Word Clinic 33: Blood-washed

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It was a crazy weekend. It was Saturday morning and I had not done my laundry for days. The portable washing machine I had was malfunctioning and I couldn’t survive one more week because I was running out of clean clothes. So with all the resolve I could muster, I shut my doors to clinical work and set out to do my chores. I was going to go the traditional way.

This was one chore that was stressful for me. Bending my back, scrubbing those clothes with my hands soaked in water and soap; squeezing water out of those fibres. What a herculean task! But I survived. And after about three hours, I was done. Then there came the feeling. I felt good. Really good. Staring at those clothes, which were once dirty and smelling, now sitting in my bucket sparkling and scenting good, made my day. If my only reward for this toil of washing was this clean feeling, it was worth it. And then the Holy Spirit drew the analogy.

I was quickly reminded that I was blood-washed. Oh how sorry my pre-salvation state was! When I was buried in the mud of sin helpless. Oh how unsightly it was, knowing the terrible things I wasn’t supposed to do, and finding myself doing those exact same things. And then how the Love of God, embodied in a human form as Jesus Christ, came down to the earth, to work His work of showing me how to live, and finally dieing on a cross, to pay the utmost ransom for my redemption.

I was quickly reminded that the ransom was His blood, which was His life. For the life of a flesh is in the blood. And that blood did the cleansing. A cleansing that was far from superficial. For it purged even to the conscience, giving me a new life and a clean slate. A cleansing that not only forgave my sins, but one that justified me, like I had never sinned. For the cleansing work of His blood defied all cleaning mechanism ever known. For it took care of all sins – those committed and those to be committed.

I could picture His blood straining through every fibre of my being, doing its purifying work. For the blood that made me perfect at the new birth, was still doing its purifying work of keeping me perfect. Its potency is unrivalled, ever able to keep me from evil.

Then I discovered the feelings were unparalleled. For the feeling I had when I stood peering at those clean clothes, was nothing compared to that I now had after reminiscing on the finished work of Christ. It felt so good staring at my new man in Christ. It felt really good.

And as I carried the bucket to spread my clothes, I was grinning from ear to ear, my risorius aching. I couldn’t stop smiling, for I enjoyed the feeling, and was the more motivated to live out the resurrected life. For it feels good to be blood-washed.

gidmedico

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Word Clinic 32: Don’t wait till their funeral

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Years back, during my medical school days, my attention was drawn to a magnificient potrait bearing the picture of a man on a professorial regalia, standing on a small table beside the entrance to the main theatre. I drew nearer to the portrait, my eyes fixed on it, wondering what the occasion was. Then a book in front of the portrait caught my eyes. Peering at it for a while, I discovered what book it was – a book of condolences. Then the occassion dawned on me – the professor was late.

In a bid to satisfy my curiosity, I flipped through the pages of this book. I had never been through one before. What sought of things were written in such a book? A book for the dead? Did the dead need a book? Or was it for his family members? I began skimming through it. “I dearly miss the professor. He was such a warm person…  – Dr Ibe” “… His smiles took away depression. He always found a way to get through to you. We’ve lost a great gem. – Mrs F. S. Adeleke” “He was my teacher. And much more, a father. He was a giver to the core. His kindness is unparalleled. Prof, you left too soon – A. S. Ojo” And the accolades went on and on. This man must have been a great person of impact, I thought. For not only did he reach the pinnacle of academic pursuit, but he broke through to the innermost depth of people’s heart. I concluded.

As I walked away from the table buried in my thoughts, the Holy Spirit said to me, “I wished they said those things they wrote to him while he was yet alive, he may have lived longer.” I stopped suddenly, startled. What the Holy Spirit had just said was the whole truth. And this would lead me to a train of thoughts.

We seldom speak words of affirmation to those around us. Words like “Well done”, “You’re doing great”, “You look good”, “That was so kind of you”, “Thank you”, the list being endless. We assume our love ones know we appreciate and acknowledge who they are, and the good they do. But they want to hear us say them.

I can recall the awkwardness that filled the atmosphere when I got home, and for the first time told my sister, “I love you!” She didn’t know how to respond, because she was surprised. But as seconds passed, I saw her expression change. She felt good. She felt loved. Not just because she assumed I did loved her, but especially because she heard me say it.

In Judges six eleven, we find Gideon who was to be appointed by God to lead Israel against the Midianites, at a winepress threshing wheat. When I first read there, I wondered if the winepress was the right place to thresh wheat. Then I found out why he did that in the same scripture – to hide it from the Midianite. He was indeed timid. So it was surprising when the angel of God in his salutation called him a mighty man of valor. Valor ko, valley ni. But as I read on, I understood why he called Gideon by that appellation. He saw into the future and called those things that be not, as though they were. He had one intent – to affirm and encourage Gideon.

Joshua was overwhelmed at the start of his ministry in Joshua chapter one. Moses had just died and he had to step in practically into Moses’ shoe. It was in this moment that God said to him, “… be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged…” Now, those were words of affirmation. Those were words that lifted the soul of Joshua and spurred him on to the massacre he later unleased on the Canaanites.

If God spoke these words of affirmation and reassurance to Gideon and Joshua, and other men and women He walked with, then we can’t do otherwise. He expects us to extend His hand of comfort to others. He wants us to show gratitude to our love ones and every one around us. He wants us to remind those around us of their worth and purpose.

When last did you tell your mum and dad that you love them? Parent, when last did you appreciate your kids? Employer, have you told that employee of yours how hardworking he is, and how you trust him? Or are you waiting till when he quits his job out of frustration? Church leader, have you commended that committed member of yours? Are words like “thank you” alien to your vocabulary?

Why wait till their funeral before letting out those sweet words? Why starve that love one of yours the merriment that sweet soothing words do to the heart? Why not decide that you would daily be of value to those around you, by spurring them towards their purpose with your words.

The words of the pure are pleasant words (Proverbs 15:16). You are God’s righteousness. You are the pure. Let others hear those pleasing words. Words of affirmation. Let them hear it now. And not at their graveyards.

gidmedico

The Will Of God 09 – God’s Will for His creation

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The bible, the book of books, began with a striking phrase – In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. His creation was both celestial and terrestrial; material and immaterial; physical and spiritual. We will later find in scriptures that the heavenly beings consist of angels, in all forms – some so tall that they could set one foot on the sea and the other on land; others so mysterious, described as beasts having six wings and full of eyes within. We also find that in the earthly realm, man, the cream and crown of God’s creation, had the great lights, stars, water, flying and land creatures at his command.

Proverbs sixteen four makes a succinct statement about the purpose of all God’s creation,  “The Lord has made all things for Himself.” He made all things, everything, with no exception. “For the world and all that is in it belong to the LORD ; the earth and all who live on it are His.”(Psalms 24:1 GNB)

God is the object of creation, and not the people or things created. He made all things for Himself. They were created by specification to suit Him. Everything created was made for His use, to show forth His glory and to give Him pleasure.

The psalmist in Psalms nineteen verse one resounds, ” The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.” In chapter 145 verse 10 he continues, ” All your works shall praise you, O Lord ; and your saints shall bless you.” Creation by design was made to reflect in essence, the glory and character of the Creator. The created are to exist in such a manner that only the Creator is seen and heard. His works, animate and inanimate, were made to sing His praises.

God should savor the aroma of His creation and derive pleasure. “For you are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.” said the twenty four elders in Revelations four eleven, as they fell before the throne of majesty and worshipped.

God alone is worthy. Not the created, whether the most beautiful of angel or the most strong of men. None is qualified to be the object of creation, other than the Creator. God alone should derive the pleasure, and the satisfaction from the existence and exploit of the creation. For He alone deserves the glory for all His works does, He alone deserves the honour for all their lives exude, and He exclusively should have the power, to do as He wills in their lives.

For the will of God for His creation is that they please Him. Simple. For by His will they were created and have their being.

gidmedico

Word Clinic 31: Love Objective Love Subjective

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I’ve met folks who insist that God doesn’t love them. And when I ask why, they go on to mention how God has blessed the other brother or sister more than them. When I try encouraging them by stating that God loves all of us His creation equally, they blatantly disagree. “If God’s love is everlasting, why am I not currently experiencing it?” they would ask.

The reason there appears to be a dilemma as to whether God loves all of us equally is because many believers fail to understand that God’s love can be categorized based on human’s perception into objective love and subjective love.

Love objective. God is love. First John four eight establishes that. God does not change. Malachi three six, among other scriptures testify to this. If these are true, then God’s love never change. What that means is that God doesn’t become more loving. His love for you doesn’t increase or decrease because of what you’ve done or failed to do.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV) That was God speaking to Israel. The love of God is everlasting. It is His essence. It continues to emanate from His person, never appreciating nor depreciating. “Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:8) It can continue heading in one direction, never fading, even if it generates no response. This is objective love.

The love He has for sinners is the exact same measure He has for saints. The love God gives is never based on our performance, “For God so loved the world that He gave Jesus…” (John 3:16) And when did God do that? While we were still sinners. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV). The love of God shines, on sinners and saints alike. But why does the saint seem to enjoy the love of God in a measure greater than the sinner does?

Love subjective. Even though God’s love towards all is the same, everyone does not experience the same measure of that love. Why? Because the measure of God’s love we experience is dependent on our response to it. The saint is saved and the sinner is not, because the former responded to the Love of God that hung on a tree, by believing.

These were the words of Christ, ” Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:21 NIV) Someone may read this and conclude that God’s love is conditional. Well, it depends on which you’re considering. God’s objective love is unconditional while God’s subjective love is. You loving God by obeying His words is your positive response to God’s love. And as you do this, the Spirit of God, working in your spirit, opens you up to more of God’s objective love, and your measure of love (subjective) increases, making you more like Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

So, an obedient believer appears to be experiencing more of God’s love than the disobedient one. And God appears to be loving the devout Christian more and showing Himself more to the faithful one. This is love subjective.

God’s love (objective) is shining to all. His desire is that all responds to it and be saved. And that those of us saved,  continue to obey His word and walk in love, that we may experience more of His love (subjective).

Christ gave us only one commandment – to love. We owe others only one thing – to love. The bible says nothing about setting aside a day to remember love, neither does it say anything against it. “Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord…”(Romans 14:6) We are to love everyday. But if a day has been set aside by the world to commemorate love, then we christians must set the pace by reminding ourselves of God’s love and showing it to the world. For we owe them love; we owe them God.

Happy Val’s day!

gidmedico

The Will Of God 08 – Different perceptions of God’s will

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From my observational analysis of the prevailing worldviews in the Christian circle as regards God’s will, I’ve found out that there exist mainly two ideologies about the will of God: the railroad and the parking lot worldviews.

Those Believers with the railroad belief system understand God’s will to be very specific and regimented just like a railroad. They believe God’s will is very detailed to the nitty-gritty of what a believer should do, how he or she should live, and what he or she should possess. To them, God’s will should confine and constrain the believer just like the rail track does to the train. In a nutshell, God’s will spares no area of the Christian’s life.

Other Christians with the parking lot belief system understand God’s will to be generalized and loose. They believe that the will of God just draws a large boundary within which a believer is given several right options to choose from. And that just like a parking lot, in which anyone could choose in whatever place to park, as long as it was within the alloted boundaries, God’s will offers generalized views and counsels on matters of life, from which the believer could safely choose as he pleases.

The railroad worldview believes that God has in mind the specific course a believer should study in school, while the parking lot worldview believes the believer could choose to study any course he or she wants, as long as it advances the gospel of Christ. The railroad belief system maintains that God has planned out the specific person a believer should marry before hand, while the parking lot belief system opines that a believer can marry whoever he or she wants as long as that person is a christian. The parking lot disposition believes that God’s will doesn’t encompass trivial things like the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the music you listen to, and so on.

It is obvious these worldviews are opposed to one another and cannot both be right. Only one of them can be true, and the only way to find out which is, is by lining both up with God’s word. Whichever agrees with God’s word is truth.

When God called Jeremiah, He said to him in Jeremiah, the first chapter, the fifth verse. ” Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” If this verse is xrayed, God’s plan for Jeremiah looks quite specific. God affirmed that He knew everything about Jeremiah; that appears encompassing. He then specifies what occupation He wants Jeremiah to engage in – a prophet. God didn’t just express His desire, but He appointed him to that office insinuating that it was a settled matter.

When God called Abraham He said to him in Genesis twelve one, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” This instruction appears specific. God’s will didn’t appear to offer Abraham options as regards his location. God was saying He would show Abraham where He wants him to live. He didn’t give Abraham options of several good cities he could dwell in. Abraham was going to be led to only one place that God had chosen for him. We later found out that that place was Canaan.

In Galatians two seven, the apostle Paul made us understand that God called him to preach the gospel specifically to the Gentiles (non-Jews) while apostle Peter was called to preach mainly to the Jews. Who would have thought that God would be specific about a specific group of people He would want reached by a specific person.

Jesus, commenting on how He lived His daily life in John five nineteen said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” In all honesty, this sounds regimented. Christ was saying He could not just do what He chooses to do but only what He sees God the Father do. He could do only what God had specified for Him. If this was the way Christ lived, then the believer has no any other option, because Christ suffered for us, living us an example that we should follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21)

Based on these few examples of believers that worked with God, we see that the parking lot worldview of God’s will doesn’t fit in. God’s will is very specific for all the people He has dealt with, Christ inclusive. And anyone who carefully studies the Bible as regards God’s will – doing a character study on all those who walked with God – will jettison the parking lot ideology and embrace the railroad perspective of God’s will, because it is Scripture.

If God permits, I would discuss the will of God for creation in the next study.

gidmedico

Word Clinic 30: Quiet time help

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Believer one. He is woken by the blaring sound of his alarm at 4am. With the sticky mucus still gluing his eyelids together, he fumbles around his bed in the dark for his phone. And there it was, right under his pillow. He snoozes the alarm, drops his head onto his pillow and off he goes, to the dream world. Another morning of no quiet time.

Believer two. She had purposed the night before to rise up by 5am and pray. She has a problem of sleeping too much. At bedtime, she begged the Holy Spirit to wake her up. Here she was, her eyes shining. She grabs her phone to check the time; 5am on the dot. “Thank you Lord!” she mutters. She slips out of bed unto the kneeing position. With her elbows on her bed, she began the choruses. Then some adoration prayers, and more choruses. Only five minutes had passed. She rests her head on the bed and switches to praying in tongues, “Ma sanda libra hoo shabarababa… ” which only lasted for two minutes, and off she goes, to the dream world. The next tongues she would speak in her consciousness was at 7:30am. Her knees were hurting. And she was already late for work.

Believer three. He wakes up at 3am. The plan was to study his Bible before praying. He dabs his face with water and brushes his teeth, all in a bid to drive away any aota of sleep. He sits behind his table and flips his Bible to the portion to be read for that day. He begins at verse one and reads to verse five. He pauses a while. He could hardly remember what the preceding verses had said. “I must have dozed off in between” he concluded. He starts all over again at the first verse. Thirty minutes after, he was still at verse five. He had been repeating the cycle. Sleep will not allow him make a head way. He closes his Bible and goes back to bed. Another morning of truncated quiet time.

Many believers have had issues maintaining a consistent quiet time. Some have concluded by rhetorically asking, “Must I set out time daily to study my Bible and pray? I’d pray whenever I’m able to make out time.” My response is this. Who are you copying? I’m sure it’s not our Lord Jesus.

Other Christians that know they should make out time on a daily basis have been plagued with several challenges. Consistency and quality time. What time of the day should my quiet time be? How long should I spend? Which should I do first? Praying or studying my Bible? Among other questions usually asked. I’d say we have a model in Christ.

Mark in his gospel about Christ comments in the very first chapter in verse thirty-five about the prayer habit, and indeed, the effort He puts in to maintain a regular quiet time. Mark puts it this way. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” I’ve gleaned useful principles from this verse which have helped me personally with maintaining a regular quiet time.

If there’s one person who I know that was terribly busy while on earth, that person would be Jesus. He slept in the same place with His disciples and they began ministering the very moment they woke up. The crowd was already awaiting them, following Christ the whole day while He taught, healed the sick and ministered to the poor. He had to practically steal away from the crowd at night in other to rest. Yet I found Christ in the midst of His choking schedule, creating time for communion with the Father. What was His secret?

He rose up early. Christ got up early in the morning way before the others did, that He may enjoy serenity and seclusion. If there’s one time of the day you can place a handle on, it’s your morning. People can encroach into any other time of your day, but if you can rise up before them, you can enjoy your alone time. Any if there’s one thing you can spend this precious time doing, in which you’re the most refreshed, it is in communing with God.

Christ got up. You may be wondering, “Of course He rose up early. Why are you emphasizing that He got up?” Yeah! I’m actually making that emphasy because they are different. After Christ woke up, He got up from where He was lying – be it a bed or the floor. He wasn’t praying while in the recumbent position. If He was, He would most likely had fallen asleep. This is not to say one cannot choose whichever position one desires to take while praying. But you should pick a position that would help you stay alert throughout your prayer time. I usually recommend alternating between a sitting and standing position. With this postures, you can spend as long as you want communing.

Jesus left the house and went to a solitary place. Here is another principle. You must find your niche – your space where you can commune with God uninterrupted. A place where you won’t disburb others and where you won’t be disburbed – that’s why it’s called quiet time. It mustn’t necessarily be outside your house, but it can’t be a place conducive for sleep. To choose a place where you can see your bed, is to choose to truncate your quiet time.

God in no way intends us to be ‘religious’ about a time to study our Bible and pray, without enjoying genuine communion with Him. Rather, He intends for us to be consistent with setting out time to seek His face.

In most churches, quiet time seems to be a thing emphasized for the newly saved, and the so to speak matured Believers walk about in spiritual arrogance, doing a lot of church activities without making out time daily to commune with God. Please, please, be not be deceived. You can never outgrow quiet time because Christ never did.

Make it a culture. Set out time to seek God’s face, early and daily. And carry the aura of His presence through your entire day.

gidmedico.

The Will Of God 07 – The nature of God’s will Part 4

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In the last three studies, I attempted expounding the one verse of scriptures that beautifully describes the nature of God’s will – Romans twelve two. I’d love to proceed by gleaning other features of His will from other portions of the Bible.

One outstanding character of God is His sovereignty. He exists in a superior class all by Himself. He created all things without He Himself been created; this makes Him God. So when it comes to God’s overall plan and design, He does whatever pleases Him.

Psalms 115 verse 3 corroborates this fact by stating, “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases Him.” This is so because He is, or should be the object of existence, not us. So, He designs everything to achieve His overall intent.

Some folks may immediately say, “Wait, wait, wait. God is in heaven, so He can do whatever He wants. That’s His business. We are on earth, let’s live our lives like we want to. But His will and programmes cut accross. That’s why He is sovereign. Psalms 135 verse 6 expands the scope by stating, “The Lord does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.” So everywhere, His plan prevails.

God doesn’t just set out a plan and leave it in the hand of fate; He sees it through to the end. For He accomplishes His will. Isaiah 55 verse 11 says that God’s word that goes out from His mouth will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish that which He desires, and achieve the purpose for which He sent it. I think that strikes the nail on the head. God is committed to His will.

God’s overall plan or programme cannot be thwarted. Job affirmed this nature of God’s plan in the second verse of the forty-second chapter of the book that bears his name. “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

So, God’s sovereignty is mind blowing. And any child of His who wants to understand His will must understand His sovereignty. For we live, or should live for Him, and not the other way round.

gidmedico