MUSE: NO IS NASTY

My little nephew wanted to play with my daughter’s Ben 10 wrist watch but she said no. My little nephew started to cry and so I asked my daughter, who is three years older and “ought to understand” that big children make sacrifices for smaller ones, to fetch her watch and give it to him. But she still said no. I got angry and ordered her to give it to him. Her answer was still no. I got angrier and spanked her and this time her attitude spoke louder than her words; NO! I forced the watch out of her hand but couldn’t give it to my nephew because the whole situation had become such a mess, my daughter was wailing and her cousin was in a howling rage.

Several hours later, I was still angry at my daughter for disobeying me. I remained angry until questions that challenged the self righteous indignation I was feeling began to pour into my mind.

Why should you be angry at her because she refused to do what you want?

Why not?

She has a will.

Oh.

Yes is pleasant, no is not. But life is made up of the pleasant and the unpleasant. If we look around we will see that not everything God created is a pleasant creature by nature. And not every experience we have in our walk with God is a pleasant one. In fact anyone who cannot endure the unpleasant cannot walk with God.

The Ben 10 watch was my daughter’s property, she had rights over it. If my nephew wanted it, he would have to ask, which he did. Asking nicely doesn’t guarantee that someone will receive, and that my nephew had to learn the hard way. He didn’t take it well. But seriously, how many people take a refusal well, Child or adult? Many of us will throw a tantrum, in our own kind of way.

When you get a no; a stubborn, nasty, persistent no, it is better to respect it than to throw a tantrum. It does not mean that one has accepted defeat but that the free will of the other person is acknowledged and respected. This other party is more likely to withdraw the no and offer a yes because of that gesture. But when you get angry and insist that someone must kill his or her free will to make room for yours, the person is most likely to get ready to go to war and die a hero.

Yours truly,

Moni.

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A FORGIVING HEART 2

Easter-Cakes again

 

 

The story of Easter precedes its traditions, so while you can have fun with the eggs and the bunnies and the cakes if you wish, you mustn’t forget how it all began and what it’s all about.
God’s love for mankind demonstrated through the redemptive work of Christ on the cross of Calvary is the reason for this season. Our creator gathers us with His long arms of mercy, compassion and forgiveness, gently steering us off the path of disobedience to that of righteousness. Through Adam sin entered the world and all souls stood condemned, and worse, left at the mercy of the devil. But today, it’s a different story; we are forgiven, with our souls redeemed back to God because Jesus died for us. And through the help of the Spirit of God living in us we are being changed, remolded to be like God.

Frankly speaking some of us are resisting the Spirit of God, refusing to change form. We want to remain vindictive and vengeful while claiming to love God, just like Jonah.

Jonah said: “Out of the belly of sheol I cried, and you heard my voice,” (Jonah2 vs. 2).

Why should God hear Jonah’s voice? He wasn’t perfect. Yes in all fairness, compared to the average corrupt citizen of Nineveh, he was a saint but anyone who willfully disobeys God cannot claim to deserve God’s mercy, he or she can only pray and hope to receive it, as one receives a gift of goodwill from someone with a large heart. The indignation of Jonah is unwarranted, that he would rather see Nineveh burn just as predicted, rather than enjoy God’s redeeming love depicts him as arrogant and proud. It couldn’t have been the same spirit that was in Moses, who interceded for Israel, when God, on the brink of anger threatened to destroy the entire rebellious nation; Exodus 32 vs. 11-14. Or in David who mourned the disgraceful fall of Saul, his arch enemy, 2 Samuel 1 vs. 17 – 27. Or in Samuel, who didn’t scoff at Saul for being such a disappointment but mourned that giant’s misfortune before moving on with God’s new agenda; 1 Samuel 15 vs. 35, 1 Samuel 16 vs. 1. It will take a gentle and meek spirit to generate pity, compassion, mercy and ultimately, forgiveness for the undeserving.

 
EASTER BUNNY 2

 

“That which is born out of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born out of the Spirit is spirit”- John 2 vs. 6.

While a vengeful heart is natural to anyone who does not have the Spirit of God dwelling in him or her, a forgiving heart ought to be the supernatural condition of the heart of a child of God. That is not to say that anyone who isn’t a Christian is incapable of showing mercy, but that if they don’t they’re attitude can be explained as not knowing better. But if someone claims to be in Christ, he or she has no excuse to be cold and cruel.

 

 

EASTER BUNNY

 

 

 

 

We serve a God who says, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first”, John 8 vs. 7. And who says, “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother, in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress”, Obadiah 1 vs. 12. God is too compassionate, loving and merciful to take joy in seeing anyone suffer, even His wayward children. God’s way is compassion, is it your way? Can you stomach it when prodigal sons and daughters repent and receive forgiveness? Can you appreciate it when forgiveness provokes mercy and impending destruction is averted? Or is there something in you that would prefer that those who are lost be gorged on, right into the pit of God’s vengeful wrath? Well, God would rather win a soul than lose it. In Luke 15 vs. 7, Jesus said; “I say to you that likewise, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine persons who need no repentance.”

 

EASTER EGGS

 

 

Dear friend of Jesus,

The urge to have pity must be stronger than the thirst for revenge in your heart. If it is not in you to be compassionate then it’s not okay. You should be as worried as a fish that can’t swim, or a bird that can’t fly or a lion that can’t roar. To love God but find it difficult to forgive people who wrong God or wrong you personally, even when they ask for forgiveness, calls for prayer. You need to have the spirit of God recondition your heart, make it tender and meek and humble. We all need hearts that synchronizes with the nature of God, so that people don’t begin to wonder who we resemble, as I did wonder about Jonah. I mean look at us, we can celebrate Easter because God choose to give us a chance to repent and be saved rather than decree our doom and not falter.

Yours Truly,

Moni,

Hephzibah ministries.

A FORGIVING HEART

The indignation of Jonah reminded me of the pain of the obedient son. To Jonah’s chagrin, God said, I forgive Nineveh. And to the obedient son’s dismay, his father said, I forgive my prodigal son. Why should an act of forgiveness unsettle and upset anyone just because they are not the direct beneficiary?

Jonah sinned against God by an act of willful disobedience, putting his dear life in jeopardy.

“I went down to the moorings of the mountains, its bars closed behind me forever”, Jonah 2 vs. 6a.

Jonah’s eloquent description of his encounter with death provokes thoughts, paints a picture of a prophet in a robe thrown overboard a ship. Too dazed, or inexperienced to maneuver, he does not keep afloat, like a piece of rock, he sinks, traveling down quickly to the deepest part of the ocean, from where he would normally never return. Though hounded by death, Jonah remembered he had an anchor.

“I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction and He answered me. Out of the belly of sheol I cried, and you heard my voice”, Jonah 2 vs. 2.

Those are definitely not the words of a man thinking for a second that God will not have mercy on him and spare his life. How wonderful it is to be able to tap into God’s mercy, Jonah of all people should know the feeling yet, when Nineveh received mercy, it “displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.”

The profile of a prophet who gives precise and unfaltering declarations is admirable, besides awe-inspiring, but a prophet is a servant, a messenger, not a Lord or Master. If there is no confusion or misconception, complications wouldn’t arise. There are many messengers who forget themselves because men reference them as “masters”. And there are others who despise the principles of their master. How possible is it to submit to a master whose judgments you question and whose essence you hold in contempt? Jonah said:

“Ah, LORD, was not what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, one who relents from doing harm,” Jonah 4 vs. 1.

Jonah knew his master well, but he didn’t agree with Him. In fact, he would rather die than live to serve Him; Jonah 4 vs. 2. Does Jonah love the LORD? I believe he does; Jonah 2 vs. 9. But he finds it difficult to reference the LORD because the ways of God confuses him. Unlike the acts of God that’s all for power and might, the ways of God is encapsulated in one word, mercy. God esteems the demonstration of mercy above the demonstration of power. So even though He says “the soul who sins shall die,” Ezekiel 18 4, He also makes it clear in Ezekiel 33 vs. 11 that “ As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live…..” It is on the principle of mercy that God sent His son to die for us while we were yet sinners, Romans 4 vs. 8. On this same principle, in the book of Luke 23 vs. 34, Jesus prayed for those who bruised and battered Him; “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

To be continued.

Yours truly,

Moni,

For Hephzibah ministries.

LOVE YOUR COUNTRY 2

So what if we need a change? Who should be responsible for fixing Nigeria, is it you and I or the government? The truth is while we may personally have lots of responsibilities as someone’s father, mother, brother, sister, child, employer, employee and so on and so forth, those responsibilities definitely excludes fixing of bad roads in our environs, creating jobs for the unemployed in the society, maintenance of public infrastructure, fixing the seemingly insurmountable frequent power cut experienced all over the nation, holding corrupt public office holders accountable and so on. Nonetheless, each one of us have a crucial part to play in taking Nigeria out of the woods to a place where development is not just coveted and talked about but achieved through vision, conscious effort and sacrifice.

Many of us believe that the bane of Nigeria is lack of good leadership, but I have heard it said that a people deserve the leaders they get, is this true for Nigeria? Let me rephrase by asking is it only our leaders that are corrupt or is it all of us? I go to buy myself a printer and the sales girl asks me, “What do you want me to write on the receipt?” she expects I should want to make some money off my boss, as many other customers do. We need to ask ourselves, in what ways are my activities contributing to the “corrupt” status of Nigeria. I have heard some members of a particular tribe in this country use the word “animal” for members of a different tribe from theirs. You need to ask yourself, in what way is my attitude contributing to the hate in this land. These are dark corners where we must collectively light the fire of change and let it burn. To love our country, we have to love our neighbor. There is no perfect tribe, perfection is what people of all tribes and tongues attain by living for Christ through the help of the Holy Spirit. Embracing this truth will stop the killings in Bornu, in Plateau, in Benue and other parts of this nation.

And now, from one friend of Jesus to another, I say to you, we need to cultivate the habit of praying for Nigeria. Some of us have never bothered to because we don’t believe our prayers can make a difference. Don’t you think that suggests that we don’t believe James 5 vs. 16? It states that “the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. Some of us used to pray, and then we got “weary of doing good”, as no good seem to be coming out of it. But wouldn’t you agree with me that it is time to make a conscious effort to look beyond the mess, and begin to visualize the Nigeria we desire to see evolve? Hebrews 11 vs. 3 say: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” We need to begin to call the Nigeria we want to see into existence by employing the power of prayer and faith. This is not a campaign for wishful thinking or advocacy for living in denial, but a rising to stand in the gap for our country by praying for her and aligning our confessions with our convictions. Somebody says “this country is doomed” and you say “no, I see change”, not because you’re stupid or blind but because you believe God hears you when you pray for Nigeria.

I’m going to say this again, not everyone is roasting in the fire of deprivation. So, in the midst of all that ails Nigeria today, you could be getting by, or even having fun and therefore not paying enough attention or carrying a burden in your heart for this land. Here’s something we need to get, it’s not just about you and I but about an entire nation of people who are here today and generations to come. If we don’t make the effort to stretch out of our comfort zone and mourn with those who are mourning then this country is not in our hearts and it should be because things could get worse. Personally, I want things to get better, do you? Pray for Nigeria, don’t be discouraged, pray. And you know what; no one is too young or too old to pray.

Dear FOJ,

There is gross darkness all around us no doubt, but as long as we pray, that darkness cannot engulf the land. The prayers of God’s children will burn like millions of lamps floating in the sky, dispelling the darkness.

Yours truly,

Moni,

Hephzibah ministries.

LOVE YOUR COUNTRY

The Nigerian Flag

The Nigerian Flag

Dear friends of Jesus, You must have heard that a house divided against itself cannot stand, (Mathew 12 vs. 25). One of the fundamental problems of Nigeria is lack of unity which breeds intolerance, hatred and subsequently destruction of lives and properties. You and I are not Nigerians by accident, and whatever is going on in this country today, whether good or bad should concern us. Peace is slipping away from many parts of our country and this is unfortunate because without peace, we cannot prosper. Do you love your country? Are you praying for Nigeria? Or are you just praying that God should protect and prosper your house so that even if your fellow countrymen are dying all around you, you and your family will be unaffected. Psalm 122 vs. 3 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may they prosper who love you.” Only those who love this nation will pray for it.

I realize that individual success is paramount in this land but of what real good is that? Wise men understand that living like a king in the midst of thousands of beggarly sons and daughters of the land is not true prosperity. With the thousands of privileged families in this country why do you think it has done nothing for our image as a nation, on the international scene? It’s the total package the world is looking at; they know that the majority of the people living in this land are destitute. That is why as you desire progress for yourself you must desire to see it in your neighbor’s life; it is collective progress that makes a people great.

In this pretty absorbing book, “Memoirs of a Geisha”, I read about the humbling experience of a privileged man who visited America from Japan for the first time in 1951. He thought he knew prosperity because he had lived in comfort for many years but he was shocked to discover how ignorant he’d been. Excerpts:

“But in the fall of 1952, I accompanied the chairman on his second trip to the United States of America. He’d traveled there the winter before, and no experience of his life had ever made such an impression on him. He said he felt he understood for the first time the meaning of prosperity. Most Japanese had electricity only during certain hours, for example, but the lights in American cities burned around the clock. And while we in Kyoto were proud that the floor of our new train stations was constructed of concrete rather than old fashioned wood, the floors of American train stations were made of solid marble…….”

The floor of the train stations, not the floor of the house of the president, or the governor, or the senator, or the minister or the pastor or the movie and music stars, were made of solid marble. A people need to love one another. They need to place value on the life of each citizen. They need to understand that every member of the society deserves to live and live well. It is not about talk, a people who have this understanding don’t need to tell you anything, they show you. You visit their land and you see it.

I know that Nigerians love life, which is why we were said to have topped the list of the happiest people in the world some time ago. And still why I doubt we will ever stage a revolution despite the great injustice the majority of the people are subjected to year in year out in the hands of the few who have been elected into office to serve. And I know that it would seem Nigeria is not doing so badly, after all not everyone is roasting in the fire of deprivation. Haven’t you noticed how faces of the hungry and hopeless fade into oblivion with the display of flashy cars on our streets and talk of new mega cities that must be built on water? I could be wrong, but I honestly feel it is not enough to love life, a people need to love each other. And I think that there is too much hate in this land. The horrifying activities of Boko Haram speaks of that hate but so does the high rate of unemployment, corruption, misappropriation of public funds, unnecessary waste of lives, lack of infrastructure, zero welfare packages for citizens who need it, poor supply of electricity power to homes and business communities, bad roads, poor housing and the list goes on. The quality of life in Nigeria is far below what it can and should be, we need a change.

To be continued.

Yours truly,

Moni,

For Hephzibah Ministries.

DANGEROUS RULES VERSUS GOLDEN RULES.

Golden Rules

Golden Rules

Dangerous Rules

Dangerous Rules

Society cannot function without rules. They provide the checks and balances that keep chaos at bay. Rules teach and guide us, they influence our thoughts, actions, speech, decisions and the way we treat other people. Therefore, the rules we live by can either make or mar us.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to have a successful life, and knowledge plays a big role in achieving success. In pursuit of knowledge we read books we feel can give us an edge in life. Such books are usually written by great minds who have a wealth of experience to draw from. They offer us “the secrets to a life of power, wealth and happiness”. Some popular titles include; The 48 Laws of power and The richest man in Babylon.

When I read “The richest man in Babylon”, I thought it was interesting. One law of financial prosperity that caught my attention in that book is this: whenever you earn money, make sure you give 10% to God,(he said gods), and before you spend a dime on necessities or vanities, keep another 10% as your savings. Never touch it, it is money that should be invested to generate wealth for you over time. I thought that was sound advice.

I have never read “The 48 laws of power”, but I have flipped through the book. Some of those laws are products of experience and seemingly harmless. However, most of them are theories that encourage a way of life that is manupulative and ruthless and for any genuine child of God, it is not okay. Dear Foj, when you consult books, read with the mind of Christ so that you will not begin to apply rules that do not reflect the mind of God but that of man in its selfish, sinfull state. Why, for instance should you want to make people dependent on you for their happiness, prosperity and any good that can ever come to them? Are you their maker?

Perhaps you have heard the rule, “Never apologise, it’s a sign of weakness”. And “Never be the first to say I love you”. If you love someone but you can’t open your mouth to say it because a rule forbids it, you’re in bondage. And if you can’t say the word “sorry”, you’re not strong, you are proud. Let me remind you that God resists the proud. Dear friend of Jesus, what rules are you living by? Stay away from dangerous rules. There are golden rules in the word of God, with which we can never go wrong. They are the secrets to a happy and successful life for every child of God. Below are a few of them:

  1. Be a productive and practical christian so that you can make a difference in this world and so that God can be proud of you.

    “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Mathew 5 vs 16.

  2. Anything that opens the door for sin in your life must go, no matter how important that thing is to you.

    “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” -mathew 5 vs 29.

  3. Be kind to others, but resist the temptation to be a show off, so that you don’t put God off.

    “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” -mathew 6 vs 1.

  4. Don’t be materialistic, the riches of this world does not endure.

    “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” Mathew 6 vs 19.

  5. Live life one day at a time and trust God to take care of you.

    “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” -Mathew 6 vs 34.

  6. Don’t be quick to condemn others, because if you ever slip, no one will show understanding, they will condemn you.

    “Judge not, that you be not judged.” – Mathew 7 vs 7

  7. Some people can never place value on the treasures inside of you, stop trying to impress them.

    “Do not give what is holy to the dogs nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” – Mathew 7 vs 6.

  8. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

    “Therefore whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.”- Mathew 7 vs 11.

  9. Once you choose to be a christian,stop doing what you want, do what the Lord wants you to do.

    If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.- Mathew 16 vs 24.

  10. God respects the power of agreement, make use of it.

    “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything thay shall ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” – Mathew 18 vs 19

  11. Wait for God to lift you; when He does He will never shame you and He won’t permit anyone to either!

    “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 14 vs 11

  12. Whenever someone tries to intimidate you, steel your heart with the knowledge that he or she is not God, but a fellow human being, like you!

    “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Mathew 10 vs 28.

There are several other golden rules in the bible, search for them and make a longer list to meditate on and live by! God bless you as you make His word your teacher and guide in life. Amen.

Yours truly,

Moni,

For Hephzibah ministries.

ESSENTIALS THINGS: RIGHTEOUSNESS

We are surrounded by miracles. We see birds in the sky and we see airplanes. We see fish in the ocean and we see submarines. We see humans and animals walking on land and we see automobiles. We see plants growing out of the earth and we see skyscrapers. The evidence of the power of life and light is indeed overwhelmingly present with us. God almighty is all around us, He is the Father of creation.

As children of God we have come to know Him as Emmanuel, God with us. And we have come to know Him as God in us,(Christ in you, the hope of glory; Colossians 1 vs. 27). We should know that having God with us and in us is the greatest miracle of all because it has to do with the redemption of man.

God does not come to be with and in us for nothing, but to demonstrate His mighty power through us to the world. This is the desire of the Lord but in the lives of many children of God this beautiful desire is hindered because of sinful lifestyles. God said, “Be ye holy, for I am holy”, (Leviticus 20 vs. 7, 1 peter 1 vs. 16 ),that instruction hasn’t changed but if we carry on as if it doesn’t apply in a modern world, the spirit of defilement will have a nice time exploiting us. Often, the social, cultural and spiritual practices around us do not align with God’s words; rather they are obvious violations of God’s commandments. If we, as children of God subject ourselves to such practices so that we do not appear as weird or misfits, we do ourselves great injustice. There is a wealth of blessing that is available to us in Christ Jesus but God has given a warning that His children will not have access to these blessings while living a life of compromise.

“Therefore say to them, ‘thus says the Lord God: “you eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes towards your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land?

“You rely on your sword; you commit abominations and defile one another’s wives. Should you then possess the land?” Ezekiel 33 vs. 25&26

Should you then possess the land” simply means how can we prosper? Or how can we have access to the promises of God? How can we have the fullness of life available to us in Christ Jesus if our lives are not pleasing to God? The Lord is good, He is gracious, He is faithful but we have a part to play when we are in a relationship with Him. In psalm 103 vs. 17&18 David wrote:

“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting

On those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children,

To such as keep His covenant and to those who remember His commandments to do them.”

The message is clear, if we want God to honor His word to us, we have to honor Him by keeping His commandment and covenant.

Dear FOJ,

Permit me to ask, is there anything defiling your life at the moment? Is there any impure thought that you indulge again and again? Impure thoughts are not as harmless as they seem, Jesus said by just looking at someone and having sexual desire for that person makes one guilty of sexual sin. (See Mathew 5 vs. 28) Is there anything defiling your life? Perhaps it’s something you do, you know it’s wrong but you do it any way. Is it your utterances? You know a child of God shouldn’t talk in a certain way but you do anyway. Is it the company you keep? Is it the kind of movies you watch? Is it the kind of music you listen to and even sing along? Is it the kind of books or magazines you read? Why don’t you do make a decision to do something about anything defiling your life right now? You can decide to break free from whatever grip the spirit of defilement has on you. You will have to pray, you may even need to fast. I pray that as you call upon the Lord, the power of the Holy Spirit will set you free. And I pray that the blood of Jesus cleanse you, in Jesus name, amen.

Yours truly,

Moni,

Hephzibah ministries.

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