Monthly Archives: December 2014

The CHRIST We Celebrate

Happy CHRISTmas!

Happy CHRISTmas!

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
– Luke 2:10-11

Really, why do we do what we do every 25th of December?

That question may not be on the minds of many now. Maybe that’s not even your priority, but just think about it. Ask yourself too: why do I celebrate on this day (December 25) anually?

Very few of us may get an honest and genuine answer. What about the others?

In a recent survey, as published in a post by Denison Forum, these words shocked me:

…most popular Christmas songs are not about Christ.  They celebrate sleigh bells, Santa Claus, and the larger folk American culture.

I have two thoughts in response.  First: it is possible—and even popular with many—to celebrate Christmas with no regard whatsoever for Jesus.  Eighty percent of non-Christians say they celebrate Christmas.  With all the glitz and glamour of the holidays, a Martian could be forgiven for wondering why we call it Christmas.  In a similar vein, only 42 percent of Americans think the meaning of Easter is the resurrection of Jesus.  We have clearly turned holy days into holidays.”

People celebrate CHRISTmas without seeing the CHRIST in it. People drink themselves to stupor on this day; young girls lose their virginity on this day; what about the killings and theft? You just need to visit the news after Christmas to confirm this truth.

Do you crucify Christ, instead of celebrate Him? I thought it’s His birthday? But we make it look like it’s a girlfriend’s rather…or a boyfriend’s. Should we be happy in Jesus(the celebrant) or in sin?

From our text today, the birth of Christ brings about “good tidings of great joy”. If there’s no joy after you are done celebrating CHRISTmas, check it, you definitely celebrated something else! Christ must be born in you, for that is real Christmas. All these find a common root in the reason for His birth in the first place.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved

-John 3:16-17

That’s why we celebrate.

You must, you should, celebrate, because “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).

You celebrate, but you do it outside the party ground, if the One you celebrate is not your Saviour and Lord yet.

We Christians, most times, only celebrate the Person of Christ. Be it Easter, CHRISTmas, etc, we forget the purpose and just stick with the personality [of the year]. JESUS didn’t come for that award. He came for you! He came for your heart. What are you celebrating, his purpose or your sin?

So, what’s it gonna be? If it’s Christ’s birthday, where is your gift?

I think He only demands that you “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). If you don’t want Him, then don’t celebrate Him! He knows you when you have Him, not when you celebrate Him. Lamenting the hypocrisy in our generation today, Jesus cried, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8).

Your salvation will be your best act of celebration this season. Come, Jesus awaits you.

From all of us @ Jikmatas, here is wishing you CHRIST, this CHRISTmas.

Lessons from Abigail’s Union

Bennard and Abigail Ugbeikwu

Bennard and Abigail Ugbeikwu

One major contributor to this blog, former Miss Abigail Nwachukwu, changed her family name over the weekend.

Yes, Abigail got married!!!

Now, I’m not here to share details of the apparently successful event, which happened on the 13th of December, 2014 (yesterday). No. But there is something I can’t hide from you: its lessons.

You can add these to the already heavy store of information, on how to make it (marriage) work, that you’ve gotten. Here they come. . .

1. TELL GOD.
Pathetically, there are more people who know this point than there are who use it. They pray over almost everything in their lives. Food. Water. Exams. Admissions. Jobs. Promotions. Contracts. Even matches of their favourite teams and characters in a movie . But when it comes to settling down, they put on their Mr ‘Fix it’ hats. Truth is that very few young fellows ever pray concerning their unknown spouse and the marriage.

I remember a night we had with Abby. She told us how young she was when she started praying for her husband. She very well had not met him before this time. Two things I noticed, or learnt, from her explaination about the decision to involve God was really worth knowing, or learning:

  • Telling God means you wait for His time!
  • You must trust Him enough to show up with your answers on time. You must also understand that “on time” in His eyes means “perfect” for you, and makes it very different from “on time” in your own eyes (Ps. 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).

  • Telling God means you do it His way!
  • The ways of God are very different from the ways of men. You must seek to please God when searching for a life partner. Most ladies have lost their worth, sleeping around just to hook up with someone that will take them down the aisle. Note this: your marriage is in trouble if you enter his bed before entering his home. Every step along the way should be taken in God. And if God makes the choices, then dating ain’t an option. Because God is NEVER confused! He doesn’t test something to know it. If He says it, you can count on it.

    2. DON’T WAIT FOR GOD!
    Yes. Wait on Him. Get prepared. Work on yourself. Marriage will come, so, pursue your dreams while waiting.

    Abby was a writer and blogger before she got married. She was already hosting forums for singles here and there before she walked to the altar with Ben. Her ‘work’ had already gained online presence before she wedded. Read what she thinks about pursuing a dream, maybe you’ll understand me better.

    Don’t you think now will be a good time to further your education, break some bad habits and make new good ones, pursue purpose…instead of lusting after different boys/girls all in the name of looking for love?

    3. DON’T JUST WED; MARRY!
    So sorry to say this truth: this is mostly ‘girls problem’. They are so obsessed about having great wedding ceremonies that they forget about having great marriages! They go about shopping for this and that, spending money (which, apparently, they didn’t join to make) extravangantly.

    Abby’s traditional marriage ceremony happened! Her white wedding ceremony was a reality. It didn’t have to be a luxury. The smiles on her face, the joy in her husband’s heart and the care demonstrated by well-wishers, were all present…regardless of the fact that President Barack Obama didn’t show up! Neither of both marriage events were held in Dubai, or aboard an aircraft. Yet, they attracted true well-wishers indeed.

    I personally noticed her calm in all of this.

    No struggle to choke her husband to death over an Italian wedding dress. No hummer limousine ride to the venue. And I’m sure that this wonderful day in her life will not be on Linda Ikeji’s Blog. But it is in our hearts, and registered in heaven.

    These are the little but long lasting lessons I gained from Abby’s union. I pray that God favours her marriage and blesses them both.

    Stay up!
    …and HAPPY SUNDAY!!!

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    On the Altar of Friendship

    What art thou willing to sacrifice for thy friend?

    What art thou willing to sacrifice for thy friend?

    Really, what are they to you? The ones you call your friends. What do you give into that relationship? What is your quota?

    Friendship is love. It is understanding. It is concern. It is sacrifice. No relationship thrives outside sacrifice.

    Here’s my question:
    “What is the lamb?”

    What are we supposed to sacrifice? Sometimes people go the extra mile just to keep a relationship. Sometimes, they do this for the possibility of an “us” in the equation of their lives. But are they on track? Do they do the right thing?

    I’m NOT saying sacrifice is wrong. Am saying THEY SHOULD NOT SACRIFICE WRONGLY!!! Now, get me here. I am of the opinion that true friendship seeks long-term benefits, but for both parties.

    INSTANCE…
    You go to your friend with a dress you bought minutes ago. You ask them how you look in it. They give you a grin, smile and say, “That’s the best dress with the best fitting on the best person that I’ve seen today”. You happily thank them. And then, immediately you retreat to your dressing room, you literally receive a ‘mind-reading’ or ‘mind-listening’ spiritual gift. You begin to hear the thoughts of your friend very audibly in your head: “I wish I could tell her exactly how she looked in that dress”, “Ah! She’d rather look ‘most beautiful’ in that dress than look angry at me”. Tell me, would you think of them as a true friend?

    No, maybe.
    But is it their fault? What would happen if they told you the truth? Won’t they lose you? Are they even allowed to tell you the truth? What are the terms of their relationship with you?

    A lot of fake friendships exist in the world. You may see the longevity, the intimacy, but what you don’t see- and most often, won’t see- is the hypocrisy? They sit on it. They smile. But behind that smile resides one or more of these feelings: fear, regrets, remorse, ‘loving’ anger, sadness, doubt.

    What if your friend decides to be 100% honest with you? I thought you have it on your facebook profile that you detest liars? What if they corrected you again? Wouldn’t they be risking the relationship? What about the last time they sincerely told you what they feel? Didn’t you take it personal? Now they are afraid and hidden in their shells…never to correct their best friend again; never to say ‘no’ to you again (even if it would affect them personally); never to be themselves again! They have sacrificed their values for that friendship, deciding to turn their back on their conscience rather than on you.

    And so, now, a completely honest man has got to endure an environment of lies, because his friend would rather not be a friend than be honest! A lady who graciously corrects in love must now live with guilt. The guilt of going against her principles, her values.

    Ah! The things we do to keep a relationship! Selling out our values… Denouncing who we are… Coping with the substandard… Fiercely attacking and bruising our own consciences…

    I don’t know about you all, but I just made my choice:

    * I will only attract and keep what I already am!

    Yes, I will not sacrifice my conscience on the altar of friendship. Better to have a lonely walk to heaven than receive a standing ovation in hell! I will keep developing me. And hopefully- truthfully too- I will find someone ‘like’ me with whom to make this journey of life…because, indeed, LIKES ATTRACT!!!

    Blogger’s note: The above was copied from one of my notes on facebook. It is posted here with little additions.

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    Waiting or Shaking?

    “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.”
    – Ps. 112:7

    Am I really waiting on God?
    Or is it because I have not seen another alternative to jump at yet? Waiting on God goes beyond my sitting at a place and expecting God to show up. It requires patience. It induces calm.

    Why do I wait?

    Waiting on God is not synonymous with having another option. It is never a plan to use God as an alternative. Some of us wait on God because we have not gotten any opportunity to go elsewhere! Waiting is waiting; it is not shaking!

    Ps. 112:7 declares, “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.” He who waits is not moved, if he waits on God.

    Waiting on God requires that I do two things. My notice and application of these things not only justifies the authenticity of my waiting, but also guarantees my answer after the period of waiting. When next I wait on Him, I should make sure of these:

    1. I AM NOT AFRAID OF BAD NEWS
    When Scriptures say that “he shall not be afraid” of bad news, I’m not being told that “he shall not see (experience) bad things”. Instead, I’m being told that he shall be courageous through them. The Bible never gives a promise that informs me of the absence of challenges; but I can find many verses that promises me support when I go through them.

    Psalm 91:7 encourages, “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” (Emphasis added). This verse was not written to scare me. Rather, it was written to strengthen me with a fore knowledge of what I should expect. If I have an idea of what I should expect, then I need not become afraid or even surprised when these expectations evolve into realities. But wait, there’s another good news! God doesn’t just stop there. As always, He adds an unfailing promise: “it shall not come nigh” me. That’s why I need not fear.

    What happens when, even in waiting, things go from bad to worse? I don’t fear. From worse to terribly worse? I stay calm still! That what I’m being told here. If the tempest in waiting doesn’t sweep me off the Rock of Salvation (Jesus), then I’m waiting genuinely.

    2. I TRUST GOD
    That line, when said, is very easy. It is one thing to receive a promise. Trusting that promise is another thing entirely. Many Christians have full knowledge of the promises of God. Yet, they fall into the deep and dry pits of doubt and fear. Many of us preach what we hardly practise, and advice what we hardly acknowledge. This here, is the final test of the motive behind my waiting. God has promised, yes. But am I gonna trust Him? The second part of our key verse hints that “his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD”. This is another level of waiting on God. This is actually the second and last level. When my heart becomes fixed on God, I share in a realm once enjoyed by apostle Paul when he declared, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 37-39). It brings me to a position where I can boldly anounce to my opposition, “but if [my God will] not [deliver me], be it known unto thee…that I will not…worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan. 3:18). I must come to a point where I can believe God not just because of what I need from Him.

    When I [fearlessly] go through all these trials, I must trust God to:

    • Go through them with me;
    • Provide timely support along the way;
    • Bring me out safe, and soon.

    I must check the motive behind my waiting. God treasures the sacrifices of “a broken and a contrite heart” (Ps. 51:17). Going many days without food won’t be the sacrifice I need to pay; doing it the right way will be.

    In what ways have genuine waiting on God brought you peace, taught you patience, and sought you results? Share with us below.

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