Monday, November 30, 2009

I DON'T...

I was only eight years old when I told my mother I didn’t want to get married. Her reaction is quite hard to forget considering the fact that I still have a scar to remind me. She calmly went outside, plucked a whip from the tree in front of our home and gave me the swiping of my life. (Just kidding)

What she really did was burst into tears.

Needless to say, I never said that to her again. Fast forward nineteen years and a five year relationship later and my views about marriage are still pretty much the same. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to marry Joe...He is like the sweetest man I have ever known and besides, he’s the only man who even made me reconsider my vows to stay single for life; If I ever do get married, it would be to him.

That doesn’t mean that if this five year relationship doesn’t end up in marriage I would go on a frantic man hunt to still the wagging tongues of fellow colleagues or to smoothen out the disapproving glances my relatives throw at me during family gatherings.

Lots of my friends are getting married and while many of them seem to know exactly what they are doing, a good number of them seem not, I’ve been asking myself the question would I feel incomplete or unfulfilled if I NEVER got married?

I mean, think about it. Women start work after school and the next thing they start thinking about is getting married. Guy has a steady job and a nice pad and one day looks around after a meal of bread and garri and goes ’I think it’s time I got married. While marriage is a stage of life, is it THE stage of life? If it was I think the divorce rates would have been a tad lower than the fifty percent divorce rate we have now. Don’t you?

I was browsing through the romance section of when I came across the topic, AFRAID OF BEING THIRTY AND UNMARRIED.The first thing I thought to myself was ’you have got to be kidding me! Sure we live in a society that makes you feel being unmarried at a certain age is akin to having AIDS but come on!

Really what’s wrong with being thirty and unmarried if God hasn’t led you to the man that compliments you? What do you do in the meantime? Pine away? Scare men off with your looks of desperation? Lose your morals? With so many people rushing into marriage and then diving out of it, you would kind of expect that people take their time to walk down the aisle matter how long that takes!

Even before I became aware that Jesus had paid the price for me and I was his, I had always been passionate about the issue of marriage because I had seen firsthand the pain and despair that two people unwilling to walk with God in their marriage could unleash on themselves and their kids.

I’m single and in all honesty, I’m having the time of my life! More so since I found God. Before you think of getting married, you need to ask yourself if you are truly single enough to get married.

Being single enough simply means that you have attained a level in your life where you know you will be an asset and not a liability to the one you will marry. It’s not about having more money or having all the houses in the world. It’s not about being tired of being lonely.

It’s about being secure in yourself and in your identity in God and not looking for someone to ‘’complete you” because the truth of the matter is that no one can. It’s selfish of you to think that the man or the woman you marry will make you feel whole when she or he is less than whole. Being truly single is being able to take care of yourself and things around you. The first time I paid rent on my little apartment, you could have hurled a tornado at me and I would have still been as tall as a tree! I was so proud of me and thankful that God had given me the opportunity to experience that phase in my life.

Don’t get me wrong. I would have loved to have a man pick up that tab but he wasn’t on the scene so to speak. What was a girl supposed to do? Sleep around for the money? Bag a sugar daddy because girls are so helpless and need a big strong man? Get my drift?

If you’re getting married make sure it’s for the right reasons.

I don’t want to get married because my biological clock seems to be running on a new brand of batteries called ‘speed’.

I don’t want to get married because my childhood friend just got hitched.

I don’t want to get married because I feel alone and need someone to warm my collapsible couch.

I don’t want to get married because I’m tired of paying the bills on my own.

I don’t want to get married because I’m afraid of what people are going to say about me when I’m thirty and still unmarried...

I simply want to get married because God says it’s time to...after all, he is the one who makes all things beautiful in their time and that includes marriage.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The limit of authority?

Hello all! Im featuring someone on my blog today who has over time come to be a very dear person to me.Her life challenges me to stay focused on God and she is the one person i can go to when i have questions about my faith i need to be answered.ladies and gents,Temitope Reffel...

This morning I found myself thinking, ‘could this possibly be all that the Father wants for us as Christians?’
That we wake up in the morning, have our quiet time, say our prayers, fellowship with him, sing worship songs, enjoy His presence and be baptized in His love yet never make meaningful impact in the world; never make manifest his great power that is in our lives.

Are we just supposed to contribute our little quota in terms of giving to the needy, praying for friends and family in need of our prayers, fasting and asking that we know more of him and be more like Him and that He does his work of transformation in us?

Really, is that all there is to our spirituality? What about all the power the God’s word tells us has been given to us? Aren’t we supposed to be healing the sick, casting out devil and raising the dead? I mean if Christianity is just about making money, being prosperous and being generous, then we’re not much different from the philanthropists we have in the world. What makes us different from the world? Shouldn’t it be the Spirit of Power that we carry on the inside? The Holy Spirit through whom these signs are performed? Is it not by these signs the world shall know that we are not ordinary and that our God truly is a God of power?

I usually don’t go musing without good reason. I saw a mad man on my way to work this morning. Trust me; in this part of the country where I live, they seem to be in abundance (I don’t know why). A thought suddenly occurred to me; what if this mad man made an attempt to attack me? (I’ve heard that they tend to do that during the Harmmattan season;it’s the equivalent of the autumn season in Europe by the way), what would I do?

Would I take to my heels and run or would I be bold enough to wait as he comes charging at me and cast the devil out of him? That’s what Jesus would do. That is what he did with the mad men he met during his lifetime. He delivered them from demonic possession. Jesus assured us that we would do greater things than he did if we just be believe.(mark 16:17)

 So what gives? Why would a child of God, a representative of Christ think first of running away from a mad man instead of casting the devil out of Him? Could the reason be that we do not dwell enough on this aspect of our authority as Christians?

This should be food for thought for any Christ follower seeking to have more than a peripheral relationship with God. Remain blessed!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Extreme Opposites

In the third season of the series heroes, a new villain is added to the plot and he has a very interesting super power so to speak. He is ordinary until he smells fear. The scent of fear makes him develop super human strength and turns him into a deadly killing machine. I bet if he had a motto, it would run something like this; No fear, no power...more fear...more power!

Fear most definitely empowers but you have to ask yourself, who is it empowering? You? If it were you, don’t you think you would feel a whole lot better than you do with all the excess baggage of fears you carry around with you?

What are you most afraid of? Think about it...we all have fears. It may be that tiny nagging fear that you may not have enough money to eat dinner the next day or it could the all consuming fear of tomorrow. Whatever it is, fear is something that we all have to deal with...not live with.

The minute you start believing your fears, it becomes a reality. Why? Because you empower it to exist by believing in it. In the book of Job 3:25, Job laments, ‘For the thing I fear comes upon me and what I dread befalls me’

I used to be afraid that nothing good in my life would last. No good things last...that was my motto and believe me, they didn’t. I’d have a perfectly splendid day and something horrible would happen and send me into a spiral of depression. I used to be afraid that I would never be good enough for anyone and acted cold and distant towards the people I really cared about because I was afraid if they came too close they would see that horrible person I was. Consequently, my coolness rebuffed them and did make them see that I wasn’t what they needed.

It’s a simple equation really. When we fear something, we act out of that fear and get a reaction. Built up over time, it becomes a walking reality.

I still have some fears but I have learned that when faith is stronger, fear becomes a distant memory. Faith is the extreme opposite of fear. Where faith is, fear is rendered powerless. As a believer we are not exempted from fears but we are empowered to handle them through faith. My role model always says ‘when fear comes knocking on your door, send faith to answer it’. You can be rest assured that you won’t find it on your doorstep when you do that often enough!

So, you may be thinking, ‘how do I build that faith? Let me ask you a question. If you could vouch for someone, who would it be? Your mom? Your best friend? Whoever it is, you and I both know that you can only vouch for that person because you know them well. You don’t go vouching for someone you met only last night, do you?

The same principle applies. When you spend time with the one who has the answers of tomorrow in his hands, you get to know him well enough to stare the fear of tomorrow in the face and say, ‘I may not know tomorrow but I know the one who holds all tomorrows’.

When you familiarize yourself enough with the giving nature of God, you can stare the fear of lack dead in the eyes and say, ‘The lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack! When God becomes more than an eye in the sky for you because of the time you spend with him through his word, you can stand at the door and say to that fear; ‘all things are working together for my good!

The more you know God, the less fears you have. So the next time you have fears that cut off your air circulation and increase your heart rate to an all time high, remember; faith empowers God to move on your case and fear empowers the enemy to crush you...who are you empowering?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The love test....

‘I love you’...and there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the three most magical words in the world. Now don’t tell me you don’t think they are magical. Even the toughest of sceptics will feel the need to clear his throat after watching Richard Gere ride up in the white limousine to sweep Julia Roberts off her feet with his sincere declaration of love. Even the most hardened of hearts would be melted by the flame of nostalgia when it sees love in action...simply put, love was meant to break walls and soften hard hearts.

It’s quite easy to say those words however but do you actually mean them? Or are you just saying them as a means to an end? Granted, some women say it to get the bucks and some men say it to get the booty but the fact that many people say it and don’t mean it doesn’t nullify its power of love when it is sincere.

As Christians, the greatest challenge we face involves loving other people as much as we love ourselves. But Jesus also knew that it would be the greatest liberating factor of our lives...that’s why he summed up all the Ten Commandments as ‘love the lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbour as you love yourself’. Where there is love, negative emotions like hatred, envy, jealousy, anger and the rest have no room to operate.

When a man loves a woman and vice versa, it’s not in the words so much as it’s in the actions. You can’t love with your lips and not love with your heart; that won’t work. Your heart and your mouth have to be in agreement, like everything else in our walk with God.

I have been asking God for wisdom in all my relationships but especially the one I have been in the past five years. The last thing I or any sane person for that matter would want to do is to get married to the wrong person. In his mercy, God led me to a cell meeting that usually takes place in the area I live and the topic that was discussed was the love test.

How often do we test what we feel for the one we love? How often do we stop to ask ourselves whether our motives are pure or not? How often do we ask ourselves where we are going with the relationships we are in? I’m asking all those who aren’t married yet because the fact about the matter is that the one you choose to tie the knot with can either break you or make you. In world where divorce is becoming something of a word belt title, it is important that we examine our relationships and the motives that drive them.

The love test is a series of questions that make you examine your relationship, your motives and your partner in general. It answered some questions for men and I’m hoping it makes you take a closer look at the nature of your love for your partner. You can do it together if you like and compare answers together; believe me it will give you a lot to talk about!

For the ladies

 What is the character you find most admirable in your partner?

 If the one thing you admired in your partner was taken away, would you still feel the same about him?

 If your partner had no money would you still be with him?

 On a scale of one to ten, how honest are you with your partner?

 Would you willingly submit to your partner at all times?

 If your partner tells you he has cheated on you once in the course of your relationship and is truly repentant about it, would you forgive him and take him back?

 On a scale of one to ten, how honest are you with your partner?

 If the situation called for it, would you be the bread winner of the home without nagging or making your man feel like less of a man?

 How often do you encourage your partner on scale of one to ten?

 How often do you blame him on a scale of one to ten?

For the gents

 Name one physical feature you love the most about your woman

 If that physical feature was no longer there, would the love you feel for her be affected in any way?

 Why do you love her?

 Would you be willing to play the second fiddle in the relationship if the need for doing so arose?

 If she cheated on you and was truly repentant, would you forgive her and take her back?

 State one action that you know will show your woman you love her above yourself

 Have you performed this act before

 On a scale of one to ten, how honest are you with your woman?

 On a scale of one to ten, how often do you encourage her?

 On a scale of one to ten, how often do you blame her for things that go wrong in the relationship?

Explaining the answer to each question will actually help you examine your motives in greater detail. If you are honest enough with your answers and you’re still together after the exercise, then good for you! If not...then you know where you stand and you can move on, trusting God to give you nothing short of the best. Good luck!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The last man standing

Every woman dreams of prince charming. He's supposed to be the tall, dark, handsome man who swoops down in a show of breathtaking courage and rescues you from your tragic situation. The villain in my case was my dad. Six foot plus and sterner than most dads I knew in the area. He had screaming fits over the smallest things and his tongue would have done Hitler proud. It had the potential to erode anyone's self esteem in three seconds flat!! I couldn’t get out of the house fast enough and I thought getting married to prince charming would be the best way to escape.

There I was, young and full of naive dreams of a man whisking me away from my father and giving me the life I had always wanted. A life with quiet strolls through the beaches of the Bahamas and of massages and gentle foot’s funny, but now when I think about all that prince charming was going to do for me had we gotten together, I realize, I never once envisioned what I would do for him in return; Which goes to show how self centred even the prince charming dream is despite the seemingly ‘good’ ideals embedded in it!

Most women who are married will tell you without batting an eyelid, that the prince charming dream is just that- a dream. The smell of soiled nappies and screaming infants plus a husband who doesn’t pick up after himself can take its toll on the dream and leave a bitter taste in your mouth; The truth about the matter is that NO MAN can rescue you from whatever predicament you may be facing. He may help you see a way out, may even run with you towards the solution, but giving man the responsibility of saving you totally is an unfair thing to do because the poor guy can’t even save himself!!!

I mean, how do you expect him to hit upon the solution to all you problems when you have hardly unearthed them yourself? Man can’t save anyone...only God can...that's why he is the last prince charming standing. All the other prince charming have been tried and proved to have flaws that will make the dreams of the lady wither away without much ado.

The Bible says that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (john14:6). In him is all the life that you will ever want as a woman. The disappointment many women feel after marriage stems from the emptiness inside you even when your man is prince charming in the flesh. You were created to have a relationship with the one from whom all prince charmings come from.

Jesus Christ is unflawed and therefore can love you more than you ever imagined. That’s why when all is said and done he will still be the last prince charming standing...