11 September 2013

Girl Trouble

Here's how it goes. A guy likes a girl. Naturally, he gives her particular attention. He beings talking to her a lot. He sends her text messages and calls her regularly. He makes sure to buy her a present on her birthday and celebrate with her in her victories and mourns with her in her losses.

Here's how it is. Today, the unfortunate thing is that if the girl likes the guy back, she 'lets him in'. She entertains him holding nothing back. It isn't long before the young fellow (who is helplessly 'in love' and cannot really help himself) is calling her sweet names, marking his territory for all other predators to see and stay away and really just taking her as his own.

Here's how it ends. The girl falls for the guy but things soon begin to get complicated. In some cases, months go by and the guy isn't proposing. Or he isn't providing any direction for the 'relationship' or definition for it for that matter. Or, worst case scenario, as guys often do when they are not tied down, the fellow moves on leaving the girl heart broken. She cannot hold him down because, he has made no commitment to her. She let him in without requiring a commitment from him.

Here's how it should be. A girl must realize that the only guys she must consider are serious guys. Guys who aren't around to merely have fun but guys who want one final and certain thing, to get married.

The first problem is that most girls want to play around too. In such a case, I guess the pair is perfectly matched, two playful characters. The ruin will be bilateral.

Some girls, however, are serious. They aren't looking to play around but they go about things the wrong way. Instead, they must be a delicate and wise balance of closing themselves up while at the same time keeping the guy interested until he makes the commitment by proposing. There must be a sense in which the guy is starved yet kept at the table. He must be kept in check. Communication must not be in excess. That is reserved for a boyfriend. Language of endearment e.g. "Sweetheart" or "I love you" must be none-existent and limited only to courtship. Gifts must be received with thanks but they too must be kept in check both in terms of quantity and quality lest he thinks he is owed something in return. Things like romantic walks, holding hands and generally time spent as a couple are all reserved for a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship. Anything short of such a relationship must be treated as mere friendship until the guy makes that bold decision to propose.

If the guy is frustrated and leaves, well and good. As hard as it might be and unapparent, it is a better scenario than the possibilities if he is let in without making a commitment. That is why prayer is vital to seek guidance and counsel from the Lord himself.

A girls greatest and most delicate treasure is her heart. She must only give it away to the guy who is ready to take care of it and is serious enough to do so for the rest of his life. Anyone who falls short of that standard must be cut out. Ladies, protect your heart.

Young women of Jerusalem, I charge you: do not stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time. ~Song of Solomon 8.4 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

05 September 2013


It is not strange to hear someone speak of growth in grace, love, faith or holiness however, the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 8 introduces an idea of excelling in giving. During a bible study this very evening I asked myself whether I am excelling in giving. Am I becoming a better giver as the river of time keeps rolling on? How really does one excel in giving?

We can excel in giving in the quality of our giving, the quantity of our giving and the attitude of our giving.

If we are to excel in giving, we should discover, looking back over a particular period of time, that the quality of what we give is getting better and better. If a few years ago we gave only those things that were either of no use or no value to us, we must find that as the years have gone by we have found that we now give things that we value, things of high quality.

If we are to excel in giving, we should increase the measure of what we give. If before we gave a few things we must give more. To be giving the same quantities of things we would give some two or three years ago is indicative of a stagnation in our giving.

Finally and more broadly, higher degrees of excellence in our giving are attained by a betterment in out attitude when we give. We must:

  • Give Secretly: Jesus spoke of this on His sermon on the mount, how that our right hand must not know what our left has given. This is hyperbole of course since this is hardly possible. Jesus was merely stressing the desirable characteristic of secret giving.
  • Give Joyfully/Cheerfully: We've all had the experience of receiving a gift from one who has given it begrudgingly. You do not enjoy a gift that you know the giver did not want to give to you. It is no different with God, nor is it different with others. Everyone loves a cheerful giver.
  • Give Selflessly: Our giving must be all about the other person taking deliberate effort to erase ourselves from the picture. The depth of human selfishness is an abyss. Just now I was watching a famous screen actor on a video clip on YouTube announcing to a church congregation that he had given a million dollars to a church project. I do not know whether he made the announcement to bring praise to himself but we can find ourselves giving to others and yet being selfish all at the same time.
  • Give & Forget: This means that while we may be taken aback at the immorality of someone withholding something good from us who just the previous week we gave to, we must never give expecting anything in return. We mustn't end up with a mental creditors book filled with names of people who we gave this and that to that are yet to give us anything. You have heard it said, "forgive and forget" but I tell you now, "give and forget".
  • Give Consistently: We must make giving to others a habit. It must be for us, as it were, a way of life. The Apostle Paul, in the same passage refers to our Lord Jesus Christ who could aptly be named "The Giver" as our supreme example and standard in the area of giving.
  • Give Sacrificially: While there is nothing wrong in giving spare change and giving what we don't need, it would be erroneous to give only that. Our giving beings to excel when it beings to cost us something. When we give that last item or that last amount of money so that we become the needy to supply the one in need, we become more excellent in our giving.
To excel in giving, as is exhorted by the Apostle Paul, is to have these elements in greater measure in our lives. May it be so!

04 September 2013

Can You Pray To The Holy Spirit?

About two years ago, I found myself in a bible study where this question arose. I was the only one who answered it in the affirmative and my position on the subject was met with vehement opposition. The general consensus seemed to be that we were only to pray to God the Father.

I later discovered that such a conclusion was neither biblical nor logical.

It is not biblical to say that we should only pray to God the Father. Scripture records for us the dying prayer of the martyr, Stephen, in the Acts of the Apostles when he looked up to heaven and prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7.59).

I didn't have much that was significant to defend my answer in that bible study, but one thing I did ask those who answered the question with a definite 'no', was to approach the Elders of the church to have at least one song removed from our songbooks. "Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me." A song which is a prayer to God the Holy Spirit.

What about the Lord's prayer in which the Lord presented the model of prayer for all to follow that addressed God the Father? Well, one must understand that there is only one God. When we pray, we pray to Him. Granted there are three persons in the Trinity. But while They are different in function, They remain one in essence. Therefore, it is not possible to pray to One without praying to All Three. Thus it is not logical to conclude that you cannot or must not pray to any of the persons in the Trinity other than the Father.

When, then, are we to pray to the other two? One instance when it is appropriate is when we are praying with an emphasis on One's function. For instance, it is God the Holy Spirit who convicts men of sin. It is therefore only fitting that when we are praying for conviction of sin to take place, we pray to the Holy Spirit.