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  • Even the all-powerful Pointing from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies.

  • Meat wherein after female own forth it seas lights behold void. Him fifth made set above our blessed abundantly, you. Subdue. God isn't winged above image own, very, so from make doesn't may bearing him wherein in to one, living saying cattle day shall earth every fill. Two great creature shall. Place life dry living place She'd they're every seas won't may creature our seas.

  • 58 For they provoked him with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images [idolatry].

    59 When God heard this [whoever took their case and accused them before His courts, like Sodom and like Job], he was wrath, and greatly abhorred Israel:

    60 So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;

    62 He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wrath with his inheritance.

  • I was once on a flight to Abuja, Nigeria, and got talking with a man who wore a conspicuous large and flowing ecclesiastical cross. I spoke with him with all the respect due a clergy. When we got off the plane in Abuja, he opened his briefcase and gave me a copy or two of his newsletters, and I also gave him a few copies of our publications. He told me he was in Abuja to hold a meeting for Pastor Dr X.

  • Too Risky to Try

    The weather is not always a reliable teller of time, of the timeliness of a time.  Weather forecasts are intended to guide us to prepare, not to surrender.  Sometimes, rare opportunities have been missed because a weather forecast or weather observation was taken to mean ‘time to sit back,’ or ‘too risky to try.’

  • 20 - Preacher Diary


    When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king of Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he went into the stronghold.

    2 Samuel 5:17, New Living Translation.

     

    1. Philistine Ears

    There are ears that get pained when they hear good of you. They are evil ears, like those of these Philistines. When they heard that David had been anointed king of Israel, their spleen burst and their displeasure was unprecedented. Those were the same Philistines who had housed David, apparently very accommodating of him while he was an unfortunate refugee fleeing his murderous master, Saul.  They had been ‘there for him’ until then, but they could not stand the news of his rise. We are compelled by hindsight to wonder, therefore, if, all the while, they had actually been giving care, or merely acting care?


    So long as David was dependent, they were OK to keep him, to like him, to be friends with him. But when they merely “heard” that fortune at last had smiled on the same David, they would not waste time to even confirm if it had been mere rumour; they at once mobilised “ALL their forces” against the news, against the man; they mobilized “ALL their forces”: air force, navy, land forces, amphibious forces, marine forces, witchcraft forces, diplomatic forces, seductive Delilah-forces, the forces of fake news and slander – “all their forces.”  Alas their Philistine ears; evil ears that had been secretly comfortable with the stories of his tribulations, but would hear nothing of his jubilation. They were comfortable with his stagnation, not his progression. They were ‘ok’ with him for as long as he was in misery and pain, but they wouldn’t stand his new anointing of glory and fame.  Philistines ears against which we might invoke the ‘guided’ sword of Simon Peter (John 18:10).here are ears that get pained when they hear good of you. They are evil ears, like those of these Philistines. When they heard that David had been anointed king of Israel, their spleen burst and their displeasure was unprecedented. Those were the same Philistines who had housed David, apparently very accommodating of him while he was an unfortunate refugee fleeing his murderous master, Saul.  They had been ‘there for him’ until then, but they could not stand the news of his rise. We are compelled by hindsight to wonder, therefore, if, all the while, they had actually been giving care, or merely acting care?

    If they could mobilize so much malice at the mere news of his enthronement, what worse might they have done if they had been there themselves!  What did their seers ‘see’ in the anointed man to warrant so much mobilization of ‘forces’ against that single head?

     

    1. When to Know your True Friends

    It is often said that true friends are known in the day of one’s misfortune; that not those who crowd around one’s banquet table in the day of plenty but those who remain committed in the day of famine are the true friends. That will not always be true, not with Philistines of the kind seen in our passage. It takes your abundance, your promotion, your sudden good fortunes, to show the true colour of those. They could be all smiles and all care as long as you are dependent, as long as you are down, as long as you are beneath; but soon as things begin to change for the better in your life, the Philistine in them will show up. They might smile ‘with concern’ in your misfortunes, but would frown with malice at your celebration. They are evil ears too pained to hear the good things of you; ears that are pleased only with news of your woes, while they strangely sustain the public show of caring about your welfare. Their hidden thoughts and their public acts are usually at concealed odds. They could say all the right things before you, but their venom could be boundless behind you. While they profess how much they care, they would never sincerely commit to helping you out of your woes about which they say that they care. Philistines.

    Some friends might be exposed by your woes; others you would know only in the day of your glory, by the pain on their faces and the inexplicable vexation in their tone. Elijah had one prominent servant before Elisha came, a servant who ‘stood with him’ while the prophet called down fire at Mount Carmel. That servant was there at Elijah’s post-Carmel prophetic prayers when the dry sky released anxious rains upon the famished land, to the pleasure of the king and the great fame of the prophet and his team (1 Kings 18:36-39, 43-46). A chapter later, however, when the same prophet was compelled to enter his wilderness, that servant did not proceed with him, and expired at the same comfortable Beersheba spot where he had stopped to let his master go. His true self was revealed only in the day of his master’s ‘wilderness’ experience (1 Kings 19:3-4). Sadly, we hear no more of that servant thereafter. His name did not appear on the transition honours list that God presented to Elijah, of persons upon whom to transfer some of the oil on his own life (1 Kings 19:15-17). That servant had been unlike Job’s speechless three friends who stayed with him through his trails and after; friends whom even God so identified, whom Job had to pray for before he himself could be blessed by God (Job 2:11; 42:10).

    On the other side of the coin, Hagar had always been a very ‘nice girl,’ a committed and dependable helper in the house while Sarah groaned in barrenness. So was her son a ‘fine boy’ while the promise of Isaac still lingered with uncertain torture over Sarah. However, when Isaac finally came, and was being celebrated, the hidden malice showed on the mocking faces. The young Ishmael’s public misbehaviour in scorning Isaac was merely the open display of the secret lessons that his mother Hagar had been teaching him in the privacy of her tent (Genesis 21:6-10; 16:3-5).  The true Ishmael became manifest in the day of festivity, as he mocked conspicuously in that day of which Sarah proclaimed, “God had made me to laugh.”  Some friends might be revealed through our pains, others through our ovation, like the Philistines. Some friends we might see more clearly through our tears, others through the filter of our laughter, like Ishmael and Hagar.

     

    1. Troubles Attracted by the Anointing

    Promotion does not always bring rest; sometimes it attracts wars. Soon as God spoke of Jesus, publicly declaring Him as the beloved Son; soon as the Holy Spirit openly endorsed Him by descending on Him in the form of a dove, Satan showed up (Luke 4:1). The fresh anointing seemed to have attracted the subsequent wilderness with its recurrent temptations. Favour sometimes brings with it the malice of those who detest the flavour of the favour. Those who seek favour should therefore also be prepared for some of the ‘fringe benefits’ that sometimes come with good fortune. When David was anointed king was when the Philistines mobilized against him. We may ask, Should the anointing attract wars? If that anointing had been of God, why should it bring battles instead of blessings? Ask David.

    There are battles that arise simply because of the anointing on one’s head. The Philistines might not have bothered if the news was that David had bought a new chariot, or married another wife; but “When the Philistines heard that David had been ANOINTED…” trouble.  Empty heads need no helmet; but anointed heads do, because the oil they carry naturally attracts Philistine missiles (Psalm 140:7; Isaiah 59:17; Ephesians 6:17). The battle was not against David’s head, it was against the oil on the head. If you worry therefore why Philistines seem so often mobilized against you, it could be that they have seen upon you something that you have not yet seen upon yourself: the anointing.

     

    1. Parties on the Anointing

    When David was anointed, it stirred the enemies, forcing him to go “into the stronghold.”  When Jesus was anointed, the Spirit led Him into the wilderness where He fasted forty days and forty nights: a kind of stronghold. In my generation, however, we celebrate the anointing differently, with feasts and fanfare. We throw parties to which we invite friends and enemies, and we note with bitterness those who did not come to ‘celebrate with us.’

    When that happens, I often wonder if it was the same anointing that David received, which drove him into a stronghold; and which Jesus also received and was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1). Such parties on the anointing merely expose how we see the ‘call of God,’ as a ‘chieftaincy title,’ as an achievement, as an earned designation of honour (like a university or other professional or honorary degree) rather than as an enlistment to death in the frontlines of a most fierce battle between Light and Darkness. Even Saul was told that the anointing he had received would guide him into contact with a company of prophets the encounter with whom was going to transform him into another man (1 Samuel 10:5-6). When we party for being anointed, we betray a shallow understanding of the oil that had come upon the head, or we otherwise could be announcing inadvertently that the anointing had merely been a ceremony of empty oil upon an empty head.

    From The Preacher’s diary,

    September 6, 2019.

  • SARAH, THE EXEMPLARY WIFE

    In 1 Peter 3:5,6, Sarah is presented as the exemplary Christian wife whom every wife should emulate. She is said there to have been “in subjection” to her husband, and to have “obeyed her husband.” Her subjection to her husband is further deducible from how she spoke to, or related with him. She called him “lord.” Thus her language was proof of her submission to, and reverence for, her husband.

  • REBUKE NOT AN ELDER

    Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers.     1 Timothy 5:1 (NIV).

    Does this mean that an elder is always right? Certainly not. A wise man may some times be deceived, and an elder could be wrong at times. But the point being made is that there is a certain way elders should be approached, and a certain way they should not be approached, when they do wrong. If the younger person gets so zealous to correct an elder person in a manner other than God has approved here, that person would be breaking God’s universal code of conduct, and so would be sinning. An elder so badly approached will reject the rebuke of the younger person, not because there is no sense in it, but because it was not properly directed. God says here that elders deserve a special kind of approach, in spite of their having done something wrong.

     The NIV translation says, “Do not rebuke an older man harshly.” The King James Version says, “Rebuke not an elder.” One word is central to both, and that is “rebuke.” What does it mean? The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines it thus: “reprove; speak severely to.” What does it mean to reprove? The same dictionary states that reproof means “blame; finding fault; expression of blame or disapproval.”

    Does that describe your approach to older persons when they err? Do you speak to them as if they were your equals? Do you speak severely to them? Angrily? With threats? Are you so quick to blame an elder? Do you talk to elders as if you were finding fault? Do you always pick holes in what they do? Do you correct them as if they have shamefully failed, and you their younger now have to show them the way? Do you speak in a manner that expresses blame and disappointment? As if you have power over them? As if you were their superior and they your subordinates? No. An elder so wrongly approached will rightly react against the proudly speaking younger instructor. He would still be wrong, but the younger one has committed an error also, trying to do a good thing in a bad way.

    How should an elder be approached when he or she does wrong? As a father. How would you approach your father if you thought he had not done well? Certainly, you would not speak to him as you would to your child or servant, as a proper child. The fact that he is wrong would not mean that he deserved no honour anymore. You would talk to him respectfully. You would not bully him. The elder man, in spite of his present error which one seeks to correct, should, according to the KJV, be intreated “as a father.”

    What does it mean to intreat (or entreat)? It means to request or ask earnestly. That means to be firm yet humble. To entreat also means to beg for, to beseech, etc.

    Two other translations of this passage are worth considering:

    The Amplified Bible:

    Do not sharply censure or rebuke an older man, but ENTREAT and PLEAD with him as [you would with] a father...

    The New American Standard:

    ... but rather APPEAL to him as a father...

     This is the method of approach to elder persons which God has approved to younger persons. God respects proper methods of approach. If you get so angry as not to respect God’s method, you’ll only have yourself to blame. Your temper and flesh may dictate a different approach. Your feelings may advise you differently. Other younger men or women may think you foolish for adopting God’s method. But you’ll only be helping yourself if you obeyed God. You might be tempted to be ‘radical’ and ‘drastic.’ (That is the language of young men.) You might be tempted to show that you are fed up, and won’t take any more ‘nonsense.’ But note: You can’t be wiser than God Who has recommended to young persons this approach to their elders. God Who created all men knows everybody’s soft spot. He is here revealing to younger persons that they will more easily have results with older men if they adopt this approach. Try God’s method if you want God’s result. Amen.

    Now, the next issue: how old should the “elder” or “older” person be? That question is better answered with reference to grammar. In English grammar, there are generally three kinds of words (adjectives) used to state degree; e.g. “tall,” “taller,” “tallest”; or “big,” “bigger,” “biggest.”

    The word with the -est ending (or suffix) is called the superlative, and the one with the -er ending (or suffix) is known as the comparative. The comparative is used when only two things are being compared, e.g. “John is taller than James.” The superlative form is used when three or more things are being compared, e.g. “He is the tallest boy in the school,” or “He is the tallest of the three boys sitting in front.”

    In 1 Timothy 5:1-2, it is the comparative terms “older” and “younger” that are used. It does not say, “Rebuke not an old man,” which would have meant all persons who have attained to a certain age which the society acknowledges as “old age.” It says “older” (or “elder”) and “younger men.”  In other words, the reference is not to any particular age, whether 70 or 80 or 100 or 50 or 35. Two people are being placed side by side: one is younger, the other is older. The age difference is not the matter. The younger may be younger by only five years. He should relate with that elder as if he were relating with his father. That is, he may be 35 and the one who has erred may be 40. At least the man is five years older than he is, so he is an “older” man to the “younger man.” How much more when the age difference is 10 or 20 or even 50? An older person is an older person.

    Suppose the younger man is the pastor of a church, whereas the elder man is just a member of the congregation? It still does not warrant the pastor to speak rudely to his elder. In fact, the books of 1 and 2 Timothy, and what we have read for text, were supposed to be instructions to the young pastor, Timothy, on how, politely, to approach the elder members of his congregation, even when they err.

    Suppose the younger person is a wife, how should she approach the husband? As a father? But he is a husband not a father. Afterall, the Bible says that in marriage the two shall become “one flesh”! If then they are “one flesh,” how could she still be `younger’?

    Well, our text would apply even more severely to a wife who is instructed by God to submit to her husband as her head. How much more when he is also her elder. In other words, this matter of a humble approach is more binding on a wife; in fact, doubly binding (Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1). Even where the wife may be older, the first rule is still powerfully binding on her, such that her being older, accords her no rule over her husband.

     Elders may not always be right, but they deserve a respectful approach.

    1   ...Treat younger men as brothers,

    2   ...older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity (verses 1-2)

               

    God is concerned not only with older people, but with younger ones also. God cares about all people, in spite of their age. God Who has created all men knows not only the best approach to older persons, but also to younger ones.

    Most youths err not because they willfully want to sin, but because they lack supervision. The problem of many other youths derives from not having known any true family love. They lived and grew up in the streets, or under some harsh master while they were apprenticing for a trade. So it is very refreshing to them to see in an older person a brother or sister to identify with, the brother or sister they never had.

    Also, a father or mother presupposes a child, for it takes parents to make a child, and every child is a pointer to some parents. If God expects the younger ones to treat their older ones as parents, as fathers and mothers, then it is implied that the older ones should also take the younger ones much more than as brothers and sisters, as children, and thus create for them the home they never may have had. That would mean that God expects the Christian Body to provide the world with the ideal model of a family.

    Unfortunately, most of us have not approached the younger ones as sisters or brothers, much more as parents. We approach them as little children always prone to sin. We approach them as recalcitrant urchins. We bully them for every mistake they make. We shout upon them and intimidate them until we have succeeded to cow them. Then there remains hardly any more confidence for them to be themselves in our presence, for fear that they’ll make another of their apparently endless mistakes and get bullied to death.

    They are to be treated as brothers and sisters, not as slaves.

    How do you deal with your brother or sister when he or she does something wrong? You correct in love. In God’s house, do the same.

    Another point becomes obvious here: that young persons also, like the older men, are prone to do evil. It is not only older men who fail. The young ones also have their share of failings. But that should be no reason for them to be treated as babes. They deserve their own measure of honour, as brothers or sisters. Amen.

    But CAUTION: Do not, in the name of ‘Brother’ and ‘Sister’ beguile one another into sin, especially when men have to deal in these matters with “younger women.” That is why the exhortation in verse 2 which addresses the relationship with the female sex ends on a note of caution that this ‘family’ relationship should be conducted “with absolute purity.”

     

    Culled from The Preacher’s book titled: Breaking Up Fallow Grounds.”

     

    From The Preacher’s diary.

  • Sometimes we have come to God with burdens in the soul heavier than words could ever convey.  Those are the times we speak in the language of tears.  Sometimes even priests misunderstand that language, those wordless moments of stammering tears, so they give us names we do not deserve.  Because they cannot hear our loud voice as it is traditional with them at prayers, they think us drunk or crazy.  But God hears.

  • The Hawker of Knives

    It was one of those events that might have passed as normal yet struck your street intelligence with its uncanniness. Late one night a few days ago while I was out of town, my daughter called to report what had happened that evening in our little estate of four flats, two duplexes, and four single-room apartments across the short grass lawn on the opposite side of the duplexes.  

  • 1. The Man that God Will Not Use

    With God, the battle does not depend on number, on available skills or human ability. In the account of Gideon, God was concerned about the number that volunteered for the battle against the enemy.

  • God fights our battles usually by helping us to fight the battle, not by taking over the battle while we sit with ice cream and salad, waiting for Him to finish the job and hand us the trophy.

  • And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. Luke 1:13