The influence of America and her culture on the church in Nigeria is monumental. Although Christianity did not come from America, America was as gentile as Nigeria as far as the salvation programme of God is concerned, people here have come to see America as the standard of Christianity. Any minister of God who travels to America to preach, even though to less than two dozen people, leaving the hundreds of brethren in his congregation behind is considered a big and successful minister of God.
Here we have adopted the American style of worship. Our musical instruments are American; our lyrics are American. Our ministers dress American; some even mimic popular American preachers sounding miserable in the process.
When our brothers, (Americana pastors) came back from America, they began to tell us that it no longer matter for our sisters to cover their heads in prayer meetings. Everybody (except some few “conservatives”) said yes; America cannot be wrong. Later they told us that since women wear trousers to church in America, it no longer matter for sisters here to do same. Everybody complied; America cannot be wrong! Recently, men come to church with braided hair while women come with “skin” haircut, many are in church with tattoo and men wear ear rings. We all sing, jump and shout together in church in the American way; these things do not matter because that is what they do in America and America cannot be wrong!
Now American men are marrying themselves in church and their women are doing the same. Soon American churches will be full of couples who are Mr Wood and Mr Wood married legally in the church and Mrs and Mrs Stones married together. America is always right! That is the position here!
Soon in Nigeria, shall also see Olu and Ade, two brothers in the church as couple, one in the choir and the other an usher?
I hope America will be wrong for once and something will really matter to the church in Nigeria!
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Soon it will no longer matter in America for Mr Coal to marry his dog and for Miss Bush to marry her horse. Then, I hope it will matter to the church in Nigeria!
Brethren, for how long will the culture of America be the culture of the church? The “name it and claim it” faith movement came from America; also, the capitalistic Christianity where wealth is used to measure God’s approval. Where is America leading the churches in our land?
Our bishops and reverends, I hope that after your next trip to America, homosexuality will still be a sin; I hope it will still matter?
We do not need any prophet again to know that the trumpet of the home call will sound any moment from now. How ready are you?
I hope the matter of eternity still matter to you?
(If it matters to you, share this message with those that matter in your life)
Think on these things and may God give you understanding in Jesus name.
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The influence of America and her culture on the church in Nigeria is monumental. Although Christianity did not come from America, America was as gentile as Nigeria as far as the salvation programme of God is concerned, people here have come to see America as the standard of Christianity. Any minister of God who travels to America to preach, even though to less than two dozen people, leaving the hundreds of brethren in his congregation behind is considered a big and successful minister of God.
Bishop T.D. Jakes, founding pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas, remarks on the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage during a service on Sunday, June 28, 2015.
Jakes informed worshipers at The Potter’s House in Dallas that he had been “bombarded” by various people wanting to know his thoughts on the Supreme Court’s ruling last Friday that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional.
“I’m not really as concerned about this as a lot of people are” said Jakes during service on Sunday, according to a video excerpt of his remarks published online.
“I’m really not as concerned about it.
I think that we should not lose our mind about the world being the world and the Church being the Church.
This is not a news flash. The world is gonna be the world and the Church is gonna be the Church, and you have to understand the difference.”
The influential megachurch pastor, bestselling author and film producer went on to explain to his congregation that the Supreme Court, as a worldly institution, has one job to uphold the rights of all Americans.
“The Supreme Court is there to make a decision based on constitutional rights and legalities that fit all Americans. They are not debating Scripture,” he said, which led to applause from the congregation.
“They are just not debating Scripture,” Jakes repeated. “I guarantee you that they were not in there looking at Romans 1 and First Corinthians this and weighing it against the policies.”
“We have bought into all this rhetoric about America being a Christian nation” Jakes said.
He went on to suggest that indeed America has a lot of Christians in it, but the country is governed as a democracy and not by theocratic principles.
“But what we do need to watch is that our religious freedom is also respected and protected so that we don’t have to get caught up in the winds of the world and go the way the world is going,” Jakes added. “So we need to watch that as we grapple with an ever- changing society, and our society is becoming more and more pluralistic.”
“There’s nothing to say that Christianity will be the dominant religion in this country.
I hope it will. It’s up to us,” he added, going on to say that Christians have “stopped witnessing” and “stopped winning souls” and continue to isolate themselves from people who do not “believe like we believe.”
That runs against what Jesus commanded His followers to do, he insisted, adding, “Jesus said go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every living creature.”
“So we need to change as a Church too.
We need to start reaching out to all types of people and preaching to them and ministering to them and sharing our faith with them. I don’t mean on Sunday morning. I mean in the mall, I mean in the grocery store, I mean while you’re getting your hair done. It’s time for you to be a real Christian.
I mean a real Christian, and win people to Jesus Christ. And you can start in your own house,”Jakes admonished his flock and the countless others watching the service via livestream.
Jakes, 58, rounded up his remarks by informing worshippers that “God is still in control” and giving them a stern warning about God’s judgement.
“The Supreme Court makes its decisions based on the Constitution, debating the
constitutionality of any particular issue.
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But I must warn you, God does not judge you by the Constitution. He judges you by the Word of God. So while the Supreme Court is looking at the Constitution, you better search the Scriptures …,” Jakes said.
The moral slide in our culture is seen in many ways, one of which is related to the number of people who are living together without the commitment of marriage. We live in a self-centered and pleasure-oriented society. Bible standards related to righteousness and morality are falling by the wayside. More and more couples are living together apart from the marriage bond. The trend is alarming. The flippant attitudes of some who “shack up together” are startling.
There is no effort in our day for many couples to even bother trying to conceal their unmarried status. They rent apartments, check in at motels, purchase houses (with their different names signed on the contracts), and visit their parents (expecting to be accepted and given the use of the guest bedroom). Since their idea is that they will live together if they “love” each other, and will stop living together if they stop “loving” each other, they prefer not to complicate the arrangement with a marriage commitment. Many pastors and churches have given approval to the “new morality.” The end result is the proliferation of all kinds of strange living arrangements. The mindset of a permanent marriage is not in their immediate plans.
A letter written by a young woman (addressed to one of her college teachers) says she is considering a live-in relationship with a man, and states the issues very well. She writes:
My boyfriend and I are contemplating living together for one or two years before getting married. We are intelligent, moral, law-abiding citizens. We love each other deeply. We want to live together, work together—to share, to trust, and to love one another. We want to test marriage before moving blindly into it. We do not have financial means for marriage; and if we decide marriage isn’t for us, we will just separate and avoid the heavy expense of divorce. Of what value is a piece of paper—the so-called marriage license—anyway? We are religious people, church members, and do not see any moral problems. Most broad-minded people think this will be the standard life-style for the future. Some people, who refuse to accept social change, including our parents, object to our plans. Why?
Because of the kind of thinking described in the letter above, cohabitation is more and more made to seem normal, and is becoming a substitute for marriage. Yet most sources indicate that nearly half of all cohabiting couples break up before the wedding, and those live-in couples who do marry are fifty percent more likely to divorce than those who did not first live together. In addition, those who lived-in before marriage are more likely to be unfaithful to their marriage vows, and generally experience more domestic violence than those who did not cohabit earlier.
Many people believe it is wrong to even question the morality and value of living together before marriage. It is becoming more and more acceptable in our society for young men and women to “try it out” before committing themselves to a life-long relationship. What are the moral implications involved in “live-in” relationships?
Living together really is not a good preparation for marriage. One secular book on marriage states that couples who lived together before marriage have significantly lower marital satisfaction than those who did not cohabit before the wedding. It is important to note that during the same time period in which living together before marriage has become acceptable, the rate of divorce has skyrocketed. Living together apparently has not helped to cement relationships.
Craig Alan Myers has said, “Couples engaged in fornication, and wanting to be married in the church or by the minister, should be asked to repent of their sin and refrain from those practices before a church wedding takes place … .
Further, Christians ought to be taught the Scriptural truth that their bodies (and their sexuality) do not belong to themselves but to God. Fornication and other sexual sins are acts that God roundly condemns and will judge. The Bible flatly says, “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [male prostitutes], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [sodomites], nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
However, the good news is that God will forgive those sins and heal them, when the sinner is penitent. The very next sentence in the Scripture above says, “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
There is forgiveness and cleansing in the blood of Christ for the repentant sinner!” (Myers, Craig Alan, “On Living Together Before Marriage,” BRF Witness, Volume 30, Number 5, September/October 1995.)
There are a number of social reasons for the rising practice of pre-marital cohabitation:
1) A general breakdown of personal morality.
2) The changing sexual values in society.
3) Extended adolescence and later marriages.
4) The availability of more effective methods of contraception.
5) Tax laws which sometimes make marriage a disadvantage financially.
The primary factor, however, is related to the general human rebellion against the laws of God.
Committed Christians believe that sharing bed, breakfast, and bills (apart from a marriage bond) is a violation of the will of God. To the hundreds who are asking, “What’s wrong with living together before marriage, anyway?”—we offer the following paragraphs as a Christian response.
1. Living together as husband and wife without being legally married is fornication.
Fornication is defined narrowly as “sexual intercourse between unmarried persons,” but sometimes it broadens to include all forms of sexual immorality. It is a sin which God will judge. The Bible states clearly (as quoted above) that fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers—will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). And again, God’s Word says that marriage is to be held in honour by all, and the marriage bed be kept undefiled—for God will judge fornicators and adulterers (Hebrews 13:4). It is a sobering thought that “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).
2. God designed sex to be enjoyed by one man and one woman within the permanent shelter of total commitment to each other in marriage.
Any deviation from this model is a violation of God’s Law with some serious consequences. Jesus speaks of a woman who was living with a man who was not her husband (John 4:17-18) as a case of unmarried cohabitation. When Jesus spoke of her private life she quickly changed the subject. Jesus did not regard cohabitation and marriage as being equivalent in meaning. The lesson of history is that any civilization that turns from the commandments of God, and lavishly devotes itself to carnal pleasure, cannot long endure.
3. The bodies of Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we are not to grieve Him by wrong conduct.
Because of this principle, Christians cannot do exactly as they please. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 speaks clearly about what that means. We are to know that our bodies are dwelling places of the Holy Spirit who lives within, and that we are not our own, for we were bought with a price—and therefore believers are to glorify God in their bodies. God says that the proper place for the sexual relationship is within the bonds of honorable marriage. To engage in fornication is immoral; it is a sin against the Holy Spirit who dwells in the believer’s body.
4. Sex without the binding commitment of marriage cheapens oneself and the other person involved.
Love without commitment is not really love at all, but rather it is lust. Marriage alone provides the security from the fear of being used, and seduced, and then abandoned.
Why is marriage so important? Why do we need to receive the church’s blessing and be registered by the state? Why do we encourage couples to save the sexual relationship for marriage? In order for a relationship between a man and woman to continue over the years, both partners must give each other their word completely. That is one of the reasons for a public wedding. Both need the support of the community.
Walter Trobisch in his little book entitled, I Married You, describes the three aspects of a normal marriage:
1) The legal or public ceremony.
2) The personal act of consent and commitment.
3) The physical sexual union. (The sex act alone does not constitute marriage, for if that were true, there would be no such thing as fornication, because as soon as individuals engaged in the act, they would be married.)
Marriage is a public vow which makes the commitment more difficult to break. We treat marriage as a public contract, so that we will be reminded in our darker days, and during our times of temptation, of the importance of our obligation to love and cherish and nurture our chosen spouse with genuine care, even if there are difficult days.
Out of fear of losing her boyfriend, a young girl may decide to give in and have sex with him. In the end, she often loses him anyway—and then she feels used and humiliated. Many teenagers fall into the trap of “sex or else.” The boy says, “if you loved me, you would become intimate with me.” But when the girl gives in and consents to having sex, she often ends up getting dumped and is badly hurt. The fact is that if he really loved and cared for her, he wouldn’t ask her to yield to his sensual feelings.
5. Violations of God’s standards of morality carry consequences which follow later in life.
Some of the many consequences of cohabitation and fornication are misplaced trust, unplanned pregnancy, venereal disease, and the negative Christian witness which the cohabiting lifestyle presents to the world. The few moments of ecstasy experienced in an illicit affair will be greatly outweighed by the hours of remorse that come from disobeying God.
Sex outside of marriage always does some kind of damage. It leaves some people grieving because they can no longer claim virginity. Others carry dark secrets about things they did in the past. Some are afraid of getting pregnant, or getting a venereal disease, including AIDS.
Another consequence of cohabitation is the greater likelihood of divorce if the couple later decides to marry. The National Survey of Families and Households found that couples who cohabit before marriage are 50% more likely to divorce. The same survey also found that unmarried couples living together are twice as likely to be unhappy later on in their relationship, than are those who are duly married. One writer says that cohabitation is not preparation for marriage; instead, it is training for divorce. One study found that “cohabiting couples show higher levels of aggression than either daters or married people” (Time magazine, September 5, 1988).
People who move in before making a marriage commitment are people who have not learned to practice delayed gratification. They want the benefits of a solid relationship before investing the time and effort to build a solid relationship. Later, when the road gets rocky, these folks won’t invest the time and effort to sustain the relationship either. One writer says, “Having sex too soon, moving in without commitment …, are the behaviours of basically immature, let-me-feel-good-now . . . people” (from “Ten Stupid Things Women do to Mess up their Lives” by Laura C. Schlessinger ©1994).
Those who urge a period of unmarried cohabitation in order to test the sincerity and durability of their love overlook a common characteristic of human nature. It is the sense of being bound that helps love to become stabilized. The couple that is firmly committed to the principle of lifelong togetherness, has a much greater chance of experiencing a genuine lasting relationship, than the couple who regards their domestic habitation as being subject to termination.
6. Living together before marriage is an offence against God’s Law and is an injustice to one’s partner.
God’s original command in creation was that male and female should “cleave” (or “cling”) to one another in covenantal partnership, that is, in marriage (Genesis 2:24). A man shall leave father and mother, and become united to his wife, and they two shall become one flesh.
Our objection to living together before marriage is based upon the Biblical teaching that sexual activity outside of marriage is an offence against God’s Law. We are told in Ephesians 5:3 that there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality among God’s people.
The Bible has no direct teaching on what should be involved in a marriage ceremony, nor does it tell how the ceremony should be conducted to make it a valid transaction. However, marriage has always been a public event. There has always been a specific point at which persons were recognized as being married. The Bible has specific regulations about the sins of adultery and fornication. It is assumed that the community will know who is married and who is not married. Marriage is not a private affair. It takes place within the community. And the Christian is a member of a special community—the Body of Christ. Our entire life (including our role in marriage) is lived out as a member of this special community. In the wedding ceremony, the couple makes pledges in the presence of family, friends, the church, the state, and God. When this commitment has been expressed, then the man and woman are ready for physical consummation. This pattern is in harmony with the teaching found in God’s Word.
A public marriage ceremony demonstrates that we are to take seriously our responsibility to a larger society—including our friends, family, neighbours, and fellow Christians. We do not live to ourselves. We live as members of a community whose approval is important, whose love is desired, and whose reputation is esteemed. A marriage which occurs under God, before an audience, and ratified by the laws of the state is a strong statement of intention. It says that the couple intends to worship God, to contribute to the welfare of the community, and to put the commitment to persevere in the marriage on public record.
The marriage bond bestows meaning upon the couple’s sexual activity as expressed in the phrase “one flesh.” It highlights the complete interchange of the two selves, as in the bride’s delightful statement in the Song of Solomon, “My beloved is mine and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2:16). Marriage confirms the mutual commitment and bonding of a man and woman by specifying and guarding certain expectations and responsibilities. In cohabitation, by way of contrast, there is mutual exploitation within the possibility of potential flight. And that does not tend to promote strong and lasting relationships.
A Hallmark card says, “I can’t promise you forever, but I can promise you today.” This is one of the newest love cards for the current generations no commitments- just warm fuzzy feelings. And then when the mood changes and the fuzzies are gone, the earlier “love” and “respect” begin to fade. Living together before marriage is not an effective way to test the compatibility of potential marriage partners. Living together without marriage usually does more emotional harm than good. Total commitment is what makes a lasting and good marriage. Yet commitment is what cohabiting couples are purposely avoiding. Couples who mate before they are mates, tend to rely on sexual intimacy to keep them together. Strong human relationships require more than that. Couples who share the same roof before the public marriage ceremony often build a shaky foundation for their life together.
Our churches need to call for a renewed commitment to chastity and to the sacredness of sex within marriage. Kevin Ray, in Disciple Renewal, says, “There is a powerful movement today to ignore the clear teaching of Scripture regarding human sexuality. This problem is pervasive. In our society, living together outside of marriage is now acceptable. Divorce is viewed as an easy alternative to the struggle of making a marriage work. Children are being taught in our public schools that sexual activity is acceptable as long as it is done ‘safely.’ Homosexual behaviour is being promoted as normal human sexual expression. The perversion of biblical teaching regarding human sexuality threatens to undermine society and is bringing great division to the church of Jesus Christ. On the issue of human sexuality, we have abandoned the God-given standard, and are therefore in danger of incurring God’s wrath. This is a point where the church must be called to faithfulness.”
The church needs to reach out to those who are suffering the devastating effects of venereal diseases, and make their days as pain-free as possible by offering the peace which Christ brings to those who embrace Him—but we must also teach abstinence from sexual encounters outside of the true and honourable marriage bond. Christians must repudiate the “new morality.”
By Harold S. Martin
Used by permission of Bible Helps, P O Box 391, Hanover PA 17331.USA
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Once you have decided to get married everything will revolve around the wedding day and making sure it is perfect. All your plans will need to be discussed and all the finances worked out. It will be expected that there will have to be some financial hardship in the run up as you will both want the day to be perfect. Nerves can become frayed and the relationship may seem to suffer but that will always be put down to pre wedding nerves. Once the big day has come and gone it will be expected that everything will get back to normal and you will have the perfect relationship you had beforehand.
It is now that the real work has to begin as quite often this will be the first time either of you has lived with anyone other than parents and siblings. Getting used to each other’s habits that may have either been not noticed or accepted as cute in the past when you only had to be confronted with them once a week can become annoying if they have to be endured day after day.
After the Wedding
From now on you and your partner are the people who are going to have to make all the decisions and ensure that the house runs smoothly. Everything that is done in the house has to be carried out by one or the other so decide early on how the workload will be split. At one time it was normal for the man to work outside the home and the woman to stay in the home so it was easier. Nowadays with both partners often working outside the house the housework has to be shared out.
Always treat each other as a best friend and not just as a spouse. Compliments should not end once you have tied the knot and just finding a minute each day to tell the other how special they are will keep you close and can make the other feel appreciated. It can be things such as “you are beautiful” but even remembering to say thank you for small favors will keep the relationship friendly and let the other one know you care.
There will be arguments and disagreements regardless of how long you have been married and there are good and bad ways to deal with conflict. There are occasions when there is not a simple solution and someone is going to have to lose. If you are making plans for a break and one wants to go for a week and the other a weekend, going for 5 days will be a compromise. If is it regarding going at all and one does not want to go anywhere and the other wants a break then one has to win and one has to lose. A simple solution to find out how important it is is to state how strongly you feel on the subject and grade it on a scale of 1-10. If it is really important to one then it may be best to go along with them. The main thing to check is if one partner always claims it is really important to them they are being selfish and always wanting their own way.
Always be open and honest about your feelings. A small argument can turn into a major row if you pretend nothing is wrong. If you are not prepared to listen to your partner when they have a problem they can easily turn to someone else. It may not be an affair or something that ends the marriage but once a friend knows more about how your partner feels than you do then it can be the beginning of a bigger problem.
Keep the Romance Alive
It is important to keep the romance alive so as you can always remember why it was you wanted to spend the rest of your lives together. Whereas you may have once had a candlelit dinner in a nice restaurant you can recreate the atmosphere in your own home. Keeping things light is also important. You may not be the funniest person in the world but if you can say something each day to make your partner laugh you will keep the relationship fresh and fun.
You may enjoy each other’s company but there is no need to spend every minute of every day together. Giving each other space can in fact bring you closer together. Just spending an hour or so in different rooms can give you time to yourself and mean that you look forward to being back together. Being able to do what you want to without fear of interruption will allow you to relax and recharge your batteries.
More Personal Issues
Accept your differences regardless of whether they are in or out of the bedroom. You fell in love with this person as they were so there is no need to try to change them. There may be little tweaks here and there but by and large no one wants to be told they need to change totally. If they suddenly get a list of things you don’t like, you may soon find that they are making a list for you.
The first five years have been considered to be the most crucial ones when it comes to setting a good foundation for a marriage. Marrying early can create problems and if there seem to be issues early on do not feel too embarrassed to go to a marriage counselor.
Money will not be important when you have plenty but as soon as it becomes scarce it is amazing how quickly the arguments will start. Don’t hide debts as it will be easier to stop them spiraling out of control. Don’t be ashamed to want a separate account as well as a joint one. It will be nice for both of you to have some money to spend as you please without worrying there will not be enough to pay the bills. When statements come in don’t be afraid to question an item. As long as you accept the same happening to you it can be healthy as it could be a mistaken deduction and if not questioned you could lose money.
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Finally don’t be afraid to discuss sexual issues. There may be things that you would prefer to happen or not happen but are frightened to say. Your partner may feel the same way but be afraid to mention it. Even if they don’t they may not mind the fact that you wish to talk about it. Be open and honest and find out what each other really wants.
In all areas of your married life make sure that your partner feels important. You have both given up the way of life you were both used to and now you have someone else to consider. Always be honest about the way you feel regardless of what the issue is and discuss how to rectify any problems. When you have had your discussions always make sure the other is OK with the outcome. This is the person you could be hoping to spend the next 40 years of your life with and if things start to go wrong early on they may never get repaired. BY COLLEEN CRAWFORD.
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Every relationship has its share of ups, downs and middle ground. Some days, weeks and months are just better than others.
There are some very typical problems, however, that can crop up and wreak havoc on even the most seemingly perfect union. Tackling them effectively can lead to a happier, healthier relationship that lasts.
So, what are the four common relationship problems and how to fix them?
Let’s take a look at each of the four common relationship problems and how to fix them on a separate basis. There are tips that are specific to each individual issue. Employing them can put relationships back on track.
This is a major component of most healthy, loving relationships. Sex is how people show their passion for each other and feel more connected and closer, and it’s simply the most intimate act a couple can enjoy.
Unfortunately, sex isn’t always great between couples. It might not “feel right,” or it may not come often enough. Sometimes a partner is frigid; other times he or she is too demanding or rough.
So, when it comes to this one of the four common relationship problems and how to fix them, what can be done?
Try being more open with a partner about sexual desires, expectations and wants. Be willing to listen to your partner’s needs, as well. Never be embarrassed to say what is really on your mind.
Explore new and exciting ways of being close. Don’t fear trying something new. If you and your partner are in a loving, trusting relationship, adventure should not be a concern. Just keep the communication lines open and make “bedroom talk” safe.
It is perfectly natural for couples to grow apart sexually after some time together. This is when a daring streak or a willingness to try new things or increase the romance level can come in handy.
Of the four common problems in relationships and how to fix them, this one can be the most tricky to deal with. Money is a very major concern for many people and how it is spent can lead to some serious arguments.
If money, a lack thereof or unnecessary expenditures are concerns, try these things:
* Create a budget – Work together to create a budget that works for your unique situation. Do your part to help stick within the budget.
* Don’t make “sneaky” purchases – Hiding purchases, breaking the budget in secret and other ploys can create major issues. Don’t do these things. Do, however, try to build “fun money” into the budget or give yourselves allowances you can save to make special purchases.
* Stay in focus – When money is tight, tempers can run high. Keep yourself grounded in what is truly important. Jobs can be lost and finances can be in shambles, but a relationship can last, grow and thrive if partners work together and focus on what is truly important.
This particular concern in the four common relationship problems and how to fix them is typically at the heart of all other issues. Open, clear communication is essential for healthy relationships.
To fix a broken line of communication, try practicing good skills. This means stating issues clearly, listening as your partner responds and working together to find solutions. Keep tempers in check, agree to disagree and stick to one issue at a time.
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Communication in good relationships is “safe.” Partners don’t feel threatened by saying what is on their minds. They are respectful and work together to build themselves and their relationship.
4. Household chores
This is perhaps the most amusing of the four common relationship problems and how to fix them. It can be a serious bone of contention between couples, and it’s a very typical complaint.
Fixing this problem takes some team work for sure. Work together to divide jobs or take turns doing it all. Do jobs your partner hates doing or vice versa. If there’s something you both despise, take turns biting the bullet.
In a well-run household, everyone pitches in and does their share. Work together to make this happen and use good communication skills to get over the humps.
The four common relationship problems and how to fix them are needed by almost every couple at some point in life. Work on good communication skills together and you can solve most issues, and above all allow God and His word to build with you in your marriage/relationship.
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Divorce and remarriage is a monstrous evil and there is a pressing need for some clear teaching on the subject. We must be loyal to the Scriptures and not be carried away by the opinions of men.
When divorce has once taken place, it’s often impossible to undo the damage done. It usually results in such a tangle of complicated situations that no human being can unravel it. We speak with sympathy for those already tangled in a marital disaster, but we write specifically with the hope of helping to prevent the tragedy of divorce from happening to others. The knowledge that the Bible doesn’t permit divorce and remarriage, is a powerful factor in helping people determine that they are going to make their marriages work.
Divorce and remarriage is certainly not a new subject. It is as old as the Scriptures themselves. Divorce was a problem in Noah’s day; Moses had to contend with it; the question was brought to Jesus, nearly two thousand years ago. They said, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?” John the Baptist lost his head because of divorce and remarriage. He had told King Herod that the woman he married was not really his wife, but that she was still the wife of Philip, her first husband. And this enraged the woman—and she took revenge!
1. The Scope of the Divorce Evil
Every year thousands of American homes are broken by separation and divorce. In 1887, there was hardly a divorce in the entire United States. In 1913, there were only sixty divorced couples in the entire country of Canada. But divorce has rapidly increased, until today in our country, approximately one marriage out of every three ends in divorce.
There was a time when divorce carried with it a stigma and shame—but no longer. The practice has become so widespread that when a grade-school teacher asked one of her pupils to give his father’s name, he said, “Which one, teacher, I’ve got three fathers.” One minister reports too that he thought it was hardly necessary to ask the two eighteen-year-olds who had come to him for marriage, the usual question, “Have either of you been married before?” (because they were both only eighteen years old)—but he asked anyhow. And he was shocked when the young man answered boldly, “Yes sir, we’ve both been married, but we’re divorced.”
The divorce laws in many states are so loose and so full of loopholes that marriage often becomes little more than a thirty-day free trial. One writer says that in some cases today, the wedding cake lasts longer than the marriage itself! In some states, all one has to do to get a divorce is to declare that the partner spilled gravy on the tablecloth, or that he washed his false teeth in the presence of company—and sometimes it doesn’t take the court as long to grant the divorce as it does to fine a man for speeding on the highway.
2. The Causes of Divorce and Remarriage
One of the causes is related to hasty marriages. Only a miracle can prevent a tragedy in the home when people marry, after they’ve known each other only a few weeks. Too many couples marry first and only then get acquainted.
Marriages between believers and unbelievers and between those of differing nationalities and races, often create problems in the home. One’s best chance for success in marriage occurs when he is a Christian, and he marries another devoted Christian, and when the married partners are of the same race, nationality, and religious faith.
Childless marriages sometimes contribute toward divorce. God wants husbands and wives to become fathers and mothers. And to refuse this great purpose of God (where children are physically possible)—leads to frustration and sometimes to broken homes.
Prayerless marriages are also a factor related to divorce and remarriage. Each married couple should begin a family altar at the very beginning of married life. If a young couple will pray, and ask God to lead them in their marriage (and will keep the family altar going down through the years)—there aren’t enough divorce courts in all the land to put their marriage on the rocks. There is much truth in the slogan, “Families that pray together, stay together.”
3. The Bible Teaching On Divorce and Remarriage
We must forget our sympathies at this point, and what we’ve heard others say, and what we’ve read in books—and listen to God’s Book seeking to discover what it says.
(1) Concerning Separation
The Scriptures say, “And unto the married I command (yet not I, but the Lord), Let not the wife depart from her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:10). The wife is not to leave her husband, and of course the opposite is also true, “Let not the husband put away his wife.” The Christian who has marital problems is to seek to “stick-it-out.” It might mean hardship and testing, but it’s best for the Christian not to leave his companion. However, Paul does say in verse 11 (of the same chapter), “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.”
While it is best not to separate—if a couple does separate, they are not free to remarry. The channel must always be kept open and clear, so that the relationship can be restored in the event the parties repent and decide to make the marriage work. Paul explains why (in verse 14) the wife should not separate from her partner: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband.” In other words, the unsaved husband is set apart into a place where the influence of his good Christian wife may ultimately result in his salvation. As long as the Christian wife continues to live with her husband (and lives a devoted life before him)—she might be able to influence him for God. But if she leaves him and loses contact with him, she cuts off her one great opportunity for ultimately winning him to Christ. However if matters become so difficult that separation does take place (and this can happen)—the channels must be kept open for future restoration. Regardless of how incompatible the partners may seem to be, they are still husband and wife, and that union can only be dissolved by death.
(2) Concerning Divorce
Divorce is not even mentioned in the Bible until 2,500 years after the first marriage. It is true that God permitted divorce to the hard-hearted in Israel, but our conduct must be governed not by the evils which God suffered, but by the laws which He commanded.
Matthew 5:32 records the words of Jesus: “But I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (that is, divorce) his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery, and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, committeth adultery.” Jesus plainly says that divorce does not dissolve the marriage union as death does—for if it did, it would be unnecessary to say, “Whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” The Scriptures in a number of places say that death dissolves a marriage, and that then it is not a sin to re-marry. If divorce would dissolve a marriage like death does, then it wouldn’t be adultery to be married to a divorced person. Jesus says that if one marries a person who is divorced, he is committing adultery. Divorce does not dissolve the old marriage.
Jesus also plainly says that one who divorces his partner, causes her to commit adultery—that is, he gives her a license in the eyes of the law to go out and re-marry and commit adultery—and this is another reason why divorce is wrong.
Even the exception-clause has to do with fornication and not with adultery. Fornication means illicit relations on the part of the unmarried, while adultery means illicit relations on the part of the married. It is true that the Greek word translated “fornication” sometimes widens out to include all kinds of immorality—but in Matthew 5:32 Jesus uses both the words “adultery” and “fornication” in the same sentence. And whenever the two Greek words (adultery and fornication) stand in contrast to each other (in the same setting), the word “fornication” always refers to impurity among the unmarried. And so Jesus did not make an exception for adultery, but for fornication.
Jesus spoke (in Matthew 5:32) not about a marriage divorce, but about an espousal divorce. Among the Orientals, engagement was a bond almost as binding as marriage itself. It took the writing of a bill of divorcement to break it. Even before the marriage takes place, the young woman is called “a wife.” This was true of the virgin Mary. She was called Joseph’s wife (and he her husband) even when she was only espoused to him. And when Joseph learned that she was expecting a child, he was minded to put her away (to divorce her). See Matthew 1:18-19. When Jesus said, “Except it be for fornication”—He was saying that if the young man found that his espoused wife (the girl he was going to marry) had been immoral before their marriage (that is, if she committed fornication), he could return the girl to her father with a paper of divorcement.
God does not approve divorce. There are a number of Scriptural commands and principles which a divorce always violates.
First, there is the command which says, “As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). If I get a divorce from my wife, I am not doing all I possibly can to live peaceably with her. I’m doing all I can to live peaceably without her, but not with her.
Divorce also violates the command to forgive “until seventy times seven” times. Every divorce (no matter what the cause), demonstrates an unforgiving heart on the part of the person suing for divorce.
Divorce violates the promise to be faithful “for better or for worse.” We don’t hear much about this promise when things go better, but the promise to love and cherish the partner is not only for times when things go better—it is also for times when things don’t go so well. When we pledge (over an open Bible and in the presence of witnesses and before God) to be faithful “until death do us part”—we’re making a promise for life. The Bible says it is better not to vow, than to vow and not pay.
Furthermore, divorce violates the prohibition in the Bible against going to courts of law (see 1 Corinthains 6). One who applies for a divorce must sign a statement which in effect says, “The plaintiff prays that a decree of court may be given to (the married partner) divorcing her from the plaintiff’s society, fellowship, and company—and from the marriage bond, as if she were dead.”
Divorce violates the commands in the Bible to be separate from the world. One who seeks a divorce is following the example of Hollywood, and not the law of God. The whole tenor of the Bible is against divorce. It is unthinkable that the God who teaches us to forgive seventy-times-seven times (without limit)—would then teach that we may divorce our wives and put them away if we can’t get along with them.
(3) Concerning Remarriage
God never intended the remarriage of divorced persons. Jesus says, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, commits adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:11-12). Paul says, in Romans 7, “So then if while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.” And in 1 Corinthians 7:39, the Bible says that death is the only thing which can dissolve the marriage vow: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives, but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.”
The Bible gives no license under any condition for anyone to remarry as long as he or she has a former living companion. And so, to summarize—the Bible teaches that separation is permissible but usually unwise; divorce is always a sin; and remarriage is an additional sin.
(4) The Solution to the Divorce Problem
Persons dealing with the dilemma of divorce often insist that divorce and remarriage is a sin to be regarded and forgiven as any other sin—and indeed so it is. The Lord forgives the sin of divorce and remarriage just the same (and just as willingly) as He forgives any other sin. But remember that God expects the sin to be discontinued. When a drunkard gets right with God the Lord expects him to quit his drinking, and to give up his bottle. And just so, one who is remarried, and thus living in adultery, is expected to quit his living in an adulterous state.
Marriage to a second partner (while the first companion is still living), constitutes a continuous state of adultery. If a murderer accepts the Lord and is received into the Church—and continues to commit murder again—does he give evidence of the new birth? Does God forgive, when the sinner has no real intention of forsaking his sin? Just so one living in the state of adultery stands condemned before God. The only real solution for those already divorced and remarried—is the voluntary separation of the married partners. This is exactly what the Children of Israel did many years ago, during the revival under Ezra’s preaching. They said, “Let us make a covenant with our God, to put away all the wives . . . according to the counsel of those who tremble at the commandment of our God” (Ezra 10:3).
We can never say (of divorced and remarried persons), that there is no way. There is a way. The Church has always received divorced and remarried persons—if they separated and lived chaste lives apart from each other.
Some say, “But what about people who were caught up in divorce and remarriage before they were Christians?” They say, “Surely people should not be penalized for what they didn’t know, or for what they’ve repented of.” And further, “What if people are happily married the second time? Would it be proper to annul that marriage and break up homes?” To answer such questions, we must remember that Jesus made it clear that to follow Him might involve breaks in human relations. He said that even homes would became divided for His sake—and in strong language He said that those not willing to break family ties, are not worthy of Him. Read Matthew 10:37-39. To be separated on earth for a season (from family ties), is nothing, compared to missing eternal union with God. The way of the transgressor is hard.
Marriage is a serious step. The vows are witnessed on earth and they are recorded in Heaven. The Bible teaches that marriage is a lifetime contract, never to be broken except by death. There just isn’t anything about divorce and remarriage that God approves. His plan is marriage for life. Our prayer is that where brokenness and iniquity are evident, God will bring healing and restoration, and that His blessing will be upon children who are the innocent victims of broken homes, and that He will increase love in those homes not yet broken but which are standing on a shaky foundation.
By Harold S. Martin
Used by permission of Bible Helps, P O Box 391, Hanover PA 17331.
Life Lessons: Nothing is Permanent
THISDAYLIVE | 2017-05-14T02:50:36+00:00
Our guest this week is Mr. Olu Abosede, Founder and former Managing Director of a wholly indigenous, quoted company, Aboseldehyde Plc. The company was once used as a reference point for other local entrepreneurs who would want their companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Within a period of 14 years, the company had become a very strong brand in the country in its niche area.
Things were also pretty good for our guest who built his first personal multi-million Naira house at age 28 and the second at 32. His children were in choice schools locally and abroad. His house at Gbagada, in Lagos State, was a beehive of activities by friends and associates who regularly showed up on weekends to treat themselves to some choice wines in his well-stocked personal bar.
Then, in a sudden twist, from 2000, there was a gradual but irreversible slide of fortune, starting with the forced take-over of his company by creditors. And the rest came in quick succession. His two houses in Lagos were razed by fire, leaving him with no option than to move into a rented apartment.
Four times our guest attempted to commit suicide. In our first meeting, six years ago, Abosede shared some life lessons with me, some of which are documented below. But a few weeks ago, when I located him to update the interview, he could not communicate much as he is at the moment battling with stroke. But with the help of his second wife, he was able to put a few more lessons across. Enjoy the insight.
Better believe this: there is God!
Few years back, I would have argued that there was nothing like God or any external forces that get involved in the affairs of men. I had it very good early in life. I graduated at the age of 25 as a Chemist with multiple jobs waiting for me. I eventually picked up a job in one of the conglomerates then, as a Laboratory Chemist. And, within a short span of time, I moved steadily to the top. I had a car with a driver attached to me 24 hours. I never used one car for more than two years. I was exposed to a lot of training locally and abroad. In my own calculation, I had thought that my rapid rise was as a result of my own ability, personal intelligence and intellectual capacity.
It was after I had run out of options and I decided to just reflect more that I started to discover a startling fact: that the universe is governed by natural or spiritual laws which would work for you when you align yourself with those laws and would work against you if you contravene them. God is ever present in every little thing you do.
One lesson I have learnt is that there is a superior force that shapes things in the physical realm; and it is to one’s advantage to believe this.
Never lose confidence in yourself.
Whatever happens and whatever the circumstances you are facing, don’t lose faith and confidence in yourself. Once this is intact and you believe there is God who is always ready to work with you, you’d find that things become a lot easier. When you lose faith in yourself, ultimately, depression sets in and when depression sets in, you just discover that even what you knew you could do, you start to find it difficult.
We tend to underrate our abilities during crisis times; and once you do that, you would lose much ground which may take a considerable effort to recover. You would be astonished as to what you can do in crisis times once you don’t lose faith in yourself. Believing in yourself is a key step in coming out of failure.
Use crisis times to reinvent yourself.
Every single day I wake up, I gain more understanding about life that I could not have got without a crisis. In crisis times, usually every hope appears lost. This is usually the situation when you focus on the challenge instead of the opportunities that abound around you. But when you reinvent yourself and refocus, you would discover that there is always a little opening which if you recognise is usually planted by the Higher Power to take you out of that situation. I must say that my challenges were so overwhelming that I could not see any ray of hope anywhere.
Take Responsibility for every challenge you face.
Learn to take responsibility for any situation in which you find yourself.
When my ordeal started, I threw the responsibility on everyone else except myself. I blamed the banks that did not give me enough time to restructure the company and meet my outstanding obligations to them. I blamed friends who refused to sympathise with me and lend me helping hands when I needed them most. I blamed relatives who trooped in when the going was good, but disappeared at the slightest challenge. I blamed the press whom I thought did not give me fair-hearing. I blamed everyone else except myself.
But the more people I blamed the more depressed and miserable I became. For more than four years, I was angry with everybody and myself. I was even developing health problems in the process. Everyday as I blamed other people; I got the problem on the ground magnified.
There is no odd job in a crisis.
You don’t have wisdom and experience if you don’t have crises. I am talking of a situation where you are left with absolutely nothing -no influence, no privilege, no position and your name counts for little.
And things can turn bad very rapidly. I remember a time when things were still very good, a leasing company invited me to be on its board. I offered to nominate someone to represent me, but the company insisted that they wanted me because of my name and the goodwill I had built over time. That was gone during the crisis and my name really meant very little.
I learnt this truth in a hard way. To get out of a crisis especially when your back is on the wall, survival is the name of the game. No job can be considered odd in crisis times and you will multiply your sorrow if you sit down brooding over your former position and privileges.
To get out of the hole, the wisdom is in looking at your current position and seeing what you can do gradually to build up from that ground floor. Come to terms with the fact that you are on the floor. You must flush out anger, bitterness, envy and jealousy.
Nothing is permanent.
When I was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), it never occurred to me that a time would come when I would not be able to do anything I felt like doing. I was hit by stroke some two years ago and with it all the dreams I had carried in my head, becoming a mirage. I have many things I want to do, but I do not have the energy and health to make them happen. The lesson is this: take every opportunity to make things happen when you have the energy; you cannot guarantee you will be able to keep it forever.
Don’t be bitter with people.
This may be hard to understand but one lesson I am learning rather late is that when I am bitter with any human being, I am actually working against myself. When things were okay with me, my house was a beehive of activities. I had helped many people. I sponsored some to schools. But when things went bad, they were the first to desert me. I was bitter, and I still have a bit of bitterness towards them. However, as I am learning bitterness erodes health.
One Lesson – great advice
While in that situation, I just reflected on a statement made by Dr. Christopher Kolade when I invited him to be on the board of my company. I felt that with his goodwill bringing him on board would make a lot of difference to the company.
But in our first meeting, he said: “I know what you want to do; you want me to take responsibility for the success of the company. But you are responsible for the success of your company.” I continued to echo that statement.
I later realized that placing responsibility on others for whatever happens to you would invariably mean you have lost your personal power which the Higher Power has given to everyone. You are in this world for a purpose, and that purpose can only be realized by you and the Higher Power. It means that any action you take is yours.
This article is of THISDAY NEWSPAPERS LTD.
Make available online (via Fb account) by Mr Mathew Oladimeji Shotunde, NY, USA.
Re-published with graphics here with intention to share the lessons of life for better future. God bless you!
Have you ever seen a couple that’s been together a long time, but still looks hopelessly in love? Do you wish you could ensure your own relationship lasts that long and remains loving?
If you want to be in your golden years and still hold hands, cuddle and get along, there are some things you need to know.
The five secrets of great relationships can be put to work in your life, and they can help you become happier, healthier and stronger as a couple.
So, how do some couples manage to stand the test of time and still smile, flirt and generate a feeling of love the whole world can notice? Here are some of the best-kept secrets of couples who really have it together:
Solid, two-way communication is perhaps the most important of the five secrets of great relationships. If you’re not comfortable enough in your relationship to approach topics with openness, you have a problem.
Both parties in a relationship need to feel comfortable saying what’s on their minds without fear. Disagreements are perfectly OK, but sound communication skills to work through them with a positive outcome are vital.
This is essential for good communication, and it’s even more important in a good relationship. Being honest about feelings, wants, needs and desires is simply a must for longevity without regret or resentment.
Both parties should feel comfortable saying what’s in their hearts.
3. Common interests
Making room for common interests and some couple time are important parts of fostering love that lasts and the longevity of a relationship.
This is among the most important of the five secrets of a great relationship because time together helps forge bonds that last.
Busy couples can still make some time by carving out “date nights,” taking up hobbies together or just taking out time at the end of a day to talk, cuddle or watch the sunset. It doesn’t matter what is done as long as it’s together as a couple without distractions.
As important as couple time is, so is development of self-interests. Strong couples tend to have strong partners. This means the individuals in a relationship have taken the time apart to develop into the people they truly want to be.
Couples that have loving, trusting and solid relationships don’t have to be together every second of the day to remain connected.
Foster self-fulfillment and each half of the team can blossom. The end result is a stronger couple if self-development is carefully balanced with time together.
5. The bedtime rule
There really is something to that old saying about never going to bed angry. Couples that understand the five secrets of great relationships know how important it is to get disagreements out in the open and resolved as quickly as possible.
While fighting is never an enjoyable moment, “fair fighting” can help relationships grow and couples grow stronger. To fight fair, stick to the topic, keep anger in check, state feelings clearly and listen to your partner’s input. Work together to resolve the issue.
As you work on incorporating the five secrets of great relationships into your life, remember that all couples have their ups and downs.
Sometimes things go swimmingly, but there are other stretches when you really have to work hard at being good together.
If you want to be one of those “old couples” who still holds hands and enjoys gazing into each other’s eyes, every bit of effort will be worth it. The five secrets of great relationships can help you along the way. -Nick Morris, Spain.
Jesus Christ said in his declaration with the urgency of saving souls, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. John 9:4”
John Knox prayed: “Lord, Give me Scotland or I die”…
St Patrick, a rugged believer that Brought even dead animals and trees back to life prayed: “God, Give me souls or give me nothing else”….
Brethren during the Hebrides revival prayed:” Lord, If you will not use us, please, kill us”…
The brethren from England who brought the Fire from Azusa Street revival
gathered everyday under the terrible cold.
Their only prayer topic was: “Lord, give us men that will spread Your Fire in the streets of England”.
During the Indonesia Revival, those hungry hearts were seen praying day and night: “Lord, The harvest is ripe… If it pleases You, please use us”.
One prayer that was common during the days of
William Seymour was: “Lord, this is another day that hell must lose men and women. Please, we are here use us”.
Paul Apostle said:” Woe is me if I preach not the gospel”
Rachel said to her husband, Jacob: “Give me children or I die”
But unfortunately, our churches are filled today
with people who are not ashamed of spiritual barrenness.
We are asking “God give me money. God give me spouse.
God give me visa”.
Where do we see believers again that will be praying and fasting, and when you listen to them, you will be hearing:” Lord, let Your Fire fall in my community and let their be revival”?
When Paul encountered Christ, he fell and rose. What He asked was:” Lord, what will You have me do”.
But today, when we fall under anointing, we stand to start expecting marriage proposals and visas and employment letters.
This generation of members in our churches have not had a genuine encounter with the Man of Calvary.
No generation has carried Bibles like us without opening it.
No generation is materially driven like ours and we expect the land to obey us.
Jesus said, pray to the Father that He brings His Kingdom on earth.
GOD help us to get it on time. Amen.
Let’s build up our spiritual life because its very necessary.
If u miss heaven u can never miss hell. Think about it. Hell isn’t a pretty place.
Do the work of an evangelist now by sharing this message. God bless you.
A CONFESSION THAT SHOOK THE VERY CORE OF MY BEING !
It was a Sunday morning service and we were expecting to go through the routine service line ups. But we were in for a great change in our normal order of service.
Right after the opening prayer, our Pastor introduced a very old man as the guest speaker for that morning. He didn’t look familiar to any of us. There were no Praises, no Worship, no Testimonies, no Choir ministration to usher in the man of God.
This old man climbed the pulpit as it were, and all eyes were fixed on him. The place was dead silent; you could have heard the drop of the tiniest of pins. It was as if a holy awe had descended to swallow all the noise in the Church auditorium.
When he opened his mouth, he spoke these words:
“I am just returning from the burial rites of one of my son’s in the Lord”. It wasn’t what he said that made us more interested in what he had to tell us, but how he said it! It came from the depth of his soul.
“Before he died…”, the man continued, “he came to my office and made a Confession to me. He pleaded with me to share with any willing audience. I called your Pastor because the Holy Spirit spoke to me that there are many of you young people here who can pick one or two vital lessons from the death of my son in the Lord”.
The Silence became more louder! Everyone of us was arrested by the Holy Spirit to hear and heed to what the Lord had to say to us through this man. We just couldn’t take our gaze, our hearts and minds off this unusual old man.
“This was his confession”, he broke the Silence finally.
*(In the dead pastor’s words)…….*
“It was one Sunday afternoon after church service, and I heard a knock on my door. I was relaxing in the office because we had just closed a very beautiful and powerful service. The Power of God had fallen like rain upon the Church– miracles, Healings, Prophetic ministrations and deliverance, Holy Spirit Baptism and any kind of move of the Holy Spirit you could identify with. I should have headed straight to the house to rest because that’s the signal I had in my spirit. Instead, I came to the office to recline in my chair.
I asked the person to come in, and behold, there was this unusually beautiful and well-rounded fair lady before my face. I asked her to take the seat across my desk.
She introduced herself as a new convert- she had just received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and Lord. She started heaping accolades upon my head, claiming how powerful and anointed I was, and how tremendously her life has been impacted by the morning’s message and ministrations.
I was obviously happy that God had brought and won a new soul to Church.
She then told me how very great a miracle it was that God brought her to Church that faithful Sunday because she had just received an amount of money equivalent to 50 million Ghana Cedis, and she wanted to pay her tithe. She needed guidelines regarding how to invest the money. Her purpose for coming was first of all to introduce herself as a new active member of the Church of God, and also to seek my advice regarding how to invest the money, and of course pay her tithe. She was hoping that I could recommend some faithful and honest business men in the Church she could partner with.
This news was warmly received; my excitement knew no bounds. All of a sudden, unfinished and new projects of the Church started coming to mind- how we can use the tithe which was like 5 million Ghana Cedis to complete and start new projects. I was now merrier than before.
Out of excitement, I told her to write her address down because I wanted to visit her personally so we could discuss this goodnews in greater details.
She wrote down the address, and excused herself to leave. I didn’t notice how seductive she was dressed until she stood to leave. All my adrenaline started running through my head to the tip of my trousers. I rebuked it but it made no difference. It seemed to me she noticed the effects her stature has had on me. I thought I even saw a smile on her face, but it didn’t make no difference to me because I had her tithe on my mind.
I became restless after she had left. I wanted to run after her, to embrace her from behind, and to also take my tithe of course. But my body was too tired to obey such sentiments. I headed straight home, and had an unusually long rest. When I woke up it was morning already. Since Mondays were my days of rest, I decided to give her a call first thing after I had taken my bath and breakfast. I followed through my plans of course. It seemed I was possessed; I couldn’t get her and her money out of my system. I felt the spirit of Grace speaking to my heart to be careful but I rebuked that Voice, reasoning that as a Shepherd I must take care of the Lord’s Flock, especially the new ones. She was obviously new, and I had to concentrate on building her to become a spiritual giant. She could even become a singer in the Choir. All these I reasoned within to shut out and to shut down the Voice of the Spirit of Grace.
Before I realized I was with my phone dialing her digits. She was obviously expecting me by the sound of her voice on the other line. This was indeed a Divine confirmation that God wanted me to call her- so I reasoned within my heart to cloud the uneasiness I felt in my heart regarding this strange lady.
Even the story of the strange woman in the book of Proverbs came to mind but I quickly brushed it aside with a different Scripture, saying that all of us are sinners, making all of us strange men and women before God. If God accepted us as we were, I had to obviously accept her as the Lord had done to me. All these steps of thoughts gave me a false peace in my heart.
I put on my best dress and headed her address. I didn’t inform any of the deacons and the elders of this great door the Lord was opening. I wanted to surprise them, testifying about the wonders of God. I had a prompting to call one of the women fellowship leaders to go with me but I quickly threw such suggestion outside the window. I needed to assure this new Sister that I personally cared for her life.
I got to her place in no time. The sight which greeted me should have sent common sense in my mind to run for my life but I couldn’t because I had my mind made up to have her become a committed member of the Church and the money of course.
She was in a see-through blue attire, wearing this seductive smile on her face. My heart was by now beating faster than a 100m racer. I still had to chance to leave because I had not entered the room yet. But I found myself smiling broadly as I entered her room.
She excused herself in order to bring me something soft to drink. It was when she was leaving my presence that I noticed that she had no underwear on. That alone should have sent me packing but I didn’t because I had convinced myself that I needed to establish her as a member and of course, take my tithe of 5 million Ghana Cedis!
As she was away, series of Scriptures started coming to my heart, as though a man were standing before me, reading these verses aloud. Scriptures of fleeing Temptations, Samson and Delilah, Tamar and Judah, Joseph and Portiphar’s wife, Israel and the Moabite Women, came very alive to my heart. I didn’t head to any of these warnings. That moment was supernaturally elongated because I felt the Recollection of the Scriptures had taken more than one hour. It all happened with 5 minutes.
Afterwards, she came wearing that same seductive smile, and swinging her waist rhythmically to a song only she could hear.
We exchanged the normal pleasantries. We even prayed; I spoke in tongues for some 10 minutes. She was saying resounding Amens to all the declarations and blessings.
When I was through, she came to sit very close to me. I could see her breasts, and that adrenaline that rushed through my head to the tips of my trousers came all over, this time with such intensity that I thought I was under an electric shock. She pressed her chest against my arm, and before long we were kissing. There was no going back- eventually I slept with her or rather she slept with me.
When we were through, she smiled a smile of Victory that shook me to the very core of my being. It’s influence was more powerful than the pleasures I had experienced within those few moments back. I sheepishly smiled back at her. I couldn’t recall what happened between that moment and the time I got home. My thoughts were clouded. I didn’t have that fiery feeling I always had in my belly again- something tangible and indispensable had left me. I didn’t know to weep or laugh. My thoughts were scattered. The pain I experienced within those dark moments were such deep and horrific that no level of pleasure could have offset such anguish and hopelessness. The day ended.
I went to the office on Tuesday morning, and I received a video on my whatsapp. I downloaded it, and to the deepest shock of my life, I saw myself busily and hungrily having sex with a woman whose face had been edited from the video. My face was clear as crystal.
Within very few minutes there was a knock on my door and without beckoning the person to come in, the knob turned and there stood before me lady of my nightmares.
She was no longer the composed, affectionate, smiling lady I saw just a couple of days before. The lady that stood before me was fierce and had wickedness written all over her face. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest.
She made herself comfortable in the chair opposite mine, and without being asked what her mission was, she spat these words *’You fool, I will show you pepper’.* She made good actions of her words. She demanded a cheque of 10 million Ghana Cedis from the tithes of the Church or else she would release the video on all social media platforms. She gave me two days to produce such money or else my end was as certain as the break of dawn. She stood to take her leave.
I think I saw her face turned to be something demonic. She began laughing hysterically. When she was through, she looked straight into my eyes and said blatantly, *’Pastor Timothy, I AM TAKING YOU DOWN’.* And she walked out of the office.”
*(The Young man’s voice is now over…the old Preacher continued).*
“He came to see me a few days after. He couldn’t cry, he couldn’t pray, he couldn’t say any proper words of confession. I tried praying with him but the Heavens over us were shut. Only a passage of Scripture stood in the Atmosphere:
*Hebrews 10:26-31 (NKJV)*
26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”….
By now, everyone was sobbing. We were all lamenting over the story we just heard from this old Preacher. The young pastor committed suicide. He was anointed. He was powerful.
The old man continued…
“I came here because there are many of you who are still living in sin, seeking no help from its deliverance.
The Enemy saw a weakness or two in him; lust for money and beautiful, well-rounded women. The Devil was more than glad to offer these because he knew he could eventually get hold of him
The Spirit of Revelation whispered to my heart: _the pastor didn’t deal with the little Foxes in his life when he was under training._ He occasionally satisfied his lust by framing stories to get money; and watching pornographic materials
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The Spirit of Grace was on him, Teaching, Guiding, Rebuking, Correcting him…. yet he didn’t listen. If he listened, he didn’t apply Jesus’ formula of dealing with weights and besetting sins: *If your right hand offends you, CUT IT OFF for it is far better to enter into life Maimed than to perish with your whole body intact*.
*He played around sin.*
*He cajoled sin.*
*He treated sin lightly.*
*He entertained that which had the capacity to destroy him, both in time and in eternity.*
The first thing Sin takes care of in a person’s life is the Glory of God. You lose your spiritual beauty and splendor once you live in sin.
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Listen to me, my dear young people:
_You cannot use smartness of analysis and scriptural inductions to confuse God._ Forever His Word is firmly established. *Seriously consider the following Scriptures:*
*Galatians 5:19-21; 1 John 3:8;* *Hebrews 4:6-7; 2 Peter 1:5-10″.*
He then prayed with all of us, making an Altar Call for who had wanted to receive Jesus Christ into their hearts, and those of us who needed to rededicate their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.
We didn’t take an offering that Sunday…
Friends didn’t walk in groups…
Everyone was engrossed in his or her thoughts, perhaps pondering on the sad story of the promising young man of God and also our own very conditions before the Lord.
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*_Every little thing you are doing in secret has the potential to bring unto you a public ridicule or applause the future._*
*Grace is not a license to nonsense.*
*Sin is a mocker- it’s wages is still DEATH.*
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