When men of God turn themselves into gods of men, then it’s time the sons of men realize that they too are sons of God. In essence, that no one has a monopoly on revelation. Jesus has made a way for us by his death to enter the Holy of Holies and approach God by and for ourselves (see Hebrews 10: 16 – 20). We are in the New Testament dispensation of the priesthood of all believers; if you allow anyone hoodwink you or pull the wool over your face; it won’t be God’s fault but yours. You can know God for yourself. And you should!
The challenge with the church has been that the people in the pews had for long lost the culture of the Berean Christians who double-checked and cross-checked the things they were taught in church (Acts 17:11). When you don’t know God’s word for yourself, anyone can spew baloney into your mind and you believe it hook, line and sinker; and still be thanking and celebrating him/her for it! It’s funny that when Muslims enter a mosque to worship, they leave their footwear by the door. Sad to say, methinks the average Nigerian churchgoer (born-again or not, Pentecostal, charismatic orthodox or by whatever label you choose to give them) unlike his Muslim counterpart leaves his brain by the door of the church! Else how do you explain the credulity with which we believe some stuffs spewed forth in the guise of the gospel by some men of the cloth from our numerous pulpits.
I know you will argue, faith does not agree with reasoning. Yes, and no! Faith agrees with reasoning; reasoning of a different kind – the Bible kind. Paul said; if anyone preaches a gospel different from the one we have preached to you, let him be accursed! I mean, that scripture makes me cringe with holy awe as a preacher and teacher of God’s word. Whatever anyone – and I mean whoever, by whatever name or title the person goes – says that does not agree with the whole counsel of God as set forth in the Bible, vomit it! Before anyone teach you and fill your mind and heart with anything short of the full orbed truth of God’s word, tell him or her, “Teacher, don’t teach me nonsense!” Read the Bible for yourself. Think. Meditate. Compare and research scriptures. Double-check and re-check what you heard in church or by a TV preacher. Refuse to be a twenty-first century slave. Use your spirit, and use your mind! If you refuse to think or you cannot think, you are a slave all the same. And I’m sorry to say, I see a new generation of slaves in the Nigerian church; enslaved by their wrong beliefs and to their overlords (pastors, prophets, teachers etc.) who taught them wrongly. You’re responsible for what and who you choose to believe.
I welcome you dear friends to the second half of 2014. My prayer is that it would be for you a better and more fulfilling half. You will end the year 2014 well! You will finish strong, in Jesus name!
My encouragement to you today comes from a book I’ve been reading the past few days. It is written by a very good friend of mine, Gbenga Sesan and it is titled In My Own Words.
“1 minus 2 is impossible until you know the answer. In my elementary school, we were told that it was impossible to subtract a higher number from a lower one. The unanimous answer, in the rare moments the questions was asked, was a loud “impossible!” But a few years later, in secondary school, I was taught that if a higher number is subtracted from a lower number, I will have a negative number. It was no longer deemed impossible simply because we knew better than when we were in primary school. How many times in life are we almost tempted to call certain things impossible? If you could just learn more about the problem, you will soon come to terms with the fact that “impossible” is just an excuse we give when we do not have enough knowledge to tackle a problem. The answer may be strange, but every problem has a solution…. 1 minus 2 is not “impossible”; you only need to gain enough knowledge to know the answer.”
What do you call “impossible”? Go ahead, acquire enough knowledge and tackle the problem. Impossible is nothing! And with God on your side, nothing shall be impossible unto you! I do hope you find this encouraging and motivating as I have, as we enter the final half of the year. You will succeed!
Gone are those days when we thought that godliness had no earthly benefit. Those were the days when being born-again meant being the scum of the earth. Popular choruses were “Take the whole world and give me Jesus…” Believers were so heavenly conscious that they were of no earthly relevance. But those days are gone! Now we know better. We are godly and we are successful. And, our songs have changed. “Give me the whole world and give me Jesus…” seems more like what we sing nowadays. We are more easily to be charged with being earthly good but of not much eternal consequence! We have gone from one extreme end to the other.
Before you start thinking otherwise, I’m not advocating that poverty is synonymous with piety. One can be rich and righteous. Yet another can be poor and be sinful. If righteousness were equal to prosperity, then the most righteous men on earth would be the top dogs on the Forbes rich list. And thus the likes of Carlos Slim, William Henry Gates III, Folorunsho Alakija, Oprah Winfrey, Aliko Dangote etc., would be the most holy men and women on earth!
God does bless his people! You can be righteous and prosper! And you can be godly and broke too. Yeah! Remember the story Jesus told in Luke 16:19-31 about the rich man and Lazarus. That is sufficient an illustration.
An error has gone forth in the church: “If you do not have money, you must have missed God somewhere. Conversely, if you’re wealthy, then you must be in sync with God.” I say, no! You cannot worship God and mammon!
This is the whole counsel of God as revealed in 1Timothy 6:5-10:
“They think religion is a way to make a fast buck. A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough. But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.”(Message)
Aren’t we guilty of “using” God to achieve our selfish ends? Are we not fast slipping into this error of equating godliness with gain? A heart search is pertinent here, before we slip so far away from the kingdom of God than when we were infidels. This is not to knock any valid truth of God’s word no matter how much it’s been bastardized but to restore believers back to the straight and narrow. Bottom line: Gain is not godliness. However, godliness is great gain. You will still hear me on this matter. YOU WILL SUCCEED!
Years ago as an undergraduate, I took a summer teaching job. Whenever I entered the classroom I always took a bow and greet the students as “ladies and gentlemen”. One of the students asked me why I did that one day. I answered her, “Because I see you not as what you are right now but as who you will be years down the line!”
“When I see people, everyone, every human, I understand that I am in the presence of greatness. Maybe potential greatness, or greatness unpolished, or greatness unfound, but every person has the ability.” (Kat Cole) I concur! Every human being carries the imprint of the Almighty.
This quote inspires what I’m sharing with you today, dear friend. Don’t just see people as they are; see them as they can be. So much more important for those of us who have a responsibility for others, whether as parents, bosses, pastors, teachers, heads of department, etc., in any leadership capacity. That is why I wrote the book That I Look Like A Beggar Does Not Say I Do Not Have A Throne! And it is why I volunteer to train and mentor under-privileged kids at Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s Ajegunle.org project. It’s also why I’ve made it part of my life’s work to build a leadership center for youths where they can be trained and given an opportunity to discover and develop their innate potential for greatness.
Everyone you see is pregnant with destiny. Beneath every face is a precious person loved and valued by God. Respect that always. Never look down on anyone except you want to help them up. Look within your sphere of influence and do something to help someone today. You will succeed!
I read this story just recently and it touched me. It illustrates what I taught in my book, That I Look Like A Beggar Does Not Say I Do Not Have A Throne!
“Juan worked at a meat distribution factory. One day, when he finished with his work schedule, he went into the meat cold room to inspect something, but in a moment of bad luck, the door closed and he was locked inside with no help in sight!
Although he screamed and knocked with all his might, his cries went unheard as no one could hear him. Most of the workers had already gone, and outside the cold room it’s impossible to hear what was going on inside.
Five hours later, whilst Juan was on the verge of death, the security guard of the factory opened the door and saved the life of Juan. Juan then asked the security guard how he got to open the door, as it wasn’t part of his work routine, and he explained thus:
“I’ve been working in this factory for 35 years, hundreds of workers come in and out every day, but you’re one of the few who greets me in the morning and says goodbye to me every night when leaving after working hours. Many treat me as if I am invisible. Today, like every other day, you greeted me in your simple manner ‘Hello’ at the entrance when resuming for work. But curiously, after working hours today, I observed I’ve not heard your “Bye! See you tomorrow.” Hence I decided to check around the factory. Unknown to you, I look forward to your ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye’ every day. To you, I am someone. By not hearing your farewell, I knew something had happened. Then I sought and found you.”
One lesson from this story is this: Small kindnesses have big impact. A little kindness goes a very long way. Never look down on any man. The person you ignored today may be the one to save your life tomorrow.
Has this blessed you in any way? What other lessons can you draw from this? Please share. I’m waiting to hear it. YOU WILL SUCCEED!