On Repentance towards Others

In every healthy human relationship, there must be a good dose of a repentant attitude on both sides. We are constantly learning about each other, and finding out things about our friends, families and colleagues. If we are not disposed to “repent” or make changes, we are very likely to keep hurting or offending people we claim to love. We must commit to doing better when we fall short, and our commitment has to be backed up by the right actions. This is the language of true love – making sacrifices for the sake of other people.

On the other hand, the absence of true repentance gives room for breeding of mistrust. We humans are creatures of habit and judgment. We watch patterns and make deductions. When you don’t make changes after you claim to be sorry or repentant, you send a clear message that you do not mean your words. Whether they pick on it quickly or not, people remember, and when the great occasion comes when you need their trust, they will call to mind your behaviour. It is very important that we consciously commit to learning and evolving in every relationship.

On Repentance towards God

The thing about repentance is: it always has to be backed up by an action or a proof of change. The very word, “repent”, means to turn away from an action, behaviour or way of life, and embrace an opposite or different action, behaviour, or way of life. This is why John asked the Pharisees to produce fruits worthy of repentance – evidence in lifestyle that they have truly changed their ways. They came out in their numbers to hear him preach but his challenge to them was that of a changed lifestyle. You need to show me proof!

The preaching of repentance in the gospel must always be accompanied by the preaching of faith. This is because the natural man, at his best, is not capable of living in a way that pleases God. To be convicted and desire to change is one thing. To truly take practical steps in living differently requires the power that only Jesus can give. In the words of Jesus, “You must be born again”. To be born again or empowered to live differently requires faith in the resurrected Christ. A man turning from his sins must turn to face Jesus Christ.

Scripture References: Matthew 3:8, Luke 3:8, Acts 20:21, Hebrews 6:1

Give Thanks!

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (I Thess. 5:18, NIV)

Today, I want to send you a quick reminder for a very important Christian attitude: giving thanks! Giving thanks refers to speaking words of appreciation to someone for something they have done (or will do) – an expression of our gratitude to them. While I will focus on giving thanks to God, I also realize that a thankful heart towards God usually doubles as a thankful heart towards fellow human beings. As simple as it is to give thanks, it is an attitude that many have not cultivated because they have allowed their situation to determine their attitude.

Continue reading “Give Thanks!”

Through It All

The last few days have been difficult for a lot of Nigerians. The #EndSARS protests which started as a spontaneous reaction to police brutality became a wildfire that spread across several cities of the nation. Hoodlums began to take advantage of the protests to wreak havoc, leading to a worrisome security situation. Sadly, on the same day a curfew was declared in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, armed security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters with an unverified number of dead people and several injured. It was indeed a traumatizing experience for many.

Continue reading “Through It All”

Rise

Rise
Above my fears and your misfortune
Above your failure and my weakness
Today could just become your day
But first, you will need to rise again

Rise
To the tune of your glorious anthem
And the rhythm of my solemn pledge
To the challenge of restoring the ruins
And the labour of saving your name

Rise
Above this injustice and corruption
Beyond the limits of manipulation
Rise to the status of true nationhood
In unity and peace, by faith making progress

Rise
My beloved country, my dear friends and family
Above selfish interests and personal gain
Beyond finger-pointing to solution-finding
Until a great nation on the earth we truly become

O.J. Taiwo
Oct. 1, 2014

Joseph

Though a solitary wanderer lost in foreign lands
Yet stayed true to the culture of my native home
The blessings of my father were far much greater
Than amazing bounties found in everlasting hills
Eminent among brothers, a prince among sons
Humbled by circumstances; loved by my father
I found unusual favour with my Father above

He who brought me out of a dungeon so I could
Sit on thrones and teach wisdom to noble men
Makes for a wondrous tale every time it is told
Though depressing as I wandered through it all
And this births my message to every generation:
Hold on to faith as you go through the process
My name is Joseph: a fruitful bough by the well

Altars and Wells

One common thread we quickly observe as we journey through the story of the Jewish patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – is their devotion to basic principles that underpin their lives. These men were primarily farmers, owning and raising livestock as well as cultivating the ground. And they were often on the move in search of greener pasture (literally) or better farming conditions. But wherever they went, there were two things they always did: raise altars of prayer and dig wells of water. These two actions have great significance for us now as it did for them then. Let us explore further…

Continue reading “Altars and Wells”

On Loving People

The greatest treasures anyone can ever have are people. We are also the greatest trials we can ever experience. I write today to ask you to value the gift of people in your life, to pray for them and nurture them. Loyal and supportive, reliable and faithful, dependable and honest – people with the right disposition are the greatest blessings you can ever experience. The reverse is also true – people with the wrong disposition are the worst experiences you can ever have. And so, a crucial life skill we all require is the capacity to discern people rightly and respond to them correctly.

Continue reading “On Loving People”

A Prayer for You

Hello, dear friends! I wish you a happy new month of September. I’m grateful to God for the gift of life and the blessing of family and friends. I am especially grateful for God’s gracious gift of eternal life, freely given to those who believe in Jesus Christ our Lord. May His name be praised forever. As though in a flash, eight months of the year 2020 have flown by, and we are now set upon the last few months of this extraordinary year that has brought the most unprecedented changes to our lives.

I want to encourage you to set out this new month with determination and devotion to pursue whatever your heart is set on. Do not dither, waver or be idle, but act with commitment and give your best. As they say, procrastination is a thief of time, and time waits for no man. Great things are achieved when we commit to action, one day at a time. COVID-19 has been a great disruption, but our lives go on, and many are making progress. Whatever your hand find to do, be sure to do it wholeheartedly.

This is my prayer for you – that your hand will be strong to perform the tasks God has called you to, that your vision will be clear in times of uncertainty, that your perception will be accurate in the presence of deception, and that your heart will fully embrace all that you are called to do. I pray that God’s Holy Spirit will order your steps into His perfect will, and that you will look back on this month with praise to God. All of this I ask in Jesus’ precious name. Amen. Have a blessed month ahead of you!

I Judge Him Faithful

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11

Somewhere between God’s promise and its performance is the necessity of faith, or the act of believing and acting on what God said. While God’s promises are a function of His covenant mercy towards man, the manifestation of those promises are often a function of our response to Him in faith. This means if no one believes the promises of God, there is no certainty the promises will manifest. Which is why Jesus asks: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith in the earth?”

Continue reading “I Judge Him Faithful”