Sunday, April 5, 2015

Jesus - In Our Shoes

Several years ago, I read a classic story that reveals clearly the essence of what Jesus Christ, the son of God, did for us on the cross. Two thousand years after, we still remember and celebrate this day of liberation. Let me share with you the story of Dr Kane.

On February 15, 1921, there was a doctor who performed an appendectomy. He was Dr. Evan O'Neill Kane, who in over his 37-year medical career had performed nearly 4,000 appendectomies, so this surgery was not at all unusual except for two things.

First of all, this was the first time that local anesthesia had ever been used in major surgery. Dr. Kane believed that local anesthesia was safer than putting a patient completely to sleep. Most of his colleagues agreed with him in principle, but they wanted to see first if it would actually work.

So Dr. Kane searched for a volunteer, a patient who would be willing to undergo surgery while under local anesthesia. It wasn't easy to find one. Most people are squeamish at the thought of being awake during their own surgery. Others are fearful that the anesthesia might wear off too soon.

He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!"
(Philippians 2:7-8)

Finally, though, Dr. Kane found a volunteer, and on Tuesday morning, February 15th, the operation began. The patient was prepped and wheeled into the operating room. A local anesthetic was applied. And as Dr. Kane had done thousands of times before, he cut open the tissues and removed the appendix. The patient had only minor discomfort and recovered quickly, dismissed two days later.

Dr. Kane had proven his theory. Thanks to the willingness of a brave volunteer, Dr. Kane demonstrated that local anesthesia was an alternative, even a preferred alternative.

But I said there were two facts that made this surgery unusual. I've told you the first: the use of local anesthesia. The second unusual thing was the patient. The patient was Dr. Kane. You see, in order to prove his point, Dr. Kane operated on himself. The doctor became a patient in order to convince the patients to trust the doctor.

Because He himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.
(Hebrews 2:18)

As unbelievable as that may seem, it is insignificant compared with what Jesus Christ did for us. The Great Physician voluntarily became one of us. He placed himself in our shoes. He left the glories of heaven to live on this earth as one of us -- to suffer our pains and feel our fears. Why? So that when you hurt, you will know that you have someone who understands - your Great Physician, and you will have confidence to go to him for healing.
He understands relationships. He was rejected by close friends. So, he understands when you have challenges with relationships. He knows what it means to grieve. He suffered the loss of close ones. He understands when you lose close ones and he is beside you to comfort you. He was the son of a carpenter and he practiced carpentry. I believe he faced challenges with customers and suppliers. Are you going through challenges at work? Believe me, he understands. Whatever you are going through, he became human and went through it, so he can understand, and can comfort you. What a saviour!


He is risen!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Change Your Life Forever!

I recently came across a powerful quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower that got me thinking about the power of our choices. He said, and I quote “The history of free men is never written by chance, but by choice - their choice”. Powerful. In my humble opinion, I think it’s not only the history of free men that is written by their choices. It is the history of everyone. You are where you are today as a result of the choices you made, or you did not make, yesterday. The choices we make today will colour the spectrum of our life in the future.

The history of free men is never written by chance, but by choice - their choice

The direction of our lives is determined by the choices we make every day. They accumulate and add up to our ultimate destiny. Success in life is not a gift. It doesn’t just fall on people like ripe apples! It is a choice that you have to make. You are a direct product of your choices. You are going to live tomorrow with the consequences of today’s choices. It is futile to squander today and hope for a generous tomorrow. Everything that happens in your life -both what you are thrilled with and what you are challenged by- began with a choice.

Here are some choices you can make - choices that will create for you a life of abundance and prosperity in all areas of your life.

1. Choose to become balanced spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Our lives are best when we have these three major areas in balance. Never leave God out of the equation of your life. Infact, He needs to take first place in everything. That is the starting point. Spend some time cultivating your spirituality. Spend time to develop your emotional health. Spend time to be physically fit. You need to make a conscious effort to develop your spirit, your mind, and your body.

2. Choose to grow personally.

This sounds simple but many people only wish to grow personally. They never choose to grow by taking actions, such as reading a book, taking a course, investing in knowledge, saving more money etc. Make a decision today to be a person who is on the never ending journey of personal growth.

3. Choose to always treat others right.

We come across all sorts of people, many of whom will treat us poorly. We can choose to treat them right, no matter how they treat us. When they lie, we will tell the truth. When they cheat, we will play by the rules. We may get the short end of the stick some times, but in the long-run we will win. And most importantly, we will be able to sleep at night!

4. Choose to break a bad habit.

Take them one after the other. Tackle it head on. If you don't know what it is, ask a friend. Then spend every effort you can to break that habit. Forget about the others, as you will get to them later. Stop smoking, get out of debt, and lose your excess weight. Exercise the power to choose!

5. Choose to work smarter.

Many people I work with feel like they are out of balance. One of the first things I do is try to find out how much time they are wasting at work, which makes them work longer, which throws the rest of their life into chaos. Getting your work done by diligently working in the time you have will free your life up extraordinarily. Read up my earlier article on working smarter.

6. Choose to see your work as a way to help others, and not a way to make money.

If you put your heart into helping others, the money will most assuredly come. Spend time helping others grow and your finances will grow with it. This is a profound truth.

7. Choose to sow more than you reap.

There are many takers in this world, but our lives will be better as we become givers. The world will become better as we become givers. Give away your time, give away your money, give away your love. You will most assuredly get it back in many folds!

8. Choose to get home for dinner more often.

The family is the most important group of people you will ever belong to. Make a decision today to grow in your relationship with your parents, siblings, spouse and children. This one choice you will never regret.

9. Choose to be positive.

A positive mental attitude will surely put you miles ahead of your peers. Never say never. Attitude can make or mar your life. Attitude, more than aptitude determines your altitude. It is more valuable than skill. Choose a positive attitude and things will start to work for you
You have a chance today, to change your life forever. Make the right choices on a consistent basis, and I assure you, my friend, that you will live life more abundantly.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Profitable For All Things......

In the past 6 months, I have used a gym for my workouts in a consistent manner. It has been part of my health goals for the past few years now, but I finally cracked it somehow. It's been an exciting and rewarding experience. I feel much better, healthier and fitter. I have also been able to see firsthand, how far some are willing to go to improve their physical state - for good and bad reasons.

As usual, apart from exercising and getting the benefits out of it, I have also being conscious to learn from what's going on around. I am most intrigued by the resistance training area. Here, you see lots of guys (mostly young men) trying to build muscles by lifting weights for several hours. The commitment and resilience shown is amazing. You can hear them shouting and screaming (and can imagine them having to deal with pains at home), as they try to make sure their chest muscle is visible for all to see. They do not even stop at that. Their diets are well regulated and they deny themselves meals that regular men will love to gulp down. They also invest in protein and vitamins supplements just to make sure they are in great physical shape. When done for the right reasons (though I doubt if this is the case), this could be great. Bodily exercise has several rewards and benefits. Apart from giving you a boost of energy, and better sleep, it can help maintain a good shape (without adding loads of weight) as well as leaving you generally healthier.

Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.

However, when compared to godliness, these benefits of bodily exercises pale into insignificance! Look at the way the bible puts it " Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. “(I Tim 4: 7, MSG)

Interesting, isn't it? Godliness gives you benefits in this world and in eternity. Do you want to be fit today and forever? The bible recommends your tablet - Godliness. If only believers can put in a fraction of the efforts I have seen people put in at the gym, into daily exercises in God and in leading a disciplined life, I believe we will easily get rid of spiritual flabbiness and be better fit to live in this fast paced world. If only we will pray, read the bible and fellowship with God on a daily basis (it will shock you to know that most Christians don't), then we will be better equipped with strength and stamina - which are both important in order to finish strong!

Do you want to be fit today and forever? The bible recommends your tablet - Godliness.

Are you exercising yourself in Godliness as hard as if you were training for the Olympics? Or at least as much as if you went jogging to exercise? In other words, are you reading, meditating on and obeying God's Word to become more Godly? Or do you use the time you should spend exercising watching TV and surfing the internet?

Godliness is profitable in all things. It has spiritual benefits, physical benefits, social benefits, and financial benefits. Most importantly, it has eternal benefits. Wouldn't you also exercise yourself into godliness? Think about it.

God bless you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It All Began In A Manger

What’s the big deal about Christmas? Why do we celebrate the birth of someone who died over 2000 years ago? Why does everything in the whole world have to come to a stand still to remember and celebrate this day? The interesting thing about it all is this – his birth wasn't really celebrated. His birth sure didn’t appear on the national dailies of his days. There were no fun fares. No fire works. No special team of Doctors ready to help with the delivery. It was an ordinary day. Were someone to chance upon the sheep stable on the outskirts of Bethlehem that morning, what a peculiar scene they would behold. The stable stinks like all stables do. The stench of urine, dung, and sheep reeks pungently in the air. The ground is hard, the hay scarce. Cobwebs cling to the ceiling and a mouse scurries across the dirt floor. A more lowly place of birth could not exist.

His birth wasn't really celebrated. His birth sure didn’t appear on the national dailies of his days.There were no fun fares. No fire works.

Were Jesus's birth to be more spectacular, maybe the city would have noticed. Unfortunately his birth went almost unnoticed. The city hums. The merchants are unaware that God has visited their planet. The innkeeper would never believe that he had just sent God into the cold. And the people would scoff at anyone who told them the Messiah lay in the arms of a teenager on the outskirts of their village. They were all too busy to consider the possibility. Those who missed His Majesty’s arrival that night missed it not because of evil acts or malice; no, they missed it because they simply weren't looking. Little has changed in the last two thousand years, has it?

The circumstances surrounding his birth however did not diminish the concept. A king was born. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa 9:6). In our world today, people are often remembered for the problems they solve. Of course, we know some people because of the problem they created (remember Osama Bin Laden?). However, they are not often remembered for long, neither are they celebrated. Solving problems is one of the ways that one can be remembered for a long time to come. Faraday is often remembered today for solving the world’s electricity problems. Jesus, the reason for the season today, solved the greatest of man’s problem – SIN

Jesus, the reason for the season today, solved the greatest of man’s problem – SIN

When God created the world, everything in it was good. There was no problem at all, until sin came in. The fall of man when he sinned exposed him to all kinds of things imaginable. Sickness came, Poverty got hold of him. Death overpowered him. Fear gripped him. Man entered into the “crisis” mode as a result of SIN. Sin is a sinker my dear readers. It sank the destiny of man, and still does till date. The greatest hindrance to enjoying a good life is Sin, and Jesus came to solve that problem. By hanging on the cross, he paid the debt he didn’t owe; all because we owed a debt we couldn't pay! Celebrating Christmas without understanding this is just like celebrating a mass. Christ is what makes an ordinary mass become Christmas.

Celebrating Christmas without understanding this is just like celebrating a mass.

As you celebrate Christmas today, ponder on these things. Ponder on the greatest love story ever told – the story of a man who laid down his life for his friends.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Questions You Must Answer Before You Die.

About a week ago, we lost one of God’s generals in our generation, Dr Myles Munroe, and his wife, Ruth Munroe in a tragic plane crash. I am sure many (including myself) are yet to recover from the shock of his exit from this world. Dr Myles Munroe will never be forgotten for what he allowed God to use him to accomplish on earth. He was such a blessing to me, and to several others around the world. He challenged conventional thinking and helped us bring the Bible to life.

I had the privilege of listening to Dr Munroe live on more than one occasion. So, I dedicated my study time this morning to reviewing some of the notes I took from these conferences. I have chosen to share with you one of the ones that blessed me the most. It’s a list of 5 questions you must answer before you die! I believe Dr Munroe did great justice to these questions as you will see. My challenge to you today is “How are you answering these questions?” Are you living life with a consciousness of them, or just going by?

Your answers to these questions are very vital. They will determine what will become of your life here, and hereafter. They will also determine if you will die fulfilled or not, happy or sad. Whether you like it or not, you will be faced with these questions at some point – the worst case being on your death bed. It’s better to face them now than later.

What are these Questions?

Who Am I? (The Question of Identity).

This is perhaps one of the most important questions you’ll ever have to answer. Who are you? Do you have an identity? What is your identity? Statistics have it that about 99% of the world population have identity crisis. We don’t seem to know who we are. The tall wants to be short and the short wants to be tall. The fat wants to be slim and the slim wants to be fat. The old want to be young again and the young want to get old. It’s like a never ending cycle.

One of the things that made Jesus tick was that he knew who he was. No wonder one of his most popular phrase in the Bible was “I am”. If you don’t know why you are, then you’d most likely want to be like someone else. Do you know who you are? Do you know your identity in Christ Jesus?

Where Am I From? (The Question of Source).

“He that is from above is above all” says the scriptures. Your source determines the resources available to you. There are people who are still confused with the idea of evolution. When you discover that God is your source, and God alone, you will live to enjoy life better.
Until you know where you come from, you don’t know who you are. There is an old saying from the Sankofa tribe in Africa that says, “To know where you going, you must know where you come from”

Why Am I Here? (The Question of Purpose)

Do you know why you are here on this planet? When purpose is not understood, abuse is inevitable. You need to understand the purpose for your existence. You are not a product of an accident. You were made for a purpose and you need to understand what that purpose is.
Believe it or not, we came here to make a difference. We were not put on this earth to work, pay bills and die. You were created for a purpose. You must first discover this purpose, develop it and then deplore it for the benefit of the human race.

What Can I Do? (The Question of Potential)

This is a very important question. What special skills and talents have you got? What can you do with your hands or head to fulfill your purpose? This is what separates you from the crowd. It gives you an edge over your peers. You’ll never become successful until you recognize the special abilities and skills that you have and invest them in solving other people’s problems. You will be happy doing whatever you were called to do. You will have passion and will benefit financially as well because you’re excited about what you’re doing.

Where Am I Going? (The Question of Destiny)

In my opinion, this is one of the most important questions that is often neglected by people, until they realize they are at the very end of their lives. Then, it is almost too late. After all is said and done, where will you end it all? After getting the money, riding that nice car, going for that vacation and all, what eventually becomes of you? I like the way a wise man puts it “It makes foolish business sense to gain the whole world and loose you own soul”.

Some day through this medium, I hope to deal with each of these questions in greater details. However, ponder on them seriously for the moment and let it inspire change in and by you.

Stay on top!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Little Things Can Make A Big Difference

Today, while thinking about a scripture I read, I remembered an experience I had travelling from Lagos to Ibadan (both in Nigeria) in a public transport. I met a lady in the bus that amused me. She really looked like a very “tush” girl- well that was the first impression I had about her. She was actually in the bus before me and was helping herself with a Chicken Republic meal. Shortly after I sat down, a guy came beside the window where she sat, trying to sell her a skirt. “Do I look like a househelp?”, she blurted. “What’s the designer’s label on that?”, she further probed. Of course, she left the guy confused. I did not know whether to laugh or confront her. She had been really mean to the guy. Anyway, that somehow further proved her “tushness” to me.

However, in less than 15 minutes, I changed my mind about her. As soon as we set out on our journey, she started throwing everything imaginable out through the window – the bones of the chicken she was eating, the serviette she used to clean her hands, the plastic bag, the spoon and the drink bottle! I couldn’t take it again. “That’s not right” I finally said. “Why don’t you put everything in that bag? We need to keep our nation clean” I continued. Well, she didn’t agree with me! According to her, “This is Nigeria. The Roads are already dirty anyway. Whether I throw that out or not, the place is already a mess”. What an interesting submission.

Have you heard people around you say that? I have heard all sorts – “If you don’t take that bribe, someone else will. The nation is corrupt”. “Why are you bothering yourself obeying the traffic lights? No one else does!” “You cannot be a successful business man in Nigeria without bribing your way through”. I am sure you can list a dozen more.

What do you do when the “little” you are doing in your corner doesn’t seem to make sense? What do you do when right seems wrong? What do you do when you are being abused by other road users because you are trying to obey traffic rules? What do you do when you feel that the little you are doing doesn’t affect the overall outcome anyway? I recommend that you remember this story – it’s one of my favourite stories. It is the story of the star fish.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man that used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean." "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die." Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!" At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

I am sure you get the morale of the story. What you are doing may not make sense to others and may not affect the whole nation, but it may affect an individual and change him for life. It can affect a community. When your young son is sitting beside you, while you insist on obeying traffic rules, you are laying a great foundation for his future. When you refuse to accept bribes, despite the fact that others are doing it, you are touching someone at least. When you do things right, someone is watching…and that someone can be positively affected for the rest of his life. To that one, the little thing that you are doing makes all the difference!

What little thing will you do today, that will make a difference?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Living a Fulfilled Life

Fulfilled. What a word! Two simple syllable and yet so elusive to our frazzled and restless hearts. Who among you haven’t yearned for something even faintly resembling fulfillment in our frantic demanding “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” world?

Fulfilled is a great word. The only issue is finding it. You can find several definitions in the dictionary but do you have it in your everyday life? I am sure several people will offer anything in order to have a fulfilled life. Wouldn’t you?

Can I share with you some principles for a fulfilled life? These are principles I got from reading books and listening to audio messages, and they’ve helped me a lot in my search for satisfaction and fulfillment.

Count Your Blessings

Have you read my earlier article on “Count Your Blessings, Don’t Discount them”? If not, I recommend you take time to read it. Fulfillment has eluded most of us because we have not learnt to be grateful for the little things around us. “But godliness with contentment is great gain” opined a wise writer. Never take things for granted. Be grateful for the things you have and can afford.

Find Joy In The Ordinary

Eternal instants and moments. We’ve all witnessed them though we let them go without finding joy in it. Putting your arms in your husband's as you take an evening stroll. Listening to your 6 year old thank God for everything from goldfish to grandma. Never you underestimate the ordinary. They are laden with greatness.

Finish The Race

We live in a world that is only crazy about winning, not about finishing. You don’t have to win always. But you have to finish. Hang in there. Finish. Stick to it until it is done. But unfortunately, very few of us do that. Our human tendency is to stop before we cross the finish line. Our inability to finish what we start is seen in the smallest of things - A partly mowed lawn; a half-read book; letters begun but never completed; an abandoned diet.

Are you close to quitting? Please don’t do it. Are you discouraged as a parent? Hang in there. Are you weary with doing good? Do just a little more. Are you pessimistic about your job? Roll up your sleeves and go at it again. No communication in your marriage? Give it one more shot. Can’t resist temptation? Accept God’s forgiveness and lean on grace to be strong to overcome. Is your day framed with sorrow and disappointment? Are your tomorrows turning into nevers? Is hope a forgotten word?

Remember, a finisher is not one with no wounds or weariness. Quite to the contrary, he, like the boxer, is scarred and bloody. He finishes what he starts. He finishes strong. I strongly recommend you read the book “Finishing Strong” by Steve Farrar. I have personally read it more than three times!

Stay Positive

A positive attitude in invaluable in today’s world. There are a thousand and one things that will not happen the way you want it to happen every single day. How you respond or react to them will go a long way in determining whether you will be fulfilled or frustrated. It is not what happens to you that determined your fulfillment. It is what happens in you, as a result of what happened to you!

All things not being equal, attitude still sometimes win. I have found out that things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.

Finally, God wants us to live a fulfilled life. Do you know any other principle that can help? If yes, please share.
You are destined for the top of the topmost top! See you there!!