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December 25, 2012

As we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ, I think it is expedient for everyone to make sure they have an accurate understanding of who Jesus really is.
To use the words of C.S. Lewis:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say….You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come up with the patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Josh McDowell said “You cannot put Him on the shelf as a great moral teacher. That is not a valid option. He is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God. You must make a choice”.
So I ask, who do you say Jesus is?
And, who is God to you?

Kingdom Life Resource Center

Language:   ENGLISH      FRENCH

Irrespective of what people say with their mouth, we know that mighty few people are foolish enough to say in their heart that there is no God. Ps.14:1

Men know there is God; many just don’t know who He really is.

As God has not made His existence obscure to humanity, men know God; though they may refuse to acknowledge Him as God. Rom.1:21

I work in a society that is as diverse as you can imagine. When you have more than ten tribes in a small city of half a million people and each group tries to hold unto their tongue, you get to hear God called by various names.

God is called Yalla in Wolof, Nacienbati in Manjago, Emmitey in Jola, Putum in Karoninka, Ubangiji in Hausa, Chineke in Igbo, and Olorun in Yoruba, to mention a few.

I have also…

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Becoming Your Real Self

July 10, 2012

Is this truly You?

In other words, this might not be the real you. You have an identity in Christ. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…” 2 Cor.5:17

And mind you, we don’t all have the same identity in Christ Jesus. We are all unique. God’s plan for you is as good, beautiful and glorious as His plan for any of His other children; but they are not the same. Jer.29:11

You need to see yourself the way God sees you. See yourself through God’s eyes, and the way to do that is to find out what He has said about you.

Your position in God is secure and does not change.

Your location and your situation may vary, these do not change the opinion of God about you and they should not affect your opinion about yourself.

Find out who you really are. Prayerfully discover yourself in the scriptures.

Keep this image before your face by continually beholding it and confessing it.

Live by faith. Don’t walk by sight; don’t let the situation around you take your eyes/heart off what God has shown you.

Remember, …the just shall live by his faith. Hab.2:4. This is not a corporate faith, and this is not going to be the faith of God exercised on your behalf, but your faith.

Keep your eyes on your true identity. Walk in obedience to God i.e. His leading. Be sensitive to the Spirit to know the right works that are required of you (that your faith requires) from time to time.

As you steadfastly behold His face, seeing yourself as He sees you and doing those things He would have you do, you’ll begin to notice a gradual but steady change in your situation. You are being brought into conformity with how you see yourself in Him, the real you.

~ David Adebola Oke

Who is GOD to you?

June 29, 2012

Language:   ENGLISH      FRENCH

Irrespective of what people say with their mouth, we know that mighty few people are foolish enough to say in their heart that there is no God. Ps.14:1

Men know there is God; many just don’t know who He really is.

As God has not made His existence obscure to humanity, men know God; though they may refuse to acknowledge Him as God. Rom.1:21

I work in a society that is as diverse as you can imagine. When you have more than ten tribes in a small city of half a million people and each group tries to hold unto their tongue, you get to hear God called by various names.

God is called Yalla in Wolof, Nacienbati in Manjago, Emmitey in Jola, Putum in Karoninka, Ubangiji in Hausa, Chineke in Igbo, and Olorun in Yoruba, to mention a few.

I have also discovered that ways in which men try to reach God are as diverse as the many translations of His name.

Of course, names are important, but what is more important about God is who He really is, and not what you call Him. After all, He is actually greater than whatever name you cal Him.

What path, what route, and what way are you taking to reach God?

There is a way that seems right to man, but the end of it is destruction. Prov.14:12

That it seems right doesn’t make it right. That you believe it is right doesn’t make it right. That you are taking a path in sincerity, innocently, or out of naivety doesn’t make it right.

People try to reach God in many ways, but there is only one way to come to the Father, and that is through Jesus.

Jesus said: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no one comes to the Father, but by me. Jn.14:6

This is a profound and categorical statement.

How do you see God?

We know God is the author of life, He created everything and everyone. He is the landlord of the worlds, everything belongs to Him.

Though you live on His property, He doesn’t owe you anything – after all, you don’t pay Him any rent. You pay no utility bill, yet He maintains the property; light, water, and gas (sun, rain, and air) are supplied.

How you see God will determine how you come (the way you take) to God, and this will in turn determine your experience of God.

Do you call Him the “All Powerful One”, “the Almighty”, and you just don’t experience His power? He just seems never to use His might in your favour.

Do you call Him the Creator of all things, the One who has all things, but you appear to lack everything you really want? No joy, no assurance of tomorrow. He just seems not favourably disposed to you, not willing to give you from His plenty. You’ve worked very hard all your life, and there is still no sense of fulfilment.

You say He is Omnipotent, but it’s like the God factor is absent in your own life. It’s always as if the cards are stacked against you. No peace, no love; but a constant fear in your heart: fear of tomorrow, fear for your life, your health, job, children, etc.

You can’t shake off the feeling that He is out there, but except for His sun and rain that are there for all, you just don’t experience Him

How do you see Him? What do you call Him?

Have you ever dared to call Him Father? Did you ever see Him as one?

You say He is not your father, and you are right. You have not yet become His child. But, imagine what difference it would make to have the Landlord of the entire universe as your loving Father.

I understand you never knew Him as Father.

Well, He is, you are just not in His house, and you don’t know the way to Him. You are lost, and you lack the right to call Him Father.

If you will ever come to know Him as Father, you‘ll have to come through Jesus Christ, the only legitimate way to become a child in the house of the Father.

But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name Jn.1:12

Then you will be able to see and experience Him, the way a child sees his father and experiences his fatherliness.

To the child, the father is all powerful, knows everything and can do all things, and above all the father loves.

The father in turn bestows love on his child with all his power, knowledge and ability.

Come into His house today, and as a child truly enjoy the love of the Father.

I call Him Father, what do you call Him?

And just before you join me in calling Him Father, ask yourself: has He become my Father?

Just as there was a day in time, that the Lord Jesus became the Son of God…

You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ps.2:7, Heb.5:5

There is a day when you become a child of God, when you start having Him as your Father. You can make that day today.

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. Heb.4:7, Ps.95:7-8

Today is the day of salvation.

…now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation. 2 Cor.6:2

If today, you shall confess with your mouth Jesus as your Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved Rom.10:9. You become a child of God.

If you have decided in your heart to have God as your Father today, say this prayer with your mouth:

Lord Jesus, I receive and confess you today as my Lord and Saviour. I thank you for your death and resurrection, thank you for making me a child of God today. I hand over the reigns of my life to you, take control and live your life in me. Amen.

Congratulations!

Welcome to God’s family. I will surely want to hear from you.

Stay blessed.

~ David Adebola Oke

Love and Forgiveness

June 19, 2012

Love and Forgiveness         (2)

We walk in love and forgiveness, doing good to all men, especially those of our kind” – the first line of our creed.

It is safe to conclude from the earlier post on love that: man can not truly love independent of God; man can not out love God; but he can by God’s power at work in him, love as God does.

In this post, we will quickly revisit God’s love; our love for God; love for self; and love for others, given particular attentions to loving our enemies and the role of forgiveness in all these. We will also attempt to show that the power to love comes through faith, and that it is exercised by knowledge.

True love is not mere emotions; it is expressed as an act of one’s will. An exercise of the will involves power and knowledge.

It is relatively easy for us to love God. When we realize how much God loves us and consider all the wonderful things He has done and still does for us, we’ll discover that it is not so difficult to love Him back.

We can not love in our own strength, not with God’s kind of love, as no man in the flesh can please God Rom.8:8. In our natural ability, we just lack the power and the motivation to love some people. In Christ, God gives both the motivation and the ability. This is where faith is required.

God’s love for us is perfect, never changes; it is constant. Rom.8:35-39. Such love is beyond what human mind can comprehend, but fortunately one doesn’t have to understand why he is loved in order to experience and enjoy that love. On the other hand, our love for God and for others grows as we experience more of God.

Our total love for God and complete trust in Him helps in our love of self. Truly believing that He has forgiven us just as He said helps us to forgive ourselves of past mistakes. The knowledge that He loves us; that He knows and does the best for us, helps in reconciling our selves to any real or perceived physical disabilities or inadequacies, removing all forms of inferiority complex.

It is not our love for God that makes us trust Him. Our faith in God is built on His love for us. The more we experience this love, the stronger our love for Him and our faith in Him grow. Love trusts, but trust must be earned. God has earned our trust in many ways, firstly and chiefly, by given His Son up for us while we were still sinners.

Likewise, whatever limited trust we will put in any man must have been earned. That we love a man and that we have forgiven him of his wrong does not mean we should go all out to trust him. The very fact that an arm is made of flesh is evidence that it is liable to fail. So, we should always leave room for mistakes (failures) in our relationships with men.

Jesus answering a lawyer quoted the following scriptures from Deut.6:5 and Lev.19:18

…, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” Matt 22:37-40 KJV

Literally, Jesus said that by keeping these two commandments you would have kept all the others.

If you love God with everything in you, you would never want to do anything to wrong or annoy Him. Also, if you love your neighbour as yourself, you would not do to or think towards him anything you wouldn’t love done to or thought towards you.

The Master raised the stake, making love seem more unattainable, when He demanded that we love our enemies.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matt 5:43-44 KJV

This way we are not allowed to screen the recipients of our love, all men are qualified.

In the same manner that we through faith appropriate grace for other things we have in Christ Jesus, we must appropriate grace for love. We confess the words of God about love and the ability He has given us to love. It will help to make a list of individuals for whom we have a definite lack of love; for whom we feel hatred, bitterness, offence, envy, etc and pray for them, pronouncing tangible blessings into their lives.

This is how love becomes a faith walk. This is how we receive power to love even the most difficult of men.

But how do you truly love a man, and still consider him an enemy? This calls for intelligence.

We must not be naïve as Christians, but as wise as serpents Matt.10:16, Prov.22:3; 27:12. A wise man sees evil from afar and hides.

With the love of God in us, we don’t consider men as enemies but we are quick to identify people who see us as enemies and come to terms with that. While we love them and pray for them, we never assume a shift in their stand against us, so we never let down our guards.

Forgiveness

Jesus admonished that we forgive men that offend us if we expect God to forgive our offences Matt. 6:14-15, Mk. 11:25. Elsewhere, He said it is better to leave your offerings at the altar and go to settle issues with your brother before making your prayers.

This greatly underscores the spiritual importance of walking in love and forgiveness. If things are not right between you and your brother, forget it, things can not be right between you and God. Your Christian walk is virtually put on pause until you have released every man.

Forgiveness, not holding to offences seems difficult because it is our associates, friends and relatives that offend us most. These are people that we believe should know better and we could be so hurt that we wouldn’t even mention it to them. It becomes a grudge.

However, no matter how much we may try to justify our position, we should know that this shortchanges us in every way: spiritually, emotionally, medically, mentally etc. If only for genuine self interest, we must let men go.

Years ago, Pastor Poju taught a principle that has never failed me. He said you can always excuse people on any of the following premises:

  1. You can assume it was just a misunderstanding, the fellow meant no harm
  2. You can assume he did it out of ignorance, didn’t know it was wrong or that you’ll be hurt
  3. You can assume the fellow did it under influence; he was used by the devil against you. Then you can direct your anger at Satan and not at him

The idea here is that the devil knows something good is ahead for you and he is using men against you, bringing offences your way so as to create a stumbling block for you. Well, if you truly believe something great is coming your way, you will quickly release men. Or, which one is more important to you: your future or holding people down?

I didn’t say any of these will be easy, but as a song writer wrote: If you catch hell, don’t hold it; if you are going through hell, don’t stop. Just go ahead.

A couple of years ago, a lady, a chief executive was greatly hurt by her staff when she happened on a Facebook chat in which they maligned her, saying all sort of rubbish about her. I met them begging are. She told me how much she trusted these particular staff and had invested a lot in them.

My advice to her was simple and short: for her own peace, health, and relationship with God, she must forgive them and must not love them any less than ever before.

Does that mean they should not be punished? No! It doesn’t. They should be justly punished, more so because she loved them. Why? So that they will learn; and thus avoid a bigger pitfall in future. Love disciplines and is disciplined.

In the above explanations and examples, men were excused. We were able to arrive at some logical reasons to continue to love them and thus release them.

However, love will not always appear logical and self interest should not be a motivation for true love.

Also, even when man is careless enough to jettison self interest, the commandment still stands that he must love.

The Lord upgraded the second golden rule in Jn.13:34, and stressed the upgrade in Jn.15:12

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Jn.13:34

Jesus knew some people will have difficulties loving even their own self and thus no qualms not loving their brother.

Now, this appears like a tall order. How did Jesus love us?

In man’s case before God, we were lawful captives of the enemy, and we were in enmity with God. Yet God loved us. There was no logical reason why He should; this is a love that surpasses knowledge. Eph.3:19.

We had no case for our release, no reason why He should set us free. Yet He loved us and wanted us released.

As a just God, He could not just release us out of love; for love is not a legal tool, but mercy is (lawyers can not ask for the love of the judge, but they do plead for leniency). Mercy had to be invoked, but on what ground? For the Judge to remain impartial, Jesus came and shed His blood for our justification.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 KJV

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. … But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:6-8 KJV

Anxieties, offences, and bitterness are known to have health implications. They have been linked to indigestions, constipations, heart problems etc.

For a scientific view on why you should always forgive, you may want to read Dr. Ellen Weber’s post, A Brain on Forgiveness.

The post talks about the mental benefits of forgiveness, how stress defaults to unforgiveness and shrinks the brain, and how holding a grudge slows down the brain. It states that feelings of anger, sadness, and resentment overtime can rub your contentment.

Just imagine that. Why on earth would I want my brain to slow down and shrink because of what somebody did to me, somebody that is probably enjoying his own life, oblivious of my anger?

Considering the fact that walking in love is a faith walk, considering the sacrifices we are called to make in loving our enemies and releasing men that bitterly hurt us, a recent tweet can not be more on point:

“You can’t walk in love for free…it costs something.” – a tweet from Joyce Meyer.

Yes, it sure does cost something, but walking in unforgiveness costs much more.

~ David Adebola Oke

All Things Are Yours!

June 9, 2012

All Things Are Yours (…the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours)

God is good and only good can come from Him.

There is no good in Satan; he is the source of all evil.

When we were with Satan, all evil had been given to us; both the ones we experienced and the ones we did not. We could explore evil to any extent, facing its attending consequences.

In Christ, we do not lack the abilities we had in the world; we loose the love, passion and taste for evil. We lack the willingness to do evil as we no longer derive pleasure from such. The sinful/evil nature does not rule over us again.

In God, every good thing has been given to us along with Christ Jesus Eph.1:3; the ones we have and the ones we don’t have. It is our responsibility to explore good as much as we can, enjoying the rewards. The limits have been taken off. If any seems to exist, it is only in our hearts. 2 Pet.1:3

That you do not have certain things does not change the fact that they have been given to you. All things are yours. You don’t have everything, and you don’t have to have everything for not all things are expedient for you. 1 Cor.10:23

Christianity is more exciting when for a higher purpose you choose not to have certain things even though all things are within your reach. However, the great lacks seen in the body of Christ today are mostly not by choice but due to lack of knowledge, not knowing how to take possession of what has been given.

There is a difference between been given something and having that thing, and there is a process moving from the former to the later.

There are many ways of having things in this world, but there is a Way of having things in the Kingdom. We can only walk in this Way through faith i.e. the process between the states of been given and having is faith.

We exchange faith for what God has given.

Faith is a process.

A process involves more than one step or stage; it is a systematic way of doing things; a series of events that produce change or development.

At times the process is sped up and all the stages look like an act; other times the stages are well defined, separated in time. However, a fundamental truth to accept in order to understand how faith works is that it is a process.

~ David Adebola Oke


Beholding His Face

May 29, 2012


As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake, with thy likeness.” Ps.17:15 KJV

Beholding His face produces satisfaction in me.

This satisfaction is based on the fact that when I come out of meditation (when I awake), I find myself looking as I saw myself in Him when I beheld His face i.e. I find in me, in my life, those things I saw concerning me in Him as I looked into the perfect law of liberty.

Every time I behold Him I see something new; my satisfaction is that when I awake, I see that thing in me.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 1 Cor.3:18 KJV

“…from glory to glory” means this is not a one time thing, it is a continuous process. We are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory.

The more I look intently at the Word (Jesus Christ), the more I look like Him i.e. the more I become all He said about me.

~ David Adebola Oke

Love (…for the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts)

May 19, 2012

Love and Forgiveness     (1)

We walk in love and forgiveness, doing good to all men, especially those of our kind” – the first line of our creed.

(more…)


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