bible

MEN OF THE TRUTH

Sometime ago I shared some thoughts on fatherhood at a men’s meeting. At a time like this when we celebrate fatherhood, I consider it is appropriate to share those thoughts with you trusting you would glean some positives from them.

According to God’s design, a child’s complete development is dependent on the presence of a father and a mother in the home. Thus, fathers are crucial to the balanced development of children. You could be the father to your biological children or adopted children. Or you might even have the privilege of being the father figure to the young men and women around you. Sadly, we are beginning to see that the place of fatherhood is under threat from the subtle movement of the proponents of the convergence of sexes who believe that roles are interchangeable and can be carried out by anyone irrespective of the gender. The roles of the father and mother are not interchangeable and cannot be swapped. And thus the influence of fathers on human development cannot and should not be waved away.Father

Fathers must be role models for their sons and daughters and one of the dimensions of influence fathers bring to the mix is the influence of truth.

As fathers, we must speak the truth always. We must be people of our words. We see lying celebrated and promoted everywhere around us. It appears it is the preferred instrument of transaction in a world of competition and rivalry. Of course, it is the language of the devil. People lie and even lie that they are not lying. And really, you would always have to support a lie with another lie. When truth is thrown in, the cookie crumbles. Any agenda, institution or task built on a foundation of lies would inevitably collapse sooner or later. Lies, no matter how simple, can be very destructive. Interestingly, that little lie in what you thought was a trivial situation might portend a precarious situation for someone else. Make it a decision to always speak the truth, even when faced with a life-and-death situation. Tough words, right? But the truth always saves!

We must live by the truth – live by the Book of books. Our lives must be governed by the Word of God. That means we pass all issues, choices and decisions through the filter of God’s word. As fathers, let our words and conduct dovetail with the things we read in the Bible or hear at church meetings (where God’s word is taught). For example, we should, by our actions, demonstrate our respect for authority. When we run red lights at traffic stops, are we teaching respect for constituted authority or rebellion against order? To gain the honour of having your children hold unto your words, you must govern your life by the Word of God. Also, when we develop family cultures, these should be based on God’s word. When we introduce family traditions and develop values for our homes, the word of God should be our sounding board. We might want to ask, ‘How does this tradition or value resonate with what God thinks?’ Am I pushing a cultural ideology or building a godly home? These questions can be helpful as you develop your family culture.

We must defend the truth. We must be consistent with our stand. We defend the truth when we speak for the truth and practice what we say. We should be able to explain biblical truths and principles to our children so that they are able to deal with the challenges of life. Fathers should guide their children in developing the right perspective to life. Children shouldn’t be left to form their own opinion or viewpoint on life-defining issues. We are to train up our children in the way they should go. There is a way they are to go which we should guide them to set their feet on.

To be men of the truth, we should know the truth ourselves. We should know the word of God and know it thoroughly. Be as confident with the scriptures as a lawyer quoting sections of the constitution in a courtroom. We must fortify ourselves with sound knowledge of the truth. For us, the word of God is an invaluable and indispensable tool for building great families and it should not be far from our hearts.

Have a truly happy Father’s Day.

 

 

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THERE IS SALVATION IN NO OTHER…

photo_3309_20070912At this period of the year, we take out time to specially celebrate the birth of our Saviour. We celebrate the One through whom God chose to bring salvation to mankind. We remember the good tidings of peace on earth and goodwill towards the human race.

A college recently put a professor on administrative leave for comments she made regarding the commonality of the God of different religions. She basically implied that the major religions served the same God. This sparked outrage in some segments of the society and reawakened the global debate on the similarities of religions. Highly placed church personalities have come out to speak for both sides of the divide. My opinion is that some people have made statements that appear to directly undermine the fundamentals of the Christian faith. I do not consider myself suited to be on the same pedestal with revered church leaders for a debate on the subject, so I would avoid an argument over the matter. I only feel I should say what I believe the Bible says and stand by what I have read in the Holy Scriptures.

I call myself a Christian because I have received the saving grace of my Lord Jesus Christ. I pray based on how the Bible has taught me to pray. I worship based on instructions found in the Word of God. My belief in God is modeled after what I have read in the Bible. My perspective on the after-life is based on the scriptures. My understanding of creation is founded on the inspired writings of the Bible. So I believe that my view of salvation must also be based on what is written in this same Bible. It makes no sense to cherry pick only what appears nice sounding in my ear and discard those parts of the Bible that run against public opinion.

In the Bible I have read the following:

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Acts 4:12 – Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Philippians 2:9-11 – Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

I am not sure there are any other scriptures in the Bible that are contrary to the ones above – which is not even an exhaustive list of related scriptures. You might ask why a loving God would give access passes to only those who come through His son Jesus. Well, I probably would be able to answer when we find out why a five year old boy would die of cancer. What crime has he committed? I guess we can agree that God’s sovereignty permits Him to do things according to His own will and purpose – things that are beyond human reasoning. He has chosen to bring salvation through His Son and He has declared that all who believe in Him will be saved. He has announced and demonstrated His love to me. This call of love is extended to everyone – with no exception – who would believe in His son’s name. This call of love also requires that I love everyone irrespective of their inclinations because He is the Father of all. This is why I, declaring the good news of salvation, invite everyone to His banquet.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. May the joy and peace of this moment experienced thousands of years ago come alive in your lives this season in Jesus name.

Still in His grip.

2011 AND FOUR THINGS

I love success and I believe you do too. I also believe that succeeding this year would require paying some more attention to the major and minor details of our daily living because they all add up. Having the right focus for the year and starting the right way would go a long way in determining how the year eventually turns out. We may like to try out new things, kick a habit or learn a new skill. There are so many things we could focus on this year but I’ll mention four things worth considering, which I believe would be highly beneficial to everyone.

Firstly, this year endeavor to strengthen and nurture your relationships, particularly family relationships. At the end of the year you should be able to look back and see that you have built stronger relationships. This would involve developing and respecting principles that would protect your relationships this year, especially marital relationships. Set goals concerning your expectations about your relationships at the end of the year and work at it. You might want to see an improvement in trust and commitment or crisis management or even romance in marriage. Yes, I agree that sometimes the most difficult things to accomplish are those things money cannot buy, but focus, determination and discipline are very important here. The state of your most valued relationships would always impact your daily affairs. This means your major and minor decisions would be affected, and ultimately your results at the end of the year would have the colour of those decisions. Don’t be too proud to recommit yourself to that bruised relationship which God led you into and make it work again. But if you are in a relationship that does not have the blessing of God, please get out.

Another thing to focus on this year is evangelism. The World Christian database put the growth rate of Christianity as at 2007 at 1.38%. My research shows that there are other religions with faster growth rates. This could mean more are entering the kingdom of darkness than are coming out. Evidently, there is work to be done. You only need to look around and realize that several folks need the good news you have heard. Please don’t keep it from them this year. ‘Rescued a soul from hell’, ‘won a soul for Christ’, ‘led someone to Christ’, ‘snatched someone from the kingdom of darkness’…however you say it, make sure it is part of your story at the end of the year. If everyone who professed Christianity today led somebody to the Lord in the year, we should have the whole world saved in 3 years or less. Selah.

The third thing is that this year we should show more love and truly live a giving life. Be a channel of blessing rather than a tank that just keeps everything it gets. Everybody has got something to give. Never miss an opportunity to be an extension of God’s kindness to others. The world’s mentality is to think of itself first and only itself but this is contrary to the mindset of the spirit-transformed life. Seek out opportunities to reach out in love. Support a worthy cause that is in line with God’s word. This might require you stepping out of your comfort zone. You never know, your comfort zone might just be limiting your potentials. In actual fact, your comfort zone limits your potentials. Take advantage of the grace He has given you to abound unto every good work. Your giving might stretch you, really, it will stretch you if you actually want to give of your resources, time or energy but God’s blessing is in it.

Lastly, one of the pillars of a strong Christian faith is a sound Word base. Pay attention to more study of God’s Word this year. It is not enough hear great sermons on Sunday and use daily devotionals. Study the bible yourself. I encourage you to take up the noble assignment of reading the Bible from cover to cover. You don’t have to wait for January 1st before you begin. Start now by reading a few chapters every day. You may not finish it this year but if you are committed to it, you would finish reading the Bible from cover to cover earlier than you thought. Memorize some verses as you read. Note that your Word content would give you an edge in life this year. Read more of the Bible, study more of the Bible and meditate more on the Word of God this year.

Working on these things would do us more good than we can imagine. It is bound to produce a domino effect on other areas of our lives. We would feel fulfilled at the end of the year knowing we began well and are finishing strong.

Think about this: What if God gave your spouse an opportunity to review your thoughts over one week, would your marriage be better off or worse off afterwards?

FACEBOOK AND MY WORLD

Recently, I had to stay indoors because of the council elections going on in the city I live in. I had more time to flip TV channels like I usually do when I hold the remote control. Two talk shows on air that day coincidentally had the social networking issue or more specifically, the Facebook revolution as their subject of discussion. One talked about how Facebook had been used to raise funds for a baby with a rare medical condition needing special food. I also heard about a lady who had taken a Facebook fast during the Lent season hoping she would break free from her Facebook addiction. She was trying to apply the theory that a 21-day abstinence could break any habit. One discussant who was introduced as a social networking expert talked about having connected with some of the most influential and powerful people in the world via Facebook. He even said Barack Obama was one of his Facebook pals. On the other show, someone called Facebook a spirit. People wake up and the first thing they think about is updating their status and then the last thing before hitting their beds is writing about the highs or lows during the day. I know someone who once woke up in the middle of the night and found that power supply had been cut off and decided that the best thing to do was announce this to the world via Facebook. I also once saw someone stuck in traffic busy on her laptop browsing Facebook pages, to while away time I suppose, Lagos traffic could be annoying sometimes, you know. These days I hear children are busy on Facebook or tweeting away during classes when they should be listening to their teachers or lecturers. This has culminated in an increasing rate of failure in school exams. As for me, I have established contact with several old school mates I may not have met again, thanks to Facebook.
Our Facebook profiles have become mini autobiographies that tell our life stories. We relive childhood memories, discuss our present experiences and reveal our plans to our pals. Just like the success of an autobiography is basically determined by the number of copies sold, our profile’s popularity seems to be determined by how many friends we have and the number of comments on our pictures or writings. I guess there is an application that can help tell how many times our pages have been visited.
But I have questions… Can I afford to spend half of the time I use on Facebook on some spiritual activity like praying or studying the bible? Can I add my pastor or my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ to my list of Facebook friends? Would He be pleased when He visits my pages? Am I concerned about the spiritual condition of the folks I call my friends or followers on Facebook? My dad used to say, ‘show me your friends and I will tell you who you are’. Is this true about Facebook friends too? Do my comments and statements on Facebook dovetail with my Christian beliefs? Do I have ulterior motives when I use a social networking service like Facebook? Does my profile show any light or provide seasoning like the Bible says I am supposed to do? You may be asking if life is all about preaching and preaching. But what better platform can you get to spread your faith than one that connects you with your world. Facebook might just be your epistle read by all men. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3. Meanwhile, I have some friend requests to attend to on Facebook.