Becoming the Picture

Becoming the Picture

My master’s level studies has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of people. One of them is Dr. Banky (Not his real name). I so much respect him. First of all, because of his advanced knowledge in Mathematics, being a Dr. of Mathematics from the department of Mathematics in my University is something I know didn’t come easy.

Dr. Banky is very organised and matured. You need to visit him at home or see his office to see that. There’s only a few mathematicians have met that seem to be well organized. I would say his influence and support has been very vital to get me to the present level I am in my Master’s. When I first arrived here, many things happened to me that made me doubt my ability to complete the program. I almost lost my self-confidence, thanks to a lot of counsels and support from esty-b (another friend that I value so much) and Dr. Banky. I think have been really blessed with the gift of people.

One important thing I must also say about him is, he dresses well. Truth be told, if you meet him randomly on the streets you wouldn’t know he is Doctor of Mathematics. I haven’t seen so many Mathematicians dress so well. He eats well and takes very good care of his health (unlike me), goes to the gym, so he looks really fit, and sure he is. There’s just a lot of things I really respect and like about this man. In-short he is one of my mentors and his counsels have been very helpful.

I have seen so many things in his life that I really want to emulate them and imbibe many of his cultures because I know they will be beneficial to me. A lot of them I have started already. we attend the same church here, I used to sit at his sitting position in church, I was so happy when one lady took me for him one Sunday. I thought I must be looking so much like him. I actually want to look like him. Imbibe many of his way of life. Follow him as he follows Christ. Looking at him do many of this things has actually made it easier for me to learn so many things that would have been difficult for me to learn on my own. And I must say, a lot of things has improved in me by watching him, including spurring me to academic excellence.

One lesson, I learnt from all this is “there is no Becoming without Beholding”. I noticed that before I could want to learn from him, I had to relate with him. We became very good friends, brothers. In-fact am his special junior brother. I opened up my life to him, then he did same to me. We commune, fellowship. We share our lives together.

Same happened with Peter and Christ. At Peter’s denial of Jesus at his death, he denied, but I believe that he had so much become like Jesus that it was easy for people to find out that he had been with Jesus. The early disciples were called Christians. They had so much commune with Christ that they were becoming him.

“And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26 KJV)

Notice, they were called Christians. By people who noticed they talked, lived etc. just like Christ. The writer of the book of Hebrews, encouraged us saying “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”.

In order for the disciples to be like Jesus, he simply chose them to live with him, be with him, and as they do that, they were going to be like him. No wonder, he called us to this same fellowship with him,

“God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9)

“…and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3)

This technology of “Beholding to Become” had been for ages, Jacob applied it.

“Laban asked, “What shall I give you?” Jacob replied, “You shall not give me anything. But if you will do this one thing for me [which I now propose], I will again pasture and keep your flock:” (Gen. 30:31 AMP)

“Let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every dark or black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and those shall be my wages.” (Gen. 30:32 AMP)

“Then Jacob took branches of fresh poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white in the branches” (Gen. 30:37 AMP)

“Then he set the branches which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they mated and conceived when they came to drink. (Gen. 30:38 AMP)

“So the flocks mated and conceived by the branches, and the flocks gave birth to streaked, speckled and spotted offspring” (Gen. 30:39 AMP)

Jacob made the animals see, what he wanted their offspring to look like.

He made us sit in heavenly places with him, invited us to his fellowship and as we do this, his image his imprinted upon our soul. His work his enhanced in our lives, and he would be manifested in us without stress as we commit to this to this fellowship.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18)

I Call You Blessed

The “No” of God

The “No” of God

I remember those days we would pester my mum, ”mummy can I go to John’ s house?” Sometimes she would say no and at other times she would give her assent. The Yes answer always excited us as we would rush out to either play football together or squat on the floor for a game of ‘lego’ soccer. We were free to express ourselves, we were free to explore once we got the Yes answer. But no one liked to be given a No. No meant sorrow, restrain and sometimes confusion as it seemed you had nothing else to do except that for which you had just been denied permission. It was most painful when we had already dreamed big and fantasized about the prospects of fun, only to be denied permission to fulfill our ‘dreams’. We would sulk and become irritable, wasting the opportunity for better endeavors. But we were kids, we knew not much.

As I think on this I am reminded that God says No. God stops his children from embarking on purposes already planned out. Be it at the onset or right in the middle of proceedings, God still speaks to conquer our desires. God still speaks to stop our rational processions. Yes, God still speaks to redirect our spiritual passions and fiery enthusiasms. Even when it is logical, spiritual or sensible, God still speaks and it could be a No.

The Holy Ghost stopped Paul preaching in Bithynia, stopped him in Asia too (Act 16:7). The Lord stopped Amaziah from going to war with Israeli soldiers he had hired with a lot of money (2Chronicles 25:7). I mean, he had paid for them already. Yet the Lord said, ‘let not the army of Israel go with you.’ And then he got worried and voiced out his trouble having to see all the money he used for hire waste away. The Lord answered, ‘I am able to give thee much more than this.’ (2 Chronicles 25:9) So, friend, thy investment no matter how bounteous, thy journey no matter how far and thy race no matter how extended, if the Lord says no, it is a No.

But remind thy heart, that God’s No is for thy good. He – God – will eventually bring you into the, Yes you need. He is very intentional about your life to bring you into the best. His No is definitely for something better that has not entered thy sphere of thought. His No might bring a present pain but it is for a future gain. He is working something out, yes He is. If God says No, weep not, but rejoice that God is thinking about you and leading you with His mighty hands. If the Almighty has decided to be deliberate with my life then I shall instead rejoice. For is it not true that not everything we desire is the best for us? The Shepherd knows better, He shall lead us well and we shall find pasture.

Hence, we must be in constant inquiry as we travel. Let us not make the Lord look like ‘the sense of Logic.’ God is not logic and He is not always logical. Before we dream dreams and build castles in the clouds of uncertainty, let us make sure our desires are founded upon the word from God. Let ‘thus saith the Lord’ always be our watchword.

Written By Rotimi Alao

Grow to Maturity

Grow to Maturity

I was in the library a day to my birthday, studying, when I met my brother, friend and colleague, ***** (name with-held), from Ethiopia. We greeted each other in love and I asked him to join me later for lunch at the departmental Mensa. Over lunch, we had a nice discussion, laughing and smiling as we shared our lives together. One of the things we laughed about was how our parents had recently been demanding we show them who it was we wanted to get married to.  ***** said, “My Mum’s friend told me, I would love you to get married to someone from our tribe here in Ethiopia, so I could speak with her heart to heart in our native language.” He also added “My mum told my younger brother, she would love to be a grandmother”.

 Well, I must say I can relate very well with such statements and expressions. My mum is just similar. She keeps telling me “I am not asking you to get married right now, but just show who it is you are dating”. She hardly believes when I tell her I don’t have a girlfriend. She keeps calling me whenever she hears of any of my friends get married telling me am the only one left. I tried hard to make her understand that she is mounting pressure on me, but she wouldn’t stop. I spoke with her husband, (my father, who doesn’t care about the issue) to speak with her, but it was one of those things my dad couldn’t stop her from her doing. I did find the perfect response whenever she asks me. I would just say, “I’m working on it”. That response always makes her happy, although I know the way she thinks of the response is not the way I mean it. But I don’t care as long as it works. I’m sure many who have African mothers can relate.

One statement struck me out of my conversation with *****, it made me consider writing this article. He said “While we were young, we dare not talk about women with my mum. She never wanted us to have a girlfriend while growing.”

For me, it’s almost same. So it is a surprise to see our mothers suddenly come out of the blue and start talking to us about marriage. You know the difference? We had grown. We had matured. We had come of age. We were not thinking like babies or kids anymore but as men. And so our parents think also it is right for “men” to have someone to date. Same it is in our Spiritual Walk. There are truths and lights we would only be exposed to when we grow up. When we mature. See what Paul said here:

“And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1)

Paul wanted to teach the Corinthian church a lot of truths, but he couldn’t because they were babes. They were children. They were divided. Just as in the natural world where there are R-rated discussions so also are there deep truths for those who over time have matured themselves in the world. The Holy Spirit through Peter said:

“As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that you grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2).

Notice the charge was to GROW! Not to remain a baby. You should feed on God’s word to grow. So you are not tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine. It is annoying when a Christian of many years is still a babe. It’s just same as seeing your 25-year-old son wet the bed. It is disgraceful.

Paul said this “I have fed you with milk and not meat because you can’t bear it and even now you still can’t bear meat” (1 Cor. 3:2 Revised by me). How painful would it be for God, if He would like to introduce new and deeper truths to me to save my generation but I can’t bear it because I am still a baby. Understand me, it’s not wrong to be a baby once but it is bad to remain a baby. See here to:

“Of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing” vs 11

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (vs 12)

“For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe” (vs 13)

“But solid food belongs to those who are not of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (vs 14) Heb. 5: 11 – 14.

The people addressed here were dull of hearing. They were babes. More about Jesus was supposed to be shared with them, but they were not matured enough to receive it. See these scriptures here also:

“Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave though he is master of all” Gal. 4:1

Notice he is the heir, the owner of the property but he can’t be in charge if he doesn’t step up to grow. He is only a slave. Thanks to God that through believing in Jesus we are now sons and not slaves. Peter said this in 2 Pet. 3:18

“But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen”

How do I grow in grace? And what does it mean to grow in grace? Please read the article “GROW IN GRACE”.

There is a lot we stand to lose if we choose to remain as babies. Deeper truths and revelations are to be given to us to liberate our generation and establish his reign here on earth. Finally, let me say, “GROW IN GRACE”.

I call you blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi

Step Up

Step Up

I got hooked on a dance movie called “Step Up”. These young people – in spite of their differences – united themselves to express their passion through dance. They recruited, practiced, and competed not only to win the prize, but also to be heard in their community. They challenged people to make a difference. These young people stepped up!

In a church community, we also need to step up and be united to speak out our mission. God has gifted us with spiritual gifts and we need to utilize them to build up the church and advance the Kingdom of God. We need to get out from our comfort zone and serve together in God’s vineyard. God has saved us and called us to serve. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Here are some responses that people give when asked to serve in the ministry:

I’m not ready yet. I wouldn’t know what to do.
I’m not worthy. I’m not good enough to serve God.
I’m not that gifted. There are others who can be more effective.
I’m too busy. I have a lot of things to fix first in my life.

Though some people may have the desire to serve, they often lack the confidence. And this is because they feel that they are not yet equipped. But here’s the good news! Jesus is not expecting us to perform. He is not expecting us to make a first class impression on him. Jesus simply wants our obedience to answer His call to follow Him. And when we make that first step, He will open doors of opportunity for us to grow, to be trained, and to serve in the ministry according to our gifts.

There is a saying that goes, “When God calls, God equips.”  Equipping and learning from Jesus is a lifetime journey. A heart of obedience, humility, and being teachable are the only requirements to do His ministry work.

When Jesus commissioned His disciples, He gave them the assurance of His presence wherever they would go. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus will never leave your side. He will be your guide, your mentor, and your teacher.

It’s about time to step up, my friend. Pray and discern where God is leading you to serve in the ministry. Be equipped for the work of service. Step up and make a difference in the Kingdom of God!

God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the call

Written by Pastor Maurice Rivera

The Baton

The Baton

“And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Hebrews 11:39-40 NKJV)

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV)

The plan of God is one whole plan, and that was settled before the foundation of the earth (Psalm 119:89 Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven), but He has chosen to make them in dispensations, and at every dispensation he uses men to carry out the assignment in that dispensation. Each dispensation is a part of the whole and the players are men. Not all men, but men who align to His purpose. Criterion for alignment has always been faith, so Hebrews 11 gave us the litany of men who aligned to God’s will, they are men of faith. This men had faith in Christ though they didn’t see his days in the flesh, yet there was a signal in them that prophesied ahead of his days and that made them live the kind of life they lived.

“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow (1 Peter 1:10-12 NKJV)”

Although the beautiful stories of the acts and dealings of God in the past recorded in this very chapter are trilling, anytime I read through their exploits as presented in Heb. 11 I wonder, something confronts me immediately, the fact that “without us, they cannot be made perfect (Heb. 11:40)”. It dawned on me that God’s whole plan is not accomplished yet, there is still so much to do and experience.

“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)”

I Conclude that. It is our time to take the baton, to engage the Holy Spirit to know our place in God’s agenda, to enthrone our Lord Jesus. Just as we see that Heb. 11:40 didn’t end without the introduction of Heb. 12:1. This is a wake-up call to us and there is no better time to rise than now. You are also part of the plan. There is a role you have to play. If you don’t, then it’s going to be left undone. You are here for such a time as this.

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”

I pray that God will quicken us to live a life that will cause generations behind us to find courage to walk in the path of faith in Jesus name.

You are blessed.
Written by Idowu Olasupo

The Seeker Generation

The Seeker Generation

Reading through the epistles, one discovers that oftentimes Paul prayed to be able to declare openly the mysteries of Christ that had been hidden in times past but now is made known to us through revelation. One important thing I will like us to note is that although it was the appointed time that this mysteries were to be made known, Men like Paul also had to seek to know this mystery, and as the sought it, it was revealed to them and today we all are enjoying the fruits of this revealed knowledge.

Today, I will like to say that every Christian is to be a Seeker. We are called to seek to know the truths of the scriptures. No matter what you know today, there is still more to know. We won’t be able to come to the full and perfect knowledge of Christ if we relax from studying and searching out the truths of the bible. We won’t be able to liberate our generation from the darkness of the world, if we Christians don’t seek to get better in our calling. We are the Seeker Generation.

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to Him be the glory and the power and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:6) 

Two points we should note in the above scripture is that “he made kings and priests”. Now let’s check the function of kings and priest. As a king we are to seek:

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter” (Prov. 25:2) 

Brethren, we are kings, we are seekers. It is our honour. God is always concealing mysteries, ours is to seek to know. Jesus speaking he said “it is given for us to know the mysteries of the kingdom” (Luke 8:10) but we won’t know until we seek. We know if we seek, we shall find:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matt. 7:7) 
“For every one that asks receives, and he that seeks finds and to him that knocks it shall be opened” (Matt. 7:8) 

We are to seek first. We are to spend time with the word of God and every Christian material that helps us to grow in faith. We are the seeker Generation. It is our duty to seek.

Again he called us Priest. One thing the priest is known for “is to always go into the presence”. They are never tired of doing that. In-fact they are priest because of that. They are always going into the holy-place and the high-priest into the most holy-place once a year to make atonement on behalf of the people. The day the priest declares he tired of going into the holy-place, he his stripped of his position. His relevance is attached to his seeking. So likewise are we. We are the seekers for our generation. Every Christian must always strive to know. Desire to know the bible.  Study, Meditate, so that out of our fullness we can be a blessing to our generation.
We would not be able to fully understand the reason for the relevance of David’s, Daniel, Paul’s relevance to their generation if we don’t understand their quest towards seeking for knowledge.
David said this:

“O God, you are my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirst for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Ps. 63:1)  

As if that was not enough, David said “My Soul follows hard after you… (Ps. 63:8)”. Paul and Daniel also had such minds. No wonder they were full of knowledge from above that they were very relevant to their Generation. Today, the baton is in our hands, our relevance is in our seeking. We must seek. We are the seeker Generation.

Finally, as I round-off this article, I will like to add that we should grow in the profession of our faith. What do I mean by this? As a testimony, I like to appreciate God that I haven’t been sick nor used a drug (not even a paracetamol or vitamin-c) since over 5 years or more now (I have actually lost count of the number of years) . During my undergraduate studies, I saw in the scriptures that Jesus took my sicknesses away and I have no reason to be sick again, I simply believed it and till today it’s been evident in my life. As beautiful as that sounds, it would be much more beautiful if I am able to teach and explain this revelation as simple as possible to more Christians, so that they too can walk and enjoy my “divine health” revelation. That is what I call growing in the profession of our faith. It is simply being able to explain biblical truths as simple as possible. And this can only be possible if we understand this truths well enough. Everyone who knows the truth should have a sense of responsibility to share it with others. Luke gave this as is reason for writing the book of Luke. Same goes for the books of the bible written by Paul. You are not to hoard your revelations, share them and learn and understand them more to get better in sharing them.

We should seek to get to know more of the scriptures, thereby increasing in understanding so as to be able to explain more simply our faith to others. I believe the beauty of knowledge is not just in you knowing but in being able to share this knowledge with others so that they can be blessed through it.

“I pray that the Sharing of your Faith may become effective and Powerful because of your accurate knowledge of every good thing which is ours in Christ” (Philemon 1:6 NLT)

I call you blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi