Wednesday, 28 November 2007

There are thorns on my Rose flower!

Ouch! That really hurt! Nobody told me that roses have thorns. Would I have to live with them?

When I found my "rose" a few 21 years ago, and later formalised my "ownership" 7 years later, I could only see the glorious, colourful petals and enjoy the sweet aroma that she gave. I was not fully aware of the thorny bits down the stem. Unfortunately, we were not always together in the same town. And even if we were, I probably would not have noticed them anyway. We were young, you see, and we had heard from God... Oh how necessary it is to have some good counsel before plucking the rose (or allowing yourself to be plucked)!

I also had a belief at the time (somewhere in me it is still held as true) that marriage can be a replica of Eden, if both man and woman are committed to God and to each other. There should not be any insurmountable problem if God is in the mix. I used to identify with those who "testified" that they have never had a fight in their marriage. Why should you if you are both taught by God to love? Well... it wasn't too long before... ouch! Where did that come from?

Truth is, we all come into marriage with different baggage, events that are a part of our history, things that the enemy of oneness can use against us at the slightest of chances. Every issue not dealt with beforehand is an opportunity for attack. Sadly, we had loads of such and they all began to backfire around the same time. Add to that the fact that Mine could not join me in the UK for the next 3 1/2 years after marriage (and I was only able to visit twice within that time). Ouch! We sure did not envisage that!

This much I know now: Roses have thorns, many of them. Big sharp ones; tiny stubborn ones. They are part of the package. We learn to live and deal with them...

This more I know: the less baggage we bring to the place called home, the better. At least, we should be aware of what we are carrying; most of the time we are not, and when it is pointed out to us, we react in defense. The reality is that our Father, who knows our end from the beginning, has as the option of making us better people in the home context, and the process of becoming a better person is never without a few "ouches"!!! Even the Rose of Sharon wore a crown of thorns...

One more thing I know: God's grace is sufficient for the faithful in heart...

Lord, what can I say? You have brought us this far. Please take us further into your will and purpose for our lives. Continue to teach us, and may that which we have already been taught be a blessing to many a generation. Thank you Father!


Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Divorce is not God's original plan

I read some responses to a missionary friend's article on divorce, even though I had not read the original article, and felt I should add my voice to the conviction of many in the Church. Here's my unedited response below (I have since read the article which is also posted below):

I did not read the original article but have browsed some of the responses. The truth is, though divorce is a reality in our time as it was in Jesus' time, God's original purpose for marriage is still the same - that no man puts asunder that which God joins together. He will not lower His standard just because we are having challenges. It is always better in the long run to stay our ground and win than to flee.

Having said this, divorce is certainly not the unpardonable sin. And this is where we get caught. That God can pardon sin does not make sin acceptable. I will be 13 years married to my wife this weekend and in those years, there has been a number of times when divorce seemed to be the only solution. But if we look closely and well enough, there is always a way - God's way - out of the 'temptation' to divorce. God is faithful to provide the way, but will we be humble and selfless enough to take His ordained path for the particular moment? Many have chosen their own way and it has led, and will always lead, to heartache.

My heart goes out to everyone who is under marital pressures at this time, may you find the counsel of God for your situation - the way ordained for you to overcome with a testimony of God's faithfulness.

Dear reader, what do you think? Feel free to write a comment.


Till death do us part - by ChimWRITE

"What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6)

I want to discuss an issue that was raised in Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees in Mathew 19:1-12. It is about divorce and it is something that has bothered me for a long time.
I believe the Pharisees felt they could put Jesus on the spot by bringing up this issue because, just as in our day, divorce in those days had become very rampart. Such that it had become a "don't-preach- against" issue for preachers who cared about their popularity. Today it is hard to preach God’s mind concerning divorce without being labeled judgmental or narrow-minded. Among believers and even some preachers divorce has come to be widely accepted. But Jesus was not afraid to confront the issue head-on, as we see from his reply.

Jesus' reply to the question whether one can divorce was that God’s original plan for marriage was that there would be no divorce. He said “in the beginning this was not so”. "In the beginning" divorce was not part of the Creator’s design for marriage. Instead the mystery of marriage is that when a man and a woman unite together in marriage they become one flesh. No longer two.

The mistake we make is to look at the physical and feel that since they are still two individuals, they can conveniently divorce themselves, if they want. But in reality, what they are now is an entity so that what divorce leaves behind are not two whole individuals but two incomplete pieces of a whole. Only those that have experienced it can tell the amount of pain and mess that divorce always leaves behind.

The Pharisees understood Jesus was saying "no" to divorce, that is why they asked why Moses, the man of God, permitted it. Jesus said it was permitted because of the hardiness of the heart of the people even though it was not in line with God’s plan. Here is a lesson for us - it is possible that through the hardiness of heart of a generation for things that are not in line with God’s order, sin can become accepted and permitted in the Church. But majority decision does not change God’s standard.

The only reason for divorce that Jesus allows here is fornication. Yet it is clear from the context of his discourse that divorce is not to be an option in marriage. The disciples understood what he was saying, that was why they said “If this is the situation between a husband and a wife, it is better not to marry”. That is to say, “if marriage has only an entrance and no exit, given all the heat that comes up in marriage, it is better not to marry”!

But understanding that God planned marriage to have only an entrance and no exit does not turn it into hell on earth, but instead an opportunity to build a heaven on earth. I know it is difficult to generalize, but I believe there are many dissolved marriages that could have become glorious if the man and wife did not believe divorce was an option. When we come into marriage without divorce in our vocabulary, we would put in our all to make it work, because we believe there is no other option.

Every marriage has its challenges, yet if we do not hold firmly to God’s standard of "no divorce", we would not have the backbone to fight for our marriage, to pay the price of seeing it become a glorious testimony of a Christian marriage. We will give up too soon.

Ours is an age that are “lovers of their own selves”. I, me, mine are some of the big gods of this age. That is why marriage, as God planned it, is so difficult for us today. Marriage is not about what you can get, but what you can give. Marriage is God’s school of discipleship.

I pray that these truths do not come to you as judgmental but as an encouragement. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, what matters is what you’d do now. There are things we cannot change in our past but no matter where we are today, we can, by the grace of God, begin to live by this truth.

I’d would be looking forward to reading your comments on this issue. I intend to post the discussions that this article will generate in the coming weeks so please let me hear from you. And please do pray for your marriage and other christian marriages because there heated attack from hell on these like never before. And please don't hesitate to let me know how I can pray for yours.

Reply to: chim_ibidun@ (or/and post a comment here)


Friday, 23 November 2007

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 23

Tagged by Rinsola

Join me in the Thankfulness Chain....if you've been tagged, please complete the tag on the assigned day example... if you're tagged for November 21... that is day 21 and you should title your post 30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 21 provide a link to the person that tagged you previously Also provide a link to the two people that you're tagging for the next day so we can all follow the chain... Do let them know they're being tagged.. why they're being tagged, and how to grow the chain if you're unable to do the tag on your assigned day... still choose the day to reflect the date you do it (if you're choosing not to back date it) ...example... if you're tagged for November 25 but dont get to do it till November 27... and you're not back dating.. it's okay to do it as Day 27 you can post these rules or something to this effect to help it along...

I was tagged by a blogging friend to give God thanks today - for today and everyday, and everything. Thank you Father for putting it in the mind of my co-blogger to tag me (now, that's a good place to start!).

Truth is, there is always a thousand and one things to thank God for if we think hard enough, and even when you try to think of one, that special one, you get lost in thought. This is why overflowing thankfulness should be our way of life, not for any favour or breakthrough, but because our good Lord is worthy of thanks (interesting, I preached on this a year ago - I hope I've lived up to the message! Want to listen? Click here!)...

Father, I am grateful to You for You, Your love, grace and faithfulness.
I thank You for always being there, through the years, through the tears.
I thank You for Your mercies that You extend to me, every now and again.
I thank You for calling me by name, before I popped out of my mother's womb.
I thank You for pouring Yourself in me, Your gifts and Your grace.
I thank You for revealing Your life in and manifesting Your goodness through me.
I thank You for leading me to where I am today.
I thank You for the last 13 years with Linda, and the 8 years before then.
I thank You for Destiny and Daniel, the fruit of our union to date.
I thank You for all the pain that love has conquered.
I thank You for all the love that pain cannot conquer.
I thank You for what you have in store for those who love You.
I thank You for revival that is looming in the air.
I thank You, I thank You, I thank You!
For the opportunity to thank You, Father, I thank You...

I tag my sister Kike, Daughter of Encouragement, (who got me blogging) and Sisbee (who, I think, got me into this great circle of bloggers!)... Let the thankfulness flow, I mean overflow!


Friday, 16 November 2007

When love comes of age

Thirteen years married! It's no joke! Well, in our day and age, when the sanctity of marriage is belittled by those who ought to protect it, I cannot but thank God for bringing Linda and I this far.

Thirteen, the first of the teenage years. The Bar Mitzvah year of transition into manhood. Probably, this may be the year when our love come of age. This one thing I know, love at year 13 is different from love at year 1! What are the differences?

At year 1, love is first emotional before it is rational.
At year 13, love is first rational before it is emotional.
At year 1, love is more emotional than rational.
At year 13, love is more rational than emotional.
At year 1, love is learning to trust.
At year 13, love has learnt to trust (hopefully!).
At year 1, love is more delighted when it receives.
At year 13, love is more delighted when it gives...

In all this, the most important thing is for God to be involved in the union of a man with a woman from day 1. This, to me, is a key to longevity in marriage - and I don't mean casual involvement. I have observed that nowadays, when it comes to choosing a partner, people involve God at varying degrees. (Well, since Adam blamed God for the wife who caused his disobedience, God will only get involved in our choice of partner to the degree that we involve Him, hence "He who finds a wife..." and not "He who is given a wife...").

In other words, if love will truly come of age, the opinion of Him who sees the end from the beginning must be highly sought. He knows who is best for us, not just in year 1 but also in year 13 and beyond. I cannot stress this enough. Dating is good. Checking compartibility is not wrong. (And there are a catalogue of other practical things that one can do to be sure of Mr. or Mrs. Right). But having God's express instruction and approval is priceless. It may be the lifeline at crucial break points. It has been for us! (What does this say about learning to hear and obey God now, in the 'small things', rather than learning to know His voice when the time to choose comes?).

I know that marriages break at year 1 as they do at year 13 (or any other year for that matter), but with a strong commitment to God and the marriage covenant, anti-marriage forces stand no chance. We've withstood many in our short time, and I can tell anyone that it is better to fight and win than to give up and flee. With God, all things are possible.

I, perhaps, will take this a bit deeper, soon (as time permits). But I am glad that 'Mine' (my pet name for Linda) is still mine and we are both His!

Father, what can I say? Thank you for keeping us in your love and for teaching us what it means to love. Amen.


Friday, 9 November 2007

Taught to love by God

"Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other" (1 Thessalonians 4:9).

Because "God is love" and love is of God, we cannot truly love unless by and through God. The more we are conformed to the image of God in Christ, the more truly we can love. So, yes, there is a progressive dimension to our ability to love as God will. Oh that God's people will submit fully to the teachings of the Spirit in all things!

Life is our school. God is our teacher. There is no automatic promotion. Every test must be passed! When tests are skipped or failed, we get to resit them at a later date. Is there any joy in repeating classes and remaining a baby Christian for life?

True love is time-consuming and self-sacrificing. It seeks the best in others and serves rather than want to be served. Just think about the example of the Good Samaritan and this truth becomes clearer.

"How can I live with this man if I can't trust him?" - Rinsola

This touches on an intimate dimension of love as ordained by God - the loved between a man and a woman. Hmm... so much to write here! I'll take it in bits, well, as a countdown to my 13th anniversary of being married to the same woman! 24 days to December 3rd, the day I tied the knot. I think I've got a few things to say about love and trust! And it all goes back to where we began from - taught to love by God!

Father, please teach us to love. Continue to teach me to love. To love my wife and children. To love everyone You've put in my care in church. To love everyone I come in contact with. To love the world that You died for. To love without prejudice. To love like You will. Amen.


Wednesday, 7 November 2007

What must we now do? (2)

Comment: I strongly believe it all starts from and with "Love", but how can we really love people the way God wants us to?

I cannot agree with rinsola more. Everything begins and ends with Love. If we are going to make a difference in the land of our calling, we must be living emissaries of God's love in our spheres of influence. However, the reason why I want to provoke us all to ask pertinent questions about the practice of our faith is that, in my opinion, the church world, consciously or unconsciously, has created a culture where if we love at all, it is ourselves we love.

We go to church for ourselves, pray and fast for ourselves, give offerings for ourselves (a hundred fold return!), go to work for ourselves (pay cheque)... we are always anticipating a breakthrough for ourselves... everything else comes second place. I may be guilty of generalising, but I am aware of my responsibility to provoke God's people to "love and good deeds" (Hebrews 11:24). So, there you go!

Love is certainly the answer, but even this right answer beckons the question "how can we really love people the way God wants us to?" This is why I want us all to continue asking questions! The messages we hear in church ought to be answers to deep questions (deep calls unto deep); they should intentionally prepare us for our unique ministries of love. In essence, if we are really ready to "love the way God wants us to," we must first hunger and thirst for a fresh revelation of this love - the breath, the height, the depth and the width of it! (Ephesians 3:17,18). We cannot demonstrate it if we do not understand it (and if we do not live out the little we comprehend, more insight will not come to us from above).

A shift is necessary in the church today, an urgent return to our "first love". Loving God in truth is the first commandment that fulfils every law. The outflow of this is practical love towards the unloved around us... But what does it mean to love God and who are the unloved that need our love? (Questions, more questions!).

There's surely more to come on this love thing!

Father, if I have made myself and my goals the object of my pursuits, forgive me.

If I have relegated You to second place in my thoughts, forgive me.

If my the bulk of my time is spent bettering my life rather than enriching my relationship with You and serving others, please forgive me.

If I am only consumed about the state of my life and am not sensitive to the condition of others around me, dear Lord forgive me.

Teach me love. Teach me to love. And may there be a fresh revolution of love in Your Church, starting with me. Thanks Lord!


Friday, 2 November 2007

What must we now do? (1)

"Dear pastor what must we do now in practical terms? I am a Christian who wants to make a change."

In response to the above comment by one of my readers to the post of October 26, I want to begin sharing a few things as the Lord leads. Firstly, this is the right question to ask! Until we realise that a change is necessary, we would not enquire on how we need to change or what needs to change. Worse still, we will continue in our error and not attain the mark set by God. Remember the day of Pentecost? "What must we now do" is the place to start.

Questions are powerful, especially if we ask them from the right sources - those that can deliver the right answers. Sadly, the church world is conditioned in such a way that discourages God's people from asking questions. Whatever the 'man of God' says is taken as the gospel truth, when a simple, genuine interrogation, especially for clarity, will reveal what lies underneath. The disciples asked questions of Jesus, and likewise, Jesus asked questions of them. The Lord did not just assume that they understood what He taught them; He gave time to the asking and answering of questions.

So, what must we begin to do in order to see change in the church world and consequently in the nation? We need to show the Lord that we are ready to learn afresh by asking pertinent questions about ourselves and the practice of our faith. God is committed to teaching us only when we come to Him to learn. He is also determined to give us teachers after His own heart who will lead us on the paths of righteousness. Let us ask and we shall receive.

Ok, this seems basic, but let us do it. Let us pause. Selah. Reflect and make enquiry. I wrote a book in 2000, The Charismatic Agenda, to provoke people into asking questions. (Visit and you will find out how to receive a free copy).

I will continue to answer this question, and if you feel the need to, you can question my answer!


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