One of the difficult things to say is ‘No’. God….!! It is heart-wrenching at times to utter the word. But as a Christian I am steadily realizing that I cannot afford to be all – patronizing. If you and I do not learn to say ‘NO’, our life is headed for destruction. Let him be hurt. But compromising my stand/destiny for the sake of your comfort/emotions is something we must refuse strongly. The man Paul struck me as one who is not scared to say ‘NO’.
A point came in his life when he could have remained silent on just a seemingly-simple matter as eating with other gentiles or fellow Jews as an outward show of observance of the law. But rather than be swept by the deceit and hypocrisy of the time; as painful as it was to stand against a friend, he stated the obvious and here we are enjoying that benefit. Reference: Galatians 2: 11-14.
There is a time to be quiet and a time to speak up for the truth. Learn to do this and protect yourself. The Bible says in Jude that ‘Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.’ (Jude 1:22-23). The KingJames Version says ‘..hating even the garment spotted by the flesh’. I can imagine these were not the ‘all – patronizing’, ‘let-us-just-be-a-little-more–accommodating kind of Christians’. They stood for the truth in word and in deed. Let’s learn to realize that as Christians, the filthiness of the world is not an excuse for the stench we choose to carry. We ought always to be a sweet- smelling fragrance of Christ’s death and resurrection.
– Dr. Bolaji Akanni
One key thing to our NEW LIFE is stating from the onset your aspirations and your beliefs. I see this evident in the life of the man, Paul. Whenever they entered a city, they were not so much carried away by the art nor did they necessarily search out a pub or the market square. No!!! They went looking for the church.
If you were to host a friend who on coming to your house asks you when the next church service would be and directions to such a place, it speaks a lot about such an individual. Is it just attending church then? Not really, but his interest makes you draw certain conclusions about him.
Most times people rarely have the time to listen to what you have to say. Few of us might ever make it to the pulpit to say a word or two about our belief(s) but people would have drawn up their conclusions long after you are gone.
It is pertinent to us as Christians to declare our stand from the onset otherwise we might just be drawn into what we did not bargain for. As we exercise ourselves in this regard we would not find it strange or cumbersome to walk in the light of who we have been originally called to be i.e. Christians.
It is important to realize that we might never really get to a ‘religious’ discussion to point out our view but the life we have received in Christ Jesus speaks every moment and it is this we should attest to always in our actions.
-Dr. Bolaji Akanni
Quite recently, I walked through a shopping mall and an unusual crowd in front of a departmental store drew my attention. In curiosity, I drew myself to the action spot. Lo, it was a remarkably-ingenious artist who was the star of attraction.
The artist in his flagrant show of ingenuity, at a very quick speed, drew near split images of everybody who sat across his table. The race, sex, gender and age of recipients didn’t matter. Hence the crowd stared in awe.
Just as I pondered about the talent imbued in this artist and the deliverables he churned out, the excellency of the creator and the lord of lights dawned on me. The Lord of hosts and the maker of every good and perfect gift, who’s the artist of heaven and earth, crafted the greatest masterpiece – the new creature made after his image and abilities (James 1: 17-18, 2 Cor. 5: 17-18).
The new creature is God’s exact split image in terms of ability and disposition. In artistic terms; a collector’s item.
To this end, the new creature is made to attract attention to the glory of his artist. In other words, just as I was drawn by my curiosity to the action spot where the artist flagrantly displayed his ingenuity the world is meant to be drawn to the flagrant display of God’s glory through our lives. We’re God’s hand work through Christ to perform excellently in all we do (Eph. 2:10)
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5: 14-16 NIV)
Since he got born again, he had been keeping the faith. Trials came but could not pull him down. As Paul put it, he was troubled on every side, yet not distressed; he was perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus.
Through those years, he swam dangerous waters, fought the fiercest spiritual battle. And now? It seems he is getting tired of the struggles to keep the Christian faith. He even desires a break – may be to taste the other side of life.
Have you felt this way before? Do you know what would happen if you’re left to fulfill your desire? Do you know the havoc devil would inflict on your life within that one minute of lapse? The devil would try to make sure you never rise again.
A taste of the other side of life should never be our desire. If one should delve into it, God forbid, who knows how long it would take to rise again. And even if you rise, the scar might be stigmatizing and this may haunt you throughout your lifetime.
Notwithstanding your circumstances in life, don’t give in to sin and the burden of the devil. Walk with Jesus. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.
– Okenna Igbokwe
Startled by the new concept being introduced by the man he believed was sent from God, the curious Pharisee asked “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” The master’s answer in verses 5-8 of John Chapter 3 probably got the old Pharisee the more confused as he exclaimed “How can these things be?”
Like Nicodemus, many are confused and uncertain about what it means to be born again and how a man can be born again today. It is sad that some acclaimed Christians in which some are even ‘workers’ in their local assemblies, are not sure of their salvation. While some are ‘trying to’ be born again, others are ‘asking for the grace to’ make heaven.
But if we will clearly look into the Scriptures with an open mind and reason along with the written word, we will not have much trouble understanding the mind of God. This new concept of ‘getting born again’ introduced by our Lord Jesus Christ was also explained by Him as to what it is and how it can be attained.
“Verily verily I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit“. John 3:5-6. In other words, the master is saying that getting born again is a spiritual birth, not a physical one. That is the number one point.
Now, how can a sinner get born again? The master went on to explain it.
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up (i.e. He will die for the sin of the world on the cross); that whosoever believes in Himshould not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life…He that believes on Him is not condemned. John 3:14-18.
Can you observe the repeated phrase in Jesus’ statement above? Whosoever believes in Him!!!
Let’s consider some other verses of the Scriptures where the issue of born again is discussed.
“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even unto them that believe on His name…which were born of God (born again)”. John 1:11-13.
We can see clearly that to be born again is to be born of God (born of the Spirit). It is because we are born of God that we are called the sons of God, Halleluiah!
“Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” 1 John 5:1
This is a straight to the point statement by Apostle John.
When the keeper of the prison where Paul and Silas were kept wanted to make this necessary decision, he asked “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas answered him “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.” Acts 16:30, 31.
Lastly, let’s consider Romans chapter 10. “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved (born again). Verse 9.
The new birth comes to anyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ as God’s only sacrifice for sin and confess (receive) Him to be the Lord of his life. For making such decision, a hitherto sinner receives a new spirit from God and as he submit to the Lordship (authority) of Jesus Christ through His word, he experiences a new life called Eternal life (Zoe)-The Life of God.
(Further Scriptural references: Hebrews 3:18-19, Heb. 4:2-3, 6, And 11).
– segun eshorun
I think it must be the size that puts people off from swallowing this pill. Some people had to travel miles to get an “official” backing to show that this pill like the ones mentioned before now is really worth swallowing.
Let’s start like this … Have you ever heard “Nothing is free, you’ve got to just work for it”. Well I’ve heard it in various versions but more importantly we tend to view salvation this way as well. Some view it as a debt. It just has to be paid back somehow. The mode of payment may differ but all the same you’ve got to pay it back. Some work in fear wondering if ever they have meet up to this debt.
But if ever salvation was a debt it had long been paid not by your sweat or mine but by the precious blood of Christ Jesus who redeemed us from the pit of hell and is now offering it to us as a gift.
Some accept this half but the other half of the pill is still so difficult to swallow that some just nibble on it lifelong. The other half is a corollary to the first which says that you don’t work for a gift; you don’t work to get a gift neither do you work to earn a gift. A gift is free of any charge to you otherwise it ceases to be a gift.
Some well meaning but misguided brothers met Apostle Paul to say now that these could not be saved unless they had done do this and done that (Acts 15). Paul did not give them a single moment of time. So much the more He walked miles to seek the support of some others before Him if anything to ensure that this Grace remains what it is – The Grace of God.
God calls us not to try and prove that we could have earned this gift rather He calls us to open this gift up – explore its depth, its breadth, its height and bask in the Glory of all that we have now been made qualified to partake of.
– Dr bolaji akanni
Let us take a look at this green pill. It says whatever your past may have looked like don’t bother trying to fix it just come to Jesus, he’ll bring you out better than you can imagine.
I’ve been guilty of not being able to swallow this bit in the past. I mean I just could not separate that man or that lady from the past, from the things He/she did. Sometimes giving a brother a hug is hard to do because you just can’t let go of His past. I mean he is too messed up to ever be fixed again. I can’t even allow him into my house. I wonder if ever I was born again when I had such thoughts.
Anyways, a guy got involved in killing another guy who was not even given the opportunity to fight back. He did not stop there but went on to beat off some women, children and other guys as well. He even turned things against them and got most into jail. Did some other unutterable things and suddenly comes back saying “He (Christ) saved me” ? Saved from what!!!?
It took a while for the early church to accept the brother just described above. Some literally ran away from him. Others watched Him all so closely. Not until another brother finally put his ‘life’ on the line as it were just to show this guy has come clean.
Are you still living in your past? Are you haunted, wondering if all this is really true? Well….I turn you to the one this green pill which simply says though your sins be as scarlet, I would make them whiter than snow. The magnificent Grace of God births new creatures who have been turned away from their past. It is not you trying to make a “re – start”. NO!! It is a whole new, fresh beginning altogether. New as have never been seen before. Born again no longer from below but from above!
Keep on swallowing this pill because the side effects are pleasurable – peace, joy, and lots of joy. This is the reality.
– Dr bolaji akanni
There is always that last pill. Difficult to swallow. Sometimes it is the colour, other times it is the shape. Could be the smell as well but most times it is the size of the pill. The bigger the tablet, capsule, caplet, etc the further down it gets on the list of pills to be swallowed.
Are you finding it difficult to swallow a pill today?
Let’s take a look at one such pill. The apostles quite believed in the return of Jesus. I mean they anticipated and waited for fifty days and then the great revival with the ushering in of the Holy Ghost. That was a bit easy to swallow at first but then came the difficult one.
Just about anybody had access to this seemingly exclusive regard as well.
Suddenly it wasn’t meant anymore for the small group that waited for so long nor their converts alone but also for some who they could not have imagined.
The loser’s, the nobody’s, the “no – nation”, the…gentiles.
They too had access to the magnificent Grace of God. I love the way Peter puts it. It is clear that God gave those Gentiles the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; who was I, then, to try to stop God!” (Acts 11:15) No difference at all. It was one and the same experience. Not second class or second grade.
The pill today is that the Grace of God includes all and does not exclude anyone. You are as much legible to it as that man across the street or that “Man of God” in the fine suit. If Christ ever died to select some few then that few must be the whole world of which you and I are a part. Aren’t you glad you are not left out? Aren’t you glad it does not matter where your roots may have sunk into? Surely this pill might not smell right but I’ve just swallowed it….and it didn’t hurt at all.
– Dr bolaji akanni
Procrastination is such a thief of purpose. What has been laid upon our heart let us do quickly. It is so easy to push of things till the next hour but before you realize it the next hour becomes the next year. Let us learn to work while it is day making the most of time and purpose and not allowing that evil attitude cause us to count losses.
You would be wondering why I should be saying this but I really ought to have shared this article a while back but nearly lost it no thanks to my yielding to the temptation of “it should be set by tomorrow”.
Here is the article, which has been a blessing to me; I hope it would minister to you as well.
God’s word knows no boundaries. It has no walls. It has no off limits sign. God’s word is living and active. We must learn to separate God’s word from the things around us especially the circumstance or the situation we find ourselves in.
Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost said, “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer,even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.”
The truth is the situation we find ourselves is not a testimony to the efficacy of God’s word in our lives. God’s word is true all by itself. Had the children of Israel understood this they would have been of more cheerful countenance when they saw the giants in the promise land. Because they would have been looking to Jehovah – their deliverer. We’ve mentioned here that at a time when it was impossible medically for Sarah’s womb to give a child Abraham yet believed because he considered the one who had given the promise.
“And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.”
God’s word is not bound. Are you a student? Are you searching for a job? Are you married? Whoever you are God’s word over your life is not defined by the situation in your life or by your status. Way back in the university, I remember at times I made the mistake of viewing God through the glasses of the four walls of school. Prosperity for instance meant passing exams and having a meal on campus. Peace meant having good grades. Now that I am out of school it is so tempting to think peace is having a good job. But friends we should not think this way. God’s word is defined in itself. There is a peace in God which no one can fathom, which no career can satisfy.
God’s word is not bound dear friends. Take your eyes of yourself and that situation you are in and latch onto the Truth of His Word. I love that song we sang back in those days
God is bigger than all my problems
Bigger than anything
God is bigger than any mountain I can or cannot see
God is bigger than all my problems
Bigger than anything
God is bigger than any mountain I can or cannot see.
God’s Word is not limited, constrained by the things you go through. Hallelujah!
– Dr. bolaji akanni
The Yoruba’s have a proverb that He who follows a dog would soon eat faeces. Apologies if the thought of this causes you to puke; but this was stated following the observation that stray dogs would just go about eating anything … even faeces.
Somehow in a distant land away from familiar faces and scenes I learnt a vital lesson about companions which drew me to the proverb above. The companions we keep would affect us either for good or for bad. And it would not just fall like ripe cherries; it would have to be worked on. The natural drift of the world is toward itself i.e. worldliness. So most likely, if you are left all by yourself, there is a 100:1 chance that the person that comes your way would be asking you to compromise your stand.
We have to guard our Christianity and one way comes by guarding those we flock with. David said “I am a companion of all them that fear thee and of them that keep thy precepts.” (Psalms 119:74). Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other (Proverbs 27:17). Again we hear Paul saying “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” (Heb 10:24)
I had to break the temptation of just assuming that being in the midst of Christians without consciously pursuing our individual and collective Christianity was all that mattered. I mean we could tatter on end and talk on and on, but many times this was not fulfilling. My spirit yearned for a song, for a phrase of prayer, for a word of encouragement. But somehow I didn’t understand how to make it look real and not force it down others throat. But after a while, I got to understand that deep down inside of most of us was that yearning as well. Why am I seemingly drifting off the topic: it’s because it is not just about who you flock with but what you do together. A group of Christians drinking coke and relishing every lewd joke does not make the gathering more christianly than a group of sinners drinking beer and sharing porn.
Do not consider it strange to pray together. I repeat Christianity is not about living in a house with a huge Christian logo on the door or driving in a car with a huge logo at the rear mud guard. It should be in the popular phrase of the early church – “… and they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
If you find yourself in an unfamiliar environment like me, don’t get lost in the crowd. Seek your kind and flourish.
Dr bolaji akanni