Tag Archives: God

Loadsa Money!

What I’m about to say is not directed at any group or person in particular.

But rather, consider it a wake-up call for ALL of us.

And remember – I did warn you a few weeks ago that as well as encourage and uplift you this year, I will always tell you as it is.

I begin

During a chat with my dear friend Lanre this morning, it became all too apparent that mankind has more often than not being his own worst enemy.

Waaaaaiiiiit!!!!!

It really is about time I did this.

Before going any further I want to sincerely thank those very close and so dear buddies of mine; yes you guys – Tolu O, Gbogie B, Toyo O, Lanre O, Temi P, Tosin O, David A, and that tall chap that never likes being mentioned.

Thanks guys!!!

Time and time again our chats, arguments, and even at times the odd agreement, have been important and indeed necessary ingredients to most, if not all of my articles.

Right – back to the matter at hand.

A few weeks ago I woke up at about 4am (whenever that happened last year I got upset. Now I’ve accepted that it’s part and parcel of getting old). lol 

As soon as I awoke my thoughts went straight to that little town in the US where 20 kids were shot dead a few months ago.

What an absolute tragedy!!

Now – I follow Piers Morgan on twitter.

If you don’t then I suggest you do. He’s superb – brutally honest, and at times absolutely hilarious.

And as a fellow passionate Arsenal fan, it’s strangely comforting to read his angry tweets on Saturday afternoons – as that hallowed (yes hallowed!!) team from north London – yea the one that is forever in transition – continues to push the boundaries of pain and torture to new and unbearable heights.

Why am I talking about Mr. Morgan???

Oh yes – ever since the tragic incident in that little town in Conneticut, Piers Morgan has been agressively campaigning for a review of America’s gun policy.

He believes, as I do, that guns should be banned.

Ban ’em!!!! (yes yes, I did purposely omit the ‘th’)

Simple!

Full Stop!

No flipping excuses!!

Just ban the damn things!!!!!

But we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

Why?

Because the US government and its’ backers are making way too much money from the arms business.

I could write about this all day, but I’m going to give you just a couple of examples.

In which sectors do the biggest financial donors of US governments do business?

Yep. That’s right – Oil and Arms

What did Iraq have?

Who led the war in Iraq?

Who got the contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq?

The commercial arms sales, reviewed by the State Department in 2011, was in the region of US$44 billion.

The figure for 2012 was expected to be at least 60% higher.

Now here’s the rub.

Quite a few of the countries that the US sells arms to are routinely acused of human rights abuses by the US Government.

That seems to me a rather odd contradiction.

I’m going to stop there.

This is not a tirade, or even a complaint against the US government.

My point is this –

As a result of incessant greed, mankind seems to have pressed the self destruct button – steadily destroying millions of lives across the globe for the sake of financial gain.

Back home – we all know the damage and destruction that oil has inflicted on Nigeria; not least to our brothers and sisters in the Niger Delta region.

Whether previous governments are to blame for allowing foreign oil companies to literally rape and pillage our land, or whether we should lay the blame firmly at the door of the foreign oil companies, one fact remains –

It Should Never Have Got This Bad In The First Place!!!

Why did it get so bad?

The answer is simple

Lust for money

To be perfectly frank my concern lies not in who’s to blame, but in the state of human nature – our mindsets – what we’re all willing to do for the sake of a few million dollars.

Now let’s bring this home.

Yep. That’s right – bringing this to your front door – and mine.

My dear friend Lanre explained something to me this morning.

“When you allow your mood and emotions to be determined by the amount you have in your bank account you are allowing mammon to be your God. But when you remain faithful, grateful, and trusting in God no matter what, then you are walking in the spirit and not the flesh; thereby allowing the Almighty and living God to be your God.”

Pause for thought anyone????

Deep breath

So what to do?

I’m not saying we should all just sit at home and not face up to our financial commitments.

After-all we’ve got to eat; and so do the kids.

But who are you going to allow to be your God?

Who will determine your moods?

Who or what will you place your faith in?

On whom or what will you place your worth?

Once again, I have to ask this question.

Is It All About Earth?????

Is the reason you fast, pray, and go to church because you want God to bless you with “loadsa money”?

I’m exaggerating???

Ok..next time you go to church, listen out for the reason behind the loudest Amen.

I’m referring to ALL of us now.

It seems to me that we all need to be very honest with ourselves in order to make a decision.

Are we in this for ourselves?

Or

Are we in this for God?

Do we prefer ‘loadsa money’ on earth – at any cost?

Or

Do we do things properly – with love, and humility, in the knowledge that our real home – our real life – is in heaven.

Before I ask the next two questions I want to emphasise once more that I am talking about ALL of us – myself included.

When we spring to our feet during church services as the pastor makes a powerful prayer / declaration about money and success;

Are we praying to God?

Or

As a result of our desperation for wealth, possibly paying homage to mammon?????

©Segun Akande

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The Way You Are

Did you help Jesus die on the cross???

Or did you share in His suffering on the way to the cross???

I think we can safely agree that the answer to both questions is a loud and resounding NO.

By dying for us on the cross Jesus ensured that ALL our sins are forgiven.

He also ensured that we have a permanent guarantee of salvation.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross ‘with’ us.

He died on the cross ‘for’ us.

Unfortunately we seem to have developed a rather different kind of Christianity.

One in which we were actually there with Jesus – being nailed to the cross with Him.

One in which we carried our own crosses as we staggered with Jesus to Golgotha.

In-fact we were also whipped by the Roman soldiers at the same time as Jesus was!!!

Weren’t we?????

Hmmm…so why do we behave as if we were?

We have devised our own formulas for earning God’s love – via our own power and our own will.

Unfortunately there is only so far that our own power and will can take us.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine about a book called ‘The Secret’.

The question on both our minds was whether this book is God based or not. I went to sleep pondering on this. When I woke up the next morning the answer was clear.

Yes – the universe does have power. However that power stems from God. God created the universe and every drop of power that it has comes from God – not the universe.

In other words let’s not attribute one miliscule of God’s power and glory to the universe or anything else.

God shares His glory with nobody.

He sent His son to die for you so that He can forever be at peace with you.

He then blessed you specifically with unbelievable talents in order for you to serve Him – through His purpose for you.

The peace of mind that He so desperately wants for us is supposed to enable us to quit worrying, in order to focus purely on fulfilling our purpose.

However, as a result of our determination to do it on our own – by our own strengths and formulas – our minds are not at peace enough to focus fully on His purpose for us.

When God asked Solomon what He wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom. God blessed him with a wisdom like no other person on earth. In-fact his was a wisdom so great that rulers from across the planet journeyed thousands and thousands of miles just to witness him in action.

But guess what?

They all knew where the wisdom came from. They all recognised that his wisdom came from God.

In other words the glory was the Lord’s.

Your purpose, the very reason you are still alive, the very reason you are reading this article is for the sake of God’s glory.

This is why I continue to emphasise this important point; and be warned – I will do so over and over and over again.

Your talents are not for your sake or your glory. They are for the sake of God and those around you.

So you are successful and have millions, billions even, in your bank account. You have the best cars and the most amazing houses. But will you be taking them with you when heaven calls?

Maybe I’m wrong but I very much doubt whether an old man/woman on his/her death bed will be lamenting about not having made enough money. I’m pretty sure that the main concern will be whether or not he or she fulfilled their purpose in life, and what kind of legacy they are leaving behind – for the sake of God and others.

The really successful people in the world today didn’t set out to be marvelously wealthy. The wealth naturally followed as a result of their dedication to creating value for others.

Bill Gates wanted to make sure that every home has a computer.

Ford wanted to ensure that every man on the street can afford a car.

These guys were passionate about adding value to people’s lives. They were passionate about serving mankind.

Is it any wonder that Bill Gates has basically taken it upon himself to use his billions to eradicate malaria in Africa?????

Their number one passion is to better people’s lives.

We live in a world which is fast becomming all too much about money money money.

Don’t get me wrong now, I’m not saying that money is not good or that I don’t want any.

Sure I do!

Who doesn’t want comfort???

But an environment in which people will do anything for money can only spell doom.

Sorry people – not trying to make you depressed.

I’m merely trying to wake us up – myself included.

For Nigeria to change we need to think less about ‘money’ and ‘self’ and more about ‘purpose’ and ‘service’.

My purpose?

Helping you identify what your purpose is, and helping you to achieve it.

I have a vision of a Nigeria in which every man is his brother’s keeper.

– helping one another to be the very best they can be -in order to love and serve God, and to love and serve each other

-a Nigeria in which every man and woman has equal opportunity to succeed and prosper, for the sake of each other and for the sake of our country.

Whilst this cannot happen over night or by magic; it can happen over time if we all play our part – by discovering and fulfilling our purpose.

We are all here for a purpose. If we all discover what our purpose is and pursue it with all our hearts / strength and minds, Nigeria will most definitely become the great nation it was always destined to be.

Why?

Because it will be a country that is focused on God’s purpose.

The way you are is not by chance.

You are the way you are because God designed you that way.

– To love and serve Him,

– To love and serve others

– To love and serve your country.

If you are reading this article it means that God still has a plan for you.

In other words you still have a wonderful opportunity to fulfill your God given purpose.

God hasn’t given up on you, so why give up on yourself?????

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Still On His Shoulders

Can you remember the article titled ‘Now Picture This’?

I didn’t ask whether or not you liked it.

I asked whether or not you can remember it.

There was an interesting mix of reactions to that article.

Some people loved it.

Others thought that I may have been smoking some herbs or something!

Why did I write it?

I’ve always wondered what the mood in heaven was like during Jesus’ torture and crucifixion; and what transpired when Jesus returned triumphantly to Heaven.

I want you to try something.

Remember Handel? That’s right – he of Handel’s Messiah.

I want you to listen to the Amen finale whilst reading the second half of the article – when the gates opened for Christ to enter.

Don’t be shy.

Give it a try

It’s good to allow your imagination to free flow every now and then – in a positive way of-course.

Although it’s nigh impossible to fully grasp the magnificense and majesty of it all, it’s good to imagine what heaven is like – the beauty – the splendour – the glory; reminding us that despite the trials and tribulations of this life, there is a place we can look forward to going to – where there will be everlasting peace and everlasting joy.

No no no – this is not an excuse to give up on life on earth. You still have a lot do here – for God and for those around you.

Remember – you are here for a reason; to serve and bless the King of kings.

Imagining heaven every now and then serves as an effective reminder of the absurdly high price that Christ paid for us; a constant reminder of what is really important – love and service to God and each other.

So what is dear Segs saying this time????

Very simple

Stop living life as though earth is where it all ends.

Do your best to love and serve God.

Do your best to love and serve those around you.

Do all you can to bless those in need.

No matter what you’re going through there’s someone in a much worse situation.

Let go of the self pity

Let go of the anger

Let go of the anxiety

Let go of fear

Remember – God says ‘blessed is the man / woman whose iniquities are forgiven’.

Through Jesus all your sins are forgiven.

You don’t have to earn it.

It’s a free gift.

It’s not about which church you attend.

There’s no ‘them’ and ‘us’ in Christianity.

Which church you attend, whether Pentecostal, Baptist, or Anglican is irrelevant.

So stop comparing

Stop competing
We are all one family – united in Christ Jesus.

The only factor that is relevant is Jesus.

His two greatest commands are to love God with all your heart, strength, and mind; and to love your neighbour likewise.

Finally, I want to tell you how God cheered me up last week.

I was invited to say a few words at graduation ceremony last Saturday.

My message was on Vision and the importance of Adding Value.

After speaking, I felt rather unsatisfied with my performance. The students and guests really enjoyed my message. But as far as I was concerned I didn’t speak well at all (I’m a wee bit of a perfectionist).

As I’m sure you can imagine I ignored all the good points and focused only on the things I didn’t do well – the points I missed out.

Slowly but surely my mood descended into one of irritation and disappointment; getting more and more upset by the second.

Add to that the weekly Saturday afternoon torture of watching Arsenal disintegrate further and further into something more resembling of an under 9s’ girls team (sorry ladies) than a premier league side and I’m sure you can well imagine how I was feeling on Saturday evening!

Yes, Arsenal won 2 nil but the manner of the victory was so poor. And who knows what they’ll do on Monday night!!

Anyway, I digress.

Fortunately for me a good friend of mine called me on Saturday evening.

Being an astute observer of people’s moods he was quick to ask me what was wrong.

After explaining myself ( I left out the Arsenal bit) he told me some very important facts of life.

1. It’s not every day that we’ll get things spot on.

2. It’s the mistakes and failures that enable us to succeed

3. As sure as night will turn to day God will not give up on us – so we must not give up on Him or on ourselves

The next morning (Sunday morning) I woke up feeling a whole lot better.

A new day

Another chance to be the best I can be

On my way to church I remembered (actually the Holy Spirit reminded me but I don’t want to sound all spooky) that The Experience had been held on Friday.

I remembered that the House on The Rock usually has a service at Eko Hotel’s Expo Hall on the Sunday immediately after The Experience – giving us another chance to worship with Don Moen. There were off-course other excellent international and domestic artists but I’m a huge Don Moen fan so that’s all that mattered to me.

So I decided to go to House on The Rock’s Sunday service at Eko Hotel’s Expo Hall.

After parking the car, I decided to walk through Eko Hotel’s reception area rather than take the more direct route from the car park.

On my way to the Expo Hall I bumped into an old friend.

Whilst chatting in the reception area something wonderful happened.

Can you guess????

Don Moen walked out of one of the lifts.

Like a star struck teenager I said to my friend ‘that’s Don Moen. He’s my favourite Christian musician. I have to say hi. I just have to.’

‘Cool. Go for it,’ she replied.

“Naa, let me not bother him,” I replied.

Fortunately for me my feet decided to ignore my shyness, and before I knew it I had walked over to Don Moen to introduce myself.

“Mr. Moen, so good to see you. I’m attending this church today because of you. You are an inspiration.”

He was so nice. He put his arms around my shoulders and thanked me.

I was absolutely chuffed; totally made my day.

Needless to say the worship service that morning was awesome. Indeed it was during that service that God gave me my previous article – ‘On His Shoulders’.

It later occurred to me that it wasn’t a coincidence that I opted to take a different route from my car to the Expo hall.

It wasn’t a coincidence that I bumped into an old friend in the reception area of Eko Hotel.

It wasn’t a coincidence that Don Moen walked out of the lift whilst I was chatting with my friend.

God simply wanted to cheer me up.

God cares about you.

He’s going to do something to cheer you up today.

Just follow His lead.

Have a fab weekend.+

 

©Segun Akande

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Now Picture This

“What kind of a God is this? Isn’t that His Son that they’re battering down there???
How can he just sit there and watch as the very people He created beat His Son to a pulp?”

Gabriel looked on in disbelief as these questions terrorised his mind; his heart in turmoil.

Part of him wanted to scream in anger at his Master. The other part remained resolute in the knowledge that His master was just that – His master.

He reminded himself that the Master always knows best; that He’s omniscient – knowing yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

But had He made a mistake?

Had His plan gone horribly wrong?

Surely this was not supposed to happen?!! Continue reading

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Picture This

‘ As soon as he finished saying this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community……..
………… And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.’

Numbers 16 vs 31 -35

Not quite the light morning read you were expecting???

Sorry.

But don’t stop reading just yet.

It gets better.

The old testament gives many instances of God’s wrath – against His children; against Israel’s enemies; against all sorts to be honest.

Time and time again we are told of God’s anger towards His people, and of-course the inevitable punishments that followed. Continue reading

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God Is Happy With You

“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 10 vs 18

Are we ready to accept this???

Well …. I guess it’s the whole point of accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and saviour – right??!!!

So – we have a choice.

Either we accept that Christ has done, and indeed finished all the work / works, thereby enabling us to throw away once and for all those feelings of shame, guilt, fear, anxiety and constant worry.

Or Continue reading

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IT’S UP TO US.

‘David said to the Philistine, “you come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty…

“I often try to imagine how intimidating Goliath must have been.

The bible says he was over nine feet tall.

Over Nine flipping feet!!!! Continue reading

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Life’s Too Short

I had an interesting conversation a few days ago with a dear and ‘old’ friend of mine about how short this life really is. Sorry mate, but whichever way you look at it you are now officially old!!!

Yes yes I know, so am I.

Moving on swiftly.

Having agreed on the fact that this life is indeed short, he pointed out the importance of trying one’s very best to enjoy each and every day.

Whilst I fully agree with him I can’t help thinking that it’s such an unfortunate shame that in reality we spend most days worrying about everything and anything; from our bank account balance, to our health, to kids’ school fees, to that transaction, to what’s going to happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, next year and the year after that!!! Continue reading

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Have We Got It Wrong 2

There were some interesting reactions to yesterday’s article – ‘Have we got it wrong?’

Some people felt the article was spot on.

Others were irritated by what they thought was a blatant attack on marriage.

Some even felt the article was a little too tame.

The one thing we all agreed on is that something is definitely wrong somewhere.

Why did I point out those dark divorce rate statistics?

I wanted us all to be aware of the grim reality.

Not to scare.

Not to make those of us whose marriages didn’t make it feel better either.

But to encourage us to ask ourselves why.
As well as to goad us into dwelling on how we can play our own part in preventing those horrible rates from increasing.

For those of you who felt that yesterday’s article was an attack on marriage, I want to assure you that it most definitely was not.

Once again, I fully believe in marriage and really hope and pray to get it right one day.

To emphasise this point I want us to have a look at the following excerpt from yesterday’s article.

Quote
” Have we over-complicated matters?

Further still, has the excitement of the church wedding become so fevered that we have become blind to the fact that marriage is so much more than the wedding day???? ”

What I was implying is that we need to go back to the basics.

As I understand it, marriage is about two people coming together as one to build a life / family / future together.

I now believe that in order for a relationship / marriage to flourish there needs to be a great degree of commitment and selflessness from both parties.

Remember – Jesus pointed out that a man’s love for his wife is supposed to mirror His (Christ’s) love for the church.

Christ’s love for the church (you and I) is unconditional and selfless.

This requires regularly swallowing one’s pride and permanently dying to ‘self’.

In other words it is far more than the wedding day.

If there is one thing our generation seems to lack today, it is a commitment to seeing things through, no matter how challenging the circumstances may be.

Let’s take another look at 1st Corinthians 13.

Love is patient
Love is kind
it does not envy
it does not boast
it is not proud
it is not rude
it is not self seeking
it is not easily angered
it keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
it always protects
always trusts
always hopes
always perseveres

Just taking one glance at the above makes it pretty obvious to me where I went wrong.

I failed pretty miserably in most, if not all of them.

The above verses are so much more important in the context of marriage and relationships than going to church and saying ‘I do’?

I now believe that in marriage we need to permanently focus on the love that is described in 1st Corinthians 13.

This selfless love that the Apostle Paul describes is supposed to be a personification of Christ’s love for us.

Now – remember – Christ said ‘go and do likewise’.

Marriage is supposed to be the prime example of this selfless and unconditional love.

I certainly had to face some painful realisations about my own lack of commitment and selfishness when I was married.

For those of you who are not Nigerian please accept my apology, as I need to focus on our beloved country for now.

As I pointed out in yesterday’s article, we love our big weddings in Nigeria; to the extent that many jump into marriages in order to enjoy the big wedding day and for the general rush and experience of being able to say ‘I do’.

For some it is because of family pressure; for some it is for financial reasons; for some it is simply for the thrill and apparent magnitude of the wedding day; for some it is just to settle down. For some it is love.

Everyone has their reasons; and none should ever be judged.

But what happens next?

Unfortunately many experience disillusion and disappointment. The end result is more often than not a breakdown of communication, leading to an inevitable split.

Much to the irritation of some people I spoke with yesterday regarding this topic I am still a little hesitant to be as blunt as I probably need to be on this topic.

Why?

Because I know that I made many mistakes and I am still learning from them.

Many couples are friends before they marry. But for some reason, as soon as they utter the words ‘I do’ something changes.

Suddenly the pressure of expectations from each other rears its ugly head.

Whereas before they used to have fun and enjoy each other’s company, suddenly the weight of expectation and the pressures that society seems to heap on each individual strangles the life out of the friendship / relationship.

So what do we need to learn from this?

1. From a personal point of view I believe that we need to fully recognise and understand our expectations before saying ‘I do’.

2. We need to ensure that the fun does not disappear from our relationships.

3. We need to ensure that we do not allow society or church doctrines to dictate how we should think, or how we should conduct ourselves in our marriages.

This is what I was referring to when I pointed out that there is no where in the bible that says a man and a woman got married in a church.

Is it possible that the expectations, concepts and precepts of society’s attitude towards marriage and how a married couple should and shouldn’t behave have basically robbed many marriages of the joys of a free, loving and intimate friendship / relationship?

In other words, have our societal ‘norms’ and expectations – be they financial, behavioural, church or otherwise, eroded the authenticity and joys of relationships?

I often wonder which is more authentic.
To be married and living a life in which one is constantly keeping up with appearances for the sake of societal norms and expectations?

Or to be in a genuine relationship of love outside of marriage?

Yes I know. It’s a little radical.

But is it really???

I am not saying one is better than the other.

I’m also not saying that one is right and the other is wrong.

But I have come to the realisation that contrary to how I used to frown upon couples who are not married living together, I now see absolutely nothing wrong with it; so long as both hearts are committed to a lifelong relationship / partnership.

Remember when Samuel anointed David to be king of Israel?!

Let’s remind ourselves shall we!!

‘ When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’

But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’

1st Samuel 16 vs 6 – 8

So – which do you think God prefers?

To be in a marriage for appearances sake or to be with someone out of wedlock but be genuinely in love and wanting to build a future together????!!!

Does the fact that they didn’t go to church to get married mean that the Lord frowns on the relationship???

I am in fact very pro marriage.

My hope and prayer is that the two articles encourage us all to reflect on the importance of love – unconditional love – selflessness – authentic friendships and authentic relationships.

Be true to yourself.

Don’t just be another clone of your church or your society.

Take note – if you’re not true to yourself, eventually the real ‘you’ will come out, and it is very possible that your partner will not like what he or she sees.

Be true to each other – in terms of who you are, what you like and what you don’t like. Surely this is the only way in which you can really know whether somebody likes you for ‘you’.

God gave us all individual minds; individual characters; our own gifts; our own talents.

He purposely created you to be different from the next person.

Don’t be a clone of society.

Don’t be a clone of your church.

Be true to yourself and be true to God.

Remember, in as much as we are all in this together – to support, to encourage and to uplift one another, your relationship with God is between you and God.

For those of you who have never been married I say this.

Don’t be scared.

I firmly believe that marriage is a blessing.

But go into it with both your eyes open.

If you find your marriage in a rut, try as best you can to remember what you love (or loved) about your partner.

Then do your best to practice the love that is described in 1st Corinthians 13.

Finally, we are all on a learning experience; a long journey in which we need to do our best to continue to grow into the people that God created us to be.

On this journey we will make mistakes and we will at times fail.

But we must never give up on ourselves or think for one second that we cannot be better – for God and for each other.

Most importantly we must never ever give up on God’s ability to mould us into the wonderful and loving people He created us to be.

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THE GREAT REVIVAL

Sorry people, just one more tiny wincy memory of London 2012.

The picture that continues to shine ever so brightly in my mind (apart from the gorgeous smiles of Alison Felix and Shelly Anne Fraser Pryce – sorry but they’re just so adorable!!!) is that of thousands of athletes united in a celebration of sports; a celebration of unity; and yes, a celebration of love. I remember I kept wanting to be beamed up (in star trek fashion) to the stadium – to experience what must have been an amazing atmosphere for just a few seconds.

My friend Katie summed it up nicely when she sent me a message, basically saying that it demonstrated the fact that contrary to what many fear, we are not as separate as we might think.

So what was it that united all those people in such loving and joyful celebration?

There is of-course a very strong case that it was simply sports that united them. Indeed I’ve heard it said many times that sports unites’ the world – especially footy – sorry ladies but it’s true! Ok ok – it unites the men of this world anyway!!

But I can’t help feeling that it runs much deeper than that.

I personally believe that we humans were created to love one another. We were created to relate with one another.

We were created to celebrate with each other in times of joy.

We were created to support one another in times of sadness and grief.

We were created to encourage and uplift each other in times of failure.

We were created to share joy with others in their moments of achievement and success.

In short, we were created to help, support and share with one another at all times, in all moments – whether happy or sad.

We were not created to judge one another.

We were not created to put each other down.

We were not created to accuse or slander.

We were not created to bitch about one another.

We were not created to kick others when they’re down.

We were created to LOVE one another.

Please note – the God that created us is a God of love. In-fact just before he created man he said ‘let us create man in our own image’.

Our God is the personification of unconditional love, humility and mercy. So much so that because He knew that we could not attain the righteousness necessary for heaven ourselves, He sent His son to do it for us.

So – the ability to love unconditionally is already inside us.

His greatest commandment is to Love Him (God) with all our hearts, our strength and our minds. His second greatest commandment is for us to love each other, also with all our hearts, strength, and mind.

My next point may seem rather controversial. Trust me – it is aimed as much at myself as it is against anyone else.

I sometimes ask myself – do I really love God? Or do I love Him on condition of what He can do for me?

Do we love Him on condition of how much He can bless us?

Do we go to church out of love or out of the fear of God being displeased with us if we don’t go?

Do we want to serve God in church in that particular area because we passionately want to dedicate those talents He gave us to serving Him? Or is it to please the pastor as well as earn more love from God?

How many of us, myself included, truly love our God unconditionally? By this I mean without any kind of hidden agenda of what He can do for us?

My biggest concern is the message that is being preached in our churches today. It is a message of doctrines (formula) for God’s blessings. What concerns me the most is that we are raising a future generation that is being molded in the belief that money is the answer to everything – fulfillment, joy, peace, the lot. They are being fooled into believe that a relationship with God is all about – ‘a blessing for your fasting, a blessing for your church attendance, a blessing for your tithes, a blessing for your offering (I shudder every time I hear ‘offering time, Blessing time’ in a church). Uuugh!!! Sorry – just shuddered again.

Unfortunately for many, a relationship with God has more or less become – ‘blessing me for my works Lord’.

Many years ago some foreign emissaries visited Nigeria for a couple of days. On their way to the airport, when returning, one of them said, ‘this country is very interesting. I have never seen so many churches. There’s one literally every few metres. And yet there is so much poverty. Surely there’s something wrong there.’

In other words the result of our ‘me me me’ relationships with God is that we have become a nation that is poor in unity, poor in morals, poor in standards, poor in principles, and littered in poverty – all as a direct consequence of our abject ‘poverty in love’.

Once again, I am not attacking church leaders.

We are ALL to blame.

A few years ago after a rip-roaring sermon by a pastor on love, I was so uplifted and so moved by what he had to say that I walked up to him (never met him before, didn’t know him) after the service to thank him for an excellent message. During our very brief conversation I said to him ‘I genuinely believe that the true Great Revival will be love’. When I said this he looked a tad confused and to be quite frank, not at all interested. Not sure whether it was what I said that he wasn’t interested in or maybe he just thought I was rather boring (that’s very possible actually – maybe he just thought I was boring!!!), but anyway, I distinctly remember feeling a little disappointed by the fact that this man didn’t get what I was saying. So, Rather like that poor duck that used to trudge across our TV screens whenever a batsman was out first ball during a cricket match, I also trudged off, feeling sorry for myself, with a small but very irritating cloud hovering over my head.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that so many churches have done so many revivals in Nigeria – most of these revivals revolve around personal breakthroughs of one kind or another. There is nothing wrong with this. Indeed in some aspects it is good and very necessary.

However, I personally believe that the Great Revival that is needed in our land is a revival of LOVE.

So why do we struggle with grasping the importance and necessity of God’s two greatest commandments?

I genuinely believe the reason is because we preach and talk about God’s grace and mercy but we don’t truly believe or walk in it. We still think and behave as if we have to earn God’s love.

The bible says that when we give our lives to Christ, our old self is dead, and our new one (through Christ) is born. However it may just be that due to our unwillingness to accept that Christ has already done ALL the work for us, we continue to work hard every day to get rid of our ‘old self’. In other words we continue to fight a battle that has already been won – by Jesus Christ.

The consequence of this is that rather than focusing on serving God with our hearts, as well as loving and serving others, our focus is primarily on what we can and must do to be BLESSED; what we can and must do to get our BREAKTHROUGH.

As my dear ex would say, “Honestly??!!!!!”

So who are we kidding?!!!! God can see through us and knows exactly where our hearts truly lie. Hello???!!!

I’m not criticizing. I’m just as bad.

But together we can come out of this continuous and terrible cycle of the ‘me me me’ syndrome.

The bible says that ‘love never fails’.

Let’s give it a try.

Let’s accept once and for all that Christ really has done all the work for us.

Let’s start focusing more on how we can love and serve God genuinely – NOT for appearances sake or so that God can bless us and people can say good things about us.

Let’s decide today to STOP the WORKS and DO the LOVE – for GOD and for EACH OTHER.

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