Word Clinic 35: Handle like an egg

“Hey, my phone!” I screamed aloud, as the new phone I just got fell to the floor; the splitting sound its crashing to the floor made, sent shiver all over my body. My close friend shook his head saying, “Gideon, my phone has never fallen to the floor.” “What!” I exclaimed, surprised. “Wait, wait Clement. How’s that possible?” Then he shared his secret.

I was handling another friend’s phone, an iPhone, which she just recently got. As I began admiring the phone, I discovered its screen was already cracked. “What!”, I exclaimed. “How come? How did it happen? So soon?” I enquired. She sorrowfully recounted how a friend had accidentally dropped it and cracked the screen.

I could go on and on with such examples of phone crashes or accidental falls and the resulting wreck to the phone. And If you would be honest with yourself, you’ve dropped your phone many times in the past. Accidentally, you would say. But what that friend of mine said to me about phone care has really helped me over the years. “Handle your phone like an egg”, he said. The import of his counsel has helped me over the years to take certain measures while using my phone.

You will not hold an egg with other objects, it could crack. So I avoided holding my phone in the same hand with anything else, not even placing it in the same pocket with my key or pen. Once I was done using it, I placed it in a safe place.

You will not place an egg on an unstable surface, it will fall. So I don’t place my phone anywhere it could drop. I don’t place it on my lap, it would accidentally fall when I try standing up. My breast pocket is not also an option. It could fall on my trying to bend over. Working with my phone while on my bed at night was also a bad option. I could fall asleep unplanned, only to find my phone on the floor on waking up. Holding it when not in use during mindless activities of walking, jumping, and so on, was risky. It could get knocked off by someone else.

This concept of an egg greatly reduced my phone falls and screen cracks to almost a zero level, but not to that of my friend. He had never had a phone fall or screen crack.

This brother, when I saw your write-up I thought you were going to write on something spiritually edifying. Now you’re talking of phone care. Na wa for you. Rhema don finish? Someone may be thinking. Well, I just discovered that knowledge is one. And a spiritual parallel could be drawn to most physical events. Let me attempt doing same here.

The phrase “Take heed” should be one phrase most readers of the KJV bible are conversant with. It could be rendered as “take care”, “watch with care”, “be careful with” and so on. It also carries the sense of handling with care; like an egg. A lot of these “take heed” scriptures abound. Let me pull out some.

“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you fulfill it.” Colossians four seventeen echoes. “Take heed unto yourself and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you shall both save yourself and them that hear you.” Paul counsels Timothy in chapter four verse sixteen of the first book that bears his name.

Your phone in this parallel could be your life (spiritual and physical), your ministry or even the word of God committed to you. God would want you to handle your life and walk with him with care, like an egg.

One. You will not place your life in the company of Godless people. It will crack. Do not place your life or ministry in a company or an environment that could choke the life out of it. Come out from among them and be you separate. Evil communications corrupt good manners.

Two. You will not found your life or ministry on unstable grounds, it would crumble. The only foundation to build on that would stand the test of time is God’s word. A life that will not fail, shipwreck or crumble is one that lives by the principles and tenet of what is clearly stated in the bible. For it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one title of the law to fail. (Luke 16:17)

So, my friend was right. Treat your phone like egg, and it won’t fall. God’s word is right. Handle your life and ministry with utmost care, founding it on God’s word, and it won’t fail.

gidmedico

Word Clinic 34: Wrong asking

Word Clinic 34: Wrong asking

“Hey Gideon! Please take these phones and help me load the recharge cards.” said my pastor as he handed the items to me. It was back then in those days when the mobile phone just emerged. It wasn’t invoke to credit your mobile via your bank or an app. One had to manually do it by dialing some codes from a scratch card.

I grabbed the phones and recharge cards from him. I was good with these sort of things; anything information technology, gadgets and the likes was my thing; it was the obvious reason he must have committed this task to me. I would start with the vmobile phone.

I scratched the card and began typing the numbers ending with the hash tag. I then hit the dial button and waited a while. An error message popped up. What is wrong? I thought. I started typing the numbers all over again, this time with utmost attention. After sending the command, the same error message. “This network people sef”, I bemoaned. “Let me load the MTN, this vmobile network can be very unreliable.”

To my amazement, my experience was the same with the MTN codes. I tried loading them three consecutive times to no avail. Then I paused a while to think. What is wrong? I must be missing something. These cards can’t be both wrong, I contemplated. As I peered at the scratch cards, it hit me. What I’ve been missing was staring at me. I was loading the wrong cards. I had switched the codes. I typed MTN codes for vmobile and vice versa. As I paused, allowing my embarrassment to soak in, the Holy Spirit whispered, “You sometimes do same with your asking. You sometimes ask amiss.”

Many Christians are frustrated as to why their prayers are not yet answered. They ask God questions they know they wouldn’t get answers to. “Lord, why me? Haven’t I prayed long enough?” They rebuke, cast and bind the ‘bindables’ to no avail. They renounce all ancestral covenants over and over again, yet their prayers still remain unanswered. What could be wrong? One problem could be wrong asking.

Someone may be shaking his or her head in disagreement saying, “Wait, wait brother, the Bible places no category to asking, it says in Matthew chapter seven verse seven, ask and it shall be given you… Why are you classifying asking?” I’d give you the response I gave a brother who tolled this line years back.

I told that brother he had just made an unbalanced reference to Matthew seven. The balance was found in James 4:3. “You ask and receive not because you ask amiss…” There’s such thing as wrong asking. And if one could ask amiss, then the contrast is true. There’s such thing as right asking. How can the believer tell when he or she is asking aright or amiss? First John five fourteen helps us with this.

“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us”, and by extension, answers us. God only answers a prayer that is in tandem with His will. To ask outside His will is to ask amiss. And the perfect place to find God’s revealed will is His word. The Bible.

The problem with unanswered prayers is never God. It is always you. And just as I figured out the error with loading my recharge cards by tracing it to me, by the same manner, retrace the problem of your unanswered prayers to you. One of which could be wrong asking.

gidmedico

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

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

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

Word Clinic 29: Don’t just mark time

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I currently reside in a rural community with a high life expectancy. It is commonplace to bump into very elderly men and women in their eighties and nineties, walking about, some strong enough to go about their farming businesses and attend functions like marriages, others are so frail that they just sit in front of their houses hailing passerbys. While many of these people celebrate long lives, many of them have hitherto lived unimpactful lives. Many men in their old age still come back home drunk, and only specialize in championing townhall arguments. Many women, elderly ones, specialize in throwing tantrum, so that their children, grand and great grand children can always hang around them.

For many, this is the goal – to live to a good old age. Fair enough, because the Bible promises us long life; for you shall see your children’s children… (Psalms 128:6). But remember, that the Bible also says what you should be doing in old age – the works of the Lord; for you shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord (Psalms 118:17).

Year in, year out, people stand in churches, unbelievers inclusive, to testify of God’s goodness – how He has spared their lives. The hearers scream and rejoice with them. But I wish those same hearers could hear the testimony of God about those testifiers. Their response may be different.

The goal should not be just to mark time, but to live impactful lives. Do not stop your reading of Psalms 90 verse 12 at “teach us to number our days”, please continue your reading to, “that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” That’s the goal – to live after the wisdom of God, a fulfilled life.

Many believers are increasing in chronological age and are celebrating more spiritual birthdays, but they are waning in spiritual fervency and exploit. God is not just interested in how long you live on earth, but what you do with your time here. Some believers are already dead, but the air is resounding with the impact they have made, and the sands proudly displaying their indelible imprint. Yet, you are still alive and even some of your immediate family members and friends have zero experience of your God.

Jesus lived, as some estimate, for about thirty-three and half years, yet His impact on mankind is everlasting. Many may have commented that He died young, and a shameful death at that. But what was the comment of God concerning His life on earth, “This is my beloved Son in whom I’m well pleased.”

Paul, the apostle, also died as a middle-aged man. No immediate family, no accrued wealth, yet the impact his life made on mankind still lingers till now – for he was one of the founding apostles who took the gospel of Christ to the gentiles, authoring by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit over two-thirds of the New Testament.

It is not how long, but how well. It will be double honours, and indeed should be, that you live a long and fulfilling life. You should desire that your life remains relevant to God’s eternal purpose till the very day you breathe your last. The onus lies on you to seek to know His specific will for your life and do it. Not just some, but all His will.

Make every day, of every year count. Not just on your calendar, but in God’s agenda, by doing His will this year.

gidmedico

WORD CLINIC 28: Don’t worry

WORD CLINIC 28: Don’t worry

“Doctor, I want to thank you for the surgery you did on me to remove my right scrotal swelling. And my groin swelling too. I’m immensely grateful. I was really scared then, especially when the scrotal swelling persisted after the surgery. But you kept saying, ‘Don’t worry. Don’t worry. It would subside.’ That really helped to calm me. And indeed, it went.”

And just like that patient of mine, I’ve made it a culture to always tell my patients, and those around me, not to worry. No matter how bad the prognosis is, I always end my consulting sessions by asking them not to worry. I state the facts about their health condition and about what solutions medicine has to offer, then end with the reassuring note that they should not worry. Because worry helps no one. It rather makes things worse.

And that was exactly what Jesus was saying in Matthew six twenty-five downwards. He asked us not to worry about our life – what we would eat, drink, or wear. He made us understand that life is more than food and clothings. “Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” asked Jesus rhetorically. He summed His admonition by asking us not to worry about the mundane things of this world but to place premium on things of eternal value, then other things would be sorted out.

I’ve found out that worry does more damage in our society than many of us realise. Many people suffer from mental health issues because they have allowed the enomousity of their problems to weigh them down. Depression is on the rise. Its prevalence is so high now that we read in the news almost everyday about someone who committed suicide. Chronic diseases like hypertension are on the rise too, worrying being a major factor. Some people struggle with sleepless nights, swallowing pills after pills in order to get some sleep. But after my long consultation with them, I find out that the problem most times is psychological. Worry.

Our work place has not been left unaffected by this menace called worry. Worry has reduced the productivity of many. It has led to some traders giving out the wrong change; to some factory workers letting their hand slide under the machine, chopping off a finger; to some health workers administering the wrong medication to their patients; to some teachers and lecturers assigning the wrong score while marking scripts. The extent of worry’s damage is endless.

Many relationships have been made sour due to worry. When worry sets in, joy disappears. You become disinterested in the activities you do with your love ones and friends. The passion dissipates, and everyone around you is saddled with the responsibility of making you happy. You cast that depressed mood on others around you, making the time spent with them unfruitful, and straining the relationship in the long run.

The apostle Peter in First Peter five verse seven admonished us to cast our cares upon the Lord for He cares for us. And indeed, that’s the solution. Problems exist, no one is denying that. And they always would. But are you to go about your day carrying the heavy load of your problem on your head? The answer is “No”. The Bible has asked you to lay that burden of your problems on the Lord, because He is concerned about you; your life – what you would eat, drink, put on; the man or woman you want to marry, the car you want to drive, the phone you want to buy, the children’s school fees you’re to pay, the bills you’re to settle, and every other mundane things. He is more concerned about them even more than you are. So please put them on Him. Because He is able to carry them and solve them.

There’s this song I love about burdens and problems that I grew up to hear Christians of my father’s age sing. (Those of you born recently, and those who didn’t mix up with Christians of the 19th Century may not know it.) I’d just share the lyrics with you.

“Leave it there. Leave it there. Take your problems to the Lord and leave it there. He will surely deliver you, as you put your trust in Him. Take your problems to the Lord and leave it there.”

Many a times, folks would go to the altar and cry out to the Lord singing the above song, pouring their hearts to Him and casting their burdens on Him. The truth is that many do cast their burdens on the Lord in the place of prayers, but very few leave it there. For many, no sooner did they pray, asking the Lord to take over their problem, did they start worrying about that same problem. If you have laid your problems on the Lord, leave Him to carry it. Don’t bear those burdens again through worry.

And the last time I checked, worry is not a fruit of the spirit. Joy is. So don’t let the devil box you up. Don’t worry, but rather, rejoice evermore.

gidmedico.