. “Drama as DSS operatives stop EFCC from arresting ex-DG.” Punch. November 22, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

[xxi]Oyedele, Damilola. “Senate: DSS Report on Magu Sent to AGF More Damning.” ThisDay. March 26, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

22Wakili, Isiaka. “IGP meets Buhari, says Benue killings is “communal misunderstanding.”” Daily Trust. January 5, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018.

23Institute for Economics and Peace. “Global Terrorism Index 2015.” Economics and Peace. Accessed January 9, 2018.

24See Agbakwuru, Johnbosco, and Marie-Therese Nanlong. “Uniform men lured us to be killed by herdsmen – Plateau attack survivor.” Vanguard. October 17, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018. and “Tension in Edo as Fulani herdsmen rape, kill two women.” National Daily. May 23, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

25Silas, Don. “Why Fulani herdsmen need to carry weapons – Adamawa SSG, Umar Bindri [VIDEO].” Daily Post. December 15, 2017. Accessed January 9. 2018

26Law Nigeria. Accessed January 9, 2018.

[xxvii]Ameh, Comrade Godwin. “’You betrayed Nigeria’s democracy, promoted genocide’ – Former senator bombs Buhari in open letter.” Daily Post. January 6, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018.

28Silas, Don. “BREAKING: Suspected herdsmen attack villages in Adamawa.” Daily Post. December 4, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

29“Full text of Muhammadu Buhari’s 2018 New Year address.” Punch. January 1, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018.

30 Umar, Yusuf. “Silent killings of herdsmen ongoing in Adamawa, Fulani group alleges.” Vanguard. January 3, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018.

31 See 29

32 Olowolagba, Fikayo. “Appointment of dead people: SERAP asks Buhari to withdraw appointments.” Daily Post. December 31, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

33 Habakkuk 2:11-12 (NKJV)

34 II Kings 9 (NKJV)

35 “Full text of President Xi’s New Year address.” CGTN. December 31, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

36 See 29

37 “Chinese economic reform.” Wikipedia. January 3, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018.

38 “GDP by Country | Statistics from the World Bank, 1960 – 2016.” Nigeria Data Portal. Accessed January 9, 2018.

39 ibid

40 “GDP by Country | Statistics from the World Bank, 1960 – 2016.” Nigeria Data Portal. Accessed January 9, 2018.

41 Eastern Nigeria Development Plan, 1962-68. (Eastern Nigeria, Nigeria, Ministry of Economic Planning: Government Printer, 1962), i.

42 Bakare, ‘Tunde. “Pragmatic Steps Towards Restructuring Nigeria.” Tunde Bakare. October 1, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.

43 II Corinthians 13:8 (NKJV)

44 Odunsi, Wale. “Why every Nigerian should be a politician – Onaiyekan.” Daily Post. January 7, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2018.

45 See 42

46 “Download: Nigeria 2014 National Conference Report #NGConfab.” Premium Times. August 14, 2014. Accessed January 9, 2018. (See pages 288 – 295)

47. Isaiah 8:14 (NIV)

48. Matthew 21:44 (NKJV)




This year will be great for good music lovers, how do we know? Very easy, if so early in the year new songs are dropping with so much Power, then you can tell that 2018 is definitely going to be an Amazing Year. 

Here we start off with our very own Darling Dunnie 

She starts off the year with this great afro-fusion song telling stories about the everyday struggle of an average Lagosian. ‘Wahala‘ tells a story about the challenges faced with boarding a commercial bus (Danfo/Molue) and buying items from roadside sellers.

These are situations every Nigerian is confronted with on a daily basis (except your father is Dangote).

Produced by DonSam. 
Mix and Mastering by Mix-Masters.
Guitar by E-daniels. 
Bass by Micah.

Twitter/IG : @officialdunnie

Click here to download 

We live in a time when there is great fascination about life after death. Why this fascination with the world beyond the grave? Is it not because death is so final? Whatever one thinks about the reports of “near-death” visions, death when it finally comes is irreversible. When you finally cross the line, there is no coming back from the other side. Death wins the battle every time. After the doctors have tried the latest wonder drug, after the best minds have pooled their wisdom, after the philosophers have done their best to explain that death is only a natural part of life, we come face to face with the ugly reality that someday we will all die. And that death–whether planned or accidental, whether comfortable or painful–will be the end of life as we have known it.

Questions About Life After Death

In answering questions about life after death, we are left with only two sources to consult. Either we turn to human experience or we turn to the Word of God. If we turn to human experience, we find many guesses, many ideas, many theories–but no sure answers. That’s because, in the nature of the case, no human has a sure answer. The only people who have the answer are dead! That leaves us with the Word of God. In God’s Word we find ample, abundant answers. God who knows the future knows what happens when we die, and he hasn’t left us to wonder about it. The Bible is filled with information on this subject, so much in fact that we can offer only a brief survey in this chapter.

If you want the answer in one sentence here it is: What happens after you die depends on what happens before you die. Consider what the Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (NKJV). This is an appointment no one will miss. As someone has noted, the statistics on death are appalling. One hundred out of one hundred people will eventually die. We are all terminally ill with a disease called death; we just don’t know when the end will come.

Before we go further, let’s stop and think about some important questions that people often ask about death and dying.

Is There a “Second Chance” after Death?

This is the popular view of many people who hope that those who did not accept Christ in this life will somehow have a second chance after death–either in the afterlife or perhaps through reincarnation. The answer is quite simple: There is no biblical support whatsoever for the notion of a “second chance.” Hebrews 9:27 declares that we die once and after that comes the judgment of God. Let no one be mistaken on this point. The only opportunity you will ever have to get right with God is the opportunity God affords you right now. If you dream of coming to God after you die, you are nursing a vain hope.

What about “Near-Death Experiences”?

Such experiences are very popular today.  ooks in recent years have purported to tell of people who “died,” went to “heaven,” and then were given a “second chance” to return to the earth. Some of those books have been extremely popular, and a few have been embraced by Christians. However, a close inspection shows that most of those books embrace unbiblical heresy, either the notion that we are saved by doing good works or the idea that everyone is going to heaven in the end.

In thinking about this question, we need biblical balance. On one hand it’s undeniably true that some Bible characters did see the Lord before they died. Stephen saw Jesus just before he died in Acts 7. Paul was evidently given a vision of heaven–perhaps during his stoning at Lystra in Acts 14. He alludes to the event in 2 Corinthians 12. However, it’s important to say that such revelations did not happen often even in Bible times. Not every believer had or will have a revelation of heaven. Could such a thing happen today? Yes, but we shouldn’t expect it or base our hope of heaven upon a last-second experience.

Let’s also remember that Satan is the great deceiver. He can create scenes that seem to be scenes of heaven but are actually creations born in hell. Some near-death experiences are demonic in nature. You should never base your hope of heaven–or the hope of seeing a loved one in heaven–on a supposed vision or revelation. The only reliable ground given to us is the eternal, unchanging Word of God.

What Happens to Children Who Die?

This is obviously a very tender subject to many people. Parents want to know: Will I see my child again? The place to begin in answering this question is with the observation that the Bible doesn’t specifically address this question. However, we do know two things are true. First, children are not born innocent, but sinful. If children who die do go to heaven–and I believe they do–it is not because they are morally innocent in the sight of God. All of us are born with an inclination to sin that leads us away from God. Ephesians 2:1 says that we are spiritually dead by nature. That applies as much to young children as it does to adults. Second, we know that God’s grace is always greater than human sin. Romans 5:20 reminds us that where sin abounded, grace superabounded. God’s grace always goes far beyond sin’s disgrace.

I believe that God’s grace credits children with the merits of Jesus’ blood and righteousness so that children who die before they are old enough to believe are covered by His blood, and their entrance into heaven is made sure and certain. Thus they are saved by grace exactly as we are.

Can We Contact the Dead after They Are Gone?

The answer is no. Any attempt to dabble in spirit contact is strictly forbidden in the Bible. It is sometimes called necromancy or sorcery or dealing with familiar spirits. Remember, demons can masquerade as the dead. They can even mimic the voices of our loved ones and give information that only the dead person would have known (for more on this subject, see Leviticus 19:26-28Leviticus 19:31Deuteronomy 18:9-14Galatians 5:20). In case this isn’t clear, let me make it plain. Do not attempt to contact the dead through any means at all–séances, parlor games, crystal balls, psychic readers, channelers, or mediums. You are involving yourself in that which God forbids. Leave the dead alone.

What Do You Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One?

Over the years I have discovered that it really doesn’t matter what you say in terms of the precise words. Those who are grieving will not remember the words you say, but they will never forget that you cared enough to be there when they needed you. If you go with God’s love in your heart, he will give you any words you need to say. That means we don’t need to answer questions only God can answer. If we don’t know the spiritual state of the deceased, we shouldn’t speculate, either to offer false hope or lay a heavier burden on those who are left behind. God is both just and merciful, and in every case He will do what is right.

What Happens at the Moment of Death

Now we come to the central question: What happens at the very moment of death? I have already given the general answer: What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die. The Bible classifies the whole human race into two broad categories–the saved and the lost. The saved are those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The lost are those who haven’t. What happens to the saved is radically different from what happens to the lost.

. . . For the Saved

The Bible is abundantly clear on this point. When the saved die, they go directly into the presence of the Lord. At this point we remember the words of Jesus to the thief on the cross, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43, emphasis added). This appears to be a straightforward promise that at the moment of death the repentant thief would pass from his life of crime and his agonizing death into the realm called “paradise.” This would seem to contradict the teaching called “soul-sleep,” which implies that at death a believer “sleeps” in a kind of suspended animation until the day of the resurrection. How could the thief be that very day in paradise if his soul went to sleep when he died? At the moment of death the believer passes immediately into the personal presence of Jesus Christ. This is our hope and comfort as we stand at the graveside of a loved one.

Paul said he had a desire “to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23, emphasis added). He also said, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body (that is, separated from the body by death) and at home with the Lord’ (2 Corinthians 5:8, emphasis added). These are the words of a man who believed that heaven would begin at the moment of his death. Was Paul looking forward to an unconscious slumber after his death? No! He was looking forward to the personal presence of Jesus Christ.

But that’s not the whole story. The soul goes to be with the Lord in heaven, and the body is buried until the day of resurrection when Jesus returns to the earth. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 says, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” Here you have both sides of the truth. Christians who die are said to be “with Jesus” (that’s the soul in the conscious presence of the Lord) and “have fallen asleep in him” (that’s the body which “sleeps” in the grave). Listen to Paul’s description of that great reunion of body and soul: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, emphasis added). Here is a clear promise of future bodily resurrection for the believer.

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 adds the crucial fact that our bodies will be “raised imperishable”–that is, with a body that is perfect in every way, free from the vestiges of death and decay In this life our bodies wear out, like a clock continually running down, but when we are raised, it will be with bodies that can never decay, never wear out, never suffer injury, never grow old, never get sick, and thank God, never die.

Many Christians have a wrong view of death. We think we’re going from the land of living to the land of dying. But the opposite is true. If you know Jesus, you are going from the land of dying to the land of the living. Here are some of the images the Bible uses for the death of a Christian: going to sleep and waking up in heaven . . . moving from a tent to a mansion . . . walking from the darkness into a well-lit room . . . coming home to see your family and friends . . . being set free from prison . . . taking a long journey to a new land . . . riding a chariot to the New Jerusalem . . . moving into a brand-new home . . . opening a gate to a brand-new world.

Christians have always faced death with confidence. The very word cemetery comes from a Greek word meaning “sleeping-place,” which refers to their confidence in the promise of the resurrection. Many pagans cremated their dead because they saw no further use for the human body. But Christians buried their dead as a statement of faith in the coming resurrection of the body. I have been asked more than once how God can raise the dead if the body has been burned or lost or vaporized in some terrible explosion. I don’t think that’s a difficult question at all. If you can raise the dead, you can raise the dead. Resurrection is God’s problem, not ours. We don’t need to know the how of the resurrection as long as we know the who.

As he lay dying, D. L. Moody proclaimed, “Earth recedes, heaven opens before me.” Catherine Booth, wife of the founder of the Salvation Army, cried out, “The waters are rising, but I am not sinking.” And George MacDonald, the English novelist, said, “I came from God, and I’m going back to God, and I won’t have any gaps of death in the middle of my life.” John Wesley summed up the faith of the early Methodists with four simple words: “Our people die well.”

When Benjamin Franklin was twenty-three years old, he wrote the following epitaph. His words catch the essence of the Christian doctrine of bodily resurrection:

The body of Benjamin FranklinPrinter;Like the cover of an old book,Its contents torn out,And stripped of its lettering and gilding,Lies here, food for worms.But the work shall not be wholly lost:For it will, as he believed, appear once more,In a new and more elegant edition,Revised and corrected
By the Author.

Once our bodies are raised, we will be with the Lord forever. Wherever he is, there we will be, rejoicing, praising, singing, and celebrating throughout the ages of eternity. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, “We will be with the Lord forever.” Speaking of his own return, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3, emphasis added).

What is ahead for us when we die?

  • Our soul goes into the conscious presence of the Lord.
  • Our body is buried until the day of resurrection.
  • When Christ returns, we will be raised bodily from the grave.
  • Body and soul reunited, we will be with the Lord forever.

As Tony Evans says, “Have a good time at my funeral, because I’m not going to be there.”

… For the Lost

Now we turn to briefly consider the fate of those who die without Jesus Christ. The lost fear death and with good reason. Job 18:14calls death “the king of terrors.” Hebrews 2:14reminds us that the devil holds people in bondage through the fear of death. And 1 Corinthians 15:26 calls death “the last enemy.”

Before saying any more, we should note one similarity between the fate of the saved and the lost. At the moment of death, the body is buried in the grave while the soul enters a new realm. For the believer, the moment of death brings him into the personal presence of Christ. For the unbeliever, death begins an experience of unending conscious punishment.

We can summarize the fate of the lost in four short statements:

1. At the moment of death the soul of the lost is sent to hell where it is in conscious torment. In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus told of a rich man who upon his death went to hell and suffered in the flames of torment. It does not matter whether you think this passage is literal or figurative. If you say it is literal, then it must be a terrible punishment. If it is figurative, the figure itself is so awful to consider that the reality must be much worse.

2. That punishment is eternal. Though this is debated in some circles today, Christians have united across the centuries in their belief that the Bible teaches an eternal punishment for those who do not know our Lord. Mark 9:43-48speaks of the fire that is not quenched and the worm that does not die–a reference to the continuing existence of human personality in hell.

3. The body is raised at the Great White Throne judgment. Revelation 20:11-15 describes the awesome scene as the unsaved dead are raised to stand before God and receive their final sentence of doom.

4. The unsaved are then cast into the lake of fire where they will reside forever, eternally separated from the presence of Almighty God. If this is unbearable to think about, if we shrink from such a thought, then let us by all means do whatever is necessary to make sure that such a fate does not befall us or the ones we love the most.

This is the final destiny of those who do not know Jesus Christ. To make it more personal, it is the final destiny of your friends and neighbors, your loved ones, your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your children, if they die without Jesus Christ. And it is your destiny if you die without Jesus Christ. Let that thought linger in your mind. The reality of hell is more than just a theoretical doctrine. There is a place reserved for you in the lake of fire unless you by a conscious choice put your complete trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Dr. Barnhouse and the Shadow of Death

Only one question remains. How can you personally face your own death with confidence? Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse–beloved Bible teacher of another generation–told the following story. While he was still a young man in the ministry, his first wife died. As he was returning from the funeral with his heartbroken children, their car came to a stoplight just as a massive truck pulled up next to them, blocking the light of the sun. Seeing the immense shadow that had overtaken them, Dr. Barnhouse asked his children if they would rather be run over by the truck or by the shadow of the truck. “By the shadow,” the children instantly replied, knowing that a shadow could not hurt them. “That’s what has happened to your mother,” he told them. “Death cannot hurt her because the Lord Jesus Christ took her to heaven. It is only the shadow of death that took her from us.”

If you know Jesus, you have nothing to fear when death knocks at your door. Death comes to all of us–it will come for you one of these days. Do you know Jesus? If so, then you need not live in fear. Death may be quick or slow, painful or painless, but when the moment comes, you will find yourself ushered into heaven where you will see Jesus face to face.

Some people wonder if they will have enough faith when they die. They worry about losing their faith and wonder if that will cause God to turn them away. When she was a young child in Holland Corrie ten Boom worried about her own death and whether or not she would have enough courage when the moment finally came. Her father–Papa ten Boom–knew of her fears and calmed her heart with these words: “Corrie, when I am going to take you on the train, when do I give you the ticket?” “Just before we get on board.” “That’s right. Dying is like taking a trip to see the Lord Jesus. He will give you whatever you need just when you need it. If you don’t have the courage now, it’s because you don’t need it now. When you need it, the Lord will give it to you, and you won’t be afraid.”

In another generation, believers talked about “dying grace.” They meant the special enablement God gives to his children as death draws near. Countless Christians who worried about their last moments on earth have exited this life full of faith because the Lord gave them grace just when they needed it most.

Jesus Has the Keys

Here are the words of Jesus in Revelation 1:18: “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Keys are a sign of authority. If you have the keys to my house, you can open it and go in anytime you want. It is often said that the devil owns the gates of hell–that is, he has the power of death. But that’s okay. The devil has the gates, but Jesus has the keys. We have nothing to fear in the moment of death for when the time comes, Jesus will personally unlock the gate and usher us into his presence.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25). If you believe in Jesus, you will never die. What an amazing promise. But believers die every day. Yes, but for the believer, death is merely the passing from this life with all its sorrows into life eternal in the presence of our Lord. The question is not: What happens when we die? But rather: What will happen when you die?

Death is not the end of the road, it is only a bend in the road. For the believer, death is the doorway to heaven. For the unbeliever, it is a passageway into unimaginable suffering. These things are true even if we do not fully understand them. They are true even if we don’t believe them.

What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die. Here is my final word to you: Make sure you’re ready to die so that when the time comes, you won’t be surprised by what happens next.

A Truth to Remember:

What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die.

Take a moment to calculate the number of days you have lived so far. Now take a guess as to how many more days you expect to live. What is the most eternally profitable way you can spend your remaining days?

  • 1. Have you ever had a near-death experience, or do you know anyone who has? Why is it crucial that such experiences always be evaluated by the standard of God’s Word?
  • 2. Why does the Bible contain such strong warnings against trying to contact the spirits of the dead? What happens when those warnings are ignored?
  • 3. Picture the moment of your own death. How do you expect it will happen? Do you fear that moment? Describe what will happen to you the first five minutes after your death.
  • 4. Do you believe in the resurrection of the dead? Why is this doctrine essential to the Christian faith? Name at least five Christians now dead who will be raised when Christ returns.
  • 5. Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 and Revelation 20:11-15. What does the first passage teach about the resurrection of the saved? What does the second passage teach about the resur­rection of the lost?
  • 6. Do you believe in a place called hell where unbelievers are punished for eternity? Why or why not? Why is this doctrine sometimes denied today?

[Taken from FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About The Christian Life by Keep Believing Ministries. Used by permission.]

Is Jesus God? If you answered with a quick, firm “yes,” read on. Recent polls show a whopping 96% of Americans believe in “God.” Obviously, considering the state of American Christianity, something doesn’t quite add up. Dare we assume that 96% of Americans believe in the Christian God? Do we all have the same “god” in mind when we confess faith?

Now think about the center of Christian apologetics: that Jesus Christ is God. Please don’t excommunicate me just yet, but if you were to ask me, “Is Jesus God?” I would respond with another question. “Which ‘god’ are we talking about?” Most evangelical Christians, when sharing the Gospel, assume that Jesus’ identity is in question, while God’s isn’t. In other words, we think everyone basically agrees with us about who God is, and so all we must do is simply proclaim Jesus’ divine link to Him.

Declaring the divinity of Jesus by stating matter-of-factly that He is God does not really resolve anything until we have painted the biblical picture of the true God. Yet in the past 200 years, fundamentalists and evangelicals have defended Christ’s divinity without stopping to consider how God’s identity is also under attack. Why? Liberal theologians have taught that Jesus was not divine and should not be worshipped as God in the flesh. Conservative Christians have rightly recoiled from such heresy, but while simply affirming Jesus’ deity might stifle the theologians, it provokes a “so what?” from the person on the street.

“Jesus is God” can’t be true until we get past all the other “gods” masquerading under the Christian “God” label. Muslims worship an impersonal, distant “god” (Allah, in Arabic), but is the Muslim-god the same as ours? Most Americans will line up to sing “God bless America.” Yet considering the Deist beliefs of several of our forefathers (and a growing segment of the population today), this Clockmaker-god does nothing more than put the clock together, wind it up, put it up on a shelf, and go about His business or back to His rocking chair. If the god that is in mind is one of these, saying “Jesus is God” is incorrect. Jesus definitely is not that god.

A Christian who knows his Bible and has a clear picture of God can be telling the truth when he says, “Jesus is God”, and at the same time, the person listening (perhaps with a Deist concept of god) may be hearing an outright lie. Jesus’ divinity is not the only issue at stake here; God’s very identity is under attack too.

Some readers might affirm that “Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” in order to eliminate many pluralistic gods. But where does that leave our Jewish friends, since they would easily affirm the same statement? You might say, “Jews and Christians share the same God! It’s just about Jesus that we don’t see eye to eye.” By saying this, Christians make a glaring misrepresentation of Yahweh – the Great I Am.

God is not God apart from Jesus. It is pointless to try to define the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob apart from Jesus Christ. That is the pluralistic problem plaguing so many Christian factions today. Since you can’t explain the Bible’s God without involving the Trinity, you can never fully explain how “Jesus is God” makes any sense at all.

Since Christians believe in a triune God – Yahweh in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we actually undermine the divinity of Christ by claiming that our God is the same as that of our Jewish friends. As Christians, we believe Jesus is so important that you can’t define God’s identity apart from Him.

So what’s the answer? What can help us get through some of the theological red tape and bring us to the point where we can once again make a firm statement for the Gospel?

Here’s the statement that I recommend you chew on a little bit: GOD IS JESUS. When you see Jesus, you are seeing God, not just because Jesus is God, but also because God is Jesus. Jesus is the One who shows us who God is and what God is like.

Of course, “God is Jesus” is a statement that has its own interesting theological snags. We can start heading backwards by asking, “Which Jesus is God?” since people don’t agree on Jesus’ identity either! Still, I believe we can more easily define Jesus’ identity and how it relates to God’s Person than we can trying to go the other way around.

So, looking ahead for the 21st century, how can we move forward in our Gospel proclamation? Let’s teach people who Jesus is; show them how Scripture describes Him; tell about His atoning sacrifice on the cross; proclaim Him as Lord. Then, utilizing the biblical portrait of Jesus, tell people, “That’s who God is. That’s what God is like! That’s God in human flesh.” You want to know God’s identity? Meet Jesus. God is Jesus.

Written by Trevin Wax. © Kingdom People Blog. Used by permission. All rights reserved.