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Contents

6 If I could Reverse the Hand of Time 8 Destiny Driven 11 The Case for Submission 12 Issues of the Heart 16 Home Front Series: I am the BOSS! 18 Kelvin & Amy Smith: Living on Target 22 Can you Handle the Truth? 25 Through Righteous Steps 26 What’s Up Bro’?

28 Pastor Sunday Adelaja

28 Pastor Sunday Adelaja: Standing Strong Amidst Opposition 30 Somebody Help! I’m drowning in Fear 32 7 Steps to Fireproof your Marriage 36 Today’s Missionaries 37 Covenant Woman 38 Sarah’s story 48 Church Mice 50 Wisdom Diary: Be Sure to Plan

Quick Finds

Editorial ............................................................4 Letters ............................................................... 5 Editorial Board .................................................. 5 Issues of the Heart .............................................12 Home Front Series............................................16 Short Story..................................................... 38

18 Kelvin & Amy Real Relationships | 3


Open my Eyes

that I may See!

Proceeds from the sales of Real Relationships support our Medical Missionary Efforts

By T. Fejiro Kalu

I

know that God is good! Without Him, we are nothing; but with Him, we can do everything through Christ, who strengthens us. Right now, we are bubbling over with happiness…. I am practically tumbling over myself as I welcome you to this edition of Real Relationships, and I want you to catch the fever too! If you haven’t heard, this year is very special for us indeed. That’s because this is the year that Real Relationships turns 11! Like yesterday, eleven years has zoomed by already (can you imagine that?)!! Having said that, there’s no way we could have done it without you, our devoted audience, writers, and advertisers. Therefore, on behalf of the entire Real Relationships family, I thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for making us what we are today. Certainly, God is good (look, I said it again)! The road hasn’t always been easy, and we didn’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel from where we stood. Yet, we kept the faith, and we persevered. If you ever find yourself similarly positioned, I encourage you to do the same – keep the faith and persevere. In time, you too will share your testimonies. Do you have a seed? Is there something that God has called you to do? Does the road ahead seem bleak from where you stand now? Well, exactly how short-sighted are you, my dear? I beg you, open your eyes-o! Begin to give God praise now, for your success story is on its way. Your destiny will come to pass, for no one can take it away from you! There are golden nuggets scattered within this edition but, I won’t tell you where they are; you have to find them yourself. Because, as the saying goes, “finders, keepers!” As you read, please ask God to open your eyes so that you may get the message or answer that was meant for you. Pray tell! Are you constantly second-guessing yourself or your situation? You may find something in “If Only I Could Reverse The Hand of Time.” If you are in a dating relationship, check out “Des-

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tiny Driven.” If you are considering marriage or already married, then “The Case for Submission” and “I am the Boss” are must reads for you. And of course, all of us could grasp a thing or two from “Through Righteous Steps,” “Living on Target,” and “Can You Handle The Truth?” “Auntie Julie,” we already know, always has something for everyone. In short, there isn’t an article in this issue that wouldn’t be a blessing to you. See for yourself. Yes, though trials and tribulations abound, I thank God that His grace has been and always will be sufficient to carry us through. I recall when recently, my best friend lost her brother (God rest his soul). I watched as the family grieved while we all prayed that God would strengthen and comfort them. Through it all, it was soothing to know how much this gentle-spirited man loved his family and friends. But, more especially, it was admirable to learn how much he loved God! His passing was yet another reminder to me that some day, we all will walk through that door and cross over to ‘the other side.’ When that day comes, will you be ready, and what legacy would you leave behind? You decide. But, may God help us all and grant us the wisdom to recognize what really is important in life (keeping in mind that it is not the material things, because we leave them all behind when we leave this world). Ask God to open your eyes and your heart…. Until our next issue, seek always to do what is right; donate something, no matter how little to a good cause; show kindness always; and be a blessing to others. Above all, love one another, but love God more. Remember that whatever you sow, the same shall you reap. And, as you sow, may happiness always keep you sweet, may trials keep you strong, may sorrows keep you human, may failures keep you humble, may success keep you glowing, but, may only God be The One that keeps you going! [p.s: Don’t forget, I would like to hear from you.]

Buy an extra copy for a friend For more information about how to further support our Medical Missionary Ministry please email:

editor@realrelationshipsmag.com Statement of Purpose Real Relationships is about lives torn apart by life’s many experiences. It is our vision to provide an avenue (through the print and electronic media) where the hurting, the depressed, the frustrated and confused can find acceptance, healing, hope, forgiveness and encouragement. It is our vision to help believers discover and maximise God’s purpose for their lives.

Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief: Dr Uvoh Onoriobe Editor: T. Fejiro Kalu, Esq Series Editor: Dr. Stanley Okugbo Senior Writer: Dr. Omokhoa Adeleye Production Manager: Igho Efekemo Advert Executive: Chichi Onoriobe

Circulation Manager: Patrick Asikie Art Director: Naomi Fergusson Graphics: ::n graphic + web Cover Photographer: David Johnson Photography: StockXchange.com, iStockphoto.com Publishers: Plumbline Communications

Nigerian Offices: 25 Marconi Road Palmgrove Estate, Lagos, Nigeria | P.O Box 53037 Ikoyi Lagos, Nigeria US Office: 6003B Landmark Drive, Charlotte, NC 28270 email: editor@realrelationshipsmag.com | website: www.realrelationshipsmag.com Real Relationships | 5


If only I could reverse the Hand of

Time

“If you can look into the sands of time and tell which would grow and which would not then speak to me” ~Macbeth By Dr. Stanley Okugbo

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iming is everything. Without it no vision or dream can materialize; no goal can be achieved! There is a time for everything; a time to get an education and a time to get a vocation. Did you miss that sister that you loved so much while in school? Did you miss that road you wanted to take the turn you wanted to negotiate? When you look at those you started with in life you realize that life is like a race. We are all in this to win! And it does hurt not only to see those you started with ahead of you, but to see how far behind you have gotten. They are married with so many beautiful children. They are in very successful vocations, business and jobs but here you are at mid life making career-threatening decisions. You begin to wonder if your life is not there just to give a contrast to the successful. If you are inclined, you wonder if you are cursed or jinxed! Yes timing is everything. When we miss it we miss the end point! Then all the sacrifice seems belated, all the achievements seem antiquated, all the visions seem to be leftovers. It seems that what victories we have has the world in a rewind. Timing is everything. It is one most important feature for success. Yet there is a downturn to it. The perception of bad timing is one of the great stressors in life. It makes the grass seem greener on the other side. It leads to feelings of depression and when uncontrolled derails the pilgrim. However to sit and look backwards and feel that the last boat has left and we are not on it is to implode! What is to say that we still cannot make

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it even if we miss our timing? After all who and what determines timing? A rigmarole may actually be a learning curve or training most needed! David was anointed too early? The wilderness experience is the wilderness because we are looking at the road not the journey. The road? Scat! The journey is leading somewhere! Paul said all things walk together for our good! This journey itself is our life! To enjoy it is to enjoy your life and who you are about. When you know that here is not your bus stop then you would realize that you are a pilgrim, a student, a tourist, a visitor, a researcher. You would admire the situation for what it is to you; a part of the landscape for your life; A part of the rich experience of your personality; an experience of the great you. Time and money heals all wounds. That depends on whether we forgive ourselves or constantly dig up the old wound; whether we look forwards with hope or backwards with regret; whether we look inwards to relive the past mistakes or inwards to chart a new course.

disdained of virtues! The most attacked by the enemy and most mocked by detractors! So you think you can make it? So you think it would work? You see, faith is the substantiating of things hoped for. Even though your faith is weakened, keep hope alive and plant it where it matters most, within your heart and faith would spring forth. Love is at once the greatest of virtues and the worst of them. It’s the greatest when in its proper place, but the worse of virtues and demonic when at its worse. Sometimes we kill ourselves and dreams because we ‘love’ ourselves too much! We take ourselves too seriously. We must allow our love to be channeled towards a greater good for ourselves mainly towards God! Then we can really truly love ourselves. I love me because he first loved me! That means I see me through his eyes! That means that I don’t see a sinner but a saint. I don’t see a failure but a success. I don’t see a life froth and filled with mistakes but a beautiful painting a mosaic masterpiece for after all I am beautifully and wonderfully made! What is there to hate about me when I see through his eyes! So every day the struggle is to get me to see correctly. To see through his eyes and not through the eyes of the world around us, for they would conform us to their image. An image whose purpose and meaning is lost. If you want to be all God wants, then see through his eyes. That is the way to understand and follow the choices he places before you.

He may be a great God all by himself, but he wishes to be a great Dad and Mum to you. Remember in the old covenant he was known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. O Jacob the deceitful! Imagine him making that list with the great Abraham and Isaac! Even with his miss steps, his wrong timing failures and selfishness; he still made that list! Yes life like a race track. Some are running 100metres dash, others 200, 400 and 800. Yet still others are there for the long haul. It may seem more glamorous to do the 100m dash but if that is not your race you would be disqualified. In the long haul, speed at the beginning is not that important, actually you can run on the same track! In the long haul the finish is the most important. You must forget the past! And look towards the finish line. Your most important inspiration is the trophy! Yes life is like a journey. Some breeze through it, others enjoy the scenery. We all follow the same path in the end but in different vehicles with different stops and different levels of comfort. Forgiveness is two ways first accept God’s forgiveness, then forgive yourself! Forgive and forget. That is how it works. No use forgiving without forgetting. Forgetting means not letting the past affect you negatively. To receive forgiveness all God asks is for you to repent (that is turn away from the wrong with His help) and then accept his grace. To forgive yourself means accepting that all things are working for your good even if you are so undeserving!

Tomorrow belongs to the people who are not afraid to look at the new day as an ally, a friend; those who cherish the thought of new challenges and perish the thought of giving up. When there is hope there is hope there is life. That is why hope is such a great virtue. When hope fails, faith fails! When hope ends love is lost! Hope is the silent important virtue that runs through faith and love. It is the bedrock for any success. The frame work for any dream! The unseen sculpture of every life! It breeds faith. It upholds love. Take away hope and we are of all men most miserable! Yet hope is the most Real Relationships | 7


Destiny

driven

Setting a Standard of

Excellence

By Corrie-Nicole Guynes

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hings are not what they used to be. People do not really believe in courtship like they once did. It is a little scary out there today in the dating scene. I talk to singles all the time about their dating experiences. I talk to Christians who are dating and want to please God in their relationships and I talk to people who do not know Jesus about their perception of dating. It is amazing how sexual intimacy is becoming so common before marriage, even many Christians do not have convictions about it anymore. It is sad. We need to be clear on where we stand before we enter into dating relationships. We all fall short, and we all encounter situations that are tempting, but we have to draw a line in the sand and determine in our hearts not to waver from our main priority, which is pleasing God. In Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” When we take a close look at those verses, Paul is reminding us what our focus needs to be on. It is a daily walk and we have to renew our minds daily. This scripture is not just talking about one area of our lives we have to apply it to every area.

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in this Dating generation

Take the time to seek the Lord about who to invest your time in: In Proverbs 2:4, Solomon states that those who desire discernment and understanding must “seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures.” We really need to ask the Lord what He says about a relationship. Our heavenly father is speaking to us all of the time, we just have to stop for a minute and listen. There are so many answers in His presence. Our time is precious and for some of us even making time to go on a date is very difficult. Sometimes weeding through the wrong people may mean conversing through e-mail or over the phone before meeting them. I am sure many of your might be saying, “That is the old way of doing things.” I ask you, what happened to the old days of courtship when the focus was more on knowing a person not on how soon they would sleep with you? In the beginning we all want to know what they look like, are we attracted to them, but we forget that beauty fades. Who cares what they look like at this point, can they stimulate your mind? Can they keep your attention when they speak about their relationship with our heavenly father? Are they interested in what you have to say or does the conversation revolve around about them? Does the conversation flow or are there many moments of awkward silence? Where do they come from? When developing a relationship in the beginning stages, it is important to be able to maintain great conversation. The greatest attraction between a man and a woman even greater than the outside appearance is

great conversation. The deeper the conversation takes you and then the deeper the attraction starts to build. As we begin to embrace people and invite others into our lives, we have to be careful who we invest our time in and proceed with caution.

good people, we become busy with others and lay down the focus of finding our spouse. It does not mean that is not a huge desire, it just means we are moving and living our lives and open for the Lord to interrupt our world with that amazing person.

Do what you do best… BE YOURSELF: In dating we exhaust so much of our energy trying to impress those we want a relationship with we lose ourselves in the process. Be careful to be true to who you are because if you start out acting, the duration of your relationship with that person will be a performance. Now don’t get me wrong there are situations where you take on a new relationship as an opportunity to become more ambitious at the same time.

I have always been told by married people, “Right when I stopped looking for them, God brought them into my life.” We have to rest in His purpose for our lives. We have to trust that before the worlds were framed not only did He know me by name but He ordained for the right spouse to become a part of my life at the right time.

Example: ladies, you decide that is a good time to learn how to cook or gentlemen, you want to start opening the door or pulling out the chair when she sits down; those things are great to do. When I say be yourself, I am talking about convictions of the heart, the things that you are truly passionate about or the things that really convict you. Why change your religion for someone else? Set a standard of excellence: We have to set a standard of excellence in our lives that we do not deviate from. Many of us have been guilty of settling. Night after night we find ourselves lonely just wanting to have a nice conversation with someone of the opposite sex and that is where it can be dangerous. The more consumed you become with this idea of marriage or even sex the more vulnerable you become and desperation sets in. When desperation sets in, we begin slowly lowering our standards. A little compromise a step at a time leads to a lifetime of regret. Keep your standards high. When you find yourself in a situation of desperation, find your prayer closet. A great thing you can do to avoid getting to that place is make sure you have some form of a social life. Volunteer for a program where you can meet people. Go to a church singles group show that you are friendly and make new friends with women and men. When you open up your world to a new network of people, you never know what amazing relationships await you. If you are staying at home feeling sorry for yourself night after night, do you really think that your future spouse is going to be sent by God to your doorstep and knock on your door and say, “Here I am, God sent me to be yours.” I don’t think so. I understand that the God we serve is mighty and He is a miracle working God, but I believe in the midst of relationships and making friends our focus should not be on finding a spouse but being a friend and opening up our world to new friendships. In that new world we have opened with

What is Conversational Intimacy? There should be boundaries in dating. We all understand that there are certain doors of physical intimacy that we should not open, but what about conversational intimacy? Conversational intimacy is sharing things about yourself too soon, letting your guard down too soon. In the beginning of dating, it is a great time to get to know someone but not the time to share how you were sexually abused as a child, or about how in your past relationships you struggled with sexual sin. Conversational is talking about matters of the heart prematurely. It is putting our emotions out there when we are still in the beginning phases of developing a friendship.

It is A M A Z I N G how sexual intimacy is becoming so C O M M O N before marriage, even many C h r i s t i a n s D O N O T have convictions about it anymore.

Be aware of your conversations: We have to be aware of our conversations and guard them just as we guard our hearts. Each time we give pieces of information from our past, we are leaving pieces of ourselves with that person. I have made that mistake many times, I love getting to know people and sharing “my story” that I forget; not every one needs to know what I walked through in my previous relationships or what I had to endure especially with someone that I may not ever see again. There is precious information within us that has made us who we are and taught us what we know. On a first date, it is not the time, the place or the person to share that I was abused in my previous relationship, or that I was cheated on repeatReal Relationships | 9


edly. Sometimes we give so much in conversation in the beginning we leave little room for them to find in the journey of discovery. Let them earn the information in the deep places in the heart. Develop a friendship and create an atmosphere of trust before divulging all the matters of the heart. Become completely dependant on the Lord and His leading: In dating, we learn to become completely dependent on the Lord for direction in relationships. I know for myself, I have learned to listen to my spirit and my heart, if there are some red flags going up about someone’s character, instead of staying around to investigate the depths of that person, I wish them well and go on my way. I know that if I stay beyond the point of realization, I have the tendency to feel like they will change or that I can change them. In the beginning of any relationship, if there are huge character issues or flaws that bother you, just imagine when all the shields have fallen and you get to see all that they are how those issues are maximized. It is important to move on and trust God to take care of those issues and do not take them on as a ministry opportunity. There are some questions we have to ask ourselves when we are entertaining a dating relationship with someone: What do those around them say about their character? If the people who have known them for a long time have great things to say, that says a lot. There is a time to learn about the depths of a person, but pray about when those things need to be shared. It is important to continually seek the Lord when walking in relationships. We have to be available to hear the Lord if He tells us not to continue in a certain relationship. We want to always honor God and be in His perfect will not just his permissive will. We have to

seek and WAIT for God’s instruction. There are times we have to be still and wait on the Lord. I realize we are in a quick society where every things moves at a fast pace, but we need to learn how to wait on the Lord. Everything that is a good idea is not always a God idea. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “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 case for

submission

God’s wisdom is much more than ours and He carries the blueprint of our lives. Without seeing a blueprint, how are supposed to build a house? He carries all of the answers. Even the scripture warns us not to lean on our own understanding but to acknowledge Him in all of our ways (Proverbs 3:5). Moving Forward: When I really take the time to think about some of the prayers I have prayed related to potential relationships, I can not help but laugh at myself. I can remember praying so hard trying to convince God that someone was perfect for me and not understanding why the relationship never amounted to anything. Why do we do that, why do we try to convince God that we know what is best for us. We do not even know what tomorrow holds and he holds the world in His hands. Now I look at the lives of some of those people I prayed so hard to be with and I see God’s protection. I understand His purpose in redirecting my life and I am thankful I did not do my own thing. He is an incredible father who loves us and wants the best for us. His desires for us are even greater than our desires for ourselves. Can you imagine, even your greatest dream? Our God is bigger than that. We have to continue to acknowledge Him in all things and He will give us the direction we need. He can exceed our greatest expectations and He will.

By Tega Swann

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o other topic in Christianity has provoked the “war of the sexes” as the issue of wives submitting to their husbands. While for some women it has stirred up bitterness, others have become objects of spousal abuse. Yet some have found their sweet spot in this place called “submission to one’s husband.” What causes the difference in the perception and therefore resulting attitudes towards what I call, “wifely submission”? A trip to the Bible can put all of this into perspective. The first biblical reference to the relative positions of “husbands and wives,” is found in Genesis 3.16, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Woman’s punishment after the fall was to come second in command to her husband. By this decree, God stated that man should have authority, to the point of decision-making over and regarding his wife. (Let me quickly add that, this is only between a man and his wife, not between all men and women, as some have been apt to think. God still maintains the equality between men and women and only changes the status quo, in marriage). The words with which God describes the woman’s submission, “rule” leave no doubt to the mind that in marriage, He places the husband in charge and the woman’s authority subject to her husband’s. The word “rule” means, “to control or have dominion.” God did not give either husband or wife the choice to either be in charge or submit; He decreed it and it was so. As one of God’s principles it does not change, however the point to note here is that this decree was a curse as a result of sin. Just as man’s labor was a curse as the

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result of sin. But herein lies the good news that God made a way to restore mankind’s relationship with Him (thereby eradicating every curse in Eden). God did not eradicate His laws or decrees; justice demanded that they stand, but through Jesus Christ the penalty for sins in Eden and beyond was paid. So that through Christ mankind can be restored to God and one another without upsetting the balance of God’s justice and righteousness. The key word here is “through Christ.” Only through Christ, means by following Christ’s directives and submitting to His leadership can the curse over man and woman in Eden be erased. And God through Christ has given us the key to the curse of man’s dominion over woman. Whereas without Christ, submission to one’s husband was punishment, as a Christian, the woman does it out of love for Christ, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5.2). The term unto the Lord simply means as you would to Christ. How does a Christian woman submit to Christ? Just as every other believer, she shows her love for Christ by serving Him and being obedient to Him in everything. She seeks in all things to be pleasing to her Maker by seeking to know Christ and walking in His path every day. And she does all of this out of love, and not as punishment! Therefore this is exactly how the Bible wants every Christian woman to be with her husband. So Christian wives seek to know and follow the hearts of your husbands, this is what is pleases God, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5.23-24). Real Relationships | 11


Issues Heart

of the By Julie Akhimien

D A

ear Auntie, My husband and I work around the clock just to make ends meet. This is beginning to take a toll on our relationship as we hardly have time for each other. How do we keep romance alive under such pressure? Work, work, work and work, trust me, there would always be work as long as there is breath in our nostrils and God graciously keeps us alive. One could almost work forever if care is not taken. It is important not to allow the work have you nor your home. You must realize that your home is a priced possession, your most important asset and investment in God’s opinion (as noted by Dr. Mike Murdock). I do not suppose then, that you would want to trade it for anything in the world knowing how imperative it is to make the best of the wonderful opportunity God has given you. Think about the million folks out there in the world willing rather to be married than single, and figure out just how blessed you are to be married. It is true you are working hard to make ends meet but when the ends truly meet, you need to be there to enjoy the dividends don’t you? So, plan your work and work your plan. As busy as you both are, every second should count for you, make the best of it. Your home is your garden and your husband is the gardener, you are his help-meet. God said to dress the garden and keep it. Trust me, it’s a big garden--- your home, because only eternity can quantify just how many generations your home would impact, so you cannot afford to take that responsibility lightly. The good news is, there is sufficiency in God’s grace and you can trust Him to deliver.

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Once you set your heart to achieving the goal of being together, knowing how important it is to God, you would be able to find time. It is a ‘priority thing’, set your priorities right, you can do it. Remember, success comes in ‘CANS’ and not ‘CANNOTS’. You both have an obligation towards one another. If it comes to having to change jobs, do it! You must revive your romantic life by your commitment and unflinching love for one another. Get the stitch on in time to save nine. God would reward you for it. You could sure use some help with the following tips: • Harmonize your schedules, talk about them with focus - placing your relationship top of the list, second only to God; • Look forward to special days, don’t ignore them, e.g. birthdays, anniversaries, award winning ceremonies, ‘get-togethers’ i.e. couples’ night or weekend out; • Invest in your relationship, use every available means to reach out to your spouse, text messages, keep in touch, let him/her know you are thinking about him/her; • Add value to each other’s lives in a daily basis by praying for one another, giving, helping your spouse achieve their dearest dreams, you’d be happier for it; • Let your spouse have at least one reason, everyday, to thank God for you; • Try taking your shower together; • Compliment each other, giving words of affirmation; • Commend every good deeds, don’t assume it should always be; don’t take it for granted, let your spouse know you appreciate them; • Say the ‘miracle words’, ‘I love you’, ‘thank you’, ‘I am sorry’, ‘You mean so much to me’, ‘thank God I married you’, etc. The list is endless.

If you do these things, you’d not be apart but a part of one another, you would be waging war against the enemy of your home and you are sure to win because the man of war is your father and you are on the winning side. I wish you God’s choicest blessings.

If you ask me, I sense the enemy at work in this matter. You must not let it prevail, rather, get on the Lord’s side and see Him fight for you while you hold your peace. He is ABLE; all you need do is TRUST Him to do it.

Q A

Q A

Auntie Help! I’m not in love with my husband anymore. I have tried and tried to revive the feelings I felt initially but they just won’t come. What can I do? Am tired and at the point of backing out of the union. Really? So, who is the ‘stranger in your life?’ Who have you opened the door of your emotions to? Who have you been hanging out with, who has stolen the radiance on your face, that glow you had when you first met your loving roe, the husband of your youth? Say, who is it? If you find answers to these questions, we can at least begin to trace the root of the problem because, it is a problem not to have feelings for your husband. Can I quickly say that feelings are so unreliable especially if your mind is unsettled about issues you need to urgently address. Your emotions could play a smart one on you if you do not allow the Holy Spirit of God to guide you, so watch out! These emotions could give you away and mess up your message like it happened to Isaac of old. Remember? He felt the body of Jacob and went by what he felt! Ooops! He got it all wrong, released all the blessings on Jacob thinking it was Esau. Feelings come and go, they are like thermostats, except under the control of the Holy Spirit, you can hardly trust them. May be we should start by attempting to figure out how this all began. Did your husband offend or maltreat you in anyway? Are there any unforgiving issues between both of you? Something must have happened or gone wrong. You need to go back to the drawing board and ‘hit the nail on the head’. I mean, for crying out loud, this is the only man amongst countless millions you can call your own. I wish you told me some of the things you have done to restore your feelings of love for him. Have you discussed with him? We might have to start from there because if this is an attack on your precious family, (home), you both need to be in agreement to tackle it squarely and with God on your side, you would overcome. Didn’t the Bible say a three fold cord is not easily broken? (Ecc.4:12). So, have an audience with him and both of you should seek help from marriage counselors in your local church, because in the multitude of counsels, there is safety. (Prov.15:22). You must be determined to safeguard your home, you really do not have another one and don’t you imagine quitting because it is not the answer! There is no guarantee that the enemy would not come after you if you decide to go remarry, he who fights and runs away, they say, lives to fight another day.

My husband is a pastor who is very concerned about his flock. He got into counseling sessions with a sister and they now share very intimate relationship. I am not comfortable about it and have spoken often to him about it but he is not listening. What do I do? Of course you cannot be comfortable, no one would who truly loves God and ultimately loves her husband, you need to act and that really fast. Start with fervent prayers and don’t stop raising the ‘safety flag’, keep talking to him about it. I think your husband is treading on dangerous grounds, dancing where angels dread to walk. I must note however, that things started going wrong when he did not involve you from the start, but lets un-knot this tie first. The major problem here is that your husband is turning deaf ears to your warnings, that, to me, is not a good sign. That you are the only one seeing the danger lurking around the corner, calls for an immediate action, you cannot afford to be silent any longer. You must now need to get your spiritual parents involved, I mean, an older couple who you both respect and regard as your mentors (every home needs one of such and I hope you have one). Confide in them and seek a counseling session with them. Please cover your backs and don’t go kindling a fire that you cannot quench by telling family members, considering the ministry you have in hand. I know you must be praying, intensify those prayers and I must say, those counseling sessions have to come to an end now if it is negatively impacting your relationship with your husband. No counseling is as important as your home. If the sister cannot be friends with you as much as she is to your husband, then she does not in anyway deserve his counsels, let her seek it somewhere else. Let your darling husband know that your home/relationship is paramount; you are his very first responsibility. Having spiritual parents to speak into your lives would go a long way to putting the enemy at bay, please don’t ignore this advice, your ministry is so important to God, don’t give the enemy any room to scatter it. This cup would pass over you my dear and could you please be alert, do not trade your priced possession for any busyness just in case your husband is lacking some attention and therefore finding solace in counseling ‘sistas’ who get too close for comfort. Make sure you satisfy him in all areas and leave no stone upturned as far as being a virtuous woman is concerned, he would rise up and praise you and not ignore your ‘life saving’ warnings. I look forward to hearing your testimony. God bless you. Real Relationships | 13


Q

GoodMarriages

A

work at it God delights in making every little effort count.

I am secretly in love with a brother in my Church. We are quite close. I can do anything for him. I believe he is God sent to me. I have been waiting patiently for him to propose to me for two years now but he hasn’t. What do I do?

don’t just happen. and You

Hello dear, I can tell you are in an ‘undefined’ relationship and you definitely need to define it before it gets too late. Agreed, you are in love with this brother but did you say ‘secretly’. The Bible says, open rebuke is better than secret love. (Prov.27:5). You also believe he is God sent but it takes two to tangle. The fact remains that your closeness to him has not yielded any result in 2yrs, as far as starting a committed relationship is concerned. A relationship that should hopefully end in marriage, I mean a life long commitment. Believe me, two years is long enough for him to decide. You didn’t say how old you are and I really cannot tell how long more you are willing to wait but if you want my advice, I’d say to ask him what his plans are. At least that should give you clue as to what he wants to do or achieve in the next phase of his life. Don’t just sit back waiting forever for a brother who probably would never propose because he has never thought of marriage even though he seems that close to you. We can’t even be sure he loves you as much as you love him. What if he comes someday to introduce his fiancée to you? Have you ever thought of that? I have seen some sisters heart broken just because they took things for granted. First, they thought they were close enough to the brothers and regrettably waited for as long as it took only to realize they were on their own. And who would you blame, when the brother never showed any sign of interest except that he was indefinably close? So, my dear, this should go beyond your thinking he is God sent, better pray more and do some questioning just so you are not having a goose chase and wasting your time chasing shadows, no one enjoys that. Your decision today would decide your joy, I pray you make the right one. Run to obtain my dear, define this relationship because it might be depriving you of some more serious minded suitors please don’t waste your life. If this brother is interested in you, if you are truly valuable to him, he should be bold enough to propose because he would not want to loose you to anyone else. Only you can tell how committed he

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is to you in this respect but trust me, love is an active verb. If he is not committal, you’d wait forever, don’t be caught unawares. Go through with this advice and let’s see what happens. I am waiting to hear from you. Keep the Lord in view.

Q

Auntie Julie, I must confess, I feel like a failure. I have toyed with my consecration. I can’t seem to find my way to my earlier place with God. I indulge in sin and no longer feel the guilt. How do I awake my passion for God?

A

Somebody once said the road to destruction/ hell is wide so sinners can have the opportunity to make a U-turn. Are you willing to make that U-turn today? The reason I ask is because if you continue this way, destruction is eminent. You certainly do not want to go to hell. The good news is, God is waiting for you- with out stretched arms. He’d gladly take you back, He does not take delight in the destruction of sinners but willing rather that they repent and come to the knowledge of His saving grace. There is hope for you brother because you still have the desire to awaken your passion for God. So, ask God to purge you and ask sincerely knowing there is nothing you can hide from Him. He has your heart in His hands and He can move this mountain in your life, yes, He is mighty to save, you can trust Him. Your willingness to resurrender your life back to God, is the gateway to your deliverance, walk, run into it and be saved.

To have a wife like yours is truly a pain in the neck, I can imagine. But, she is your wife all the same. Have you taken time out to discuss with her? Pray for her? Your attitude to the problem doesn’t seem right to me. You should not be holding on for the reason you just gave alone. You should hold on because your family matters to you. You need to address the issues with your wife; she needs to mellow down but you must help her by raising your value and selfesteem. Don’t give her any reason whatsoever to look down on you even if she earns more than you do for example. You are the captain as it were of the ship, your home (under God). You are the priest, to guide and pray for your family; the prophet to speak forth God’s decrees; the king to rule with love and kindness. Occupy your place, your kingdom, and let it be a mission field for your wife and a paradise for your children, and see things take shape. Remember, the index for measurement is the head and that is you. Trust God to make you the husband He desires you to be and allow Him to rule your home through you. You would be surprised to see just how your wife’s attitude would change. I can’t wait to hear the good news.

Q A

I am in trouble; I cheated on my husband and hate myself for it. I don’t have the courage to tell him what I did. He will send me away. I love him and don’t want to lose him. What do I do? You truly are in trouble. The question is, ‘are you willing to get out of that trouble?’ Ask God to forgive you. What you have done is open the door to the enemy of your soul. You must therefore send him parking by taking a cleansing cover

in the blood of the Lamb, that blood that washes white as snow. Then, forgive yourself. You must now put this behind you, bad as it is, hard as it seems. Even though it’s hard to reconcile your love for your husband with your act of infidelity (because if you truly love him, you would not cheat on him), I want to believe that you probably do. Apart from forgiving yourself, you must confide in your pastor and ask him to help you plead with your husband. Tell your husband about meeting the pastor for an important discussion giving him a pointer that it has to do with something ‘bad’ you have done. Confess your fault and deed to your husband before your Pastor and trust God to intervene on your behalf. Remember, if you cover your sin, you will not prosper but confessing and forsaking it gives you mercy, (Prov. 28:13). God does forgive sins and He would enable your husband forgive you too, then, go and sin no more. I pray and you should be praying too, that God would restore your home, give your husband grace to forgive you while you re-dedicate your lives to Him. It is never too late to do what is right.

Q A

I am in bondage please help me. I am a leader in Church. I love God but I got exposed to porn. Every time the opportunity presents itself, I indulge in it. I am so ashamed. I need to be free as I feel empty. Truly, my brother, you need help. You need someone to talk to. I have said this before and I would say it again, the power of sin, is in privacy. Once you let it out, you are on your way to freedom, knowing the truth, the Bible says, sets Continued on page 43

Q A

My wife wears the pants! She is so forward and pushy. I don’t think I can go on with this. We live in a society that gives everything to the woman if we separate. I don’t want to lose all I have worked for. I am hanging just because of this. There is no more bliss. Auntie Julie, please help me. F.T. It is well my dear, relax. There may be ‘no more bliss’ at the moment but, the story is not ended yet; is it? No. It’s not the end of the world and Jesus is still in the business of bringing forth the sweetest wine ever! Yes-o, even in the midst of hopelessness, all you need do is invite Him into your marriage. He’ll break those pushy ‘wings’ in your wife and give her a heart that desires to please God. Real Relationships | 15


Control Issues

A bossy woman loves authority and power and will not hesitate to use both to get her way.

IBoss! am the

A bossy woman does not mind using unscrupulous and unethical methods as long as her goal is accomplished. A bossy woman is manipulative and can use tears, sex and any other powerful tool to get her way. A bossy woman would, lie, deceive if need be to reach her goal. (All in the in interest of her so-called husband or home) Ask yourself in the light of the above traits am I a bossy woman? Do I rule my husband?

Are you still a bossy woman? Am I in charge of the relationship? Does everything have to be on my terms? I got the profile of the bossy woman from Jezebel, wife of King Ahab - a whining, petulant, king.

have generally played a more subservient role to men. However in Galatians we have being redeemed from the curse of the law. Jesus Christ has set us free from the curse by allowing the forces of darkness to rule over him who is the head of all principalities and powers; he broke the power of the serpent forever. This does not mean that the devil will not try to assert his powers again, but we have a duty to enforce the finished work of Calvary.

By Esther Ibanga

A

t the beginning God created man and woman in his image and likeness after the order of the Trinity where each person, though equal, has different roles and functions. God gave man the ability to be like him and the instruction in Genesis 1:26 is for man to take dominion or rule over God’s creation and not another human being. Adam called his wife “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” That means that they are equal and one. However in Genesis 3 the woman was deceived by the serpent and the first fall of mankind was recorded. One of the consequences of the fall is “I will greatly multiply your sorrow in conception and in pain you shall bring forth children, your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.” This is the first time man was allowed to rule over another human being and all through the years women

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secure and has low esteem. It takes the strong to submit Philippians 2:5-11 says ”let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who being in form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made himself of no reputation taking the form of a bond servant” … he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death even death on the cross. Jesus had an option to refuse the cross but he chose not to. He told Pilate you do not have any power over me except what is given to you. He chose submission to God he made himself of no reputation- that takes strength only the strong can do that knowing you have the power and where withal and choosing not to use it. God knows the inherent power he has deposit in a woman and that is why it was she who was asked to submit; only the strong can submit.

Are you Mrs. Fix-it? Watch it! The spirit of Jezebel might just be at work in your life. The truth of the matter is the bossy woman is actually weak, in-

Who wears the pants in your home? Only you can make yourself of no reputation and submit even unto death even death on the cross that’s where it happens and that’s where real honor and exaltation comes from. Are you still the bossy woman?

Women have become sensitive to male domination especially in the western world. In their attempt to fight it, they have become the ones who wear the pants in the house, thereby becoming an ugly picture of true femininity under the control of another spirit. A bossy woman always wants to be heard. A bossy woman wants to have the last word. A bossy woman always instructs her husband because in her mind he is such a peanut brain and needs her wise counsel. A bossy woman always believes she can fix things up. A bossy woman is hardly a giver but a taker. A bossy woman believes that the world cannot exist without her. A bossy woman sees her husband as a weakling.

Real Relationships | 17


Kelvin & Amy Smith:

I noticed that they had a discipling model to help prepare people to meet Jesus face to face called “Living on Target” It is has a goal to mature believers in the faith and to help them lead fruitful Christian lives. It is brings biblical order in the following 4 areas: Living in Love and Service to Christ Living in Love and Service in the Home Living in Love and Service to the Church Living in Love and Service to the World. I recently had an opportunity to chat with Pastor Kelvin and the dialogue went thus

Living

n

By Chichi Onoriobe

A

friend had invited me to her church. She told me she had not seen anyone who did not like the work going on there. One Sunday I decided to visit the congregation that met in a tent. I was struck by the flags of many nations that hung on the walls. The service was short and full of impact. I was so thrilled to see the leader celebrating the salvation of souls. What I have become accustomed was celebration of financial breakthroughs during testimony time. It had been a long time I witnessed this. It was back in my school days. The student Christian fellowships were very passionate about conversion and discipling people in the way of Christ. I fell in love with the church and subsequent visits revealed more. On Sundays in the United States is a great time to notice how divided church people are. There are all black and all white congregations. There are messianic congregations, all Asian groups and a couple of mixed groups. I soon noticed the multiracial nature of this church and was thrilled to find this kind of church in the South! It did not take long to notice that deliberate efforts were

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Target

Give me a brief history of the church, its vision and mission. Steele Creek church of Charlotte was birth out of an inner city church called Jackson Park church. It was located in a very low income part of town close to the airport and there we ministered to the people in need. In 1995, the Lord led us to plant a strong church that would reach part of the inner

city of our town to those in need and make disciple of all nations. Steele Creek Church was planted in Sandy Potter Road. The first service was September 10th 1995 and revival broke out in the first service. The attendance was a couple of hundreds and with no time, the church grew large so we added up to four services to accommodate people. We later moved to arrow wood road because half of the church was commuting from South Carolina and another half from North Carolina and all major high way meets on arrow wood road. The property was bought in 1998 and the tents were put up in 1999 and over 13years ago, we are seeing the vision God gave us come to reality. God gave the mission Pastor a vision of a multicultural church and we are seeing that today. The church is made up of different nationalities ranging from Americans, Latinos, Brazilians, Africans, Haitian and a lot more. God has been bringing people of different nations and races together and this is the picture we see in the book of revelation about Heaven where different culture and races would come together in the kingdom so all we do is practice this here on earth.

made to reach all people groups in the city. Every time I walked in for service, I am reminded of how heaven will be. Revelations7:9-10 puts it this way, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindred, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. After attending the services for 2 consecutive occasions, I was clear about what the church was all about. They are committed to living out committed to living out 2 Corinthians 5:9-11 “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.” Real Relationships | 19


How many countries are represented in Steele Creek church of Charlotte? We have about 50 countries on any particular weekend here in Steele Creek. I observe that some countries have their church services separately like the Africans have their separate services, Hispanics, Latinos, Brazilians etc. Why did you decide to break down church services by nationalities/cultures? It is called a bridge ministry because we want it to be a bridge between the culture and everyone is invited to attend. At the same time, the church values people’s culture, diversity, ethnicity, native tongue, worship style, clothing, food etc. we do not want to make them Americans but value their ethnicity and encourage them to worship in their native tongue and at the same time invite them into the larger church that is the English speaking service and make everyone welcomed me. We are one body and we love them. The bridge has been used because members visit different services where they have transla-

what is the next level for the church? We continue to ask God to continue to bring different ethnic groups. Foreigners feel tolerated, not embraced or elevated to a place of honor. The future is more of the same asking God to bring people who desire to be among the universal body of Christ. We are incomplete without each other; Jesus prayed let them be one as I and my father are one that the world would know that you sent me so when we all worship together, whites, black, Brazilians, Arabic speaking etc we worship God because we want to and the world is in amazement and this is very exciting. You are writing a book – “Living on Target”, what is the book all about? The Lord gave me a verse which is the theme verse for the church and this is 2cor.5:9-11. His aim in life is to be well pleasing to God. Paul makes his target to be well pleasing to God because we are all going to appear before the judgment throne to give account of our lives and deeds to God. Our aim is to prepare people to meet God and to get a good account of their lives. We will disciple them in our areas of their lives. 1. To learn how to become a man/woman of prayer and worship 2. To put your home in Biblical order and if these above is not in order, the church suffers and the missionary effort of the church suffers. 3. Love and servicing the church 4. Love and servicing the world until the church gets solid in these foundation the church suffers. We have seen tremendous result in this. The main objective is to disciple people of faith. What is your advice for married couple in this generation that the institution of marriage is no longer respect-

tion devices. We try not to control anyone or make Africans Americans or vice versa. We are called to love each other and care for each other. We encourage and embrace different worship services and at the same time we are one church. The leadership is one, we go visit different services and it is so awesome and this is how Heaven is going to be. How do you manage the church and different services? The leadership is unified and I meet every week with the different pastors, have an hour of prayer, we carry each other burdens and we disciple people the same way too-one pastor and one team and that how we keep oversight of what is happening in all services. We also share money together as in Acts 2. What does the future hold for the church and

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ed? If we buy the definition of the world then that is trouble. We need to get back to what the bible says. We need to function as God has called us to be which is to be a woman/wife and husbands/ fathers; if we do this, we will begin to enjoy the freedom God has given us. People are beginning to buy what our cultures says as to what the family Should look like and we are paying a tremendous price for that. We should try to get people back to God’s blue prints as to how to have a joyful and peaceful marriage. Get back to the bible. The question is what does the bible say our roles and responsibilities; once we get that and live by it, it will be very tremendous what God would do in our homes. The issue of Divorce is something I need you to talk about.

God hates divorce! It is unfortunate that the church herself is not doing anything about it. We need more direct teaching on the roles and responsibilities of each party and have Christ as our foundation. Our children are watching and they will be influenced either by TV or by the godly actions they see their parents exhibits. Apart from death, when is divorce biblically acceptable? Many people have different answers to this. For me, I believe Jesus only gave us two possible options. 1. Unrepentant adultery and 2. Marriage to an unbeliever and the party wants to leave. The bible doesn’t say they must go but you can but you can choose to let them go if there’s persistence. Regardless of these, the bible says God hates Divorce and we as Christians should fight all these and bring reconciliation back to the home. What advice will you give the singles with no good role model to look up to? Singles are encouraged not to be too preoccupied in finding a mate; if they do, they will miss out what God has for them. Instead, they should serve God with all

they have in different forms. When you are single consider using your time to serve Christ and people to enhance the kingdom of God. They don’t need condemnation but need to be encouraged to serve without denying the real feeling in their heart. They should use their singleness to advance the future. Can you share how you met your wife? I met her here in Charlotte, NC, in the same church I attended. Then I saw a cute girl in church and wanted to date her. To her credit, she didn’t want to date me because she was working closely with God and doesn’t see me that way. She had a great influence on me; i was about 18 years of age then. Down the line, we became high school sweet hearts. I went to college later on and came back a different person entirely. God worked on me and showed me lots of things and one of them was the great famine in Ethiopia. I also had a God fearing friend in college who greatly influence my life. I knew God had called to go into ministry to serve the poor and needy. I came back from college a different person. We later got married and we have three beautiful children. My oldest is 18 years of age Carmen, 17 years Kaylee and a 13 years Carson. Real Relationships | 21


Can you

Handle

the Truth? By Dr. Nicole McCann Cross

A

s a psychotherapist, I understand that truth is not always palatable. The truth about one’s size, personality, or success level could initiate the quake of selfidentity. From the television show, “The Moment of Truth,” we see how the sheer expression of verbal truth could end relationships and rip shrouds of innocence. Because it is perceived by some to destroy young dreams of success in the music industry, Simon Cowell is often scoffed for speaking his truth on “American Idol.” These examples of negative responses to truth evoke re-evaluation of the popular exclamation “You can’t handle the truth!” It seems that even if the truth could save lives, some would rather gauge the impact of its knowledge, rather than seek it wholeheartedly. This seems especially true regarding the truth about HIV status. In the past year alone, several conferences have been held, several leaders have met, and several goal lists have been created all to help Americans seek and understand the truth of their HIV status. Millions of dollars have been allocated to entice Americans to learn whether they are HIV-positive or HIV-negative. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently awarded $35 million to support HIV testing and increase early diagnosis of HIV among African Americans. From the National Medical Association’s recommendation that HIV testing be added to the litany of routine health care preventive services, and celebrities publicly taking the HIV test to the exogenously assigned monetary incentives for HIV testtakers - multi-level efforts have been employed. Despite this, there is evidence that even when testing is encouraged and available, most people do not take advantage of it, and there is little to no significant data on the behavioral response to knowing one’s status. Consequently, the CDC reports that an estimated 250,000 people in the United States have HIV and are not aware of it. It seems that extrinsic motivation may be needed

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to help win the battle. Many psychologists state that intrinsic motivation is stronger and more sustainable. Intrinsic motivation is about finding satisfaction from inner values, learning, growth as an individual, helping others, the sense of doing something useful, taking on a social cause and so on. One thought is to connect the truth about our HIV status to our inner values and the results to their impact on loved ones. Then, perhaps, we could evoke a motivation strong enough to withstand the social stigma, negative connotation, and basic fear surrounding the HIV test. I earnestly desire to do my part to bridge the gap between HIV awareness and knowledge of HIV status. I believe we can handle the truth if it is posited in a personally-meaningful way. To hopefully move us one step closer to increased HIV testing rates, I recommend the following intrinsic affirmations to help fulfill the self-responsibility to know our HIV status: 1. I am worth knowing my HIV status and am strong enough to handle the result. 2. My past does not doom my future. 3. If not for myself, I choose to take an HIV test for my children who need me to be healthy and strong. 4. I owe it to myself to keep my owner’s manual current and accurate. 5. I can handle the truth (with help, if necessary). National HIV Testing Day is June 27. To test the intrinsic motivation theory and learn your HIV status, visit www.hivtest.org to locate a testing site near you. Dr. Nicole McCann serves as the Director of Counseling Services at The Potter’s House of Dallas, Inc. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, College Professor, and Certified Family Mediator. She currently resides in the Downtown Dallas area. She is married to Chris, together they have three children: Christina, Christian, and Lexi. Real Relationships | 23


Through

Righteous Steps

By Omotola Kuyoro

S

tanding on the podium about to deliver a speech I was being honored with a lifetime achievement award I already prepared my three days lengthy speech but I thought to myself, this would reach out to only those in the front seat the reporters who would have my messages written in the tabloids. I was wondering how it would touch the yet ordinary guy who was forced into this gathering because his 9-5 were a few blocks from here all my life I had been given lectures, talks and debates about success and how it can be attained and I told people of my own life long principles that worked for me, which would equally work for them if they equipped it into their own personal life but I never told them of the divine power and real sense of encouragement, the real gratification I received from the real guarantor. So I tore the real script I had prepared in front of the faces of all those that were present that would probably be the first topic of discussion of those that were there but I wanted it to go beyond that, I wanted to touch their lives in all sincerity I took a deep breath and said, many of you are gathered here to hear me speak of my own achievement, to hear of my honors and to listen to tales of my fortunes it is good that you come to recognize with the good of another, but have you thought of the good of yourself, have you thought to encourage yourself, speak good of yourself. The first thing I did in my life that brought me where I am today was to believe in myself. I took it upon myself to be my own mentor, while others were trying to imitate or trying in many ways to be like others. I tried in many ways to be myself. I denied myself of certain pleasures knowing that if I walked along those paths I would destroy myself, see when you are destined to be great, many people’s lives many people futures are attached to yours, so a mistake by you could cost a fortune to others. And I must also tell you today there is a God, you want to know why?, reasons being while oth-

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ers struggle to attain something, ever wondered why yours comes so easily when you get on one knee and pray. It is because you have chosen the path of the unlikely, faced with a crossroad you chose the path that appeared narrow, even when you saw a path that was very straight, by following the narrow path road, you paid a price which can only be rewarded through joy for mercy’s sake. Am I now saying it is mercy that brought me this far, mercy from whom and why I of all men should receive this mercy? I am not perfect, I was created in imperfection in sin, sent to this life as a mortal being, but I was laid as clay by the porter who molded me into his likeness, and at any time I had a crack, he broke me and remolded me, by so doing he took away my imperfection. That may be why people think there is this difference in me, little do they know I’m just radiating in the lords glory am therefore no different from you, I am like anyone of you present here. I just know the source of my strength and I am lead through faith in righteous steps. I therefore didn’t go to the places which people would usually go, didn’t do the things people usually did, I sought the extra ordinary. I sought the one that would cost me, knowing that the heavenly Father seeing my good deeds and acknowledging my humble effort would bless me. The Lord would not bless the hands that are not ready to receive , and not every time would he make wise an effortless toil, he would go with them that cross the bridge, through the fire , over the rainbows, shores of the seas, bless them with a renewed state of mind. I was not brought here to preach but I believe I have given a sermon and I know the organizers would now think I have lost my mind, I would never want to waste anyone’s time because time is of the essence. I just wanted that one person that is here who opened his ears to all that I said to take what he has now and share it with others and to those who didn’t listen if there was anything I wanted them to learn at all, it is this, none of this would I ever have achieved if I didn’t walk in righteous steps. Real Relationships | 25


frank talk

Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hard work. In fact God abhors the sluggard. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? [Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man (Proverbs 6:9-11). And there is a rule that applies to all who will not pull themselves up by their boot straps and work: Whoever does not work should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

what’s up bro’? By Dr. Akin Ojumu “Hi Bro Akin what’s up?”

T

hat was a message an old friend posted on my facebook wall-to-wall a couple of days ago. On the face of it, there’s really nothing unusual about my friend’s question. I probably know that my friend was simply trying to catch up with me after many years. I’ve been asked – (and have asked others) – that same question in the past, a gazillion times perhaps. It is a standard colloquial. So my initial – shall we say, reflex – reaction was to shoot back right away with, “fine, how about yourself?” However something about the question stopped me in my tracks. In a brief moment of reflective thoughtfulness, I couldn’t bring myself to respond with a cliché laced “fine, hw abt ursef.” Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those folks capable of analytical ruminations; I’m usually a fast eater and not given to chewing the cud at all. But this is a very rare moment of insightfulness for me. So the question I ask myself is, “What’s really up with Bro Akin?” The answer, my friend, is actually very simple. Bro Akin is up at war that is being fought on many fronts. The first battle I’ll call the Civil War. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer (2 Tim 2:4 NIV).

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This is essentially my identity crisis. It is a battle to remind myself whose, and who, I am: that I’m, first and foremost, a lean and mean soldier enlisted in the Lord’s army who ought not to get mixed up in civilian affairs.

However the battle I fight is that my civilian job is crowding out my eternal responsibility. Instead of making my schedule fit into God’s eternal purpose I struggle daily to squeeze God into my packed schedule. Does it then surprise you that I quiver in fright - and pee in my pants - when the principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places, bring on the fight. I lose many of these battles because I often forget – and probably clueless as to how – to use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle I will still be standing firm.

The battles I win however happen when I’m able to muster enough courage to stand my ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. I surprise myself at those times when I rout the cohorts of hell, by exercising an itty bitty mustard seed faith in the Word of God. The best days of my life have been those times when I’ve assumed the mind set of a Christian soldier; seeking first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness with laser focussed intensity. On those days it seems as though I have all my ducks in a row. And on those days the sun seems to even shine brighter, pouring forth through a clear blue sky. Well it does not ever remain that way though. There are still other battles to fight and many more mountains remain to be climbed and moved. So stay tuned for the second battle. Akin Ojumu lives in Owings Mills, Maryland. He is the Editor of the African Treasures, AFTRES blog (http:// aftres.blogspot.com). He’s a husband of a beautiful wife and father of three gorgeous kids.

I’ll be deceiving you if I told you this battle has been a cakewalk for me. I struggle daily to remember that I’m no bloody civilian. I’m scared silly to climb on the spiritual scale, because I know it’ll probably scream back at me, “Obese, obese, obese!!!! You ain’t fit to stand in the front lines of the battle against the hordes of Hades!!!” You see I wake up at the crack of dawn each morning. By 4am, on most days, I’m done sleeping already. By the time I’m done with all the morning rituals of accessorizing the flesh it is 5am and I’m pulling off my driveway, hitting the road and heading for work. And that’s my routine each and every day of the week. So what time do I have to pump the iron for – (i.e. work out) – my salvation? How long do I have to stay in the drill at my spiritual boot camp? We’ll let the answer hang in the air for now.

AD

So why do I rise so early in the morning? I do so because I take – preoccupied with the – thought of what I shall eat, what I shall drink and wherewithal shall I be clothed. I easily forget that I’m much better than the birds of the air: they do not need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because my heavenly Father feeds them. Real Relationships | 27


guments in the media that the government set up a committee of psychologists and psychiatrists to investigate the matter and to submit a report on our church and the people who attended it. Their report showed however that nothing abnormal could be noted in the health or psyche of the church members. Soon after the conclusion of that investigation, the Secret and Intelligence Services began another investigation into charges treasonable felony leveled against the pastor. His International passport was seized, visa was canceled, and a deportation letter was issued by the Ukrainian Attorney General. Other charges included dealing drugs, making illicit business transactions and embezzling the church’s money.

Pastor Sunday Adelaja Standing Strong Amidst Opposition

Pastor Sunday recalls that those days were ones of great trial for the ministry. In his own words, “The church was desperate for God to stop this unfair assault on us. My deportation at that stage of the church’s development could have dealt a deadly blow since we were only three years old. Moreover, 90 percent of the church consisted of new believers. We appealed to the Body of Christ all over the world to pray for us, and huge numbers fervently did so. Our church declared a 40-day fast. I had always believed and taught that if there is a long-last-

court. There were 22 lawsuits against the church involving different government agencies, media, and government officials and so on. At the end of 2000, my ordeal, which had begun in February 1997, ended with the courts decreeing that I should not only be acquitted of the charges but that I also should be issued a resident permit to enable me to lead a constructive and needed institution in the land.” During the 15th anniversary, Pastor Adelaja listed the landmark achievements that the ministry had accomplished in their 15 year history. They are thus: 2 million people have gone through the Embassy of God Church. 25,000 people attend home groups, making it 50,000 in total who attend the Embassy of God Churches in Kiev. 700 churches have been planted; 400 churches in Ukraine, 300 churches abroad. 40 services are held every weekend in Kiev. 217 rehabilitation centers are in Ukraine. 5,000 people have gone through the rehabilitation centers. 600 social organizations and 3,000 organizations not yet registered. 105 educational centers.

By Dr. Uvoh Onoriobe

S

even years ago I was opportune to visit Kiev, Ukraine and saw first hand the amazing work God was doing under the leadership of Nigerian–born Sunday Sunkami Adelaja. I was speechless when I saw men and women making frantic efforts to get seating spaces in the Sports Complex that they held their meetings. The testimony lines were long every service and the worship was sincere and refreshing. The presence of God was palpable. During the all night prayer meetings I saw passionate cries for the souls of men in every nation of the world. Different groups carried flags of every nation in the world and rejoiced as they decreed that Christ be enthroned in those lands. I was revived. I had gone there with issues in my heart. There had to be a story to the glory I witnessed. I had time to talk with the pastor and he told me that the many successes they had experienced had not been without unique challenges. According to him his interaction with persecution started while he was in school. His first brush with the law happened when he was becoming too bold in displaying his faith. His offense was having hung a picture of the Crucifixion over his bed. According to him, “It was a cold afternoon, after the day’s classes, when loud banging at my door sounded the warning. Four men from the Youth Communist

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Party as well as my professors came in. They demanded that I remove the picture of Jesus or be dismissed from the university, since Soviet law prohibits religious propaganda. My flesh wanted to enter into a dispute to defend my Lord, but the soft, sweet voice of the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart again, “Let them remove it; only don’t allow them to remove Him from your heart.” After I removed the picture from the wall, the conflict with the government died out as simply as it had begun. Not all of my classmates and colleagues were as fortunate as I, however. As time went by, some were dismissed from the university, while others ended up in psychiatric confinement before being sent out of the country. Survival during Communism’s dictatorship demanded much wisdom, silent worship and many narrow escapes by the power of the Holy Spirit-lessons never to be forgotten! During the six-year journey to my master’s in journalism, there were many instances when I thought I would either go crazy or be deported once and for all. But the mercy and goodness of the Lord were with me.” Ever since the church was miraculously registered with the government, there has been conspiracy to close down the church and have Pastor Adelaja deported from Ukraine. Many accusations have been put forth by government agents against God’s work by the ministry. The complaints ranged from desocializing children to brainwashing the youth. As the issue became public, it precipitated so many ar-

ing problem, it is only because we have not prayed or we have not prayed enough. On the basis of that belief, I locked myself up for days, praying as much as 16 to 18 hours nonstop each day and fasting. Then the signs of a turnaround appeared. Members of parliament started joining the church after some major miracles of God occurred in their lives and in the lives of their family members. As a result, they started lobbying for me in parliament, where they were able to get 50 parliamentarians to sign in my defense. This momentarily put a hold on the decision of the attorney general. The only thing that could settle the dispute between the executive arm of the government and the parliament was the

23,000 graduates from Institutes. In 26 universities - ministers teach 160,000 students. 108 orphanages and children centers. 160,000 children went through rehabilitation. 25 hospitals where people serve. 30 prison ministries in different prisons minister to about 10,000 people. 50 other movements (youth movements, business movements and others) that has touched about 5 million people. One would have thought that after about fifteen years of real ministry with countless lives restored that the ministry will be at rest. The reverse howContinued on page 42

Real Relationships | 29


Somebody Help! I’m drowning in

F EAR

By Dr. Stanley Okugbo

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ohn has been feeling unwell for some time. He has had medical consultations. Now he was seeking spiritual healing! First it was a fluttering in the pit of the stomach, then a feeling of doom. There was light-headedness and then nausea. Later came fatigue, irritability, faintness and poor concentration. These are the symptoms of fear! It is the main cause of stress. It finds its root in perceived sin, guilt and poor self worth. It breeds and produces torment, anguish, self doubt, and self pity. So many are plagued by fear in their daily lives. It manifests as memory loss, nightmares, and bodily symptoms (psychosomatic ailments). The guilt may be general or individual. Sin produces guilt; guilt produces fear; fear produces sin! Soon the original sin itself is lost to memory and in its place is just a sense of helplessness and wretchedness. You cannot avoid sin by contemplating it! Neither can you avoid sinning by gazing at it! We become what we see! Fear makes us look at our sin; faith makes us

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look at our salvation. Fear is the ultimate negativity. It is darkness at its best! It is the very opposite of God! That is why love dispels all fear! Perfect love casts out fear. God is love! God is light, he produces hope; inspires faith! Whatever is not of faith is SIN! To live in guilt is to live in captivity. God is the author of life, the author of purpose; never the author of confusion. Fear has torment, it produces nightmares. It gives negative visions, producing a foreboding of the future. All the visions of the night are turned to seeing you dying. All you see is death, failure, and defeat! Why can’t I see myself free? Why can’t I see myself in victory? The hopelessness of trying to help myself; I cannot shake off these negative visions! Romans 7 verse 15 “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to-what I hate” “seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.” TLB

throned when we run away from God! The longer we stay away the more fear’s grip tightens like a noose until it literally strangles the life out of us! The only answer- SURRENDER AND THEN CLAIM VICTORY! Surrender to God, admit defeat! Realise that you cannot help yourself, realise that you cannot carry the load of guilt, you cannot win this fight! Stop trying to win the fight, admit defeat! Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death! Lay all the burdens at the master’s feet, that’s where they belong. You have no business carrying them again! Then claim victory! Claim victory that Jesus has won for you. Remember God created a perfect world and gave tenancy to man. Man fell and lost control to the Devil. Satan turned it all to his image. Jesus came and took man’s place and regained for us the lost estate. Now we do not yet see all things under his control But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man Heb 2 verse 9. So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the lifegiving Spirit-and this power is mine through Christ Jesus-has freed me from the vicious cycle of sin and

death. Roman 8 verse 1-2 TLB we are free not by any human endeavour but by the Blood of the Lamb! However once you are in the valley of the shadow of death, coming out is a slow painstaking nerve racking process. You must fight those thoughts with words! Here you must not let the Word of God depart from YOUR MOUTH! Talk it daily, hourly, under your breath! Sing it! Shout it! Prophesy it but don’t stop talking it! Talk it when you feel good, talk it when you face your greatest fears! Talk it when you are weak and when you feel strong! Talk it when you feel sick and when you feel well. Talk it even when it feels like every word brings more FEAR! Talk it until faith is inspired in your spirit! Shout the words into your spirit to drown your thoughts of fear! Talk it until people around you are sick of hearing you! Then I promise you, one day one glorious day, you would wake up to a new world, a new reality, and a new life without fear! The only answer to fear is faith. Just as light dispels darkness, so faith dispels fear! Faith is the victory and love is the key! Rests on God’s love, hope on it, live in it. Faith itself is the product of words-God’s word. Fear too is a product of words-the enemy’s words like tares sown on good ground with the rest of the good crop. Do not wait until you feel the victory, start telling it the moment you realize you got the victory. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.

Fear for many is bred in childhood. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Prov 22: 6). We are taught our limitations, inabilities and impossibilities, so we take on the identity of our forebears. Cultural conditioning and education leave us with irrational fears and superstition. Some of us learn fear from our peers, elders and teachers. Religion is perhaps the greatest conditioning for fear! God becomes an object of dread, not of adoration or adulation. Familiarity with Him is considered anathema! “Then they were all the more eager to kill Him because in addition to disobeying their laws, He had spoken of God as His father, thereby making Himself equal with God” (John 5: 18). Therefore when we sin, like Adam we run away from God! God is our salvation! He is not just willing to forgive; He himself is our very life! We can no more run from God and expect salvation than Adam could! When we sin, fear comes; he is enReal Relationships | 31


7Steps to

fireproof

your Marriage By Dennis Rainey

I

solation is a disease that afflicts every marriage at some point. A husband and wife slowly drift apart in ways they don’t even recognize at first. Signs of isolation include the following:

• A feeling that your spouse isn’t hearing you and doesn’t want to understand • An attitude of “Who cares?” “Why try?” • A feeling of being unable to please or meet the expectations of your spouse • A sense that your spouse is detached from you • A refusal to cope with what’s really wrong: “That’s your problem, not mine.” • A feeling that keeping the peace by avoiding the conflict is better than the pain of dealing with reality If you are starting to observe these symptoms in your marriage, you have begun experiencing the disease called isolation. Every marriage, no matter how good, needs a plan to defeat isolation and to bring about intimacy. Isolation is like a terminal virus that invades your marriage, silently, slowly, and painlessly at first. By the time many couples become aware of its insidious effects, it can be too late. Your marriage can eventually be crippled by boredom and apathy, and it could even die from emotional malnutrition and neglect. Follow these nine steps to fireproof your marriage:

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Step 1: Learn about God’s blueprints for marriage If you were to survey couples and ask, “What is your plan for making your marriage work?” you would hear the following response from many of them: “We have a 50/50 relationship. We meet each other halfway. We each do our part.” On the surface, the 50/50 plan sounds fair and reasonable. In reality, this plan is destined to fail. The problem is simple: It is impossible to determine when your spouse has met you halfway. Many times in a marriage, both partners are busy, overworked, tired, and feel taken for granted. If you try to operate according to the 50/50 plan, at some point you will start accepting your spouse according to his performance. Your natural selfishness will cloud your judgment, and you will start thinking that your spouse isn’t doing enough to keep the marriage and the family going. Thomas Fuller captured the thought process that occurs in most marriages: “Each horse thinks his pack is heaviest.” Ultimately, the world’s plan, the 50/50 performance relationship, is destined to fail because it is contrary to God’s plan. You can read dozens of books about what people think the plan for marriage ought to be, but since

God created marriage, you should find out what His blueprints are for building a marriage. Here are three key principles:

have ever imagined because it affects God’s reputation on this planet. That’s why it’s essential for you to set Jesus Christ apart as the Builder of your home.

1. To mirror God’s image. “After God created the earth and the animals, He said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:25–27).

Step 2: Reaffirm your commitment Did you know that marriage was the first human institution God ordained? The second chapter of Genesis describes this drama, which occurred just after God created the heavens and the earth.

Your marriage should reflect God’s image to a world that desperately needs to see who He is. Because we’re created in the image of God, people who wouldn’t otherwise know what God is like should be able to look at us and get a glimpse. 2. To mutually complete each other and experience companionship. Scripture clearly outlines a second purpose for marriage: to mutually complete one other. That’s why God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). Adam felt isolated in the Garden, and so God created woman to eliminate his aloneness. Writing to the firstcentury church in Corinth, Paul echoed the teachings in Genesis 2 when he asserted, “However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman” (1 Corinthians 11:11). You need each other. You recognize that now. But if you build your marriage according to God’s blueprints, as the years go by you will really appreciate the genius of how God has custom-made your mate for you. 3. To multiply a godly legacy. A line of godly descendants—your children—will carry a reflection of God’s character to the next generation. Your plans for children may still be in the future, but if He blesses you with this gift, you will be in for an amazing adventure. God’s original plan called for the home to be a sort of spiritual greenhouse—a nurturing place where children grow up to learn character, values, and integrity. One of your assignments is to impart a sense of destiny—a spiritual mission—to your children. Make your home a place where your children learn what it means to love and obey God. Your home should be a training center to equip your children to look at the needs of people and the world through the eyes of Jesus Christ. Your marriage is far more important than you may

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:18-25) The first thing to note from this passage is that Adam accepted God’s gift totally—he received Eve as God’s gift to Him. He trusted God totally, knowing this woman was God’s provision for his needs. Many marriages today are insecure and crumbling because the husband and wife have stopped accepting each other. They have stopped trusting God. Instead they are focusing on their differences and weaknesses. The end of this passage includes a powerful verse that reads, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). In this one sentence we find three additional guidelines for building a strong and godly marriage: leave, become united, and become one flesh. These are not multiple choice; all three are required for success. Leaving your father and mother means establishing independence from them, or from any others who may have reared you. It’s amazing how many people have failed to do this. They may look very adult and act very mature and sophisticated, but deep down inside they’ve never really cut the apron strings. The Hebrew word for “leave” literally means, Real Relationships | 33


“forsake dependence on.” Many people get married, but continue depending on their parents for money or for emotional support. Dependence on parents undermines the interdependence you are to build as husband and wife. It’s important for you to “leave” your parents while also obeying the fifth commandment, which calls us to honor them. Being united to your spouse means forming a permanent bond. It means committing yourself to a lifelong marriage. Unfortunately, commitment is the missing ingredient in many marriages. Many people bail out of marriage when the relationship changes or becomes more difficult. But in God’s original plan, there were to be no escape hatches, no bailout clauses in the contract. When God joins two people together, it is for keeps. As the marriage vows say, “’Til death do us part.” The final directive in this passage, to “become one flesh,” refers not only to the physical union of a husband and wife in marriage, but also to every other area of life, including spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and social. The Genesis passage goes on to say that Adam and Eve were “... both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). They felt no fear or rejection. Instead they felt total acceptance by each other. Being bathed in the warmth of knowing that another person accepts you is what makes marriage a true joy. When a husband and wife truly leave, become united, and become one flesh, they experience what I call “oneness,” which is the opposite of isolation in marriage. This is a true unity of body and soul, a total commitment to God and to each other. Remember what we said earlier about the world’s “50/50 plan” for marriage? To experience oneness in your relationship you need to commit to the “100/100 plan.” This plan requires a 100 percent effort from each of you to serve your mate. Rather than, “You do your part and I’ll do mine,” each spouse needs to say, “I will do what I can to love you without demanding an equal amount in return. I am committed to this relationship for a lifetime, and I will do whatever it takes to make our marriage work.” Step 3: Deal with your selfishness Frankly, many couples beginning marriage underestimate how selfishness can threaten a marriage. During courtship and engagement, we do everything we can to attract and please our loved ones. We make ourselves out to be the most kind, loving, compassionate, sensitive human beings on earth. Then, once we are married and the conquest is complete, our natural selfishness, independence, and pride begin to bubble to the surface. Suddenly we are experiencing conflict, and we’re

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shocked that this ideal love is not as pure as we imagined. Each of us wants our own way. As James 4:1-2 tells us: What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. ... Marriage offers a tremendous opportunity to do something about selfishness. Someone may say, “There is no hope; I can’t get him to change,” or “What’s the use? She’ll never be any different.” Barbara and I know there is hope because we learned to apply a plan that is bigger than human self-centeredness. Through principles taught in Scripture, we have learned how to set aside our selfish interests for the good of each other as well as for the profit of our marriage. The answer for ending selfishness is found in Jesus and His teachings. He showed us that instead of wanting to be first, we must be willing to be last. Instead of wanting to be served, we must serve. Instead of trying to save our lives, we must lose them. We must love our neighbors (our spouses) as much as we love ourselves. A marriage is built when two individuals deny their selfishness and yield to Jesus Christ for the purpose of loving and serving their spouses. Jesus Christ will begin the process of building your home if you submit to Him. Step 4: Begin to pray with your spouse While I was still a newlywed, I asked my mentor, Carl Wilson, for his best words of advice about marriage. Carl, who had been married for many years and had four children, said, “That’s easy. Pray daily together.” Because I really wanted to succeed as a husband, I immediately applied Carl’s wisdom. I went home that night and instituted a spiritual discipline that we have maintained consistently since our marriage began in 1972. This daily habit has helped us resolve conflicts and keep the communication lines open. Most importantly, it has demonstrated our dependence on Jesus Christ as the Lord of our family. When you invite God into your marriage on a daily basis, He will change things. God intends for marriage to be a spiritual relationship consisting of three—not just a man and a woman, but the two of them and God, relating spiritually and remaining committed to the other for a lifetime. Wouldn’t it be natural for God, the One who initiated the relationship, to want a couple to bring their troubles, worries, and praises to Him on a regular, daily basis?

Step 5: Develop your relational skills Did you know that you can develop your skills in relating to others just as you can develop skills in golf, cooking, or painting? Most of us develop some bad relational habits over the years, and we need training and practice to develop skill in practical, yet vital, areas of marriage, such as: • Adjusting to your differences • Resolving conflict • Listening to each other • Speaking the truth in love • Communicating expectations • Forgiving each other Your determination to improve your skills in areas like these will show just how serious you are about revitalizing your marriage. Step Six: Spend focused time together A wife wants a husband who will sweep her off her feet, carry her away to the castle, and say, “Let’s spend time together.” Focused attention is like precious gold in a relationship.

ra flowers and speak tender words. She can give me undivided attention as I unwind and share from the heart. We can stay up talking, munching snacks, and listening to music, and know we don’t have to face a demanding schedule the next day. Step 7: Depend on God’s power to build your marriage Why aren’t more marriages successful? The problem is that believers who enter into marriage don’t use all of the resources and tools God makes available to build oneness in their homes. As Psalm 127:1 tells us, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” There are two key ingredients for living a dynamic Christian life, whether you’re single or married. These ingredients have even more significance when you apply them to the oneness you are trying to achieve as a married couple. I’ll put them in the form of questions:

God intends for marriage

In addition to regular dates with your spouse, make sure you plan for getaways. How long has it been since you spent extended, focused time with your spouse? Not just an evening at a fantastic eatery, but a couple of days away from your usual environment to catch up with each other? In too many marriages, the demands of the ordinary grind seem to overwhelm the possibility of extraordinary excitement.

1. Are you and your spouse part of the family of God? 2. Are both of you allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and empower your lives?

to be a spiritual relationship consisting of three— not just a man and a woman, but the two of them and God

Because of our fast-paced culture, we need to pause once or twice a year to rest, count our blessings, and dream some dreams. Barbara and I take what we call planning weekends, an opportunity to evaluate our marriage and parenting and, if necessary, redirect plans. The getaway is effective in keeping our communication current, and it’s just plain fun. Without any of the everyday distractions, we can concentrate on romancing each other. I can give Barba-

Read carefully, because what I’m about to say is the most important statement I make here: Unless you answer yes to both of these questions, you will lack the power to build your marriage

with the oneness God intends. God’s ideal plan is that both partners in a marriage know Him personally, that they are first part of his family before they try to build a family of their own. Many people call themselves Christians but have never truly known God. If you believe you fall into that category, you might start by accessing the FamilyLife web page on “The Secret to Having a Great Marriage and Family.” Many of you may know Christ, but the troubles you’ve experienced in your marriage have led you to realize that you are not experiencing Him to the fullest. An important question for you is: If Jesus Christ Continued on page 49 Real Relationships | 35


Today’s Missionaries

Voices of

Sudan It is so true that “there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. The above summed my thoughts when I interacted with a gentleman whom I met in our home fellowship group.

His name is David Johnson. He left is job as an English teacher in Charlotte, NC to serve God full time in international missions. He specializes in documentary photography, and his passion is taking his camera around the world to document persecuted and oppressed people and then use his work to raise awareness and money for the indigenous people. All of the profit from his work is donated back to aide those people he has documented. He has traveled extensively to Cambodia, Thailand,

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Brazil, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Singapore, France, Holland, China, Vietnam, France, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Ethiopia and Peru. His book, Voice of Beauty, unveils the prevailing, yet rarely celebrated, beauty and strength of women and girls in developing countries. According to David, when women and girls respond to their environment, endure social oppression, withstand abuse, and fight for the right of their child, the essence of their beauty is exposed. However, this beauty is rarely shown on the cover of glamour magazines; instead, her beauty often silently escapes with the moment, without applause, without recognition. The photographs in Voices of Beauty reveals splendor that is rarely documented. Her beauty exists with or without the camera, but when captured, the power of her beauty needs to be shown, not to exploit, but to bring awareness to her story. 100% of the profits from Voice of Beauty will be donated to provide micro loans to women and education for girls in Africa. His latest book, Voices of Sudan, documents the people in Darfur and other regions of Sudan.

Covenant Woman By Ade Abioye

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n Haran, the Lord said to Abram, “Go for yourself. For your own advantage away from your country, from your relatives and your fathers’ house, to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you with abundant increase of favors and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing dispensing good to others.”

governed the people of God were absolutely truthful. Which means certain things are always right or wrong (for all people) at all times and in all places.

And I will bless those who bless you… who confer prosperity or happiness upon you and curse him who curses you or uses insolent language towards you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed and by you they will bless themselves.

It was with this standard the Jews raised their children. Their families were built on heritage. Jews have an understanding and appreciation of God and Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God’s heartbeat is a real relationship that is grounded on Christian values, based on the absolute truth in the world. God is a God of principle. He made clear this truth in calling Abraham out of unreal relationships and brought him to real relationships with Himself. God covenanted with Abraham.

This is the foundation of the history of a family of whose genealogy goes back 4000 years. The national roots of these people reflect 2000 years of history. They are small in number but exist a formidable strength that none can compare or understand. They exude God’s Favor, blessing, dominion, winning and prosperity. This is God’s family, the Jews. Today they are strong on the earth. These strengths were sharpened by family principles. They all express God’s family principle. What family principles? These are moral codes and values. This is known as the law and the prophets in the Old Testament. The families were kept strong and healthy. They based their right and wrong revelations on God’s Word. They are people of the Book.

Covenant distinguished the Israelite as a unique people on earth. Covenant women, daughters of Abraham who excelled are guided by these unchanging principles. Like the Psalmist “ when I view and consider your heaven, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars which you have ordained and established, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of earth born man that you care for him” Psalms 8:3-9… why am I created? Who am I? What is my purpose in this world? Am I a woe – man or woman? Am I just created to occupy a vacuum and empty space? Am I created to be tossed around by diverse of doctrines, or kicked around like ball on the (Soccer) Field? Am I created for depression or dominion? Can there be joy in my home?

In the Old Testament, we are presented with a shadow… A limitation of this inheritance reveal the scope of physical Jews. In the New Testament, the limitations cease to exist because of grace made available though our Lord Jesus Christ. According to Galatians 3:7, “Know and understand that it is really people who live by faith who are the true sons of Abraham.” And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify… declare righteousness, put in right standing with Himself the Gentiles in consequence of Faith, proclaimed the gospel foretelling the glad tidings of a Savior long beforehand to Abraham in the promise, saying, in you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. We all became sons and daughters of Abraham. The laws and “sayings” in the scripture that

God is bound, by His own principles. He is a relational God. He loves and enjoys fellowship and communion. He is a God of purpose. The Old Testament revealed the shadow of his intention for mankind. The New Testament confirmed it. His plan for mankind was engraved in the palms of his hand on the cross. His palms were pierced through, and spell LOVE…Greater love… The term of the love demonstrated is the understanding covenant relationship within the covenant. He gave all. What is God’s purpose for me as covenant woman? God’s purpose is to create a Woman Of Covenant who has a real relationship with God. Real Relationships | 37


sarah’s story By Talitha Tukura

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he sun was blaring hot and Sarah lay on her bed looking at the air conditioner with disgust as she turned around to reach for her radio so she could turn up the volume. The a.c seemed to be blowing hot air and Sarah didn’t know if it was actually helping her or not. She was frustrated and bored out of her mind. A popular Cece Winans song crooned out of the radio and Sarah sang along for a moment, the inspiring words temporarily blocking out the thoughts that had been going on in her head. “Sarah, I’m home” Sarah heard her mom calling seconds after she had heard the front door slam shut. Sarah stood up from the bed, stretched, pulled her rumpled top down and walked out of her room, down the stair to the kitchen where her mom was. Sarah was tall and beautiful. She had bright, clear eyes that twinkled when she smiled complimenting a cute pair of dimples that accentuated her perfect features. “Hi Mom, do I have mail?” “Haba, Sweetheart I know you’re anxious for your JAMB results but can’t you even ask me how I’m doing or how my day was? “Sorry, sorry mom, how was your day?” Sarah asked her mom forcing a smile into the sentence. “Very well thank you and yes, you do have mail” “Mommy are you serious?” Sarah exclaimed. She ran to her mother’s side and anxiously reached for

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her folder. She saw the brown envelope addressed to her and she tore it opened almost tearing the small sheet of paper inside. Her eyes quickly skimmed the document before she jumped up and did a jig. “ 290 points mom, yes!” Sarah ran over and hugged her mom. “Oh, baby I’m so proud of you” her mom said tears running down her cheek, “your dad would have been so proud”.

“I love you mom, bye, there calling for us” Sarah ran into the bus before her mom could see the tears welling up in her eyes. If she stayed for a moment longer they would create a sad scene. Sarah had never left Yola without her mom before. Her mom had raised her in the way of the Lord and Sarah had accepted him as her savior when she was but a child. Her dad had died when she was only a baby and it had been her mom that had taken care of her all these years. She was the only friend she knew.

started to say but none of the girls paid attention to her. She wondered what she would do. She tapped one of the girls on her shoulder to get her attention.

Sarah read for a while and eventually dozed off, the music on her iPod luring her to sleep. The abrupt stop of the bus hours later woke her up and when she opened her eyes the sharp rays of light as the sun set around her was startling. Passengers around her stood up and dropped from the bus. She sat wondering was this Abuja? What would she do now? Who would she ask directions to the university from? Even at the university would she find someone to attend to her at this time? In confusion she asked the closest person to her.

All the girls badgered her with questions and it took them 20 minutes to understand each other. They were also first year students but had gone through the 1 year remedial programme at the school. Maria, Lucy, Grace and Saratu were friends and they immediately took Sarah under there wing. They chattered a cab to take them to the university campus all the while the girls spoke of nothing but boys, clubs and all sorts of nasty things they did during the holidays. They laughed and after a while Sarah loosened up and laughed at there lewd jokes too.

“Ma, please are we in Abuja?” she asked an old lady next to her politely. “No, we dey New York, where you think sey we dey. No be bus to Abuja you climb for Yola.” She said angrily in broken English before she hissed and walked away. “S…sor….sorry ma” Sarah stuttered.

“Sarah “her mom gently called breaking through her thoughts.” I know you’re a big girl and I know you’re tired of me telling you anything but please be careful. Whenever you need something or just need to talk, flash me alright. I love you baby and I’m gonna miss you” She tried hard not to cry but the slippery tears couldn’t be controlled.

Sarah dropped from the bus, took her luggage from the conductor and looked for a place to sit. She brought out her phone and pressed the first key to speed dial her mom. She suddenly closed her phone, why should she call her mom she thought. She was no longer a baby. No, she would find her way by herself she said determinedly to herself. In the corner of her eye she spotted another bus driving into the terminus. She watched the bus closely and observed the passengers as they disembarked from the bus. Finally, she saw what she wanted, a group of girls her age trying to sort through their luggage. There voices were loud and in-between the lines of there chatter she was able to discern that they were students at the University of Abuja returning for the new session.

“Mom, don’t worry I’ll be fine.” Sarah said. “Abuja, FCT” the bus conductor shouted

“ Excuse me, Hi my name is Sarah and I’m a new student……” She

Together they remained in their embrace Sarah feeling exhilarated over her accomplishment and her mother feeling a mix of pride and fear at her daughter, her only baby leaving her to school over a thousand kilometers away in Abuja. A month later her bags were packed and she was filled with excitement when she found her self at the bus park with her mom waiting for her previously booked bus ride to Abuja.

“Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m a new…….” Sarah began again. “Hey guys, see Jambite oh” the girl shouted out to her other friends and suddenly all of them flocked around her. “What’s your name?” “What department are you in?”

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Over the weeks Sarah settled into School. Registration had been hectic and tiring but the semester had commenced and she quickly settled into her studies and life in Abuja. She had joined a fellowship on campus but her friends discouraged her saying such activities were for nerds only. Her new friends were a wild lot and every night they went out to night clubs and bars, often returning in the wee hours of the morning. First of all Sarah went with them, but after a while she started making up excuses not to go with them and spent her free time with her new friends at the fellowship. “Sarah, Big D was asking after you yesterday at the club” Maria said. “Yes, oh in fact every day he keeps asking me about you” Grace added. She continued “I think he likes you.” “Think” Maria said sarcastically. “He definitely likes Sarah but she is too mumu to even play game. Hmmm…. with the kind of money he has, if he

“I don’t think Prof is coming today, I think he’s at Prof. Emiratus Turaki’s memorial lecture. I think he’s even presenting a paper. I have to leave, I just remembered that I have to finish my Biology assignment, call my mom, and check my mail….. You know stuff to do.” Sarah fumbled, packed her books into her backpack and started to walk away. “Wait, wait” Saminu called.”Since you have so much to do how about something to eat before you leave, I’m famished” “Ummmm, no. I really have to go. Maybe another day.” “Okay, how about a ride to the hostel” “No, thank you, I’ll just take a walk the weather is great” “C’mon Sarah, the sun is blazing hot and the temperature is at 40 degrees Celsius, I don’t think this weather is for taking a walk. Look, all I want is to share a meal with you. I don’t bite…honest.” He looked straight into her eyes and she felt all her reserves falling away. She smiled shyly and walked towards him.

He looked straight into her eyes and she felt all her reserves falling away... liked me I would be all over him like a leach.” “Holy Sarah” Saratu said leering at her. Sarah looked at her friends laughing at her. It hurt her when her friends jeered at her but her mom had warned her about peer pressure so she just ignored them. What annoyed her most was that most of the guys they hung out with were much older and some were even married. She had never had a boyfriend and did not know much about boys and stuff but one thing she knew for sure was that she didn’t want to have some old guy that couldn’t relate to her. “Good morning ladies”. A male voice behind them said. “Hey handsome, what’s up? Maria and Saratu answered almost simultaneously. They smiled widely at the owner of the voice, an attractive young man. “Why haven’t I been introduced to this lovely lady yet” He said, his charisma was contagious and Sarah looked at him smiling broadly. “Hi, my name is Sarah I’m in MBBS” suddenly shy all over, she looked away from him and looked for something, anything to distract her. “Hi Sarah, my name is Saminu, I’m in mechanical engineering.” The way he looked at her made her feel very uncomfortable and she suddenly stood up.

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“There’s this new place on campus, The Hub, have you eaten there?” He asked gently. “No” she answered, trying to relax. “Okay then, this way unless there’s somewhere else you’ll want to eat” She shook her head and they walked together to the eatery. “So, Sarah. Have you seen much of Abuja?” “No, I hardly go into town unless I’m getting some shopping done or going to the bank”. Sarah replied. “How about me showing you around on Saturday. I’ve lived in Abuja all my life. I practically know every nook and cranny.” “That would be nice” Sarah honestly replied. She really did want to see the city where she would be spending the next 6 years of her life. Plus Saminu seemed like a nice guy. Over the next hours they spoke about secondary school, parents, university, future plans and ambition. Sarah loosened up and told him about her mom and her dad dying when she was young. Saminu told her about countries he had travelled to and they eventually reached common ground and talked about movies, books, music and celebrities. By the time she looked at her watch she was aghast to see that they had been talking for over three hours.

“I really have to go”. Sarah abruptly cut into Saminu as he raved on about 2Pac being incomparable to any present day rapper. “Okay, so where can I drop you off?” “Oh, don’t bother, I have several stops to make, I’ll be fine. Thanks for lunch, I really had fun” “Me too. I’ll see you on Saturday then. Is ten o’clock cool for you?” “Sure” Sarah said hurriedly before she scampered off. Back in the hostel her friends flocked around her and asked her questions about her and Saminu. She told them they had eaten and talked it was no big deal. They all told her stuff about Saminu some was to horrible to be true. Apparently, he lived in Abuja and was from a very wealthy home. He drove only the latest and most expensive cars, wore the hottest designers and always had a group of cool guys and girls flocking around him. He threw the best most outrageous parties and was generous to those around him. He was lazy and spoilt however and bribed lectures to pass him. By the time she was alone Sarah had convinced herself that she wasn’t going anywhere with Saminu on Saturday. He seemed like a nice guy, totally opposite from what they said about him and she had enjoyed talking to him but, she decided to play it safe and stay away from him. She opened her Devotional book and Bible when her phone rang. “Hello” Sarah answered. “Hi Sarah its Saminu.” Sarah was surprised to hear his voice. She wondered where he had gotten her phone number from. But considering what she had heard about him, she knew it wouldn’t be hard for someone like him. “Hey, how are you?” “I’m fine, look I just wanted to tell you that I had a really great time with you today. I can’t wait for Saturday to see you again when today is just Monday. How about dinner tomorrow?” Sarah was surprised and stunned and didn’t know what to say. “Helllllooooo, Sarah” He said again when she didn’t reply immediately. “Ummmm yes, that would be great” Sarah answered, confused. “Perfect, I’ll come get you by 6 at the dorm. Bye” Sarah closed her textbook and went to lie on the bed. Oh, goodness she thought, what was happening to her. She flicked opened her phone again to talk to her mom but decided against it and closed the phone again. A knock on the door disrupted her thoughts and Sarah stood up to get it. “Hi, are you Sarah?” A strange girl at the door asked. When Sarah nodded her head in affirmation. The girl

gave her a beautifully wrapped box of chocolates. “It’s from Saminu” she said, and then she turned and left. This was getting too much for Sarah. She wasn’t used to this much attention. The next day dinner was great. Saminu’s behavior towards her was impeccable and the food was delicious. He took her to a very, classy restraunt where it seemed a lot of important people went to dine as well. Every day that week they always found time to share a meal or a drink together; sometimes they would just sit and talk but they were constantly together. He was full of surprises and she felt herself falling for him everyday. Early Saturday morning Sarah woke up and was restless. She was as giddy as a young bride on her wedding day and couldn’t fall asleep again, try as she might. She took her bath and dressed carefully in a clean pair of jeans with a red halter top that she knew looked good on her. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and smiled, wondering if Saminu found her attractive. It was still early so she pulled out her iPod, listening to Out of Eden as she painted her nails coral pink. “My, my where are we going all dressed up” Saratu and Grace asked her walking into the room. “Saminu is showing me around town today .” Sarah tried to sound casual. “Are you sure you want to do that?” Saratu asked looking concerned. “By yourself?” Grace added. “Saminu is the perfect gentleman, don’t worry I’ll be fine” She answered very certain of herself. Just then the phone rang and she knew it was Saminu. She said bye to her friends and walked out of the room wondering if they were jealous of her relationship with Saminu. The day went very well and Sarah was having a lot of fun. Like a trained guide he showed her the Ecumenical center, Zion Park, Memorial grave sites of past leaders, Queen Amina’s Historical garden, Millennium plaza and he had even gotten presidential passes to show her the presidential villa and offices. He took her to see Zuma rock, Gurara Falls and both Giri and Ladi Kwali Pottery centers. In between they bought ice cream and had a buffet lunch at a hot spot in town. They stopped to shop for swim wear and sunglasses when Saminu recommended they take a swim at Sheraton. All day they laughed and giggled. Sarah felt ecstatic and looked like a girl in love. Saminu was caring and attentive. Everything was perfect. As evening approached, Saminu said he had a surprise for her. They drove to the airport and Sarah was Continued on page 47 Real Relationships | 41


Pastor Sunday Adelaja... Continued from page 29

Issues of the... Continued from page 15

ever is the case. The involvement of the church in reforming society still receives stiff opposition. Plans have been concocted in high places to deal a final blow to the ministry. Government agents are seeking to put the pastor behind bars and all forms of lies are being framed and the irony of it is that some members of the body of Christ in Ukraine have been called upon to bear false witness.

Shidlovskiy because of the stories he told. So, all these allegations are based on the stories of one rebel from the church. After he left my church, Sergey went and submitted his ministry under the leadership of Pastor Rick Renner and one of the bishops who then gathered 6 other bishops to join forces against our ministry. So far, Pastor Rick Renner has apologized for his position and repented before the church.

Pastor Adelaja believes that the church of Christ should not distance herself from governance and political leadership. The height of this involvement resulted in a political party been started from the church. The party won 30% of the seats in parliament for the capital city, Kiev, in the last elections, as well as the Mayor’s seat. The opposition attributes their failure to the influence of the church and are have sworn to be enemies of the leader of the ministry. Yuriy Lutsenko, who is also the Head of Police and the Minister of Internal Affairs contested for Mayor in the election. He lost to Leonid Chernovetskiy who is a member of Pastor Sunday’s church. There began the plot to assassinate the character of the pastor and discredit his ministry.

However, the group of Bishops has refused to meet in person –They are not interested in knowing the truth – rather they are determined to bring down my name and authority in the church here. It is understandable that they are insulted by me, because being a black man from Africa, I came to Ukraine and started a church some 15 years ago – which has become several times bigger than their churches, so they are looking for an opportunity to make me look false and not genuine. Also, because I’m from Nigeria – they have accused me of different crimes associated with Nigerians, such as drug dealing (which was never confirmed), as well as performing black magic and voodoo in the church (which was also never confirmed). So basically, this is just another attack...

The stage was set for the onslaught when the wave of financial crises slept through Kiev. One company that was affected was King’s Capital. One of the leaders of that company was a member of the church, so because of this he was able to use his influence to get people to invest in the company. The opposition thrilled that the company had gone down, made false statements that the pastor was involved in the company even before any investigation was made. The Police Chief went to the press and made false statements about the pastor’s passport been confiscated and that he couldn’t leave the country. For the reason that it came out on the news, many (Christian media houses inclusive) have written their own reports without hearing from all parties involved.

What made the Christian media in Ukraine stop with their publications was that we produced video recordings of everything I ever said about business or King’s Capital. So everything I ever said was put onto video to prove that I never tried to promote King’s Capital in any way - which is the opposite of what Sergey Shidlovskiy says. These are the transcriptions of 6 messages I taught in the church on the topic of investment and my opinion regarding King’s Capital. If you read through these, you will see clearly that I disassociated my involvement from the company all the way through, instructing people to do their own investigation and use their own brains when doing business. Facts speak louder than speculation, so when we produced the proof, everyone kept quiet, rather condemning those who started the scandal. It’s a pity that the Christian brethren would rather use the Christian media to destroy each other instead of talking things through.

We sent message to the pastor and this was his account: Sergey Shidlovskiy, a disgruntled member of the church went into error with some of his teachings. I disciplined him and tried to correct him but he chose walk out on the church. In rebellion he took some members from the church, including people working in King’s Capital (that went bankrupt). When the financial crisis hit, and this company from our church was one of the victims –saw it as an opportunity to retaliate for the discipline he had received from me. He went out with false accusations and stories about me and my supposed involvement in King’s Capital – accusing me of promoting the company on stage, and how because of me, he had lost 1, 000 Euros in the company! There are also a group of 7 Bishops with whom Sergey Shidlovskiy has associated himself and who compiled a list of complaints again me. These allegations were actually coming from Sergey

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you free. I have heard testimonies of how people who got caught up in porn got delivered when they shared their concerns with the right people but you must begin by hating it with a passion, I mean like plague, thinking of it like fire that burns and destroys. The Bible says you cannot place fire in your bosom and not be burnt. (Prov. 6:27).

Every time we have misunderstanding, my wife threatens me with no sex. I get on my knees begging before we make love. I am tired of begging and am planning on getting a mistress. I know this is wrong but I can’t help it.

you are displeased with their attitude, you don’t settle your scores like that, it is an express way to destroying your home, don’t even think of it! There are a thousand and one ways of showing your displeasure and discontent, not denying your spouse of food or sex, no, never. You can talk and pray about it and both of you just have to be determined to make your marriage work. Good marriages don’t just happen, you work at it and God delights in making every little effort count, He multiplies your kind gestures and gives you bountiful harvest. Like T.D. JAKES would say, ‘Nothing just happens’. Back to you my brother, permit me to say I am disappointed at the only option you seem to be considering, couldn’t you have thought of something more rewarding? For example, making your wife feel valued and loved to the extent that if any misunderstanding occurs, she is not in doubt of your love for her. I tell you, if you make her feel like or treat her like a queen, she would treat you like a king that you are, yes, you are the king and priest of your home. Misunderstandings come and go; it is how we handle them that determine whether we are winners, victors or quitters. You must decide which offences you would trivialize and work at making your relationship a sweet one. By that I mean spelling out the SWEET literally. That is being Sensitive to each other’s concerns and things that matter to both of you. Wise in decision making, knowing for sure that whatsoever you decide today, would inevitably affect your tomorrow and for sure, generations yet unborn.

Of course you can. You don’t get so hungry and consider sand as food. You can help it and that very well. I will not in anyway support what your wife does. It is very wrong for any woman to deprive her husband of sex. I am hoping your wife gets to read this article so she would know she is treading on dangerous grounds by denying you sex at every single provocation. Denying your spouse sex is not the way to ‘get back’ at him/her when

For instance, your decision to go take a mistress is a wrong one, be wise, don’t do it. The wise thing to do would be to put your house in order, get informed (from marriage counselors, books, seminars, etc) on how to sexually satisfy your wife, I tell you what, if she enjoys it, she’d be the one asking, not you. I sense that she probably feels used. Try out what trickles her, what brings the ‘goose pimples’ to her body, add a bit of TLC, (tender,

Having this understanding, you must realize then that you have to flee and escape for your life. You cannot be content with enjoying the pleasure of sin for a season with eternity in view. Having someone you could be responsible to also helps because he would check on you and pray with you, someone you can open up to, be plain with, a mentor who would help you through and give you every support you need. You need to speak out, get help from your local Church. Two would put to flight ten thousand (Deu.32:30). You cannot fight this fight on your own; the Bible says woe to him that is alone. (Ecc. 4:10). I trust God to lead you to the right person and help you through and through. The best place to begin though is at your Pastor’s. Thank God for Pastors.

To tell you something positive, our church has become stronger, and the members have become more united and are praying more. The people see this as an unfair attack and persecution. So in the end, all this has worked out for good and for the betterment of our church. At the moment the case is about to go to court where we hope the police will not have a hand in the decision, and I’ll be able to clear my name. Just before we went to press, we received news that the chief accuser, Yuriy Lutsenko was involved in a scandal that has led to his resignation. God is indeed vindicating his church and to Him be all the glory. Real Relationships | 43


loving, care) to your sexual act and watch the difference. Take delight in seeing the glow on her face, every misunderstanding would disappear. Be Exceptionally kind. At first it might seem like it’s because you want some favour but as it becomes a way of life, a habit, your spouse would respond, knowing you truly mean it when you say, ‘I care’. Build up your self Esteem and be an Example in every good thing. If you desire a hug and pat on the back, give it first, you reap what you sow. The Bible is so true. The T in the sweet is for thoughtfulness, being thoughtful of your spouse makes a whole lot of difference. If you are thoughtful, you’d be so happy together. Making others happy and fulfilled, makes you happier and more fulfilled and together you both are happiest and most fulfilled, think about it. A thoughtful act would be, giving her a good hug in the morning, telling him how blessed you are to be married to him, treating him like the president that he is, respect for one another, love notes in unique places like his pocket, her hand bag, text messages with romantic undertones, I mean, the list is endless. You know, the day those of us who are married and have a home realize just how blessed we are, the world would be a better place to be because the colour of love would be all over the world. You may not be able to change the world but you can change your thoughts and give someone, especially your spouse, many more reasons to live a fulfilling life, i.e. living life to its fullest, now that’s what I call God’s choicest blessing.

Q

Pray for me Auntie. I need a spouse and time is running out. I am 45 and still desirous of having my own family. Will this ever happen? I am thinking of adopting a child so at least I can pour love to someone I can call my own.

A

God would not disappoint you. Testimonies abound of people who God has come through for and He cannot fail in your case. I was at a wedding late last year. The bride was 48, the groom 49, none of them had married before! Miracles still happen. Keep your hopes alive. The only time you can be said to have failed is when you stop trying, when you stop hoping, when you think the world has ended. As long as there is breathe in your nostrils, my dear, hold on, yes, until your change comes. That was what Job did. Just when you think you have come to the end of the rope, tie the knot and hold on there. The one who rules and reigns in the affairs of men, He’d come through for you, He’d make a way for you. No one is hopeless whose hope is in God. Times and season is in God’s hands, even when you can’t see His hands, you can trust His heart, His plans for you are good, He’d give you a future and hope. For all I know, your spouse might just be around the corner, please keep your hopes alive, God is not dead. As per adopting a child, so long as you have what it takes and are willing to cope with the responsibility of single parenthood, go for it. It might be helpful for you to count the cost and be sure you are not just been pressured to adopt a child. Pray about it and be sure you are at peace with the decision. You can be a destiny helper to that child, who knows. God works in ways we cannot see, we can never search Him out, we only need to keep our focus on Him and trust Him for the very best. I pray He comes through for you in ways past finding out. Please invite me when it happens. It is always a pleasure taking tough issues to God on your behalf. Leave me a note and I will get back with you shortly. You can be sure that I keep your issues confidential. Waiting to hear from you. Email Auntie Julie: fjakhimien@yahoo.com

The song writer says, ‘my times are in your hands…’ You are not alone in this my sister and I dare say,

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Sarah’s story... Continued from page 41

surprised when they parked close to a helicopter. “What’s all this” she exclaimed. “Where are you taking me?” “No where much I just thought you would appreciate an ariel view of the town you spent sightseeing today.” Sarah shrieked and held Saminu’s hand. “I have never been on a helicopter before” “Well, let’s go” They flew over the city and again Saminu pointed out the sites to Sarah. It was beautiful. Everything looked so beautiful. The sun was setting and gold, orange and yellow rays of light filled the sky. Saminu offered her some wine. She had never had any before but today was a day of many first she thought so she accepted. There were exotic fruits too and Sarah felt like Juliet Roberts in Pretty Woman. She couldn’t stop giggling. By the time they landed, Sarah couldn’t walk straight and she held on to Saminu’s arm.

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46 | Real Relationships

“I had a terrific day, Saminu thank you” She said to him. “Your welcome, I had a great day too” He answered and he drew her close to him and reached for her mouth. Sarah had never been kissed before and in her drunken state she didn’t put up a fight. He kissed her gently and her timid heart soared. On the way back to school she felt sleepy. She tried to stay awake but her fatigue from the day’s activities and the wine was too much for her and she felt herself dozing off. Hours later she woke up and started to head towards the bathroom when she noticed she wasn’t in her room in the dorm neither was she at home at Yola. The sound of the T.V in another close by room drew her attention and she walked towards it. Saminu sat in front of the T.V laughing at a comedy show. “Hi” she said to him. “Well hello yourself” “Sorry I dozed off, I think I have to get back to school it’s getting late” “I didn’t want to wake you to walk back to your dorm so I brought you back to my place since I could just

carry you to the bed. Its already1am, just make yourself comfortable I’ll take you back in the morning.” “But sometimes you leave school later than this when were studying. Look my roommates will be worried and I have a lot to do.” “I know but I’m tired too I’ll take you back to school in the morning” “C’mon Saminu, I really want to go back to school.” She pleaded close to tears. “I said, forget it I’ll take you back in the morning” he answered shouting at her. Startled at his outburst, she walked back to the room where she had been sleeping and laid on the bed. Tears filled her eyes and she started crying, her mom would not be happy with her if she knew where she was right now. She curled up in tight ball and tried to fall asleep, fervently praying for morning to come quickly. A few minutes later he walked into the room and lay down next to her. “I’m sorry for shouting at you; I just want you to stay with me tonight. It’s like people are always looking at us, we’re never alone and I really just want to get to know you better.” His cool voice was soothing but she stiffened from him being so close to her and didn’t respond. “C’mon Sarah talk to me”. He added. “Don’t worry, I’m fine”, she finally said. “I just haven’t ever spent the night away from home or the dorm so it’s really strange for me. He laughed a deep gentle laugh and turned her face to look at him. “Don’t worry I’m not the big bad wolf ” He said jokingly. She tried to smile but the more he looked at her the more fright she felt and she moved to the extreme end of the bed and tried to get up. “Where are you going” he asked holding her back. “I think I want to watch some T.V “she answered. “There’s nothing interesting on” he answered and rolled himself closer to her. “Kiss me” he asked. Sarah looked at him, suddenly scared. “Kiss me” he asked again this time in a rougher voice. Real Relationships | 47


Church Mice by: Karl Zorowski

Sarah knew she was in trouble and made a move to run away. Saminu reached out for her, almost breaking her arm. He moved his body on top of hers with the speed and agility of an athlete. He yanked off her clothes, tearing them in the process. Sarah didn’t know what to do and she fought him back with all her might trying to writhe her body from under his. Crying, she begged him to leave her alone. He didn’t answer her. Several times during

the night he woke up and took his pleasure from her. Exhausted from fighting him, she lay beneath him rigid as he ravished her body time and time again. By morning she ached all over and she could feel herself bleeding. Lord, how did I get into all of this? To Be Continued

7 Steps... Continued from page 35

walked out of your life right now, how would your life be different tomorrow, or next week? If you realize that your actions, thoughts, and words would be no different, you need to come to grips with the fact that Christ is not Lord of your life.

feat isolation in marriage, but let me leave you with this exhortation: Don’t use the “D” word! Don’t even think of divorce. Too many marriages begin to unravel when one of the spouses mentally entertains the possibility of divorce.

What each of us needs in our own marriage is something to defeat our selfishness. On more than one occasion I can recall wanting to be angry at Barbara and yet at the same time facing the realization that my life is a temple of God, that the Holy Spirit lives in me with the same power that raised Christ from the dead. The Spirit helps me control my temper, impatience, and my desire to say things I would later regret.

Marital commitment demands perseverance. For your sake, for the sake of your children, and for the sake of our culture, you need to remain committed to the covenant you made before God. You need to maintain the perseverance of couples like J.L. and Hilda Simpson, godly Christians who wrote me a profound note:

I still fail, but I have found that as I inwardly yield my will to God, the fruit of the Spirit grows within me. Isn’t it interesting that the deeds of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21—immorality, impurity, strife, jealousy, drunkenness, etc.—produce isolation in marriage? But as we submit to Holy Spirit’s control of our lives, the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, etc.—move us toward oneness. The dreaded “D” word There is so much more to learn about how to de-

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“I was 15 and J.L. was 17 when we married. We are now 61 and 63. We could have divorced dozens of times but because we love each other deeply, and because God hates divorce, we didn’t want to bring the curse of divorce into our family, so we didn’t.” Barbara and I have been married since 1972, and we have had our share of illness, tragedy, and disagreements—but we have never mentioned the word “divorce.” That word has never passed through either of our lips. May I challenge you to do the same?

Real Relationships | 49


Be Sure To Plan By Dr. Uvoh Onoriobe

I

am set to conclude what we started in the last edition -Starting Small. The other day I saw a car sticker that read-If God is your partner, make your plans big. It got me thinking again. We have to painstakingly sit down and come up with a plan if success is our goal. Any institution that has achieved success did not get there by happenstance. They must have given planning its rightful place. It is imperative that you put together a map of where the institution you are building is going. You should also add footnotes of how it will get there and finally design a model of what it will look like when you have arrived. Anything short of this is a recipe for failure. One thing we lacked when we started this publishing venture was Strategic Thinking. I recently took a Strategic Management class and I must confess it was real eye-opener. I learnt that strategic thinking can be likened to leaving the field of play during a football match, and going to the “pressbox” to observe the “game” and see its broader context. Managers must be able to keep perpective and see the big pictureand not get lost in the action. In addition one must have a “quiet room” to periodically think about the game, understand it and perhaps change the strategy or players. Strategic thinking is a mind set that those planning to succeed must have. It is a way of thinking that accepts change, analyzes the causes and outcomes of change, and attempts to direct an organization’s future to capitalize on the changes. It makes you ask at all times the following questions: “What are we doing now that we should stop doing?” “What are we not doing now, but should start doing?” and “What are we doing that we should continue to do but in a different way.”

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What naturally follows this activity is Strategic Planning. This is a periodic process of developing a set of steps for an organization to accomplish its mission and vision using strategic thinking. This brings me to one issue that has left me sleepless for days. I attended a church for one full year and not once was life after death mentioned. Altar calls were made but it was the given as the entrance into an abundant life here on earth. I realized many are not making plans for eternity. It is been subtly removed from today’s pulpit messages. We are truly in the last days. 2 Timothy 4:3 puts it this way “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears ;( KJV). The God’s Word Translation gives an interesting rendition of this scripture- “A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear”. One truth still holds today, God has a plan for your today, tomorrow and beyond. Will you stop in your tracks and think strategically about your future. Are you on the way that leads to eternal life? Are you on a collision course? Is there something in your life that you need to stop doing so you can again become a candidate for heaven? It is never too late to make a detour once you realize you are on the wrong path. May be you have never said the sinner’s prayer. Here is your opportunity: Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Saviour.


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Real Relationships Magazine  

Handling lifes issues the bible way. Real Relationships is about people torn apart by life's many experiences. It is our vision to provide a...

Real Relationships Magazine  

Handling lifes issues the bible way. Real Relationships is about people torn apart by life's many experiences. It is our vision to provide a...

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