2017 SHM WEEKLY WISDOM TITBIT – Week 38. COMBATIVENESS

Hello again dear friends, how has our week been? Mine has been glorious, thank God!

This week, laid on my heart to share and encourage us with is combativeness. This noun shows a state of being ready to argue or fight, ultimately leading to being characterized as being pugnacious! Not a nice way to describe anybody, yes? But the reality is that once in a while like that we just feel like ‘sticking it to the other person, do we not?

Now, my own experience is that after my combative encounter I often feel that maybe I came on too strongly? 🙈 So, been there, done that! Ok, so this piece is not about being judgmental.

How do we think people we have ban combative with feel, during and after each encounter? This should sharpen our understanding of the real problem of being combative. If we reckon such people feel happy and left the conversation feeling better, then being combative would be a good thing; but that never happens, does it? Often than not those on the receiving end would leave unhappy and wonder what just hit them!

Now, if we accept that every human being is an extension of God, then our manner of discuss amongst ourselves, in public and privately should take on a civil tone and manner , shouldn’t it. And we should also understand the ‘manner’ part of what I just said above. Some folk have mastered the art of speaking evenly in low tones, but their body language can dice a rock in half!

So, what to do? I believe the book of Hebrews has the perfect recipe – Follow peace with ALL men and holiness, without which no man can see God! When we get on that train, trust me, our combative nature will reduce and gradually diminish. God bless us as we begin to try.

You shall excel In Jesus’ mighty name. We love you!

September 19th 2017. Salvation House.

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2017 SHM WISDOM TITBIT_WEEK 36

 

WEEK 36. HIS LAWS, OUR BENEFIT.

Another wonderful week my friends. Is this truly the 36th week of this year already? Wow! Shouldn’t we thank The Lord for preserving our lives thus far? Lord, we praise you!

This week let us encourage ourselves on an issue many would rather not discuss, or merely gloss over. Has to do with God’s laws.

What He wants is crystal clear – to love Him with the totality of who we are; and then to love the next person as we so ourselves. Not hard, right? So, why is there still so much pain and wickedness in the world?

One simple reason this has been hard and will continue to be so for many people is this thing called ‘free will’.

God designed every human being to have it. Free will is the ability to act at your own discretion without any constraint! It is interesting, (but a story for another day) why God chose to give every human that capacity; but for our task this week, it is enough to understand why many find it so hard to obey His laws.

Whatever you think you have a discretion about, you tend to do in a way that pleases only you! Reason why many would plan for a people in a way that benefits just a few of the planners! But if we examine this more critically, we would realize that discretion improperly exercised can really become a trap. How?

Because what you do, thinking is all about you; is really more about others, many more than you! Because our actions have reverberative effect on those around us, to just on us. Yes, because we are social creatures! So, how we exercise our discretion will always after others! Lesson to learn is this: exercise your free will more about others than yourself!

Another aspect of His laws, is that God does not really need them those laws. Trust me. He has existed for eons without man and if He so chooses can still do so for eternity. So, why give mankind laws? Well, as my topic suggests – FOR OUR OWN BENEFITS.

Take another look at His laws in broad form, what some may call the 10 commandments. You will discover that an in depth study of them will show that all ten (which are really the two I started with) are for man’s own good!

So, in truth, obeying His commandments are for my benefit and yours! Seen from this angle, we should begin to realize that we must work on our minds (the workshop for all things good and evil) to compel our bodies to obey His commandments – at all times!

Would it be easy? You bet NOT! That is why each must work out his salvation with fear, with trembling.

Have a great week dear friends. You shall excel In Jesus’ mighty name.

We love you!

September 5th 2017. Salvation House.

2017 SHM WEEKLY WISDOM TITBIT

WEEK 13. MENTAL TOUGHNESS.
Every human being has a weakness or another to contend with. Because no human being is God! He has not yet been born that human being who does not have issues. So, it is not new! 
The best we can do therefore, is to learn to identify, and starve our week points. And anyone who tells you it is easy has not done one successfully before! Because is is a tough, painful, and long process!
But the required starting point is to acquire ability for a tough mental state. Why mental? Because failed attempts to overcome problems usually would have focused on the symptoms, not root. The principle is FIRST WITHIN, THEN WITHOUT.
Successful athletes would tell you that they spend more time in mental preparation than they do with the physical side of training. Because what you get a picture of, is what you are empowered to do.
So, get a positive mental picture of yourself living above that problem, that addiction, that moral morass. Keep that mental picture strong; then gradually your mind would accept its possibility; and the flesh would follow. That was exactly what Abraham and Sarah had to do to get Isaac, which was why it took so long! (Story for another day, perhaps)
How to get that mental picture? By use of your imagination. Without imagination, he vital first step in self control is impossible. Picture yourself rising above that weakness, that contending issue. Remember what Jesus said about the devil, He COULD SEE Satan fall like lightening from heaven! And the Almighty God Himself saw order from the chaos of darkness before re-creation occurred. So, put you imagination to good use. Same way we picture before we act out those very things we need to correct, to put behind us!
Now, let the battle of the mind begin. 
You shall excel In Jesus’ mighty name. We love you!
March 28th 2017. Salvation House.

I Love Women (International Womens Day)


INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY.
I love women, that is undeniable. 

I have 3 wonderful, strong women in my life; as wife and daughters.

I was born and raised by an amazing woman.

My sisters are great women raising great families of their own.

I have worked and still work with competent women.

I have women as friends, doing good and loving others.

Therefore, I always honor women.

Do you love women?

Do you honor women?

Tell them about it!
© Adewale Adeniji

An The Stones Tumbled

Easy to condemn,

Harder to forgive.

To ridicule others, effortless.

To praise, harder than meteorite. 

He who is without ought, He said,

the first stone to cast.

Alas, none the courage had,

to cast the stone first.

For none there be without fault.

Yet, they be fault finding!

At last all their stones tumbled,

humbled as their haughty bearers.

What a sight glorious when

all their stones tumbled,

their bearers humbled!

Thank you Sire, for lessons 

so apt, that my future assured.

No matter how filthy, how soiled.

A home for me to find in your

bossom so righteous; that I,

my dirty self, is made whole;

and made acceptable that no

haughty spirit can me torment!

Stones have tumbled indeed.
(Inspired by Jn. 8: 1-11)

© 4th January 2017. Adewale Adeniji.

2017 SHM WEEKLY WISDOM TITB _WEEK 2_ENCOURAGE YOUR SPOUSE

 

Encourage your spouse to flourish. By it you will stand beside a successful, grateful partner. Doing otherwise, for whatever reason, is the epitome of folly. We don’t want that, do we?

Let not simmering resentment rob you of the blessings of seeing your spouse succeed. See, no matter what he or she becomes, no one (not even the spouse) can validly discount your contribution. Even if no gratitude is shown to you, as some fear, you will benefit directly or indirectly. Someone close to your heart will be blessed by the prosperity/success/fulfillment of your spouse.

In any case, it is better, is it not, to sow that good seed and reap the rewards elsewhere? I encourage you today, assist your spouse to be the best he/she can be. You will be fulfilled thereby, trust me!

You shall excel In Jesus’ mighty name. We love you!

January 10th 2017. Salvation House.

THEN NEXT MOVE OF GOD IN THE CHURCH By Lolu Akinwunmi, child of God.

IT IS A LONG ESSAY, BUT WORTH IT. PLEASE READ. WHILE CONTRIBUTIONS ARE WELCOME, THE INTENT IS NOT TO DISPARAGE THE CHURCH BUT TO SPEAK THE TRUTH. MAY I PLEAD THAT ALL RESPONSES FOLLOW THIS PATTERN. THANK YOU. 
In the last few years, there’s been plenty of rumbling in the Church, and specifically, the Pentecostal fellowship. We have had uncommon attention on the group, not just in Nigeria, but also in many parts of the world. Sometimes you wonder at the ferocity of attention, especially when the so-called traditional churches are almost left untouched. There shouldn’t be anything to panic about; IT IS A MOVE FROM GOD. I will in this article try to show this and what God has in mind and what He plans to do. 
I write as an insider. I am a believer and was ordained an Assistant Pastor in 1990 and so understand what this is all about. Plus I also understand the traditional ways; my late father was an Anglican reverend. I therefore write with a high sense of responsibility and knowledge. I must warn that many of the church traditionalists may not find this essay friendly, but I feel fulfilled writing it. 
SOME CURRENT ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THE (PENTECOSTAL) CHURCH

I have culled most of these from several sources and have edited them below:
PROFLIGACY

This is about reckless extravagance. Many Pentecostal leaders have been accused of living in a way that is out of tune with their roles as spiritual leaders; certainly not in line with scriptural teachings. The key argument from many people is that if the source of income is from the people through tithes, offerings, special donations, etc., then there should be less extravagance and there should be more restraint. Many cite the lifestyle of the orthodox churches where the ministers are comfortable because the Church endeavours to meet basic needs. It was not always so; we had sedate Christianity with plenty of values until the Americans came with their “cash and carry” Pentecostalism, “Faith it and receive it”, “Instant coffee” Christianity; just pour hot water, and presto! These mercantile doctrines have done almost irreparable damage to local Christianity. I am not against any Minister living well, after all the Scripture supports this for all believers. But there is something about it when your congregants are struggling and you cruise around in very expensive fleet of cars and even Church-bought and maintained jet.
ACCOUNTABILITY

Many of us grew up in the “traditional” churches, i.e. Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, C&S etc. I can speak for the Anglican Church because my father was an Anglican reverend, and I hope it still happens. Every Sunday, the monetary incomes and expenditures for the week would be announced. But the Pentecostal approach is different; at least in the churches I have associated with. This does not happen except as part of an annual report. Why? I don’t know, and I am not condemning it. There has to be a reason for it. But I know that it has helped the traditional churches a lot especially in the area of accountability. You hardly hear of embezzlement or the misuse of funds. There is fiscal responsibility. I will say more on this when I discuss the new government regulation on this issue.
OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE/SYNDROME

The traditional churches are not owned by anyone. No one can claim to own the Anglican, Methodist, Catholic Churches. The Pentecostal churches apart from maybe RCCG and Four Square are family-owned. This means the founder-owner transfers control from generation to generation as we have seen in Benson Idahosa’s church. Sometimes people wonder if the Holy Spirit is in a permanent mode of transferring leadership and control from one family member to the other.
IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!

The focus on money is shameful. Multiple offerings and all manner of fetches to get money from the people. Many have become impoverished who tried to meet the demands of the Pastors. Sometimes when people have had enough and resist these fleecings, you hear the Pastors say things like, “My prayer gave you your breakthrough”! Such nonsense! Such is the depth of commitment to the filthy lucre. Worse, no one is asking questions when people bring in large sums as tithes and offerings; they instantly become the Pastors’ favourites. Inappropriately, the Church is partnering sin and unrighteousness. We all read with horror when the accounts of a civil servant pastor who died revealed over N7 billion a few years ago. It was also controversial when a lowly staff of a hotel was giving millions to his church. The Pastor refused to give the money back; as far as he was concerned, it was from God!
SOCIALIZATION OF THE CHURCH

I wrote a piece on Facebook indicating the socialization of the Church, the gradual introduction of comedies etc. It’s a lot heavier than this. I have watched churches organize all manner of conferences, especially by the pastors’ wives, where there is so much of elegance and all that. Elegant “geles” and expensive jewelries. I have nothing against these, but cannot help wondering sometimes the spiritual relevance within the scope of God’s expectations. There is a strong need to define and determine what we want to do with the church. Do we want to run elegant members’ clubs or a spiritual house? Worse, some of the people invited as speakers are people of questionable reputation, but top members of the society. Once a major church in Nigeria announced a known dupe of very questionable character as a member of one of its boards. He is a very rich man and sometimes says he is a politician. Everyone was scandalized. But such is the depth of morass and decadence in the Pentecostal church.
We all must never forget that the Church is God’s property, which was why Jesus said, “I will build MY Church”. If the Lord claims ownership, then He has the right and authority to interfere when the human custodians are getting it all wrong. And He does it from generation to generation. Which brings me to a historical part of this essay, THE LUTHERAN INTERVENTION.
THE LUTHERAN INTERVENTION

Martin Luther (1483-1596) was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God’s punishment for sin could be purchased with money, proposing an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517. His refusal to renounce all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the Pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor.
Luther taught that salvation and, subsequently, eternal life are not earned by good deeds but are received only as the free gift of God’s grace through the believer’s faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority and office of the Pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge from God and opposed sacerdotalism (the system, spirit, or methods of the priesthood, usually negative), by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood. Those who identify with these, and all of Luther’s wider teachings, are called Lutherans, though Luther insisted on Christian or Evangelical as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ.
His translation of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible to the laity, an event that had a tremendous impact on both the church and German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible. His hymns influenced the development of singing in Protestant churches. His marriage to Katharina von Bora, a former nun, set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant clergy to marry.
Martin Luther erred in some areas. In two of his later works, Luther expressed antagonistic views towards Jews, writing that Jewish homes and synagogues should be destroyed, their money confiscated, and liberty curtailed. Condemned by virtually every Lutheran denomination, these statements and their influence on antisemitism have contributed to his controversial status.
His revolution led to The Protestant Reformation of the 16th-century religious, political, intellectual and cultural upheaval that splintered Catholic Europe, setting in place the structures and beliefs that would define the continent in the modern era. In northern and central Europe, reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin and Henry VIII challenged papal authority and questioned the Catholic Church’s ability to define Christian practice. They argued for a religious and political redistribution of power into the hands of Bible- and pamphlet-reading pastors and princes. The disruption triggered wars, persecutions and the so-called Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church’s delayed but forceful response to the Protestants.
God used a few things to move against the decadent Catholic Church of the era and its papal excesses:
1. God used Martin Luther

2. God used the advent of the new printing technology which debuted in Germany to lead to an unprecedented production of the Bible and other readings, such that the restless people were no longer ignorant
By these and more, the Protestants came out of the Catholic Church and from them the Evangelicals evolved and from these the Pentecostals. God is always ahead and this is what the Pentecostals must be aware of.
BACK TO THE PRESENT

Today we are witnessing unprecedented excesses within the Pentecostal fold. The restlessness within the Church is unprecedented. People are talking openly; many are going back to the orthodox churches. This stirring is by the Holy Spirit, warning and urging the Pentecostal leaders to mend their ways and come back to our first love and shun all worldly distractions. If they don’t change, God will initiate change. Like He raised Luther, Calvin etc., He will raise a new group of people who will listen to Him and do His will in righteousness. When the Lutheran move expired, God brought in others. He always has a plan and a back up because He has said the “gates of hell shall not prevail against the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION

The Nigerian government has enacted legislation, which seeks to make religious organisations more accountable. Now churches, mosques, religious groups etc. must comply with certain rules. Son can no longer take over from father; indeed no family member can take over as we have been having in quite a few churches and ministries. There is also the rule that after 20 years, leadership MUST change hands. There are also issues related to better fiscal management, even though religious organizations are exempted from taxation. Lets be honest, this new regime can be situated within excesses of especially Pentecostal folds. Why do I say this? Anglican, Catholic etc., don’t pass leadership on to families and few spend 20 years. They are also more fiscally accountable. All the traditional churches have well laid out succession plans. Even Four Square has: I hear the max you can stay is 10 years as GO. Its good. But you can be sure that lawyers are working hard to breach these legislations!!
And if you are wondering how God will make His move, wonder no more. He will use the incredible social media. He will create new alliances. He will send His Spirit into the hearts of men and women who are tired of Pentecostal excesses so that the main work will not stop or be corrupted. These are people without titles, simple ground troops who simply love the Lord. No titles, no flowing robes, no churches; just like the Apostles that “turned the world upside down” in the New Testament.
We are tired of Church leaders who preach during the day and hobnob with politicians at night. We are tired of church leaders who will not speak the truth, but will speak what those in government want to hear so they can benefit materially and in other ways. If they do not change, God will raise others to replace them. 
Amen.

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