Category Archives: Doing God’s will

Hanging Around With

In my opinion concerning “hanging around with sinners” cannot be taken on its face value without examining the pros and cons. There are arguments for and against. I read about it from Notforthenorms by Nicholas Brown and found the post very interesting. it made me look closer than just being perfunctory about this fundamental christian practice. i asked myself these questions. Should a Christian associate with a sinner? Who is a sinner? Is a Christian saying he is alien to sin or iniquity? Is the Christian above sin? If he is not, should he desist from interacting with other Christian sinners? Many of this type of questions made me look at the topic from the stand I took.

To my mind, criticising or complaining about Christians who hang around with sinners of whatever shape or form cannot be totally wrong because the devil has its subtle ways of beguiling would-be victims. Should we forget peer group influence? Show me your friend and I’ll know who you  are. How deep-rooted that he could not be surreptitiously lured out of Christian ideals. If his faith is so tap-rooted as to be able to withstand external negative influence, great, he will be more likely to exert his own influence on the sinner; otherwise the Christian may become another Apostle Paul’s Hymenaus and Alexander IITimothy 1:20 The parable of the Ten Virgins illustrate how A christian can still hang aound sinners and yet not get defiled. The wise five had extra oil but the foolish five did not. The oil representsanointing that the Christian should carry. It has to be constantly renewed. This sort of explains the rise and fall of men and women of God. A Christian must always be on guard irrespective of people you move with.

Besides, scientists have affirmed that non-smokers that are exposed to smokers’ exhaled fume are likely to remotely get affected as if they were smokers. The sheep is humane, docile and herbivorous while the dog is canine, carnivorous and always barking. By words of elders in certain traditional society, it is said that the sheep that hangs around with the dog shall in time learn to bark and eat what the dog eats. Agreed that Jesus gave an excellent example of interacting with sinners in Matthews 9: 9-13; but then  who among us in these days is as holy, charismatic and authoritative as our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe the intrinsic meaning of ‘Hanging around with’ goes beyond a devout Christian interacting for the fun of it, rather it has to be for the purpose of exerting Christian ideals on the sinner. This should not be taken to mean that Christians should not have interaction with sinners. The question centers around the Christian’s strength of character not to yield to the ways of sinners while he continues to pursue the help he is to render with prayers and supplications as well as his own exemplary life of faith in God that must speak louder than hard-core teaching of Christian doctrine to the sinner.

A focused Christian, as a non-pliable believer, should be best suited for hanging around with sinners with a view of spreading the gospel and in compliance with Jesus’ mandate to the disciples in Mark 16: 15-16 that states…….”Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (NKJ).

FAITH AND FAITHFULNESS

                   

 

God is always faithful to them that have faith in Him. However, God never denies man any of the basic necessities of life like air, water, sunshine, moonlight, rainfall , fire and more. In affirming the foregoing, there is a common saying in a community that translates into; ” The rain has neither friend nor foe, anyone that is found on its path, it falls on him or her.” There are other specific needs of man which differ from person to person. These needs can be spiritual, physical or both. The satisfaction of these needs from God depends on ones interaction in faith-based prayer and fasting through Jesus Christ the son of the Most High to God’s throne of grace. In Lamentation 3: 22-23, we read. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” 
Even though God remains faithful to man’s cause, it is man’s faith that wavers and doubts are known to set in, meaning that it is man that veers off course. Anyone that persistently doubts God will find it an uphill task to receive God’s grace. The wicked , satanic or godless people can prosper to an extent of making the world bewildered as to how and why such an undeserving person was ‘so blessed.’ The bible also explained that it is just a prelude to the damnation of such people. It is not biblical figures only that had and showed faith, the ultimate success of Abraham Lincoln in politics was a result of his unshakable faith in God. Mahatma Ghandhi of India had an unshakeable faith in the cause of gaining independence for India in 1946 and we believed God honored his

faith.The first President of America – George Washington demonstrated faith the way he commanded the U.S. Army to the point of fashioning a Republican Constitution for the United States of America. Chief Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria, was imprisoned but the unshakable faith he had in God (that he would not die in prison) saw him released when a counter-coup took place in August 1966 and immediately became the Vice -Chairman of the nation’s Federal Executive Council, he also headed the Ministry of Finance throughout a thirty-month civil war without external borrowing to fund the war expenses. Such personalities in modern times demonstrated man’s faith being honored with God’s faithfulness to all that trusted in HIM.
Faith and faithfulness are very essential to the joy and happiness always observable in the life of true Christian believers. During the times of sorrow man’s faith in God prevents winding back from being deeply involved in serving the Lord. At times of joy a faithful believer never gets overjoyed. What we see in the life of successful athletes is that a lot of them over indulged themselves in the use of alcohol, sex or drugs. The end result is usually sorrow-filled retirement period for they would be no more be in position to sustain the life-style they have created for themselves when they were earning big money. We learnt about having faith in God from bible characters like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as revealed in Hebrew 11: 1-32. This passage also alluded to other people like Enoch, Abel, Moses, (God called the most humble man that ever lived) who also doubled as the deliverer of the Hebrews from Egypt after 40 years of slavery. The bible alluded to the principles behind the faith the characters had: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it elders obtained a good 

 report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrew 11: 1-3) (KJV).
From Social Science perspective, psychology teaches having faith in oneself to such an extent that it serves like a pillar of strength. It invigorates anyone who can trust that if he or she believes something is achievable, problem being tackled is half solved. This is not to say that contemplating doing evil can be treated like planning or attempting to do good. The center piece of a born again Christian is making effort to please God and anchoring such on Christ’s righteousness. 

We need each other to survive (Continued)

No one is expected to survive being alone without interacting with others. Inter-dependence is another word that bears testimony to having others at ones beck and call. This age has been thriving on inter- dependence. The poor needs the rich . the rich and powerful also is in need of the poor. The developed countries need the developing countries for economic survival.

Take for instance, it is only two agreeable people that can walk, live, dine and wine or work together in harmony. In Amos 3:3 (KJV) it says “Can two work together, except they be agreed.” From creation God saw the need for companionship before taking a rib from  Adams’ chest, with it, HE created Eve. That was the first instance of surgical operation on mankind. Genesis 21: 21-24 Without doubt, togetherness has been ordained by the creator. In Genesis 2: 25, there lies the testimony that we are supposed to accept each others nakedness or fault. If we love without hating each other, we are less likely to see or capitalize on the fault of the other person and be able to survive together in peace.

The bible is replete with people working , living, fighting, even believing in the fatherhood of God that helped them survive during turbulent times in both individual life and the nation as a whole. David and Jonathan were so fond of each other that they entered into a covenant that blossomed past the life of Jonathan. It was that bond that made it possible for David to survive Saul’s overt intension to kill him. It was this genuine companionship that also brought Mephibosheth from Lodebar to the king’s court. He was also vested with the status of Prince and was able to eat at table with the reigning monarch. 

We need each other to survive is re-echoed in the plot to kill Apostlle Paul. After the Sanhedrin had called him to question. By divine dynamism he perceived  the two strange bed-fellows – Pharisees and the Saducees. They differed on the  belief over resurrection. He declared his being born and bred a Pharisee; who grew up under the strict tradition of the Pharisees. The division stalled the decision that was about to be taken. Another plot was hatched and his sister’s son got wind of it and leaked it to Paul while still in custody. The young man was referred to the chief captain and the plan was foiled. The planners on oath to kill Paul got disappointed as he was guarded out of Jerusalem to Caesarea via Antipatris. If Paul’s sister’s son were to be out of the scenario, they would have killed him while returning to the High Priest for a phony retrial. Acts 23: 11-23 (KJV) Man’s need is helped or nourished by his faith in the Almighty God who knows the end from the beginning. He recompenses in accordance with every individual’s thought, words or deeds. God does not abandon His own. His grace does not reckon with man’s iniquity except for those who forsake Him.

To be on the safe side in terms of finding help for survival in times of serious trouble, we need to look up to heaven from where comes our help so says the Psalmist in Psalm 121: 1. Here are clear instances of providing help for people in need. It was God’s plan to send Joseph to Egypt ahead of future calamity of no little dimension. His being there was to prevent a situation of wiping out Jacod’s lineage out as a result of seven-year famine in Egypt. Not that alone, what the glory, splendor, magic and majesty of Pharaoh could not do Joseph was already there to do it. Even though, he suffered in the hand of his kith and kin and in Prison in Egypt for offence he did not commit, but the purpose of God was fulfilled. Joseph was available to help Egypt and the whole of Pharaoh’s kingdom from the grueling  seven-year drought.

Finally, what enhances helping each other to survive begins with at least a person to have the divine and appropriate positioning to be able to carry out the assignment. A man of God was indeed in need of money to fund his thriving ministry. by divine intervention, he met an old acquaintance who hinted him about a vacancy that existed in a work-place for which he was eminently qualified. At the time of interview, he prayed for God’s presence with him to ensure success. It happened that even before the start of the interview, the interviewers expressed their delight in him for honoring their invitation as if he was the person they were desperately looking for. He proved his mettle, and the result was immediate. He, from then forward, had enough working fund to fuel his growing ministry.

BLAME GAME AMONG BELIEVERS

To play “blame game” is a means of talking or behaving in a manner to make it seem that one is faultless, or a form of “holier than thou” attitude. One does not want to be blamed for any misdeed. One tries to hide the truth at times, it may be in the form of alibi, as if one was not connected with the offence. Call this tendency other names like ”Passing the buck”, or ”Blame shifting” , the fact remains that a guilt has occurred and one does not want the blame. The habit is as old as human race. Remember the story of Adam and Eve’s tasting the forbidden fruit. Although, Eve was tricked into it by the deception of the serpent; but they, on their own, whatever the circumstance disobeyed the rule of God’s Law already known to them. Eve rather than blaming herself for not obeying God blamed the serpent. Adam, the head of the family, refused to take responsibility, found it convenient to blame Eve. Genesis 3: 12-13

On the contrary, God was not being partial to King David when any time he fell into sin, he never felt the need to cover up or blame his sin on someone else. For instance, God did not want him to have population census of his subjects , Joab, his war commander warned him as well, still he went ahead with the project and incurred God’s wrath. After the end of the exercise, David felt guilty for disobeying the God of Israel, and started praying for God to “take away the iniquity of thy servant; I have done very foolishly”. In consequence, God gave three alternatives from where to choose one punishment. Prophet Gad was sent to deliver it to David. Out of the three punishments he chose to fall into the hand of the Lord–Three days of pestilence–. I believe that since David has humbled himself before God, because David was sensitive to his sinful act, God caused the angel to stop the killing of the population. 2 Samuel 24: 17. I believe all believers should emulate King David in never to engage in blame game. It saved the people from being wiped out during the punitive pestilence.
 In the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25: 21-30, the servant with one talent to work with resorted to blaming his master’s wickedness who the servant described as trying to reap where he did not sow. Self-deception and envy did not allow him to realize that the one talent given him was his master’s seed sown into his life. He should not have blamed anyone for his refusal to let the investment on him yield quantifiable returns. The parable is still relevant to our everyday life where man continues to blame God or the devil for self-induced disaster. An apparently great man indicted for financial impropriety or sexual abuse would always blame the devil or his fate that led him into the ignoble act. At times, not knowing why a loved one died, the surviving spouse would rather blame God for the personal tragedy of losing the most valued person to him or her. Proverb 19: 3 says “The foolishness of man perverteth his way; and his heart fretteth against the Lord.” (KJV) The above verse tends to describe the approach to life of those who engage in blame game.
We were all born in sin, and some seem to behave as if they are holier than others. They tend to castigate others as to shift blame on such people whereas their own load of sin is heavier than those they were projecting as miserable offenders. Matthew 7: 1-5 puts it in this way: “Judge not that ye be not judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how will thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye, and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye and then shall thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (KJV). The Executive who is never able to manage his time effectively will always find it easy to put the blame on his spouse, the family or on phantom traffic jam on his way to work. Any believer who engages in blame game is playing with his eternity. We all commonly sing and say “Only Jesus can save.” Yes, but it is only they who are with renewed spirit and who worship the Lord in spirit and truth that we believe will be saved or possess a secured eternity.
Relating our foregoing discussion to our daily life , one who does not plan to succeed and consequently fails to succeed must not blame the devil, witches or wizards for his or her failure and its resultant suffering and anguish. Praise the Lord !!!.

BROODING IS COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

Brooing over anything means living or acting in self-pity. To avoid brooding over past mistakes or continuing to blame self for wrong acts of the past , try to avoid taking rash decisions , “look before you leap” or be quick to hear but slow to react so as to prevent doing what one would regret later on. The life of Cain and Abel epitomized the harmful effect of brooding over a bad situation in which there was no thought given to reconciling with God. God has always been gracious with man.  The two brothers individually made sacrifice to God. Cain’s offering was not honored by God whereas Abel’s own was well received by God.  Since Cain’s offering was rejected because of the unworthy items he offered, he became obsessed with anger and envy for Abel. He seized the opportunity of being with each other alone on the field to kill Abel. So Cain became the first recorded felon or a murderer in the history of mankind. If Cain had not resorted to unholy anger, he would have chosen the path of reconciliation, believably, he would have gotten a reprieve rather than eternal damnation. Genesis 4: 3-11.

An unholy anger can always be the cause of brooding in view of action taken to wrong another person or other persons. Whereas, if the person had approached the matter with deep-rooted positive thinking one would not have arrived at self-pity. A situation that can lead to self-pity is like when a center-forward player in a soccer final match where gold cup is at stake allowed the spur of the moment to abandon  his sure goal in the offing to be derailed by a foul in a goal-mouth struggle. He abandoned the code of conduct and reacted his own way thereby losing the winning goal just as the final whistle ended the match. There is no way the wasted goal will not continue to haunt the psyche of the person who deprived his team from winning a glorious battle.

King Saul was full of self-pity over his usurpation of Prophet Samuel ‘s divine prophetic role without sense of remorse. Perhaps , if he was remorseful he would not have lost the promise of zoning the kingship dynasty to his lineage forever. It is believed that Saul knew how the compassion of God had been so great over the children of Israel, Isaac and Abraham, for God’s compassion on Saul was great to the extent of choosing him from a small tribe in Israel? He knows HIS children’s frailty more than they can ever know Him. It was a known fact that the whole of Israel had always been sinning but once they perform sin offering they had always gotten the  needed forgiveness. Even, when they sinned in the wilderness, Moses interceded for them and God did not wipe them out as He wanted to do. God as Yahweh to the children of Father Abraham has all the time been ready to forgive anyone born of a woman.

In political arena blunder committed can occasion brooding over failed strategy. In another vein, one that loses in a demodratic free and fair election can choose to brood over the failure. On the contrary, the loser is enjoined to go back to the drawing board to scan and research the cause of the failure. A war-general who always takes stock of successes and failures that were his lot stands the  chance of staying above adversaries because of his positive outlook to life. If Peter were to continue brooding over his breach of trust, remember, he told Jesus he would not deny Him even when Jesus  said Peter would deny Him thrice before the cok crowed Matthew 26: 34 “Jesussaid unto him, Verily I say unto thee,That this night, before the cock crow,thou shall deny me thrice”. It did happen and he went out of the Chief Priest vicinity and wept bitterly and was later restored. John 21: 15-17 says : “So when they had dined , Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith  unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him,  Feed my sheep”. (KJV)

Only God is sinless and had given us his only begotten Son to be the sacrificial lamb for our forgiveness even unto eternity. We do not need to continue carrying our woes and sorrows without letting it go. Hand all challenges to Christ Jesus and He will see us through.

SELF CLEANSING

This expression has priceless meaning when applied to ones personality and not just cleaning or bathing  the physical body using soap and sponge. In a particular community, there is a similar statement that goes deeper than exterior cleansing. It goes thus: “I am filthy hungry and someone is hawking bath-soap; without stopping or cleaning the filthy hunger, the hawker remains irrelevant at that point in time”. In other words, any thing that comes first in ones need should be given the priority attention it deserves. The window through which one needs to look at this topic involves mainly the spiritual aspect of a person, especially a Christian believer. It is easy to clean the individual body, even if one has taken some time off from regular bathing and applying all sorts of lotions and creams. Cleansing the “youness in you” or the spirit being or the inner man remains the point of reference of this post. No one can neglect the physical cleanliness, no matter what. Physical hygiene is only part of manner that makes man before God and mankind.

The above fact is stressed in 2 Corinthians 7: 1. It says: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh  and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (KJV) Paul described this situation as self-purification for it is the desire of God Almighty that WE His people (through Christ Jesus) must be clean outwardly and inwardly. In Paul’s concluding letter in 1Thessalonians 5: 23 he states: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (KJV). This has to be so because with all the evils in the world one needs to seek God’s help to be able to cleanse ones heart of ungodly thoughts, words and actions.

In the duality of man, clean body needs a clean heart to aspire towards meeting God’s standard. This is the reason why God told Moses to tell the Hebrews to clean or wash their body before meeting God in order to hear details of His holy will to be made known to the children of Israel while in the wilderness. “And Jehovah said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow and let them wash their garments, and be ready against the third day; for the third day Jehovah will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai” Exodus19: 10-11 (ASV). This was preparatory to bringing them close to God and hear God’s voice as a means of certifying all that Moses had always told them and more he would still say to them.

King David was the chief of all characters in the bible who knew how best to cleanse his body, soul and spirit. To fully understand what self-cleansing really means, one has to say it loud that it is a conscious effort that a believer puts in to get rid or purge self, of all unrighteousness. It involves destroying and doing away with all non-fruit of the spirit thoughts, words and deeds. The Words of God constitute light to lighten the darkness surrounding a child of God. In the words of Jeremiah in chapter 4: 14 , it says:  “Jerusalem wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest to be saved. How long shall thine evil thoughts lodge within thee?” (ASV). In Romans 6: 12-15, it is written: “Let not sin reign in your mortal body, that he should obey the lust thereof: neither present your members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion  over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace? What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace?  God forbid” (ASV).

CHRIST’s HUMILITY

What impact does Christ’s humility have on Christian behavior and unity? Christ never taught his disciples to do what he would not do; rather He leads by example. It is do what I do not do what I say only. Humility is a state of being humble and at such , whosoever is humble is neither proud nor haughty. It takes a lot for Christ to humanize himself (assume a low estate as against  his position in Heaven) enough for us to emulate Him in thought, word and deed. Jesus as the Word of God in John 1: 1-4 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word  was God. The same was in the beginning with God, All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (KJV) this refers to Jesus as not being humanoid (in the form of man). Being part of the essence of God he was and still is higher than man and yet, he was never haughty or proud. He has reasons to be proud of who He was and is, from the standpoint of human beings and their hierarchical arrangement of status. He does not teach us to adopt the doctrine of the “pecking order”, rather whoever aspires to be leader must show the traits of a servant to be able to help others for such leadership to be meaningful before God.

J. G. Kris observed ; “Humility is a virtue most pleasing to God, Pride is a grievous sin in his sight”. This is a further explanation to Proverb 8:13. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” If we .humble ourselves, we stand the chance of being exalted. There was the story of a senior Manager retrenched from work and had to take a job that was being paid half the salary in his former job. He forgot what he was in his former job and ensured doing the job given him diligently. Whenever, his new boss happened to be on the verge of making grievous mistake, he would quietly draw the attention of the boss (with lesser experience than he is on the job) to it and humbly offer helpful advice. When his advice was taken and pitfall avoided, nobody would seem to acknowledge him but his record was being updated positively until there was a sudden vacancy created by another boss on similar assignment that left for a better pay elsewhere.  The “humble subordinate” asked was asked to  act for observation period of six months. Within one month his output spoke volumes about his competence for the job. He was confirmed on the job with a mouth-watering remuneration. Humility and ability to promote unity between others saw him through trough to pinnacle. 

Jesus never condoned pride in people, that was the crux of rebuking his disciples for their proud attitude concerning letting the children come to Him. Luke 18: 15-17 attest to it: “And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” Jesus also rebuked  the attitudes of the Pharisees in doting on law and forgetting that which was of spiritual significance. Luke 11: 37-44 (KJV). Lesson to be learnt therefrom is that the height of pride tend to determine the depth of humiliation; therefore, be humble at your huge success to be exalted in consequence, all things being equal. The Pharisees who chose to pray publicly and draw comparison themselves and those who do not observe the laws or are too poor to tithe big or are outright heathens underscore the teaching of Christ in Luke 14: 7-14 and especially verse 11 that says: “For everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (ASV)

Christ teaching was to warn the Pharisees and religious leaders of today that if they do not humble themselves before God they stand the chance of missing inheriting the kingdom of God. Matthew 6: 1-8. Fear of the Lord is humility personified. King Nebuchadnezzar failed because he boasted about his own power without attributing it to God. Humility has positive reward. The coming together of the disciples after they had scattered following trial and crucifixion of Christ  was a sign that humility and unity must be part of the code of conduct for all Christians. Even in today’s situation, we talk of being brother’s keepers. Those that have did not despise the have-not. It was a unanimous decision that the rank and file of the followers of Christ should sell all their belongings and bring the proceeds to a common purse for the use of all of them. Ananias and Sapphira sold theirs and kept part of it for which the spirit of the Lord dealt with them and they died because of their half-hearted spirit  of obedience and unity.  Disciples of Christ and new converts feared the Lord and remained in unity in spite of mass arrest, torture and cruel death.  We do believe that those who are not ashamed to confess Christ, the Son of Man shall not be ashamed of them in His Father’s kingdom. 

Therefore, it behoves all believers to emulate Christ’s humility for enhancing unity of purpose and happiness here on earth and the promise of eternal life. With humility that promotes the fear of God and the acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The blood of Jesus with his righteousness assures our place in God’s kingdom while others would have their eternal life in hell as prescribed in the bible.

The Tongue (Part Two)

When people say evil things or utter abominable words, they say ‘Oh! it is  a slip of tongue’. For how long shall man continue to pile up sin upon sins. There is no truth in the claim. A drunken individual does not come by what he says especially about other people without being an expression of what is uppermost in his mind but kept latent until effect of excessive alcohol made him lose decorum to an extent of breaking rules of decency. It is not a strange thing for an aggrieved subordinate to voice out his inner discontent with his boss at a Christmas party where he was able to gulp many free bottles of alcoholic beverage. Herodias’ vengeance  on John the Baptist who vehemently condemned Herod’s marriage with his brother’s wife was possible in the midst of King Herod’s drunkenness at his party. He asked Herodias’ daughter to dance. She danced to the admiration of the King and his guests. He therefore asked the dancer to mention a prize of her choice; even if it is up to a half of his kingdom, he would oblige. the girl’s mother taught her to ask for John the Baptist’s head in an earthenware. Oh God! Of what use is a dead man’s head as a prize for excellent dancing? The tongue has made an abominable pronouncement that got an innocent man killed just for satisfying someone’s ego.

Proverb 4: 24 says: “Put away from thee a froward mouth and perverse lips put far from thee.” The proverb tells us to keep away from words that do not edify God. Proverb 6: 25 says: “Do not lust in your heart for her beauty and do not let her captivate you with her alluring eyes”. This is for men in particular. Lusting in the heart usually leads to seductive use of the tongue. Even King Solomon was not spared when Queen Sheba paid King Solomon a royal visit. Kings 10: 13a “Now King Solomon gave the Queen all she desired, Whatever she asked..” . As of today, we still have Ethiopian Jews or else, how come late Emperor Haile Selassie (1892-1975) was able to bear the title of “Lion of Judah?”

Both old and New Testament condemned the tongue for reeling out evil, discontent , cursing and many more. They both called for a clean heart that energizes the tongue to issue appreciation, thanksgiving, adoration and many more.. The giver and the recipient are left in good mood. On the other hand.  Colossians 3: 8 says: “but now you must put them all away; anger, wrath, malice slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”   King Hezekiah used his tongue to talk to God pleasingly for God to grant him fifteen more years in existence. King Nebuchadnezzar used his tongue to equate himself with God over all his achievements and suffered the consequence of seven-year “jail-term” living animal life of eating grass and leaves until his senses returned to him. He thereafter, revered the Lord, God Almighty. Ex-President Idi Amin Dada of Uganda was so full of himself and was talking big without any benefit to his people. He ended up in exile and died there. Conversely, consider Nelson Mandela of South Africa, he declared genuine reconciliation to bring white and black South Africans together. Mandela’s concept of true reconciliation brought back the Tutsi and the Hutu of Rwanda and Burundi from ethnic cleansing into the earlier oneness from past centuries. After the bitter civil war of 1967-70, Nigeria came back together following the declaration of the famous “NO VICTOR NO VANQUISHED” as a reconciliation mantra under General Yakubu Gowon (Rd), the then Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The tongue has the power of life and death, man is therefore enjoined to choose between two situations of life either to enjoy life now and after or suffer the resultant negativity. President Goodluck Jonathan did not wait for INEC to declare the winner in the recent election in Nigeria. He quickly congratulated the winner. It really stemmed the tide of violence that could have been  unleashed on the people. This is a power of positive use of the tongue.

The Lukewarm Believer

A lukewarm believer is worst than a non-believer or a heathen. One has to be a true believer because there is no middle-of-the-road believer. There is no room for fair-weather believer. Lukewarmness entails slackness in the worship of God, the Almighty as well as in one duty towards ones fellow-men. A back-slidden christian fits into this mould of lukewarmness. Such person remains a nominal christian, fully sold to the worship of God. His duties and love of god has waned and waxed cold. He would not have strong  conscience against not loving and obeying God or rendering any brotherly love to the needy. When there is work to be done in the House of God he or she does not feel obligated. He would rather leave such for the pastors and Ministers to carry out. God does not reward title in his Church but the faithful commitment to one’s profession of faith and duties.

Lukewarm attitude stands for coldness in work and behavior. To relate it to man’s relationship with God, it stands for coldness or death for man is meant to be on fire for God. Such a Christian is of no use to God. This brings to mind the warning given to the Church in Laodicea. Revelation 3:15-16 (KJV), it states: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth”. Prophet Jeremiah preached doing God’s work with zeal and passion otherwise one’s labor would not receive returns to money, soul and spirit invested in God’s work. Jeremiah 48: 10 . It says “Cursed be he  that does the work of the Lord deceitfully, ad cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood”. Jeremiah fought for the Lord, not with physical sword with truth that pricked people’s conscience. it hurts like double-edged sword. That was why he suffered much persecution but remained adamantly committed to God’s massages he was constantly delivering to the children of Israel of his days. He was fearlessly undaunted and remained on fire for God is spite of all odds. One who doubts and entertain fear in the course of serving God. would in most cases know how to do good but because of fear of man and the attendant consequences, he will not rightly or decisively do it fo God; it is sin before God. We are enjoined to be our brother’s keepers but if we fail we are either cold lukewarm or insensitive to the need of God’s created person(s).; it is also sinful. Proverb 21: 13 (KJV) says “Who so stoppeth at the cry of the poor, he also shall himself, but shall not be heard”. In other words, if one fails to love others, others will fail to love that person. Failure to love God can be rewarded with rejection from God.

Looking at the effect of lukewarmness, it is obvious that there is danger in it. one in consequence would most likely be passed up as an unstable person. In interpersonal transaction,, no one would vouchsafe for him: James  1: 6-8 declared: “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways”. In contemporary times in political arena, some politicians especially in developing countries, do decamp to join the party in government. Such politicians have unstable mind and invariably in the new party no one would really trust him/them. How much more when one fails to honor God in life. The second or eternal death awaits such lukewarm believers. Such ought not to be our portio as born again Christians. Double-mindedness, fear of people, consulting a medium made King Saul fail before Samuel and God. Eli, a great prophet of God fail to honor God in the life of his two sons and died out of the consequence of his not bringing his two sons up to honor God.King Jeroboam rather than coming to The Temple at Jerusalem, he substituted baal for Yahweh the God of his Patriarchs and bore the consequence.

Providence of God (Part Two)

In Part One, we concluded that God is Jehovah Jireh. HE is the eternal provider of both spiritual and physical needs of all that HE created. God Loves our obedience and penitence which are part of basic ingredients of man’s relationship with HIM. When man loves God with his body soul and spirit, man will love to praise and worship HIM. These will show in his mercy, grace and compassion that will be freely showered on the people. Proverb 21:1 says “The KIngs heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water, he turneth it whithersoever he will. his shows that HE can punish or reward man’s actions. God HAS given His rules and regulations i.e. The Ten Commandments as guide to the children of Israel to be able to obey and worship the true God of Israel so as tobe able to enjoy bountiful providence of God. Contrary wise, He has also made for unleashing negative sanction gross disobedient actions, mainly that of worshipping Baal or any man-made god. Jeremiah 16:1-13. (KJV)

We can also say that providence does depend on man’s input that gives output that is better than the input. Psalm 1: 1-3 is an example of such; “Blessed is the man who worketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in  the seat of scornful. But His delight is in the Law of the Lord; and in his law doth he and in HIS law does He meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth its fruit in his season; his leaf shall not whither, and whatsoever he does shall prosper” (KJV). Jehovah the Almighty, though He knows our needs from time to time and makes provision for them as well but will always frown at us  when man consciously commits sin, the chief of which is when he decides to worship man-made gods, that is what he cannot tolerate. When those who should know refuse to know, God always makes, wicked rulers to first conquer them, enslave them and later use the wicked ruler to restore to their land without paying him a dime for the freedom granted them. Ezra ,the Scribe received such providence for the Israelites.

Prophet Isaiah in chapter 45: 12-13,  the Lord’s warning: “I have the earth, and created man upon it; I even my hands have stretched out the heavens, and all their hosts have i commanded. I have raised him (KIng Cyrus) up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways, he shall my city, and let go my captives . not for a price nor rewards, saith the Lord of Host” (KJV) This was also amply demonstrated in Ezra 7: 1-10, where God impressed it upon the heart of the King to grant Ezra his request to go and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. King Artaxerxes gave his endorsement to Ezra’s mission. The providence of God came as a result of what the king had noticed in Ezra all along that he was a devoted scribe skilled in te Law of Moses; not only that he studied the laws but also obeyed the laws of the God of Israel. He also had plans to tech the statutes and judgement in Israel.

Providence also involved first seeking, believing and trusting God to bring His blessings that money cannot buy. In Ruth 2: 11-12, we learnt in the statement of Boaz made: “And Boaz answered and said to her, it has fully been showed me, all tat thou has done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thy husband; and how you have left thy father and thy mother and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people thou knowest heretofore. The Lord recompense thy work, and full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust”. Be it recalled that the Jews despised the Moabites who do not worship the God of Israel. Bible scholars have written that the Moabites were descendants of Lot who was a nephew of Abraham a Jewish Patriarch. Ruth believed in the God of the Israelites. Her trust in Naomi, indicated her trust in Naomi’s God. By divine providence she became a great ancestral grandmother to Jesse and David from whose lineage our Lord Jesus came. Remember, Christ came to save the lost souls and to restore them into God’s kingdom. It is an apt demonstration of the providence of God. The Good News as brought by Jesus Christ is God’s providence designed to reconcile man Jehovah, The Almighty God.