Making the Most of our Relationship before the Clock Stops Ticking

Making the Most of our Relationship before the Clock Stops Ticking

The world is full of activities that even the advancements of technology which seemed to promise less work for humans have not been able to reduce human activities. As a result, we have gotten so accustomed with timing ourselves to do one thing or the other. It is a good thing that we get to make the most of our lives in making ourselves productive. This goodness ends where our getting busy stands in the way of our relationships. Simply put, if we get carried away by work at the expense of relating to those we should, we would incur serious consequences that would lead only to regrets.

Many times, we hear people crying at the grave side wishing they had answered that call, reschedule that work or do some other things to get to relate with those that matter in their lives. Unfortunately, that cannot be reversed because the clock has stopped ticking for that. Worse is when those impacted by our neglect are those counting on us for relationship closely, like family members. If this happens, we become so estranged from them that we never get a place in their lives let alone the opportunity to be part of their lives to influence them for good. Many parents and children live in regrets that in turn shorten their very life span because they have refused to reach out. On the other hand, we have loss opportunities to be blessings to people’s lives too as a result.

The Nobel Corona Virus (Covid-19) has taught us that these people should be treasured in our lives only next to God Himself. As we are with them in the home, it will be good and rewarding that we settle every issue hindering our relationship and relate with them wholeheartedly. If they are far away, an email, SMS, phone call, Whatsapp or any means possible would be better than not reaching out at all. It is particularly good, first for us, and not just for them. The Bible does say that, “If possible, and to the extent that it depends on you, live in peace with all people” (Romans 12:18 (CJB)). Someday, the clock will stop ticking on either you or them. What feelings would you have or would you have left behind? And since you and I are not the time keeper, we do not know when the clock will stop ticking either on us or those we relate with. Don’t wait until the clock stops ticking. It is too late to do anything when the clock stops ticking.

By Victor Fai Hussaini

Pray or Faint II: Location

Pray or Faint II: Location

In the early part of scriptures, the location where prayers were offered was never an issue. The home, farm or anywhere was used for all kinds of prayers, both at personal and community level. It was at the Exodus that God commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle. It seems God had provided a place where all prayers must be offered, but an in-depth study reveals otherwise. Sacrifices and certain kind of prayers, especially at community level were offered at the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle became a meeting point between a sinful man and a Holy God. A good theological understanding of the idea of a Tabernacle would reveal to us that all purposes that the Tabernacle served was fulfilled in Christ Jesus, which is God dwelling among His people.
The Temple was simply a concrete replica of the mobile Tabernacle. At the dedication of the Temple, God said, Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. (2 Chron. 7:15-16 NIV). Here, we have a location that has been chosen by God for prayers with promises attached to the prayers offered in this special location. We may here ask, didnt people pray at other locations? The answer is not farfetched. If we read the text from the preceding verses we would discover that God was referring to Israel as a nation, a people of God, individuals. The pronouns, My people, and a lot of their are pointing to this fact. However, it ultimately expressed the desire of God that His people worship Him both collectively and individually. This is what the people in Jeremiahs time failed to understand. They emphasized location at the expense of Gods people faithfully worshipping Him and the result was a big shock for them.
Today, there are lots of arguments about location when it comes to prayers. Some people believe all prayers must be offered in church buildings while some think of other special places. A church building does not replace the Temple. There was only one Temple and there are thousands of church buildings. The temple had a ritual that kept all but selected priests from entering the Holy of Holies. The atoning death of the Lord Jesus tore the dividing curtain from the top to the bottom signifying the end of the barrier between us and God. Paul puts the matter to rest that, The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by (human) hands (Acts 17:24, NIV).
Still on location, the New Testament stated a number of times that Jesus was going to the mountains to pray. Many today, believe that for ones prayers to be answered, it must be offered on a mountain. As a result, there are numerous mountains consecrated for this purpose. If this were true, what about those who live in areas that have no mountains? Isnt this taking us back to the errors of the Israelites in the time of Jeremiah? Why would God rob us of constant relationship with Him by insisting that it must be on a mountain? In Jesus time, the mountains were the most secluded place because people then, did not see mountains as tourist attractions like we do today. Jesus was simply in search of a place where He would concentrate and not be disturbed. Jesus desires that our prayers should not be a public display of how pious we are but rather a secret and sincere communion with God in the least interrupted place. It was this principle that Jesus was inculcating when He said, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matt 6:6-7). Therefore, Gods prescribed location for prayers is a place where we are not making a show and we are undisturbed secret and quiet.
By Victor Fai Hussaini

Pray or Faint

The opening of Luke 18 reads, Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1). The meaning of the word used for giving up is the same as faint. Jesus was giving them the keys to not just survival but genuine vibrancy because He did not want the disciples to faint just as much as He desires for us today. Therefore, we can simply say, If we don’t pray, we will faint. Unfortunately, one of the most neglected or wrongly practiced spiritual exercise is prayer. It is either we dont do it (as we pay others to do it for us) or we do it wrongly. Is it any wonder that we have professional prayer ministers today? It has now become a profession and means of livelihood to pray for Christians. While the world gets more and more rotten every day, the contemporary Christian is crippled and is not able to stand let alone making a difference.
How then does prayer come in as portrayed in Luke 18? Warren w. Wiersbe captured it well that If society is like a rotting corpse, then the “atmosphere” in which we live is being slowly polluted, and this is bound to affect our spiritual lives. But when we pray, we draw on the “pure air” of heaven, and this keeps us from fainting. This is best understood with experience. If you have been in an enclosed apartment where a large dead animal is deposited, you struggle to breathe and you desire nothing but to get out the place to catch fresh air. We sure need this fresh air always because spiritually, our atmosphere is highly polluted.
This fresh air is needed always or life will be miserable and unbearable. It is no wonder that the Bible says we should pray without ceasing. But what does it mean “always to pray” or to “pray without ceasing”? (1 Thess 5:17) It certainly doesn’t mean that we should constantly be repeating prayers, because Jesus warned against that kind of praying (Matt 6:5-15). Rather, it means to make prayer as natural to us as our regular breathing. Unless we are sick or smothering, we rarely think about our breathing, we just do it. Likewise with prayer – it should be the natural habit of our lives, the “atmosphere” in which we constantly live.
Prayer is much more than the words of our Ups; it is the desires of our hearts, and our hearts are constantly “desiring” before Him, even if we never speak a word. So, to “pray without ceasing” means to have such holy desires in our hearts, in the will of God, that we are constantly in loving communion with the Father, petitioning Him for His blessing. It is not an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) where we make withdrawals and have nothing to do with the bank until we are financially broke again. God wants us to commune with Him every day and make Him part of our every life. We will enjoy peace no matter what is going on around us and we will have strength to be the kind of people He desires for us to be. It is a rejuvenating fresh air from heaven that revives our spirits. Pining and whining gets us nowhere but praying rightly, solves everything.
Take your choice: do you want to pray – or faint?

Note: this write up was inspired by reading the commentary on Luke 18 in The Bible Exposition Commentary (New Testament) by Warren W. Wiersbe

By Victor Fai Hussaini

 

THE MIRAGE OF LOVE

When asked if we loved someone, especially our family members, it’s easy for to give a resounding affirmation that we do. When doubted, we may even get angry. But let’s try to check. How much of this love can be detected
1. from our speech and conversation with them?
2. When they need our help?
3. When they offend us?
4. When they need our attention?
5. Or when they call our attention to our errors?
Could it be that our so called love is just a mirage, an illusion? If you truly love someone, it has to be in thought, words and deeds. The Bible says, “he who loves, knows God but he doesn’t love, doesn’t know God either. God is love “. Fully demonstrate your love for loved ones before it’s too late. I’m not sure they hear those sweet words by the grave, nor read those wonderful writ on the funeral pamphlets.

Knowing About Solace Family Media

SOLACE FAMILY MEDIA
Molding the Next Generation of Africa

Vision and Mission

Believing that man is born with enormous abilities beyond every human imagination and also believing that there is no human-centered way of unveiling that wealth of potentials embedded in man, our vision is to see young Africans connecting to the right Source and acquiring the knowledge that will give them the freedom to live their lives to the full.

Stages

They will be assured that God does have good plans for them
These plans can never fully come to fruition until they are related or connected to Him by receiving the Lord Jesus to be their Lord and savior then grow to know Him more and more each day
They will be given the clues on how they can discover and realize their potentials to the full and as a result be useful first to God, second to their families and to their respective nations
They will also be discipled to know the fact that in all we find ourselves doing with all of our gifts, abilities and opportunities, God wants us to be His hands to touch the world through preaching the Word and helping people in need.
They will be encouraged to put in their best in all they do including their academics (Col. 3:23)
This is a ministry committed to reaching out to young people through the following means
Educating pastors to effectively help young people to rise up to live their lives to the full
Educating parents on how to effectively bring up their children in a way that would encourage the children to live their lives to the full and to the glory of God
Educating the children themselves to know that they have a role to play in living their lives to the full. they need to rise up against what they call obstacles
Providing materials that would help achieve all of the above mentioned goals
The above mentioned goals will be achieved through the following means
Organizing seminars for pastors to enlighten and awaken them to the challenge of the youths and how to address the problems
Providing materials that would help achieve the goal of enlightening the pastors like books and other educative materials
Organizing seminars for parents to help reach them on how to effectively communicate with their children for effective parenting
Planning and organizing video seminars to be sold to parents at affordable prices in order to achieve the same goal
Holding programs in schools in collaboration with other Christian fellowships to reach the children directly
Organizing of summer camps for both children, teens and young adults where the vision of the ministry will be communicated
Providing facilities that would help achieve these goals
Providing counseling for pastors, teachers, children and parents
Providing rehabilitation counseling for young people struggling with any form of addiction.

Evaluated Experience

The old popular saying has it that, “experience is the best teacher”. Recently it has been faulted due to the fact that experience alone when not evaluated can lead to mediocrity, stagnancy and redundance. This is why it is more appropriate to rather say “evaluated experience is the best teacher.” How then do we apply this concept to real life experience? Worthy of note is the fact that growth, progress and serious advancement, both at personal and corporate level do not come by chance but by deliberate and objective evaluation. What follows is also the deliberate and objective move to improve in areas that need improvement and correcting and removing the ones that deserve such in the right way, with the right attitude and at the right time. PRACTICAL STEPS OF EVALUATION FOR PROGRESS The scriptures clearly advice that we make the most of every opportunity we have because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15). Again in Colossians 3:23, the Bible says, “whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart as working for the LORD not for men.” Key to obeying the teachings of these passages is evaluation, improvement, correction and as a result, advancement. Here are practical ways of doing these successfully 1. Every day, week, month or year, create time to sit and evaluate your performance. Creating time is key. 2. Practically ask serious questions on that which brought progress, failures, speed, growth, stagnancy, delays and so on. 3. Categorise things that happened according to the points on 2 above. 4. Ask what you could do to encourage progress, growth and speed and what you could do to cut down those things that bring failure, stagnancy and delays. 5. Pray for the grace to implement all that need to be implemented. 6. Ensure that all progress desired and godly, not selfish but for the good of all. Life is not just about what we earn but how we bless. 7. Do your best not to postpone evaluation. Conclusion As we approach a new year, do your best so that by this time next year you would be able to look back thankfully and joyfully. Evaluated experience not just experience is truly the best teacher. Merry Christmas and Happy New year. By Victor Fai Hussaini

THE BAMBOOZLING PATH OF LIFE

Text: Genesis 50:16-21; Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11

Introduction

According to Cambridge English Dictionary, Bamboozle means to trick or deceive someone, often by confusing them. The path of life is so bamboozling or confusing that fellow humans can only deceive themselves to claim that they fully understand it. People have risen to think they can control events, their destinies and that of their fellow human beings. But, they are always reminded by the fact that JEHOVAH, not them, has the final say. The Bible clearly puts it forth that “…in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Therefore, we would only continue to get ourselves confused more and more if we try to deny this fact- JEHOVAH has the final say.

The brothers of Joseph were perplexed by this reality, since they took it upon themselves to see that they thwart the destiny of their own brother. Several of such realities have been experienced in every parts of this world, in the Prestigious ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja and in the lives of members of this great community from the leadership down to the students. Joseph’s dreams and refusal to cooperate with the evil deeds of his brothers made him an object of not just scorn, but extermination. Thus from the text we have read, we can deduce that God does have plans for HIS children, No human being can thwart GOD’s plan for our lives, difficult times will come our way and our attitudes are the activating factors of God’s plan for our lives

  • God does have good plans for His children

Many grow with the thought that life is an accident where people are born and the lucky ones enjoy while the unlucky are doomed. The implication of this thought when well examined is devastating, unbiblical and in fact heretic.  This pattern of thought could have been built through culture, narrow-mindedness and to summarize it all, holding unto a worldview that is not biblical.

The Bible in many portions, unequivocally emphasize that God has plans for His children: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. (Jeremiah 29:11). These plans He prepares each of us to accomplish in our lives through the people, circumstances and situations He brings our way. And being a respecter of no one, HIS plans are not based on class, status or any of such social strata. It is a fact that coming to ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja is an avenue to prepare us for that which GOD has planned for our lives.

  • No human being can thwart GOD’s plan for our lives

People may have their perspectives on us, but in the words of one of our Great leaders, “no one can put a comma where God puts a full stop.” People will try due to either sheer wickedness or ignorance to try to stop us from getting to where God desires for us. They might succeed in delaying us but they can never stop us. And even that act of delaying, in which they may think they are succeeding, they will only succeed in helping to pattern things the way God had planned.

  • Difficult times will come our way

Joseph did face serious difficult times both in the course of his journey to Egypt and in in Egypt. Difficult times are dreaded by many. However, those who endure and seek to learn from all that comes their way, will come to realize that they are made better and stronger through difficult times.  Someone once said, “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor can we be perfected without adversity.” Such times have been recorded to have strengthened the stamina of great people. Lou Holtz said, “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”

On handling such times, Michael Jordan said, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”  These if we do in earnest, our realization would reflect the words of Robert H Schuller that, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

  • Our attitudes are the activating factors of God’s plan for our lives.

As Charlie Jones noted, “Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.” Therefore, the matriculants and every one of us need to be reminded that challenges whether caused by people who think they can define your life or by situations, all is for good. The determinant is your attitude. Attitudes of cruelty, rebellion, insubordination, disobedience, cutting corners, dishonesty, manipulations and the like, will blind our eyes from seeing God at work in those situations. On the other hand, attitudes of honesty, humility, submission, reverence, persistent and consistent hard work, will lead us to a point where we would like Joseph say to those situations and peoples, “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good. He has sent me ahead of you to save the lives of many.”

 Conclusion

The few years you have to spend here is not insignificant. You will come across people and situations, some easy and some tough ones. Some, whatever shape they appear to you, are the products of your imaginations. No matter what it is, do remember that Attitude is everything. Joseph would not have gotten to that level let alone making such inspiring declaration, if he had gone about grudging against God, people or situations. His commitment in the home of Potiphar, which was rewarded with a frame up, did not discourage him from doing the right thing even in the prison. I therefore congratulate the matriculants and all of us rejoicing with them. I pray that God, in His infinite mercy, will give us all, the grace to trust HIM wholly, knowing that HE alone has the final say and can help us navigate this bamboozling path of life. I also pray HE will help us have the right attitude in every situation. Thank you and GOD bless you.

Matriculation Sermon by Hussaini, Victor Fai, at the Summer School Matriculation Exercise of 2017, at the Chapel of Truth, ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja, Kwara State, Nigeria, On 14th of June, 2017.