Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Infant Steps: When Is My Marriage Blessed?

Beloved EROLyrics Readers,

Thank God for the first quarter of this great year. Covenant grace and peace be to you in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior, who reigns forevermore.

Today’s question on the Infant Steps Series comes from a lady who needs to understand something about marriage. She wants to know if her marriage will not be blessed because she did not have a church wedding. Please read her question below and if you have scriptures to back your opinion, it will be most welcome. Thank you.

Dear Rita,

I am a Christian. I recently got engaged, and have started making plans for the wedding. My family is so happy for me and very excited. They have been very supportive this period. 

The traditional wedding is going to be a grand event. Considering the costs, time and effort involved, I and my fiance have agreed that we will have a court wedding and a small reception as our wedding. Then later on we can have a marriage blessing.

When I discussed this with my family, they did not accept this plan. I was told that the church wedding is the most important part and should not be left out. I was told that without the church wedding, my marriage will not be blessed.

I am a bit confused about this. I have so many whys and hows. Should we go bankrupt because of a wedding? Will my marriage not be blessed until I go to church? Please I need your thoughts on this.


If you have any questions you would like to discuss on the Infant Steps Series, please drop me an email at or leave the question as a comment in any of my blog posts.

If you want to view past questions and answers on the Infant Steps Series, please check the list on the sidebar right of the blog.

All posts on the Infant Steps Series will be posted on Tuesdays, 9 AM West Africa Time (unless there are exceptions).

Monday, March 29, 2010

It Has No Place In You

When a Christian is going through a challenging time, it is often assumed that “He offended God” or “He is not spiritual enough”. Truth is, whether godly or ungodly, there are challenges but the difference is how the situation is handled.

I want to share with you my experience during a very low period of my life. Pardon me if I use a lot of metaphors and personification.

Even when I was not a Christian, I had never felt like this before. Something had come over me. It was the spirit of depression (I did not know then). He walked stealthily into my life and I made the mistake by giving him full access to my heart. I was sad, unhappy, frustrated and angry every day. I cried every day. My laughter was feigned. I no longer cared about eating or looking good. Of course, I was not reading my bible, praying or going to Church.

For the first time in my life, I was angry with God and renounced the faith. Funny enough at that time I heard the words in my spirit, “Do you know Me and what I can do? What makes you think I cannot give you that thing that you desire above Me?” I ignored the voice.

Everything in my life became meaningless. All I had gained became worthless. All I hoped to achieve seemed irrelevant. The spirit of depression was my comforter. He told me things like, “really everything in life is meaningless if you do not have this one thing you want so badly” and “if you really are a child of God, you should not be having such a challenge” and “consider the kind of life you lived before giving your life to Christ, what makes you think you deserve to be blessed? Are you different from others?”

“What should I do?” I asked.

“Take your life. You cannot bear the guilt, shame and ridicules. There is really no hope.”

The thought seemed appealing at that time. I was in a very dark place in my heart and in my life, and I just wanted a way out. I sent a text to my mother telling her my plans and how I will miss her. Then she called me. She did not have pity on me. She said, “Who are you to take your life? Did you give it to yourself? Do you know that you are very selfish by thinking only about yourself? Why don’t you think about why you are here and what you should be doing for others? Don’t you know this is the time to draw near to God?”

It was then I heard a voice in my spirit telling me, “You have invited the spirit of depression (first time of hearing the word). It has no place in you. You have to send it out. But there can’t be a vacuum in you. You need the Holy Spirit in you to help you send out the spirit and let Him help you bear His fruit.”

I reluctantly started a 1-hr prayer of worship every day. Creflo Dollar’s study notes helped me to learn more about the unconditional, unfailing love of God and how to overcome fear. Podcasts from Joseph Prince Ministries helped me understand who I am in Christ and what it means to be loved by God. Joining the children’s church helped me remove focus from myself and show love to others. Attending church helped me to pray in the spirit and make declarations concerning my life. My countenance became one full of joy. I had favour and made more friends as a result.

Believe it or not, about 30 days after this, I got a breakthrough in my life after waiting for years. That is why I can boldly say that prayer changes things. If I had taken my life then, I do not think I will be alive to say, with boldness, that there is God and He is Almighty. He is love and faithful to His word.

I am sharing this post specifically to someone going through a very low period of his/her life, who feels he/she is at the point where life seems meaningless. Maybe you have got to that point where suicide seems to be the only way out. I want to tell you today that God loves you so much and does not want you to cut short your life. Your miracle is too close for you to give up now. There is hope for you here on earth. Please say the prayer below. If you want me to pray with you and talk to you, please send your number/email to my email address ( I will reach you wherever you are and whatever time is convenient for you. If you know someone going through such a time and needs help, please share this post with them or give me his/her contact details.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love towards me. I am sorry for thinking I own my life and should do with it as I please. With the authority in me as Your child, I rebuke that spirit of depression in the name of Jesus. I receive Your peace and joy today. I submit myself to Your will. Give me strength for each day. May I experience an added sense of Your presence in my life. May Your Spirit work in me to bear fruit to Your glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.

The post for Infant Step Series will be scheduled for Wednesday, 9AM West Africa Time.

Remain Blessed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

God Bless Nigeria Church and My Experience At Marakana

When we were told that we were going to evangelize at Marakana in Ajegunle (Lagos), I did not know what to expect. I was not scared. I just wanted God to teach me things by making me meet with other people, and probably use the opportunity to reach out to someone. Below I share my experience / point of view of meeting 3 sets of people out of many. I left Marakana with a different perspective to life and a decision to be thankful to God every day of my life. I say that I am privileged to be where I am today, and with what God has blessed me, I must use to bless others.

I wake up in the morning and worry about my fuel tank that is near half, about my job that is too demanding, about the generator that cannot carry the electric cooker or the bed sheet that is not soft enough. My experience at Marakana made me realize that there are people, human beings like me, who do not have food to eat. They do not have fire to cook. They do not have beds to lie on. They do not have cars to drive. They do not have livelihoods. And the churches, or whatever they are called, around them, have exploited them in the name of God. There are people who do not know that they can have a better life. Their mindset is limited. They do not know what to hope for. They do not know that they have purpose.

But what touched me was there are people who are sick, who are blind, who are deaf and able (previously referred to as deaf and dumb) that wake up in the morning to praise and worship God. They are thankful for life, and believe that God is able. I was humbled yet encouraged. Please find below my experience with some people.

Esther: She vigorously fanned the wood awaiting the first flicker of fire. She had been trying to fry her egg for over 15minutes but the fire was not lighting. I came to bring the Good News to her.
“Come and join me to church,” I said. “Today we came with doctors who have medicine for those that are sick.” I hoped that would lure her.
She laughed mockingly. “Will they test me for AIDS?”
“I am not sure about that, but maybe we can go and find out”.
She said nothing, but continued at the fire. It seemed she was getting upset with the fire for she had started murmuring. I offered to help but she did not accept. I was at loss for how to reach her.
“Will you come to church?” I asked again. She laughed. Final answer. I left.
How could I explain the Good News when she had no food to eat (and was scared that she had contacted AIDS)?

Case 2: They all lined up for their “breakfast” – Weed. Both male and female. Those that had taken their dose sat around the man who had the full basin of weed. They were all quiet and dazed. My companion talked about the church and the free medical services. From my point of view, it was as if they could not understand what he was talking about. “Church you say?” One of them managed to mutter. He sighed and went back to his “breakfast”.

The children that grow up seeing this every day, how can they know better if people do not come and tell them?

Faith: After a brief fellowship, we were asked to have a one-on-one with the people. I was assigned to Faith. Faith is a lovely, playful, “faithful” lady. She told me her story. The day she was born, her father was being buried. She has no siblings. She grew up with relatives because her mother did not have enough to raise her up. Her education ended in secondary school. She is a nurse and a hairdresser. She works hard. She came to know God through evangelism by members of God Bless Nigeria Church. She has a fiancé and plans to get married this year. We prayed together. If you hear her talk, every word that comes out of her mouth is filled with faith. Life and joy bubbled within her. “Are we going to see Pastor Tony today? The tall Pastor?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied. She became very excited.

I was really encouraged by Faith and the others in the fellowship. These are people who live in Marakana but had chosen to be separate. It was evident that transformation had begun in their lives – thanks to the word of God and the work of God Bless Nigeria Church to reach out to them with the Good News.

I thank God for God Bless Nigeria Church (can be located at Onikan Stadium, Lagos). I thank God for those who accepted the vision, for those who decided to be partakers and for those who have made sacrifices to reach those places most of us will not. I have seen how people’s lives have been transformed from darkness to light, and from doom to purpose. Drug addicts, armed robbers, prostitutes, the sick, the incapacitated and the homeless have been reached by the church. God bless Nigeria. As we decide to change and make better a life today, in no time, we will see that many lives will be changed for the good of Nigeria.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

HE Saw Every Tear

HE saw every tear:
The ones that welled up
But did not pour
The ones that dropped down
But did not leave a stain
The ones that flowed
For hours unstoppable,
Yes, HE saw every tear;

HE saw every tear
Those that spoke of your joy
Those of uncontrollable excitement
Those of success and satisfaction
Those of the fulfilment of HIS Will;
Those that told of your pains
Those that followed fear
Those that were filled with anguish
Yes, HE saw them all;

Even those that flowed under sedation
Even those of the transient joys of addictions
All those tears of self-condemnation, self-defeat
HE saw those tears of confusion and hopelessness;

Every drop meant something to HIM
Every drop HE watched over
Every drop communed with HIM
Every drop was mirrored on HIM;

HE saw every tear
HE felt each one with you
HE did not choose any over another
HE never took HIS eyes off you;

HE saw your every tear
No one else has seen them all
No one else has felt them too
No one else knows where you're coming from
No one else knows the great places HE's taking you to.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. [Psalms 56:8, NLT]

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Testify Of God - God Is Faithful To Answer Prayers

Beloved EROLyrics Readers, today you will read the first installment of the Testimony Series (I Testify Of God) mentioned here. I hope you are blessed like I am with this testimony of God's faithfulness in answer to prayer. I could not leave any part of it out. If you have something to share, please feel free to drop me a message at

About Myself (Testimony Sharer chooses to remain anonymous)
I am a blogger. I am a Christian who came to know Jesus during my junior years in secondary school. I am married to the most adorable young man, and have been for a little over two years. I am young and independent minded and I have since discovered that life is nothing if I don't give it my all. There's no better way to serve God than to be the best that I can be in every sphere of my life. I'm comfortable with the person that I am but definitely not complacent. I have learnt that it is possible to enjoy where I am on the way to where I am going. I love to read. Books are on my list of top ten favourite things therefore it is no surprise that I equally love to write as well! I am working on becoming one of Nigeria's greatest authors.

What My Testimony Is About
My testimony is one of triumphant faith and restoration of glory. It is about God's faithfulness in answer to prayer and God's dedication to us when we act in faith, to bring to pass the desire of our hearts. This testimony is in no way conclusive because it is all still a work in progress but I believe in celebrating even little victories. After all, great victories are made up of a series of smaller ones.

Details of My Testimony
By the time I was getting married a little over two years ago, it was with the understanding that I would be moving in with my husband into a house that was built by him. The only problem I had with this arrangement was the fact that his mother was staying in that same house. He assured me that within 3months of our moving in, she would relocate to a city in the south-south part of Nigeria where she would be helping to take care of her own ailing mother.

After about six months, it became clear that this was not going to happen. The house was still under construction even though we lived in a portion that was already complete but we could not completely settle in until the other parts of the house were completed. We were staying in the guest bedroom since the master bedroom was on the side of the house that was yet to be completed.

To cut a long story short, living with my Mother-in-Law (M-I-L) was a study in extreme patience. I learnt that in the beginning she and her son (my husband) had a deal to purchase the land as a joint effort but after that he took over the main work of construction.

The work on the house cost him so much money that it was becoming a burden, but he was bent on finishing it so that we could settle in and begin to build our home. This was not to be because he and his mother constantly quarreled. There was no end to the complaints and the fights. Family members often came to arbitrate their issues.

And just as I feared, I got drawn into their fights. I was accused of controlling my husband and preventing him from caring for their mother. This of course is not true. In one of her raves, she cursed our unborn children. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep. Even though my husband stood up to his mother, she proved to be too domineering. She later resorted to chasing the workmen away whenever they came to work on the house. She said she was not yet dead and we wanted to take over her property (remember that the house does not belong to her solely).

Resentment and bitterness grew in my heart towards her. I became rather withdrawn and there was hardly anything that could make me laugh. I fell sick often. My life seemed to be filled with gloom. My husband at this time worked in another city so I was alone most of the time. He visited home about twice every month, a few days each time. Many times I felt like packing my stuff and returning to my parents but I knew that was not wise.

My mother became worried for me and she often encouraged me. She had suggested that we move out of the house but my husband was not willing to let go of his huge investments. The house is a fairly large one with four bedrooms. Most of the work has been done leaving mostly finishing jobs like tiling the floors etc. So it was easy to understand his reluctance.

I prayed and sought God's face.

Through His word, I saw that I had sinned by allowing bitterness to enter my heart. I repented and asked God to forgive me and I forgave my M-I-L. I determined in my heart to love her no matter what because according to God's word, His love has been shed abroad in my heart. I also prayed that my husband would see the wisdom in leaving the house for his mother and starting afresh.

One evening, after yet another quarrel, my husband decided that enough was enough! I was overjoyed. He finally decided that we were going to leave the house, investments and all. They were not worth his peace of mind.

That was the first answer to prayer.

Now came the real challenge.

The company he worked for then had huge investments in the Niger-Delta region and because of the activities of militants coupled with gross misappropriation of funds the company was running aground. He was being owed salaries and allowances for close to a year. He had spent all his savings on the house and now we were depending on my own income solely which of course was barely enough to live on let alone take on other projects.

At the time the decision was made to move out, Hubby had resigned from his job and essentially spent most of his time at home preparing for a professional exam.

We needed him to get a new job, preferably in the same city where we lived and we needed to get a new place. We were specific about the kind of job, the position and the remuneration. We were also specific about the new place, the kind of building, the location, amenities, neighbours etc.

This decision was made in the month of May of last year and by June we started looking for our dream flat. The entire exercise would have been laughable if it hadn't been an exercise in faith. We met with several agents, went to look at dozens and dozens of flats which we didn't like because they did not fit in with our check list.

One day in September, we were driving through an area that looked nice enough for us and that was how we saw this building which was freshly completed. We knew this because workmen were still milling about the place. We made enquiries only to be told it was not yet for rent. We entered in anyway and took a tour and we were impressed with what we saw and immediately, we knew we wanted to stay there. We left our number with the supervisor of the site asking him to call us up once the building became available.

In October, the following month, my hubby got a phone call from a company to which he had applied earlier in the year and he was asked to come in for a chat. The result of that chat was that he was offered a job!!!

The amazing thing is this - they needed someone who had experience in the use of Project Management software. It happened that while the manager was clearing his desk, he saw my hubby's resume and his eyes fell on the portion that said he could use the software. The manager was amazed that he hadn't seen it before and demanded that my hubby be called in immediately. You would not call the meeting he had with them an interview because they merely had a chat and at the end of it they asked if he could start right away. He did not want to sound desperate so he asked them to give him 2 weeks.

He had been trained in the use of that software early that year around the time when he had made up his mind to resign from his old job. The training would have cost huge sums of money but he got some kind of grant to attend it at no cost. Little did we know that that training was going to pave the way for a bigger, better appointment. He had also had the intention of shifting his career focus from Civil Engineering to Project Management. Most of the other companies he had applied to didn't take him because they thought he had no experience. But this company was not only willing to take him as a young Project Management personnel but they put in place for him a program that would help him get enough training to perform satisfactorily on his job. He was offered a pay that was only slightly less than what we wanted, this would be upgraded upon confirmation six months after resumption. And the best part, the job is in the same city where we live!

Two weeks after we got the job, we got a phone call informing us that the flat was now available for rent. Perfect timing huh? Still we barely had enough money to pay for the rent and agency fees. The good thing though was that since he now had a job, we had access to certain funds that we would otherwise not have had. It is amazing the kind of favour we received as we sought to raise funds for the rent. In 2days, we were able to raise the entire money required. This could not have been anything short of a miracle! People offered to help us out even without our asking.

In November, we paid our rent and by this weekend, we would be moving into our flat. The building is brand new just like we asked for. The rooms are as standard as we desired them to be. The neighbourhood is relatively safe and accessible to our places of work. The roads are in good condition and the drainage is sound. We are close to two main markets so that shopping is a breeze. Our neighbours are young couples just like us and already we have started working together. We wanted nice and co-operative neighbours. We got exactly what we asked for and even more!

After two years, I can finally say I have come home. Our wedding gifts are yet to be opened, 2 years after marriage! They are still piled up in the corner of the store. This is for the simple reason that we had not yet settled down. I am overexcited!

My M-I-L I have left in God's hands. I know that in leaving that house, we have not lost anything rather we have gained everything. The God who supplied resources for that one, will supply resources for this one and the one we intend to build. Amen.

What I Learnt From This Experience
Through this experience, I have learnt that God expects us to love people even though they are unkind to us. My mother-in-law is one of the most difficult people I have ever had to live with. Her children bear witness to this and her husband left her because of this. She is overbearing, domineering and with an acerbic tongue. I am not saying this to put her down, I am merely saying it as it is. I am also not saying that my hubby and I are perfect people. We do have our faults and are quick to apologize when we are wrong.

My M-I-L's attitude towards me was not enough reason to be bitter and resentful. Indeed, I suffered a great deal because of this. But when I allowed the love of God flow through me to her, my world brightened up. All the gloom left. I felt healthier and lighter! I learnt patience because it took a lot for me to never talk back at her.

It is interesting to note that in recent times, my M-I-L and I have an improved relationship. When she talks to me now, I find that she has lost some of that bite in her voice. In spite of all she had done, I still buy her gifts and offer to do some of her laundry. Even though she is reluctant, she often accepts my gifts and allows me to help her with a few things. She probably notices that I no longer resent her.

I also learnt that God truly does honour faith. Faith does not mean standing idly by while we 'hope' that things will change. Faith means thrusting out and doing what we need to do to bring about change and the Lord will help us complete it.

We did not have money for a flat but we knew were going to get a flat and we set out deliberately to look for the flat of our dreams. When we found the flat, the money we needed for it came.

I also learnt that if we seek promotion then we must prepare for it. My hubby needed a career change (apart from the fact that he desperately needed a new job) and he took his time to study and train for the role. The training paid off eventually because when God's favour brought him the job, he was ready with the right skills to fill in the space.

Words To Anyone Going Through A Similar Experience
For anyone going through any of these things I would say have faith in God. Hold on to that faith and act accordingly. Every little act of faith opens the way for more acts of faith until we arrive at the destination which we seek.

Love is always the answer. I see that now and I pray that my heart will be open to receive more of God's love so that I can give more of it away.

Thank you.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Infant Steps: What do I do now with this relationship?

Beloved EROLyrics Readers,

Welcome to a new and blessed month. Covenant grace and peace be to you in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior, who reigns forevermore.

Today’s question on the Infant Steps Series comes from a lady who needs your candid advice as to what to do now with her relationship with her fiance. Please read her question below to get the details. I trust you will also share encouraging word where applicable. It is long but worth reading. Thank you.

Dear Rita,

I grew up in a Christian home and considered myself a born-again. I got into a relationship April 09 here in the states. The guy introduced me to a great church around his neighbourhood and through that church I was convicted by the Holy Spirit of my sins.

I lost my virginity 3yrs ago (now I'm 29yrs) because I was waiting for Mr. Right and was well grounded in God and focused on my studies and career. But I went back to celibacy. I was celibate for almost a yr and half before I met this current guy. Before we started we talked about our past relationship just to let everything out in the open and start on a clean slate. He told me about his relationships (even the ones in Nigeria since he's been here just 2yrs) and also his American ex girlfriend which he told me all ties were broken.

One day he approached me sexually and I was so unwilling and told him that I do not want to engage myself in such behaviour because it separates me from approaching God, it made me lose confidence to do my type of job and its only through the power of the Holy spirit that I can stand/talk with boldness. He assured me that he really want to be serious with me. I was so naïve and so gave in on the next pressure saying to myself that he would be my future husband.

After 3 to 4 months into our relationship calls were coming into his phone which he never picks up when I’m around. One evening I picked up his call in his presence and gave it to him innocently. Seeing how reluctant he was I became afraid later realized it was his America Ex. I was completely mad. He assured me that all was over between them though I saw some deceit in his eyes and his discomfort. Three months went by, our bond got stronger.

Then one morning, I decided to pay him a surprise visit (after I left his place 2 nights before). To my surprise I caught his Ex naked on his bed! I was very hurt and disappointed. I tried to leave but he fought me so very hard until his Ex was ready to leave. I was sympathizing with her because I saw the brokenness in her eyes. I felt so betrayed and wondered how a man I attend church with, pray every other night with and preparing for the future with could do such a thing to me. I thought he wanted a serious committed relationship that would lead to marriage. I cried when I get out of bed and cried to sleep. I finally accepted that this is the punishment from God for my disobedience/sins.

Every evening when he gets off work he would stay downstairs and bang on my door for hours (most night it was snowing & freezing outside.) After about 2wks I let him up because I was ashamed of what my neighbours would think of me and mostly because I had pity on him and still love him. From then on, I gradually opened my heart back to him and FORGAVE him. Forgiveness I believe that God's hands was involved because He took all the bitterness & angry thoughts I cook up every day in my heart and re-instated love. I showed him pepper but stopped the instant I was convicted in my heart, which also changed the way I talk to him.

We later prayed intensely and we agreed that we can never sleep with each other again (but we failed). The following month, (i.e. one month after the incident) he proposed and I rejected because I felt it was too early to jump into marriage with him after the incident. I needed to go back to the Lord and seek His face. After another 2 weeks to a month of pressure from him, I accepted after soliciting the advice of my siblings/few others (although one of my sisters was strongly against him) and prayers (of which I'm not sure I prayed enough) however NOW WE ARE ENGAGED!

Most times I wonder if he proposed because of what happened or the fear of losing me or the shame he would bear if his family asked him what happened between us. I wonder if God can transform him. I wonder if he is being completely honest with me. I'm seeking God's face through serious fasting NOW. Fasting has enabled me to see how I have allowed my flesh to reign. The Holy Spirit is dealing with me with love and pruning. Now I know that God mercy is truly GREAT!!

Since we've been engaged we have had two episodes of drama and argument surrounding the incident. The recent incident he asked if I was fed up with him and I answered YES. Deep in my heart I still love him and am asking God to please take away this love if He does not want me to be with this guy. I do not want to live an eternity in tears and heartache nor do I want to walk away from him if God has destined us to be together.

I need so much help and advice,


If you have any questions you would like to discuss on the Infant Steps Series, please drop me an email at or leave the question as a comment in any of my blog posts.

If you want to view past questions and answers on the Infant Steps Series, please check the list on the sidebar right of the blog.
All posts on the Infant Steps Series will be posted on Tuesdays, 9 AM West Africa Time. I had to put this up before Tuesday because the question went unattended for quite a while.