Storm Warnings

Storm Warnings

By John Ogunjimi

Please permit me to take a break from my break for the sake of this very important post. And, please, find time to read it to the end. It’s very important.

I was in the middle of something I was writing when Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm in, in August. Shortly afterwards, it flooded Houston as it finally slowed down to a tropical storm after displacing thousands of people and wrecking havoc.

I took particular interest in following the news probably because it resonated with the tenor of what I was writing at that time. I was writing about my experience on one Sunday morning last year: an account of how the sermon I took that morning had to take an unplanned different course from what I had on the outline.

That morning, around November or December last year, I felt strongly compelled to warn certain folks (especially the complacent and recalcitrant) in the congregation according to the Scriptures in Colossians 1:28: “Whom we preach, WARNING EVERY MAN, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”.

I reminded them of the time of Lot in Sodom. Of how the angels told Lot to warn his relatives of the impending danger. But what happened? Bible says, “Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.” Genesis 19:14 (KJV).

I reminded them of the time of Noah too. Of how God Himself commissioned Noah to warn the then world of the impending deluge. Of how for one hundred years, this ‘preacher of righteousness‘ was unable to convince up to ten people to take refuge in the ark. Of how they eventually perished in the flood–every singly one of them that was outside the ark!

I reminded them of how Hurricane Matthew caused great devastation in Haiti and the United States just few weeks before that Sunday morning. Of how about 600 deaths have been attributed to that storm.

I told them particularly of the preparations the government made between the time Matthew was formed in September and the time it made landfall. Of how schools were closed, malls locked, regular flights cancelled, shelters built, and helicopters deployed for evacuation of those in the way of the storm, and despite all, several still died.

My curiosity on why people still die in such floods despite the preparations on ground had led me to a website where I’d read different reasons why some people refuse to evacuate. I’m not in position to judge their decision because I can’t say what I would have done, since I’ve never been in their shoes…

I was writing about my sermon that Sunday when I heard about Harvey. Now, Harvey has come and gone, and while the affected people are still trying to pick up the pieces of what’s left of their destroyed houses, storm warnings are coming in again.

Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall in Florida as a Category 5 storm in less than 72 hours, and it is already killing people, flooding and taking off roofs in the Caribbean, leaving a trail of destruction. After NASA released a satellite image of the hurricane from their space station, weather experts have described this storm as ‘apocalyptic’ and the worst to hit the US in many years. As I type this, I’m watching the storm causing massive devastation and almost sweeping a camera man off his feet.

Like before, preparations have been made, and are still being made. The governor of Florida and other local authorities have been making update upon update on evacuation plans and available shelters from the storm. The level of preparation is impressive as always and while our prayers are with the people there, the bitter truth is that more people will still die. Why?

You see, escaping is voluntary. Even in the face of mandatory evacuations, some will still choose to ‘ride out the storm’ by fortifying their houses. It has worked for some in the past, but with the predictions on Irma, everyone on the storm’s way is advised to evacuate.

This is a parable to our generation. Jesus Himself said it this way:

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37-39 KJV.

I want to think that there were people in the time of Noah who were realists. “C’mon,” one may have said to another, “have you ever heard of such thing as a rain that would flood the whole world? Be realistic my friend! Noah is crazy.”

Perhaps, another was an atheist who mocked Noah, “You are a deluded old man. How did you see God? Prove to us that your big guy in the sky exists before you deliver your message of doom.”

Maybe there was another there who was a free thinker or agnostic. “I don’t care if your God spoke to you or not. I don’t have time for religion. I want to exercise my mind and use my brain. I can’t shift all my responsibilities to an imaginary deity and enslave myself.”

And maybe there was someone there who had a tinge of conviction in his mind on the possibility of truth in Noah’s message. “I would join Noah, but for my friends,” he thinks. “What will they say of me?” Eventually, he decides, “Just before the rains begin, I’ll join Noah in the ark. I’ll run into the ark before the flood becomes terrible. I’ll make it before it becomes too late.” He was almost persuaded, but he still perished with the flood because he didn’t know God was going to lock the ark by Himself.

As I said before, all that is happening around us (home and abroad) are parables to our generation. Why do I go through the trouble telling you all these?

I’ll answer in the words of Billy Graham, from Part 1 of his book, Storm Warning, published about 25 years ago; prophetic, I must say!

“Today’s headlines ring with the warnings of approaching storms, and the language of John’s prophetic writings has never seemed so contemporary… The figurative language of the Apocalypse is indeed complex and profound and at times difficult to understand fully…”

“However… Let no one make mistake of interpreting such passages as mere fiction or hyperbole. In the face of so much hopelessness in every corner of the globe, we need to recognise the Word of God for what it is: the Word of God.

“So my ultimate goal is to… point to the ultimate source of peace, which is faith in Jesus Christ. There is a way out of despair. There is an answer to the world’s crisis. There is a way to have peace with God. That is why this storm warning must be sounded now.”

A storm is coming, friends. A mighty, big storm is coming! And only those who are sheltered will be saved. The Ark of God is loading now. Jesus is the Ark. Come on in while you may. Be saved before it’s too late. There won’t be time to repent when the trumpet sounds. There won’t be time to make peace with God when the rapture takes place.

Friends, we are in the last moments of the last days. The end of the age is drawing nearer. Romans 13:11 (KJV) says, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” The return of the Lord is at hand. Heaven has made adequate preparation for our evacuation from this world. Join this life-boat–Christ.

If you are a believer already, stand fast and join to spread this news to others. It is our collective responsibility as believers, not just the pastors’. If you aren’t a believer yet, don’t gamble with your soul, your destiny, your eternity.

Believe and be saved.

Be born again.

Choose Jesus.

Now.

Advertisements

Just Come

Just Come 

On the 28th of December last year, I found myself in the hospital. 

Okay! It’s not as bad as it sounds; what I mean is that I didn’t plan to go there. I went to the campus that day to see someone, but he wasn’t at his office. When I called him, he said he was at the health centre, so I went there to see him. 

He was checking his blood pressure when I got there. As he stood up to leave, I passed a comment like, “I don’t remember the last time I did this.” That’s how they–the nurses, the person I went to see, the man who drives the ambulance–persuaded me to take my sit and check too. I agreed. 

As the nurse tightened the cuff of the sphygmomanometer around my arm, I distracted myself from what she was doing by focusing on what was written on the the oxygen tank siting opposite me, deliberately becoming absent minded. I was jolted back to reality when she announced the readings, saying my blood pressure was low. (Whatever that means!) 😐 

Different questions and opinions started flowing from the people there: How old are you? You are a young man; You don’t have much to think about. You are not married yet, so you are not worrying about anything. (Actually, the way someone there said it, you would think having a wife was an automatic blood pressure raiser.) 😂 

Just then, the doctor walked in, and the nurse asked her if she should refer me to her. My heart began to pound almost loud enough for my ears to hear. Refer who? In all honesty, I was scared. I was scared, not because of injections but, because I was waiting for 31st of December so I could celebrate 9 years of NO tablets, syrups, or injections due to sickness; nine years–since I started counting–of enjoying divine healing… (That’s a testimony, actually). 🙌 

Then she decided to take the readings again, just to be sure. This time, I was so afraid that the blood pressure they said was low before was now too high. They concluded that I should come back the following day. 

When I got home later that day, I went straight for mom’s automatic blood pressure monitor that she kept in her wardrobe, put in new batteries and fired it up. I took my readings and they were normal. By the time I went back the following day, they said the readings were normal. 

Now, this is where I’m going. 

I was advised to come for checkup at least once a month. To me, that meant a doctor’s appointment on the 29th of every month. Although, my office is just a block away from the health centre, I had no intention of going for any checkup because if there’s anything I know medical people for, it is that they always have a ‘bad name’ for every feeling you have. (No offence intended) 😉 

Well, January 29th came and I didn’t go for checkup. I was actually exhausted from accumulated stress, and one could even tell from my conspicuously pale face that I needed rest. Going for checkup could mean referral to the doctor, followed by the other things I didn’t want. So, I ditched checkup in January. 

“When I have rested enough and I’m well, I’ll go,” I told myself. 

I was glad 2017 isn’t a leap year, and so, no 29th of February. For me, that was an automatic no-checkup month… Or so I thought, until I got a memo one Monday like that, that we were expected to go for some medical tests and submit the report before the end of the week. When they hinge something like that on your salary, you’re left with no choice. 

I guess you know the drill: among other things, there was peeing in a cup and giving some blood in the laboratory; reading from a mirror showing letters written backwards in a lighted box hung behind me at the optometrist’s; taking a photograph of my bare chest at the radiologist’s. (Don’t worry,I know what it’s called.) ☺ 

All that happened in February. Since then, I have always had one reason–cross that out, excuse–or the other why I couldn’t go for another checkup yet. The most prominent reason has been that I wanted to feel 100% alright at any checkup time, so that there would be no need to refer me to the doctor. That doesn’t look achievable just yet, until maybe when I retire. 😂 

Another 29th of the month is coming, and as you may already be guessing, I’ll come up with an excuse why I shouldn’t go. There’s none yet but I’ll find one. Trust me. 😉 

*** 

Like me, some people have been doing the same, but on a more DANGEROUS scale. 

The Saviour has called them to come, but they want to be alright before they come. They want to put away the jewelries before they come. They want to turn a new leaf before they come. They want to buy the long skirts and turtlenecks before they come. They want to trim their nails and shave their beards before they come. They want to be outwardly righteous before they come. They want to be ‘good enough for Jesus’ before they come… Please tell them it is impossible! You can’t be good enough for Jesus on your own! 

Let me tell you this story I read in one of A. W. Tozer’s books, ‘I Call It Heresy’. Here’s the way it appears in the book: 

*** 

Paul Rader once told about the artist who had an idea for a powerful painting, depicting the plight of a tramp, a human derelict off the street. 

He went to the Skid Row district and found just the subject he had in mind—a man who was dirty, disheveled, rundown at the heels, in rags, and completely at home among the disreputable elements of the city. 

“I will pay you a fee if you will come to my studio tomorrow morning,” the artist told him. 

The bum’s face brightened and his eyes took on a new light and he said, “You mean you want to put me in a picture?” 

“Yes, I want to paint you into a picture and I will give you fifty dollars right now,” the artist said. “Just show up at my house tomorrow morning and I will tell you what to do.” 

But when the artist’s doorbell rang the next morning, the painter hardly recognized the man who stood there. He had been shaved, he had on a white shirt and his pants had a reasonable facsimile of a press. 

“I don’t want to come to your fine place looking like a bum, so I spent the money getting myself cleaned up and fixed up,” the man said with pride. 

“But I cannot use you now for the painting I had in mind,” the artist told him. “I thought you would come just as you were.” 

*** 

Jesus Himself put it this way, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17 KJV) 

If you have been trying to heal yourself of your sins before coming to Jesus, you are putting the cart before the horse. The truth is: you can’t! Even if that were possible, you wouldn’t be needing Jesus anymore and neither would He be needing you, because He saves those who cannot save themselves, not those who think they can. 

All your good works minus the grace of God are as filthy rags before God. If you are thinking that there is a scale in heaven that will measure your good works against your bad works, and qualify you for heaven if your good works exceed the bad: a big fat NO to that! You qualify for heaven by coming to Jesus and allowing Him to save you. It is after He has saved you that you get empowered to do good works that can count in heaven. 

And when you decide to come to Jesus, COME JUST AS YOU ARE. You can come with your heavy load sin, but come in humble repentance. Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37 KJV) Jesus will not reject anyone who comes. 

A songwriter puts it this way: 

Come: and He will give you rest; 

Trust Him, for His word is plain; 

He will take the sinful-est; 

Christ receiveth sinful men. 

You can’t be too bad for Jesus to save. The Bible assures that “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20 KJV). See the wonderful way one hymnist passes across the same message: 

Marvellous grace of our loving Lord, 

Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt, 

Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, 

There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled. 

Grace, grace, God’s grace, 
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; 
Grace, grace, God’s grace, 
Grace that is greater than all our sins.
 

Your sins can NEVER be greater than His grace, no matter how big you think they are. Stop trying to be free from sin before coming to Jesus; He will give you the power for that when you come. If you have come before, but have wondered far away from home, the Saviour waits today with open arms to receive His prodigal. 

Do you want to come to Jesus today? Take this hymn as a prayer, as it was probably written for those who would come on a day like this: 

Just as I am, without one plea, 
But that Thy blood was shed for me, 
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

Just as I am, and waiting not 
To rid my soul of one dark blot, 
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

Just as I am–poor, wretched, blind–
Sight, riches, healing of the mind, 
Yea, all I need, in Thee I find, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, 
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; 
Because Thy promise I believe, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.” 

*** 

If after reading this, you have decided to come to Jesus, I would like to hear from you. You can send me a message on +234-703-268-8038 (text or WhatsApp) to let me know your decision so that I can keep on praying for you. 

God bless you.

[Inspiration] Different Rules

​Different Rules 

When I started learning Spanish, one of the things that quickly caught my attention was its verb conjugation and the difference from that of the English language. 

In one of the lessons, I learnt that verb conjugation in Spanish is more complicated than in English. In Spanish, the verb endings change in order to describe who is doing the action and when. For example, for “comer,” “I eat” is “yo como” and “you eat” is “tú comes.” 

Because the conjugations indicate who is doing the action, it is usually possible to omit the pronoun. For instance, instead of saying, “Yo como arroz,” (I eat rice), you can say, “Como arroz.” And, instead of saying, “Yo soy un niño,” (I am a boy), you can say, “Soy un niño.” 

Now, imagine a native Spanish speaker who is learning English and has to write an exam in English. He would fail woefully if he applied the rules in Spanish to English, and begins a sentence with “Am” instead of “I am.” If he wants to succeed in the new language, he has to work by the new rules. 

The same thing applies in the Christian faith. When a person becomes born again, they are translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God. They are expected to begin to live and operate by the rules of the new kingdom. 

And, yes! there are rules in the kingdom of God. The Bible is our rulebook. Those who practise ‘lawless-Christianity’ (if there’s anything like that) are alien to the truth. Paul wrote, “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, LET US WALK BY THE SAME RULE, let us mind the same thing.” (Philippians 3:16 KJV) 

You can’t claim to be in the kingdom of God but be living like you’re still in the world. The rules are different. 

By default, the broad way accommodates a person with their pride, lusts, immorality, profanity, and all shades of sinfulness. The rules of that kingdom allow it. 

But, when you come into the kingdom of God — into the narrow way — there’s room for just one, YOU. In this kingdom, there’s an expected change of life. Old things must pass away. All things should become new. 

The rules of God’s kingdom demand abstinence from all appearances of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The rule demands following peace with all men (Hebrews 12:14), walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), watching and praying (Matthew 26:41), overcoming sin by the Spirit’s power (1 Corinthians 10:13), and whatever else the ‘rulebook’ says. 

I like the way a songwriter puts it: 

“If you say you love the the Saviour, 
In His word you’ll always live; 
If you say your sins are forgiven and gone then, 
Prove it by the life you live.” 
🎶

[Inspiration] What’s in a Name? 

​What’s in a name? 

The longest surviving dream I have nursed since I was a child is to become a pastor. Beyond being called a pastor, however, I wanted to be a preacher of the word. I still want to be a pastor when I grow up. Maybe a missionary too. 

Perhaps, this is partly responsible for my not having had any permanent nickname since childhood, except pastor. In fact, whenever I get to a new place, even without actually doing any verbal preaching, I begin to hear people call me pastor, behind my back and even to my face. 

Names. But, what’s in a name? 

While giving an Organic Chemistry lecture today, I told my students about the difference between IUPAC names and common names of compounds. 

I gave example of a chemical compound called ‘churchane‘ having a rather complex IUPAC name I don’t want to write. This compound is called chruchane, not because it goes to church, or because it is born again, or because an apostle-scientist isolated it, but simply because of its structure which LOOKS LIKE a church. 

Chemical structure of Churchane

Churchane. | Source: Internet

As I give that a deeper thought, I realize that it would be a wise decision for me not to get carried away with what people call me. 

Wouldn’t it be wise for me to constantly remind myself that without a genuine personal experience of the salvation that comes by grace through faith, regardless of what title people give me, I would remain a stranger to the kingdom of God? 

My friend, I hope you know that you may dress up like churchane; looking like a church-boy or church-girl, wearing your well-ironed pleated skirt, your turtle-neck blouse, long-sleeved shirt, straight trouser, nice tie to match, and still not be born again? 

Are you aware that salvation does not come just by having godly parents, being born and/or raised in a gospel church, regular attendance in church services or any merely religious activity? 

Would you know, dear reader, that being named John, Grace, Peter, Mary, Paul, Esther or even Jesus, doesn’t book you a space in God’s book of life? 

They may call you pastor, preacher, evangelist, prophet, apostle, Father Abraham or mother-in-Israel, but until you have a personal encounter with the Saviour, heaven knows you as a sinner. 

What’s in a name, my friend? Nothing! Really, nothing! 

You are not what people call you. You don’t just become what people call you. Your parents may wake up every morning and call you Governor, but that alone doesn’t make you one. 

You are who you are. God knows who you are; you do too. Interestingly, the devil also does. 

Why not stop the charade, take off the façade, and get a real relationship with Jesus today. He knows you have been pretending all along. He knows your hypocrisy. He knows your struggles with sin and the flesh. He knows it all. 

But, He’s not judging you yet. He wants to save you. He wants to forgive your sins. He wants you to really know him. He wants you to become a Christian — not just the religion-section-form-filling kind of Christian, but a Christian in heart and life. 

What’s in a name, I ask? Something, maybe, but only when the name and the named correlate. 

John Ogunjimi welcomes you to the month of March. God’s abundant blessings are yours this month.
Image credit: Internet. 

[Inspiration] When You Follow Someone…

When You Follow Someone…

By John Ogunjimi

Of all the books I read last year, 5 were books by A.W. Tozer. One common thing I found written about the author was that he was a “self-taught theologian.”

That is something too significant to overlook, particularly in this our generation where people idolize their denominations, the founders, and the traditions of those denominations.

“Self-taught” is relative. Aside reading Tozer’s books, I listen to his sermons too. There is a fire that kindles in me when I do. I get the same effect from books and sermons of Leonard Ravenhill. When you listen to Tozer preach, you’d hear him reference great authors and preachers. That would put a question mark on him being self-taught, wouldn’t it?  Continue reading