An opinion poll was conducted recently with the focus on views and preferences about change. The survey sought to knowhow daring people can be, in moving from a routine exercise to a completely different one, especially with an uncertain result in view. Though it was conducted randomly, the sample population was carefully chosen to represent different groups of people. The topmost response was the concern of possibly incurring loss or misfortune. People were betrayed by their emotions, fearing some nonspecific danger, they chose to back out, rather than give the new exercise a shot.
As I thought about the anxiety displayed by people in this opinion poll, I was disturbed about how they could be so scared of a mission yet to be embarked on. I asked myself the following questions: Would there have been a faster way to travel if the thought of inventing an aeroplane was horrific? Would communication be this easy across great distances if the telephone and internet were so much dreaded that we stuck to the traditional means of sending human or bird messengers? Also, would there be salvation and eternal hope, if Jesus was not willing to die for the world, because He considered the possibility of not having a single person accept him as Saviour, a risk too great?
In this article, I am highlighting three lessons from the lives of few people who saw some manoeuvrings and identified them as opportunities instead of misfortune. The unique commonality was their approach or first moves. They were spontaneous moves devoid of anxiety or apprehension; they were filled with hope, expectation and high optimism.
1.A momentary setback is not an indication of a wrong move
While you are on course, you may experience a setback, challenge or delay; never mind, it does not suggest that the move was wrong. Paul’s missionary work was punctuated with some prison experiences. Some Bible scholars argue that Paul could have avoided at least one of those prison experiences, if he took heed to the warning of Prophet Agabus that he would be bound in Jerusalem. However, his trials and imprisonment afforded him the opportunity of appearing in major palaces in his time, captivating the attention of world rulers who were then kingdom or empire rulers. He witnessed to them the testimony of the good news. In Philippians 1:12-14(MSG) for example, Paul stated“I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the Christians here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah”.
- Consistently affirm and maintain your Vision
The events that led to Joseph becoming the Prime Minister of Egypt started out very dangerously, and filled with life-threatening activities. In Genesis 37:5,when Joseph shared his dream with his parents and his jealous siblings, his siblings hated him the more. As you may be familiar with the story, after he shared two of such dreams of greatness with them, they got enraged and ganged up to kill him. After he was sold into Egypt, Joseph remained unwavering in his faith, and refrained from sinning against God. He was eventually imprisoned then moved to the palace in Genesis chapter 41.
Joseph never mistook the opportunities ahead for a misfortune waiting to unfold. For some others, it may appear to be too risky sharing and affirming such revelations. Even if we are bold to share our vision with others, we may be intimidated to continually affirm what God has revealed to us, especially if we are scolded the first time. But in Joseph, we see a fearless and focused individual who was ready to follow as the Lord leads.
- God will manifest His will when you move (act) in obedience.
In Acts 16: 9-40 (GW), Paul’s obedience to God’s instruction led to an unprecedented move of the spirit with signs and wonders. People gave their lives to Jesus, and the demon possessed was let loose. Though they were thrown into prison after being openly beaten and humiliated, this led to massive conversion of souls through the earthquake experience in the prison where Paul and Silas were jailed. When Paul set out to obey the instruction in the vision at night, he never had the inclination that events were going to turn out such that they will stand before magistrates to witness Christ and convert a soldier with his family.
“During the night Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia. The man urged Paul, come to Macedonia to help us. As soon as Paul had seen the vision, we immediately looked for a way to go to Macedonia. We concluded that God had called us to tell the people of Macedonia about the Good News… One day when we were going to the place of prayer, a female servant met us. She was possessed by an evil spirit that told fortunes. She made a lot of money for her owners by telling fortunes… Paul became annoyed, turned to the evil spirit, and said, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! As Paul said this, the evil spirit left her. When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them to the authorities in the public square. In front of the Roman officials, they said, these men are stirring up a lot of trouble in our city… The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas. Then the officials tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered the guards to beat them with sticks. After they had hit Paul and Silas many times, they threw them in jail and ordered the jailer to keep them under tight security… Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly, a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the jail. All the doors immediately flew open, and all the prisoners’ chains came loose. The jailer woke up and saw the prison doors open. Thinking the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul shouted as loudly as he could, “Don’t hurt yourself! We’re all here! The jailer asked for torches and rushed into the jail. He was trembling as he knelt in front of Paul and Silas. Then he took Paul and Silas outside and asked, Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved? They answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved. They spoke the Lord’s word to the jailer and everyone in his home. At that hour of the night, the jailer washed Paul and Silas’ wounds. The jailer and his entire family were baptized immediately. He took Paul and Silas upstairs into his home and gave them something to eat. He and his family were thrilled to be believers in God…”
When God orchestrates such moves termed ‘risky’ by humans, there is always an expected end, or a future plan; the results are always dumbfounding. Therefore, rather than becloud your mind with the thought of misfortune that may be associated with a nudging by the spirit of God, forcefully advance with the thought of enormous possibilities.
The number of people being diagnosed with diabetes and those living with diabetes has increased dramatically in the last 10 years! The World Health Organization estimated that 171million people had diabetes in the year 2000, and this number is expected to more than double to 366 million by 2030[i]. A recent research study also corroborates this rapid increase in the number of people with diabetes. The researchers estimated that amongst adults worldwide between 20 and 79 years old, about 6 out of every 100 had diabetes in 2010, and the estimate for 2030 increased to almost 8 out of every 100 adults[ii]. The increase is attributed to decreased exercise, eating more high carbohydrate foods, and increased obesity, and is expected to be much greater among adults in developing countries than developed countries.
It is concerning that the number of people with diabetes is increasing because diabetes can affect a person’s body in many ways; for example it can cause people to have low energy, and damage the eyes, kidneys, heart and the nerves in the feet. This can cause a person to go blind, develop kidney failure, heart attack, or chronic wounds in the feet leading to amputation of part of the leg.
The good news is that the type of diabetes that is increasing more rapidly is one that can be prevented or kept in check by some changes in lifestyle. I will describe the types of diabetes in more detail later because there is a type of diabetes that usually starts in childhood whose cause is unknown; hence cannot be prevented. It is difficult for me to hear people say things like“Diabetes runs in my family, I will develop the disease when I get older,” because something can be done to avoid this disease. Many children are also now developing the type of diabetes that used to be common only in adults. And adults who don’t have family members with diabetes are being diagnosed with it as well.
Did you know that you can make some lifestyle changes which can reduce the likelihood that you will become diabetic even if you have a family history of the disease? That is the focus of this article, and we will discuss some of the symptoms of diabetes in this edition of health ethics; as well as what we can do to avoid the most common form of diabetes which affects about 90% of the people with the disease.
Diabetes is a condition in which there is an excessive amount of glucose in the blood due to a problem with the way the body responds to insulin, or a reduction in the amount of insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, and it helps to regulate the amount of glucose in our blood by signaling to the body cells when to store glucose. Our body requires glucose to form the energy that powers all the body processes. Our brain cells depend mostly on glucose as its source of energy except during starvation, and the brain accounts for about 60% of the glucose utilization of the entire body while in a state of rest[iii].
Now that we know how important glucose is to the body, we also need to note that too much glucose is not good for the body (or the brain). For instance, very high blood glucose levels can cause a person to become unconscious and die. The amount of glucose in the blood is regulated by different chemicals produced in the body known as hormones, and insulin is the most important of these hormones. Insulin is usually released after foods containing carbohydrates are digested to form glucose, and the glucose is absorbed into the blood. The insulin is responsible for signaling to our body cells that they should take glucose from the blood, either to be converted immediately to energy or to be stored for future use.
Types of Diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes:
- In Type 1 Diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce insulin to drive the glucose into the body cells. So, the amount of glucose in the blood is high and the body is unable to do anything about it because the pancreas is not producing insulin. This type of diabetes occurs mostly in younger people, and is caused by destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The reason the pancreatic cells are destroyed is unknown.
- Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body cells do not respond to insulin by taking in glucose. When a person has Type 2 diabetes, although insulin is being produced, their body cells fail to respond to the insulin. Most of the people with Type 2 diabetes are older than 30 years and are overweight. It was previously thought to be a disease of the affluent countries, but the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes is increasing in developing countries. Studies performed in different African countries revealed that from 3 to 10 out of every 100 people had Type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational Diabetes is the third main type of Diabetes and it can affect up to 1 out of every 5 women during pregnancy. The cause of this form of diabetes is unknown, but it is thought to be related to the action of placenta hormones against insulin which causes the pregnant woman’s body cells not to respond properly to insulin by taking in glucose from the blood. Gestational diabetes does not mean a woman will have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, but a woman that has had gestational diabetes is more likely to have Type 2 diabetes when she is older.
Symptoms of Diabetes
It is important for anyone who has a combination of the symptoms below to see a doctor for tests to check if they have diabetes in order to avoid complications. Some people with Type 2 diabetes may have very mild symptoms, so everyone over the age of 30 should have their blood glucose checked at least once a year. Many people are walking around with undiagnosed diabetes, and some of them end up at the hospital with complications, or die from the disease. These complications could have been avoided if they had sought medical help earlier. Moreover, if an increase in blood glucose is detected early, modifications in diet and exercise may prevent diabetes. And if a person is found to already have diabetes, early detection helps to prevent the complications I mentioned earlier such as kidney disease and blindness. The symptoms of diabetes include the following:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more (Type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (Type 2)
- Frequent infections, such as gum or skin infections and vaginal or bladder infections
Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes
Since approximately 90% of the people with diabetes have Type 2, it is good that there are things that can be done to prevent this form of diabetes. Many young people who do not have a family history of the disease have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, probably due to poor lifestyle choices. Even people who have parents or family members with diabetes may be able to avoid the disease, or delay its onset by following some of the guidance below. The three main things that can help against diabetes are:
- increased physical activity and exercise;
- eating healthy meals that do not contain a lot of carbohydrate; and
- maintaining a healthy weight.
If you keep an eye on these three aspects of healthy living, you can reduce your risk of diabetes. It might appear easy to do these three simple things, but I know from experience how difficult it can be to maintain an exercise routine in the midst of a busy lifestyle. Just being active or busy does not mean that you have given your body, especially your heart the exercise that it needs to stay healthy. The minimum requirement of exercise for all adults that want to have a healthy heart and keep diabetes away is 30 minutes of regular and rhythmic motion at least 4 days a week.
This means you can either walk briskly, jog, run, cycle, swim, or do something else that is enjoyable to you like dancing continuously for 30 minutes in order to fulfil the exercise requirement. We have discussed healthy eating and how to avoid obesity in a previous edition of health ethics (See Volume 3 No. 2); so I will not say much about those here; except to reiterate the fact that this is also not something that comes easily. It is much easier to gain weight than to lose it, so watching what you eat is very important.
Try and eat five different fruits and vegetables every day. Your body will thank you for it! If you are overweight or obese already, you can see your doctor or dietitian, so they can help you develop a meal plan that will help you lose weight. This will most likely involve cutting down your carbohydrates drastically, and eating a salad of green leafy vegetables (with a light vinaigrette dressing, not the fatty dressing) for at least one of your meals. You will be surprised how much weight you can lose by simply changing the way you eat, and exercising moderately for 30 minutes every day as described above.
I wish above all things that you prosper and enjoy health even as your soul prospers. Please feel free to send me your questions or comments.
You can also learn more about diabetes on this website: www.diabetes.org; or you can play the video tutorials at http://web.diabetes.org/link/link_for_life/main.html?loc=facts-about-type2
[i] World Health Organization. Country and regional data on Diabetes. Available from: http://www.who.int/diabetes/facts/world_figures/en/
[ii]Shaw, J. E., Sicree, R. A., &Zimmet, P. Z. (2010). Global estimates of the prevalence of diabetes for 2010 and 2030. Diabetes research and clinical practice, 87(1), 4-14.
[iii]Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002. Section 30.2, Each Organ Has a Unique Metabolic Profile. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22436/
Dr. Ifelayo Ojo
How do I get past the pain of the past years? I do not think I can forgive this, this is too much! Can you imagine? She … He…
These are the voices of many people in different forms of relationships today. Everyone has been hurt by someone they thought they could trust. It hurts because we trusted, and got disappointed!
The effect of the rolled over pain and unattended disappointments have left strains in a lot of families.
Many marriages today are very far from their places in destiny because of one disappointment or the other. Spouses are unable to get past the pain of disappointment to healing and fulfillment. How do we get to this place while being led by the Word of God? This is the question I pray this article will answer.
Every relationship thrives on the ability to forgive and forget. Everyone must come to accept forgiving and forgetting as a lifestyle and the key to having fulfilled relationships.
For some time now when I see couples, I keep seeing the wonder of what lies between them. For every couple having a great time together, laughing and working together, there lies forgiving and forgetting. Hurting one another is inevitable where two people are working closely with one another and especially in marriage. A friend used to say,” I can only step on your toes because we are close enough to each other”. Offense is inevitable in any relationship of any kind: the closer the relationship, the greater the possibility of offense. Someone once said there are very few people who can hurt you like your spouse and children. This is the fact of life we must live with. But when there is an offence what do we do? How do we get around it to get to our perfect destination of Peace and Harmony?
So many families are under the captivity of unforgiveness, brothers and sisters in discord because of longstanding sibling rivalry, husband and wife relationships heavily strained because of past offences. And in some cases, the marriage ends in divorce. How do we ensure our relationships do not become part of the statistics?
- Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
- And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
- And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
- For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
- And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
- And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
- And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, what is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
- And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
- And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem.
- And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, here am I.
- And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
- And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, what seekest thou?
- And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.
- And the man said, they are departed hence; for I heard them say, let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
- And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
- And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
- Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
- And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
- And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
- And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;
- And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
- And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
- And Judah said unto his brethren, what profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
- Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
- Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
- And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
- And he returned unto his brethren, and said, the child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
- And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
- And they sent the coat of manycolours, and they brought it to their father; and said, this have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
- And he knew it, and said, it is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
- And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
- And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
- And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard. (Genesis 37:3-36).
Just like Joseph I am very sure you have the right to feel offended. Being angry really is not a sin. Scripture confirms it to us in Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” Really you have a right to feel offended but how do we ensure that SIN does not take hold of your anger.
Offense always leads to bitterness where not properly taken care of.
We cannot prevent offenses but we have the power to take care of them when they occur. Our Lord
Jesus taught us through the Bible that we should forgive as many times as we are offended.
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven. Mat 18:21-22
Just like Joseph, you have every reason to be offended but going further down the passage above, our Lord Jesus told a parable of a servant who refused to forgive little after he had been forgiven so much. Jesus concluded that the servant was WICKED. To refuse to forgive is to act wickedly, unfortunately we do not act wickedly against the person alone but even against ourselves. Nelson Mandela said “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
Keeping offense takes us off the path of trusting God! When we keep offense we take over, instead of allowing God to defend us.
I hear someone say this lady does not know what she is talking about, I should just forget that I read this. This is the more reason you must forgive.
Why we must forgive
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.(Matthew 6:12)
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14 -15)
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Isaiah 43:25)
We forgive first for our own sake, for our own healing. When our Lord Jesus Christ was teaching us how to pray He said forgive us just as we forgive others!
We need to forgive just as much as we require forgiveness ourselves. And do not we all need God’s Forgiveness?
We need to forgive because we must get to our place in destiny. I believe Joseph got to destiny because he forgave. He had forgiven his brothers even before his first encounter with them after they sold him off.
The story of Joseph is one that thrills me every time I read or think about it. After reading and meditating on his story I wondered how he was able to forgive his siblings.
He had every right to be bitter against them and even God. He got revelations from God about his future and instead of having things fall in place from then on, his life seemed to go haywire. His own brothers sold him into Slavery, his master’s wife wanted to sleep with him and when he stood his ground in the fear of God, he landed in prison.
At some point I thought he would have just given up on God, but he did not. Rather, he held on to God the more; and little wonder, even in the prison he was interpreting dreams.
We cannot afford to lose hold of our God-given promises because of bitterness. As I write, I sense some people are not just bitter against their spouses, but even their in-laws and this is creeping into the relationship they have with their spouses. I pray that healing will come for every hurting soul.
We are forgiven as much as we forgive ourselves.
Forgiving after a broken heart!
It can be very difficult after a heart has been broken too many times by the same person. I will not just speak scriptures and walk away. Nothing heals the heart more than the Word of God! Yes your heart has been stepped upon without care but you need to take responsibility for your heart.
What do we do about the unrepentant we need to forgive?
How do we forget?
Decide to Forget
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. (Isaiah 43:18)
You and I have the responsibility of choosing to forget. Choose to let go. You will have flash back of the pains and disappointments but as you decide to forget and act contrary to your feelings of revenge you will get to the place of healing and wholeness.
- And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.
- And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
- And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
- And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
- But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Genesis 50:15 -20)
See everything as working together for your good. As much as people act wrongly against us, it does not change God’s plan, it is part of His plan. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (2 Corinthians 4:17). When we face injustice as Christians, we should remember that Jesus Christ suffered much more injustice for our sake. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” (Philippians 1:29)“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
Things work together for good only when we are in line with God’s love and purpose. Being in line with God’s love and purpose is to forgive and forget.
Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.”(Luke 17:4 –The MSG)
What to do next?
This is the very difficult part. There is no simple answer other than letting the Holy Spirit guide you in all your ways.
Our Lord Jesus promised never to leave us without comfort and He keeps this promise through the Holy Spirit, the Seal of our redemption. The person you need to forgive may not be repentant, and may be your spouse or someone you cannot readily get rid of. Yet you need to keep on holding on to the Word of God and allowing His Spirit to guide you in all your ways. Ensure you have no resentment and be open to God about your feelings. Sometimes we are hurt and heaven knows we are, and we ought to feel hurt. The best part is that we have a High Priest that is moved by our issues. He understands betrayals and hurt more than you think. He can get you through this also.
Pray sincerely telling God exactly how you feel and watch a miracle begin in your heart! He will fill you with so much love than you can ever imagine! You are on your way to healing!
Rules of Engagement for Couples
From experience I have found that it is necessary for couples to set rules for what can and cannot happen in the event of any disagreement. It is interesting that often we assume our marriages will just work out fine, especially for Christians, but today we have found that it takes a deliberate attempt by both partners no matter how Spirit filled to make it work.
Decide as a couple limits of how far you will ever go in the case of a disagreement.
No Physical Abuse, name calling, bringing up the past except that is what the discussion is about. No dragging of third parties into the argument, stick to the matter that needs to be addressed. Respect your partner’s feelings. There is so much that we could share, here is a link you can go to for more information.
Maybe you are reading this article and your marriage just came out of a terrible storm and the wounds are still fresh, this is good information for you.
To the Forgiven
You know you have done wrong and you have been forgiven, it is not time to forget completely it ever happened. It is time to build back confidence into your partner. Your partner is trying to do the right thing by forgiving you, so you need to make it easy by “bearing fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Make deliberate efforts with the help of the Holy Spirit to take your family far away from yesterday.
To the Forgiver
Thank God you have taken the road to freedom which is forgiveness. Now, it is time to forget. Forgetting takes deliberate effort not to go back there, for your own sake! Your mind will wander back to the pain, please make deliberate effort to offload your mind of your hurts, do not push them back, bring them up and deal with them. Trust the Holy Spirit to help you do the right things to renew your love. Fill up your being with God’s Word. Nothing heals like God’s Word.
He that is born of flesh is flesh, and he that is born of the Spirit is spirit. There is a spiritual side to us, which is more important than our physical side. In everything as Christians, we must act from and by the spirit.
Our heavenly account is of more importance than our earthly account and we must consciously pay attention to its operation.
Yes we all have a heavenly account and Jesus warned that we pay more attention to this account than we do to our earthly account. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
That means you can lay up treasures here on earth, and you can do the same thing in heaven from your time on earth!
“Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens.”(Luke 12:33)
When bank accounts were held in bags, Jesus taught that there was another bag account in the heavens.
Paul also referred to this account in the admonition to the church in Philippians: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.”(Philippians 4:17)
So, we all have a heavenly account. This account is operated in similar ways to how we operate our bank account. You can make deposits and withdrawals at will. But like Jesus said, the account in heaven has major advantages:
It is not subject to loss of whatever kind: no economic upheaval , inflation nor financial system collapse can affect it.
It gives more than monetary returns and for me this is the greatest. Most people lay too much emphasis on “cash”, but the blessings of God maketh complete/whole. It ensures we don’t have emergencies- that means you will not suddenly have a need or an issue you do not have the capacity to meet. It ensures provision and need come side by side. When there is a need, then the resource is available. When you make deposits in this account, a penny with you achieves so much compared to a million in the world. I tell you it is a typical case of give five loaves and two fishes and have more than enough supply to feed a multitude and still have excess! And whatever you cannot afford in a sense you receive for free! A pastor once explained this phenomenon to me in another light; he said even when he does not have the “asset “he always has “access”. Wow! There are a million and one things all the money in the world cannot give you. But the proceeds from your heavenly account gives you access to them.
Another benefit is that your heavenly account is managed by God. And no one gives better returns than Him. Your deposits keeps speaking and bearing fruits.
I am blessed by the story of Cornelius told in Acts 10. Apparently when the time came to pour out the spirit on the Gentiles, God started with a man who had made constant deposits to his heavenly account. “His prayers and gifts to the poor came up as a memorial offering before God”. At that time he was unsaved, but God still kept a record of all the deposits he ever made and rewarded him with the Gift of Gifts!
So how do you make deposits and withdrawals into this account we all have?
As long as the earth remains, seed time and harvest will not cease! Deposits are made in seed time. It is giving time. Anytime we give, we make a deposit into our heavenly account.
Phil 4: 15-17, our seeds or giving is a direct deposit to our account.These accounts can abound and increase through giving to the poor (Proverbs 19:17) Giving to the poor on earth makes an instant deposit in heaven. Jesus said whatsoever you do to the least of them, you do directly to Him. Making any type of investment into the preaching of the Gospel (Mark 10:29,30) and giving simply as praise to God are also deposits to the heavenly account.
So Luke 12:33 says “sell that ye have, and give alms, provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.”
1 Timothy 6:17-19 also says “charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on to eternal life.”
If all you have is a heavy earthly account then your tomorrow is uncertain. Money has failed to save anyone. So focus on your heavenly account through giving, and lay up in store for yourself a good foundation for the time to come.
If giving had no returns I will still give. I cannot imagine a life where I cannot share my resources, my time, my talents and the gift that God has made me, and put in me. Life will be without worth if I cannot give and receive a smile, a hug and a prayer from another person. But thanks be to God because we can make withdrawals from our heavenly account and receiving follows giving.
Let everyman be a liar, God remains true. The scripture cannot be broken. Our deposits are securely received and multiplied by God. Many have been taught to give, but few Christians expect or know how to receive and withdraw from heaven.
But God who cannot lie affirmed that as we give, it shall be given back to us, good measure pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give to our bosom. And also affirms that He is able to make all grace abound towards us that we always having all sufficiency in all things may abound unto every good work!
The first step to making withdrawals is to have the confidence and consciousness that you have an account you have a right to at anytime. This is key; confident faith and a consciousness. This should lead to an unwavering expectation. Expect always a return on your investment. When you go out, expect to be blessed because men giving to your bosom is a form of withdrawal.
Expect things to work for you. When men fail all over, you win because your account has to be multiplied for you. In Malachi,God said test me and see if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you down a blessing there will not be room enough to receive it. It’ is confident faith, consciousness and an unwavering expectation at all times that we use to withdraw from heaven.
And finally make verbal demands on your account. Exploit the power of your tongue. A man shall eat good by the fruits of his lips and by the increase he shall be satisfied. When you need anything call it. Say you have it. I have should replace I need. Your faith produces the consciousness which creates an expectation. And out of the abundance of that expectation your mouth speaks forth. That’ is how you make a withdrawal. Be conscious of that. God expects you to expect to receive. He expects you to draw on your heavenly account.
You have an account in the heavens. Use it well. As ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace of giving also. (2 Corinthians 8:7).
We are blessed.
Emmanuel A Aladenusi
Years ago, I walked past my grandfather’s dead body as he was laid-in-state during his final rites. I remember how he lay there stiff and immobile. The world around him could not do anything that moved him. He was dead, separated from the human world with all emotions and instincts gone. We all stood there and watched with mixed feelings,but he had no sense for what we felt. He would not have moved even if the building collapsed on his body. He was dead.
Death has a great punch that takes the life out of us. Little wonder, those who have an idea of the implications of death, try as much as possible to live “long and prosperous”. To the dead; the wish is for them to “Rest in Peace”. In other words, humans would wish to live long and prosperous, then rest in peace when they’re dead.
Just as I pondered the effects of death and the importance of a long and fruitful life, the implications of Apostle Paul’s comment in Galatians 2:20 dawned on me. He said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gavehimself for me.” (ESV). In other words, it is possible to be dead to human tendencies, unmoved by the cares of the world, yet still live by the absolute realities of the new life, through faith in the finished work on the cross. This status is what I love to tag the Living Dead.
The living dead is the person living in awareness of the divine nature, and by this, subjects the desires of the flesh to the grace of God. As such, righteousness, peace and joy always radiates in our dealings (Romans14:17-18). As children of God, we succeed in this world by constantly subjecting the desires of our flesh to the desire of the spirit of God, who lives in us.
It is common to see tales of wars and various forms of anarchy in the news these days. We get various renditions of sexually explicit commercial adverts. There is an escalation in the forms of corruption, from political authorities to organized religious authorities, from educational citadels to financial houses, the list is endless. Also, we find limitless shortcomings in our humanity. As imperfect human beings by nature, we have varying senses of insecurity and a knack to outshine and outdo ourselves. Pride takes center stage as we rate ourselves by our abilities. Accordingly, it is no surprise that our world, made up of humans, is plagued with so much trouble.
As children of God, we have an obligation to live above the intrigues of the human story. To do this, we need to be dead to default human survival instincts, and live by faith in Christ Jesus. Just as my late grandfather lay motionless irrespective of what happened around him, the Christian, who sets their sight on endless life in Christ, will be unfazed bythe daunting requirements of the world (Colossians 3:1-3).
I want to encourage us, as the children of God to always remember that we can do all things by the help of Christ (Philippians 4:13) and all things are possible to them who have faith in God (Mark 9:23). We have been crucified with Christ and we have risen with Him to live a new, impactful, successful and vibrant life through Him (Romans 6:4). This is the heritage of the living dead – full of eternal life and prosperity in Christ.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians5: 16-17 ESV).
God give us Christian homes!
Homes where the mother, in caring quest,
Strives to show others Your way is best,
Homes where the Lord is an honored guest;
God give us Christian homes;
God give us Christian homes!
God give us Christian homes!
Homes where the children are led to know
Christ in His beauty who loves them so,
Homes where the altar fires burn and glow;
God give us Christian homes;
God give us Christian homes!
Homes where the mother, in caring quest, Strives to show others Your way is best,Strives to show others Your way is best!
Home where the mother in caring quest, a home where the mother loves all that come into the home be it, the father, children, in-laws, family, the house help, artisans etc. everyone feels loved and welcomed. The children learn indirectly to respect all people and love all from our actions.
A Christian Home is where the house help is not just a maid but an additional member of the family. A home where the mother is always trying to teach Christ with every action no matter how insignificant.Home where the mother loves God so much and she is trying to be the Christ everyone sees.
In a world where right seems wrong and wrong seems right, we must be deliberate to show the examples. Our kids are watching us like a hawk. What books or magazines can be found on our book shelves? What songs do we share with them? How deliberate are we at teaching them why one song is good or bad? Do we just shut them up and tell them to live by the law and not grace?
Homes where the Lord is an honored guest;
Homes where the children are led to know
Christ in His beauty who loves them so,
Homes where the altar fires burn and glow;
Home where the worship of God is just natural. The children burst into praise at play time because of the abundance of God’s worship around them, modeled by their parents.
A home where Christ is taught through everything, the movies, the choice of books bought for the kids, the testimonies we share with them and so much more.
I believe for us to do a good job as parents we need to learn as much from other parents who are successful at this, as possible. I have come to learn that you find only the knowledge you are looking for. The ‘How’ is all around us but we will only see what we choose.
Do we have an altar at all? Have you the woman of the home neglected it because your husband has? Or are you the father too busy with work to enshrine Christ in your home?
God give us Christian Homes!
My prayer is that the Lord will cause every scale that has blinded us to fall that we may begin to see that our ultimate purpose must be to please God and not just acquire things.
We Christians are so busy these days seeking bread at the expense of the kingdom. I was thinking about some Christian homes recently and I realized that the Children did not turn out well because they went to Ivy league schools but because they were trained in the way of the Lord.
“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;
nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet
your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil
not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the
oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal
shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have
need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Mat 6:25-34(KJV).
Please think about these words like you never heard them before and let them come alive in your spirit!
Time is the most precious asset that we all are given on earth. You can make more money but you cannot make more time. This makes Time the most expensive currency that we spend. You don’t need to make noise about how you love God and His work; we only need to note how you spend your time and we get a clear indication whether you really love God and are giving your life to him. It is really difficult to claim you have given your life to Christ if you do not constantly give him your most important currency – time.
But what happens today? Many of us spend most of our time enriching our employers (a number of them unbelievers), fulfilling their goals, dreams and visions while the visions, dreams and goals that God has placed stay neglected. Our employers get the best of us, but God gets the worst of us. In a busy city like Lagos, many spend an average of 12 hours daily – 8am to 8pm – working for their employers, get home at night to watch the news, movies or catch up with their friends on Facebook, Blackberry and other social media. We do this day in day out, as time ticks away.
If we do not allocate valuable time to do God’s work now, when will we ever do so? Are we not among those who are getting older every day? I am not against working; I go to work daily too and I have loads of deliverables. More so, the Bible commands us to work. But while at work, do we have that sense of purpose aimed at fulfilling the great commission God has given to all believers and also realizing the goals He has placed inside us? Do we see our work as a platform to fulfill God’s purpose and reach out to others with the gospel of Christ?
It’s quite surprising that many believers think it a strange thing to excel at work and also be committed to the work of God. They feel that one has to give way for another. Sometimes people ask me, “Tope, how are you able to combine ministry with your very demanding work schedule?” What is the secret? The secret is that I don’t combine them. I simply live the Christian life – which is a life of all-round success. Sometimes I ask such people the question – you are so busy at work, how are you able to find time to eat? What is the secret behind combining eating and working? That gets them speechless, because when we consider something very important, we don’t talk about “combining them” with other things, we just do them.
Jesus Christ said, “My meat is to do the will of the One that sent me.” The way we “combine” eating and working since we consider both very important, is the same way we have to make time to live the will of God. It is said that when the heart is willing, it finds a thousand ways but when the heart is unwilling, it finds a thousand excuses. Are you willing to give your time to God? Do you need to reduce the time you give to movies, football, idle talk on social media, etc.?
– Tope S. Aladenusi
The Bible is full of financial blessings which we have claimed, and claimed some more over the years. Years down the line, we begin to wonder if God’s word and promises are indeed true. We know God is not a liar, but we wonder what we are doing wrong to end up broke month after month, living from hand to mouth, claiming we shall be the head but feeling like the tail when we look around us. Where are the financial blessings?
Each year, we get a word from the Lord at the beginning of the year – This shall be your year of breakthrough, exploits, flying on eagles wings etc. We have stickers to show for it. They end up on our cars, doors, bibles and what have you. I know a brother whose cars’ rear windscreen was so full of stickers I was concerned if he could see through the rear view mirror. He was literally blinded by God’s promises down the years. If you look at the back of his car, you can trace all the promises down the years. He did not remove any, but simply added to it until he finally ran out of space.
Where is the manifestation of these promises? Has it come? Is it coming? When?
These are all valid questions. We are not bold enough to question God, but we have questions all the same. Whatever happened to Matthew 7: 7-8?
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks receive, and he who seeks find, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Not only have we been asking, He by Himself has even gone ahead to promise without us asking – this is your year of financial breakthrough, still nothing. What exactly is going on? Why is there so much need in the house?
Let me tell you my story.
I used to think that after asking, or receiving the yearly promise, all I needed to do was live holy, pray and attend all programs. Then one day, as I was leaving church for home, or as I was getting home from church, someone will run up to me and grab my shoulder:
“Brother, I have been looking for you, where have you been? The Lord laid it on my heart to give you something but you were nowhere to be found. I am so relieved that I finally found you”.
Then he will lead me towards the trunk of his car, open it, lo and behold, a “Ghana Must Go” bag (apologies to my Ghanaian friends) almost bursting at the seams, filled with naira notes – millions upon millions of naira. That was my picture of financial breakthrough.
I have since learned from the school of hard knocks that God does not work that way, except in some instances He sends money through others to pay for what He has specifically ordered, not to pander to my greed and laziness.
Another one was my employer sending me abroad for years on assignment. I will earn dollars while my salary is running back home. I have experienced this severally, but have come to realize that this is not the financial breakthrough I was looking for. I will return home awash with dollars, and six months later, I will be back to being broke again, praying for another assignment.
Yet another way I expected the breakthrough to come was by someone bringing me a very sweet deal, maybe LPO, contract, etc. I actually registered a company to prepare myself for this scenario. I will win a contract, or someone will bring me a contract with such a juicy upfront payment that I will execute it easily and will be rolling in millions afterwards. Of course this never happened.
I have come to realize after wasting more than 15 years wandering in the financial wilderness, that when God gives a promise, it is not time to hope, pray and go to sleep. It is time to hope, pray and go to work. A farmer does not hope for a bumper harvest my praying, fasting and attending night vigils. He hopes for a bumper harvest by praying, fasting, attending night vigils, getting good land and good seed, clearing the land, cultivating it, maintaining it by clearing weeds or using herbicides, applying fertilizers as necessary, hiring labour for the harvest as required and getting a good market for his products. His faith is expressed by working harder than his peers, putting more land under cultivation, doing more because he believes God will answer his prayer for a good harvest rather than cut back due to fears of drought or market slump which means inability to sell his excess produce.
God will not answer his prayer by raining down harvest from the sky. God will answer through a good weather, access to alternatives if the rains are not coming as much required, loyal and committed workers, friendly bankers, access to markets to sell his product etc. Even then, these things will not come by themselves. The farmer has to get up and go knock on doors.
This is when Matthew 7:8 kicks in – For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
A lazy farmer will ask but will not receive, seek and will not find, knock until his knuckles start to bleed and no door will be opened.
Like the story of talents in Matthew 25:14-30, the one who received one talent and buried it can ask all he wants, seek or he wants and knocks all he wants. It is by making what you have profitable that you can ask for more.
What has become of the money God has sent your way since you started working – your salary and bonuses? Can you give account of them? Is any left or you have consumed all? Are you accumulating wealth or you are giving it all away, eating with ten fingers? What business are you doing apart from your job? Which investment do you have that brings returns monthly, annually etc? Where else is money coming from apart from your salary? If you get laid off today, how long will you last before you start begging?
When God created the earth, He came down by himself to fellowship with Adam and Abraham. Then He sent His son Jesus, and when Jesus went back, He sent the Holy Spirit who has been here since. God has given us His all. What more do we want? More blessings? What have we done with what we have?
God has given us more than enough to multiply and have dominion. There is seed time and harvest. It will never cease. Are we planting or are we consuming? A farmer that eats all his seed will watch the next harvest from the sidelines as a spectator. You may be surprised that as you are waiting for God to move, God has been waiting for you to move. Until you move, all you may end up with is promises and stickers.
-Usiere Uko is editor at http://www.financialfreedominspiration.com/
As a young boy, I heard many preachers talk about the importance of giving the best of our resources to God e.g. our time, energy, money, etc. I have worked as a consultant with several organizations around the globe and I have observed, to my chagrin, that many Christians rarely give their intellect to God. Whenever I attempt to compare some believers’ attitudes in their workplaces with that they exhibit in the ministry, I realize it is long overdue for us to discuss or emphasize the need for us to give our intellect to God.
Many believers possess great brains which they use primarily to enrich their employers. Some work 8am to 8pm using their creativity and intellect to maximum capacity for ‘peanuts’ but the same measure of intellect is not reflected in the work they do for God. I see many believers spend much money to develop their intellect for use at their work or business; they attend all kinds of courses and write numerous professional exams for certifications, but little effort is given to renewing the mind with the Word, and developing our intellect for the Master’s use.
I know a guy who works at the IT helpdesk of his company. He receives users’ complaints via phone calls and provides first level of support as much as possible. His monthly reports to management show elaborate root cause analyses for all logged calls. The same brother is responsible for handling church calls/ enquiries to a mobile phone but he doesn’t even have a register to log the church calls. What a shame!
Similarly, some believers go all out to prepare “world class” visual presentations at work but do dismally in their weekly Sunday school presentations.
Recently, a pastor saw our magazine – Today’s Lifeline and said – “this magazine is so rich in content and quality, but it’s unfortunate that it will not last because Christian magazines don’t last in Nigeria. More so, the quality is even higher than magazines we have seen before, so I don’t see how you guys can sustain it”. Can you imagine that? If he had seen such quality from a secular magazine, he would not have made such a comment. Where did we pick up the mentality that we don’t give the best of the best for the things of God?
Perhaps we should read Matthew 22:37 (MSG) again. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.” Some other versions say we should love God with “all our minds”. The mind is the seat of our intellect and you cannot claim to love God, if there is no visible proof that you have given him your intellect.
If many believers were to put in the same level of intelligence they use for the work of God at their workplaces, they would be without a job or client today. We need to start acting differently. Some people ask how I am able to give so much time and creativity working in the ministry despite my full time vocation. One of the reasons is that I hate giving to God less than I would ordinarily do to my work. Beloved, you are God’s handiwork, created for His good works. He needs those brains performing at ‘full bars’ at all times. When will this generation start to see evidence that you are giving God all your intellect on a daily basis?
– Tope S. Aladenusi