Saturday, April 25, 2009

Enjoying The Best Of 2 Worlds

It is 3.55p.m on a Saturday afternoon. I am sitting somewhere in the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, waiting to catch my flight back home. I always miss home whenever I travel, especially the wonderful angels under my roof! It’s been a week since I last hugged them at the airport. I can’t wait to hold them in my embrace.

So, I have spent the last one week in Istanbul, Turkey. It’s a beautiful city I suppose. Apart from the difficulty with people not being able to speak English, it was a good time. It didn’t take long before I realized that Istanbul is divided into 2 parts. It’s like having 2 different cities, with different features and lifestyles, in 1. There is the Asian side as well as the European side. You can cross over from one part to the other within an hour or two, depending on the traffic. As you do that, you will marvel at the difference that exists between both sides of the capital. It is so distinct that you won’t believe you are in the same city. The Asian side is still very much underdeveloped, more serene and things are relatively cheap there. All these changes in about 1 hour! The European side is very busy, has very high traffic like any other busy city (both human and vehicles) and things are somewhat expensive there. At Taksim Square (the most popular area of the European side), I saw a crowd that I probably have never seen in my life before. It was amazing!

I wouldn’t have bored you with the description above if I wasn’t about to make a point. The point is this - I did enjoy the best of both the Asian and European side of Istanbul in this one week. While I stayed in the Asian side and enjoyed the serenity, I went to the European side to enjoy its beauty and its many activities. I enjoyed the best of both sides. That gave me more insight into a message I once preached a couple of years back. I titled it – Enjoying the best of two worlds. Let me share some more insight on this, if you don’t mind.

It is often said that “you cannot eat your cake and have it”. It is either you eat your cake (in which case you do not have it) or have your cake (in which case you do not eat it). While I agree with the logic of the statement, I do not believe in its literal meaning. I believe strongly that one thing does not have to suffer at the expense of the other. You do not have to lose out on your health because you are pursuing wealth. You can have both. You can lead a wonderful family life while still excelling in your career. You do not have to sacrifice one for the other. In other word, you can enjoy the best of 2 worlds.

Recall that man is primarily a spirit, in the very likeness of God. Many people forget this very important fact. They think that they are physical beings who sometimes go through spiritual experiences. These experiences make them feel “high”. This is a very wrong concept. Man is a spirit. We are spiritual beings that constantly go through physical experiences. We live in 2 worlds! It is very possible to enjoy one of these worlds to the detriment of the other. I have seen very spiritual people who are not doing well here on earth. Back in the university, we had Pastors who spent 2-3 years extra in school, despite being sharp spiritually. Also, I am sure you know, or have read about, very successful business men who are “empty” in their spirit. I know highly intelligent and smart people, who you wish only knew God. These 2 extremes are aberrations. That’s not how the creator designed it. He designed both worlds to be enjoyed in a complementary manner. You do not have to suffer here on earth to make heaven. Yes, you don’t! Infact, when Jesus came, he told his listeners “Now, is the Kingdom of God come unto you”. Literarily, what he was saying is this – You don’t have to wait to get to heaven. I am bringing heaven to you here on earth! Wonderful!

There are a couple of things you need to know about the 2 worlds I am talking about

We live in both worlds simultaneously

I have tried to explain that above. Whether you realize it or not, we are living in both the spiritual and physical world simultaneously. I am sure that at least you are aware of the physical world. Be aware also that you live in the spirit. We are spirit being that goes through physical experiences.

Both worlds are active 

Believe me, there is so much activity in both worlds. Again, the activity in the physical world is quite obvious. Go to major cities of the world and you will be amazed at the activity going on in the physical. I saw one at Taksim Square. From Lagos to London, to Dubai, check out the activity in the realm of the physical. What you are not aware of is this – there is much more activity in the realm of the spirit! In God’s holy book, there is a story that explains this. Elisha, a prophet, was attacked by a strong army. When his servant, Gehazi saw the multitude of soldiers in the physical, he was naturally afraid. He must have said to himself “We are finished. This is it”. However, Elisha saw differently! He told him confidently “They that are for us are greater than they that are against us”. Interesting! What Elisha saw was the activity in the spirit. There was already a host of angels dispersed to fight on his behalf. Gehazi saw only the physical and was afraid. That what happens to those who only see in the realm of the physical. They are overwhelmed by the activity therein. Those who see in the realm of the spirit know better. And because they know better, they live better. They sleep better. They live longer! There are angels in the realm of the spirit acting on your behalf!

Both worlds affect each other

Not only are both worlds active, they are mutually dependent. Can you imagine that? Whatever we do in the realm of the physical, affects heaven. Yes, it does. Let me give you an example. God’s word says “There is joy in heaven over a sinner that repents…” When we preach to a sinner here on earth, and he come to God, a party begins in heaven. Isn’t it interesting that you can cause heaven to rejoice? Let me give you yet another example. God’s word says “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound ion heaven”. You see- whatever we do on earth affects heaven, and vice versa. Shouldn’t you be more conscious of what you then do in the realm of the physical, seeing that it affects the realm of the spirit?

The Spiritual Controls the Physical

That seems to be pretty obvious but it needs to be stressed. Whether positively or negatively, the Spiritual governs the physical. Infact, nothing happens in the physical without it happening in the spirit. I have seen both sides of the spirit controlling the physical. I have seen people manipulated by demons and devils on the realm of the spirit and manifesting it in the physical. How else would you explain someone who found himself in Lagos, without knowing how and when he left London? He just left, boarded a plane and didn’t know what he was doing until he was at MMA Airport in Lagos. I once wrote an exam that ordinarily should have failed. Despite the fact that I didn’t answer the questions too well. There was a confidence in me, based on revelations in God’s word that I won’t fail. Not only did I pass, I also got a distinction. That is the spiritual controlling the physical. Heaven came to bear on earth. Listen to me friends. Until you realize that heaven rules, you will suffer here on earth. It is not in all these waking up early and sleeping late. It’s not in all the certifications and qualifications you are getting (get them anyway). It is God! It is God coming to rule on your behalf and orchestrating events in your favour!

I will have to continue this later. My boarding announcement has just been made. It is now 5.35p.m. I still have a stopover before heading home. I’ll see if I can complete this. If not, stay right on top until I see you again. Till then, enjoy the best of both worlds!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ignorant Or Ignoring?

My wife shared with me an article she read sometimes last week. I am going to use the story in the article as a basis for my discourse today. This story is about a man who once upon a time was selling Hotdogs by the roadside. He was illiterate, so he never read newspapers. He was hard of hearing, so he never listened to the radio. His eyes were weak, so he never watched television. But enthusiastically, he sold lots of hotdogs. He was smart enough to offer some attractive schemes to increase his sales. His sales and profit went up. He ordered more and more raw material and buns and sold more. He recruited more supporting staff to serve more customers. He started offering home deliveries. Eventually he got himself a bigger and better stove. As his business was growing, the son, who had recently graduated from college, joined his father.

Then something strange happened. The son asked, "Dad, aren't you aware of the great recession that is coming our way?" The father replied, "No, but tell me about it." The son said, "The international situation is terrible. The domestic situation is even worse. We should be prepared for the coming bad times." The man thought that since his son had been to college, read the papers, listened to the radio and watched TV. He ought to know and his advice should not be taken lightly. So the next day onwards, the father cut down the his raw material order and buns, took down the colorful signboard, removed all the special schemes he was offering to the customers and was no longer as enthusiastic. He reduced his staff strength by giving layoffs. Very soon, fewer and fewer people bothered to stop at his Hotdog stand. And his sales started coming down rapidly and so did the profit. The father said to his son, "Son, you were right". "We are in the middle of a recession and crisis. I am glad you warned me ahead of time."

Moral of the Story: It's all in your MIND! And we actually FUEL this recession much more than we think.

What an interesting story. Does this story permit us to be ignorant of what is going on around us? Does it suggest that we care less about what is happening around the world and how it affects us? Is the morale behind the story that we shouldn’t believe global financial reports? I am not sure of that. What I will suggest is this-Do not be ignorant, but it is okay to ignore some of the negative news! Let me explain.

I believe strongly in the efficacy of God’s word. Before the world came, and its systems (including its financial system), God’s word already existed. Whenever God speak, it is done! His word is as powerful as himself. If God says a thing, it is more important than what anyone else says. His word is superior to the news! His word is superior to intelligence reports. There is a story in the Bible (God’s word), that typifies the type of time that we are in at the moment. There was a famine in Samaria. There was a financial meltdown. It was so bad that people were killing their children for food. Can you imagine that! People were confused. They ran to the king but he couldn’t help them. He told them in clear terms “ If God does not help you, then who am I to help you”. Amazing. He was in the same situation that our world leaders are in today. He didn’t just have a solution. In the midst of the crisis, God’s word came forth “ By this time tomorrow, a barley of wheat shall be sold for a shekel ”. Wow! That was against common sense. It was against all economic principles. The chief economic adviser to the King then said “ If the Lord shall make windows in heaven, might these things be?” True to God’s word, and against all economic projections, a barley was sold for a shekel, right at the gate of Samaria, the next day.

What’s my point here? It’s quite simple. Do not be ignorant of what is happening in the world financial sector. By all means, learn from it. Be wiser by learning from the mistakes that were made and the outcome. However, do not let it cripple you. Do not let it stop you from doing anything. In the light of God’s word, you can prosper even in famine. In the light of God’s word, you are not supposed to suffer from the heat of this season. A tree planted by the Rivers always bears its fruits in its season. There is a clear difference between being ignorant, and choosing to ignore. My counsel is that you should not be ignorant, but it’s okay to ignore

I came across some advises from Warren Buffet (one of the richest man in the world) on how to conduct yourself and your finances during this period. Guess what? Almost all the principles he stated were from God’s word! Let me share with you:

Hard work : All hard work bring a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Laziness : A sleeping lobster is carried away by the water current.

Earnings : Never depend on a single source of income. (At least make your investment's get you second earning)

Spending : If you buy things you don't need, you'll soon sell things you need.

Savings : Don't save what is left after spending; Spend what is left after saving.

Borrowings : The borrower becomes the lender's slave.

Accounting : It's no use carrying an umbrella, if your shoes are leaking.

Auditing : Beware of little expenses; A small leak can sink a large ship.

Risk-taking : Never test the depth of the river with both feet.(Have an alternate plan ready )

Investment : Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

I'm certain that those who have already been practicing these principles remain financially healthy. I'm equally confident that those who resolve to start practicing these principles will quickly regain their financial health.
Let us become wiser and lead a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful life.”

Don’t Be Ignorant; But you can choose to Ignore!

See you at the top