RELATIOSHIPS AND APOLOGIES

Human relationships (be it familial, filial, congenial, romantic or professional) is an interesting albeit complex phenomenon. Inherent in them are contradictory aspects struggling for supremacy. Just as some parts struggle to keep the bond of a relationship, other parts ensure that they leave it fragmented. For instance, while traits like love, mutual understanding/respect, and empathy tend to foster cordial relationships, idiosyncrasies such as attitudinal problems, unwholesome behavioural patterns and a sense of distrust tend to breathe friction. In the words of Kienzle and Dare, each relationship nurtures a strength or weakness within an individual.

MISTAKES

One of those things that projects the imperfection in humans and hamper cordial relationships is mistakes. I’ll define a mistake as an incorrect, unwise act or decision due to bad judgement or a lack of information or care. There’s a saying among my people that says no matter how hard a man tries, whenever he walks, he can’t help his head from shaking now and then.

Imagine that the world is a big school and everyone in it are pupils. Mistakes then will be likened to backpacks – every pupil straps his own. We all make our share of them – some trivial and others grievous. The interesting is mistakes are often not premeditated. Instead, they are mostly products of bad judgements calls.

Human interactions have never been a perfect one; it demands that we step on one another’s toes now and then. After all, even the teeth and the tongue do have their occasional issues. Since we are not all wired the same way, we are bound to speak, act or behave in a manner that will displease the other.

FOR INSTANCE…

The father who has had a hectic day at work screams at his poor little girl who asks him a harmless question…the immediate boss at work reprimands his subordinate for a wrong he didn’t commit…the fiancée vents an anger caused by someone else on her fiancé…and the scenarios are endless. However, whatever the dynamic is, a wrong can always be overlooked/forgiven when the wrongdoer makes proper amend.

ATTACHED TO A PENCIL IS AN ERASER

Consider mistakes and redress from the point-of-view of the makers of the typical pencil. Consider the foresight they exhibited in making them. They knew that, in the course of using it for creative purposes, errors/mistakes are bound to occur. Hence, they fit an eraser right on top of it to clean them off. Such forward-thinking perspective concerning mundane things can also come to bear on the art of relationship, especially when it comes to tackling wrongs done to a person.

Except in extreme cases, we have the capacity to re-write any wrong/mistake. Interestingly, no antidote to wrongs does a better job than admittance to wrongdoing and a sincere apology.

THE WEIGHT OF AN APOLOGY

A wise man once said “it takes a big man to admit when he is wrong and even a bigger man to admit that another is right”. An apology is a statement expressing remorse for an action. To apologise is to acknowledge a wrongdoing or to take responsibility for a wrong done to another.

Really?

Rendering an apology is a face-saving act. The truth is in every ideal individual is a sense of self-esteem or dignity that he tries to protect. When he is wronged, there is a threat to that sense which makes him feel hurt. However, such threat is mitigated when genuine apologetic statements are offered. However, more importantly, a genuine apology is backed with the preparedness to do what is right going forward. While some interesting folk will view apologies as a sign of weakness, every right-thinking individual understandsits potency.

To apologise is to say sorry, i.e. express regret for an action that has upset another. Most times, an apology goes with the utterance of three simple yet powerful words “I am sorry”. Many relationships have been salvaged because the offending party apologised as at when due and in the right way while others have been severed because particular parties involved found it difficult to apologies. Some even made matters worse because of the manner in which they apologised.

APOLOGY MEANS RESPONSIBILITY

When a fellow apologises, he is taking responsibility for a fault and expressing his regrets. It’s therefore counteractive when certain speech and attitudinal factors betray the genuineness of the apology rendered. For instance, what’s the good in an apology rendered with an irritating/angry tone or with voice raised? J.A. Holmes is right when he opines that 90% of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice.

What’s more, apology and amends are like Siamese twins; they go hand in hand. There is no point apologising for an action one will keep repeating. A sincere apology will imply shying away from whatever upsets another. For example, if I apologise to you after saying something rude to you, my apologies should also imply that I won’t say such rude words to you in the future. It’s then that my apology will make sense and bring about the required change.

YOU WANT IT TO BLOSSOM? NURTURE IT!

Human relationships can be likened to a tender flower. If you don’t want it to wither, you have to nurture it. Since mutual affection is a basis for its survival, one has to ensure that it sustained. Consequently, the ability to sustain it is hinged on having the right set of attitudes. One of those attitudes is the ability to render a sincere apology as at when due and ensure that the mistake for which one apologises doesn’t keep repeating itself.


Image Credits:

flickr

Blackwing


©ayansolaibukun

https://ayansola.wordpress.com

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🙏THE LORD’S PRAYER?

Hello there!

Today, I’ll like to share with you my knowledge of a passage in the scriptures that we both know. You remember that famous portion we often recite? The one we call The Lord’s Prayer? That’s it! Indulge me to say a few things about it….

TEACH US HOW TO PRAY!

One fine day, somewhere in the city of Jerusalem, Jesus’ disciples came to him and said to him: Lord, teach us how to pray. His response to their request is what has been famously dubbed ‘The Lord’s Prayer‘ and is now the pattern of prayer for many believers. In many Christian gatherings, this prayer is recited as a cue to ending the meeting. Ironically, though a popular recitation in Christendom, it’s mostly learnt by rote. Not every Christian gets the essence of Jesus’ response. Though it’s not out of place to recite it now and then, truth is it’s not intended to be a prayer to be rendered by believers today.

In what we call The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus wasn’t giving his disciples prayer points but was speaking concerning what was going to be (and is now) the Believer’s reality today. Each line of that ‘prayer’ projects the believer’s state of mind, especially when he prays. We call it The Lord’s Prayer today because it’s the subtitle the blessed translators gave it and not because it was a prayer Jesus prayed.

How about we take a look at each line of that ‘prayer’ and see what exactly they mean?

Ride along…

OUR FATHER WHO HATH IN HEAVEN!

In the context of prayer, Jesus situates familial relationships. He makes reference to a family of saints who have God as father. As believers, God is our father! By virtue of salvation, He has made us to be sons and co-heirs with Christ. When we pray, we have fellowship with our father.

But who is a (real) father? He is one who takes responsibility for his offspring and ensures they are well taken care of. This should be the mindset of the believer at all times and most importantly when he prays. That consciousness will inspire confidence in him. Because he is praying to his father, he is bold to make his requests and he is confident that his desires will be granted.

FATHER IN HEAVEN?

Heaven here won’t be referring literally to a region beyond the sky where God sits on a throne and the angels render worship. While that can be inferred, it’s not the real deal. Heaven here speaks of a sphere of influence beyond the natural. It’s speaks of the nature of our father: He is not of this earth (physical world); rather, he is immortal. The reference to heaven is to defer from the notion of earthly fathers with their flaws and inadequacies. The Father we pray to is eternal; devoid of any human failings. One we can wholly rely on.

HALLOWED BE THY NAME…

God is holy and so is his name. In prayer, we show reverence to him and thereby affirm his holiness. We don’t get to pray that his name be holy because he is already holiness personified. He won’t be any holier than he ever was. When we pray to God in the name of Jesus, we hallow his name.

THY KINGDOM COME!

Don’t begin to think about a territory ruled by a monarch. The term ‘kingdom’ is not to be confused with an physical kingdom but a sphere of authority where God has dominion. The kingdom of God is in the heart of men who are saved. That’s where God rule.

THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!

This expression is an extension of the previous one: Thy Kingdom Come. God’s kingdom comes when his will is done on earth just as it is in heaven. The believer is an expression of heaven on earth. The will of God is to make the believer his sphere of influence on earth via his words and activities.

Jesus here was speaking prophetically of God’s desire. That desire is already accomplished in the believer today. The kingdom of God has come in the heart of the man in Christ. Through him, God displays his abilities/authority.

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.

Definitely not this 👆kind of bread!

The word ‘daily’ in the Greek means today and tomorrow. The bread requested here is one that suffices for each day (always). By my reckoning, even the best of breads can only last a few days without getting bad. What’s more, no single bread, no matter the size, can be sufficient for always.

This line of the prayer is not a request for daily supply of material needs – of meals or victuals. Actually, the proper rendering of that line says (you) give us this day our daily bread. That bread is not made from flour. Rather, Jesus is that bread – the bread of life. He is the bread that last forever (eternal life). Whoever believes in him will never want.

This line isn’t intended to request daily food. Instead, it speaks of the redemptive work of Christ for man’s eternal salvation. When a man believes on the gospel of Christ, he has eaten of the bread – of Christ. The believer today has eaten of that bread which will remain ever sufficient for him – eternal life.

AND FORGIVE US OUR SINS AS WE ALSO FORGIVE

Reading this line, one is likely to think that God’s forgiveness is dependent on ours. But no, God’s forgiveness is without condition. If otherwise, why will Christ die for us even while we were dead and deep in sin? This line is better read (you) forgive us our sins… The daily bread in the previous line is the forgiveness of sins. When a man believes on the gospel of Christ, he eats of the bread of life and thereby receives forgiveness of sins.

This line is not intended to ask for forgiveness of sins but to restate what Christ has done for us: He (you) forgave our sin. Therefore, when the believer prays, he does so with righteousness consciousness – as one whose sins have been forgiven.

In essence, our ability to forgive others is dependent on the reality that he has forgiven us. As believers, we share of Christ’s spirit. We can forgive others because he has forgiven us. In redemption, God’s love was shorn abroad in the heart of the believer. He now has the ability to walk in love by forgiving others. This is the mentality of the believer when he prays. He has the spirit of forgiveness!

LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION!

Really? Was Jesus actually pleading with God not to lead us (believers) into temptation? Was he implying that God in his ‘sovereignty’ could choose to lead us into trials? No! No! No! Temptations (of any sort) never comes from God. James emphatically says that God doesn’t tempt anyone. In fact, the only set of things that comes from him is good and perfect. John Corroborates James’ witness when he says that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. Temptations and trials are works of darkness; you won’t find God in them.

From this line, we see what God will and will not do. He will not lead a man into a temptation of any sort. Hence, (you) lead us not into temptation…

…BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL

What God will not do is to lead us into temptation. However, what he does is to wrought deliverance for us hence, (you) deliver us from evil. James 5:11 and 1Cor 10:13 corroborate this.

God is not a tempter but rather a deliverer!

The Lord’s Prayer is really not so much of a prayer but a confession of the Believer’s reality. It’s Jesus revealing the mind of God to his disciples and by extension believers today. It’s the mindset the man in Christ should have even when he prays.

Next time you recite The Lord’s Prayer, bear these facts in mind.

************************************

I hope this blessed you.

©https://ayansola.wordpress.com

BEFORE THE FALL

His name was Mila

He lived above all yet beneath all
A creation who acted like the creator
Ever boastful, forgetting his palm kernel was cracked by a benevolent spirit

All knowing yet with the least incline
A bloated head of nothing but nothing
Eyes as bright as the bat at noonday
Ears so attentive to none but his own counsel
His thoughts? Warped
Feelings of exaggerated self-esteem
Lived in a world where he alone was fit to thrive
That’s how best to describe him

He was decked in splendour
But not a farthing to spare for his fellow earthlings

Never had a shred of sympathy for the needy
For his sense of empathy was long seared in the couldron of vanity

“Their misery their business”
His pleasure his prime pursuit

“Tread softly my friend” Alero once told him
One mindful moment in the morning
“Life is never about just you”, he pursued
“Oh, spare me the homily”, Mila countered
“For I no longer have a use for such pitiful counsel
Up I am and down you are”

He sauntered through the bridge called life
From one end of oblivion he crossed to the other end of recognition
Then burned down the bridge at his wake
Not thinking he was ever going to need it hereafter
He sold out his beloved during the time of plenty
Never for a second thought he could need them in time of scarcity

He got a long-desired ticket to Eden
And pulled down his homestead on his way out
What happens when tornado strikes at Eden?
Will he have a homestead to return to when tormented?

“Tell him to take a leaf from the haughty elephant” cried Awero
Even to his friend Alero

“But he never listens, don’t you know?
His ears all boarded up with the hype of vanity
His stream of wisdom dried up
When his season of spring showed up”

When the downfall of a man is ripe
The sense of reason in him is wiped

He was like the fly that scorned good counsel
And ended up in the grave with the corpse
Even like the stray dog who never heed the hunter’s cry of retreat

So he continued in his self-appointed path
Destitute of true companions
But surrounded by backscratchers
Dance on! We are right behind you! they cheered
Regailing him with the beats from the mocking drum
And trumpets blasting melodious doomsday tunes

He danced on in perceived forward motions
Till he got to the edge of an occluded cliff
Here he danced so much till he began to spiral
Loosing control of himself
His feet slipped and gravity came true
Hastening him down in such a seamless descent
Till he plunged finally into a certain end.

Continue reading BEFORE THE FALL

GOOD THINGS DON’T FALL LIKE RIPE CHERRIES

The price of greatness is responsibility – Winston Churchill

EVER SEEN A FELLOW SO IRRESPONSIBILE?

Have you ever come across a man who, in trying to make sense of life, does everything except consciously taking practical steps to achieving his goals? I mean one who refuses to use the abilities God has endowed him with in tackling life issues yet expect the same God to do it all? He can fast, pray, make faith confessions about success in exams without taking time to study. He can waste away on the mountain top praying for prosperity without being gainfully employed. Well, he is the very definition of irresponsible.

We live in a world where men outsource critical thoughts to religion; a society where many hide their ineptitude under the guise of spirituality. In such a world, seeking escape in religion tends to be an easy way to escape accountability. Even issues that require a commonsensical approach are taken to the Lord in prayer.

Here is a piece of good news for the indolent: The Lord doesn’t take pleasure in laziness (in all ramifications), neither does he reward slothfulness.

Religion gives the religious a false sense of hope and paints in his mind a picture of El Dorado. It tells him to relinquish his thinking faculties to the sovereignty of a supreme being who can do it all while he goes to sleep. It makes him dwell in a pitiful state of delusion where he believes he can have his cake and eat it. Aldous Huxley isn’t far from the truth when he said religion is the price folks pay for being intelligent but not as yet intelligent enough.

I dare say that a true believer is not religious; instead, he is one whose relationship with God prompts him to take steps/actions of faith. He is not one who lets go of his mental faculties in dealing with life/natural situations. For instance, while he trusts God for prosperity, he knows He (God) won’t rain them down from heaven like ripe cherries off a tree. Hence, he plays his part in the process.

NO FREE MEAL IN CANAAN!

Ever wondered why manna ceased to fall for the Israelites once they set foot on Canaan? Did you think God no longer had the ability to provide it at that point? Manna stopped because there was no longer need for it. God only rained it down because they couldn’t grow crops for food in the desert. Free meal was over the minute they stepped into an environment where they could plant crops and get their own meal. God won’t encourage unproductivity.

I believe in miracles; they happen every day. However, to think that it’s something one can conjure at any time when one needs to cut corners is the height of self-deceit. Miracles won’t be miracles if they get to happen randomly, at one’s whim. Essentially, miracles are interventions (emphasis on intervention) of the supernatural in the affairs of humans when natural efforts fail.

It’s gross irresponsibility for a man to dwell in a state of unreason and believe he can pray away everything. After all, he can do all things through Christ. When such a man has an interview, he doesn’t bother to acquaint himself with the modus operandi of the company – God is able. When he has a professional exam to prepare, he’ll rather spend all his time praying and studying the bible – I know all things. He detects strange and persisting symptoms in his body but refuses to go for check-up to know how to address it– He is Jehovah Rapha

THE PARABLE OF TWO FARMERS

Consider the story of two farmers who went to sew crops on their individual farms. While one kept going back to water it, weed it and fight pests, the other sat contentedly at home trusting God for a good harvest. We both know who is deserving of that harvest. You see, prayer is an effective weapon in the spiritual arsenal of the believer. With it, he can turn things around and make things happen. When the believer prays the prayer of faith, God hears him. However, there are things mere praying won’t do. Some things also simply require that a man think, plan, and be proactive.

Great nations of the world didn’t turn out so simply because they had a large population of spiritual men. These nations grew because well-meaning citizens engaged/challenged their minds and took practical steps. The same applies for successful people. Many who like to pray away everything without taking actions do so because thinking gives them pain. So they’ll rather abdicate their responsibilities and leave everything at the doorstep of faith.

If you fail to do what is within your capacity in order get desired results, you won’t have God to blame for your misery. While you rely on God to perfect all that concerns you, ensure you do what you have to do in the natural.

Engage your brain, plan, be proactive, work and pray. Remember, God is going to send the rain but you’ve got to prepare your field to receive it.

©ayansolaibukun

REDEMPTION!!!

God, being before the beginning
Created the universe in the beginning.
Heaven and earth he fashioned,
The earth he garnished with goodness:
Even the essence of flora and fauna to complement.

But the lights, firmament, waters, grass, animals…
Couldn’t be the height of his workmanship.
Yes, beautiful and splendid they were
Lo! They were merely a means to an end.
Deity’s plan for the earth being far greater.
In his intent was mankind; one with his divine essence;
To conform to his image, even in his likeness –
Even one to share of his eternal nature.

So He created man, male and female created he them.
A being of freewill, in dominion, occupying a spiritual estate.
For them he made the world’s riches: six days work of creation.
Now, having installed them as his representative,
He gave to them an instruction which, if obeyed,
Keeps them in their spiritual estate forever; never dying, never lost.

(Did you think it was about a (literal) tree or fruit?
No! Those were natural mediums of relaying a spiritual reality).
Herein lies the sum of the whole matter:
Believe on God’s message and you have live eternal;
Display unbelief towards it (disobey) and lose out.
This instruction man took to heart at the outset.

Then came that old serpent into the seen;
The liar, the distortionist, even the devil.
Funny to think an actual serpent tricked God’s chief creation.
He was never in accord with God’s plan for humanity.
Indeed, his sole mission was to thwart it.

So a contrary opinion he presented to man:
In eating of the fruit, “ye shall not surely die”.
On this lie the man feasted – his attention to the truth diverted.
In feasting, his consciousness of God’s message altered.
The indulging did trigger unbelief in him
And soon enough for the devil’s lie he fell.
And walking in disobedience, his spiritual estate he forfeited.
Never was it about a fruit (an apple) man supposedly ate.

Afterwards came God to fellowship
“Where art thou, Adam”? His voice echoed.
Perhaps you take the utterance as a question?Far from it!
That was God describing man’s present spiritual state;
Telling man what has befallen him:
“Adam, you are no longer where I intended for you to be.
Indeed, your disobedience has cost you your spiritual estate”.

So by one man’s disobedience, sin came into the world
And death by sin.
Man died but not a physical death.
Rather, his relationship with the divine was severed.
Hence a case of spiritual separation between man and God:
Man could no longer function in the class of God.

But God is merciful – he will never live man hopeless.
Right from the event of man’s fall,
His redemptive plan for him he announced:
“I will put an enmity between you and the woman…
Her seed shall bruise your seed and you will bruise his heel”.
The seed of the woman will crush the devil’s head – triumphing over him
Thereby re-establishing the severed relationship.
To realise this promise, the seed of the woman will have to die
Hence “you (the devil) will bruise his heel”.

From the onset, God made a promise: “I will”!
The requirement for man’s redemption was solely his responsibility.
It will take him and him alone to mend the broken relationship.
The death of the promised seed will end man’s spiritual death.
God will provide himself a sacrifice for man’s sin.

This purpose God did signify in making man a coat of skin.
An animal had to be killed before its skin can be used. Selah!

Hence blood spilled and life taken to make a covering for man.

Blood spilled and life taken to restore a relationship;
A temporary medium by which man can approach God,
A foreshadowing of what God will do to save mankind.
In this action, was the message of salvation initiated and preached:
For without no shedding of blood is no remission.

The patriarchs who believed on this message were counted righteous:
Abel did and sacrificed an animal, so did Noah, Abraham and Jacob.
Even the erring Israelites continued in this fashion,
Yearly bringing the sin offerings of bulls and goats.
But the yearly offerings could not deal permanently with sin.
Instead, it fostered sin consciousness in them that offered it.
It will take the sacrifice of Deity himself to put away sin: “I will”!
Hence… “a body thou hast prepared me”.

God himself is the prepared body; He’ll come to save man.
He however cannot come as the spiritual essence that he his.
Bear in mind that a body is required.
In coming, He’ll come as a man – with a spirit, soul and body.
You see, the God who came as a man is Christ.
Hence “the Word (God) was made flesh and dwelt among us”.
He is called the son of God in reference to his incarnation.
So Christ (the son of God) is God who became a man.
Selah!

The men of old spoke concerning him:
“Of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow”.
Moses, Abraham, David, Isaiah, Malachi, even John.

Herein lies the reality/essence of our salvation…
His birth, sufferings, death, burial, resurrection and glorification!
The law required a sacrifice for sin; He came to fulfil the law,
Giving himself as a perfect sacrifice – once and for all!
His death, burial and resurrection was beyond the natural;
They were essentially spiritually conceived.

Of his death:
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani:
My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
This utterance speaks of his death.
God has made him to be sin for us who knew no sin.
His death wasn’t in giving up the ghost.
Rather, it was in his separation from God.
A consequence of taking our sins upon himself.

Of his burial:
It was in that he descended into the lower part of the earth.
Even to the place of the dead, i.e. hell.
His burial is not the interment of his body in the cave.
Instead, it is his descent to hell to prevail upon sin.

Of his resurrection:
It was in that he overcame the power of sin and death.
Death could not hold him – Oh glory to Jesus!
“For my soul will not be left in hell;
Neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption”.
What is more, “I shall not die but live”
These prophetic words were his confessions in the grave.
Indeed, they are the words that revived him.
His resurrection was that he claimed victory over the power of sin.
His physical resurrection on the third day, an aftermath.

Of his offering for sin:
Not in the shedding of his blood on the cross of Calvary.
For his blood (for remission) was shed in heaven.
When he went to sit at the right hand of the father.
The blood on the cross being the precursor.

We see God in the likeness of a man
Who died as a man and rose as a man
To restore reunite mankind with God.

In his death, burial and resurrection lies deliverance.
Righteousness is birthed by faith in his redemptive work.
Not in adherence to the dictates of the law.
For Christ is the end (fulfilment) of the law.
Never can there be salvation by works;
For a man shall be declared just (only) by faith.
Even faith in Christ – His suffering and glorification.

His death is our live.
His resurrection is the essence of our faith!

​A LIFE OF HONOUR; THE PROPHET JOHN AS CASE STUDY

You must have read about the man famously called “John the Baptist”. He was an evangelist and a prophet in his own right. Actually, the Lord Jesus attested to him as being the greatest among the prophets. His birth was nothing short of the miraculous. Just like Christ, his birth and earthly mission was prophesied in the scriptures (Isaiah 40:3, Mal 3:1). Interestingly, he happened to be a second cousin to the Messiah. In fact, he was 6 month older than the Lord (something to sing about). Indeed, he was a unique biblical personage. 

The man John wasn’t oblivious of these facts about his person. Of course, he knew of his relationship with Jesus. However, this knowledge didn’t get him puffed up and behave in an untoward manner. The prophet didn’t get carried away by his fame, spiritual edge and public acceptance. Rather, he knew what his mission was, stuck to it and wasn’t shy to let the world know it:

  • Joh 1:19  And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
  • Joh 1:20  And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
  • Joh 1:23  He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

The manner in which he (John) introduced/unveiled Jesus intrigued me. I thought he would have been casual/impassive about it, considering that they were relatives. I tried to picture a present-day “word man” in John’s shoes; how he would have unveiled Jesus to the world. You are likely to hear him say something like:

Hey guys, remember the man I’ve been telling you about? The one who is my cousin; Aunty Mary’s son? Well, here he comes! He happens to be the one who will take away your sins.

    

Prophet John would rather take the path of reverence; he’ll unveil Christ just the way he should:

…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

As if that wasn’t enough, left to him (John), he would rather be baptised by Jesus than having to baptise the Christ. Such was the sense of regard he had for Jesus, his cousin. 

No sense of entitlement or familiarity! He knew how to separate roles and relationships. 
He ensured he didn’t pose a distraction from or competition to “the real deal”, i.e. Christ. Instead, he demystified himself and dignified his principal:

Joh 1:27  He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

Joh 3:30  He must increase, but I must decrease.

John’s manner of relationship with Jesus is instructive for the believer today!

The man in Christ needs to understand the place of honour in his Spiritual growth and ministry. He should also recognize the place of spiritual relationships and treat them with due respect. Jesus’ mother and siblings were oblivious of this understanding hence, their attitude in Matt 12:46-50. He (Jesus) however puts things in proper perspective in his response to their summon. Not that he disregarded them; rather, he knew his priorities.  

The believer should be careful not to become too familiar with people who have spiritual oversight over him no matter the level of (natural) relationship he has with them: friend, family member, colleague, mate, partner… He should see them firstly as one who is commissioned by God for his spiritual development and relate with them accordingly. 

The bible says to give “double honour” to elders (spiritual leaders) who perform their duties well. This includes those of our household or acquaintance. When we get too familiar with them, there is a tendency to walk in dishonour, disregard or irreverence towards them. And when this happens, we deprive ourselves of the benefits that should flow from them to us. 

The authority you refuse to honour; you don’t receive or profit from (see Jesus and his kinsmen in Mark 6:1-6). 

One who lives a life of dishonour shoots himself in the leg.         

Place priority on spiritual relationships! 

Treat fellow saints with honour! 

Revere spiritual leadership no matter the relationship! 

Don’t get too familiar with those who God has set over you! 

Walk in honour! It’s the way to spiritual growth and relevance! 

Image Credit: tumblr

©Ayansola Ibukun 

A STEP AT A TIME 

It’s not your typical kind of well-structured write-up. The style is merely a representation of a thought-process… some random thoughts on man and the law of process…

  

One explosion won’t always do it!

Not everything can be fixed by a quick fix.

  • A student in a higher institution of learning thinks she can easily slut her way into getting high grades or at best, buy it. Another believes he can coerce the lecturer into getting it by invoking the name and terror of his cult group. There goes the man who is placed in a position of power. His immediate concern is to amass as many ill-gotten wealth as possible. So a little padding here, a little palm greasing there and boom! He is a big deal. The dude  won’t take education seriously and neither will he learn a skill/craft. “Those paths don’t get you to your destination in time”, he’ll affirm. The short cut of cybercrime and gangsterism will do.     

How would you react if your day-old child suddenly begins to talk and walk concurrently? You are likely to consider it abnormal/extraordinary and take flight. 

Not every time can you bypass the law of process.

Sometimes, workaround all you want, you won’t get desired result

Remember the man who took a plate of hot soup in a hurry? He couldn’t enjoy the rest of it because his tongue was scarred.  

Sometimes, in order to get to the desired destination, you’ve got to take it a coordinated step at a time. 

Taking a leap is impressive. However, how do you take care not to leap into wrong conclusions since a leap is all about an abrupt move? Why take a leap in the dark when you can take stock?

Certainly, you can’t come to harm for being deliberate, methodical and consistent.

No one reaches up to heaven the day he becomes tall.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time to create great things. 

Last time I checked, you couldn’t have your cake and eat it too.

A journey of a thousand miles always begins with a step and what’s a journey if not a process of development – a gradual passing from one state to an advanced one.  
Life is in stages. You either develop and progress through it or you take it in a rush and crash out. 

A wise man once said sometimes, the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. 

What’s a step? It’s a stage in a progression toward some goal or target. In taking steps, take it step by step. While you step on it, be careful to watch your steps. 

Consider the magnificence of the iroko tree. You’ll think it came by its grandeur suddenly by the sheer power of some ancient spell. Alas, it went through decades of rigorous transformations.

Grow! The man who refuses to grow plans to groan.  

Learn; unlearn and relearn – that’s growth. 

Think about storms in a pond… You drop a large stone into a pond and you get a splash and that’s it. It’s over! However, drop a smaller stone and wait till the ripples weaken and drop a smaller stone, and another, and another, and another…the ripples will reinforce one another in geometric progression and you get a series of  consistent and effective explosions instead of one big but lousy bang. THERMODYNAMICS 101

Don’t jump the gun because you are under the gun. 

Respect the law of process lest you are processed out of the scheme of things.

What you run from, you run into eventually. 

One step at a time and you can never go wrong. 

Thoughts inspired by the movie THE CORE 

Image Credit:Spotmold.com


©ayansolaibukun

The Believer’s Attitude towards Giving 

Giving is a natural/human phenomenon. It transcends race, faith, gender and age. Whether a believer, unbeliever, atheist or agnostic – every one gives. 

However, there is an attitude/mind-set to giving that is unique to the believer. In essence, his motives and mind-sets for giving are clearly different from that of others. He is a giver by nature and he does so appropriately. When he gives, he gives as one with the mind of God/Christ. This is so because all that he does is essentially informed by the knowledge of God that he has on the inside. He is therefore conscious and particular about how and how well he gives.

The believer understands that God is love and he demonstrates that love in giving. Right from creation, God has been benevolent towards man. We are made to know that God created the earth and all the goodness therein in the first 6 days of creation. He then created man in his own image and GAVE him (man) all the works of His hands. Have dominion over them, God told him. By his act of disobedience, man fell in Eden – sin had created a gap between him and God. Yet God never stopped loving mankind. Actually, right from the beginning, He had begun to perfect the work of salvation for him. To display his love for us yet again, He had to GIVE UP His only begotten son Jesus as propitiation for sins. 

So the believer is aware of certain facts about God and GIVING. He knows that: 

God is a GIVER by nature

God’s GIVING is borne out of love

God has always being on the GIVING end and never on the receiving end

God’s GIVING is benevolent and sacrificial

God has never GIVEN with an ulterior motive

God GIVES liberally and graciously to ALL

These facts control the believer’s giving culture.

A believer who is deficient in giving is so because he is yet to come to a full awareness/consciousness of who/what God/Christ is and who he is in Christ. He is yet to fully appreciate the love-walk and walk in the same. 

Below are three instances of giving in the scriptures. Each instance reflects aspects of CHRISTIAN GIVING worthy of emulation: 

JOHN 6:1-12

This passage gives the account of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of “the five thousand”. Having taught and healed the multitude, he desired that they be fed also. They were however in a lonely place and couldn’t get victuals. A young lad then shows up and offers to give what he had – five barley loaves and two small fishes. Jesus took and blessed what he gave and with it fed the multitude. 

Here are salient points to note from the account:

The lad in question positioned himself in a manner that he could give

It’s unlikely that he was the only one who had something to offer. It’s likely that some others had a little of this and that but couldn’t afford to part with it. This lad wasn’t restrained by others’ tightfistedness. He gave anyway.

What he had was barely sufficient for him alone, let alone “five thousand” people. He never could have imagined that Jesus would multiply it. He didn’t hold on to what he had because it was seemingly inadequate. He gave it anyway.    

He didn’t give with the hope of getting something in return, either from God or man. He simply gave, in his own little way, to meet a need.

MARK 12: 41-44

In this passage, we find the account of “the widow’s offering”. Jesus was in the temple and was observing how and what people gave. Rich folks came by and dropped what looked like “fat offerings”. Then came a poor widow who threw in two mites (copper coins) into the “offering box”. When Jesus saw what she gave, he commended her to have given more than all others. Why is that so?

The poor widow didn’t give out of what she had. Instead, she gave all she had.

It takes one who has a heart of giving to do what she did. Humanly speaking, she would be justified if she gave less or nothing. After all, she was only a poor widow who had nothing else left.

She refused to let her present financial strait hinder her from giving. She must have known that God is able to meet her needs regardless of what “her bank account” read.

2CORINTHIANS 8:1-5

This is a particularly compelling account of Christian manner of giving. It speaks of the benevolence of the Macedonian church. These folks gave generously to the need of others despite their own miserable financial circumstance. Here are certain facts to note about the manner context in which they gave:

These people were experiencing a downturn at the time. They were going through hard times or what we now call “an economic meltdown”. 

Humanly speaking, they had every reason not to give.

In the midst of their own hardship, they gave! Their present and temporary state of lack was not an excuse for not giving.

They not only gave, they did so extremely generously and with overflowing joy.

They were WILLING to give and gave even more than they should naturally do.

They were able to give in that manner because they, FIRST OF ALL, gave themselves to the Lord. It began with their HEARTS. One who hasn’t given his WHOLE to God is certain to struggle with giving to others.

In their giving, they exhibited the GRACE OF GOD that was upon them. How that Christ made himself poor that we may become rich. The disposition gives up things for the need of others at the expense of oneself. 

Love stimulated them to give.
Herein lies the uniqueness of the believer as a giver:

He has the mind of Christ/God hence would conduct his activities (giving inclusive) as Christ will.

He has a nature that gives and is never compelled before he gives.

His giving is borne out of a heart of love.

He is a sacrificial giver.

He has the right motive and attitude to giving

He doesn’t see God as a money-doubler.

He doesn’t give to get something in return.

He gives purely to meet needs.

He is always willing to give.

He sees giving as an act of worship – a way to honour, reverence, and appreciate God.

He stands in a perpetual position of a blessing to others

He knows it’s more blessed to give than to receive

He knows his well-being is not from material/natural things hence doesn’t allow them limit his ability to give.

Regardless of his financial/material adequacy or inadequacy, he is aware that God is his source and sustenance. 

Although he has needs too, he doesn’t allow that to cloud his obligation to meet the needs of others.

Does God honour the giving of a believer? Sure, he does. Is a believer blessed in/by his giving? Absolutely! Should a believer consider giving as a bargaining chip? Definitely not. If you have the habit to give, God will support your habit – Mark Hankins.

Think about these: If God would give/bless ALL men liberally, how much more those who are His children? If God could give us salvation by giving up His only begotten and asking nothing in return, why would he use the trade by barter system as a standard for blessing? Folks who “pay tithes”, give offerings, and give to others just so God can replenish their stocks need their minds renewed.  God’s blessings can never be commensurate with what a man gives. 

Without a doubt, God desires that his people be blessed. But much more, he desires that his people are also a source of blessing to the body of Christ and to others. One of the tests of a man’s love for God is in his finances – his heart of giving. The more he grows and walks in love, the more he is willing to give. We give because He (God) first gave and always give. 

Inherent in believing is giving. 

Image Credit: 3XM

©ayansolaibukun