Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Jeremiah’

Okogie: A Profile In Discipleship, Lesson To Jet Pastors By Bayo Oluwasanmi.


By Bayo Oluwasanmi

For the Archbishop Emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, His Eminence, Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, it’s not easy taking a stand for what’s right when every Nigerian Jet Pastor around him is running after what’s wrong. It’s not been fun either for Okogie swimming against the current of public opinion or walking against the wind of selfish pursuits.

Standing alone may not be popular especially in a reprobate nation like Nigeria, but it is always profitable for Okogie who chooses to walk with God. Working with people is not so difficult. All you need is unfailing patience, insight, stability, and tremendous experience. And Okogie is abundantly blessed with all the four qualities – and much more.

God could have chosen to do his work another way, but he didn’t. He chose to use people. People like Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and of course Okogie. God asked Moses to demand of Pharaoh, “Let my people go!” And God asked Isaiah and Jeremiah to prophesy to a rebellious nation. Moses said “I won’t.” Isaiah said “Woe is me!” Jeremiah said, “I can’t.” And God asked Okogie to fight for the poor. Okogie said “Here I am God, send me!” Yet God supplied the strength and training to prepare each messenger to deliver his message.

In like manner, when God asked the Jet Pastors to side with poor and oppressed Nigerians and confront the oppressors with truth only the truth, they said “We’ll rather begin our charity abroad in our executive jets than associate with suffering Nigerians.” In unison, they answered, “We can’t,” “We won’t,” and “We will never!”

Though I have never listened to Okogie’s sermon, that’s what he did with his life – in the choices he made, the wisdom demonstrated, the priority that he gave to prayer, and the diligence he demonstrated toward the plight of the poor and voiceless Nigerians. I’m not a Catholic, but Cardinal Okogie’s outspokenness against military dictators and tyrants of a democratic government almost persuaded me to become a Catholic.

Every successive government in Nigeria has received the full brunt of Okogie’s assault. Like a diligent watchman, Okogie guards the Nigerian multitude of poor by warning the “Ogas at the top” of the impending judgement. He calls and calls, but no one is listening.

The career of Okogie, presents the life and ministry of “theology of liberation” as he preaches to his once mighty nation – Nigeria – a withering flower or a passing shadow. For nearly half a century, Okogie proclaims an unpopular message to the politicians as well as the Jet Pastors: do not pray that the poor be fed unless you are willing to provide the bread.

His sermons go unheeded by the headstrong leaders who do their best to silence Okogie by ignoring his cries and counsel. Opposed, hated, and once arrested, the heartbroken priest lives to see the cruel political leaders unleash all forms of barbarity on Nigerians.

Okogie, one of Nigeria’s prophetic mouthpieces – what a privilege and a responsibility – for the 77-year old priest to peer into the troubled waters of 2015 and doles out unpalatable truth to President Goodluck Jonathan not to run in 2015.

In an interview published in The Citizen Online September 22 last year, Okogie focused on 2015 presidential elections. Headlined “Don’t Run, Jonathan, Don’t …” the interview is a deliciously satisfying encounter with the fiery priest. At 77, Okogie remains unbowed and unbought. He dispenses the truth with divine generosity. There is still fire in the belly of the lion.

Excerpts from his interview:

On President Jonathan and 2015: “If I were Jonathan I will not try it because the writing on the wall does not favour it. We have not even got to 2015. There is so much sycophancy and flattery. It is like telling Okogie now to go into politics, ‘come, you are the kind of person we want,’ you think I am stupid.”

“Apart from the story that Jonathan made an agreement that he would do just one term, if it is true, do you think those who were there when he said ‘just one term’ are stupid.”

On corruption: “It is quite true and corruption has been there, but not as strong as it is now. It is now a cankerworm. The only good Lord can help us out of it. But if we want to fight corruption, we should start from the top. The man at the top is thinking when I leave office, what happens to me and he want to build an empire for himself. How did it get it?”

“Why are so many people running into politics? 2015 is two years away; see how they are killing themselves. Who even knows who will get to 2015? What do you think they are looking for, money? Nothing else. They are not patriotic; they are not. All our political leaders, how many of them can beat their chests to say they are patriotic. It is just gimmick and pancake that they are doing.”

On government’s plan for the youth: “They often say the youths are the future leaders of tomorrow; it is not true, because where are the plans they have for the youths; how many of them are truly educating the youths or giving scholarships?”

“Look at the ongoing ASUU strike, then consider the amount of money the senators, president, and governors collect, compared to what others are getting in Europe. And look at our schools, the citadel of learning, where the youths are supposed to be trained for the future of the country, that they claim is for youths.”

“Why are they not sending their own children to those kinds of schools? And those who do not have enough money to take their children to Europe take them to Ghana and even Benin Republic. This is the problem we all have. And this is why corruption is there.”

On the political parties: “The parties are chop, I chop like Fela said; they are all the same. If we are all patriotic, you do not care where the person who rules comes from…” I am looking for job, but I cannot get the job simply because I am from a particular region. What is wrong with us? So, our political leaders should guide and guard their mouths, because some of the people listening to them are stark illiterates, they hear go they do not hear come.”

On unholy alliance between Jet Pastors and oppressors of the ruling class: “It is pity that a good number of those who call themselves religious leaders today are not religious leaders; they only became religious leaders because they want to feed their tummy… And they feel they can take it up, read, and interpret it (Bible) to suit themselves, but no way. And this is why they are not keeping to their calling.”

The iconic figure of the Roman Catholic Mission in Nigeria, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie retired from the pastoral governance of the See of Lagos having reached the age limit of 75 years May 25, 2012.

Born June 6, 1936 in Lagos, to a royal family of Uromi in Edo State his father was Esan and his mother was Yoruba. He holds a licentiate in sacred theology and was ordained as a priest December 1, 1966. In 1973, he became the Archbishop of Lagos. From 1994 to 2000, he headed the Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria.

Archbishop Okogie is the ultimate friend and companion of the voiceless, the marginalized, the helpless, and the poor. He’s the people’s priest. In my opinion, Cardinal Okogie possesses one of the most revolting pens in the history of clergy in Nigeria. He’s a thorn on politicians and those of the clergy and other appendages who branded with reprobate scandals. He detests their pomp, their pride, and their luxuriousness.

Over the years, Cardinal Okogie has mystified both his critics and admirers of the courage that sustained his heart, and the peace that filled his soul, were reflected upon his countenance and struck the beholders. He once volunteered to die in place of a Muslim woman who had been condemned to death by stoning by an Islamic court for adultery.

A man of super intellect, he never hide his belief in an infallible Bible and the consequences of that belief in his conforming behavior to Biblical precepts. Okogie is a solid excellent Christian, a rare gem among his fellow clergy men both at home and abroad.  A man of great power with great piety. He was one of the few cardinal electors in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

With a cheerful countenance and more than stoical constancy, he confronts head on the workers of iniquities that continue to annihilate the very people they sworn to serve and protect.

In June 2005 when the police acting on the orders of the federal government, laid siege on 1004 Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos; Bishop Okogie condemned the action saying “If a soul is lost there (1004 Estate), I will not hesitate to call for civil disobedience and beckon the international community against this government.”

The estate has been a subject of dispute between the federal government who had one time sold the property to the highest bidder and consequently asked its occupants who are mostly civil servants to vacate the building.

Like other helpless Nigerians, the Bishop felt like a prisoner in an outworn, obsolete political and theological system. Worried that religious politics would tear Nigeria apart, the revered Bishop warned that no country could remain one when “adherents of a particular religion are being singled out for persecution and denial of their fundamental rights as citizens of this country.”

Addressing newly ordained priests August 2005, the Cardinal said many priests had failed in their responsibility because of their inability to match their belief with actions. In 2006 speaking on the spate of assassinations in the country, the eminent Bishop had this to say: “The assassination of the former justice minister Bola Ige, Dikibo Marshall, Funso Williams and now Ayo Daramola portends a very great danger for our country, because the killers have not been found and prosecuted to deter others…”

On safety and security, he warned that “A nation without security is not a nation… Such a nation slides gradually into jungle justice, barbarism, anarchy and chaos.” “I am no prophet,” continued the Cardinal, “but if care is not taken, the way we are going, there will be many more assassinations before the 2007 elections.” Events that followed however, proved him to be a prophet!

A champion of public education, Cardinal Okogie berated the federal government when seven private universities were approved. He accused government of promoting private education at the expense of public education. “They are (government) subtly killing education in this country and making same costly for parents,” said the Cardinal.

Never recoiling from torments of enemies of progress and accusers of the brethren, Cardinal Okogie never missed the opportunity to condemn the extravagant riches of secular and church office. In June 2007 in Abuja at the Ordination of Seven Missionaries of Society of St. Paul (MSP), the Bishop took a swipe at priests who enriched themselves in God’s name. With biting sarcasm he lashed out at their hypocrisy:

“We need good Priests to carry out the work of God and lead Nigerians to Christ,” he said. “Now you see men of God involving themselves in negative attitude, bad practices such as enriching themselves with material things under the pretence of working in the Lord’s vineyard. Priests of God should bear good fruits that last,” he warned.

He challenged Nigerians to hold their priests accountable. “You must correct the man of God when they are not getting it right. They’re not saints, they are humans… Do not hesitate to call them back when they go astray.”

Okogie, “Dare to be a Daniel” is more than an old gospel song. It is a timeless challenge for the ruling class, the Jet Pastors, and for each new generation of Nigerians, calling them to be God’s “change agents” wherever he might send them or whatever position he might plant them. Okogie’s confidence in God is nurtured by his communication with God. To Okogie, to trust God is to talk to God, and to talk to God is to trust him all the more.

No doubt, Cardinal Okogie has left a sting in the hearts and a gnawing worm in the consciences of the enemies of the people. The lesson from the Cardinal’s life to the Jet Pastors is clear: A godly life is the best advertisement for Christianity.

We wish the people’s priest a retirement full of happiness and fun.

byolu@aol.com
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

 

 

Advertisements

Writing the Story of Your Life.


Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you,” the LORD instructed the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 30:2).

This caught my attention recently, because writing is such an integral part of my devotional life-I have over 25 years of my life documented in journals. While the circumstances and context of God‘s instruction to Jeremiah are very different from our experiences with God, “writing in a book” is a helpful tool for bolstering our devotional lives.

Journaling forces me to linger over a verse longer than I normally would. During my devotions, if a particular verse or phrase catches my eye, I write it down and begin meditating on it. Reading through Jeremiah recently, this phrase jumped out at me: “Their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen” (Jer 6:10 ESV). As I wrote this phrase, I pondered what it meant that they had uncircumcised ears, noting some of the things that came to mind: ears that are covered, blocked, unable to hear God’s voice.

As I wrote out the passage, I remembered that circumcision is also described in God’s Word as a sign of: spiritual rebirth (Romans 2:29), God’s covenant (Genesis 17:11), and spiritual humility (Deuteronomy 10:16). I was reminded of some key spiritual truths I had not considered in a long time. I prayed something like: LORD, circumcise my ears, so I can hear you when you speak. Let me hear your warnings, your instructions, your encouragement, and your assurance. The concept of uncircumcised ears became more meaningful when I incorporated it into my prayers. Suddenly, a passage that seemed only about the history of rebellious Israel had a very practical, personal application.

My journals also serve as a spiritual autobiography. I don’t remember some of the things I prayed about as a fifteen-year-old, but reading through my childhood journals, I see a young girl who earnestly sought God. I can also look back on some of my darkest seasons and see how God was with me, even when I had stopped seeking Him.

Journaling also prepared me for a trial I experienced while serving the LORD in Asia. I was following a Bible-in-a-Year reading plan, and one morning, my reading included Hebrews 10:34, “you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (ESV). I didn’t know why at the time, but I marked that verse in my Bible and wrote it in my journal. Later that week, my room was plundered, and some of my property was stolen. Normally, I would have been shaken by such a violation, but I thought of what I had written in my journal and had a calm peace-an assurance that God had prepared me for it. I dealt with the situation much more joyfully than I would have otherwise, which served as a powerful testimony to the Muslim students I was working with.

Moving into this New Year, why not make journaling part of how you connect with God? I suspect that, like me, you will be amazed as you read through the pages of old journals and see what God has done. You will see prayers that were answered, problems that were solved, and people who were saved. Keep a record of how God moves in your life, and over time, you will see how intimately God is involved. Then, one day, you will read with awe the testimony God has written on the pages of your life.


Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Logos Bible Software. Each issue of Bible Study Magazine provides tools and methods for Bible study as well as insights from people like John Piper, Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Kay Arthur, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, Barry Black, and more. More information is available athttp://www.biblestudymagazine.com. Originally published in print: Copyright Bible Study Magazine (Jan–Feb 2010): pg. 8.

The Law and the Heart.


For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Hebrews 8:10

Recommended Reading
Ezekiel 36:26-27 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2036:26-27&version=NKJV )

Twelve years ago today, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. The record of the lives lost and damage done is being recorded in an underground museum in what was the foundation of the World Trade Center‘s “Twin Towers.” But the records are written even more indelibly in another place — in the hearts of those who lost loved ones on that day.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

God first wrote His laws for Israel on tablets of stone. When man proved incapable of obeying those laws, He promised to write them in a more accessible place — in the hearts and minds of His people. That is how the New Covenant was portrayed by God through the prophet Jeremiah. The internalization of God’s law is made possible by the permanent presence of the Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

Give thanks to God today for His Holy Spirit who empowers you to walk in a manner pleasing to God. Then be sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings as He calls God’s will to mind.

Sinners cannot obey the Gospel, any more than the law, without renewal of heart.
J. I. Packer

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Daniel 4-5

By David Jeremiah.

Comforting Bible Verses.


Remember God’s Care with These Comforting Bible Verses

Our God cares about us. No matter what is happening, he never leaves us. Scripture tells us God knows what is going on in our lives and is faithful. As you read these comforting Bible verses, remember that the Lord is good and kind, your ever-present protector in times of need.

Comforting Bible Verses

Deuteronomy 3:22
Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you. (NIV)

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (NIV)

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (NIV)

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (NIV)

• Read Psalm 23 in several popular translations.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? (NIV)

Psalm 71:5
For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. (NIV)

Psalm 86:17
Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me. (NIV)

Psalm 119:76
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. (NIV)

Proverbs 3:24
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(NIV)

• Compare Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 in several Bible translations.

Isaiah 12:2
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. (NIV)

Isaiah 49:13
Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. (NIV)

Isaiah 57:1-2
Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die. (NIV)

Jeremiah 1:8
“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. (NIV)

Lamentations 3:25
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; (NIV)

Micah 7:7
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. (NIV)

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (NIV)

Mark 5:36
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (NIV)

Luke 12:7
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (NIV)

John 14:1
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. (NIV)

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV)

John 16:7
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. (NIV)

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (NIV)

Hebrews 13:6
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (NIV)

From 

Why Jesus Wept Over Jerusalem—and Why You Should Too.


Jesus wept over the destruction of Jerusalem. Why shouldn't we?
Jesus wept over the destruction of Jerusalem. Why shouldn’t we?

I write this article on the 9th of Av, the day of mourning the destruction of Jerusalem (Jer. 39:2). Two people are recorded in the Bible as weeping over Jerusalem: Jeremiah, in Lamentations 2:11, 18; 3:48; and Yeshua in Luke 19:41: “When He approached and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, ‘If you only knew today what would make for your peace.’”

While there is not much detail about Yeshua’s feelings, Lamentations has five full chapters about Jeremiah’s. Lamentations may be seen as an extended prophetic description of Yeshua’s feelings as well. Luke 19:41 summarizes in one verse the weeping and mourning of the book of Lamentations.

Yeshua and Jeremiah had much in common, and were perceived so by the crowds (Matt. 16:14). One reason is that they both prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple—Jeremiah before the Babylonian Exile (586 B.C.) and Yeshua before the Great Exile (A.D. 70).

Jerusalem is the capital of Yeshua’s kingdom and the seat of His earthly government. When Yeshua prophesied its destruction, He did so with tears of grief and pain. For Yeshua, the destruction of Jerusalem was the destruction of His own capital. He prophesied this event repeatedly:

Matthew 22:7: “burned their city with fire.”

Matthew 23:39; Luke 13:35: “Behold your house is left to you desolate.”

Matthew 24:2; Mark 13:2, Luke 19:44: “Not one stone will be left upon a stone.”

Luke 19:43: “Your enemies will build an embankment against you … on every side and level you to the ground.”

Luke 20:16: “He will destroy the vine keepers and give the vineyard to others.”

Luke 21:20: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is near.”

Luke 21:24: “They will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles.”

This was a central event of biblical history, similar to the exodus from Egypt and the flood of Noah. There is a profound parallel between the destruction of the temple and the crucifixion of Yeshua. May God grant us grace to understand the significance both of Jerusalem’s destruction and its restoration!

For the original article, visit reviveisrael.org.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

{ Day 204 }.


I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness—Jeremiah 31:3

Beloved, we will have divine satisfaction forever, discovering more of His beauty through endless ages. And we can begin now! Indeed, we must begin now, for the sake of what God would have us be. He wants us to be always caught up in fascination and to become confident in love before Him; then and only then does He reveal more of His sublime beauty to us. Take one step into this realm, and you find it’s impossible to exhaust His store of surprises; they unfold as you perceive more of His heart and as He reveals Himself to you in progressively greater measure. It’s like a walk through an endless garden of flowers, each kind more resplendent and inventive than the one before, each path leading to waterfalls and vistas ever more breathtaking to behold. All beauty on Earth is merely a reflection of Him; even the most beautiful thing you can think of will one day be swallowed up by the beauty of His heart like the beam of a flashlight in the intensity of a thousand suns.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, what awesome wonder awaits Your children in eternity. I cannot wait for You to take me by the hand and walk me through Your heaven. Your beauty will radiate forever, and I long to begin eternity with You.

The heart of God is a wonderland, a universe of
beauty like no place mankind could dream up.

By MIKE BICKLE.

{ Day 199 }.


Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! —Isaiah 30:18

Our Bridegroom God burns with fiery affections. This fact is separate and distinct from His tenderness and great gladness. Most people have a hard time thinking of God as desiring or wanting anything. After all, He owns everything. His pantry is always stocked. He can create creatures and worlds and galaxies to bring Him pleasure. He could entertain Himself endlessly. But the fact is deeply rooted in Scripture that He is also full of intense desire and burning love for each of us. This God of affection is what so many are longing to encounter, even though they may not be aware that the encounter will radically transform their heart. This is what makes you great. This is what makes you special and unique in all the universe. This provides each of us with the primary definition for our lives.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, You own this universe and those in the world unknown to me. You hung the stars in space and caused the oceans to stay in place. When You spoke a word, the earth came into being. Yet You know me, and You desire to have a personal relationship with me. This is far beyond my understanding.

He longs to be near each one of us personally, in the
way friends and lovers want to be together.

By MIKE BICKLE.

Tag Cloud