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Biblical lessons from Joseph and Mary

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There are so many premarital and marital lessons that bachelors and spinsters can learn from the averted premarital relationship scandal in the story of Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus Christ. “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you, Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). LESSON ONE- Abstinence From Premarital Sex: Mary was a virgin (Luke 1:27), betrothed to Joseph to be her husband. Joseph was a just man (Matthew 1:19).

They did not rush to come together and have sex before Mary was found, conceived of the Holy Ghost. The impression that has been created today through the social media and people with warped values, is that from the day a guy and a lady meet and discuss marriage, sexual intercourse follows, without performing marriage rites.

This is an error and works against God’s word. LESSON TWO- The Wooing Responsibility Of Man In Premarital Relationship: When Angel Gabriel came to virgin Mary in Luke 1:26-55, it was all persuasion and wooing. This was necessary because by virtue of the trinity (God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost), God himself was the “MAN” that got Mary pregnant. “…that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” The holy trinity is one. See John chapter 1. So, if you are a bachelor, it is your duty to prayerfully pick a single lady you perceive as potential wife and woo her for marriage. That is God’s order.

The modern practice of ‘arrangee’ marriage is not of God. LESSON THREE- Joseph And Mary Ignored Public Opinion For God’s Ex-pectations: It was a big scandal that was averted in this relationship by a divine involvement. First, how could a virgin have delivered a child without the normal chemistry or biological processes of reproduction? Secondly, it was natural for Mary to ask: “as a known virgin and decent girl in this city, how am I going to explain a sudden pregnancy? Who will listen to my story that even listening to myself, it is difficult to believe?” On the side of Joseph, a known disciplined and just young man, how would he explain sudden pregnancy in his virgin fiancée he had never slept with?

This was a serious image crisis. He was contemplating breaking the relationship because of the strange pregnancy that he discovered, when “an angel of the Lord appeared to him” (Matthew 1:20). An angel also appeared to Mary but these appearances were private spiritual matters. Is it easy to convince the public that an angel spoke to you? Despite whatever people thought or would think, Joseph and Mary ignored public opinion and obeyed the voice of God. Can you as a female graduate, company executive ignore public opinion and marry a God-fearing nongraduate young man who is an artisan?

Can you as a born again Christian man, ignore public opinion and marry a single mother, an older lady or a known former prostitute who is now born again with evidence of good character? LESSON FOUR- Only A True Christian Believer Can Flow With A True Christian Believer As Spouse: Assuming one out of Joseph and Mary did not have a personal relationship with God and His Holy Spirit, there would have been a problem in that relationship. Joseph did not need to doubt Mary’s reliability after an angel had spoken to him concerning her and Mary no longer needed to bother about Joseph’s acceptance as wife after discussing with Angel Gabriel.

If one of them had been fake, God would have revealed it to the other. This true relationship with God made things easier for both of them. LESSON FIVE- Importance Of Individual Relationship With The Holy Spirit: The response of both Joseph and Mary to God’s words through the Angel or Holy Spirit, shows that such interaction or communication with God was not strange to them. They had always talked with God as a lifestyle.

This was why they eventually enjoyed the correct divine counsel in making marital decision. The Holy Spirit has been speaking to you on several issues. Have you ever listened to him before taking any decision? If no, how do you now expect an easy flow suddenly in your relationship with the Holy Spirit just because you want to get married? You want to use the Holy Spirit and dump him? No way!

At this point, some people start moving from one prayer house, prophet or pastor to the other looking for some ‘Man of God’ instead of seeking the God of Man. Why seek indirect speech from God when you can get a direct speech? You need to invite Jesus Christ to possess your heart. When this happens, the Holy Spirit which is Christ’s and God’s spirit, is poured out into your flesh. If you invite the Holy Spirit to direct your path, he begins to guide you and this begins to reflect in your godly lifestyle. He becomes your friend with whom you can interact and you hear his voiced counsel on any major decision that you seek his counsel.

On marriage, he will guide you correctly (Proverbs 3:5-7). A Sunday-Sunday ceremonial Christianity to fulfil a social status expectation, cannot do this for you. The strangeness of the voice of the Holy Spirit and the habitual disobedience to God’s voice is responsible for the multiple marital challenges existing today. God’s voice was not strange to Joseph and Mary. So, they were guided correctly in making their choices of life partner.

You need the Holy Spirit to marry correctly. When you allow the helper, the Holy Spirit to take over and guide your decisions, he WILL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS (John 14:26). Marrying correctly is not as impossible as it is being made to look in today’s world. By the grace of God, some of us have done it.

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Perspectives

Group lauds Army board of inquiry over report

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A pressure group of middle belt extraction, the Middle Belt Conscience Guard (MBCG) has commended the report recently released by the army board of enquiry set up to look into the allegation by Gen. TY Danjuma’s of soldiers collusion with armed militia in Taraba State.

The group said the report of the panel which exonerated the army is in tandem with the widely held position of many other groups who carried out independent assessment of the situation.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, national coordinator of MBCG, Prince Raymond Enero said to this end, Gen. TY Danjuma (rtd) should immediately re-secure his reputation by a remorseful retraction of the statements, with an apology to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Nigerian Army and the good people of Nigeria over his unjustifiable utterances.

According to him it is clear that the cause of the vilification of the Nigerian Army and the attempt to taint its reputation by some stakeholders in Taraba state stemmed from the refusal of the Commanding Officer 93 Battalion, Lt. Col. Gambari to be dragged into the complex political and ethnic mix in the state by some powerful politicians, in apparent abuse and violation of his professional duties or code of ethical conduct.

He said, “it is our firm conviction that all stakeholders in Taraba State should be cautioned against making inflammatory statements, which have the potency to undermine, jeopardize or scuttle the efforts at peace and security to bring the communal clashes to a halt, with the intervention of the Army.”

Enero said the The Probe Panel was manned by credible serving and retired Army officers; representatives of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and scores of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

He said further, “the Probe Panel did a wonderful and commendable job, as evidenced by its detailed findings, recommendations and the verdict extricating the Nigerian Army of any complicity, whether in whole or in part on any of the allegations raised by Gen. Danjuma or cohorts.

“The Panel’s report eloquently and articulately opined that there was no collusion with armed bandits by the Nigerian Army or any of its units operating in Taraba state, within the period covered by the allegations, as claimed by Gen. Danjuma (rtd). This is in tandem with the widely held position of many other groups who carried out independent assessment of the situation.”

Recall that the 10-Man Special Military Probe Panel constituted by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai was inaugurated on April 9, 2018, specifically to investigate and establish the veracity or otherwise of the allegations by the elder statesman against the Nigerian Army

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Perspectives

Olori Omobolawa: Remembering a Selfless Icon

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In a time like this, one would appreciate the reality of Bob Marley’s saying that: “Live for yourself and you will live in vain; live for others, and you will live again.” Sometimes last year December (13th Dec.2017) the world lost one of her rare gems in an unfortunate tragedy.

Birds refused to leave their nests, displaying muteness in unison and sorrow. The rivers of Osun charged at onlookers uncommonly and everyone close could see the river beds pouring out sands in grief. It was the day Olori Omobolawa Margaret Akinyemi departed this pain-filled world to the world of bliss.

Olori Omobolawa was a Rotarian, a selfless icon whose adventures in serving humanity were of great impacts on the lives of countless masses – women, children, aged and youths. Her contribution to the success of Osun Ambulance Agency cannot be over emphasis, she was accommodating to strangers and kind to kits and kin; with a generosity that competed with soothing breeze.

Her short sojourn on planet earth was purposeful and fixed on putting smiles on faces of the downtrodden and the depressed. Indeed, she exemplified the maxim that life is all about contribution not acquisition; that life is all about fulfilment not attainment.

In recognition of her noble sacrifices to make lives better for others, Rotary Club of Osogbo GRA which she was the president before her demise has decided to organize its Annual Medical Outreach in honour of the late selfless icon .

The medical outreach took place on Friday 18 May 2018 at the Alayegun Palace Ode-Omu, HRM Oba Lamidi Oke Ladowe 1 Osun State. The sole aim is to promote medical services and increase access to health for people whose happiness and well-being was the cardinal call of the late Olori Omobolawa.

The activities embedded in the medical outreach include checking of BP, eye tests and provision of free eye glasses, mental health counselling, and ear tests among others. Happily, the natives and residents of Ode-Omu have continued to troop out en masse as they know the unique saying that health is wealth. They cannot quantify their elation and appreciation.

As days go by, our memories continue to swing with thoughts about the loss of Olori Omobolawa – a priceless jewel. At times our hearts become filled with sorrow and our eyes, laden with tears. But we find solace in the fact she has indeed left indelible paths in the memories of many and remarkable feats that will continue to shine in the sands of time.

The honour by Rotary Club of Osogbo GRA today – a community she served whole-heartedly is one of the numerous manifestations that she was one of a kind. It clearly depicts that goodness outlives us all and we cannot but agree that: Olori Omobolawa lives on!

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Perspectives

APC: What goes round comes round

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About this same time three years ago, the shoes were on the other feet. The party in power then, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was often on the end of some highly sustained brutal and often acidic attacks from then opposition party – the All Progressives Congress (APC). APC’s attacks, which were often borderline outright propaganda, pointed to the many flaws they saw in the PDP.

It coined some of the insolent phrases of the time when APC dubbed the President Goodluck Jonathan a kindergarten president and his PDP government “clueless”.

In retrospect, let me quickly cite some of the examples of the attacks reeled out by the APC. For instance when the idea of postponing the 2015 general elections was being considered, the then APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lai Mohammed fired: “The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is calling for the postponement of the general elections because it is not prepared for it”.

He went on to add that the government had four years to prepare for the elections and that the date of the election was given about a year earlier. Speaking as a guest on a Lagos-based television station, Mohammed questioned what the Federal Government had done to help in the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and ensuring that every registered Nigerian got his PVC to enable him participate in the elections.

Incidentally, although there are yet to be calls for a postponement of the February 2019 polls, the same PVC which the APC saw as a big issue then is still very much an issue now, three years down the line, with millions of Nigerians yet to receive theirs. Now fast forward to the present day and with the shoes on the other feet.

APC is the party in power and subsequently is the one open to the barbs being thrown at them by the party they bad-mouthed in 2015, the PDP And just like the APC did to them back in the day, the PDP is using every opportunity to blast the government in power.

Although, sadly in my view the PDP is not as good at getting their message across like the APC was then, it still appears that they are doing enough to lambast the ruling party with an official of the party urging them to be “constructive in their criticism to remain relevant”.

The National Vice-Chairman (South- South) of the APC, Hilliard Eta, who said this in January, was reacting to the PDP’s criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year Day message to Nigerians.

The PDP had in their statement described the President’s speech as “depressing, annoying” and lacking in substance. Etta, however, expressed displeasure that the opposition PDP had so far failed to play the role of a constructive critic of government but had instead reduced itself to an attack dog of every government’s pronouncement.

The verbal jostling between the two is clearly heating up the closer we get to next year’s elections. Only a few weeks ago, the PDP even went as far taking their “fight” to the international stage when they wrote the United Nations to warn of the “threat to democracy” under the present dispensation.

In a petition to the UN against President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, told the world body that the Nigerian President has a predetermined plan to use federal agencies like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the army and the Police to ‘truncate’ Nigeria’s democracy.

The PDP, in the letter, dated April 30, 2018, accused Buhari of violating the Nigerian constitution and persecuting members of the opposition, as well as attacking journalists and “well-meaning” Nigerians who hold different opinions from Buhari’s party, the APC. The British, German, French, Chinese, the U.S, and the Russian embassies in Nigeria, as well as the European Union secretariat in Abuja, were copied in the letter.

The PDP also said the Federal Government was behind the spate of violent killings between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of the country. Of course this brought an immediate response from the APC, which through the Presidency, said the letter written by Secondus, accusing Buhari of several allegations, confirmed the opposition party “as a bad loser, desperate for another chance after they were kicked out for failing the nation and its people.”

The statement, which was signed by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said in the letter “which is no less preposterous and comical, the opposition accused the Nigerian government of ‘destroying Nigeria’s democracy.’”

Very strong words from both parties as they raise the stakes in their quest to achieve their goals in 2019 – which for APC is to retain the keys to Aso Rock, while for PDP it is for them to reclaim the keys to the same office they lost in 2015.

But like I’ve pointed out in some of my previous write ups, while the two parties are jostling to capture the votes of the electorate next February, the very same electorate they are wooing have not really benefited from either party. For the average man in the country his situation now is even scarier than when PDP was in power.

In the current media war, neither party has come out to say concretely what they will do to improve the lot of the average Nigerian. Gloom that has been the fate of the so-called “common man” over the years – they get fed up of the government in power, it goes and replaced by another one; and yet by the time the new government leaves they are still living in abject poverty.

APC road to power on the back of their “change” mantra but I’m not sure there are many Nigerians who expected the change to be like this. Millions are still unemployed, infrastructure is poor, power supply has only marginally improved, while the citizens are yet to benefit from the economy the government claimed has improved.

The bottom line is that unless a miracle happens, the honest truth is that under the current crop of politicians, be it APC or PDP or whichever other party gets the keys to Aso Rock, nothing much will change for the citizens.

At the end of the day it is ‘they’ first and the rest of us second. If not, why is it that despite the hue and cry over the huge salaries and allowances being earned by the National Assembly members they have not deemed it fit to say they will reduce it in order to free up funds for the citizens?

They won’t do it because they know that at the end of the day we will still troop out in our millions to vote for them next year.

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