This is the con-cluding part of this article first published last week in page 26.
Gratitude, states Dr Samuel Johnson, “is a fruit of great cultivation. You do not find it among gross people.” Ingratitude is natural like weeds. Gratitude is like a rose. It has to be fed and watered and cultivated and loved and protected.” Dale Carnegie in one of his books “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living writes: “People, the world over have been wallowing in ingratitude induced self-pity, anger and unforgiveness.
Even Shakespeare’s King Lear lamented concerning his daughters,. How Sharper than a serpent’s tooth, it is to have a thankless child.”
This heart rending moral monster called ingratitude is attaining a phenomenal growth like a phoenix, because human nature has always remained the same except transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus.
To shrug off the temptation that characterised ingratitude, Marcus Aurelius, one of the wisest men who ever ruled the Roman Empire adopted as a maxim. “I am going to meet people today who talk too much, people who are selfish, egotistical, ungrateful. But I won’t be surprised or disturbed, for I couldn’t imagine a world without such people.”
Therefore, it is natural for people to forget to be grateful.
One of the passages that diagnoses the human condition is Romans Chapter One verses 29 – 23.
These startling words are used by the Holy Spirit, “They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them”.
It is imperative to state that it is ingratitude that paved way for the decadent, habits highlighted above, even as scripture states: “For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness… although they knew God they did not honour Him as God or give thanks to Him” (Romans 1:18-21).
It must also be stated that the patriarch and matriarch of humanity, sinned because they were apparently ungrateful to God. A sense of gratitude no doubt, would have made them appreciate God for his graces, material blessings and fellowship and would have said No to the serpent when he came tempting them to doubt the “goodness, faithfulness and holiness” of God.
In his book, “The Imitation of Christ,” Thomas Kempis states about ingratitude; “And so the gifts of divine influence cannot spring up in us because we are ungrateful to the giver.. For grace will always be added to the truly grateful… Therefore be grateful for least things, and you will be fit to receive the greater. If you peer into the excellence of the giver, no gift will seem small or worthless.. if he should give pains and chastening there must be thanks, for whatever he allows to come upon us always make for our welfare.
“He who wishes to keep God’s favour should be grateful for grace given.” To stem the debilitating consequences, the sense of ingratitude precipitates, adopt the recipe advanced by Dale Carnegic in his book, “How to Stop Worry and Start Living”.
1. “Instead of worrying about ingratitude, let’s expect it. Let’s remember that Jesus healed ten lepers in one day – and only one thanked him.”
2. “Let’s remember that the only way to find happiness is not to expect gratitude, but to give for the joy of giving.
3. “Let’s remember that gratitude is a cultivated trait; so if we want our children to be grateful, we must train them to be grateful.”
And I add, inculcating gratitude in our children can be effective, if we express it by our life as well.
He who wishes to keep God’s favour should be grateful for grace given.
Who Is A Father? …the PULPIT
A father is a member of
the male gender, designed by God as the source to enerate generations. He is one who God has given privilege to originate and institute life on earth. He is a progenitor, a nourisher, a supporter, a leader, an influencer and a founder.
The word “father” is derived from a Latin word “funtus” which means base or foundation.
Fathers are feathers God has given to the family and entire society to fly. Without Fathers you cannot go further. Fathers are spiritual ladders that we climb to see farther.
Fathers make us to gain supernatural speed.
When a father speaks into your life, the hand of God is brought to bear in your situation.
The blessings of a father can change an ugly situation. Your lifting is connected to a father.
It takes faithful fathers for a society to be better. A faithful father is the key to a responsible and meaningful society.
The greatest honour any man can have is to be called a father because “Father” is the title God gave to Himself. If God chose to refer to Himself as Father, it means that fathers have the greatest honour conferred on them. God has so much value for fathers; that is why, the first human creature that He made was a father (Adam). It was out of Adam that Eve was made; it could be said that Adam gave birth to Eve. We all came out of the loins of Adam (father)!
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3
The father is the one God has placed on earth to lay the foundation for the whole world. A father is the foundational entity upon which family and the society are built. If the society will succeed or fail, fathers have a key role to play. It is expedient that Fathers consider their roles in the society very importantly, as it has an inestimable value. Though, children love their mothers, but they follow their fathers.
This means that the legacy a father will leave for them determines how successful and far the children will go in life.
According to research in the United States, a father’s presence in the family will determine a child’s success and happiness.
It may be quite incredible but real that there are more prisoners who went to prison because their fathers were not there. Studies have shown that 43% of state prison inmates grew up with both parents, compared to 57% who grew up without their fathers or missing fathers. Studies also show that fatherlessness was the most prominent contributor to criminality and other social vices even more than poverty. It has led to ,the high employment of police corps and the building of more prisons in all parts of the world.
Responsibility is the thing people dread most yet it is one thing in the world that develops us.
The world is blessed mostly by men who do things not by those who merely talk about them. Without responsibility you will remain a liability.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22
Maturity does not only come with age, it comes with acceptance of responsibility. You are not just mature because you are old but because you accept responsibility. Fathers who punish children for wrong doing when they have not first taught them how to do right are themselves wrong. Fatherhood is not just a title to bear but a great honour from God coupled with great responsibilities; there is a price to pay.
The father is the head of the family. The father is the one who calls the shots in the family but he must also understand that calling the shots comes with performance of functions.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Ephesians 5:23
In this book, our major consideration is the father as the “head”.
We will also present our illustration using the human head. If you look at the humafl head, there are five distinctive things to note: the brain, the eyes, the ears, the mouth, and the nose.
The brain is for thinking. Therefore, every father must be a thinker. The eyes are for seeing (vision), so every father must be a visionary. The ears are for hearing thus, every father must be able to hear from God. The mouth is for speaking, hence, fathers must know how to talk maturely. The nose is for smelling; fathers must be sensitive.
These various sections will be discussed explicitly in subsequent chapters of this book.
A faithful father is the key to a responsible and meaningful society.
Fatherhood is not just a title to bear but a great honour from God which comes with great responsibilities.
A father is. a progenitor, a nourisher, a supporter, a leader, an influencer and a founder.
The Father As A Creative Thinker
The brain is for thinking and so every father must be a thinker.
How can a father use his brain? As you read further, secrets will be unveiled to you. A father is the brain behind family success or failure.
The first function of the human head is found in the brain. The brain has the ability to reason its way out of challenges.
According to an Austrian researcher, Dr Constantine Von Economo, the thickness of the brain is about three millimeters. However, when spread out it becomes as large as a page of newspaper. The brain consists of about fourteen billion cells; cells are designed to grow and multiply. Similarly, for the family to experience continuous growth, become a centre of attraction, and a reference point amongst other families, the father has to activate and reactivate the brain cells. The father has to be a think tank, he has to rack his brain and come out with life-saving solutions to the threatening challenges of his family.
Great fathers are always great thinkers. The family starts stinking when the father stops thinking. Without the use of the brain, no father will be able to make gain in life. The brain is the centre of thoughts, planning, strategising and management of affairs. It is the centre of knowledge, understanding and wisdom. A father should understand that he has the mind of Christ that must be put to use.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2: 16
Jesus, while on earth was never confused nor stranded when faced with challenges because, he did put his brain to use. He was faced with the challenge of insufficiency in the book of John chapter six but came out of it through positive thinking. As a father, you are not meant to be stranded. The father should use his brain to know what the family shtuld do and tackle the situation on ground per time..
Every great and faithful father will have to brain storm in order for his family to come out of every storm. He should be able to proffer solution that will bring hope to his family (especially his wife and children).
Many fathers are undermining their family success because they do not think. They have left the responsibility of thinking to their wives. The wives have their own responsibilities. As a father, do not’ let your wife do the thinking for you. Insult and insubordination will be on display in any family where the woman is the thinker while the man is the observer and the receiver.
Providing funds for the upkeep of the family does not excuse you from thinking! When such provision is devoid of thinking, confusion and tension become inevitable.
Providing money is not enough; you must be a thinker as a father.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1: 18
God refused to drop the mantle of deliverance on Jesus until He became mature at the age of thirty.
Fathers who are not thinkers do unscrupulous things in the guise of pleasing members of the family, and they end up regretting their decisions. Fathers must think before they act, not act before they think. By thinking, all faithful fathers foresee and forestall consequences of their actions.
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. Proverbs 22:3
A father must not preoccupy himself with frivolous and unprofitable thoughts. His thinking must be productive and channeled towards the advancement ofhis family vision.
Things A Father Should Think On:
Inculcate Godly values to his family to render faithful and acceptable service to God.
The father should think of how his family will become very deep in God and completely sold out to Him.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
If you look at men like my mentor, David Oyedepo, and another great man of God, Kenneth Copeland, these are men who gave their families a solid foundation, and caused them to be rooted in God.
The first thing a father should do is to make the family focus on God.
He will think of Godly values; inculcate them into his wife and children as a lifestyle, that they live-with even when he is no more.
Abraham was a typical example of this attribute. He infused into the life of his family godly values, and God was pleased with him.
Expand his knowledge base and develop his mind.
He should think of how to develop his mind by reading good books on family and marnage.
He should think of developing his knowledge base so as to be informed about current trends, and not to be possessed with outdated information.
Define family vision
He should also think of making short and long term plans for the family:
He should think of and determine the number of children he will have, considering his financial status and income.
He should think of the kind of schools his children should attend; preferably the ones which school fees he can afford to pay with ease. He should not succumb to the wife’s extravagance knowing that he has the responsibility to ensure that all resources needed for his children’s education are provided .
Place to live in
He should think of the kind of house or apartment he should build or lease. The father should be content with what he has per time.
General requirement for the upkeep of the home
He should determine the kind of things to be used to run the home at every given time. Pressure is an indication that you are living above your size.
The family starts’stinking when the father’stops thinking.
Fathers must think before they act, not act before they think.
The first thing a father should do is to make the family focus on God.
The Father: A Sensor Of Family Greatness (The Nose)
The nose is used for smelling; the father must possess high level of sensitivity, if the family must succeed. He (the father) discerns the state of things per time. A good father will smell his family as the smell of the field God has blessed. He should smell blessings.
And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: Genesis 27:27
Isaac did not smell curses on his son Jacob; he smelled blessings. A good and faithful father will not smell failure and mediocrity on his children because of their present circumstance or situation.
God being their Creator knows the potential He has deposited in them; do not look down on them. Your ability to smell greatness in them makes you a real and faithful father.
But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace. Galatians 1: 15
Apostle Paul despite his arrogance and how he tormented the Christians, never knew who he was until he encountered Christ. It is almost certain that Paul far exceeded the expectations of people, even his father.
What we discern about our children is what they automatically and ultimately become. Let good things about your family be your greatest delight. Avoid smelling smallness, crisis, failure, divorce, etc. whatever you expect is what you get (Proverbs 23: 18). Smell pleasantness in the place of unpleasantness.
Do not lay down curses on your spouse and children for their misconduct. Do not predict evil for them.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29: 11
God’s thoughts for you are for good; let your thoughts for your family be for good.
How To Smell Greatness In Your Family
See them as God sees them
Look at each member of the family with the eye of scripture. See them the way God sees them.
Smell greatness from their potentials
Develop their potentials instead of tormenting them for their deficiencies.
Correct them with patience and politeness
Patiently correct them; believe that maturity and change may take time. If God is patient with you, you must be patient with your family.
Pray for them
… men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Pray greatness into their lives and work at it until that greatness emerges.
Do not write them off
Do not write off any member of your family when God has not written them off.
See headship in them
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. Jeremiah 1: 11
Smell headship in them. consider them as being above their peers.
Reminisce on your past
Consider who you were before and how God patiently built you up to the level you are now. Consider the fact that if God made it happen for you He can also make it happen for your family members.
Remember the fact that those who are “manger” children today may become lords and kingdom attractions tomorrow, children of low status can become great.
Look at them as God’s perfect creatures
Remember that only the maker of a product can conclude that the product cannot be refurbished. No matter how badly damaged a product is, if the manufacturer says he can fix it, just believe and wait for him to fix it. God is Sale Manufacturer of mankind and there is nobody He cannot fix for good.
See their usefulness to you and society
Understand that everything created by G od is useful Even the waste from human beings is used as manure to grow crops.
It is what you perceive and believe that you receive about your family. Despite your child’s misbehaviour always look at what he or she carries on the inside.
Ibieyomie is the General Overseer of Salvation Ministries.
The Story Of Creation: Understanding The Bible
And God said, let us make man in our own image, likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of sea and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
The story of the Creation
of Man as contained in the Bible, continues to invoke thoughts among both the learned and unlearned in the society, and while some schools of thought accept the story hook line and sinker, others do not. The result of this divide has led to heated arguments, and thought provoking emotional debates from both sides. This is quite understandable due to the different orientations and religious backgrounds of the individuals or groups involved, and the heterogeneous nature of the society; thus bringing about a conflict of “Knowledge”. As a result, various theories have been propounded by intellectuals concerning the creation of Man; foremost
of which, is the Theory of Evolution as postulated by Charles Darwin. This theory posits that man has gradually evolved from a unicellular to a multicellular organism by means of natural and sexual selection. The Theory of Evolution, is an attempt
to negate the Bible story of the Creation of Man, with emphasis that man was not created, but has undergone a process of evolution, leading to the logical conclusion that man is not a direct creation of God as contained in the Bible. We are therefore confronted with two main viewpoints; the Religious and the Scientific.
The question is, which of these two views is correct; religion or science. It is this dicey situation that has prompted me to offer enlightenment on the subject matter. In truth, both Religion and Science are correct in their different perspectives. This is because while religion explains the creation story from a spiritual perspective, science makes its explanations from a physical
perspective. Thus, even though both explanations are correct, they cannot be the same.
The essence of this article is to harmonize the viewpoints of both Religion and Science, using the Laws of Creation as a foundation for all explanations.
In order to achieve our aim, we must first establish the fact that the Bible records Spiritual Happenings, while Science can only draw conclusions from physical occurrences. In other words, the account from the Bible is based on what can be seen with the spiritual eyes, 18
While religion explains the creation story from a spiritual perspective, science makes its expalanations from a physical perspective. Thus, even though both explanations are correct, they cannot be the same.
All the accounts in the Bible are correct, and there is no contradiction, except in places where humans have supplemented what has been seen spiritually, with their intellectual knowledge. For example, the Bible when speaking about the creation of man, does not refer to man on earth alone, but to all Spiritual Beings, including man. The writers of the Bible, being guided by their intuition – which is limited to time and space – were able to link up with the main power strearr and absorb as much as was possible for them given their maturity and spiritual development. Specific landmarks were given whenever there was a need for it. The domain of Divinity is widely different from the Spiritual.and the Spiritual also different from that of the Physical World of Matter. In the order of hierarchy, Divinity is higher than Spirituality, and Spirituality, is also higher than the Physical World. And all this is duly represented in the story of the Creation of Man. Thus we have in Genesis 1:26-27 the following:
And God said, let us make Man in our own image, after our likeness: And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea over the fowl of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created Man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. From the above reference, we are confronted with the following;
1. The Creation of Man was not a unilateral decision by God.
2 A wide consultation was made by God with other persons who are part of His cabinet.
3. The form of Man i.e. what he should look like, was jointly agreed between God and His cabinet members whoever they may be.
4. Man on earth is a likeness of the image of God. In other words, Man is not an image of God, but only a likeness of those who took after His image.
5. From the beginning of Creation, God created Man and Woman together. The implication of this statement is that man was not created before the woman. They were both created male and female at the same time.
However, the Creation of Man takes a different dimension in Genesis 2:7 which records thus:
Then the Lord God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it. He breath into his nostrils and the man begin to live.
Again looking at the reference above, the Creation of Man is not similar to the first. This time.
1.Man was created alone, without a woman.
2.The Lord God had to personally come down to earth to gather the dust of the ground as his raw material for the creation of Man.
3.The molded form was not living until God breathed into his nostrils.
We certainly would agree to the fact that these were not the features of what we saw in Genesis1:26-27.
Nevertheless, a third reference from Genesis 2:18-23 read thus;
The Lord God said, it is not good for Man to live alone, I will give him a suitable companion to help him. Then the Lord God made the man fall into deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took out one of his ribs and closed up the flesh. He formed a Woman out of the rib and brought her to him. Then He said, at last, here is one of my kind-bone taken from my bone and flesh from my flesh. Woman is her name because she was taken out of Man.
From the passage above, the following are obvious;
1.God had an afterthought that Man needed a companion in the person of a woman
2.God was short of raw material after creating man and so He had to put man into a deep sleep in order to take a rib from him to make woman.
3.This time God created man before creating woman, suggesting that they were not created at the same time.
Obviously, any unbiased reader would certainly say that the writers of the Bible are a bunch of confused human beings, and would conclude that the Bible is inconsistent and inaccurate. However, if such a person is privileged to know where the writers were coming from, he will bow in shame at his lack of knowledge, and would immediately recognize that they were not out of their minds. They gave to humanity accurate and very consistent spiritual accounts as best as they could, in view of the spiritual maturity of man at that time. The problem of accuracy and consistency seems to be prevalent because man wants to measure spiritual matters by intellectual standards. We must recognize that the Bible is a spiritual work and we can only understand its content with the intuitional brain, and not with the intellectual brain.
God Put Man into a Deep Sleep (Genesis 2:18-23).
The putting of man into a deep sleep as represented in the passage, does not refer to man on earth but speaks of a Divine and spiritual happening today, through the Grail Message “In the light of truth”, we are permitted to know that the Divine Beings bear both positive and negative forms together, meaning they are neither male nor female. They radiate the living cross of Truth from within them as an expression of Unity – completeness. For this reason, they wear pinions expressing their lightness, in absolute loyalty to God the Father and selfless service, without a will of their own, but only swinging in the will of their Lord and King. This being the case, we cannot talk about, male and female beings in the Divine realm.
Apollos D. Dikibo
How Good Conquers Evil
King David was a good man. He had a deep love for God a yearning for justice, and an affection for the lowly. Yet, this same good king committed adultery with the wife of one of his trusted men. And after David discovered that the wife Bathsheba, was pregnant by him he ultimately orchestrated the murder of her husband. He then married Bathsheba in an attempt to cover his crimes.-2 Samuel 11:1-27.
It is evident that humans have the capacity for doing much good. Why, then, are they responsible for so much evil? The Bible identifies several fundamental reasons. It also reveals how God by means of Christ Jesus will remove evil once and for all.
An Inclination Toward Badness
King David himself identified one cause of evil acts. After his crimes were exposed, he accepted full responsibility for his actions. He then remorsefully wrote:
“Look! With error I was brought forth with birth pains, and in sin my mother conceive children who would sin. However, when Eve and then Adam chose to rebel against God, they lost the ability to produce sinless children. (Romans 5: 12). As the imperfect human race increased in number, it became evident that “the inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up.” -Genesis 8:2 I.
If left unchecked, this inclination toward badness results in “fornication, … enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies,” and other destructive behaviour that the Bible describes as “works of the flesh. II (Galatians 5:1921). In the case of King David, he gave in to fleshy weakness and committed fornication, which resulted in strife.
(2 Samuel 12: 1-12) He could have resisted his immoral inclination. Instead, by dwelling on his desire for Bathsheba, David followed the pattern later described by the disciple James: “Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.” -James 1: 14, 15.
Evil Feeds on Ignorance The Apostle Paul’s experience highlights a second reason why people do evil things. By the time he died, Paul had gained a reputation as a gentle, affectionate man.
He had expended himself unselfishly in the service of his Christian brothers and sisters. (I Thessalonians 2:79. Earlier in his life, though, when he was known by the name Saul, he was “breathing threat and murder against this very same group. (Acts ‘9:1,2) Why did Paul condone and participate in the evil acts perpetrated against the early Christians? “Because I was ignorant; he says. 1 Timothy I: 13) Yes, Paul formerly had “a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge. II-Romans 10:2.
Like Paul, many sincere people have engaged in evil acts because of a lack of accurate knowledge of God’s will. For example, Jesus warned his followers: “The hour is coming when everyone that kills you will image he has rendered a sacred service to God.1 I (John 16:2) Jehovah’s present-day witnesses experience the truth of Jesus’ words. In many lands, they have been persecuted and even murdered by people claiming to serve God. Obviously, such misguided zeal does not please the true God.- I Thessalonians 1:6.
The Originator of Evil Jesus identified the principal reason for the existence of evil. Addressing the religious leaders who were intent on killing him, he said: “You are from your father the devil”.
Saul condoned evil acts because he lacked accurate knowledge
Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began.” (John 8:44) It was Satan who for selfish reasons enticed Adam and Eve into rebelling against God. That rebellion introduced sin and thus death to all mankind.
Satan’s murderous disposition was further exposed in the way in which he dealt with Job. When Jehovah granted him permission to test Job’s integrity, Satan was not content with stripping Job of his possessions. He also caused the death of his ten children. (Job 1: 9-19) In recent decades, mankind has experienced a surge in evil because of human imperfection and ignorance and also as a result of Satan’s increased meddling in human affairs. The Bible reveals that the Devil was “hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.” That same prophecy accurately foretold [hat Satan’s confinement would produce unprecedented “woe for the earth.” While Satan cannot force people to do evil things, he is a master at “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” Revelation 12:9,12.
Culled from Awake.
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