Friday, February 28, 2014

How To Deal With Difficult People

We have all had our encounters with people whom we have tagged as difficult. While sometimes, people aren't as difficult as they seem, I can't help but notice there are some people that are just determined to suck the happiness out of your day or irritate you till you feel like walking out of your own skin. 

There is that boss that is difficult to please, selfish and way too controlling, there is that colleague that acts like all is well but updates vague statuses about you on facebook, there is that friend that is just too judgemental and can't hide the green monster that emerges when you tell him or her about any of your achievements and of course that acquaintance that just gets in the way of everything that is important to you.

Dealing with difficult people can be hard and sometimes exasperating but who says it is impossible? I once had the displeasure of having to 'deal' with a difficult colleague; I put 'deal' in quote because I had to come to terms with the fact that she was difficult and I couldn't act like it was fictional. I had to face it head-on and come up with the best way to handle the unpleasant situation in which we both found ourselves. Here are some tips I'd like to share:

  • Maturity is key: In order to deal with a difficult person, maturity is a key requirement; as an immature person, you tend to wear your emotions on your sleeve and would most likely lash out under unpleasant circumstances; being mature howver gives you  a new outlook. It gives you a certain calmness that might even surprise you yourself. I have been surprised many times by my calmness in situations that could have had me flying off the handle years ago. 
  • Silence is golden! How many times haveyou heard that? Well, do you put it to good use? Silence can never be misquoted! It is important to keep quiet when dealing with a difficult person face to face, especially when that person is of higher authority. If you have pent up anger, go jogging, punch a bag but do not speak otherwise you might regret your words for life.
  • Take the bull by the horn! As golden as silence is, sometimes it just doesn't work. If dealing with a difficult colleague or friend, it is good to just lay it bare and talk about it. I don't mean yelling and screaming; mature individuals don't throw tantrums because they are upset but a candid conversation can lighten your heart and turn things around for the better. Most difficult people are controlling and have the desire to control anything and anyone because they lack self-esteem. You should not be the pinata they beat up when their urge to control rises. Let them realize in a calm tone that you are not a door mat, be pleasant, be friendly but don't be a mop.
  • Pray! Sometimes, dealing with a difficult person will require you going to God for wisdom on how to handle such a person. Yes! Some people are that difficult. There is something about prayer that calms you down and sort of dissipates any anger building up. It helps if you pray for that difficult person too!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Single Lady, What Do You Have To Prove?

This is not another post asking how far you have gone with your life and what list of milestone achievements you have trailing behind your name. It is not about your character either- perhaps you  feel the need to prove yourself in your academics, your workplace....all well and good but that's not what I am concentrating on.

This is about relationships and the increasing need most women feel to prove themselves desirable and lovable and perhaps even marriage-able. These days, many relationships are not built on the traditional "Man chases woman, woman acts like she's not interested, she finally agrees to a friendship while she seeks the face of God, man pulls all the stops to get woman- send her flowers, call her first thing in the morning, support her dreams, advice her when she's down, prays with her, prays for her until eventually, woman agrees, man feels lucky and overjoyed"....and well you know the rest. The new trend is:

'Man chases woman, woman falls for man and lets him know the feeling is mutual (which is not a bad thing). Man feels lucky but however, becomes aloof. Woman gets scared she might lose man; woman pulls all the stops to keep man interested- she cooks his meals, cleans his apartment, washes his clothes and against her wish, entertains his batalion of friends that have made his apartment a cafeteria. At the end of the day, it's time for sex. After a few months, man gets bored and moves on to someone that doesn't cook, clean or entertain anyone at her own detriment. Woman gets heartbroken, spirit-broken and soul-broken...."After all I did to show him I'm wife material?" She says in regret.

Dear single lady, first and foremost, you should know that you don't have to prove anything to anyone besides the fact that you are a lady of good character- which isn't really something you have to prove, it shines through your personality. Cooking, cleaning and having sex with a man to show him you are the type of woman he should settle down with is never a good idea. Yes, many will say they got their man that way and he hasbn't changed one bit! But with the increasing number of devourers out there, I'd be very careful if I were you.

I'm not saying it's wrong to occasionally cook dinner and invite him over or to cook lunch while you are with him at his apartment but note that you are not his wife so you don't have to act like one. You are not his slave either so don't mop the floor with yourself. Believe that you deserve a better kind of love- one where you are treated with respect and love and not like a pinata that can be 'beaten' by all his friends and himself.

You don't have to go out of your way to prove you are a wife; a man that is deserving of you will see it from the way you carry yourself, the way you act around others and above all, the way you relate with God. Don't be anyone's door mat. You are a princess and it's not because you've found a prince. It's because your father is a KING! Start acting like one!

Monday, February 24, 2014

He Who Finds A Wife...,

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).

I have heard this bible verse so many times that I often find myself reciting it automatically to men that have an aversion to marriage. I recited it without really thinking there was any depth to it. I’ve heard it at almost every wedding I’ve attended, at church seminars for singles, at meetings organised to uplift women and help them build their self-esteem in their relationships… Yeah that bible verse has been around so that explains why it’s been stuck in my head even though I barely understood it.

I never gave it much thought until recently. Being on strict bed rest and unable to do anything remotely energy-consuming, I entertained myself with my thoughts, ‘regurgitating’ some conversations I had with friends. Slowly, a trend started to form in my mind as I remembered conversations I had with many of my married male friends. After the wedding, many of them had testimonies to share- better jobs, new houses, better cars, great financial stability etc.

This bible verse popped into my mind as I thought about those conversations and something became clear. Proverbs 18:22 wasn’t a verse by King Solomon simply to uplift women, it was a fact that this king who was richly blessed with wisdom had noticed during his time!

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from God… In my interpretation, “he who marries God’s daughter (a woman after God’s heart, a woman who trusts God fully, a woman who is led by God in every step she takes) finds a good thing and obtains favour from God. Well, why wouldn’t he?

Friday, February 21, 2014

How To Escape Hell - Adeolu Akinyemi

I got this is in a mail and thought I should share. Be blessed. 

A simplistic story
 In a big class of 100 Students, the teacher announced his expectations, and requested that the students be quiet. The students however made noise and violated his expectations. He decides to punish them all! He asks them to kneel down, raise up their hands and close their eyes.
While all the eyes were closed, the teachers son, pleads with the teacher to please punish him severely for the errors of everyone in the class. He came to the class after they have erred and was faultless. He pleaded and received 100 strokes on behalf of everyone in class. The teacher announced that he could tell the students that they were free to go, that he had paid their price, for far they were willing to accept his substitution.
The son went to a few students and told them, and they agreed and stood up. He asked them to join him in telling the others. Some of the others heard and rejected the offer, saying, please let me serve my punishment in peace, when the teacher is pleased with me, he would let me go! Some others accepted, but some others didn’t get to hear of the pardon at all.
What would happen to each category of students? Those who rejected the sons offer would be rejected and would continue serving their punishment. Those who did not get to hear would serve their punishments still and those who heard and believed would get up from their punishment and enjoy themselves.
Such is the nature of man, of sin, of Jesus Christ and eternal condemnation.
Anyone who wants to understand the fairness and justice of God must first realize that all of humanity stands condemned and guilty! That is the starting point! By one man, sin came into the earth! If your great grandfather died before giving birth to your father, then you would have died in him. In the same way, we all became sinners in Adam! By sin came death and eternal condemnation. There are good sinners and bad sinners, moral sinners and immoral sinners. Our behavior had nothing on our nature. All humanity stands condemned by God and under punishment for sin, until Jesus Christ.
In the words of C.S. Lewis, Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic or Lord! No half measures, either totally disrespect him or revere him. A man who claims to be the Way, the only way to God! Many religions point the way, Jesus says I am the way! Many say follow these teachings, Jesus says, follow me. He declared that he would die, rise from the dead, never to die again, that’s a lot of boldness! Jesus didn’t present himself as a mere prophet. He was the last Adam, and the Second man! He’s resurrection from the dead, make his words not historical words, but current affairs.
Jesus Christ came as a sinless lamb, to pay with his blood for the sins of man, and to die on the Cross to destroy the nature of sin. All who accept him, have eternal life. All who reject him are condemned already (John 3:18, 36), being condemned already anyway! All who don’t hear the message of his redemption stay condemned! There is none innocent, there is none righteous. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! (Rom 3:23). If you die without hearing the Gospel, you are already currently in HELL, your soul is locked down in punishment, waiting only for judgment! It has nothing to do with your good deeds!
So how do I escape HELL? Accept the punishment already taken on my behalf, accept the Son! There is no excuse (Rom 1:19,20)! God is already revealed to all of humanity, and we have refused and rejected Him, preferring to worship idols in His stead! The invincible qualities of God are also evident in nature, but we bypass it. If you are truly innocent and deserving of being rescued from HELL, God will send Peter to you, like he did for Cornelius! There is no way to hear, without being told. You have heard!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why That Fire-Spitting, Demon-Chasing Christian Brother Is JUST NOT RIGHT for YOU

Whenever christian women get the question “What kind of guy would you like?”, the first response is “he must be christian” and other qualities such as tall, handsome, financially well-to-do and bla bla follow. Of course, if you are asking someone who is scared to show she is interested in something ‘worldly’ like money, you get the “As long as he is Christian, I’m fine! I don’t care if he is a pauper or a hobo” Who are you kidding?
I have seen and heard from many women who found their christian man; they dressed the right way, spoke the right bible verses at the right time, acted the right way and of course looked in the right place- the church. Where else would you find a man that is able to spit fire when he speaks in tongues and have demons running at 400km/h? Many of these marriages are successful while some are camouflages- presented in a certain way to fool the public; it would be a big shame if people discovered what went on behind closed doors! Whatever the case, many women married to their dream Christian men try to spur their friends in the same direction. It may look attractive but is that choice really for you?
There are many reasons I would not date a fire-spitting brother and no it’s not because I have been carried away on a wave of worldly emotions or in love with ‘bad boys’. On the contrary, it’s because there are many qualities most christian brothers have that would simply make me jump off a cliff WILLINGLY.
  • He’s too judgemental: Many Christian men have taken the role of Christ upon themselves; they want to judge every friend you have, every move you make and everything you say. Don’t you dare mention you have a past, he’ll run out the door and share your past with his prayer group, in a bid to ‘pray for you’ while he keeps his distance from the Jezebel trying to come to Christ. I see many brothers raising their eyebrows at ladies that wear jewellery or have weaves or even pedicures. Like seriously? *No comment*
  • He’s spiritually arrogant: In case you don’t know, there are many christian men that are so full of themselves, they have enough ego for ten men! If you date such a man, be ready to be on the receiving end of his constant self-appraisal, self-admiration, self-centeredness and every other kind of self-word you can think of except self-control! Read the rest of this post here------->

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Three Reasons That He Is Not Ready To Settle Down And What You Should Do

Being in love with another is always a good feeling. Completing each other's sentences and checking out all the new joints in town together adds so much fire to the passion new couples share. The honeymoon phase is something lovers don't want to get over but time has taught us that that period doesn't last forever. Real life issues come up and decisions have to be made. 

For ladies, the need to settle down arises, the gifts and cards mean less as the years run by. This is understandable because the biological clock keeps ticking and the society has some level of expectation that ladies feel compelled to reach. I know someone that has been dating her boyfriend for more than eight years and he is yet to pop the question. Some ladies have lost their self esteem, blaming themselves for their partner's inability to make this life changing decisions.

I think this is wrong as most guys have minds of their own.

There are several reasons why a man might not be ready to settle down. In the course of writing this post, I asked a male friend of mine why he didn't eventually get married to his girlfriend of many years and I found his reply quite enlightening.
  • He said he started dating his ex-girlfriend while he was a freshman in college, at the time, both of them were just cool with having fun with each other but all that changed during youth service. She wanted them to settle down when all that was on his mind was building a great career. One cannot say he acted wrongly because the traditional male feels the need to provide for his family and makes that a priority. Both of them in this situation were not on the same page.
  • This brings me to my next point. It is necessary for ladies to have reasonable expectations. I know people date themselves from their teens to older years. If one dates an 18year old guy, it is illogical to think such guy would be ready in 6years time. If a lady is caught in this situation, she needs to be more patient or move on if it is taking longer than she can bear.
  • Another reason is some guys lack the maturity required to settle down. This has nothing to do with age. It is more of a personal thing. Some guys just enjoy the feeling of being unattached. Thing is such behaviour is recognisable, if he doesn't want to meet your family or make you meet his. If stuck with a guy like this, giving him an ultimatum might just be the wake up call he needs. If he doesn't change however it is best to move on .
On the whole, what makes a guy propose is forty percent the right woman and sixty percent the right time. This means that it is not a girl's fault sixty percent of the time. We all have our flaws as human beings. Don't blame yourself over a perceived denial by a man who probably has issues of his own stopping him from making up his mind. If you find you want more from a relationship than your partner is ready to give, then evaluate the situation, talk about it, give him sometime if the situation looks redeemable, move on if not. Your hapiness is vital and you must seek it in all you do. Time invested is never enough reason to endure a relationship that is going nowhere.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Now that we are married, my mother-in-law insists I kneel to greet her traditionally

Dear Sir,

Before I got married to my husband, my prospective mother-in-law and I were very close; or so I thought. When I visited, I would greet her by giving her a kiss on her cheek and she seemed happy with this.

After marriage, she changed. The day after I got married, I tried kissing her on the cheek. She bluntly refused, with a frown insisting that I greet her in the traditional way by kneeling down to greet her. I was so deeply hurt.

My In-laws are from the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria while I am from the middle belt of the Nigerian and I have liberal parents.

What do I do?

Worried Wife.

Dear Worried Wife,

The Bible says in Proverbs 4:7 "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefor get wisdom: and with all getting get understanding."

Even though we live in modern times, we must realise that as Africans, we must not forget our cultural values. Before marriage, you may have realised but ignored the fact that your parents-in-law are traditional in their cultural beliefs and values.

Summarily I would advise that you adjust and respect these cultural values. I don't think it would hurt to give them the respect they require.


Now that I am getting married, I am scared of sacrificing my "Alone" time

I know that I am getting married in a couple of months. There is something I am not sure of and I would like to ask about. You see, I am a very independent woman. I grew up as an only child for a long time. My sister is 15 years younger. I have always learnt to be alone and I enjoy my company a lot. I like to stay in my room and think about a lot of things. Now my fiance is someone who loves to be with me. He is always hovering around me, even suffocating me with attention. His love language is a combination of Physical Touch and Quality Time. (Check 5 love languages - Gary Chapman)

Now I am scared if I would still have time for myself and if I can reciprocate with the same love language. I love him and I don't want to scare him.

This is one of the questions from I got at a Premarital Counselling session recently.

This was my answer....

Signs You Have Low Self-esteem and Don't Even Know It

I would like to think everyone has had their fair share of low self-esteem battles. Mostly, during teenage years, this battle rages; thumbs up to those teenagers who never had the low self-esteem issue! Perhaps you did and you don't even realize it, perhaps you still do but you have developed clever ways to hide it.

I have been studying myself and unsuspecting friends, colleagues and acquaintances for some time now and I have come to the conclusion that a low self-esteem eats deeper than we realize sometimes. Sadly, I see many people in their late twenties and even early thirties happily riding the low self-esteem wagon without even knowing it. How do I know? I've been there, done that, got and burned all the tshirts.

Here are some signs you are battling a low self-esteem and you don't even know it.
  • You Love Hiding: Many people with a low self-esteem are quick to hide; they are eager to blend in with the furniture the moment they walk into a room full of people. Being an introvert is very different from consciously making an effort to make sure no one notices you. You are worried they'll notice that tiny acne scar that you've tried all treatments on but still remains stuck on your face, You're worried they'll notice your uneven skin tone or perhaps they won't find anything you have to say valuable. If this is you, it's time to crawl out of your hiding place! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

When a partner backslides...

It was some days after the national youth service corp passing out ceremony.  He had known Biola long enough. He was really excited and deep within himself he felt the time had come. He called all of their friends to tell them about his surprise proposal to his girlfriend of five years.  He invited her out on what ought to be a normal date night at one of their regular spots. The band rendered a special number he had earlier requested for. Their friends took cover under the dim light of the restaurant. He went over his lines over and over again in his mind. There couldn't have been a better time. It's going to be a night like no other.

She was used to being spoilt by him; their date nights were always unforgettable.  He knew just how to make ordinary moments special. He sometimes seemed to her like a dream. Everyone in their circle loved their relationship and her friends couldn't stop gushing about how lucky she was. She couldn't stop the tears of joy that snaked down her eyes when at the end of the special number he got down on one knee and recited some lines of poetry before asking her to marry him.

She'd always known the day would come but never suspected it's going to be that night. She screamed yes and they were both locked in an embrace that was so tight they looked like one forgetting they had company. The applause and shouts of congratulations brought them back to life.
The moment gave life to perfect but like everything, perfect is only a dream.
Theirs was a model Christian relationship, they grew up together helping each other's faith.

She got a scholarship to study abroad and he got a job with one of the multinational companies.
Life outside school was a lot different, he had a good job and also discovered he could get anything he wanted, beautiful women inclusive. He's no longer whom she used to know. He demanded to have sex with her saying they were going to get married anyway. She's conflicted and wants to know what to do.

N.B: All relationships aren't the same but some things are constant. When one partner backslides, first thing to do is pray and ask for God's guidance. Commit your relationship into God's hands and ask for wisdom in approaching the matter.
Talk to your partner about the change you have noticed trying very much not to be judgmental. Look out for a deep sense of remorse and a change in attitude. Be willing to forgive.
However if he is unwilling to change, you need to move on with your life and pray for a better partner. Your relationship with God is also very important and you need to avoid anything that'll compromise it. Staying in an unhealthy relationship is never the way out of things.

If you have any suggestions on what she needs to do, please use the comment box.

God bless. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

February Fourteenth - Seyi Olanihun

I’m a romantic, not many people know this and most would be sceptical if they were told. This is not a hoax but yours truly sharing from the heart. I decided to come out on the most widely publicised day when romance should be the ultimate above all else. It’s not usually the case as the amount to be spent on the gift, outing and other logistics has taken romance out of the equation.

Chocolate, hearts, couples and the colour red have been splashed all over as symbols of the day. Flowers that form an intrinsic part of romance are not given so much in this part of the world, unless you find a woman that appreciates and accepts them. For some romance lingers in the air and these are those that put thought into it and end up with the actual experience and not the commercialised success that the fourteenth has become. On the other hand romance is far from others and all they seek is how to ‘score’ points in one form or the other.

No Reset Button

We live in the PlayStation era where every video game seems so real, the only thing that keeps you from shaking hands with your video game character is your TV screen. I won't be surprised if one day, those characters step out of the TV to have a conversation with the game player.

As impressive as technology is these days, I daresay it has a negative impact on the way we think. With every video game, you can hit the reset or replay button when you lose the game or when you see your point slipping out of your grip. Unfortunately, many teenagers today are living like they are in a video game and can just hit 'RESET' after they realize they've made a faulty move. If only life worked that way.

We are living in an era where the playstation mentality rules and when the realization hits that some things just can't be changed, hypengyophobia (the fear of responsibility) sets in; that is why the world is filled with many 'baby-mamas' today because the fathers ran away out of fear. It is the reason there are so many road accidents due to excessive drinking because teenagers today consider themselves invincible-like voltron or solo- I don't know where they get that idea from but it has to stop. I daresay many adults are affected by this 'condition' too. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

10 Men Christian women should never marry

My wife and I raised four daughters—without shotguns in the house!—and three of them have already married. We love our sons-in-law, and it’s obvious God handpicked each of them to match our daughters’ temperaments and personality.

I have always believed God is in the matchmaking business. If He can do it for my daughters, He can do it for you.

Today I have several single female friends who would very much like to find the right guy. Some tell me the pickings are slim at their church, so they have ventured into the world of online dating. Others have thrown up their hands in despair, wondering if there are any decent Christian guys left anywhere. They’ve begun to wonder if they should lower their standards in order to find a mate.

Five Bible Quotes to show that God Loves Us

We intuitively know that God loves us however sometimes we need to remind ourselves that He truly does love us.

Here are seven scriptural verses to remind us of His love for Us:

Isaiah 49:15 "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

Romans 8:37-39
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Don't let the Devil tell you otherwise; He does care for us and loves us. Even though we go through uncertain times, He is there. He never changes and You can take His word to the bank.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Have you ever shared your password for online accounts with your Spouse?

In a recent survey carried out by Pew Internet, it showed that 67% of internet users in a marriage or committed relationship have shared the password to one or more of their online accounts with their spouse or partner.

This survey was carried out to ascertain Americans’ use of the internet. Specifically, the survey was done to find out American couples use digital technology to manage life, logistics, and emotional intimacy within their relationships.

The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from April 17 to May 19, 2013, among a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older.

Marriage: For companionship or childbearing?

This post is a question filled with many other questions. I have decided to write up on this because I do not fully understand the dynamics of this aspect of marriage and I hope my dear readers can give some input regarding this issue.

Is marriage for childbearing or companionship or both? You may have thought about this like I have; perhaps you have taken a stand like I have but that stand is not exactly built on a solid foundation....

When two people start courting and wedding plans start getting underway, it seems there is nothing on earth that can tear them apart. Fast forward, two or three years into the marriage and tensions start to build because there are no little ones turning the house upside down. In some marriages, the husbands become irritable and start to call their wives names that must not be heard from any man that stood before God to take vows to love his wife forever. Sometimes, family members get involved and compound the problem, making a woman's home hell (In case you're wondering why the woman is at the receiving end of all these, it's because in Africa, it is the woman's fault when there are no children). Life often becomes unbearable for many wives whose wombs have not been opened and many husbands in such situations believe they have the motivation to cheat, perhaps they can have a child out of wedlock with a fertile woman. *deep sigh*

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Untrue Gospel

Late yesterday evening, I had a chat with a couple of friends about bible teachings and the misinterpretation flooding many churches today. If there is one thing most african churches are famous for, it is the prosperity gospel. After that discussion, I was inspired to share my thoughts on certain beliefs born-again christians harbour in their hearts that are untrue.
  • The 'time-limited, cash-limited blessing' Gospel: I have been shocked beyond redemption at a few churches where the pastor announced the need for a 'timely donation'; I call it that because this donation has to be done within a matter of seconds. In a particular church in London, a pastor called out for donations of 500 british pounds from 10 people, to receive a huge blessing in a week's time. More than 10 people rushed out! 250 pounds followed and the amount decreased until it was lowered to 50 pounds. By then, the podium was filled with people eagerly waitingg to receive God's blessings in one, two, three or four weeks, depending on the amount they donated. Dear christian, Jesus never said your blessing is directly proportional to the amount you give X the time you give it. In other words, blessing is not equal to amount x number of seconds it takes to rush forward to give it. Giving to God should come from your heart as a show of appreciation of what he has done for you. God doesn't need your money to beautify His home. He is not a minister giving out contraacts on a 'first come, first serve' basis. He is God and He will bless whoever he wishes to bless; all you have to do is make your ways pleasing to Him. 
  • The 'Healing' Gospel: This is one that is very controversial amongst staunch christians. Many will not dare step in a hospital for a check up even if something indescribable is bulging out of their necks; some do not allow for blood transfusion for family members losing blood, nor do they allow for any form of surgery because, according to them, it is against God's law. can someone please show me where that is in the bible because i am yet to come across it. Jesus did not at any point tell us not to go to hospitals; knowledge and wisdom come from God; without them, we wouldn't have doctors equipped intellectually to save lives. Stop punishing your self unnecessarily. If you have a persistent headache, go see a doctor. Jesus won't ask satan to build you a house in hell fire for seeing a doctor. Whoever says healing through the hands of a doctor is incomplete has never walked the silent halls of an Intensive Care Unit where many family members gather around their loved ones, unable to speak but hoping God would hear the prayers in their hearts. There are more sincere prayers in the halls of hospitals than there are in most churches on sundays! 
  • The Denial Gospel: It seems churches these days are into promoting denial rather than acceptaing and facing adverse circumstances. They believe saying what's actually wrong with you is a negative confession that will quickly be established by the demons lurking around. When we have a headache, we refuse to accept it, when our finances are in the red, we refuse to admit it, when things are tough, we don't like to admit it and think of ways to handle the situation. Instead, we carry on in denial "Life is great" "I'm rich", "i have nothing to worry about". OK, I believe you are trying to express your faith but please be aware that the expression of faith should not open the floodgates of denial and avoidance of responsibility. Faith is believing God will calm the raging storm; it is not acting like there is no storm at all! I once read a funny encounter by a lady who had entered an elevator and asked if the occupant was going down; the occupant belligerently declared for all to hear "I'm not going down in Jesus name!!!" That had me rolling on the floor with laughter. Hilarious much! 
  • The No- Suffering Gospel: "Christians are not made to suffer!" "Christians must prosper!" "If you are suffering, you are not serving God!" PAUSE..... Where on earth did this come from? Yes! We serve a LIVING GOD that can do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine but did he tell us we will have no trials? NO! If anything at all, we were warned in John 16:33 but we were also assured in the same verse that our God has overcome the world! Even in 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul made it clear that God will not let us be tempted beyond our ability. He did not say we won't be tempted. Sometimes, 'suffering' is a way of God trying to teach you, to mould you into the kind of person he wants so when your blessings come, you'll be able to handle it. When times are tough, don't go and crucify yourself because you believe you have fallen out of grace. Glorify God through it and put the devil to shame! 

Is Love Enough To Sustain Relationships?

Everybody loves that ‘head in the cloud’ feeling one gets when one meets someone new or at the thought of another the heart has grown very fond of. Every word said is treasured and replayed for hours in one’s head and every love song seems like the perfect soundtrack. Life seems to play in slow motion and the sun takes on a new glow. More than anything, we all desire for this feeling to remain but most times it doesn’t. Life happens and our fairy tale like period ends.

The feeling of being in love is one of the best feelings in the world but is it enough. After finding that special one, can one just take the back seat and relax in a relationship? Do you wonder at the high rate of divorce in our society these days? Could it be said that those couples never loved themselves?

After we fall in love, is the feeling all that is needed for a relationship to grow? Would it be alright to stay in an abusive relationship because somewhere at the back of one’s mind, one tells oneself one is in love and one’s abuser loves one but abuses one because of uncontrollable flow of emotions? Can a relationship grow when one partner is without potentials and motivation to become a better person in his/her line of career/profession? Would love be all that would be needed in a relationship between two immature minds that can’t handle everyday life pressures? 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

What Would Jesus Do?

I believe the question "What would Jesus do?" was invented to make christians rethink their actions and decisions before they take and make them; however, I can't help but wonder if that question holds any weight in our hearts.

In our world today, religion is taking over christianity. You might raise your eyebrows and wonder what I mean; I am referring to the venomous attitude of  'christians', the intolerant behaviour we have towards those that are different, our unwillingness to help those in need, our haughtiness that makes us believe we are better than others and above all, our endless judging and criticising, not to constructively correct others but to spitefully tear them down.

If Jesus was walking amongst us today, what will he do? Will he raise his nose at the muslim brother that calls on God in a different language and manner? Will he refuse to help the prostitute in desperate need simply because he feels bad times have fallen on her due to the works of her hands? Will he judge and criticise everyone who is less than worthy to be in God's presence simply because they are unclean?

These days, I wonder why we have made christianity more of a religion than a way of life. For many of us, it's about keeping score with God. We sit in the room of good intentions and judge those that stand in the room of grace. Simply because we speak 'christianese', we are quick to point out those that are falling short of God's commandments. We have forgotten his greatest commandment of all- to love others!

Going to church doesn't make you a christian, anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car. Being a christian means being CHRIST-LIKE, hence the title of this post- What would Jesus do?

Have we been elected as judges by God? or have we been chosen as His children to spread light? I get especially uncomfortable when I see christians gathered together criticising other religions, in the name of strongly establishing our faith in Christ. When have you ever won anyone over by strongly criticising them? Imagine a boss that walks into the office and tells you what  a fool you are for not doing things his way and one that tells you he appreciates your efforts but there is a better way to do things. Which one is more likely to win you over?

God has not elected any of us to be his judges; we ourselves are impure and unworthy of His love but his grace helps us to keep receiving that love. Let's stop speaking christianese and start acting CHRIST-LIKE. Dump the religious attitude! All religion has done to our world is cause war, bitterness, intolerance and hatred- things that can never be found in the God we serve. He has chosen us to be the light of the world- to spread his word and HIS LOVE! That's what we have to do! I am not saying we should go along with things that God will not accept but a little love will go a long way. Let's drop  our pharisee hats and stop considering ourselves too holy! Let's simply remember how Jesus forgave the adulterer and let an unworthy woman clean his feet and wipe them with her hair.

What would Jesus do in our world today? He'll spread BUCKET-LOADS of LOVE! That's for sure!!! XOXO.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Marriage is hard work"...... Really?

A beautiful bride, a handsome groom, delightful wedding guests and perfect plans can make for a great mix on a woman's wedding day. You can tell by how she gushes as you congratulate her on her big day, the tear drop that travels down her cheek when the vows are exchanged and the ear-to-ear grin that seems glued to her face.

Fast-forward, a year or two later, she's sitting with a single friend, discussing relationships and marital bliss and her next words are "Marriage is hard work". Jeez! The next time I hear that statement, I'll throw a tantrum! Why do most people make marriage sound like a chore that robs them of the right to enjoy life as they would love to?

At some point, I started to wonder if married people uttered that statement in order to make themselves look 'busy' like "hey, we're both employed at a Fortune 500 company but I'm married so I'm doing more work than you." I wondered if it is a statement uttered by many to sort of elevate the married people in society, in an effort to make them seem more important, like they're carrying the burden of the economic welfare of the world on their shoulders.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Whose Prayer does God Answer?

I watched the game between Nigeria and Ghana and one thing that stuck was how the two teams were bent over in prayers during all the intervals they had. They both needed the win desperately and I wondered in my mind whose prayers God would answer. It is same thing as when there are thousand s of interviewees in a room and only one person is to be picked at the end of the day. No doubt, everyone would be saying one form of prayer or the other. With so many supplications rising up to Heaven, how does God determine whose own should be answered/can the heart of God be known?

Prayer has been known to be the most effective way of communication with God; it entails worship, praise giving and more. Prayer has a structure, the book of James 4 says ‘Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss’. This means there is a wrong and right way to pray. Take the Sadducees and Pharisees in the bible for instance, Jesus pointed out that their mode of praying was wrong. While I am tempted to dwell on all the different ways we could pray, I don’t want to shift the focus of this post from whose prayers God answers.

Is the world created so that some things cannot be changed even with the power of prayer?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dear Mother-in-law, It's time to LOOSEN the STRINGS

No one can comprehend the joy you felt when you first held your bundle of joy in your hands; it's a moment only you can understand. As he grew older, you were there for him, caring to his every whim, teaching him the right path to follow and making sure he grows up to be a fine young man. When he left for college, you were filled with mixed emotions- happy that he was pursuing his dream and unhappy that he was far away from you, you called every evening and drove down to see him as much as you could. He was like your 'second husband' until he came home from college one day, gushing with excitement about how he has met the girl of his dreams...Wait a minute.... you are not the girl of his dreams?

She shows up and looks or acts nothing like you. She is playful and laughs out loud, she acts like she's already part of the family even though you haven't given your stamp of approval. Whenever she comes around, she wants to help in the kitchen and she has ideas that are very different from yours when it comes to YOUR son's taste buds. Whenever he looks at her, he lights up like a puppy that has just seen its owner and you can't help but watch in annoyance as he fusses over her and vice versa. Suddenly, he's not your sweet little boy anymore and he's talking about moving out and starting a life with this girl that does not know half the trouble you went through to bring him up! How dare she steal your son?!!! Who on earth does Miss skinny legs think she is?

Dear mother-in-law, it is time to loosen the strings! It is hard to watch your son divide the attention he used to shower on you by two so he can give half of it to another woman he didn't know till he turned 25, but it is important that you understand, he is grown!!! Mothers can be over-protective and sometimes over-bearing but when the time to leave and cleave arrives, let sleeping dogs lie.

Your daughter-in-law should not be perceived by you as a competitor for your son's affections so do not involve her in your power-tussle games. She has stolen his heart just like you stole the heart of your husband. Don't compete with her for that. When you go to visit, don't eye her every move and criticise her every offer; if the soup is too hot, don't remind your son at the dinner table that he hardly ever ate spicy foods while you were bringing him up. If she's cooking it that way, accept that's how he enjoys his soup since he moved out. Her kitchen is her kitchen, that's where she's queen. Don't encroach on her territory and make changes that are unnecessary. Even when they are necessary, rather put them forward as suggestions rather than orders. Don't point out that he gives her more money than he gives you. She's his wife, he's her man- ordained by God to provide for her and protect her. Let her enjoy that!

Don't compete with your daughter-in-law for attention; I have heard of mothers-in-law that insist on sleeping in the same bedroom with their married sons. That is just so wrong on every level. No one shared your matrimonial bed with you, so why should you make life difficult for your daughter-in-law? If as a daughter-in-law, you were mistreated, imagine how you felt and try not to make your son's wife feel the same way. See her as one of your daughters and treat her the same way you would treat your child. She might not live up to your standards; she might be the worst cook on earth, the most annoying person you can think of, perhaps, she is not the type to get her hands dirty around the house...whatever the case, respect your son's love for her. Give her good advice like you'd give your own daughter. When she does something that offends you, jeez don't wait for your dear son to return home and rush to report his wife like you are in kindergarten! Straighten things out with her and don't mention it to your son if she has apologised. Don't keep an eye out constantly waiting for her to make an error you can build up on.

Marriage needs a lot of support from family members and it is important to remember married couples need a lot of space to spend time with themselves, so dear mother-in-law, don't go visiting for six to eight weeks. You have your own home, don't turn your son's home into your second home. Don't go visit and become an immovable piece of furniture that is constantly bickering in the background. Let dear daughter-in-law enjoy her home, her privacy and her man.

It is sometimes difficult to accept a woman that comes from nowhere and steals the heart of your bundle of joy but accepting her, loving her and treating her like she's yours will not only give her peace. It will give you peace as well as your son whom you love so much. Loosen the strings!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Listening For God's Voice By Cara Joyner

Listening for God's Voice
One of the joys we experience in childhood, although we don’t see as a gift at the time, is that decisions are made for us. What’s for dinner? Ask mom! How will the electric bill get paid this month? Ask mom! What will I be doing from September to May of next year? School…because mom said so! We love independence, but most of us can at least appreciate the idea of a person telling us which way to turn when the lines get blurry and a world that once seemed very black and white takes on a surprising shade of grey.
During the years I worked in student ministries, one of the most common questions I heard asked was, “I wish I knew what God wanted me to do…how do I hear from Him?” It’s amazing to be reminded that, at the core, middle and high school students are wrestling with the same thoughts as their parents and grandparents.
As a part of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, I had the opportunity to be discipled by a staff intern. She would remind me that any church leader’s job is not to give people perfect answers, but to always point them back to Jesus. That became my goal with students and it is the perspective from which I write today.
I would like to suggest four questions we should consider when seeking the voice of God:
Am I willing to hear what He might say?
Do you believe His voice will flow out of His great love for you, even if it’s not the message you wanted to hear? If we aren’t willing to receive what He says, we really cannot proceed.
If that scares you, remember that a God who loves us enough to sacrifice His son, who promises to never leave us, and who is gentle enough to wipe away our tears (Revelation 21:4)—a God that loving is good. His heart for us is good and His will is good. Are you willing to hear more?
What does scripture say?
The Bible is God-breathed, so it is here where we begin. In her song, The Word, Sara Groves sings…
“I’ve done every devotional
Been every place emotional
Trying to hear a new word from God
And I think it’s very odd,
That while I attempt to help myself
My Bible sits upon my shelf
With every promise
I could ever need.”
We might not be able to flip to the concordance and search “how to know if I should stay in this dating relationship…” or “how to respond when my co-worker says something cruel…”, however, if we develop a habit of abiding in the Word of God, we will know His heart. And when we know his Heart, we will recognize His voice.
God has a lot to say in scripture regarding what it means to love people, how to handle conflict, and what it looks like to live a life that reflects Jesus. Many of you have read wise words from my friend and frequent iBelieve contributor, Nicole Unice. On several occasions, I have heard her say, “God’s voice will never contradict God’s word.” If we are questioning something that is in contradiction to what God has already spoken through scripture, it’s likely a situation of us wanting to hold onto something that He is asking us to let go of. For example, if we feel justified refusing to forgive someone who hurt us, despite the repeated calls for forgiveness in His Word (ex: Matthew 18:21-25 & Matthew 6:12), then it likely has more to do with our pride that any true conviction from the Holy Spirit.
In the quest for God’s voice, let the first stop be scripture. Dwell in it before deep questions arise and return to its truths when answers become unclear. The more familiar we are with the heart of God, the more familiar we will be with His voice.
What do the people who love you say?
During one particular coffee date I had with a student, we discussed an unhealthy dating relationship she was involved in. She lamented her frustration over not being able to discern what God wanted her to do. I asked her what her family, close friends, and spiritual mentors had to say. The people closest to her, who loved her and wanted the best for her, all warned that staying in the relationship was dangerous and they advised her to end it. We had talked about the reasons behind their concerns for quite a while when she looked at me through teary eyes and said, “I know what they want me to do…I just wish I knew what God wanted me to do.”
The people who love you…the people you trust and respect…what do they say? Have you asked them? Obviously, everyone should not be within your circle for wise counsel. Ask people who have made decisions that you respect, and who love you enough to want what is best for you. Allow their voices to enter the conversation and examine how their input is compatible with scripture and what you know to be true about the heart of God. The Lord frequently uses the voices of others to echo what He is speaking to our hearts.
What does the “still, small voice” say?
You know that whisper? That sense of what God is calling us to? In his book, Hearing God, Dallas Willard refers to this as the “still, small voice”. For a deeper discussion about what it means to have a “conversational relationship” with God, as Willard describes it, jump into this thought-provoking piece of writing. I cannot do justice to the understanding he brings to the subject.
I will say this though – it’s hard to imagine hearing the “still, small voice” of God if we don’t make listening a priority. Our lives produce a shocking amount of noise. Our days seem to fill themselves with appointments and activities before we even have a chance to say otherwise. Repeatedly in scripture, Jesus left the noise. He got up earlier than everyone else, went away from the chaos, and was alone with His Father. He prayed and they talked, a habit which scripture tells us He did often.
Are you positioning yourself to hear the still, small voice of a great God who wants so badly to talk with you?
These are our beacons. If we are seeking direction, these questions may or may not lead us to a specific answer, but hopefully they will help us discern God’s voice in the midst of so many others.
Hearing the voice of God is about so much more than knowing what to do. It’s about relationship. If we only seek His voice because we want Him to tell us which choice to make, we have missed the point altogether. Listen and learn to recognize the voice of the Father because He is a loving God and He wants to be in relationship with us. What an incredible gift that is.
He has promised to be found, if we will truly seek Him. “’Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD.’” – Jeremiah 29:12-13.

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