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.

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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.

The Blood

The Blood. 

The year was 2010, I think, when the National Blood Transfusion Service came to our campus with a ‘Donate Blood and Save a Life’ Campaign. 

I remember walking up to them that morning for a voluntary blood donation. Some preliminary tests were done to confirm if I was eligible to donate. Seemed it was positive. 

Afterwards, they asked me to lie on a the stretcher under the tent. But I didn’t want to lie down like I was sick, so I refused; I told them I’d be fine sitting in a chair. 

Well, they agreed, set up and inserted the needle in a vein in my right arm. I watched as my blood flowed out into the collector. All they wanted was a pint of blood. When the collector was filled, they disconnected the needle and requested that I sit still for some minutes so I would not go into shock. All these ceremonies for just one pint. 

Among others who had come to the tent to donate and was lying on a stretcher, someone almost went into shock. They had to elevate the legs of the donor with a pillow or so to keep the person stable. 

One day, we were made to understand, someone somewhere would be needing that blood — someone the donors have never met, and may never ever meet. Someone’s life was going to be saved when they agree to accept the blood someone donated to them. 

As I think about that, I remember Jesus, the Ultimate Blood Donor. Over two thousand years ago, He came to this sin-sick world and gave His blood. He didn’t give just one pint as most donors are required to do, He gave all. Some dripped off as the Roman soldiers flogged him with their razor-edged whips at Pilate’s command. More blood flowed when the crucifiers put a crown of thorns on his brow. Then, when a soldier came and pierced His side with a sword, blood and water gushed out, and He bled till the last drop. All for us. 😭 

He did it voluntarily, you know. He said it himself: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:17-18, KJV) 

But, why does salvation have to involve bloodshed? 

Follow me closely, please. 

The Bible says, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22, KJV). 

God had stated it from the very beginning that life is in the blood. (Genesis 9:4). Divine justice required that life be taken so that blood could be available to atone for the sinner’s sins. To this effect, blood of thousands of animals were shed in the Old Testament to atone for sins. 

However, this wasn’t sufficient as it wasn’t a permanent solution to the problem of sin. Hebrews 10:4 (KJV) says “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” This is why Jesus had to shed His own blood. 

Look at this: Hebrews 9:11-14 (KJV) explains that, “Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”  

Do you see the superiority of the blood of Christ? “How much more!” He doesn’t just purge us from outward sins, He purges even our conscience FROM works that lead to death. Because of His blood, there is no need to offer any yearly sacrifice of any other animal, anymore. Jesus gave His blood to save us FROM (not in) sin. He has borne the consequence of our sins on the cross. 

The word of God says in Isaiah 53:5 (KJV): “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” His blood brings salvation from sins, deliverance from Satan, healing of all diseases, and lots more. 

Dear friend, don’t let the blood of Christ be in vain over your life. All you need to be saved is to trust in His eternal sacrifice on the cross. Your good works will never be good enough to save you from sin. Praying through or to any saint, dead or alive, cannot bring salvation. Merely religious activities without the righteousness that Christ imparts cannot bring salvation either. Only the blood of Jesus offers salvation — full and free. 

Do you want to be saved? Do you want to receive eternal life? Do you want to appropriate this blood into your life? Then, let the words of this hymn be your prayer today: 

“Not the labours of my hand 
Can fulfil thy law’s demand; 
Could my zeal no respite know, 
Could my tears forever flow, 
All for sin cannot atone; 
Thou must save, and Thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, 
Simply to the cross I cling; 
Naked, come to Thee for dress; 
Helpless, look to Thee for grace; 
Foul, I to the fountain fly; 
Wash me Saviour or I die.” 

When you pray, believe, then receive the grace to go and sin no more. 

The word of God says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-11,13, KJV). 

God bless you. 

[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

A Lover of Children

A Lover of Children
By John Ogunjimi

We’d returned early from the market where father sold turtle doves and he wanted me to deliver some birds to Jeriah of Emmaus in preparation for the feast of Passover.

I saddled the ass, set the birdcage on it, and rode off, mimicking the birds as they chirped their melodious tunes. The road that led to Judea from this western side of Jordan was unusually crowded. People thronged from all quarters behind a single man. Even Archelaus, one of the Pharisees, was there too. Continue reading