THE BASIC UNIT OF ADDICTIONS | V❤lentine Thingz

February 14, 2004.

On the corridor behind our class, she came in all her portable cuteness well packaged into the red and white school uniform, and she wished me a “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Something changed in the chemical composition of my brain from that instant, I can tell. I began to admire her secretly (and in turn, admire the opposite sex generally). The school staff unknowingly honoured my admiration for her by appointing her as my counterpart in the office of Laboratory Prefect. (Talk about having a crush).

Months later, I was going to deny the incessant calls for help from my male colleague in that Physics examination hall while just a singular whisper of my name from this cute lady was going to turn my head 180 degrees to give her a cue to answer a particular question. The Valentine fever caught up with me and transformed my thinking! Worse still, I never got the opportunity—or better said, never made use of every opportunity that I had—to tell this cute lady how much I desired to just hold her, hug her, and hopefully, be her lover. Her val greeting became the first in a series of many other things in my life. A brain reconfiguration, for one. The desire to look appealing to the opposite sex, another.I remember it all, today because of what I’m about to write about.

I was soon going to see a movie that launched me into unpleasant deeper depths in the school of love and lust—Waiting to Exhale.  The few sex scenes in the movie activated my addiction bound curiousity. Days later, masturbation started. (I didn’t know what it’s called for a long while). Months later, it became addictive. Years later, it got me an admission into the unfortunate school of pornography.


This unpopular issue is actually more popular than we think and it’s high time we spoke more about it. In 2014, I exchanged correspondence with 24 teenagers and young adults on the issue of masturbation and porn. I was overwhelmed at their sincerity and openness. (To them, I dedicate this piece, actually).

I’ll like to introduce some few thoughts to you which I gleaned both from my personal sojourn through this maze and my eventual discovery of a liberating force that has empowered me to live above the grip of these challenges while being held firmly in the grip of God’s grace.

I discovered that the basic unit of my addiction was, in fact, one tiny little slice of life potent enough to determine how useful I could be to God while on the surface of the earth. This slice of my life was determining the direction and quality of my life and I couldn’t pray or fast it away. It’s called: My Appetite! (The word that brings out the sinful dimension is “lust”).

This fraction of life has, in fact, shipwrecked and side-lined more individuals than any other thing in the world. And Valentine’s Day has been highlighted historically as the day many people’s appetite is going to get the better part of them and exchange it for the worst.

While our appetites are created by God (be it an appetite for food, fame or fun—they are all created by God!), the unpleasant thing is that sin distorted them. And worse still, they are never FULLY and FINALLY satisfied. The voice of the appetite is the voice of MORE and NOW—never the voice of LESS or LATER. And more often than none, we end up trading the ULTIMATE for the IMMEDIATE at the impulse of our appetites.

Andy Stanley described this with the story of Esau and Jacob. (Genesis 25:29-34 CEV). It starts like this…

“One day, Jacob was cooking some stew, when Esau came home hungry and said, “I’m starving to death! Give me some of that red stew RIGHT NOW!”…” (vv 29-30).

“Right now!” That’s the voice of the appetite. It came to Esau’s vocal chords, and it still comes. To your heart. To your priorities. “go online right away” “now that no one is here, do it right away” “today is Val, there’s no better day to get ‘there’. Do it today!” The voice of the appetite. I pray you recognize it.

“Jacob replied, “Sell me your rights as the first-born son.”…” (v 31)

Here comes the deal. Each time you chose to give in to the urge, this deal has been struck. For the records, the birthright is such a great privilege in Esau’s day. The birthright assures the recipient of three things:

  • A double portion of the inheritance (Great Wealth)
  • Becoming the JUDGE of the family (Great Power)
  • A divine empowerment to prosper trans-generationally (Great Blessing)

Who trades all of that for red stew?

“”I’m about to die,” Esau answered. “What good will those rights do me?””

“Seriously? About TO DIE?” But hey, don’t be quick to blame Esau. Psychologists understand that appetite stimulation induces a physiological change in the brain! Dopamine (a neurotransmitter) causes at least two things to happen:

  • a simple appetite is MAGNIFIED out of proportion, promising an EXTRAORDINARY satisfaction
  • your mind-eye is focused on ONLY ONE THING and blurs out everything else

That’s what happens each time you spend without thinking, or click without giving much thought…

“But Jacob said, “Promise me your birthrights, here and now!” And that’s what Esau did.”

Oh that someone could step in just before Esau makes up his mind and tells him what is at stake. Oh that a man will emerge from the future and tell Esau how he’s about to trade having 12 sons that will grow to become God’s chosen nation for red stew. Oh that someone can narrate to Esau beforehand the scene where God was going to introduce Himself for the first time to mankind as “the God of Abraham, Isaac and ESAU!” If only Esau could know ahead of time that his name will be popping up from the very mouth of God centuries down the lane! (Unless he trades the birthright). If only Esau could know that Matthew will open his best seller narration of God’s begotten Son with “Abraham begat Isaac, who begat ESAU, and from ESAU came the Messiah”…” If only… But no one emerged from the future to tell Esau what was at stake, and, perhaps, no one will emerge to tell you, too.

“Jacob then gave Esau some bread and some of the bean stew, and when Esau had finished eating and drinking,he just got up and left, showing how little he thought of his rights as the first-born.” (v 34).

The stew was gone, and so was the birth right!

BOTTOMLINE: You have absolutely NO IDEA of what God may want to use you to accomplish in this world, and you shouldn’t let your appetites spoil that! Not on Valentine’s Day; not any day at all!

Perhaps, the knowledge of what God could have done through Esau could have stopped him in his tracks. And I think the same is true of us.

So, how should we address this?

  1. Reframe. Look at your bowl of red stew in the light of what God might do through you! (Suggestion: Get a notebook and title it “5 YEARS FROM NOW” and start writing everything that comes to your mind about how you see yourself 5 years from now in every aspect of your life.)
  2. Refrain. Having juxtaposed the ultimate versus the immediate, refrain, and where necessary, like Joseph, flee!

I want you to know that whatever your bowl of stew maybe, after a moment, it’s gonna be gone and perhaps, with it, your wealth, your power or your blessing.

A WORD TO THE GUYS:

  • Valentine’s Day is not a day to take opportunity of any lady. It’s not a day to exert your masculine frame over their feminine weakness. In fact, I challenge you to begin to HONOUR the women in your lives from today. (Not just your spouse, fiancée or girlfriend, but any and every women!)
  • Yes, we live in a culture where women are viewed and talked about and sung about like they are some“commodity” (something you take, use, do anything you want with it and when you are done, discard or trade it in for another thing). No. The Bible says to “…treat them with respect” (1 Peter 3:7). So leverage your masculine strength advantage, not for your sake, but for their sake!
  • They are joint heirs with us. They answer to the same heavenly Father. And Jesus’ life was given for their sake as much as for yours. So renew your mind in your perception of the feminine gender and make up your mind to treat them right.
  • You should never again entertain yourself with the pictures of naked women!
  • Suggestion: If you have on your playlist any song where a woman is referred to as a bitch or a whore, that song must be deleted from your devices and the recycle bin emptied! What you hear has a way of shaping your perception!

A WORD TO THE LADIES:

  • On such a day as this (and ever) don’t dress like a commodity and don’t put up with being treated like one!
  • If you fish for a partner with your body, you are going to catch body snatchers every single time! So respect yourself and value your feminine dignity.
  • Postpone the “physical” of your dating relationship ALAP (as LONG as possible—till you get married!)

A WORD TO PORN-ADDICTS:

Whether you know it or not, the world of porn is a school where three lessons are learnt:

  1. A REAL BODY isn’t good enough. (Many of those stuffs you see on screen was shot countless times before a “perfect” shot was gotten. Their representation of sex is soooo unreal!)
  2. ONE BODY isn’t good enough. (Remember, appetites are never FULLY nor FINALLY satisfied. Don’t put your spouse in the impossible challenge of competing with the countless women in your porn-world. She will never be able to beat them…and you will never be able to be satisfied with your spouse. You will turn to more porn and more pain. And the cycle continues).
  3. YOUR WIFE’S BODY isn’t good enough! (That’s where it will end up. And great shall be your misery).

So what’s the wise thing to do? Check out of this school ASAP (as SOON as possible!)

Finally, I want you to know that someday (beginning today as you act on these words), you will become a great instrument of transformation in the hands of God. Your wealth will be beyond comparison; your power of influence unrivaled and God’s blessing immeasurably evident upon you.

Don’t trade that for anything!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

THE GOSPEL OF SCARVES, HATS & HEADGEARS

THE GOSPEL OF SCARVES, HATS & HEADGEARS

Someone asked my opinion about ladies covering their head/hair when in church so I thought to drop some thoughts about it.

This had been an age-long point of conflict in Christian circles! A trip back to the passage that birthed this idea (which is actually a doctrine in many churches) will be a good point to start. If you don’t mind, pause to read 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+11%3A2-16&version=NIV

 

 

 

In laying a background, it needs to be pointed out that the major subject being addressed in this passage is “the principle of subjection”, not “Christian fashion” (as it were).

 

It seems probable that some of the women in the Corinthian church to who Paul was writing, on pretence of being inspired, had prayed or prophesied casting off their veils after the manner of the pagan priestesses. This act was contrary to their tradition, properness, and decency. In that part of the world, veils are worn by women as the common symbol of subjection to their husbandsIt is still so in Asia and Middle East till today! (By the way, their “veils” are not the same as our hats, berets, headgears and scarves—in appearance, function, or purpose—which churches that clamour for head-covering for women still permit).

 

Paul observes, therefore, that the superiority belongs to man over the woman, even as superiority belonged to Christ over the man; and that it was a dishonor to Christ when a man prayed or prophesied with his head covered, and in like manner it was regarded everywhere as dishonorable and improper for a woman to lay aside the appropriate symbol of her sex, and her emblem of subordination, and to be uncovered in the presence of the man (verses 3-5); that if a woman was not veiled, if she laid aside that appropriate emblem of her sex and of her subordinate condition, she might as well do away with her hair, which all knew would be dishonorable and improper (verse 6).

 

He reemphasized that the woman had been created for a subordinate station, and should observe it (verses 7-9); out of respect for the angels (verse 10). “What has angels got to do with this?” you may want to ask. There are three possibilities I know of:

  1. Angels are definitely present in Christian gatherings to watch people’s conduct and distribute blessings (Luke 15:7,10). . .and since the act of “not putting on a veil” was a “wrong conduct” in a cultural Corinthian gathering, Paul is urging the women to avoid getting into God’s black book on account of an angel’s unwholesome testimony about them…lol
  2. Angels are not perfect either. For there to have been angels in Gen 6:1-2 that saw “the daughters of men” as beautiful species they could interbreed with makes it a possibility that even they (the angels) could be tempted on seeing a woman’s full glorious hair. . .may be. . .maybe not.
  3. And thirdly, in subjection to their head (God), angels veil themselves, too! ( Isaiah 6:2). So you can imagine what will be their reaction to a woman who violates such an ideal.

But then, lest this should depress the women, and seem to convey the idea of their utter inferiorityand unimportance, Paul quickly adds that in the plan of salvation, men and women are in many respects equal. The same salvation plan was adapted to both; the same blessings are appointed for both; and the same high hopes are held out to both (verses 11-12).

 

He wraps it all up that nature, on this subject, was a good instructor, and showed that it was uncomely for a woman to pray with her head uncovered. Her hair had been given her for an ornament and for beauty, and that, as it would be as improper for her to remove her veil as to cut off her hair, nature itself required that this symbol of her subordination should be laid aside in public (verses 13-16).

 

In summary, the whole point is that women should show subjection to men, not because they are inferior to men, but rather, as a way of upholding spiritual authority. And the means of expressing this subjection varies according to the race and culture of the community where the church is planted.

 

That being said, whether or not women cover their head in church shouldn’t be an issue in a typical Nigerian church because that is not exactly how we express subjection to higher authority in most of the cultural settings in Nigeria. . .but even at that, as people under authority, we must adhere to the doctrines of our church (without complaints) as long as we admit to be identified as members of that church. And if God creates the platform for us to address some of such issues that we have had better understanding about, let’s do it. Otherwise, let’s obey. . .in silence!

 

Personal Arguments About Covering The Head. . .

  1. If we want to necessitate covering the head as the ideal for women each time they are praying or prophesying (ministering) on account of this passage, then it should be done the way the correct Corinthians did it—by covering the whole hair with their veils (something like the muslims’ ijab) such that no hair is seen at all.
  2. Acts 17:24 establishes that the temple of God is not the church building, but rather, our body is the temple (2 Cor 6:19). Therefore, everywhere we go, we carry God’s presence. If that is true (and I can bet it is), then women should not just cover their hair in church. . .buteverywhere! (That will be weird over here). They don’t only pray in church, do they? They pray anywhere and everywhere. Even a typical “proper Corinthian woman”
    covers are hair 24/7. . .because that’s the cultural norm over there. But here, is it?

 

So I think it’s just all legalism to insist on making what was meant to be a “symbol” to become the “substance”. Any church that insists on a particular mode of dressing will soon become a cult; people will begin hypocrisy, living the prescribed way without knowing why.

 

In conclusion. . .

  • Based on the contextual setting of 1 Corinthians 11, covering the hair is a symbol of subjection in the custom of that day of which acting contrary will be un-ideal and spiritually wrong as much as it is customarily incorrect.
  • The message which the “symbol” typifies (subjection) can now be expressed in the language of our own contemporary culture (which definitely is not ‘covering the hair’).
  • But if we find ourselves in a church where the ideal is for the women to cover their hair, then we must conform to that, lest we become rebels.
  • And by the way, SINCERELY SPEAKING, covering the hair actually saves us a whole lot of distractions in church! Or don’t you think?

 

Cheers.

Ola Kolawole

LOVED, ACCEPTED and ADEQUATE…GOD-CONFIDENT!

LOVED, ACCEPTED and ADEQUATE…GOD-CONFIDENT!

 

More and more researches being carried out in recent years have affirmed the problem of low self-image (low self-esteem) in our societies. It’s an epidemic festering on both young and old alike. The traffic warden thinks himself lower than the bank staff because of his poor education. The young teenage girl thinks herself less attractive to her mates, no thanks to what pimples had transformed her once-smooth-face into. The primary school teacher thinks himself lesser than a University Professor. The boy with speech-problem thinks himself less fortunate. The lady with a bow-leg thinks herself less accepted amidst her friends. And the list goes on and on…

 

SELF-IMAGE is the picture you have of yourself. This picture you hold of yourself will affect your self-esteem—the way you feel about yourself.

In responding to this malady, however, I think many of us have approached it unhealthily. We now have crusaders of SELF-CONFIDENCE here and there. Parents preach it to their children. As a result, many parents actually stopped spanking their kids or tapping them on the tush and saying, “That was a bad thing to do, John!” Today, young parents agonize over whether it’s even wise to send their little monster to the corner for a time-out, worried that it might damage his self-esteem if they tell him that biting a friend on the finger or fighting in public is not acceptable.

 

And the result? Take a trip to the prisons and see the results of undisciplined living. I’m convinced that many of today’s worst criminals have no shortage of self-confidence. What they lack is morality and respect for others! This is what happens when a culture tells everyone he is his own “god.” For crying out loud, Self-confidence is the belief in ourselves that we have what it takes to conquer whatever we may be facing in this life. What a joke!!! If we each self-confidently assert our own “godhood” who is to determine what is right and what is wrong? How can you claim that your belief system bests mine? And, more importantly, how do we avoid chaos and anarchy?

 

Anytime people in leadership attempt to build self-confidence by rewarding those who fail to perform at exceptional levels with the same trophies and grades that are received by the few who truly earn them, we are sending a damaging message to both groups. We are saying that your self-esteem is more important than your actual deeds.

 

So what’s the answer? I bet it has to do less with the “confidence” side of the equation, and more to do with the “self” side. I agree we should aggressively teach confidence, boldness, and optimism to every generation. But maybe, instead of telling ourselves that confidence has its genesis in one’s self, we should accept that our confidence is in (and from) God. I call this “God Confidence.”

 

God-confidence reminds us that in ourselves we do have enormous limitations, but God doesn’t! We seriously control very little in our lives but God rules ALL. God-confidence is the belief that we can do anything God gives us to do. Without Him, I am nothing! With Him, who knows what will happen!!

It makes life easier. No longer am I forced to pump myself up with some timeworn philosophy that begins and ends with my own limited abilities. God Confidence allows human dignity to return. I no longer have to compete or compare myself to others to find self-worth. Suddenly I’m at eye level with all of God’s people. I am no more, or less, worthy than they are. My value is founded and grounded in God—not myself. I don’t have to look up to anyone. And I mustn’t dare look down on anyone either.

 

So how do we cultivate this God-confidence?

Simple! Believe that the truest things that you will ever know about your life are the things GOD SAYS ABOUT YOU. Read the epistles and believe all the word says about you (Col. 1:12, Rom 8:37, I John 4:4; 5:4, Luke 1:45; John9:4; Matt 5:14-16; Luke 1:37; Phil 4:13; John10:18)). Read the words of Jesus and believe all He says about you (Luke 12:32), because when there is NO IMAGE there will be NO DOMINION. The truest thing you can say about yourself is what God says about you.

 

This story should help:

 

It’s a fascinating story that comes out of the 1989 earthquake which almost flattened Armenia. This deadly tremor killed over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. In the midst of all the confusion of the earthquake, a father rushed to his son’s school. When he arrived there he discovered the building was as flat as a pancake. Standing there looking at what was left of the school, the father remembered a promise he made to his son, “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!” Tears began to fill his eyes. It looked like a hopeless situation, but he could not take his mind off his promise. Remembering that his son’s classroom was in the back right corner of the building, the father rushed there and started digging through the rubble. As he was digging other grieving parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying: “My son! “My daughter!” They tried to pull him off of what was left of the school saying: “It’s too late!” “They’re dead!” “You can’t help!” “Go home!” Even a police officer and a fire fighter told him he should go home. To everyone who tried to stop him he said, “Are you going to help me now?” They did not answer him and he continued digging for his son stone by stone. He needed to know for himself: “Is my boy alive or is he dead?” This man dug for eight hours and then twelve and then twenty-four and then thirty-six. Finally in the thirty-eighth hour, as he pulled back a boulder, he heard his son’s voice. He screamed his son’s name, “ARMAND!” and a voice answered him, “Dad?” It’s me Dad!” Then the boy added these priceless words, “I told the other kids not to worry. I told ’em that if you were alive, you’d save me and when you saved me, they’d be saved. You promised that, Dad. ‘No matter what,’ you said, ‘I’ll always be there for you!’ And here you are Dad. You kept your promise!”

If a man would thus keep His promise, don’t you think that God will much more keep His?

I’ve discovered that people with low self esteem lack these senses:

  • Sense Of Being Loved
  • Sense Of Being Accepted
  • Sense Of Being Adequate

And as far as these senses are concerned, God has spoken!

GOD LOVES YOU!

  • GOD said, “I love you.”…”Look at how differently I’ve treated you… Malachi 1:2 MSG
  • …the Father loves you directly. John 16:27 MSG

GOD HAS ACCEPTED YOU!

  • To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6 KJV

The word “accepted” in that verse is a kindred Greek word to “grace” (charitos, echaritosen). It is translated “graciously accepted”; “made us subjects of His grace”; “embraced us in the arms of His grace” (Rom 3:24; Rom 5:15).

YOU ARE ADEQUATE IN CHRIST!

  • …In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 MSG

The phrase “put right” in the above verse (righteousness in the KJV) means a thorough righteousness, complete justification, complete sanctification; such as none but God can give, such as the sinful nature and guilty conscience of man require, and such as is worthy of God to impart. And all this righteousness, justification, and holiness, we receive in, by, for, and through Him, as the grand, sacrificial, procuring, and meritorious cause of these, and every other blessing.

 

What more do we want?

God has proven Himself as a faithful Dad. It’s up to you to be a trusting child. Let God give you what your family, job and friends doesn’t—joyful confidence! Let God fill the void others have left. Rely on Him for your AFFIRMATION and encouragement. “…you are no longer a slave but a child. And since you are his child, God will give you all that he has for his children” (Galatians 4:7 GNB).

 

Having people’s approval is desirable but NOT NECESSARY for joyful confidence, and in fact, having people’s approval is not always possible. But embrace Jesus and all He has said about you. Where the grace of God is missed, bitterness and depression is born. But where the grace of God is embraced, joyful confidence flourishes!

 

Don’t judge yourself too harshly; that you make a mistake does not make you a mistake or a victim of life. Always learn your lessons, forget the details and then move on with your life. (Job 8:7; Matt 5:48).

 

When we begin to reframe the issue of confidence this way, good things happen. First, the pressure is off. At our core (and in our more truthful moments) we each realize how finite and imperfect we are. To believe that self-confidence is the ultimate goal forces any thinking person to realize how precarious he is in an uncertain world. But when we recognize that there is someone greater in whom we can build our confidence, we have found the gold standard. Now we can relax and rest in the assured confidence that we can safely lean into any headwind.

I see you basking endlessly in the euphoria of God-confidence.

 

You are loved. Accepted. And Adequate!

 

Ola Joseph Kolawole.

16/11/12.

 

Reference: http://www.all-creatures.org/stories/fatherspromise.html

DON’T STAY SPEECHLESS…PART 2

DON’T STAY SPEECHLESS…PART 2

DON’T STAY SPEECHLESS (PART 2)

If you have not read the first part, I will suggest that you do that before you proceed. You can access it here: http://josephkolawole.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/dont-stay-speechless-part-1/
Then entered the King’s entourage…then the Prince…then the King. Everybody stood to welcome them. There was also a great orchestral that added much beauty to the welcome. I stood as well. “Where’s the Prince’s wife?” I said to myself. But no sooner had I finished soliloquising than I saw the king coming closer and closer to where I was standing. But the look on his face wasn’t appealing at all. I began to fret. Then when he was nearer than a public distance from me, some great words bellowed from his lips. I didn’t catch them at first hearing. My brain had to process an echo for me to grasp the words. The King said “Friend, how did you come in here without having a wedding garment?” Again, I heard that word “friend” coming from the king himself. But the “wedding garment”??? I can’t reconcile it. Could that be why everyone has been looking at me? Wait…wait a minute…could I have been so carried away about the food and the “spectacularity” of the whole atmosphere that I forgot to notice the fact that everybody in the room was wearing a beautiful long white royal garment? Oh! Could it be that—no. This can’t be happening. How fast thoughts can be. I began to flash back…Something told me I’d seen this scene before. Where exactly was that? A scene where there was this kind of party…and then a man…one man…who the king spotted not wearing the wedding garment…! Yes! I’m beginning to remember. I think it’s in the Bible! Yes! In that Holy Book—the portion I read a couple of days ago actually. Quickly, before giving the king an answer, I brought out my Bible, the copy I had stored in my mind. I needed to see what led that man that I read about 2 days ago to the place where there will be gnashing of teeth and crying—as the Bible puts it! In nano seconds, I’d flipped the pages of the Bible in my mind to Matthew 22…I began to scan through the verses to see this secret…so that I won’t repeat the same mistake that the man made (now that I’m in his shoes) and so that I won’t end up where he ended up.
My mind began to read through the lines of Matthew 22…even when I wasn’t holding any physical Bible…and he sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they would not come…again he sent out other servants, saying, tell those who are invited…all things are ready…come to the marriage…but not caring, they went their ways…and the rest took his servants…and killed them…but when the king heard…he sent out his armies and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city…then he said to his servants, the wedding is ready, but they who were invited were NOT WORTHY…therefore go into the exits of the highways, and as many as you shall find, invite them to the marriage…So the servants went…and gathered together as many as they found, both bad (like gluttons like me) and good….and the wedding was filled with reclining guests…and the king coming in…saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment…and he said to him, FRIEND, (the exact words this king I was standing in front of used)…HOW DID YOU COME IN HERE WITHOUT HAVING A WEDDING GARMENT?…and he was speechless…then the king said…bind him hand and foot…and cast him into outer darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth…for many are called, but few chosen…

I had to do a rewind in my mind to really lay my hands on what landed that man in hell. I must be very careful here not to make the same mistake…so I made a rewind back to the words of the king in my mind-Bible…Friend, how did you come in here without having a wedding garment? (So what was his response?)…AND HE WAS SPEECHLESS! That’s it! Eureka! I’ve found it. So if there is one thing I should avoid so that I won’t have a repeat of what I’d read, it is speechlessness. So immediately I fell at the king’s feet and paid obeisance…I began to sob as I spoke to him…“sir…I’m so sorry I did not wear the wedding garment…I was wrong…I disrespected your providence…I didn’t know what came over me…I guess I was too eager to start eating from the table you have lavishly prepared…I was in haste to start feasting…I forgot the words of the Preacher…woe unto that land…whose princes feast in the morning…that was me…I was more after the feast than after the reason for the feast…have mercy…I don’t want to die…I know I deserve to…but I don’t want to…if it pleases thee, let me just go in peace…I don’t deserve to be here…feasting with these nobles…I’m a glutton!…food is all I know…but don’t kill me…p-l-e-a-s-e”
The king smiled and brought me up to my feet. Then he hugged me. Then he spoke to me…he said that killing me won’t give him any joy…he had always wanted me to be with him. He had always wanted me to not just be a guest at the wedding feast, but the bride alongside other guests…he said the prince was going to marry us all…that was the whole plan! That’s why the whole city was invited; so that by so-doing, the prince will identify with them all…giving the whole city an unquestionable right of access into the King’s treasures…but the invitees would not show up. This is not just a wedding between a man and a woman; it is a wedding between a man and a people…between a head and the rest of the body…between a saviour and the saved!
Then came the prince…he was looking extremely handsome. He tenderly spoke to me. “Friend…I love you…I love everybody in this city…that’s the essence of this wedding…I already prepared the table…I already bought the tickets for all of you…I already bought the wedding garments for all of you as well…and thank God you CHOOSE to come…you CHOOSE to enter the palace…you CHOOSE to enter the feast hall…you CHOOSE to sit at the prepared table and have a taste of the appetizer…but you CHOOSE NOT to exchange your garments for mine!?!…I’d forgiven you even before you asked for it…and I will abundantly pardon you…for I HAVE LOVED YOU…WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE.”
Then the servants took me to the exchange room, and exchanged my clothes for the king’s provision. Oh! You need to see me in this new apparel. I was looking more glorious than I’d ever been. And come to think of it—I didn’t have to pay to buy this! It was a gift! A FREE GIFT!
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And God is offering you the same gift today…still for free! Yes! You’ve chosen to be a Christian. You’ve chosen to click on the link to read this note…but have you not avoided making the choice to exchange your garment for his? Christ wants you to exchange your garment of legalism for his garment of righteousness. Stop living by your feelings. Stop feeling like “I attend church…I’m not as bad as the adulterer next door…I tithe…I…I…I!” No. Stop justifying yourself. How can you stand before a perfect God and say you’ve been good enough? Only one thing will make Him present you blameless before God—His robe of righteousness on you! Wear it always…don’t put it off—for you are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus.
Shalom.

DON’T STAY SPEECHLESS…(Part 1)

DON’T STAY SPEECHLESS…

DON’T STAY SPEECHLESS…
Where do I start it all from? This is kind of difficult. Perhaps because remembering the whole incident chagrins me…or because it also has a humourous dimension that is too amusing to put into words.
All I knew was that I was gaping at the whole room. I couldn’t fathom why I had to be in such a well decorated room. Definitely, I could say without mincing words that I’d never been in such a gathering before. But I was kinda feeling at home in the room. There were people all around—familiar and unfamiliar faces alike most of which were staring at me.
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It appeared I’d been sleeping all day. And when I woke up, I apparently woke up to a brand new city. I was home alone. Dad and Mum had travelled to our hometown. I had been fast asleep when I heard the noise. It was actually the noise that woke me up. It sounded so much like rumours of war. But we live at the outskirt of the town. So the noise sounded like it was coming from the upcountry. I decided I was going to have a look at what was happening. I recently clocked 18 so I’m old enough to see such stuffs for my self—or am I not?
As I took the bend that veiled our street from the city gate, I could see thick smoke everywhere. Waaaaao, what could have happened? Could it be that there is war?
As I took some few more steps, I saw some friends coming from the midland. “Hello guys…have you any idea what’s going on there?” I asked with a puzzled look. “Yeah. The king just gave orders for that district to be burned down…we learnt some people killed some of his servants” said Joshua. “The king sent his servants to go and tell the people that the table was set for the wedding ceremony of his only son—Prince Yeshua—but the people will not turn up for the ceremony of the king!” Shadrach added. “Aaaaah! But that was too bad. Even if they would not attend, should they now kill the innocent servants? I mean…that’s unbecoming!” I exclaimed. “How I wish I could have such an awesome opportunity to be at the wedding…I’m sure it’s gonna be a big party!” I continued. Joshua then cuts in “don’t even mention that…I learnt the King killed the fattest cows of his herd and the wine for the party was imported…” “The people that gat the heads has gat no caps…those with the caps has gat no heads!” I concluded.
But just as we turned towards our houses, we were overtaken by this pale yellow bus. It is obviously one of the buses from the palace of the king. Lo and behold, three palace-servants came down and told us to enter. We were shocked at first. Is it that we’ve been wrongly implicated in the murder of the king’s servants or what? Seeing that we were obviously frightened at the sight of the servants, one of them said to us (I later got to know that his name is Nicolas) “Do not be afraid. We have come to take you to the King’s Son’s Wedding Party. The king had ordered us to go to the outskirts and gather everybody…as many as we can find…and bring them for the wedding feast!”
I couldn’t believe my ears. But before I could say “Jack”, I was already in the bus. My friends were put in another bus. The journey to the palace was so short. I wish I could still do some more sight-seeing through the windscreen of the bus—having a closer look at those burnt houses—eavesdropping at the comments and conversations of the passers-by…and all of that. But we were already in the palace.
That was how I found myself in this lavishly decorated hall. We were meant to stop over in a big room just outside the wedding hall to have a change of clothing. The king had made provision for this awesome royal raiment for every one that will attend the feast. Somehow, I skipped branching at the room…I headed straight for the wedding hall. Why? I really don’t know.
So here am I in a party—not just any party but the Prince’s Wedding Party! Absolutely Unbelievable! A voice said up stage “Hello friends and well-wishers…”—that was what first dazed me…that royalty now calls me (and every other person present) “friend”! What an honour! The voice continued “…the King will join you shortly and the feast and the ceremony will begin…please be seated…and enjoy your appetizer”. I laughed out loud uncontrollably saying to myself “they called this one appetizer? Then what will the main course be like?” I knew I was in for a very wonderful time. I readjusted my seat again. I drew the table closer and took another bite from the stuff in front of me. I don’t even know what name they call it—but whatever names it bears, it remains the most delicious stuff I’d ever taken in a very long time. (I never knew I had this glutton in me—but it is gradually unveiling itself). I really can’t wait for the main feast to begin. I stood up and looked around for my friends but they were no where to be found. But who cares anyway. Let them miss this enjoyment for all I care…what matters is that I’m seated glued to a table filled with all sorts of stuffs—delicious and appealing stuffs!—yet all of that is but just an appetizer!
In the mean time, little did I know that I had become the centre of attraction. All eyes were on me. What’s special about me? Or is there more to my being here than I had thought? I’d had a dream weeks earlier where I got married to a King’s daughter…I woke up just when I was about to lift the veil off the bride’s face and give her my supposed first kiss…So is it that my dream is about to come to pass? But I was told we are here for the prince’s wedding—not the princess’. But why is everybody looking at me and smiling once in a while? (I will soon get to know!)
Then entered the King’s entourage…then the Prince…then the King himself. Everybody stood to welcome them. There was also a great orchestra that added much beauty to the welcome. I stood as well. “Where’s the Prince’s wife?” I said to myself. But no sooner had I finished soliloquising than I saw the king coming closer and closer to where I was standing. But the look on his face wasn’t appealing at all. I began to fret. Then when he was nearer than a public distance from me, some great words bellowed from his lips. I didn’t catch them at first hearing. My brain had to process an echo for me to grasp the words. The King said to me “Friend…

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

MY FATHER’S HEART…

MY FATHER’S HEART…

A HEART LIKE JESUS’

Many aim at nothing; Jesus aimed at one—

The sum of His life is but a line:

“The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost”[i].

From “My time has not yet come”[ii] to “It is finished”[iii],

Nothing led Him other than His High Call.

How purposeful, the heart of my Prince!

Before He fed thousands, He was grateful—

Grateful for the problem the disciples fretfully avoided.

Before He stilled the storm, He was sleeping—

Sleeping through the storm the disciples dreaded.

He lifted His hand to heal after Peter drew his sword to scrap.

How peaceful, the heart of my Priest!

He didn’t brood or badger when He was deserted,

He didn’t blow a fuse when He was denied,

He didn’t bewray when He was deceived,

He didn’t blemish their faces when the soldiers defaced His with spittle.

He blessed and forgave; never seeking retribution.

Far from it. He was at peace.

How pleasant were His thoughts!

So pleasant, kids couldn’t refuse Him.

So good-humoured, He could find beauty in lilies;

He saw promises in problems and hope in helplessness.

He knew better the stench of the dung of our faults,

Yet, saw enough beauty in us to die for our flaws.

His heart reflected an unmatched height of spirituality.

His thoughts reflected an unrivaled depth of otherworldliness.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me”[iv] began His first message.

Perpetually “led by the Spirit”[v] and “full of the Holy Spirit”[vi].

He returned from the desert “in the power of the Spirit”[vii].

How spiritual, the heart of my Saviour!

He took His instructions from God, led by a hand unseen.

Willing worship was His wont[viii].

Studying scripture was His sideline[ix].

He’s “often slip(ping) away to be alone to pray”[x].

That He may “(do) whatever the Father does”[xi].

How heavenly, the heart of my Healer!

Celebrated by thousands, yet content with chasteness.

Loved by women[xii], yet never accused of  lust;

Contemned by His own creation, but willing to forgive in advance.

Peter identified him as a “lamb, unblemished and spotless”[xiii].

John resolved that “in him is no sin”[xiv].

The heart of Jesus was pure.

Purposeful Prince and a Peaceful Priest;

Spiritual Saviour and a Heavenly Healer;

His thoughts were pleasant.

His heart was pure.

His heart was spiritual;

Yea, The Pattern Heart!

His is a purposeful heart; ours is often perturbed.

His is pure; ours is a great deal perversive.

His heart is peaceful; ours is easily provoked.

He is pleasant; we are peevish.

He is spiritual; we are sublunar.

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If our bodies misfunction, we seek help.

Shouldn’t we do the same with our hearts?

Shouldn’t we seek aid for our sour attitudes?

Can’t we request treatment for our selfish philippics?

Of course we can. Jesus can change our hearts.

He wants us to have a heart like His.

God loves you just the way you are,

And cherishes you just the way you look…

But He refuses to leave you that way.

He wants you to be …

JUST LIKE JESUS

Can you imagine a better offer?

[i] Luke 19:10 rsv

[ii] John 2:4

[iii] John 19:30

[iv] Luke 4:18 nasb

[v] Matt. 4:1 niv

[vi] Luke 4:1 niv

[vii] Luke 4:14 niv

[viii] Luke 4:16

[ix] Luke 4:4

[x] Luke 5:16

[xi] John 5:19

[xii] Luke 8:1–3

[xiii] 1 Pet. 1:19 nasb

[xiv] 1 John 3:5 niv

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FIne Girl, Beware!!!

“FINE GIRL”, BEWARE…

YOU ARE LOOKING GOOD… BUT BEWARE!!!… BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

She’s just 13. Brought up in a Christian family. Her Dad is the Senior Pastor of Oaks Tabernacle. She’s a part of the Teens’ Choir. She loves singing. She loves writing. She loves smiling. She loves nature. She’s just a good girl. Oh! Her name? She’s Sara.

But Peter. Peter is 17. He attends the same school with Sara. Peter is in the Senior High; Sara is in the Junior High. And one more thing – they attend the same church. Peter’s Dad is also a Pastor—the Assistant Pastor of Oaks Tabernacle. Peter is handsome – any girl will know that without much assessment. And you need to see Peter on sax. The last time he sustained his breath on sax for like 3 minutes, Sara had to fix her gaze steadfastly on the youngster. She was overwhelmed by this great talent which Peter has. She respects Peter for this.

But I need not be silent about how that Peter silently respected Sara. Peter was a silent admirer – admiring from a distant. A kind of an aficionado. I could remember a day like that – I was coming from the children’s chapel and I was moving towards the mission house. But while I passed by the church, I saw a young man tip-toeing to the side entrance of the tabernacle. I heard a sonorous voice rehearsing a solo. It was Sara’s. And guess who was tip-toeing to the side entrance to stealthily watch the lady indoors rehearse? You guessed right. It was Peter. I did like I saw no one and walked past briskly.

I respect them both, too. And I know they could be a nice combination for a Mum and Dad role in a drama. And perhaps, a good combination for the life investment called marriage.

All these happened last year.

But permit me to tell you that the story is now a different story. Sara, now 15, is heavy with child. She’s presently not in school – she’s at home. She doesn’t sit with the choristers again – she sits among the women in the back pews. She doesn’t take solos again – she sings “a dirge” on daily basis. She doesn’t smile again – she weeps. Not only because she’s pregnant but because she disappointed her parents. She misrepresented the church. She failed so many people. How did it all happen – within 15 months!? Hear Sara retell her story in her own words:

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“I’d just finished taking a special number in our last youth convention. It was a solo and Wao! – It was lovely. I personally felt this awesome feeling while taking the solo. By the time I brought the solo to a close, the whole church was already on their feet. Some lay on the floor weeping and praying. Some others lifted up their hands to God, pleading for mercies. It was a wonderful ministration. And guess who spiced it all up with Davidic skills on the sax? You guessed right again. It was Peter.

After the meeting, Peter came to me where I was sitting awaiting my Mum who had been busy attending to some of the “Good Women” of the church. Then he talked “that was not a bad performance – you know?” “Thanks” I simply responded with a broad smile. Then he smiled back, too. He proceeded and asked “And have you ever perceived that God has got great plans for you in this music ministry?” Then I paused for a moment and then responded “What do you mean?” At that point, he took his seat on the pew opposite mine such that he was facing me, sitting with his legs crossed. I was wearing a “dinner gown” but it wasn’t that long so I had to adjust my sitting posture so that Peter is not seeing “anything” that he’s not meant to see. Then he talked further. “You see, Sara, I’d always had this great dream of playing sax around the world to bless the name of God and to minister healing to the people. And as you stood on that stage today to take the solo, I got this conviction that you will be just the kind of ministry partner I’d always prayed for. I don’t know if you really understand what I’m trying to pass across”. Then I cut in “I think I got your point quite well. But as you know, I’m still in school. I don’t even know what Dad and Mum will say about such stuff. I mean there is still a long way to go if that were to be a reality.” Having said that, he bent forward as though trying to stand up, and then he said “I understand perfectly. You don’t just worry. I just feel like letting you know what is on my mind. We’ll still see and talk more.” Then just as he stood up to take his leave, he brought his mouth close to my ears and whispered a simple statement – “You are looking good”. I smiled and said thanks. But deep within me, I was much happier. It was as if I’d never heard that statement all my life.

When we got back home, guess what was the first thing I did – I rushed to my sister’s room to have a look at myself again. And I smiled at my image in the mirror. Just then, my eldest sister came in. She smiled at me and asked – “What are you looking at?” Guess what was my response? I asked her a question – “Am I not looking good?” She laughed as she made a statement I should learn from. She said “And are you just discovering that for the first time?”

Ever since that Sunday, I’d had this strange desire to always want to be around Peter.

To cut the story short, one evening, I told my mum that I was going to play with Elizabeth – Peter’s sis-ter. And I left. When I got to their place, unfortunately, Eliz wasn’t at home – but fortunately, Peter was. Unfortunately, Peter was the only one at home – but fortunately, he still welcomed me and made me feel at home. I was wearing a short skirt and a fitted top. He was wearing a v-neck and a three-quarter jeans. He was actually doing some rehearsals on the keyboard when I came in. so he went into the kitchen while I lay on the rug to play the keyboard. He stealthily walked in and kept on looking at my “rear” when I suddenly looked back and he gave me a big appreciated smile and cut in “Have you been learning the keyboard before?” “Why did you ask?” I asked back trying to get myself composed again. “Those chords you are playing are too complex for someone just handling the keyboard for the first time” he explained further. “Then you guessed right” I replied and with that brought the conversation to a close.

He handed me a tumbler and filled it with some apple juice. As I took the first sip, he went on and said “Has any one ever told you that you are beautiful?…as in…your eyes…your nose…your lips…your gol-den black hair…everything is just superb”. At that point I must confess, my head began to swell and he never stopped as he kept on down pouring some romantic rhymes and he kept on coming closer. I was too ecstatic to catch those words in my memory but it was as if those words were working wonders on my body – in and out!

Then suddenly, his lips located mine and…he kissed me. That was exactly where I lost my guard. And before I knew it he had me. I never believed I could be deflowered so cheaply. And after the whole thing, we became Adam and Eve. Our eyes were then kinda opened…but it was too late. He gave me some contraceptive pills which I used… but it was too late. He gave me a douche…but it was too late. I wept…but it was too late. I dressed up and looked innocent again…but it was too late. I went back home to pick up my books and continued my preparation for my “A-Levels”…but it was too late…”

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Let’s cut Sara short before she begins to weep over this screen.

Did you learn the lesson?

I’d come to realize that most of the times that “we” ladies sell out ourselves so cheaply, it’s just because one guy came and tell us things we ought to know – but which we tend to have forgotten.

“You are looking good”…and so what? You should have always known that (See Psa 139:14).

“You are beautiful”… and so? Should that be new to you? (See Psa 139:14).

“You are the one that makes my world go around”…says who? What makes you think he hasn’t said the same thing to ten ladies last week?

Let not those words unnecessarily disrupt your internal physiology and metabolism.

You need wisdom.

I’ll leave you with this verse – Prov 7:4,5 from four different Bible translations.

Let wisdom be your sister and make common sense your closest friend.

They will protect you from the flattering words of a strange man – (Contemporary English Version. Words in italics mine)

Treat wisdom as your sister, and insight as your closest friend.

They will keep you away from other men, from men with seductive words. – (Good News Bible. Words in italics mine)

Talk to Wisdom as to a sister. Treat Insight as your companion.

They’ll be with you to fend off the Tempter– that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seducer. – (The Message)

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister.” Give the name “my relative” to understanding in order to guard yourself from an adulterer, from a loose man with his smooth talk. (God’s Word Version)

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Then, here is the concluding part of the Sara’s story: I FINALLY WOKE UP FROM MY DREAM. Then I discovered there was actually no Sara. No Peter. No Oaks Tabernacle. No sax. No solos. No re-hearsals. No juice. No kisses. No sex. No….. It was all a dream.

But who knows? The Sara might just be you. And the Peter might just be that guy with a baritone voice that called you on extra-cool last night.

Just beware. Indeed, you are looking good. But beware. Before it’s too late.

OLA, Joseph Kolawole.

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I wrote this on December 1, 2008 while doing my I.T. at a medical laboratory and a 14-yr old damsel came in for “Pregnancy Test”…and alas! She tested positive!

Teenagers out there, beware.