Archive for the ‘HMMMM’ Category

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Question: 
I have been dating a wonderful man for two years. We are both very serious and involved with our relationship and have spoken about marriage favorable. However, today’s view of marriage seems to teach that marriage is based on your happiness and can be temporary. I’m worried that I’m not prepared for how God wants me to view marriage. What does the Bible say about marriage? Answer:
Before we dig into several aspects of marriage, it’s important to start with the Biblical definition of marriage. Marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden at the time of man’s creation as a union between man and woman (Genesis 2:18-24). 

Facts the Bible Tells Us about Marriage:

  1. Marriage is an indissoluble relationship except on the highest grounds (Matthew 19:9).
     
  2. Monogamous relationship between husband and wife as stated in the original law (Matthew 19:51 Corinthians 6:16).
     
  3. Husband and wife are equal before God (Ephesians 5:29-311 Peter 3:7).
     
  4. The relationship is to reflect the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
     
  5. Husband is the loving head of relationship and wife is subordinate (1 Corinthians 11:8-91 Timothy 2:13Ephesians 5:21-33Colossians 3:191 Peter 3:1-6).
     
  6. The relationship is fruitful (Genesis 1:28a).

In summary, we can see that marriage is an intimate and complementing union between a man and a woman in which the two become one physically, in the whole of life. The purpose of marriage is to reflect the relationship of the Godhead and to serve him. Although the fall has marred the divine purpose and function of marriage, this definition reflects the God-ordained ideal for marriage from the beginning.
To read more on the Biblical definition of marriage, read our comprehensive, in-depth commentary at: BibleStudyTools.com’s dictionary reference for marriage

love bears all things

Biblical Marriage as a Witness and Example

“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another” (John 13:35). Marriage is a significant institution by which a lost world can see Christianity in action. Marriage is the most intimate of human relationships in which husbands and wives learn to model Christ’s love. Marriage is the 18-year training ground for children so that they can also love “one another.” Marriage provides a unique opportunity to reflect Him as a couple. Marriage provides a platform for accomplishing God’s intentions for mankind.
Read more at: A Biblical Perspective of Marriage

How is the Bible’s view of marriage different than what the world says? 

 

Lie 1:  “If you’re not compatible, you may have married the wrong person.”

God’s truth says that marriage is a covenant relationship. Once you choose to marry, it’s no longer up for debate as to whether your spouse is the “right one.” Marriage makes them the right one, for it’s a commitment before God. It’s never to be based on shifting feelings, but a choice every day to love the spouse you’ve chosen to marry. In a world that often prefers to “trade in for an updated version,” this truth doesn’t make sense. But according to God’s Word it’s very clear.

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”(Mark 10:9)

Lie 2:  “If you’re not happy, don’t stay in an unhappy situation. You deserve more.”

For many of us, marriage can tend to bring our selfishness out like nothing else. We want our way. We insist on our rights. We want our spouse to make us happy, and right now! In the midst of demands, we’ll never be free to truly love and serve one another. Our focus will tend to be one-sided – our side – and what we want. Yet God’s goal for marriage was not just to “make us happy.” The truest picture of marriage is that it symbolizes the love of Christ for us.  And His desire for us all is that we be made more into the image of Himself.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

Lie 3: Marriage is a 50/50 relationship.” 

Marriage takes two people, fully committed, choosing every day, to love and cherish. 50/50 will never be enough to see you through the toughest times. It’s only half effort and it seeks to compare what we’re doing with the other, always needing to check to see if they’re keeping up with expectations. This isn’t what God intends. His plan is covenant relationship, centered in Christ, loving through Christ; that is what will carry us through both good times and bad. It will take full effort of 100/100 to have a strong relationship which will thrive over time. 

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)
Read more at: 10 Lies the World Tells You About Marriage

BibleStudyTools.com: This Powerful Video of the Love Chapter Gave Me Chills from biblestudytools on GodTube.



What does the Bible say about sex in marriage?

In this over-sexed and under-loved world, people are looking for the real deal, the secret to lasting love with a vibrant sex life. Because of this pursuit for a purer passion, the most asked question we get when it comes to Red Hot Monogamy is, “What is okay with God?”

First and foremost, sex is for marriage. Ephesians 5:31-32(quoting Genesis) “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8 reinforces this with the reminder,“It is God’s will that you keep away from sexual sin as a mark of your devotion to him” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, GW).

For married couples, God gives only a few clear commands on what is and isn’t permissible with the gift of sex he created. Instead of a list of “no-no’s” let’s look at his guidelines in the affirmative:  

You can say YES if you:

Yield to one another. Everything done is agreed upon. The goal in intimacy is unity. In Red Hot Monogamy we look at the 8 areas of intimacy and give tools to build intimacy in each area. Colossians 3:1 encourages: And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. If you love, you will want to talk through and agree on expressions in sexuality.  

Extend it in love. No one should ever feel forced or coerced in sex. The sex acts should reflect love, not demean or inflict pain. Sex is a relationship to be protected not a person to exploit. Hebrews 13:4 reminds: Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled.  

Secure it with privacy. Sex should only be you two alone. Your marriage bed is yours and yours alone (no other partners, no pornography, no mommy porn, no fake imitations of body parts). Why settle for anything fake when you can create the real thing live and in person? When it comes to grey areas, things not specifically forbidden, applying 1 Corinthians 6:12 is a smart choice: 

Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power. 
Read more: Married Sex – What’s OK with God?  



Does the Bible say there is one specific person for us to marry?

There is nothing in Scripture that suggests there is just one person we’re ‘supposed’ to marry. Proverbs 31 urges young men to be guided by a woman’s faith and character in making their choice–there is no mention of second guessing some divine destiny. In 1 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul tells women (widows, in particular) to seriously consider singleness, but assures them the choice of whether to get married is up to them, and then specifically says women can marry “whomever they wish” as long as their potential husband is ‘in the Lord.’ (v. 39) If the Bible explicitly says, ‘it’s your call whether or not to get married’ (a sentiment Jesus echoes when he says some “choose” to become eunuchs–celibate–in Matthew 19:12, with emphasis on the word “choose”) and it’s entirely your choice as to who to marry, why should your subjective feelings and reasoning override living by the truth of Scripture?

 

There is, quite frankly, nothing in Scripture that ever tells us it is our sworn duty to marry one particular person. Whether we marry, and who we marry, are spoken of in Scripture as part of God’s “permissive will,” something he allows us to choose.
Read more at: No, God Didn’t Tell You To Marry Your Spouse

love and marriage - better things ahead



Quick Reference Bible Verses About Marriage

1 Corinthians 7:1-40 – The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife….

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

Ephesians 5:21-23 – Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church– for we are members of his body.“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. 

Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.

Hebrews 13:4 –  Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 

Genesis 2:22-24 – Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. 

Proverbs 21:9 – Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. 

Matthew 19:2-9 – Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 

Proverbs 19:14 – Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Read More Bible Verses About Marriage at BibleStudyTools.com.


Related Articles about Marriage 

40 Powerful Blessings to Pray over Your Marriage

5 Things a Wife Needs (But Doesn’t Know How to Ask For)
7 of the Greatest Needs of a Husband
20 Scriptures to Strengthen Your Marriage
20 Reasons Marriages Fail (Even Christian Marriages)
God’s Three Purposes for Marriage
12 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married


This article is part of our larger Spiritual Life resource meant to answer your questions about the Bible, God and the Christian faith. Visit our most popular questions on “What does the Bible say about…” questions answered by well known Christians and theologians to find more inspiration. Remember that as you read these articles, the Holy Spirit will give you understanding and discernment to make the right decision for your walk with Jesus Christ! If you know others struggling with these faith questions, please share and help others discover the truth on these controversial topics. 

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Tips to a brighter Relationship
The wise couples (you know the ones that most people say “they were meant to be”) turn into wine and keep on getting better with age. Yet, lots of relationship fade away after the excitement phase is over and separate themselves like oil and water.

If you want your relationship to have the long life it deserves, have a look at our 10 things to do for a brighter relationship.

1. Have a positive attitude towards life

Everyone wants to be around cheerful people that seize the moment and take the best of everything.

A constant attitude of dissatisfaction, complaining and nagging — attracts negative emotions creating a terrible mood, and implicitly creating bad relationships between people.

Having and keeping a positive attitude towards life makes you a more attractive partner while at the same time, makes you a happier person overall.

2. Love yourself

Your partner doesn’t want to be the object of your sacrifices. He wants you to be happy with him just as much as he wants to feel good with you.

You both need to be pleased and fulfilled with your own individualities in order to be able to draw the same emotions in your relationship. And, more importantly, you need to preserve your own personality above and beyond the things you’re doing to please the other person.

3. Pay attention to your partner’s wants and needs

Men and women are different and inherently share different perspectives on relationship and what makes them happy in life. Acting controlling and trying to change your lover around to like the things that you do and undertake the actions and reactions you see as righteous — is an instant major turnoff for your partner and extremely frustrating for you.

4. Show admiration and gratitude

If you are in a relationship with someone — it goes without saying that you appreciate them for a series of qualities, the way they treat you, how they make you feel etc.

The key here is to REMIND your partner CONSTANTLY just how much you admire the things he/she does for you and the way those makes you feel.

5. Be careful with words

“Words cut deeper than swords” is more than just an idiom. It is a universally valid truth.

You cannot take back an offense, an insult, a humiliation, a lie or any verbal abuse. No matter how much you’ll excuse yourself after the storm has passed. It will irreversible linger in the back of your partner’s head and “scar” her/his feelings or opinions about you.

6. Show respect

Any kind of healthy relationship needs to be built on mutual respect.

Respect is multi-leveled and shows that you have common-sense and value the person for what they are and stand for. Therefore, you need to respect them verbally (see item 5), you need to respect their opinions and decision even when you don’t agree with them, you need to respect their friends and family even if sometimes it’s just for the single reason that “they come with the package”.

7. Be empathetic

We all go through stressful periods, have bad days and lazy moments and get affected by various factors which alter our spirits and self-worth. Having someone besides you who accentuates your awful mood rather than ameliorating it — is even worse.

So, try to cheer up your other half when they’re down, accept that your partner might be upset by something that does not impinge on you (and vice-versa) and show them compassion. Bear in mind that once in a while, we all need some time alone.

8. Make memories together

There is nothing that brings you two closer than going through happy, adventurous and also less joyful experiences together. Try to make an effort towards taking some trips, lessons (dance/music), doing whatever you find exciting and fun (scuba-diving, camping, participating in a contest) as long as you do them TOGETHER.

Take a lot of pictures and souvenirs to reinforce your good times and to remember that blissfulness, if and when things become tedious.

9. Fight routine

Sometimes, life just seems too demanding and tiring to find the time, patience and will to fight daily routine. Still, as I said previously, memories are what make your connection deeper and more meaningful. Sitting in front of the TV the whole afternoon and ordering dinner every evening is not too much of an experience.

10. Spice up your love life

Routine is again a turnoff when it comes to your most intimate moments. Once again, being adventurous and open to trying new things can make a huge difference.

You need to constantly find new ways to appeal to your partner’s senses and outreach his or her desires.

Try new positions and / or locations, anticipate the moment (through messages, notes, phone calls) and value foreplay in order to relate at a deeper emotional level. Dare to dive into each other’s fantasies and be that person that he or she never had and never wants to leave.

There’s nothing wildly spectacular about the pieces of advice shared throughout the article yet that’s precisely the reason why they work — always! They fit with any person and any type of personality, it’s what people in successful relationship do, and what keeps them in those relationships.

So, are you ready to brighten your relationship with these 10 easy and natural things?

A Deeper Look at Love

When Laura Ingalls was growing up in various places in the American frontier—Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Minnesota and the Dakota Territory—she wanted nothing more than to be outdoors working or playing. She cheerfully helped with harvesting, gardening and caring for the animals.

During the Ingalls’ time in western Minnesota, scarlet fever struck most of the family. The disease left Laura’s older sister Mary completely blind. Mary had to give up her dream of being a teacher. She was still quite capable of doing housework and sewing, though, jobs she had enjoyed even before she lost her sight. Laura often resented Mary because Mary was so good. She was always gentle, patient and uncomplaining. Sometimes Laura wanted to slap Mary for all her perfection.

After the Ingalls family moved west to the Dakota Territory, a minister told them of a college for the blind in Iowa. College was an impossible dream for Mary unless the family could raise a substantial amount of money. The only way Laura could contribute was to do something that went against all her wishes. She could become what Mary had wanted to be—a teacher. If Laura did well in school for the next two years, at age sixteen she could get a teaching certificate.

Laura didn’t want to teach school. The last thing she wanted was to stay indoors and study just so she could eventually stay indoors and teach.

Laura relented, however, because of her maturing attitude toward her sister. On one of their walks, Laura realized that she was changing. She began to admire Mary. As the possibilities rose that Mary could leave for college, Laura realized how much she would miss her. She found she loved Mary after all.

Laura’s first teaching job was at a tiny new school twelve long wintery miles from home. Laura boarded in a tiny shanty with a couple who could barely tolerate each other. The man was nearly silent. The woman hated the isolated pioneer life and had become unbalanced. She resented Laura’s presence, screamed at her husband and threatened him with a butcher knife. Laura’s only refuge was the schoolhouse. Though her students were difficult and she often felt like a failure, being at school was better than being at the shanty.

Back at home on weekends, Laura admitted to her younger sister Carrie how much she hated teaching. She didn’t tell her parents because she was afraid they would make her quit before the year was out. Instead, she doggedly kept at it. What mattered was what was best for Mary. Laura’s pay was enough to keep Mary in college that year and to bring her home the next summer. Only Laura Ingalls’s love for her sister kept her in that first teaching job. Love led her to sacrifice her own ideal plans for Mary’s sake.

In creation and in his Word, God offers us testimony of his love for us. But John says that God has done even more. He has made the ultimate sacrifice: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).

If God has gone to the ultimate lengths of love for us, we can only respond by making tangible sacrifices of love for one another. We may express our love in words, but our words are empty if they are not accompanied by actions. We may have warm fuzzy feelings inside, but our feelings remain private pleasures if they do not translate into deeds. We are even called to love others when warm sentiments are absent. Human feelings ebb and flow. True Christian love is not a slave to such emotional fluctuations.

Ben Witherington III writes about love in the Scriptures:

In the Hebrew Scriptures, hesed refers to a sort of love that has been promised and is owed—covenant love, that is—as in Hosea 11:1: “When Israel was a child, I loved him and out of Egypt I called my son.” Covenant love is the love God promised to give to his covenant people, and which they in turn were to respond with in kind, loving the God of the Bible with all their hearts, minds and strength…. Covenant love, like marital love, is neither optional nor unconditional; it is obligatory. This is not to say hesed is compelled—just as in a marriage, love cannot be forced—but it is commanded. . . .

It is sometimes difficult for a modern person, who associates love with uncontrollable feelings, to understand how the Bible can command love of God, neighbors, even enemies. But in the Bible the many terms translated as “love” do not refer primarily to feelings. They refer to decisions of the will. This voluntaristic notion of love is recalled in modern wedding services, where the bride and groom say “I do” and “I will” when they are asked to make their vows, not “I feel like it.” In the Bible, when God’s people are called upon to “love,” they are being asked to do something loving and responsive to the love of God, whether they feel like it or not.1

A young couple lived next door to us, not married, each with a long history of living with various other people. One day the woman announced to us that this current guy was the guy for her, for the rest of her life. There would never be another in the whole world. We asked if they planned to be married. “No,” she quickly responded, “a marriage is too hard to get out of. Too much red tape.” Her boyfriend may have been the only guy for her, but she was already planning her exit strategy. It was no surprise when their relationship soon disintegrated.

By contrast we remember the nursing home where Sandy’s mother lived for several years. Sandy’s father had died several years before, but there were other residents in the nursing home whose spouses were still living. We recall a woman who arrived one day carrying balloons which proclaimed “Happy 50th!” Her husband was in the nursing home, in circumstances neither of them would have chosen. Perhaps at times he did not even recognize her. Never mind; her love overcame all that. She was determined that nothing would stop them from celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

The pure and perfect love of Jesus did not always feel good or make him happy. In the hours before he was arrested, tried and crucified, Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. He was about to give his life for the world. He was there in that place, facing that death, because he loved us. How did he feel? He told three of his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Mark 14:34). He prayed desperately to his Father, “Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).

Jesus obeyed his Father when he didn’t “feel like it.” Because he obeyed in spite of his emotions, we are now empowered to love God and each other, as John admonishes us: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

What’s the main idea in this section?

What is one thing you can act on based on this reading?

Notes

1. Ben Witherington III, “From Hesed to Agape: What’s Love Got to Do with It?” Bible Review, December 2003, accessed December 6, 2011, at http://www.basarchive.org/sample/bswbBrowse.asp?PubID=BSBR&Volume=19&Issue=6&ArticleID=7.


Taken from A Deeper Look at the Fruit of the Spirit by Hazel Offner. Copyright(c) 2013 by Hazel Offner. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515. http://www.ivpress.com

If you’re longing to go deeper in your understanding of God and his Word, LifeGuide® in Depth Bible Studies are for you. These new studies will meet your need for both rich, solidly researched content and personal application. They’ll meet your need for Bible study that challenges your head and your heart. Most of all, we pray you’ll meet God in them.

Jesus was so large of heart, so large of spirit, so endless in consciousness. Like, you don’t even need to think he is the son of God. Just think of him, first, as a man. He was such a man of beauty. Impatient with hate, dismissive of judgement, large of heart. Jesus was a beautiful man. Giving, forgiving, listening, understanding, relating, empathising. He was what some call, a son of mercy. How did his followers get so angry, and faithful and full of the fury of condemnation, and … xenophobia.

It’s all this ‘heretical’ teachings that take symbols and words and twist and bed them to fit whatever prejudice is in vogue in that age. Every generation has had its interpretation of the book of Revelations for 2000+ years. To fit its social context, and in this generation, our apocalyptic influencers insist the job of Christians is to delay the anti-Christ. *Shudders* And delaying the anti christ often means, in their telling, fighting ‘sin’, attacking the ‘sinful’, fighting cultural wars. To do this, they often descend on the book of Revelations and stretch and pull every word and symbol until it fits that assignment.

I have no doubt that they truly, truly believe in what they say, and their hearts may be in the right place. But it’s oh so dangerous. When Christians leave the simple, clear words and teachings of Jesus and the example of his life and witness, to pursue… evil.

Like sometimes I understand why the world is so cynical, so suspicious of Christians and Christian motive. Why they disconnect from our culture, and attack beautiful experiences like worship, or tongues, or prayer. They don’t see what I see when I am in many gatherings and I see the family of God’s children in worship, in fellowship, Connected, broken, emptied of self and ego and ambition, and fear and hate. Ah, worship, it’s a blessing to watch people in worship.

Then, those same people get into the world after service and then they become this judgemental, angry set of people. It really confuses me. Really confounds me. Like, how did you lose that pure state, that Jesus-state, so soon? How did you let it go? How did you let love go? How did you let compassion go?

Jesus was a disruptor. He was a spiritual disruptor. And that disruption was to the Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and all of that of the times the eye-for-an-eye, God-of-wrath stranglehold. His disruption was love. If it wasn’t love, then there was no point of His coming. The religions of the time already had judgement, condemnation down to a part. If that’s what he came here for, then it was unnecessary. But he came because his message was radical and revolutionary.

The way I see it. God was tired of the disruption of his true image for millions of years. He sent Jesus to make it right. To reveal his true nature that prophets and priests had struggled with for years. Jesus came to earth to model God’s true nature. That’s why it’s so difficult to justify a gospel of hate with his life. You can’t use Jesus’s words to justify this self-righteousness. You often have to turn to flawed apostles, or visioners. I’ll stick with Jesus. I’ll always cast my lot with Jesus. Stop “fighting for God”. He doesn’t need your help. What he asked you do is work on your life and bring others to him through that life. 

Listen, Jesus didn’t send the church to fight the devil for him. Nope. Jesus already won that battle on the cross. It is finished.

Anytime the Bible teaches about the Devil, it’s in relation to a Christian’s personal life. Resist the devil and he will flee “FROM YOU”. It’s not for you to carry weapons and go claiming you are fighting the devil. God doesn’t need your help to fight the devil. God needs you help to fight for your salvation and to draw others to him. And his weapon for that is love. The more you spend time fighting the world, the less time you have living a better life as a Christian. 

Matthew 7:5

Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (NLT) 

When Christians stop persuading and start coercing, we have moved so far from what Jesus thought, we’ve practically turned our backs on Him.  Here’s what Walter Brueggemann has to say about “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God.” 

I so desperately want people to meet Jesus. To meet this beautiful, incredible guy. All this hate from Christians makes it so hard. 

Important reading: “The Problem with, Hate the Sin Love the Sinner” 

“Using “hate the sin” as a license for cruelty defeats the purpose of proclaiming truth.”

Read >Psalms 31 – 35

Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave (Ps. 31:17).

Those who belong to Christ have no reason to be ashamed. There is nothing greater that can happen to an individual than to have the redemptive power of Jesus Christ touch their life. Nothing could be better or more positive than knowing you have been saved by the grace of the Son of God. There is no better feeling than knowing your eternal home has been bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb. Praise God! 

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb. 9:14).

That may all sound a bit like preaching. As believers in Christ, we should find it hard not to want to tell it to the entire world. We are truly the most blessed people in the world. Why shouldn’t we say that?

What condition does today’s verse set for not being ashamed? Those who have called on the name of the Lord. That includes all of us who have had our sins erased by the forgiveness of Jesus.

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Rev. 1:5).

The wondrous miracle of having our sins forgiven can only come from God. There is no other way to have our past mistakes erased. With Jesus, we get a fresh start and a new life.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us (Ps. 103:12).

Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).

Read >Psalms 18 – 22

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies (Ps. 18:2-3).

These verses are an awesome testimony to how David felt about the Lord. David, even at a young age, had seen God work in and through his life. David truly knew of what God was capable. 

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth (Rev. 19:6).

David had seen God work in these ways in his life. God had been a defender for him as he faced the lion and the bear as a simple shepherd that was protecting his family’s flock. Not only did God protect David, He gave David the victory over the beasts.

 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James 1:25).

David not only had experienced God’s empowerment in battle, but he knew all about God’s hand of protection. King Saul had wanted David dead because of the jealousy he felt over the people’s love for David. He hunted David with all that was at his disposal. The Lord guided David continually throughout this time. God kept David out of Saul’s reach until Saul was killed in battle.

Let me just start straight up, exactly how I see it. ​In some sense I don’t think the colonial project really ended in Nigeria. We just shifted the tyranny and extractive ethos to a local elite.

What difference is it to a Teacher in Takum, A Farmer in Otukpo or a Fisherman in Ekim,  if his faraway oppressor is in Abuja or in London, or indeed, in Jalingo, Makurdi or Uyo his state capital?

When people talk about a country growing from poor to rich, that gets lost in the jargon of income per capita and other metrics.

In fact, what that looks like is a fisherman in Ekim in 1923 has grand kids who have vastly better incomes, education, health, opportunity. It means that a fisherman’s grandchild has the opportunity to compete to be a bank manager or even CEO today. That’s progress. 

It’s about people, en masse, moving from a life where they have low productivity to vastly higher productivity. But what I think has happened since 1923 is that children of fishermen mostly became fishermen themselves, with no change in productivity. Or they moved to cities to work in other low productivity jobs. Comparing his grandfather’s life to his, it hasn’t changed much (or has grown worse).

This is the challenge. How does a society develop to ensure that each successive generation lives better and has a better shot: progress.

So many problems just vanish when people are well fed, life is not bitterly difficult, the kids are looked after, etc. People keep looking to the various governments. We expect that an omnipotent Federal Government has the resources to fix all problems: It can’t. 
Looking at the 2017 budget across Africa, it is clear that the Federal Government of Nigeria is broke. We plan to spend roughly $120/Nigerian. The Kenyan Government is spending $560/Kenyan. South Africa: $2180/SAn. That is a big difference. 

But that doesn’t tell the full tale really, because as the saying goes: ‘Every Nigerian is a Local Government’. We are paying for that budget. We are paying in hardship, in the high cost of living, the lack of opportunity, one of the lowest life expectancy rates on earth and so on.
Of course, in the middle of all this, we supposedly have one of the biggest economies in Africa. I always find that one hilarious. If we had the productivity of the average South African worker, our economy would be two or three times its current size (our labour pool is 3 times larger than theirs). Also, SA’s government is spending about 33% of GDP. We, with our unsigned budget, are spending 7%. Again, pointer that Government isn’t that big.

The Government has to start working to empower Nigerians. It cannot be this colonialist mafia that just extracts from the population. They sit in Abuja with the best roads in the country, but a man in Nnewi or Aba cannot ship his produce through Calabar or Port Harcourt. Buhari is ‘recuperating’ in London claiming to be taking made in Nigeria drugs, while doctors are being tassed in LUTH over salaries that they are actually owed. This is colonialism!

I think it is so bad that we do not EXPECT things to get better in the next 25 years, so we optimise towards the proximate next best. 

Always interesting to read about America after the war (and California in the 70s). Phrase ‘alive with possibility’ always seems to come up. What phrases come up in your everyday experience? Of course we hear ‘there is money in this country,’ but it rings hollow for most people. What tends to ring true are things like: ‘This country is finished’; referring to other countries ‘these are serious countries’ and so on. You face a self-fulfilling prophecy situation — you think the country is finished, so you behave like a person living in a finished country. You don’t inflate the contract by 20% and fix the road well, you under-engineer the road and inflate the contract by 200%. 10 people do well, 1,000,000 suffer. The same road is re-tendered in a different budget cycle and the sham is repeated. 

2019 is coming. There will be an incredible amount of energy poured into it from that 7 trillion naira budget (and other budgets to come). To what end? The person is inheriting a mess. (And the funniest part is that we are going to hear the same vacuous, platitudinous slogans!). Actor, Andy Roid in Game of Thrones described it as “focusing on the politics of the Red Keep while White Walkers, Dothraki Hordes and Dragons are coming for you”. We aren’t talking about our real problems. 

The country is broke; y’all are marrying and having babies far too much; the government is choking off progress. We need to think about how govt can become more accountable, become less colonialist, to actually work for the people. Maybe that is confederalism or true federalism, I don’t know. I’ll leave thoughts on how to change the status quo for another time. I drop my pen here. We all need to start thinking right and start acting.

Read >Ezra 8 – 9

For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him – (Ezra 8:22).

The feelings that this man of God had were in some ways understandable and in other ways not. It is easy to see why he could have been ashamed or embarrassed. The proclamation had been made that the hand of protection of God was on all those that sought Him. It was said that God would strike down all the enemies of His people. It would seem that trust was being put in man instead of God by asking for military assistance. If this was the case, there was definitely an error to trust anything over God. 

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe (I Tim. 4:10).

On the other hand, things can always be looked at in a different way. It is true that God often works in supernatural ways. We see that clearly in select parts of the Word of God. There were healings, resurrections from the dead and many other miracles done, especially during the time that Christ lived in human form. Many seek after God for this very type of work in their life.

Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world (John 6:14).

However, God will work, often, in other ways. God will use natural means to meet the needs within our lives. When we need comfort, He may send it through a dear friend. When we need healing, He may send it in the form of a doctor. And when we need protection, God may send an army of humans or an army of angels or whatever he chooses. The choice must be left up to the Lord.

The Lord could very well do exactly as this verse said using either a human army or an angelic one. God can use either to crush the enemies of Him and His people.

One thing about the ongoing Big Brother Naija reality TV show is the fact that whether you watch it or not, it’s in your face. As such, the concern of many over it’s value to the Nigerian society cannot be pushed aside. Unfortunately, the show has thrived on catering to the naughty or vice instincts in most people, with rated and raunchy scenes being the order of the house. Not surprisingly, many had called for a government action against broadcasting such content to a Nigerian audience in the future. Expectedly, that threw up mixed reactions from the Nigerian populace. While some find the entertainment exciting, other more serious folk are concerned about how the content affects values. Either way, the show has continued.
But perhaps more compelling in the argument against the continued airing of the show is one of the housemates, Tboss’ inability to recite the Nigerian National anthem in a routine truth or dare game. Since then, social media Nigeria cannot seem to recover from the shock that a potential winner of a show which is purportedly meant to be won by representing Nigerian values cannot recite something as basic as the national anthem. Shame!
More annoying to many is the fact that rather than own up to the goof and find a more intelligent way to placate her fans, the said housemate, Tboss, went on a tirade against her fellow contestant, Debbie-Rise, who posed the harmless kindergarten question to her, blaming her for the negative blowback her failure would do her chances of winning the show! Unbelievable. But then, nature has its own ways of shaming misfits. As it is, Tboss’ goof clearly, barring any miracle or organisers scam, makes the coast clear for other show favourites Efe or Bisola, who those following the show say are more deserving.
But much more than expose Tboss’ detachment from her country’s ideals, her national anthem disaster does also expose an aspect of our general failure as a people without deeper values for what is truly important. The national anthem of any country is the soundtrack of national existence. Footballers cry out of passion for their countries when singing before a game. Soldiers too. Great political leaders world over do too. The anthem is the soul of the country. But obviously not here in Nigeria. Only last year, two ambassadorial nominees, Alhaji Ibrahim Bida from Niger State and Mrs Vivian Okeke from Anambra State couldn’t recite the anthem at a Senate screening. Still, they were screened. The message is clear, it doesn’t matter whether you are passionate about the country or not, once you’re connected you have your way!
At the end of the day, beyond all the fuss about Tboss’ national anthem fiasco, Bisola’ blowjob on Thin Tall Tony, Kemen’s violation of Tboss’ womanhood, the free kissing sessions, the boobs baring moments and all the bad drama that Nigeria has been made to see on the road to creating a Big Brother model, we must all ask ourselves Olamide’s poser: who did the show epp? Apart from the organiser making loads of money off subscribers and voters, what else? Thin Tall Tony says he can make the prize money in three months on his own, meaning he or the others don’t necessarily need the show to make it!
As a final word to Tboss and all those who are privately guilty of this crime of passion for country, go on YouTube and find American singer Beyonce to teach you how to sing the Nigerian national anthem
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