Tuesday, August 16, 2011

His Image, His Likeness

Akin Ojumu
August 16, 2011

Force Majeure…is a French word. It is quite mouthful…like all French words. The English translation is “Superior or Irresistible Force”.

It is a common clause in contracts that essentially relieves all parties from liability or obligation in the event of an occurrence of extraordinary circumstance…an “Act of God” as they say…that cannot be anticipated or is beyond the control of the parties, which prevents one or all parties from fulfilling their obligation under the contract.

On my own, I’ve entered into gazillion of contractual agreements in my lifetime. I can’t even begin to count. And then there are those contracts entered into on my behalf, many of which I’m not even aware. There are mortgages, auto loan, credit cards, employments, insurance (auto, health, and life), even medical procedures, just to name a few. In many of these contracts, you are made to sign heaps of paper filled with legalistic mumbo jumbo, written mostly in fine prints, which make no sense to anyone at all.

Here is an example of the term in a mortgage agreement…

“…Subject to all valid easements, rights of way, covenants, conditions, reservations and restrictions of record, if any. To have and to hold the same, together with all the buildings, improvements and appurtenances belonging thereto, if any, to the Mortgagee and Mortgagee's heirs, successors and assigns forever. Mortgagor covenants with Mortgagee that….”

Blah, blah, blah. On and on it goes. What in the world does that mean? Little wonder people sign this stuff without even reading it. If not for an ulterior motive, why would anyone use so many words to tell you, “Pay up or get your clothes taken off your back.”

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9

Our humanness, like dark clouds, shrouds everything we do. Inherent in every contractual agreement we enter into is the lurking intent to renege and defraud. It is as though we have to fight, with every fiber of our being, against our inner urgings not to stay true to our words. We embrace any and every excuse that enables us to break promises without any repercussions. We build caveats, and bury clauses into agreements to cover up our innate tendency for perfidy.

It is the human nature…an inborn error to mess up. It is the flesh at work.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

The natural tendencies of man to fail are in stark contrast to the faithfulness of the Almighty God. God’s mindset is so different than ours. Whereas human beings actively device new ways to break promises, God is firmly committed to stand by His words and promise no matter what.

From generation to generation, God continues to enter into contractual agreements with the sons of men. He gives His word, He swears to it by His Name, and it is done. No caveats, no force majeure, no ifs or buts.

Take for instance the contract with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the very first recorded in the annals of man. I can imagine the conversation going like the following:

Hey guys, welcome to earth…your new home. It is custom built for you…by the Words of my mouth. As you will see, it is quite a massive real estate, more than 500 million kilometer square territory…lush and rich. The land is brimming with all kinds of animals. The rivers are crystal blue and packed with an assortment of fishes. All of these creatures now belong to you. You are to name, and own, them. I give you dominion over them all. Do with them as you see fit.”

Then God takes them on a tour of Eden.

I’ve carved out the best part of the earth for you to build your home. This is Eden. It is such a beautiful land…a Garden of Pleasure. A river flows right through it…and then divides into four tributaries all packed with abundant resources. The gold here is exceptionally pure. There are also exotic metals, so precious, they make the eyes pop. And not only that, you will find all sorts of trees growing up from the ground—trees that are beautiful and that produce delicious fruits.”

He continues,

You mean the world to me. There’s nothing I can’t and won’t do for you. When I look at you, I see myself because I made you to look like Me. You are the adumbration of who I AM. You have my Life’s breath in you. That’s why I’m putting you in charge of this Garden. Keep it. Nurture it. It’s all yours…everything in it…Don’t you worry about a thing; I’ll come visit each and every single day. Should you have any question feel free to ask me.”

The tour takes them to the furthermost part of the garden, far removed from everything else, here God tells them,

We are now standing in the remotest part of your new home. It is critical that you pay attention now. Right in front of you, to your right, is the tree of life, and next to it, to your left, is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They are deliberately located at the outer fringes of your property.”

Then God says,

“…You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2: 16-17

Do you have any question?” God asks.

It is a very simple and straight forward offer of Life from the Elohim. There are no gimmicks, no tricks, no flimflams, no shenanigans, and the best part is…not a single paperwork. How cool is that? It is the deal of a lifetime…our lifetime. Who could say, ‘No’, to that...you would think.

Well, we all know how it turns out. The aftershock of the fall continues to reverberate through generations of human race.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8

The God of mercy and grace does not forever turn His back on us. He does not renege on His promises. In our fallen state, He reaches down to pull us up. He tempers His righteous judgment with His great mercy. His love covers our multitudes of iniquities. His Word is the oxygen that keeps the flame of His love forever burning. He sits at the edge of His throne expectantly waiting for us to return to who we are made to be,

His image, His likeness.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Time to Build an Ark

Akin Ojumu
August 12, 2011

Subtly – but surely – time takes its toll on all of us and we all age before our eyes. Like the small hand of the clock, we discern it is happening, but cannot see it happening.

With age comes change. As one day morphs into the next day, and the baton of life is passed from year to year, it is amazing how much change each transition brings. The hairlines recede, the waistlines bulge spilling over the waistband, and the eyes squint real hard to see.

As we change so does the world around us. Languages metamorphose, knowledge increases, and technology advances. The world we live in increasingly gets more complex – I guess every generation of mankind has that to say about their own world.

The world, through science, seeks solutions to nature’s challenges, and science in return provides the tools with which nature is subdued, transforming the landscape of human existence. More than ever before, our society relies on science to provide the evidence that explains the phenomenon of being. We turn to science to explain supernatural events. With philosophy we create rules for civil engagements.

The human mind – that mystery beyond comprehension, the puzzle that is impossible to solve – is not at all immune to change. On the contrary the mind is the foundation of all the changes that we see; it is from the inward part that all changes begin.

The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out…” Jeremiah 17:9 (The Message)

Our thoughts and thought processes have become more sophisticated and refined. In a post-modern world, the goal post of what is considered “normal” shifts each and every day. The ancient boundary of acceptable norm, set by generations before us, is displaced. The days of absolutes are long gone; replaced by a dispensation of relativism. Once accepted truths are jettisoned, instead the world embraces facts based on scientific evidence. An altar is raised for sacrifices to be bought before the gods of science and philosophy.

To be fair science has done a lot of good for the world. We are all witnesses to the impact of scientific advancement on our society. The world is a better place today than it was a few years ago. Life expectancy has more than doubled for most people, as a result of better health and healthier lifestyle. Science has found answers for many diseases. To a large extent the natural elements have been tamed. Science helps introduce efficient and effective processes and procedures to our daily endeavors, which enable us all to live more productive lives. Better means of communication have been developed…although it appears we communicate even less...with everyone living in his own cyber cocoon.

Scientific discoveries, in and of themselves, are a proof of the wonderful work of God in creation. Who but a super intelligent mind could have engineered the complex structure and functions of the human body? Only the Almighty God could have laid out the universe in its entire splendor with everything in its place in an orderly array.

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” Romans 1:20

Yet, rather than glorifying God with each scientific breakthrough, the heart of man is lifted up in pride and arrogance. Puffed up in his wisdom, he thumbs his nose at the One who stretched forth the heavens and set the earth on a firm foundation, and breathed his own life into men and women.

The sepulcher of the human soul is littered with vain things. The mooring on the mind has been loosed; man’s mind is adrift in the sea of immorality. He is trapped in the cesspool of wantonness. Right and wrong now has new meaning. The innate difference that exists between a man and a woman, which for generations is accepted as the way we are meant to be, is rejected. A man can now be a woman, and a woman, man. A crisis of identity ensues as light dims on the honorable institution of marriage.

The pace of change is proceeding at a lightning speed. Like a freight train that has lost control the world barrels downhill toward its destiny, the day of Divine retribution; when we stand before an angry God.

From where I stand, that day is not too far out of sight. It’s high time I built an ark.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Amazing Grace

Akin Ojumu

August 3, 2011

“It is by the Grace of God…….”

You hear that all the time. Don’t fall for it. It is nothing but a cliché……it is talking Christian....Christianese. What’s so amazing about Grace? I submit to you there is quite a lot you can do without the Almighty God.

You do not need God to live in unforgiveness and hate? On the contrary, the farther away your heart is from God, the more profound is the taste of hate in your mouth…..that lingering taste of anger and wrath against the unfortunate bloke who steps on your precious little toe.

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Ephesians 4:26

Who dares touch your cheek and their teeth don’t get knocked out? You do not need grace to beat the living daylight out of the man who sticks in your craw. It is with the fist that respect is earned. There is no place for the weak in the world we live in. Utopia is the habitation of the meek. Retaliation requires no grace.

When God is out of the way, you’ll hate till you are blue in the face.

If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also.” Luke 6:29

God wants you to take your hard earned cash and give to those who, for whatever reason, don’t have at all. He wants you to hand it over to these leeches looking for handouts. I know this for a fact. That’s who He is. It is His nature; embedded in His Divine DNA.

How in the world can you become wealthy anyway if you throw your wealth away? To build wealth you acquire more and more, and store them up more and more. That’s Economics 101……it’s not rocket science. If these sluggards ask you for money, run their credit history and make sure they pay back with high interests. If they miss any payment send the collection agency to harass them. You don’t want to throw money down the drain by giving it to charity do you? There’s no free lunch.

If you want to keep all of your dough you have got to build an impenetrable wall of lead around your soul, that way you keep the conscience pricking Word of God off limit.

Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.” Proverbs 11:24

Who needs God’s grace to start a church or build a congregation? All you need is a well thought out strategic plan.

Rollout a good advertisement campaign. Blanket the airwaves and billboards with your Ads. Deliver heavy doses of positive mental attitude messages that massage the soul. Spice it up with a few deep revs and prophetic insights. Voila! You’ve got yourself a following. And by continually stroking their pleasure centers you get to pack the house, and the offering bowls will keep running over with tithes and offerings.

You certainly don’t need God’s grace to achieve that feat….great man of God that you are.

And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Act 2:47

Why should you allow God to continually look over your shoulder and breath down your neck? You don’t need your life and actions put under the intense scrutiny of His Word. You are the man, you’ve got what it takes to run your life however you want. You are in the driver’s seat of your life, what do say we take it for a spin and burn some rubber?

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

At the end of the day though, how would you plea when His Amazing Grace gives way to His Righteous Judgment?

We all shall close our eyes and stand before the bema seat.” Romans 14:10