Lawlessness

Anyone that lives based on his personal lay-down rules of good and bad which contradicts God’s standard is Lawless.

As a growing child, I used to believe being rich or wealthy is a lifestyle of enjoyment. And enjoyment in my own definition then means, a state of idleness where I have everything at my fingertips a state where I can eat anything, do anything that comes to my mind, travel anywhere, marry the most beautiful woman.

I later discovered that, I was not alone in this. In conversing with certain folks, who also hold this definition of enjoyment in a way similar to mine, though a bit wild. They narrate a picture where they were surrounded with beautiful ladies in a jacuzzi, have lots of cash to display, travelling to the world’s best cities and beaches in a first class flight. Wearing the latest brand of designers, relating with world foremost celebrities.

This line of thought was King Solomon’s initial thought pattern. He said; “… whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy, for my heart rejoiced in all my labour…” (Ecc 2:10).

Whoever has no restriction for his longings, appetites or desires, is truly enslaved and lawless.

King Solomon soon realized this, and said, “Vanity of vanities.. all is vanity.” (Ecc 1:2). Even the prodigal son learnt it the hard way (Luke 15:12-24).

He who has all and still choose to live within the confine of a limit, is truly free.

Paul said, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Cor 6:12). He’s saying though he can do all things, but not all the things are helpful to him. He also said, he will not be controlled by the will to do anything.

I Cor 5:14a

“For the love of Christ constraineth us….”

Paul said, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly (moderately, temperately, discreetly), righteously and godly in this present world.” (Titus 2:11,12).

He continued by saying; “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed.

Dolapo Onawale

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THE ROLE OF AGRICULTURE IN POVERTY REDUCTION IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Gone are the days when agriculture is believed to just provide food. Agriculture is now a major tool for poverty reduction and an edifice for development. In time past, scholars have argued the significance of agriculture in poverty reduction. But most studies have come to the conclusion that agriculture is beneficial for poverty reduction, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa has been categorized as an agriculture-base economy, simply because 69% of its population engages in agriculture, most of who live in rural areas, and are subsistent farmers. Agriculture accounts for 29% of its GDP (World Bank, 2015). 75% of poor people live in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa (IFAD, 2010).

Growth in agriculture contributes to a greater supply of food and lower food prices. And this benefits both rural and urban poor. Agriculture has a multiplier effect on other sectors of the economy (Haggblade et al., 2007). Agricultural sector itself might grow at a slower pace than the non-agricultural sector, but investments and policy reforms in the sector will actually yield faster overall economic growth. Studies finds out that agriculture is very important and effective in poverty reduction among extremely poor people (i. e. those making less than one dollar a day).

According to World Bank (2007), agricultural productivity should be raised with policies investing in Research and Development (R&D) and innovation. Biotechnology has great potential in Africa (Borlaug, 2000). Norman Borlaug (Father of green revolution) led scientific research that boosted wheat and rice production in the world. And this boost, affected Asia’s production positively that, it defies the Malthusian theory that India will run out of food to feed its population in the 18th century.

Smallholder farmers should be targeted with policies that promote access to quality input materials, access to market and credit facilities. In Nigeria for instance, cassava is one of the major food crop grown in almost all parts of the country. The released of improved varieties of cassava stems by IITA, has increased production in the country. Farmers now make more in terms of earnings on sales of cassava roots. And this has positively affected the non-agricultural sectors as well.

The country now generates foreign revenues from sales of cassava products. Rising agricultural incomes are spent on industrial products for household, education, infrastructure, health care, media e.t.c. In the early good agricultural years of Nigeria, income generated from agriculture was used to develop the southern part of the country infrastructural-wise. The first skyscraper in the country was built from revenues agriculture and named after an agricultural crop (Cocoa House), the first television station in the country; the first university in the country was all built from proceeds from agriculture. This is a living proof that growth in agriculture spills to non-agriculture sectors.

Agriculture contributes to poverty reduction because it provides employment to the poor, (the majority of the population) who also have generally low skills and education, as well as supporting the growth of non-agricultural employment in the rural areas. As the majority of poor people in sub-Saharan Africa depend directly on agriculture for their livelihood, it is often argued that agricultural growth has a higher return in terms of poverty reduction (i. e. higher participation effect).

Although, interest in agriculture seems to have increased lately, this is due to the efforts of international bodies like, IFAD, FAO, the OECD, the UN and UNDP, and the World Bank. Growth in agriculture reduces poverty, although its importance diminishes as economies grow and become more diversified. In India for instance, rapid growth rates in livestock agriculture have contributed immensely to poverty reduction.
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Open invitation Love letter

Dear Friend,

Millions of people worldwide have set aside today (February 14), to celebrate LOVE. And after today, the love wanes and its gone. But personally, I have come to discover that LOVE, is eternal. LOVE is not just a feeling, neither is it an urge, GOD is LOVE!

I’m sure some of you are beginning to feel uncomfortable with that phrase, you are saying, he’s going religious. I wish you understand what am saying. I wish you know this kind of love. God has revealed his love to us, in that he gave His only begotten son (Jesus). Now, am annoying some people already. You wish, is there no way you can talk about Love and not talk about God? No way!

Oh! My friends from other religion are saying, you can talk about God, but don’t bring Jesus into the equation. Because, as far as they are concerned, he’s just one of those religious leaders. If your claim is true, why is it that when other religious leaders are looking for the way to God, this Jesus said, he is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. When there was darkness and confusion, he said he is the LIGHT of the world. Even God Almighty publicly pronounce, “this is my beloved Son, in whom I well pleased, hear him.”

It is time, I introduced this Jesus to you. It will be unfair and selfish of me, if I keep Him all to myself. I believe we are friends (either on Facebook or in real life) not by coincidence. It is not a matter of religion superiority. I wish I can tell you this, in a way that will soothe your feelings, but there is no other way, friend.

You can’t get to the father by any other means, but by Jesus Christ. He is the Word of God that became flesh to get life across to you. He made all things. All He need from you, is that you surrender your life to Him, giving him full access into your heart. It is then, that you can experience the true meaning of LOVE. This LOVE, does not envy, thinks no evil, is kind, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not rejoice in iniquity, does not parade itself (in red and white), never fails, is selfless. This love is better expressed in deeds and truth towards God – vertically, and our neighbours – horizontally (not just to your date, fiancé, spouse or friend). Which is better illustrated in a crucifix.

You cannot truly love, except you know God. And you cannot know God without Jesus Christ (which is the express image of God). The choice is yours today! You can either ignore this invitation of love or accept it by welcoming Jesus into your heart. The love is greater than anything you have experienced before. It is indescribable!

He died for you, when you don’t merit it. When you are not useful to him, he laid His life for you. You ask, how do I accept him? It is simple! Believe in your heart that God raised Him (Jesus) from the dead, and confess Him with your mouth as your Lord and Saviour, you will be saved. In addition, you will ask him to forgive you of your past ways of life (your sinful ways of life), and decide not to follow the sinful path again (which is repentance). If you will humbly do these, then you have accepted him. And his spirit can now shed the true love abroad in your heart.

Your Friend,
Dolapo Onawale

Lessons from the book of Ruth

Lessons from the book of Ruth 1 & 2

Most of us are trying to avoid unpleasant situations that are independent of our actions. In order to create a pleasant condition, we leave Bethlehem (House of bread) for Moab (Whoredom nation). And instead of the lasting comfort we desire, it’s been woes upon woes. In the process of time, we lost our Elimelech (God is King or the rulership of God in our lives), also our Mahlon and Chilion.

Yet, we think God has destined us, for all these sufferings. Even what we initially fear, is nothing compared to what has befallen us. Our once upon a time Naomi (pleasant conditions) has now degraded to Mara (bitter conditions).

Despite all these, there’s HOPE saith the LORD.

Habakkuk 3:17,18,19
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines, even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren, even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty.Yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer (i.e gives me the speed of a deer) able to tread upon the heights.”

Whatever the situation is, whether self inflicted or by reason of circumstance, God is able to turn it around for your good.

Remember, all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Selah!

Do you really know?

Often time, we try to explain who God is to people. We try often, to explain his doings to people, forgetting the fact that his ways are not our ways. As the heaven is higher than the earth , so his ways is higher than ours.

We often time, try to defend him before people, giving them reasons why their prayers are not answered. Portraying to them as if we could decipher and accurately predict his ways. Instead of acknowledging our inadequacy in accurately showing people what He’s up to.

He doesn’t think like us. His doings cannot be adequately predicted. We understand and know in parts. He is diversity in simplicity. We have limited him (God) to the Bible. We think we could discover in the Bible apart from God himself. We try hard in our human nature to find him and his doings in the Bible neglecting His person in the Holy Spirit. No wonder our increase in knowledge has puff us up. Knowledge apart from God whether biblical, academical or whatever, only leads to PRIDE.

Why can’t we just accept to be the Man we are, in need of God. We should focus more on the “tour-guide” (the Holy Spirit) who can make the “map” (the Bible) more meaningful to us. Imagine Jesus telling the teachers in his days (Pharisees and Sadducees) that: “ye err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matt 22:29).

How possible is that? What have they been teaching? “Everything that Bible says comes from God’s Spirit” (2 Tim 3:16 Easy English). Without fellowship with God’s Spirit, the best we could do with the scripture is ERR.

Why do we claim we know, when in the real sense, we do not know. Why can’t we just tell people, ‘I don’t have answer to that, but you can trust him on it.’ Why do we always paint him as if he works every time to please us? If the latter is true, why does he promise us the Comforter, if there’s no need for comfort. Why does he repeatedly commands us “not to fear”, if there’s nothing to fear. Why does he ask us “not to worry”, if we can have everything figure out on our own. Why does he keep emphasizing the need to trust him, if we can trust our reasoning and logics.

I suggest we should be sincere enough to tell ourselves and people that; God’s ways is past our intellectual understanding. And also encourage them to trust him, rather than convince them into believing he’s a magician.

We should drop our ego of being ‘highly spiritual’ and like children portrays his kingdom to them. No wonder Jesus himself said, “.. unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3).

Neither Peter nor the disciples on the ship initially claim to be sure it was their Lord they saw walking on the sea. All Peter did, was trust! (Matt 14:27-33).
Even Abraham, the father of faith. He did not know how, but he trusted (believed) him, and it was counted to him for righteousness (Rom 4:1-3).

Most the biblical heroes and heroine of faith, did not try to reason it out. They didn’t see God as God who will always please them first, but they all have one thing in common, and that is TRUST in God. They believed God. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28).

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John H. Sammis (Trust and Obey)

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Refrain:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Armor

Ephesians 6:11-18

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“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”

An armor is defined as a protective covering made of metal used in combat. The armor is made up of different components.

First according to our text; ” having girded your waist with truth“. The truth here means, the Gospel, and the several doctrines of it; it should be near and close to the saints, and never departed from; and that it is a means of keeping them close to God and Christ, and of strengthening them against the assaults and attacks of Satan. Weightlifters are often seen with very strong belt around their waist, this allow them to lift weight twice their body weight without breaking them. The truth allows access to strength and also prevent the believers from being swayed or shattered by the lies of the devil.

Second is, “breastplate of righteousness”. This allow the believer boldness before the accusations of the devil. It allows for a pure conscience both before man and God. Knowing full well that we are saved by grace and not of ourselves and we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Thirdly, “your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”. This also means shoe which is meant to protect the believers against attacks that might lead to his fall, it signifies a “base”, or foundation. Someone once said, the best way to keep your salvation is to spread it. ” How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things “. We should always be ready to preach the gospel of Christ. But it designs the constant and firm standing of believers in the faith of the Gospel, and so striving and contending for it, without being moved from it, that it may continue with them. Shoes or boots, which were sometimes of iron, and sometimes of brass, are reckoned among the armour of soldiers.

Fourth component, the shield of Faith.
Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The opposite of faith is FEAR! (False Evidence Appearing Real). For the just shall live by his faith saith the holy word of God. A soldier without his shield is a naked soldier, for he becomes a prey to the enemy. A Christian can only preserve himself from the fiery dart of the enemy by his Faith in God. For without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Fifth is the, helmet of Salvation. Helmet is the armor that protect the head. And the head is the center for coordinating the entire body’s activities. Once anything goes wrong with the head, the body is paralysed. It is key. Once a person salvation is compromised, defeat is inevitable.

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Sixth is the, sword of the spirit which is the word of God. It is a key armory for attacking at the warfront. Like the popular saying, attack is the best form of defense. The devil doesn’t respect any other thing other than the word of God. It is the only thing by which we overcame. Are you constantly being molested by the devil and his cohorts, get the word and use the word.

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Lastly, Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. Show me a prayer-less Christian and I will show you a weak and defeated Christian.

With all these, the believers is sure to have a victorious warfare.

Responsibility

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RESPONSIBILITY
We go on and say “he isn’t a responsible man, she isn’t a responsible wife, pastors has to take responsibility for their flocks” and lots more, the saying is endless.

A natural man is adherent of avoiding responsibilities, we can see this trend right from the first man “Adam, he immediately shifted the blame of disobedience to this wife, Eve…she also continued the trend by blaming the serpent…and till now the shifting of responsibility continues…For how long?

The answer is inherent in just one word “LOVE”
In this same love, God sent his only son to come take responsibility for all our inadequacies. All the faults and shortcomings of Adam have been admitted by just one man named Jesus…. Therefore, we do not need to continue shifting blames, cares or whatsoever … he has got it all for us. And through him we have obtained that one access to the father concerning all things that pertains unto life and godliness.

Like I said earlier, a natural man by default cannot be responsible because the seed of responsibility (love) is dead in him…You embrace responsibility when you embrace the God of love.  Let’s look at this; 1cor 13: 4-6

To our parents, wives and husbands… love is patient (please be patient with us), to our families, friends and loved ones… love is kind, Our dear friends… love isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, isn’t arrogant, isn’t rude (children take note). To our boss, spouses and colleagues … doesn’t seek its own advantage, isn’t irritable, doesn’t keep a record of wrong doing or complaints, to those in authority…doesn’t rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness (say No to corruption), but rejoices when right and truth prevail. To everyone….Bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person…it suffers long, doesn’t give up easily and endures all things.  Love never FAILS!

Taking up our responsibility in whatever role is made easier when we walk in love…The author of love says “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest… my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Mat 11; 28,30… NO LOVE, REMAIN IRRESPONSIBLE!
By Victoria Egunjobi
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The Just

Text :Gal 3:11
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“But that no one is justified by the law, in the sight of God is evident, for the just shall live by faith”.

The just, are people that have been justified. You can’t be justified if you have never been alleged at one time or the other. You could be alleged with what you’ve done or alleged wrongly. You need an evidence or exhibit or a witness that will show a proof in order to justify you.

Grace in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ is our witness, our evidence, our exhibit, our advocate. He presented himself in the court of law in order to justify us.

After the case, we were declared justified. Not necessarily because we indeed did not commit the offense, or because we have been saint from the beginning, but because there is enough proofs, enough reasons, enough evidence to cancel our allegations and set us free (He that the Son set free, is free indeed).

After our justification, nobody holds any right thereafter to allege or judge us. “Any tongue that rises in judgement against us shall be condemned”. We now have a legal backing that makes us equal to a saint – someone without any offence.

“..the just shall live by faith”. Henceforth, the just shall live not by his past records, not by what people have been saying or is saying about him, but by his faith. “Faith cometh by hearing..”, hearing during the justification by Grace. Hearing what right, we now hold. So, go about telling people of your new status, reminding them how Christ took your place and gave you his place, what grace you now enjoy, showcasing your new “C of O“.

Therefore, necessity is laid on us to live by faith and not by the law. Because, lawfully speaking, you are condemned, you are not qualify. But Gracefully and faithfully speaking, you are justify and qualify to be called righteous. Hallelujah!
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Men’s stupidity, God’s blame

Christians oftentimes are victim of blaming God for their woes. A lot of people trust God for what he has empower them to do, and when they refuse to take action, nothing happens, and then they shift blame to God. Imagine a lazy farmer; his field is covered with weeds, thorns briers e.t.c and assuming the farmer is a Christian, who attends all church service, pays his tithe, gives alms and prays on daily basis. Yet, he is LAZY. Of a truth, he sows, applies fertilizers, waters, but because he’s so lazy to weed his farm, at when due, the yield does not commensurate with his input and then he blames God.

Another common example that readily comes to mind is a student who refuses to read and study ahead of his exams. After writing the exam, he expects God’s magic to give him the distinction earmarked for diligent students, forgetting God’s word which says; “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the slothful shall be under tribute’’ (Pro 12:24).

The almighty God operate by principles, and he does not bend any of his principles for anybody. Prayers or any spiritual activity does not bend God’s principle.The bible is the only book that contains sets of God’s principle. A lot of woes that befall man are as a result of his stupidity. The bible says “…time and chance happen to them all ’’, even an English man says, ‘’make hay while the sun shine’’.

Let’s cease from the habit of blaming God and starts to take responsibility for all that befall us, knowing fully well that, his banner over us is love. ‘He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?’ (Rom 8:32). God cannot be mock, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal 6:7). When we understand some of these things, we shift from blaming God, to ‘’re-considering’’ our ways knowing that, God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent: hath he said, shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Num 23:19).
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‘’Some people do silly things and so they destroy themselves. Then they get angry with the Lord’’ (Pro 19:3 Easy English). It is high time we blamed ourselves and not God. God will always be right, we may not just know at the time, but trust me, God is always right. So, trust God, because he loves righteousness and hates wickedness. He is a GOOD GOD.

Time

                      TIME
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Time according to the Wordweb  dictionary is defined as “an instance or single occasion for some event”. Another dictionary defines time as “ the inevitable progression into the future with the passing of present events into the future with the passing events into the pasts”. Countless number of dictionary definitions of time each tries to put words together in order to express its own view of time based on the knowledge of its individual author(s).

Time according to the Holy Bible was defined as an opportunity (Eph 5:16). If you ask of my definition of time. I define time as, The Invisible Modeling Environment created by God himself to remind man of who he is and what he ought to be. Man is a product of TIME. Someone defines MAN with this 3 simple acronym, Morning, Afternoon and Night.

Time heals, time preserve, time exposes, time reveals, time makes perfect, time justifies, time keeps, time teaches, time beautifies, time appreciates, time celebrates, time clarifies, time is precious, time is costly, time matures, time is …, time is everything.

The importance of time cannot be overemphasized. Apostle Paul said,” when i was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. This is the picture, with time he came to a better understanding. He understood with time. Time has presented him the opportunity to know better. Come to think of this, when I was a child I used to imagine when I grow up, I will have uncountable money which I thought will be sufficient to buy me kulikuli (a groundnut snack), my favorite biscuit “shortcake”, toys and other stuffs in the category. But, I now know better, that first, there is no such money as uncountable and all those things that used to appeal to me then are now irritating to me. With time, I learnt to know what I truly like and what I truly need
If only man allow time which is God’s creation to model one’s, man will hardly make mistakes. You cannot yield to time’s instruction if you are not patient. It is written, ”for whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom 15:4). Also, “…patience, experience and experience, hope and hope maketh not ashamed…” (Rom 5:4,5).

Making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil (Eph 5:16). We are advice here to buy time, seize every opportunity to contribute your quota toward making the world a better place, it starts from you. One of the wisest man that ever lived says it better, there’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth” (Ecc 3:1)
Opportunity they say, once lost cannot be recover, why allow every opportunity to slip you by. “It is also said, when opportunity meets preparation, success is inevitable”. So make good use of every opportunity any time you have the chance. Lastly, if you need to make important decision, you need to subject them to time especially one that has to do with your life. For example, deciding on a life partner, you don’t base such decisions on fading emotions, prayerfully, you WAIT.

Any peradventure, you are product of worst past, a victim of past or present circumstances. You solace should be in God who can use time to heal you, straighten your crooked ways, and give you a new beginning. When we trust God well, can reinvent us and also remolds us. God created us, he knows our constituent, and therefore he has the final say. Circumstances, people or places shouldn’t dictate who we are, otherwise they can be used to shape us into who we are meant to be. We should remember this useful acronym that,
TIME T- THINGS
I- I
M- MUST
E- EXPERIENCE
When anything happens, learn the habit of waiting on God who can do all things.
Yours faithfully,
Dolapo S.Onawale.

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