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Contents

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With this Ring I Thee Wed

6 With this Ring I thee Wed Passion for Souls

9 Passion for Souls

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11 Tips for Investing in Your wife 14 Issues of the Heart 18 How to know your ring size 20 Terror in Parsonage 24 Lighting your Office 26 Incest Unveiled 29 The Good Samaritan 31 Last Man Standing 35 Third Parties in Marriage

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5 Tips for Investing in Your wife

Editorial ............................................................4 Letters ............................................................... 5 Editorial Board .................................................. 4 Short Story..................................................... 28

38 Wisdom Diray Real Relationships 3


Taking

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to another level!

elcome to this edition of Real Relationships. I dare say it arrived just when you were thinking you couldn’t hold your breath any longer, right? My dear, you are not alone – we too have been waiting anxiously to reach you. And voila! Here we are. Since our last edition, God has caused many wonderful things to happen for us, which we will roll out to you in due course. For this edition, we have put together such a sizzling cocktail of great stories for your indulgence, you will be so delighted. However, before going further, I’d like to say, “Hello there! It’s a pleasure to finally meet you!” I know you are probably wondering who this new face is and all that. Well, wonder no more. You see, very recently, our Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Uvoh Onoriobe, invited me to join this great circle as the Sub-Editor. And, it is with honor and a deep sense of humility, that I have accepted the invitation. I am anxious to go to work for you; but, at the same time, I must confess that I am somewhat nervous at the moment. You know, meeting you for the first time, you meeting me, somewhat like a first date, yadi yadi yada, until happily ever after…. Well, as I prepared for the task ahead, I was thinking to myself, what am I going to say the first time and how am I going to say it? I’m sure you know how much we have to be politically correct these days (wink wink!). Well, after much thought and much ado about nothing really, it struck me – I finally got it! I’m going to just be myself and let the rest unfold as it may. Come to think of it, isn’t that how real relationships ought to be? So then, what’s with all the camouflage that we put up daily in our relationships? Are we being true in our dealings with others; and especially, are we being true to ourselves? When people get to know us for who we really are, will they still be willing to be with or around us? Others may not know us well but, our Father in Heaven knows us from the inside out, and

we should always strive to do right by Him, dealing with everyone fairly and openly according to His will. As you read through these articles, my wish is that you will glean a thing or two from the experiences of these characters, and also pass them on to people around you. Additionally, as you read through, you will see that this is one edition (like all the others) that you’ll want to keep around for a very long while. For those that are blessed to be married couples, you definitely shouldn’t miss the provoking sections crafted for you – wives, pay particular attention to the things your husbands want from you. Husbands likewise, pay particular attention to the tips for investing in your wives. Practice! Practice!! Practice!!! With a few sprinkles of communication, mutual understanding, and some TLC here and there, your relationships will flourish (again) with alluring blooms, just like it was before you said “I do!” Finally, on behalf of the entire team here at Real Relationships, I thank you for inviting us into your homes and work places – we have been very encouraged by your continued support. Remember, you are very special to us and we value your readership, for we couldn’t do this without you! Please continue to send us your comments, as we enjoy reading from you as well. Until next time, take time to be a blessing to others around you, who are less fortunate!

Especially Yours, T. Fejiro Kalu, Esq Sub-Editor

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 encouragemant. It is our vision to help believers discover and maximise God’s purpose for their lives.

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Let t e I have been an ardent reader of your magazine Real Relationships. But, all through this year (2007), I have not seen a copy of it. I just wanted to find out if you have stopped producing it or how I can subscribe to it for 2008. Hoping to hear from you soon.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas. Thanks so much. Joseph A. Iyongo

I read the edition of Real Relationships with the picture of the Ndifons. As I opened it, from the first page to the very end, every word affected my life for God. It came right on time, ministering to my need then. I don’t think I can ever recover from the impact made. I’m a better man today. May God continue to prosper this good work. Ammeh O.A. Asaba I am a fresh graduate of the Dept of Accountancy. I’m also into youth and children ministries. I love reading and writing. Actually, it’s a hobby, and I have always been interested in being a writer someday. Presently, I have some articles of my own which I believe will be of interest and benefit to the numerous readers of Real Relationships. Most of them are aimed at giving hope and encouragement to depressed people, who have given up hope as a result of past or broken or sour relationships. They are materials of healing and restoration, focusing on youth. They’re also based on practical, everyday issues. I would love to write for your magazine and be a part of the great work God is doing through you people. I anticipate a favorable reply through my telephone number or my e mail address. Remain Blessed. Adikema, Elizabeth

My name is Amayo Precious, and I am responding to the advert placed in the latest edition of Real Relationships, for writers to call this number – 0803 391 5856. But, the number has not been responding. I am a writer and I am very much interested in writing for Real Relationships but, I don’t know the number to call or who to meet. Please I will be very glad if my letter is replied and I am well guided or directed to the right person or given the appropriate number to call. Thank you. Amayo, Precious Hey! Good work guys. I love your editions of Real Relationships – very informative and inspiring. I write a lot; it’s what I know I was born to do. From your magazine, I read that I could make money by writing… how? What do I need to do? Ese Okagbare I wish to apply to your ad for writers in your recent copy of Real Relationships, Vol.1 No.9. I am a Christian with ECWA headquarters in Jos; I’m hardworking and imaginative. Once given a topic, theme, and a preferred angle, I can work with it to develop inspiring, funny, and straight literature. I have enclosed a sample of what I recently started working on, a series I call “Building The Greatest Relationship,” with the topic “When The Glory Is Not His.” I hope you enjoy this extract. Thank you. Kio, Victoria

Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief: Dr Uvoh Onoriobe Editor: Atinuke Hanson Sub-Editor: 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 Photograph: Getty Images Photography: StockXpert, StockXchange, iStock Publishers: Plumbline Communications

Nigerian Office

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


By Dr Stanley Okugbo

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arriage has been variously said to start after the wedding ceremony. However, many spend more time preparing for the ceremony than for the union. This is a human frailty seeking to plan yet, unwittingly planning to fail. Man is incurably optimistic and trusting, while at the same time sowing seeds of distrust. We learn from other people’s mistakes by making our own. We substitute form for structure; facts for truth; hope for plans. When we perceive a problem we devise laws, when we are confronted with flaws in the system we devise even more laws. We even expect the law to police us and implement itself.

I remember being vehemently opposed to this idea then and still am, though not so vehemently now.

In the marriage contract, convention has been paramount even more so than vows. Vows were brought in to promote religious cultural ethics and values in a bid to force conformity to accepted religious/cultural values and principles. This has necessitated the wedding ceremony.

After the fanfare comes the tedious, daily routine of living together. In this circumstance, feelings are not as important as hard facts and realities.

I remember the first time a friend told me that the wedding ceremony was unimportant and that the pledges or vows could be taken before any witness without the need for conventional standards.

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The marriage vows themselves mean nothing without the persons taking them. They are not important, as they are perceived. If they are not based on principles and values deeply rooted in our psyche and disposition, they are as useless as reciting “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on that day! How many really understand the pledges they affirm on their wedding day? Among those who even have an insight into the oath, many make it knowing full well they plan to break it, even from the wedding day.

Love transforms from the flustering of the heart to the daily decisions we make. Its basis removes from the outward beauty to the inner worth of the spouse. Love transforms from a response to a cause to a spontaneous, deliberate exercise pursued with vigor irrespective of the nuances of the spouse. To say, “I LOVE YOU” is not to declare a


feeling but, a decision. However, many prefer the flimsy, fleeting, whimsical prodding of an emotion that is unreliable as “Chemistry,” and so, fail to find love, for feelings are only the effect of a decision! To Love and to cherish from this day forth!

“I take thee…”

Marriage is a union of personalities, and if you do not know your own self you cannot expect to know your spouse. Who are you? You understand yourself by locating yourself in the purpose of God and finding your cause in life and fulfilling it. No two people who are purposeless or jobless should ever get married. That is the recipe for failure. You must know yourself enough to know what you want from life. What you want to become, your place in God’s plan and purpose for man. This need not be very specific as it is not an academic idea; however, you should generally understand what you are about and where you are going in life. This will help you to find a companion, a fellow pilgrim to walk that ‘path’ with you. Marriage will not help you to know yourself. It will only reflect on the frailties, failures, and confusion when you do not know yourself. Conversely, you should understand and know your spouse; at least well enough to know the principles that govern his/her life. If he/she has no scrapples, no conscience…, you should be well aware before marriage. If he/she is purposeless, confused, jobless, etc., you should help discover their purpose long before marriage, as rushing into marriage will only lead to disillusionment. Love is not blind, it suits but covers. It knows but understands and seeks the good for its spouse.

Here again, abuse may have its beginning in ignorance in how to satisfy the spouse, whether sexually, emotionally, or otherwise. If the spouse does not receive sexual fulfillment in the marriage, he/ she might seek it elsewhere. Sex is good when the partner is satisfied; otherwise it becomes a boring act between the two. Yet, there are people who are chronic philanderers, who seek sexual and emotional fulfillment outside the matrimonial home. These are advertisers with a taste and desire for the illicit. They are not Christians but, people with ripe minds supposing gain for godliness. They are first, fornicators then they transform to adulterers. Nothing is sacred to them but their lusts. They cannot be reasoned with, they can only be reformed and reformation comes from God, not their spouse. This is not just a pledge but also, a decision to the spouse. Is this too difficult? They are only difficult for self-serving people but, marriage is not for people who cannot understand any other than their own selves. In marriage, our primary desire is to please the spouse; this is even clearly understood by God. 1 Cor. 7. Thus, we try to please our spouse with any idea we bring up, any action we contemplate, and plans we make. This is the only way that two can become one.

“To be my lawful Wedded…’

This is the essence of the ceremony to legalize and add bite to a decision by the couple who submit themselves to the marital law. By submitting themselves to an unemotional blind empire as the law, the couple transforms the marriage intent into a contract with its binding laws, responsibilities, and duties.

“Forsaking all others…”

This is true companionship, when two souls meets and find love in one another. The unregenerate man is inherently not trustworthy; however, the new man has the spirit of love, power, and selfdiscipline. 2 Tim.1:7 (NLT). He can be trusted. This issue of trust or its lack thereof has broken many marriages. Nothing impugns the marriage contract as infidelity. It destroys the framework of marriage and makes houses of the pact. In fact, it is the only ground for divorce covered in the scriptures. However, its seeds are sown when the couple cannot find solace in one another.

“In sickness and in health…”

This part of the vows has been criticized, revived, and modified; yet, many have came back to it. Which is the better pledge to say -- “for better or Real Relationships 7


best” or “for better or worse?” First, remember this is a vow, an oath. Thus, to pledge only to stay when they are good only is a pledge not based on love but, on selfish values. However, there is another twist to this part of the pledge: to stay with the spouse in bad and increasingly worsening conditions of life is useless if you don’t join in fighting with your spouse in ill health. To comfort is only useful if there is no means for cure. Otherwise, why stay with the spouse if you cannot sponsor his/her treatment? This, someone might argue, is implied in the vows; but, that is subject to conjecture. I think that the best form of vows should be ‘against sickness, against poverty, etc.’

“With This Ring…”

This is the symbol of an undying love, a complete circle reflecting an unending love, based on appreciation of the spouse. This is a pledge to love with everything, including your worldly goods. This is a sour point in many marriages today. Many hide their income from their spouse and would even deprive them of funds for housekeeping. However, before marriage, they would be willing to spend and be spent for the spouse. One of the most common causes of divorce and wife-beating is money issues. How many consent to, and actually implement joint accounts? The basis of distrust rests on selfishness. We feel inundated with the demands of the spouse, our own expenses notwithstanding. Inflation is a recurring decimal in our entire yearly budget and it affects household budgets. Most question the rationale for another towel, another, pot or even some foodstuff, which at one time, was considered a necessity. Who owns the car? Is it yours or ours? Can the wife claim ownership of the house or even fortune in

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the house? In many cultures where the wife is considered a property of the husband, this is unthinkable. Yet, this is the vow we attested to at marriage. Of course there has been abuse on both sides but, is that sufficient grounds for people to sign pre-marital agreements about property and monetary rights? To these people, love is not just enough for marriage; in fact, it is a distraction. Marriage to them is a contract between two consenting adults based on a business agreement. However, there is no better union than that based on love. Love is a ceremony; it is a defense, a protective cover for all under its influence. It is the best assurance of lasting joy and peace in marriage. Business ideals would not keep a marriage when poverty, disease, or other problems strike. The contract would break, leaving two bruised people (that is, if no children or wards are involved; otherwise, the effect may be multiplied into the next generation). Love is the only true basis for marriage; companionship and friendship are only offshoots from it.

“And so help me God!”

Vows will not implement themselves. They are only guides to keep us on the right track. They are supposed to strengthen our resolve to do the correct thing. The final decision to keep them ultimately depends on us. To forget them or disclaim them is to court failure in marriage. They can be summarized briefly as: (i) The man is to love the wife as Christ did the church. (ii) The woman is to submit to the husband as the church to Christ. Dr Stanley Okugbo is a Consultant Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon and Series Editor for Real Relationships Magazine


By Bosede Adelaja

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he Bible is the instruction manual for all living beings, especially for us Christians, whose spirits have been redeemed; hence we understand the scripture better.

Having a passion for souls to come into reconciliation with their maker is in line with God’s plan for every living soul. There are many in the valley of indecision, and we have to help them make the right decisions. The right decision is always accepting the Lordship of Jesus Christ and becoming His follower. Jesus spoke these words: “Go ye therefore….” after His resurrection from the death. This was a special time in the life of Jesus; he had overcome death, He was about to finish His earthly mission and he was summarizing all He had to say. It is important to note that Jesus gave this commandment to His disciples, after reassuring them that the victory is sure. If we are Christ’s disciples, then this commandment relates to us as well. Before saying “Go…,” Jesus first mentioned in Matthew 28:18b that He has all that is required. He said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Jesus is sending us to the ends of the earth based on the understanding that all power in heaven and earth has been given unto Him. The all-powerful Savior is sending us. Thus, there is nothing for us to fear as we go for He

has all that we need, and he has all the answers. Jesus once said in Mark 3:26 that no one can enter into a strong man’s house and spoil His goods without first binding the strong man. This same could be seen here – Jesus first got all the power on earth. He seized the strong man of this world, the one who keeps people in darkness and unbelief, and keeps them away from the Savior. Jesus has already seized the mighty one of this world; He has seized Satan, ripped him of all power, made a public shame show of him, and now, Christ is asking us to go and take the plunder, to go and gather the harvest, where we did not really labor. To light the fire of evangelism in us, we must always remember that leading people to Christ is a great priority in our Savior’s sight. The Father sent His only begotten son, thereby showing His passion, His burden, and His concern for souls. The Son left the Throne of Glory to come down to earth to save us from our sins. This also shows His passion, His burden, and His concern for souls. It is our turn now, though we do not need to pay such a high price; yet, we need to keep the fire of evangelism burning higher and brighter. All He asks us to do is to go and teach…. He asks us to go because the harvest is ready and plenteous but the laborers are few. Jesus is always recruiting laborers into the field to gather the harvest of souls. Real Relationships 9


We should be part of this and not stay aloof. This is the real Father’s business, which we should all be involved in. There are many Christians today, who are not winning souls for the kingdom. This may be because they are selfish and they do not have burden for souls, and/or do not cry for the unsaved and those who are not established in faith. There could be no greater happiness than to see a sinner reconciled with his savior. We are Christ’s ambassadors; God reconciled the world to himself through us. We are the ones through whom God convinces the world to turn from sin to righteousness, and to get delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. To become real fishers of men, we must be truly saved. But, we need to really know Christ before we can lead others to him. We need to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Also, we need to understand the misery of shame. Yet, we should never be ashamed of doing good, even if the majority is against us. It is shameful to do bad things, it is shameful to sin. It is shameful to be involved in the hidden things of the devil but, it is an honor and something worthy of applause and emulation when we deliver those who are being taken away to destruction, when we deliver the weak, when we stand in the gap, and when we preach the gospel and bring multitudes to the light of salvation. We should always have materials like pamphlets and tapes, which we can give to the people we are fishing for. He called us to be fishers of men. Therefore, let us fish for men! Let us find where the men are. Let us make ourselves attractive to them by the fruits of the Holy Spirit observable in us. Jesus also said, “teach all nations.” He never intends for us to be hypocrites as we bring God’s awareness to people. He sent us to all nations – there is no preference. Everybody is equally important to him. Everybody is in need of the Savior. People need the Lord. Everyone will perish without him. He is the life of all living. Despite our upbringing, religion, achievement, race, etc., we need to have a passion to see people bow down before the Savior and glorify him with their lives.

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There must be in us a desire to teach people to observe all the commandments of God. Many people know the commandments but, not all of them have the power to observe it. It is only after a living encounter with Christ that a person has the power to observe all things by the power of God that is activated and at work in them. It is not enough to just lead unbelievers to Christ by praying the sinner’s prayer or bringing them to a church. It is equally important to mentor them, get them baptized, and work with them until they are grounded and established in faith. Teaching and mentoring a new believer will help to release the power of God in them. Jesus ended his words by reaffirming to us that we are in this together with him. It is not about us going and bringing him report, for he is with us as we go. He is with us as we teach, baptize, and mentor new believers. This should give us the boldness to go to the end of the world for Christ. This should ignite an unusual passion in us to see multitudes in the world become saved. We need to put more effort and funds into world evangelism, making sure we spread the gospel to all parts of the world. Every Christian should have a passion for Christ that will later grow into a passion for souls. Christ has a passion for souls, and as his followers, the same passion should be seen in us. We should not be satisfied with our safe place in Christ. We must invest our lives in bringing many sons and daughters to Christ. Always remember that you have all the power to bring as many people as you want into the kingdom. And never forget that you are not doing this alone. He is doing this through you. He is ever with you! Be ignited, and get excited about what the Lord can do through you. Have a great vision to use your short lifespan to bring many into eternal life. Have a big dream for souls, the harvest is ripe!

Bosede Adelaja along with her husband Sunday, are Snr Pastors of Embassy of God Church, Ukraine www.godembassy.org


Tips for in your

By Dennis Rainey

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hen I was twenty and a sophomore in college, I received a hot investment tip from a stockbroker. Without getting my dad’s advice, I invested five hundred dollars in four hundred shares. It couldn’t go lower than $1.25 per share…or so I thought. Sometime later my dad found out and suggested that I use the stock to wallpaper my room! It would serve as a reminder to invest in stocks that are proven and to get my investment advice from a trustworthy authority. The Scriptures are the best, most proven, and most authoritative “Investment Tip Sheet” you’ll ever read. Like having a copy today of the Wall Street Journal that will be published forty years from now, the Bible tells you how to invest in your wife’s life today if you want to experience a fabulous return in forty years. And, by the way, as her stock goes up, you will share in the profits! Your wife needs your creative energies if she is to become all that God created her to be. To help you in this area, here are some of the best tips I know for giving both of you a rich return on your investment.

Investment Tip #1: Treat her as a fully participating partner.

Today the business world has all kinds of partnerships: silent partners, financial partners, equal partners, controlling partners, minority partners, and more. But in marriage, God intended for us to have only one kind: a fully participating partnership. The apostle Peter sets forth the concept of mutual partnership as he instructs a man to treat his wife as “a fellow heir of the grace of life.” Although her function and role as a woman differs from yours as a man, she has an equal inheritance as a child of God. When you recognize your wife as a fully participating partner in your life and marriage, you build her esteem. If you exclude her from your life, you devalue her worth as a person and her identity suffers. Without realizing it, you send your wife an unmistakably clear signal that says, “I don’t need you. I can live my life without you.” Some husbands believe that the most difficult words to say are: “I love you” or “Will you forgive me?” But the three-word admission that seems the

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most threatening of all is, “I need you.” A man may fear he will lose his wife’s respect if he admits his need, but I’ve experienced quite the opposite. When I express my absolute need for Barbara, she is so built up and encouraged that she is free to respect me even more. I do not lose my identity as a man by expressing my dependence on her. You will make your wife a participating partner in your life when you tenderly look her in the eyes and say, “I need you.” Why not make this an experiential reality in your marriage by frequently saying: “I need you to listen as I talk about what’s troubling me. And I need your perspective on my

area of your life? Do you tend to act independently of her in any area, including career or business? She may be more interested than you think. What about financial matters? She most likely will offer a perspective that you need to hear. A difficult office relationship? Her advice might solve the problem.

Investment Tip #2: Protect her.

The apostle Peter also exhorts husbands, “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman.” Peter’s emphasis here is on “understanding” because she is a “weaker vessel.” Your wife wants a man who understands her and her needs. Your wife needs to feel safe, secure, and protected. As her husband, it’s up to you to provide that security. I was reminded of a woman’s need for protection years ago when I attended a conference.

problems and your belief in me as a person.” “I need you to help me become the man God created me to be.” “I want you to have total access into my life. I need you to keep me honest in areas of my life in which I could stray from Christ. You may question me or confront me on any issue.” “You are the person I most trust with my life.” “I need you for your advice, judgments, and wise counsel on decisions I face, especially at work.” “I need your prayers for a temptation I am facing.” I want to encourage you to let your wife into the interior of your life. Are you keeping her out of some

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During the event, a young woman was raped in her room. Later, when the speaker told the other conferees what had happened, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. Instinctively, and in unison, as though led by an orchestra conductor, nearly every husband in the audience tenderly slid his arm around his wife. Likewise, almost every wife slipped closer into his protective embrace. It was a physical gesture of a woman’s need for safekeeping and a man’s natural desire to protect his wife. Certainly, you already protect your wife physically. You wouldn’t think of having it any other way. You discourage her going out at night if it is dangerous. You protect her by encouraging her to lock the car when she goes shopping. You talk about what to do if a stranger forces his way into the house. And you provide the kind of security she needs at home for the times you are away. All these statements and actions demonstrate that she indeed, is valued and that you care about what happens to her. But, are you protecting her from other muggers in her life such as: Over-scheduling, letting her life get out of balance,


and becoming driven? Others’ manipulation of her emotions and time? Her own unrealistic goals or expectations, which set her up for failure? Her tendency to compare herself with others – where she repeatedly comes up short in her own eyes? Burnout at work? At home? The children, who would take advantage of her weaknesses that they know so well? People who repeatedly discourage her? Obviously, you can’t protect your wife from every pressure, worry, fear, or loss. But you can do your best to anticipate many of these problems before they occur and establish a solid security system for her protection.

Investment Tip #3: Honor her.

When God established marriage, He knew that one of the greatest components for building worth into another person would be honor. We see this in His command to each husband: “Grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life.” Webster defines ‘honor’ as “high regard or great respect given; especially glory, fame; distinction.” Every marriage is susceptible to leaks, and ours is no exception. The world lures my wife with glittery, false promises of fulfillment, and true significance. If I fail to honor her and esteem her as a woman of distinction, then I ignore the reality of her need and the deceptive power of the world’s promises. It’s just a matter of time before she will begin to wear down and look elsewhere for worth. The following are a few techniques to honor your wife that can give you a competitive edge while also building your wife’s self-esteem: First, honor your wife by learning the art of putting her on a pedestal. If you focus on honoring her and caring for her needs, and on nurturing her as your most valued relationship, then you can truly make a difference in how she feels about herself. Capture your wife’s heart by treating her with respect, tenderness, and the highest esteem. Second, honor your wife by recognizing her accomplishments. Frequently, I look into Barbara’s eyes and verbally express my wonder at all she does. She wears many hats and is an amazingly hard worker. At other times, I stand back in awe of the woman of character she has become. Her steady walk with God is a constant stream of ministry to me.

Third, honor your wife by speaking to her with respect. Without careful attention, your tongue can become caustic, searing, and accusing. Washington Irving once said, “The tongue is the only tool that gets sharper with use.” If your wife works outside the home, she has some unique needs for honor. She may need the practical honor of a free evening once or twice a week when you volunteer to do it all: Put the children to bed, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, etc. Fourth, honor your wife by extending common courtesies. You may think that these little amenities were worthwhile only during courtship, but actually, they are a great way to demonstrate respect and distinction over the long haul. Common courtesy is at the heart of servanthood; it says, “my life for yours.” It bows before another to show esteem and dignity.

Investment Tip #4: Develop her gifts and horizons as a woman.

First, help her grow as a Christian. Your wife is your number one disciple. Do you encourage spiritual growth in your wife? It’s the smartest thing you could possibly do. When your wife grows in this area, not only does she triumph at life, but you benefit as well. Help her to grow spiritually by praying regularly for her and with her—at bedtime, in the morning before leaving for work, at mealtimes. It will encourage her. Interact together over God’s Word and its application to your individual lives, as well as to your family. Encourage your wife to employ her spiritual gifts in service to others outside your home if she has time. Second, develop her talents. Take part in her life by nurturing the development of her dormant talents. Like fruit seeds that never have been planted in fertile soil and watered, your wife’s gifts may need your care in order to germinate. If you already have done this, you know that she responds to this personalized focus. She feels that you value her and are helping her to expand her life and utilize her gifts so that she might be even more productive. Perhaps your wife already has influence. Can you supply additional resources so that she can become even more effective? Third, help her develop new horizons. Most of us fail to anticipate major change points in the lives of our wives, such as the birth of a child, children’s teen years, menopause, and the empty nest. When your children leave home, your wife will suddenly have enormous chunks of time and attention to devote to another worthwhile cause. Are you developing her today so that she will be ready to take some risks later? Continued on page 32 Real Relationships 13


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By Julie Akhimien

ear Auntie, I guess this is coming late. I have filed for divorce I made a mistake. I went into this marriage against good advice. I thought we were in love. I married a mad woman. She is a psycho and she has tried to take my life. I ran and I am at peace. I am waiting to start my life all over again. What advice do you have for me? M.T.

A

My dear, yours is truly a sad story. Good to know you are still alive. I’ll like to answer your question taking it at face value; I mean considering you married a woman who had mental disorder and not that you were inferring that by means of her attitude or behavior. If it is that she is mentally ill then perhaps she was not in her right state of mind when you married her (though that sounds quite strange). Those marriage vows could not be said by a psychiatric patient but, be that as it may, you went into marriage and now you are at large to save your life! Agreed, only the living can stay married. But if your wife is sick, she can’t get well by abandonment. I wouldn’t know whether or not you attempted treating her and how far you went. If not, you should have attempted to and see what God would do. You didn’t mention God in any way, and I wonder if you know Him. If you don’t, then this is obviously the right time in your life to turn to Him and let Him take charge. Your life is in His hands so let Him have control over it, and it will amaze you how He will solve this puzzle. If you loved one another and got married despite all odds, ‘many waters,’ in terms of illness should not quench your love. No circumstance is beyond God, hard as it might seem. A better story would be to

14 Real Relationships

see God transform this woman for His glory. Didn’t someone say he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day? Let God fight your battle and you, hold your peace. He works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. You can depend on Him because He is big, He is strong, and He is reliable!

Q

Auntie I must confess, I am a failure. My wife traveled for school and I have cheated on her. I have had relations with three women during this period. One has been pregnant twice. We did the abortion. The shameful thing is that I am a leader in my church. Can God forgive me? Should I tell me wife? I know she will leave me if I do. I am in a mess. A.K.

A

What a shame! To be hard on you, I would say you have disappointed God, the body of Christ, and your wife. But, my greatest concern is the spirit you have opened the door of your heart to, that lustful destroyer that is already poised to take you to hell. As angry as I am {anyone who reads this would be too}, the Bible says ‘the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God....’ James 1:20. First things first, let’s get you started on repentance and deliverance. It’s good you spoke out already, that’s a sign that you are unwilling to continue. You seem to be aware that the trumpet would sound at anytime so please, make up your mind first, to make a U-turn; repent, God is ever willing to forgive no matter how grievous your sins are. Isaiah 1: 18. God says to come and reason with Him, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow… and He means it. If you are willing to accept His forgiveness, it’s all yours. Confide afterwards in your pastor and let your wife know. It is not true that she would leave you if you tell her; in fact, concealing the matter is worse because ‘news flies!’ And listen – the power of


sin is in privacy; once you let her know, you would be amazed how free you would feel. Then, leave the rest to God. There is still the fountain flowing from our Saviour’s vein; it cleanses and it delivers – go under the blood and be washed. With prayers and your willingness to obey God, you would soon put all these behind you and be a happy family again. God is willing to make it happen; are you?

Q A

I know my husband is cheating on me. I have no proof though. He is so smart and covers his tracks. I can’t even bring it up ‘cos I have nothing to say. But, I feel very bad. Help me. S.R You know? How? Sincerely speaking, you are better off letting this suspicion out of your system please. It is a destroyer; give your fears to the wind and let God fight your battles for you. For all I know, you might be totally wrong and even if you are right, wake up to the truth that the enemy is out to destroy your home and you must not allow him. Prov. 14:1. Be a wise woman; build your home. Whatever it is that seems to be attracting your husband to those women you can begin to condemn by your prayers through fervent decrees from God’s word. Isaiah 54:17. ‘No weapon fashioned against you shall prosper…;’ that includes your home. You are accountable to God for this gift (your husband); you can’t afford to let him go. Whatever that woman has, you have and you are the bona fide owner of your husband. You must work to keep him as you trust God to help you be the type of wife He (God) wants you to be. Rev. 2:25-26: Jesus says to hold fast what you have. He has given you what it takes to do just that. Please do it.

Q A

My wife’s parents are controlling my home. She calls them every blessed day and tries carrying out their bidding. One day, I will send her away to live with them because I am just fed up. Please talk to me. R.O.

succeed as a couple. Remember, you would give account to God; so, be diligent in keeping your home. Befriend your wife, let her know how much she means to you, your all in all after God. Listen to her – I mean her fears; her concerns; and hard as it may seem, her thoughts; let her feel the pulse of your love. She would soon realize that being together with you is better and a forever thing. Then trust God to knit your hearts together such that the phone calls would be reduced and your ‘parents-in-love’ would realize that when they gave her out, it was for real. I trust that you will have a testimony in no distant time. Keep your home please, and don’t forget to dress it. Gen. 2:15.

Q A

Auntie Julie, I will be forty in two weeks and still not married. I am contemplating having an affair so I can at least have my own child. I don’t want to be single anymore. I am tired. C.N You ought to be tired my dear but, I don’t think God has changed His mind. So, why should you? The Bible says hope deferred maketh the heart sick. Prov. 13:12. I truly appreciate the way you feel and the state of your mind. Anyone who has waited and is still waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise would know what both of us are talking about. But, have you thought of what you are about to do and the consequences attached? Having an affair is not the solution; I must tell you the truth. It is not enough to have an affair. Who says you will get pregnant and not be infested instead (I mean with HIV or some or venereal disease)? If the man agrees to have an affair, if he truly loves you, he would marry you instead and not just want to have you for a while outside of marriage. Is that the kind of person you want your child to have as a father? Are you ready to face the consequences of being a single parent and being outside marriage? Is that what you really want? I hope you’d say “no.”

I will talk to you my dear. You must be truly fed up and you are justifiably right to be. But, wait a minute, it is not enough to be fed-up; you must address the issue at hand. This is your home we are talking about – your priced possession, God’s wonderful gift to you. And you want to do what??? Send her to her parents? You dare not! That would be too wrong a step to take. Listen to me and listen good – the person you must give attention to here is your wife. It seems to me that you guys don’t flow, I mean communicate effectively and you probably are not giving her enough attention; so, at the slightest opportunity or provocation, she runs to her parents.

Yes, you are single now. God is not time constrained; but, I would imagine that this is only for a season. There are seasons in life and this time also, I believe will pass. Besides, God is never late. You can trust Him because He is the one writing the story of your life; He knows just what the next scene would be. And guess what? Every story God writes, ends well. I dare say then, that the story of your life would end well.

Both of you need to sit down and talk. Lay down the blueprints as stated in God’s word on how to

That you woke up this morning is a sign that God has not finished with you yet. There are loads of testimonies about how God has done it for others; He

Be wise therefore, my dear and keep your eyes on God, who is a master planner. If you trust Him, He will come through for you. No one is hopeless whose hope is in God, believe me.

Real Relationships 15


cannot experiment failure with you! Keep trusting and know that your testimony will come. Job said, (Job 14:14) ‘all the days of my life will I wait until my change comes….’ And guess what? He didn’t have to wait for half those days – God sprung up speedily on his behalf; I dare say again, He’ll do the same for you. Please invite me when it happens; I will like to be a part of your success story. I pray God shows you favor and makes you evidence of what He, God, can do and what the devil cannot do. Amen.

Q

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.

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 have had a very stained past (even in church). I have turned a new leaf but, people still view me as such. A brother wants to marry me and my brethren are advising against that decision, telling him of my past. I am thinking of leaving this Church. J.M.

A

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. 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

16 Real Relationships

Everyone has a past, a story, and something to remember; only the grace of God keeps us all. I am happy to hear you have turned a new leaf and that is the whole essence of the matter. First, you should be grateful to God, who has given you a new heart and spirit. Since you are a new creature, the Bible says, old things, (no matter how authentic they seem), are passed away; behold, all, (I want you to underline the word ‘all’ in your heart) things have become new. 2Cor.5:17. It is based on this truth of the word of God that I want you to know that if that brother truly loves you and God’s hand is on his intention to marry you, then you can give yourself peace and give your fears to the wind; no matter what people tell him, he will go through with his conviction. You really do not have a word with which to defend yourself; only God can. Many people, including some ‘Christians’ find it difficult to forgive or forget people’s past. It didn’t start today – it happened to Paul too. But, because Paul’s conversion was genuine (you and I know the end of the story), he became one of the greatest apostles Jesus had, and those who did not believe him began to change their minds when they saw what God was doing through him. So, it’s only a matter of time. The God that made it possible for you to have a change of mind, He also is able to make you what He wants you to be! Trust Him to perfect everything that concerns you, give you a new song to sing, and make you a showpiece as you propose in your heart to continue to serve Him.


I really do not think leaving the Church is necessary. Abide where you are and give your cares to Jesus to prove Himself in your life. You ask me, ‘why?’ Only those who abide bear fruits; that’s what God has called you to do. In that same place where you are, God wants to show forth His glory. I pray He gives you what it takes to keep your light shinning to His praise and glory. Amen.

Q A

Auntie, I think am losing it. I don’t have affection for the opposite sex. I am attracted sexually to members of my sex. I know this is crazy but, I am here. I have noticed someone who has similar traits and we are getting really close. What do I do? O. T. First, repent. You are treading on dangerous grounds. To start with, something’s wrong somewhere and you need help immediately. What you are experiencing is anti-God and you don’t want to fall into His wrath. The Bible says such people that have these traits were given up to a reprobate mind. Read Romans Chapter 1, please. God created man, male and female. To be attracted to someone of the same sex as you is demonic, and you must seek to be set free by God. I will advise that you go for deliverance; speak to your pastor please, and trust God to save you from this destructive trait. The good news is

that the name of Jesus still sets men free today, no matter their situation! Once you’ve been set free you can tell the good news to others who are held captive, so they too can be delivered. Above all, what I pray for you is that you will remember at all times that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and you will give account of your life to God. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God in His wrath because He is a consuming fire. You don’t intend to spend eternity in hell, do you? I hope not. So, take this matter serious, flee from such tendencies; in other words, that person whom you said you have noticed is not someone to be close to. Flee, flee, flee, flee…. Meaning, run at the speed of light, if not more, and seek refuge in the name that is above all other names, Jesus. You matter to God; don’t ruin your life here on earth and face God’s judgment to end up in hell for eternity. Do you have an ear to hear? Please hear and comply. To everyone who thirsts and hunger after righteousness, God promised a filling. Your case will not be different. Run for your dear life, to the place of safety, which is in Jesus Christ. Prov 18:10.9 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

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

editor@realrelationshipsmag.com Real Relationships 17


Tips for finding your ring size: • Measure your finger in warm temperatures at the end of the day. • If your knuckle is a lot larger than the base of your finger, use Method B below, except measure both the base of your finger and your knuckle and select a size in between the two. Tips if you’re buying the ring as a surprise: • Ask your intended recipient’s mother or friend if they know his/her finger size. • Borrow one of your intended recipient’s rings and use Method A below. (Make sure to borrow a ring that fits the finger you intend your gift ring to fit.)

Size 5

Size 6

Size 7

Size 8

Size 10

Size 11

Size 12

Size 13

18 Real Relationships

Other tips and information: • When considering a wide band, move up a size from your measurement, for comfort’s sake. • Different countries have different ring-size systems. All sizes listed here are standard American sizes. • The average woman’s ring size is about 6. The average man’s ring size is about 10. • Your ring size will be about half a size larger on your primary hand (i.e., the hand you write with).

Size 9

Size 5 Size 6 Size 7 Size 8 Size 9 Size 10 Size 11 Size 12 Size 13

15.7 mm 16.5 mm 17.3 mm 18.2 mm 18.9 mm 19.8 mm 20.6 mm 21.3 mm 22.2 mm


Inches

Millimeters

US

British

French

German

Swiss

Japanese

1 3/4

44.5

3

F

44

14.0

4

4

1 25/32

42.2

3 1/2

G

45

15.0

5 1/2

6

1

46.0

4

I

47

15.0

7

7

1 7/8

47.6

4 1/2

I

48

15.5

9

8

1 15/16

49.2

5

J

50

15.8

10

9

2

50.8

2

K

52

16.0

12

10

2 1/16

52.4

6

L

53

16.5

13

12

2

3/32

53.2

6

M

54

17.0

14

13

2

1/8

54.0

7

N

55

17.3

15

14

2 3/16

55.6

7 1/2

O

57

17.8

16 1/2

15

2

1/4

57.2

8

P

58

18.0

18

16

2

5/32

54.8

8

Q

59

18.5

19

17

2 5/16

58.7

9

R

60

19.0

20

2

60.3

9

S

61

19.5

21

2 7/16

61.9

10

T

62

20.3

22

20

2 1/2

63.5

10 1/2

U

63

20.8

23 1/2

22

2

65.1

11

W

64

21.0

25

23

2 19/32

65.9

11 1/2

X

66

21.3

26

2

5/8

66.7

12

Y

67

21.8

27

2

11/16

68.3

12

Z

69

22.0

29

26

69.9

13

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

27

13/16

3/8

9/16

2 3/4

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

1/2

If your knuckles are large, you may want to find an average size between the circumference of your knuckle and the circumference at the base of your finger. Also keep in mind that ring sizes can be af-

18 1/2

19

24 1/2

25

fected by the normal swelling and shrinking caused by hot or cold weather, physical exertion, illness and/or medication, and by weight gains or losses.

Real Relationships 19


a true life story

A

By Talitha Tukura

nne stood in front of the mirror and sadly looked down at the torn dress on her body. Hours before, she had looked exquisite in her attire; it was modest yet stylish, and her son had told her over and over again how beautiful she looked when she had tried it on some days back. “Mommy, even daddy is going to love it.’’ It had taken her weeks to complete; she had often stayed awake up to the wee hours of the morning just to perfect it. Her savings from several months had all gone into the outfit and she had even bought a matching head tie, shoe, and handbag. Now, all that remained of all her efforts was this rag on her body. She let into her sadness and cried her heart out. Today was the church’s annual thanksgiving, and she had taken such pains to make herself beautiful. Her husband had taken one look at her and had slapped her, asking her to change her clothes. When she delayed, not understanding why he disliked the dress, and uttered a protest, he had beaten her all the more. Was she unattractive, she wondered? No, that couldn’t be! Men still noticed her. Plus she knew she had flawless skin and long dark hair, and had kept her trim figure. What had happened to her husband, she cried aloud. Where was that gentleman that had dazzled her with his kindness and polished manners? Who was this man now in her house that treated her like rubbish but,

20 Real Relationships

was able to still shepherd his church congregation with expert tender, loving care, giving them all the sound scriptural knowledge they needed to grow? “Mommy,” her twelve year old son called. “Mommy, don’t cry!” He hugged his mother tight and cried with her. She held her son tight. Even he was not left out from his father’s wrath. Noah was the smartest boy in his class and a star football player, even for his age. In church, he knew more scripture than half of the congregation, sang in the church choir, attended most church activities, and displayed impeccable behavior as the pastor’s son. At home, he was respectful and a great help and encouragement to her and everyone else. Never did a day pass that she did not thank God for Noah. He was God’s special gift to her, her own human comforter. Everybody loved him in their community. But, not his father! He was never good enough for the man he tried so hard to please. His father always found tiny things to punish him for. He was always constantly on the look out for tiny mistakes, which under normal circumstances, were negligible. “ Spare the rod and spoil the child,’’ he would scream as he flogged Noah mercilessly for getting 99% on his math test, for quoting the NIV passage from the Bible instead of the King James Version, or for coughing in church.


The bedroom door opened and Rev. Timothy Adams, her husband and pastor of The Good Shepherd Christian Church, stepped into the room. His tall figure loomed in the doorway and his eyes narrowed in disapproval at the sight of his wife and son clinging to each other. He had expected her to quickly change and meet him in church but, she hadn’t, and he had been forced to cover up for her and say that she was indisposed. Little did he know that her cheek had bled from a nasty blow he had administered to her there, and before she had time to clean and dress the wound, it was 50 minutes into the church service. “I am hungry, bring me my food!” he stated harshly. Anne and Noah looked up, fear evident on their faces and quickly disappeared into the kitchen. Minutes later, Anne brought him a warmer with joll of rice and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. He ate every grain of rice, drank his juice, and went into the bedroom to sleep. He had not uttered a single word to her. The doorbell rang and Anne smiled widely, expecting to see any of their 500 members, who usually came to visit or receive counseling from their pastor. She had already prepared a story to tell those that enquired about the bandaged and bruised face. She would say she fell on the stairs. The young girl in front of her was someone she had never seen before. “Hello” Anne said pleasantly. “I’m looking for Timothy,” the girl stated. “Do you mean Rev. Timothy, the pastor of the church?” “Yah.” “He’s sleeping right now. Can I take a message?” “No, I’ll come back later.” Anne watched as the girl walked away, took out her cell phone, and tried to make a call. She guessed she was calling a driver or someone to come pick her up. What type of rude, uncultured girl was this, she wondered. Had she no parents? She was young, probably just 16 or 17. Her top was several sizes too small for her, hugging her body and displaying every curve. Her jeans were equally tight and torn in several places, displaying a tattoo of a dragon on her buttocks. Her belly was exposed, displaying a ring on her belly button. Anne suddenly felt sorry for thinking negatively of her, and began to pray for the young girl instead. Minutes later, she heard a knock on the door and discovered the young girl on her doorstep again. She quickly reached for the door but, before she could, her husband pushed her aside and opened the door.

“Hi, Timothy,” the girl smiled widely at her husband like he was her savior. “My dear, welcome to my house.” They hugged each other warmly; their faces were animated and happy like two long lost friends. They sat close on the sofa talking and giggling in low tones. Anne stood up from the floor where she had ended up when she was pushed. They totally ignored her; so, she composed herself and walked from the room with as much dignity as she could muster. In the kitchen, she prepared two cups of tea with doughnuts. She put them on a tray and walked into the living room. The room was empty and her heart beat faster as she walked into the study. Her husband and the young girl were in a warm embrace passionately kissing each other. “Get out! Can’t you see that I’m in an important counseling session???” “But…but…” she stammered. Her mind was numb and she did not understand what was happening. “Get out!” He shouted. He stomped over to her, picked her up, and dumped her ungraciously outside the door. Then, she heard the door slam shut and the key locking it shut. “God, oh God, where are you?” Anne sobbed. This was not happening. No, not again. There were always rumors of him and other women, and each time he had forced her to end the rumors by saying they were family friends or relatives. No, she was not going to allow him to disregard her like this. For how long will she smile, pretending they were the perfect Christian family? How long will she answer, “Fine” when she actually felt like screaming? But, even as she fought her mental battles, she knew it was futile. The first time she had found him with another woman, she had confronted him and told him she would tell the elders if he did not stop. As a reply, he had beaten her and raped her savagely, and when she was unconscious, he had put pieces of a broken china vase he had smashed in his anger into her throat and vagina. When she gained consciousness, she was in the hospital and Timothy flocked and nursed over her like a mother hen. Apparently, he had told the doctors and family that she had been raped and beaten by some armed robbers that had attacked their house. For weeks, she had laid on her hospital bed unable to move, eat, or urinate normally because of all the pains in her body. All the time, Timothy had been there soothing her, helping her, and acting like the ideal husband. Noah was two years old then, and old enough to know his mom was ill but, not old Real Relationships 21


enough to understand. She was so damaged, the doctors had said she was incapable of having another baby. She had undergone multiple surgeries to repair her body as best as possible but, her heart was already dead.

Did she cook his favorite meals for him, massage his body, and make love to him? She laughed aloud – if only her mother-in-law knew the extent to which she had gone to please him and make everything right.

She lay in the darkness trying to steel herself from what she knew was yet to come. She could hear sounds of laughter and passion from the study. He would soon come in when he was through and beat her for interrupting his little party for two with the young girl! No one could help her. She had begged him to receive counseling, pleaded with him to try to make their marriage work, all to no avail. She saw what happened to other women who dared to talk to the authorities, elders, or family members. After they were laughed at and told to settle their family disputes at home, their enraged and embarrassed husbands only beat them the more. Her parents had both died in a car accident many years ago and she was an only child with no close relatives or friends to talk to. The one time she had tried to hint her mother-in-law, she had been promptly told to shut her dirty mouth up. Didn’t she know that she had to be supportive of her husband no matter the situation? Didn’t she know that he was a busy man that just needed to vent his frustrations and anger? She even had the nerve to suggest that maybe the problem was with her not him.

It suddenly dawned on her that one day he could kill her. One day, she would not be alive to take care of her lovely son. Anne stood up and walked to her son’s bedroom. He looked so handsome and sweet as he lay on the bed sleeping. She would not leave him here, NO! She would never leave him to stay with this terror!! Her mind went to her husband. Shouldn’t she stay and continue being the dutiful wife she was? Who would cook his meals for him, keep his house tidy, and wash and iron his clothes the way he liked? Maybe she should stay a bit longer, perhaps he would change. No, she had to go. She would call him from time to time, pray for him, and trust that God would do something to change him and when He did, she would be there for him. She stooped to pick her son. Gently, she cradled him in her arms and walked out of his bedroom, out of the house with no destination in mind, only knowing that she had to walk as far as possible from the monster her husband had become….

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Real Relationships 23


By Dr Stanley Okugbo

N

owadays, we spend more time at work than anywhere else. A man is identified by his job or profession. We are what we do! A man without a job is socially invisible. Joblessness does not only portend impending financial crisis but, it is also a social crisis as well. It is a social stigma not to have a job! A badge of dishonor, and a social vice! It reduces the man to a beggar and deprives him of proper healthy relationships with friends and relatives who work, as they subconsciously avoid him! All these put together, with the fact that income depends on your job, puts pressure on us and compels us to the daily routine of work, work, and more work. We are pushed into the rat race. Therefore, our job becomes the guiding principle by which we spend our lives. It controls our every thought, daily activities, and actions. It determines where we live; and where we live! Whether we can go to church or not, and how often. Slowly, the job begins to give us a mindset. We judge people by the nature of their jobs; by how they understand our own jobs and its pressures on us. Without knowing it, we unwittingly spend two thirds of our most active years in the service of mammon and our jobs. In this setting, the boss gradually assumes the position of a god. Their very presence begins to command reverence, honor, and adulation. Their words become law. To break them becomes anathema! Their commands first begin to supersede that of your relatives, parents, and friends. Then

24 Real Relationships

slowly, they subvert those of your pastor or spiritual guide. Then, they enthrone themselves above those of the Holy Spirit and the word of God! Suddenly, you cannot attend even Sunday services because the boss demands your presence at work! You cannot preach because your boss forbids it. Before long, this goes even farther to involve the very principles and foundation of Christianity. You start drinking to please your boss. You start lying because your boss said to do it. Corruption becomes okay since the boss has decreed it! How far can you go to obey your boss and yet maintain your Christian witness? The answer lies in first principles: You are first a Christian, a pilgrim in this world. This world is passing away and soon! We belong in a different kingdom. Your job is your mission field. You got that job not by an accident but, by divine design because God trusts you and believes in you that in that job, you would show forth His light and glory. That, all within your sphere of influence would be affected by His life in you. If you are not wining souls for the kingdom at your job, then you have no business being there! You might as well be fired. Even if your job is as a missionary, church pastor or staff! Acts 4:19-20. Both Peter and John replied, “Judge whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you instead of listening to God. As for us, what we have seen and heard we cannot help speaking about.” The word of God is the greatest influence in our


lives. To disobey its very underlying principles is to reject that authority and to enthrone that thing which we obey! Rom 6:19. Your human infirmity leads me to employ these familiar figures – and just as you once surrendered your faculties into bondage, to impurity and ever-increasing disregard of the law, so you must now surrender them into bondage to Righteousness ever advancing towards perfect holiness. (Wey) Rom 6:16. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Compromise is anathema. Look at Daniel and the three Hebrews; they would rather burn than bow! Daniel would rather be the lion’s dinner than obey his boss’ orders. Did they come out victoriously? We cannot think of compromise! It is not in us! Your boss says tell a lie, and you say okay sir! How can you preach to him thereafter? Well, I have already preached to him. Then, that’s why he has not accepted the gospel, because he knows the gospel has no effect on you! Let it be known in your office that you are the one who cannot tell lie, who will not cheat, or take a bribe. Even your enemies should know that they cannot get you by any means except in trying to get you to

disobey God! 2 Cor 6-12 – For God who said, “Out of darkness let light shine,” is He who has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory, which is radiant on the face of Christ. But, we have this treasure in a fragile vase of clay, in order that the surpassing greatness of the power may be seen to belong to God, and not to originate in us. We are hard-pressed, yet never in absolute distress; perplexed, yet never utterly baffled; pursued, yet never left without succor; struck to the ground, yet never slain; always, wherever we go, carrying with us in our bodies, the crucifixion of Jesus, so that in our bodies, it may also be clearly shown that Jesus lives. For we, alive though we are, are continually surrendering ourselves to death for the sake of Jesus, so that in this mortal nature of ours, it may also be clearly shown that Jesus lives. Thus, we are constantly dying. Daniel 6:4-5 – The presidents and satraps were seeking to find a cause of complaint against Daniel concerning the kingdom, and any cause of complaint and corruption they were unable to find, because Daniel was faithful, and any error and corruption had not been found in him. Then these men said, ‘We do not find against this Daniel any cause of complaint, except we have found it against him in the law of his God.’

AD Real Relationships 25


By Esther Ibanga

H

elp! My father wants to sleep with me!! Help! I am having an affair with my uncle!! Help! I am pregnant by my uncle, what shall I do??? Help! My daughter wants to know who her father is and her father is my father. Should I tell her? Help! I am in love with my niece!! These are voices and true stories of incest that we have consistently heard in this country and beyond, in the course of ministry. We live in a very sick and depraved society as well as an occultist society, where perverse requirements are made on people who want to make it in life at all cost, and so they are required to carry out debased acts such as sleeping with their children, sleeping with a mad woman, and many other such crazy things for the purpose of getting what they want in life, be it power, position, or wealth. Others are just a result of inherited curses, and others, poverty. Let us start by defining what INCEST is. “Incest,” according to the Oxford dictionary, “is sexual activity between two people in a family who are very closely related, for example, a brother and sister, or a father and daughter…,” and the dictionary terms it disapproving. Even the world knows that it is wrong, how much more the word of God, which is the final authority on any issue in life. Let us now go to the word of God for the definition of incest. The word “incest” is not necessarily used in the scripture but, its profile is clearly defined. In Leviticus 18:6-18, the following relationships are termed an abominable before the Lord, which will bring forth dire consequences. I shall quote from the NIV translation and THE MESSAGE translation:-

Types Of Incestuous Relationships 26 Real Relationships

NIV: Lev 18:6 “No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord” MESSAGE: Don’t have sex with a close relative, I am God. v7 NIV: “Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.” MESSAGE: Don’t violate your father by having sex with your mother, she is your mother. Don’t have sex with her. v8 NIV: “Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife. That would dishonor your father.” MESSAGE: Don’t have sex with your father’s wife. That violates your father. v9 NIV: “Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same house or elsewhere.” MESSAGE: Don’t have sex with your sister, whether she was born in the same house or elsewhere. In other words, don’t have sex with your biological sister, whether she is full-blood, your half-sister, your step-sister, or your adopted sister! v10 NIV: “Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.” MESSAGE: Don’t have sex with your granddaughter, whether she is your granddaughter by blood (whether full or half), adoption, or marriage. That would violate your own body! v11 NIV: “Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.” MESSAGE: Don’t have sex with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father. She is your sis-


ter. Don’t have sex with your half-sister, period! v12 NIV: “Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister. She is your father’s close relative.” MESSAGE: Don’t have sex with your father’s sister, whether she is his sister by blood, adoption, or marriage; she is your aunt, and closely related to your father! v13 NIV: “Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister because she is your mother’s close relative.” MESSAGE: Don’t have sex with your mother’s sister, whether she is her sister by blood, adoption, or marriage; she is your aunt, and closely related to your mother! v14 NIV: “Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations. She is your aunt.” MESSAGE: Don’t violate your father’s brother, who is your uncle, by having sex with his wife. She is your aunt! It is irrelevant if he is your father’s blood brother, step-brother, or brother by adoption. v15 NIV: “Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.” MESSAGE: Don’t have sex with your daughter-inlaw, whether she is the wife of your biological, adopted, or step-son. v16 NIV: “Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife, that would dishonor your brother.” MESSAGE: Don’t have sexual relations with your brother’s wife, whether she’s married to your blood brother, step-brother, or brother by adoption. That would dishonor your brother! v17 NIV: “Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relationship with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter” MESSAGE: If you are dating or married to a woman, don’t have sex with her as well as her daughter and/ or granddaughter, regardless of whether those people are related to her by blood, marriage, or adoption. Those are her close relatives, and to do so is wicked! v18 NIV: “Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival

wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.” MESSAGE: “Don’t marry as a rival to your wife while your wife is still alive, her blood sister, half-sister, or her sister through adoption. Don’t have sex with them either! In summary, incest is sexual relationship between: 1. A son and his mother v7 2. A son and his step mother v8 3. A man with his sister v9 4. A man with his granddaughter v10 5. A man with his step-sister v11 6. A man with his aunt (on his father’s side) v12 7. A man with his aunt (on his mother’s side) v13 8. A man with his uncle’s wife, she is his aunt by marriage v14 9. A man with his daughter-in-law (i.e. his son’s wife) v15 10. A man with his sister-in-law (his brother’s wife) v16 11. A man with a woman and her daughter or her granddaughters v17 12. A man with his sister-in-law (your wife’s sister) v18

Causes of Incest

1.Poverty. In present day Nigeria and most African countries where there is a high level of poverty with an equally high population, it’s not unusual to a family of 10 living in a one-or two-bedroom apartment because they cannot afford more. Additionally, young teenage girls who have just begun to bud in their femininity are exposed to the eyes of brothers, uncles, and sometimes, even fathers, as they do not have the privacy that their ages require. Some men (who are already sick in their minds) might be tempted to take advantage of such young girls in these situations.

TRUE LIFE STORY

Jane lives with her family, which includes her uncle, Joe. Joe has just returned to the country from overseas, where he left his wife and family. Joe now lives with Dora, who lost her husband, John, not too long ago. John and Joe were brothers. In no time, Joe started a sexual relationship in the same house with Jane (his niece), with a promise of financial Real Relationships 27


benefit if she kept the secret. This, she did for two years, while under the same roof as her mother, who was ignorant of what was happening. Jane heard us talk about incest on the radio, and she came to see us. She told us about this incestuous relationship, which led to its final break-up. It was such a process, as we had to threaten the uncle that we will tell his wife, Dora, and his employers, if he doesn’t stop. 2.Occultism. In Leviticus 18, God started by warning the Israelites with a strict caution to take heed of retaining the idolatries of Egypt (where they came from) and receiving the infection of the idolatries of Canaan (where they were going). The Canaanites were a heathen nation with cultic practices, one of which included incest. In present day Nigeria, some cultic altars require not just the breaking of God’s commandments but, also the committing of abominations - anything that will debase one’s body and break or defile family relationships, just to feed a cultic altar in order to maintain lineage, power, position, and/or wealth.

TRUE LIFE STORY

Sister B is an extremely beautiful girl and the firstborn of her father who is an occultist. This man did all he could to have sexual relationship with her to which she vehemently refused. Her mother knew what was going on but was helpless in doing anything about it. Sister B was finally thrown out of her father’s house by her father because she would not play ball. She ended up giving her life to Christ and is growing in the faith amidst great challenges. 3.Perversion. I went to minister in South Africa at the “Women of His Power Conference,” where I met a lady who was in a dilemma on what to do. Her biological father started having a sexual relationship with her since she was 15 years old. Subsequently, she got pregnant and finally left the house. Her mother knew what was happening but, did nothing. The father was a drunk, as well as violent and controlling. Finally, this lady gave birth to a baby girl, who was 14 years when we went to South Africa, and was now demanding to know her father. This lady did not know how to tell her daughter that her father is also her daughter’s father! The mind that is not regenerated is sick, totally perverse, and wicked. There is no limit to the level of wickedness it can fathom. Only Jesus Christ can heal a sick mind. 4.Curses. Some incestuous relationships are a result of curses upon a family. Such curses could have been either inherited or acquired. Certain curses on family result from idolatry, witchcraft, the shedding of innocent blood, or even incestu-

28 Real Relationships

ous relationships that existed in the family line previously, so that they just continue to repeat themselves in subsequent generations until they are broken through prayer and the word of God.

Some Consequences of Incest

1.The land becomes polluted (unclean or defiled). It brings curses upon the perpetrator and his or her family. 2.The land vomits its inhabitants i.e. things becomes tough and rough for the perpetrator. Nothing they touch prospers. The land literally rejects them and refuses to yield of her increase to them. 3.It may even result in death – spiritual, emotional, and/or financial death! Leviticus18:29. 4.The perpetrator becomes unable to have healthy family relationships. They have broken relationships, single parenthood, unstable marriages, etc. 5.If unaddressed, incest may become reoccurring in the lives of their descendants. The church must take a strong, decisive stand against anyone involved in incestuous relationships. God Himself will destroy such a person for defiling His temple. (See 1 Cor5:1-5; 3:17 and Lev 20:12)

Some Solutions To Incest

1.Break the code of silence! The moment it’s brought out in the open, the power of darkness is broken. 2.Yes, it can be broken! Meet a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ for counseling, and to break the spiritual ties through prayer. 3.Mothers, pay close attention to your children, watch the environment you raise them in, and above all, protect them, especially the young ones! Your children are precious gifts from God, and He has entrusted them to your care!! 4.Be close to your children – talk to them and encourage them to talk to you and be open with you. Be their confidant. Tell them about these things and how to react before they actually happen. 5.Do not be afraid to seek medical or spiritual help for your spouse who has a problem. If you don’t, when the long arm of the law finally catches up with him, he will end up in prison. 6.Incest is not normal (get that into your head)! It is wrong and abominable!! Don’t let the devil deceive you into thinking that it is okay, for it isn’t and you can overcome it. If it happens or is happening, you can and must stop it right away. You body is a temple; never let anyone take advantage of you. Esther Ibanga is Pastor of Jos Christian Missions International, Nigeria www.jcmi.info


Sh o r t St o r y By Arine Adekugbe

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avou sensed it before he saw it. The ominous silence, the stillness in the mid-afternoon air, the eerie quietness on the usually busy dirt road. Something was terribly amiss. He wrinkled his nose, inhaling deeply in an attempt to pinpoint the origin of the foul odor that permeated the air; but, his attempt was futile. Davou looked around him -- the weather was dry and the bush parched, although it was the rainy season. Shrugging his shoulders, Davou tightened his grip on the handlebar of the motorcycle he was riding, a smile replacing the puzzled expression on his twenty-eight-year-old face. This morning, he had sold off a stack of yam tubers. Davou caressed the money, which he had stuffed into the left pocket of his khaki shorts. Now, he could afford to buy his own motorcycle instead of renting one each day to commute between his hut and farm as was his usual practice. Lela, his wife, would be delighted. They were expecting their first child and it would be so convenient to have their personal means of transportation. Then, Davou saw it and his train of thoughts was abruptly interrupted; thick black clouds of smoke spiraling into the sky, an ambitious attempt to blot out the sun’s rays. As the twisting smudge of darkness got higher, it became more daring -a bold dark blanket almost smothering the sunlight. It was then he heard the whine of the local dogs, the hoof falls of a herd of cows and the bleating of sheep as they all rushed past in a mad stampede. Davou’s heart contracted in fearful apprehension as the cries, the shrieks, and groans of children, women, and men all merged into one. Everyone was fleeing the scene of the melee. Davou momentarily froze on his rented motorcycle as he contemplated the unfolding scene; his eye misty, his palms moist, his lips trembling. His temple throbbed like a mortar in which a thousand women were furiously pounding corn. He swallowed his saliva, as he listened to the thud-thud beat of his heart.

“You better go back young man,” a man’s hoarse voice advised. But, Davou was not listening. Instead, he came down from his motorcycle and popped it against a nearby tree, so overcome by emotion that he forgot to remove the key from its humming ignition. He forced his way through the surging, kicking, and pushing crowd as determined to get away as he was to get in. At last, he broke into a wide almost deserted clearing, which on a normal day doubled up as a local football field. Davou stared in horror at the long, low one-storey building in front of the clearing, which was engulfed in flames. A fiery monster of a fireball was somewhere in the middle of the block gyrating, twisting, and trashing like an eel trapped in a fishermen’s net reducing everything in its wake to smothering rubble. A dozen men stood in a human file shouting instructions as they poured in bucket after bucket of water fetched from a nearby well – all in a vain attempt to extinguish the fire. It was the only western structure that their tiny village could boast of. It was their pride and joy; all other structures were clutters of huts made in the traditional way – from baked mud. ‘The Centre’ as it was known in local parlance served as a civic center on Mondays; a fair on Tuesdays; a vacation training center on Wednesdays; a market on Thursdays; a children’s playground on Fridays; wedding receptions were on Saturdays, while Sundays were left for Christian worship services. Suddenly, Davou heard the piercing sound of a woman’s cry and he spun round. A fat middle-aged woman was wailing; her teardrops like torrents of rainwater soaking her cheap sleeveless blouse. Her wail was a hollow grating sound like empty cans dragged on the bare earth. Her heavy bosom, a sharp contrast to her small head, was heaving, highlighting her agitation, while her hair, dusty and disheveled, looked as though she had rubbed it in sand. The indigo-dyed cloth she wrapped around her waist in the manner of African village women was almost falling off but, she did not Real Relationships 29


seem to notice. She was ‘Torio;’ he could see that from the two vertical tribal marks – one on each cheek, which ran from below her eye to her chin. ‘Torio,’ the traditional enemies of his people the ‘Iotafs.’ Torio, of whom he had heard so many repulsive stories. ‘Never expect anything good from a Torio,’ his late father had been fond of saying. “My baby!” The woman screamed, her voice hoarse, her dark eyes darting around wildly as her fat little fingers, which she had bunched into fists pummeled the two men who held her between them in a vice grip. “He is lame… he will burn o death…,” she spoke in spurts like someone with a speech impediment. Davou looked at her but, did not see a Torio woman but, a fellow human in deep distress. “Woman, don’t be stupid!” one of the men shouted, his voice angry. “It’s his time to leave this world. If you go in there you will burn to ashes.” “But my baby!” she cried. Then, jerking her body up and down, she caught the men off guard and broke free. Laughing wildly like a demented woman, she ran with arms wide open towards the bellowing smoke as if welcoming a long lost friend. Suddenly, she hit her bare left foot on a stone, tripped over, and fell. Quick as lightening she was up, but the men were upon her. Twai! Twai!! One of the men slapped her violently, leaving the outline of his palm on her rotund face. “Will you keep quiet???” and she whimpered in pain, subdued. “Luka is my son too, isn’t he? But he is lame and mentally retarded, not of much use to anyone. We have other children to take care of.” At that statement all fight seemed to drain out of the fat woman, she simply collapsed on the ground like a deflated balloon, while her husband, a thick-set man with bushy hair who looked more like a boxer than a villager, pulled her from the ground. Holding her by the wrapper, he dragged her away like a stubborn goat. Suddenly, ‘Arrghhhh! Arrghhhh!!’ It was a highpitched blood curdling scream, which resonated, and everyone froze like figures in a movie still. It was the kind of sound, which anyone who heard never forgot nor wished to hear again. And it came from the section the fireball was eagerly approaching like a newly wed groom approaching his bride. Davou grabbed a bucket of water and poured it on himself soaking his clothes as he raced into the building. He did not even pause to consider the consequence of such an action. It simply did not occur to him. Once inside, the blistering heat raged at him daring him to come close. Could hell be worse? He inhaled deeply, seeking a respite but, instead, the smoke

clogged his nostrils and he started coughing. His eyes smarted. He stood up momentarily bewildered, as he struggled to control his coughing. He stopped; a million thoughts running across his fevered mind. He had not bargained for this; the low visibility, the smoke, the heat, which came pouring in on him from all sides. To succeed, he realized he just had to divorce his mind from his body and concentrate on the task ahead. He plunged into a monster of a smoke, this time determined to hold his breath for as long as possible. Lunging forward, he grabbed what he presumed was the staircase railing but, missed his footing and felt on the floor, knocked out. When Davou came to a few minutes later, his ears picked up a soft moan, which seemed to come from the top of the staircase. He whispered a note of thanks to God, then picked himself up and made his way cautiously forward with steely determination. Once again, he grabbed the railing and this time he made no mistake. “Quick, quick!” he hastened himself as he climbed the staircase and felt his way toward the moaning voice. “Davou, come back, it’s not worth it. Remember your pregnant wife; she needs you!” Davou recognized the local shoe-shiner’s voice and grimaced. Right now, the person who needed him the most was the owner of that piteous moan. Thick smoke blurred his vision; yet, he could see the outline of the boy. From the opposite end, the fireball raced toward the prone figure like a famished lion that had just sighted a prey. He had to be faster than the red enemy. He had to beat the beast. At last Davou got to him and paused briefly to size up the situation – a frail boy of about ten lay on the ground, his arms and legs hanging limply. He wore shorts, and his shirt, which was in shreds, hung like strips of rags from his body; his crutches lay on a crumpled heap by his side. Davou hoisted him up on his shoulder. “It’s okay, I am here, and it is alright,” he attempted to reassure the boy. Davou then looked around frantically. Now that he had gotten the boy he was at a loss as to how to get out. The only option was through the glass louvers. But, he had to smash them. With what? He looked around again with bloodshot eyes and saw a long iron rod with one end in the flames and the other within reach. As he reached for the rod, his money rumbled out of his left pocket and the green notes, his life’s savings, lay scattered on the floor. Should he pick them up? He just didn’t have the time. Davou sighed and looked away as his dream of a new motorcycle fizzled into nothingness. Davou reached out again to pick the rod. It was scorching hot. He could smell his roasting flesh. He gritted his teeth. Lifting the rod above Continued on page 32

30 Real Relationships


By Kelechi Njoku

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od’s choices are a reflection of His grace. The thought stuns me as I look through the pages of scriptures: David, the man after God’s heart; Abraham, the father of faith; Samson, the warrior, spiritual leader; Jephtah, the mighty general of God’s army; Jacob, the prophet and patriarch. None of these men would have survived the media scrutiny of today. They would have fallen short of our standards. None of them would have survived the gossip within the church. But, they all found a place in God’s heart. When it mattered most, they stood for heaven’s purpose. They stood for God’s will when men wavered. Imperfect, liars, adulterers, cheats…the list is endless. But, they left us a memorial. In today’s world we can look back and say they stood, so we can stand. How many strong men have fallen…? I once thought that only the strong survive, but I thought wrong. As I write, I’m thinking of a few strong men who have fallen. Simply for the sake of curiosity, go on the internet and google: ‘fallen preachers.’ You’ll be amazed at the results you get. It’s fascinating to see the excitement some folks get when the men who call themselves God’s own fall in error. Maybe you can think of a couple of men who have fallen, but please let’s not draw up a roster. When others point fingers and judge them, I want you to remember one thing: ‘they were men of like passions.’ They felt what you feel. They knew temptation like you do. Unfortunately, strength failed them. ‘It’s a jungle out there,’ a man once said. Why has the world taking a pro-sex sells approach to entertainment and commerce? To get men at a point they are vulnerable! To weaken men and keep them living at a standard the devil approves of. Don’t get me wrong, the bible is not anti-sex. If you doubt me spend a day with the songs of Solomon; stop over in Proverbs and read lines like

‘let her breasts satisfy you at all times...’ (Trust me; all scriptures are inspired by the Holy Ghost). God’s standard for His men is sexual purity and faithfulness. Guys, it’s time to clean our closets and sanctify our hearts. God is calling out His sons to a life of purity. The race is set before us; God’s price awaits us. My brother, stand strong and finish strong… do whatever you have to do. Resist iniquity until the point of death; whatever it costs, pursue holiness. That’s the challenge of manhood because you have a mantle in your hands. The mantle is to love your wife and protect your children. I’m finally grasping a revelation: it’s called the family. You see, the family is designed to be the smallest and most effective unit of the church. I know like me, you always thought it was your house fellowship. But, God looks at the family as His smallest unit. The devil knows that if he can mess up the man as efficiently as possible, he can mess up the family. So, my brother, we’ve got to stand in holiness… we have to stand in truth. We need to stand for the kingdom. We are God’s line of defense for our churches and families. It’s a long road, it’s a tough call. When others are weary, you might have to be the last man standing. 2 Samuel 23 tells a story of such a man: “And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was apiece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the philistines. But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it and killed the philistines. So the lord brought about a great victory.” Verses 11-12 The Lord brought about a great victory because one man stood for Him. He stood and said, ‘no way is the enemy getting his hands on my stuff!’ Can one man make a difference? God is counting on you to be the one man that makes a difference. He’s calling you to be His man for today. He’s calling you to be His man for this generation. Real Relationships 31


5 Tips continued Investment Tip #5: Assist in problem solving.

Isn’t it interesting that, for most men, work gobbles up most of our most creative problemsolving energies, our best leadership, and our most noble attitudes? Home usually gets the leftovers. One of my friends has on his office desk a plaque that reads, “Save a little for home.” Your wife would benefit if you saved a little more for home too. Start by considering this question: What one problem in your wife’s life, if solved, would truly strengthen her? Is there a complete roadblock in the way or just a small boulder? How could you remove it? Here are some ideas: Watch your wife carefully. Observing her life may turn up problems that can be isolated and solved quickly. Get the facts. What exactly is the problem? Whose responsibility is it? What is the cause of the problem? Discuss your alternatives together. Be sure to find out what your wife really feels is best in the situation. She may be too close to the problem, or she may know what needs to be done and simply

need your leadership and backing to take action. Go to God in prayer. Ask Him for the wisdom and resources to solve the problem. Be careful of procrastination; make a decision under God’s leadership and then help your wife to implement it. Evaluate the results. Inspect what happens. Refine the decision and its Implementation through thorough analysis of how things are working out. Does your wife have an area or two in which she consistently fails? Time management? Budgeting? Meal planning? Problem solving at work or at home? You can help. By choosing to develop her in these areas, you encourage her growth so she can better handle the pressure. But you have a choice. Either develop her to handle the responsibilities or come alongside her to help accomplish the tasks. She needs you to help her become all God created her to be! Adapted from Dennis and Barbara Rainey’s book Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Copyright © 1995 by Dennis Rainey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The Good Samaritan continued his head, he smashed the louvers with one hand. Again and again he smashed, fueled by desperation, and the blackened glass tinkled to the floor. Then, wrapping his body around the boy’s figure to prevent the jagged ends of the glass injuring the little boy, and to cushion him from the effects of what he was about to do, Davou jumped from the window, saving the boy’s life and risking his own. At that instant, as if on cue, it started raining and the rain subdued the ragging flames. Luka, the little boy,

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was unscathed and his mother received him, dancing wildly in the rain. Davou however, was rushed to the local primary health care center where he had to stay for a month for he had suffered multiple cuts and second degree burns. When anyone asked why he did what he did and if he had any regrets, his answer always was, “To many, I may just have been passing by but, I believe the Almighty God placed me there for a particular purpose. I am so glad I recognized this and fulfilled it. This is my joy!”


editor@realrelationshipsmag.com Real Relationships 33


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34 Real Relationships


By Isaac Aladeniyi

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he final assessment of God concerning His creation was a very good one (Gen. 1: 31). The only amendment was to solve the problem of loneliness and create a relationship for man (Gen. 2: 18). The man was excited and saw in the woman the bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, and called her a woman (Gen 2: 23). This was an expression of admiration and love. He even went ahead to name her Eve. The relationship was such an open one that the Bible described it as being naked and not ashamed (Gen 2: 25). The Bible says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” It was to be a union that would hurt either party in any attempt of a break; hence the word “cleave” was used for the coming together of the two. It was the wish of God that no one should put asunder what He has joined together (Gen. 2: 24, Matt. 19: 5-6). The emergence of a third party, the serpent, in the marriage of Adam and Eve led to the fall of man. Activities of third parties in homes have continued to be a major cause of problems and divorce today. The complete fall of man was a process, and the complete break in marriages today is equally a process, most especially as it relates to third parties. We want to stress that it is not the presence of a third party that causes a problem but, the management of the different situations must not be ignored. Those who qualify to be called third parties in marriage include all that can put asunder what God has joined together. They include children, neighbors, even Pastors, in-laws (fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, etc.).

Marriage is made up of two separate individuals who grow up under different biological, sociological, psychological, and religious believes, as well as economical and other factors that come together to shape the individual. There is therefore, a period of adjustment in marriage for the two before they get used to each other. The dating or courtship period is too short a time to know each other well enough for marriage. Many marriages break at this stage; however, this article is not on adjustability in marriage; so, we will limit ourselves to the problems of third parties. The introduction of third parties at this stage could worsen the situation if not properly managed. In this issue, we will consider one form of third parties, and how to manage their activities to reduce their effects on any marriage…

Children

“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Gen. 1: 28. Children are part of the blessings of marriage; however, they should be treated and put where they belong, and this is as third parties. A major cause of divorce and infidelity in marriages in some cultures is the absence of children in marriage. We do not support this excuse because God did not bring Adam, Eve and a child together; rather it was only Adam and Eve. Adam admired Eve and the relationship was a very good one even without a child. Many couples allow the arrival of a gift from God in the form of a child or children to create a gap Real Relationships 35


in their relationship. The affection for each other is often shifted to the children while expressions of love are ignored. The focus of both are on the children – taking care of them, showing love, feeding them, training/raising them, etc., at the expense of care and affection for each other. Couples should remember that children come into marriage for a period of time and by the time they depart, it may be difficult to bridge the gap that was created while they were still at home. Some couples avoid sex for a very long time and ignore body to body contact. The mother could be breastfeeding, and a touch of the breast at this time is in many situations, resisted by the woman. One of her excuses is that it is unhygienic and not in the interest of the child or children. However, our view is that God knew that a woman would often give birth to a child yet, He gave her two breasts. The Bible says, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love” (Proverb 5: 18-19). Does this include breastfeeding times? What stops the man from holding his own of the two breasts while the child holds his/her own? Another area of concern is in communication between the couples. Several couples insult each other in the presence of their children. Some even bring their children into their quarrels, forgetting that many of these children are not mature enough

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to manage the information. Some of the children are emotionally affected while some take sides with either parent. The home is thereby divided. The training of children is yet another area where children, who are third parties, are allowed to put a hole into the good relationship in the home. A simple correction of a child could be allowed to degenerate into a scuffle between parents. Some men seem to love their children more than the women who carry these children for nine months or more. Some women however, think that their children have only mothers and not fathers. They think correction is an attempt to kill “their” children. The result of all these is that homes are divided because of simple corrections. Children identify with the one they feel love them, though in some cases, they often grow to realize that the one they thought really loved them only compromised their future. Our recommendation is that corrections should be carried out jointly by both parents as one. The one who puts up the corrective action that hurts the child should be the one to correct the situation. Couples should not allow what God has joined together to be put asunder by children. They should understand that the days of the children are limited in the home. Isaac Aladeniyi is Pastor of Victory Temple Charlotte, RCCG, North Carolina USA


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Starting Small by Dr. Uvoh Onoriobe

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en years ago, I asked God to give me a business idea that would give Him glory, affect my generation and put money in my pocket. It took me weeks of waiting on Him. There are few things that I can put my finger to and boldly declare- God told me! Publishing is one of them. I heard Him say clearly: PUBLISH. The vision was so lucid. I nurtured the dream for weeks, did a lot of research on magazine publishing from contracting authors, page layout to advertisement, print process and marketing. It was a lot to learn. I then went on to ask God for a team of people who would believe in the dream enough to stand by me and see it come to pass. He led me to a few friends and family. The last thing I needed at that time was a dream killer. Most people have that remain dreams- never seeing the day of completion. Starting any endeavor requires guts, passion, and commitment to see it come to fruition, hard work, more hard work and perseverance. Jesus taught saying ‘For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”’ I did not do a thorough cost counting at that time. I was filled with excitement and that drove us for a while. In the coming years, I realized we did not have a proper business management structure to sustain our enterprise. I was filled with vision, purpose and drive but all that was not enough. Today, I am resolved to see our work assume a higher level. I resolve to do all

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that is necessary to make it a project of excellence. Are you about to start your own business? I have some advice – Have a Business Plan written! A business plan is your road map to starting and growing your vision. It will make you answer tough questions that passion and excitement covers. A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your firm’s resume. The importance of a comprehensive, thoughtful business plan cannot be overemphasized. Much hinges on it: outside funding, credit from suppliers, management of your operation and finances, promotion and marketing of your business, and achievement of your goals and objectives. Before you begin writing your business plan, consider four core questions: What service or product does your business provide and what needs does it fill? Who are the potential customers for your product or service and why will they purchase it from you? How will you reach your potential customers? Where will you get the financial resources to start your business? Next edition we will look at the business plan proper. Until then, always remember- there is Grace to finish!! Dr Uvoh is a Missionary Dentist and Editor-in-Chief of Real Relationships Magazine



Real Relationships Vol2 No 1