MY SEX STORY


In 2009, we met at a firm that handles stationery. We worked as a team, serving in the same department, sitting on the same table and doing almost everything together.

Before we became close, we fought. We fought for a chair, she wanted to use the comfiest chair and I wanted the same thing too. We fought with words, we dragged the chair but I overpowered her. She felt terrible and ashamed and I was touched by the expressions on her face. I gave her the chair, she refused to accept it. We never talked to each other even at the close of office. Being very emotional, I wasn’t myself…. Not because she meant anything to me but because the expression on her face showed she was very sad and I was that kind of person who likes to put myself in the shoes of others. I couldn’t sleep at night, I didn’t have her phone number as I would have called to say that I was very sorry.

The next day, I came very early to the office; swept everywhere, took the best chair to her corner and prepared her part of the table. It was around 7:55 am that she walked in, she didn’t greet me but I spelt out her name in a manner I had never done before

“Mercy” I called out, she stood for some seconds and turned back to look at me. She didn’t say anything; she just went on looking into my eyes with ambivalence. It was easy to notice she was just forcing herself to be hard on me, inside of her she was smiling. I continued “I am sorry about yesterday. I never really meant to make you feel bad. I just didn’t want to be the coward. Other colleagues were watching us.”

“Well,” she smiled “don’t mind me… It did not get at me that much. I was only faking it” She said coming closer and taking hold of my right hand. I felt something and I liked the feeling.

That was the beginning of our friendship. We became very close that we started talking about private things. She told me lots of stories about her past relationships; she told me how her heart was broken and how she was able to find healing. Before I knew it, I was dialling her at nights and early in the morning just before we would meet at the office. I was becoming obsessed with her and I started sending innocent but very lovey-dovey messages.

Our closeness was no longer a code, the boss became aware, the entire staff including her crush became aware too and I started having issues with practically everyone. One fine Sunday evening, the director called me on the phone. He told me how much interest he had in Mercy, he said he tried to get her sleep with him but he surmised I am the reason she is rejecting him. He asked me to stop talking to her until he is done with her but I never considered that, I even warned him over the phone not minding my job would be terminated. As days passed by he tried so many tactics to insulate her from me but it never worked and most times I would quarrel with him in the public. People wondered why I suddenly loosed respect for a fifty-something-year-old man especially with the fact that I was always quiet, but they never knew what has been going because we all kept it hush-hush.

My male colleagues also started having problems with me! They said I monopolized Mercy and made her unavailable to them. Truth was that I did nothing to Mercy, I never asked her to stop talking to people and we never even talked about it. I remember she told me a story about how one of the staff set her up with the director’s driver and wanted to sexually abuse her but she escaped.

Mercy was a very pious Roman Catholic while I was a faithful Anglican then. She belonged to so many societies in her church and she even made me visit the Roman Catholic Church for the first time in my life. I have always known the RC from books and videos but this time, I saw myself in their midst. By being engaged to a local assembly, one would expect a high level of morality from her. At that time, I was still naive and would scream if I was told a serious Church member did something immoral.

One exceptional Saturday afternoon, I was sealing some cases when she called for my attention

“George, can we discuss something very serious?”

“Of course” I smiled still concentrating on my work

“Hope you don’t get angry with what I am about to say,” she said, I had to turn and look into her face so that I can be sure if she meant what she said but she did

“Only God knows what you want to say but I don’t see reasons why I should be angry,” I told her

“Have you ever dated before?” she asked me

“I haven’t… I have always wanted to but never dared to approach anyone” I disclosed

“I see… I am a lady and there is something about us I want you to know” she paused and continued “we don’t believe someone truly loves us if he doesn’t prove it.”

“Really?” I asked amidst laughter “How do you mean?”

“I mean… Not that we are sex-hungry but when you claim you love a girl, she expects you to make some sexual advances. Even if she declines it, she smiles in her heart knowing she is the one you want. I am not asking you for sex, we aren’t dating anyway but am just trying to show you how you can prove that you love someone in case you enter a serious relationship later.”

I couldn’t believe my ears but I tried controlling the shock. It was my first time having such a conversation. My body stood still, I was stimulated and my mind started digressing from one fantasy to another. I was one of those persons who were virgins not simply because they are strong against every form of temptation but because I didn’t mingle with some friends, there was no opportunity and sometimes because we were scared to make that move. I had a feeling that this was an opportunity but how can my mouth even say to a woman “let’s have sex?” I don’t even know how to put that nor do I have the right words to use till date.

She was waiting for my reply but I was short of words. I managed to act as though I was normal

“Ermm, Mercy… I’ve heard you… I will think about what you have said. Perhaps, I am reserving myself for that person because as it stands, nobody is there yet. I don’t see why I can engage in a sexual act with someone I am not sure of holding on to the future” I said.

“Sex is not a terrible thing. You need someone that satisfies every part of you. Even God understands that… As a woman, I understand it too… You just need one person and not two!”

I felt she knew what was going on with my body, maybe she knew my body was strange to me at that point and perhaps that was what she wanted. Our co-workers were in the other room folding stationery materials and had no slightest idea of what was going on. She cat-walked closer to me with a fixed look into my eyes.

“It’s time… I will be going home” she said. I didn’t know what to say, or what to do but I only smiled at her to show that everything was alright and she added “tomorrow is Sunday, my parents and siblings travelled and they are not coming back anytime soon… It is going to be a long and lonely day for me”

“Eeeyaa” I struggled to say “it is well”

She picked her bag, waved at me and started leaving the office. I must admit, I felt this was an opportunity to explore a part of me that has been a mystery to me. At that time, I had never hugged, kissed or even held a woman’s hand by myself before. What about now? You want me to tell you?

That night, I didn’t call her on the phone as usual. I didn’t know what to tell her but I was feeling terrible. To help myself, I decided to get a book and start writing down whatever I was feeling! So many voices were in my head, one was saying “this is an invitation for the so much desired sex! You’ve helped her in several ways and perhaps she wants to pay back”, another voice was saying “this is just an opportunity knocking on your door… Don’t be a fool” but my heart was saying “No, this is not good. You are not ready for this, this isn’t the right time.”

It was Sunday morning and I never joked with attending Church services at Amazing Grace Anglican Church then. Ordinarily, I would go to Church with my phone but this time I didn’t. I deliberately switched it off and left for Church, I knew what I was avoiding. I stayed for the English service, the boring Igbo service and still stayed back for YAC fellowship that usually starts by 2 pm. I was hungry because I stayed in Church from 6 am to that point but I didn’t want to go home, I didn’t want to get anywhere near my phone because I wasn’t sure what would happen if I switch it on. Just a flash would be enough to convince me!

The fellowship ended by 5 pm and I decided to also stay behind for evensong. I went back home in the night to receive slaps from my dad for spending the entire day in Church… Finally, the day was over. I had won!

The next morning, Mercy entered the office looking mean. I wasn’t sure what was wrong but with her cold response to me throughout the day, I suspected I might have done something wrong to her. The bond we had started loosening up and it wasn’t long, she decided to quit the job.

She was a satanic agent, right?

She was sent from the pit of hell to destroy my destiny right?

I would have been possessed by seven demons if I had slept with her?

She wasn’t satanic, she was just being human.

I missed her presence in the office; the office became less fun to me especially since I was not in talking terms with the entire staff and even the boss. She stopped picking my calls and never replied to any of my messages. The day she did, she said “George, you have to stop calling me now… Things aren’t the same anymore. I like you, I will not forget you my entire life and you are just one kind of person any woman will want to be with but right now. But, I think it’s best to leave you alone. Please, stop calling me. I won’t be able to explain but just know that I love you and never meant to hurt you.”

That was the end, I felt bad but I just believed it was all happening for good.

Four years later, I was appointed as a President of a youth ministry in my church and I was part of a camp meeting planning committee. I was appointed to lead a delegation to a certain Church where I’d be speaking to the congregation and encourage them to be part of the Camp meeting that would be coming up shortly. When I came to the stage to speak, I had only talked for a few minutes when I saw a young woman at the gallery; she was carrying a baby and was heavy with another pregnancy.

It was Mercy!

She was just staring at me, she just couldn’t believe it, it was written all over her face. I tried my best to avoid her stares and the past came flashing back. It seemed like I heard those things she told me reechoing in my head but this time I was grateful to God that I never gave in at that time. Being the kind of person I am, I would have felt uneasy right there on the stage. There was no room for the devil to make me feel guilty and at that time I had not known so much of what I know now concerning God’s grace and being free from a guilty conscience. I would have stammered all through and would probably get booed out of the stage.

Right there on the stage, I also discovered how meaningless it is to share some intimacy with random people. What if we had sex? She would still leave me to get married since there isn’t any probability of her waiting for me to become a “husband material.” 10 years after, I am not yet married! With the very limited knowledge I had then, I just wouldn’t have communicated effectively to the young people there. Her stare would mean judgement to me!

I was very comfortable to say to her hearing “invite your young ones to come for our camp meeting, they are safe with us.” Do you think she would have trusted me with her young siblings? Do you think she wouldn’t think I may likely explore any opportunity I get for sex? I feel that people shouldn’t judge us for our past, however, anytime we make certain mistakes, we give people more reasons not to trust us. It takes maturity to some extents to separate people’s past from their present. As much as God has no issues with us, people may have some doubts about us even if they were our partners in crime.

I didn’t explore the opportunity I had with her, not because I didn’t want to, not even because I was more morally right. I believed that whatever reason that made me win over that situation didn’t make me better than her or anyone else. As much as I don’t regret fleeing the temptation, I also believed she was just being human. Perhaps, I can understand it this way: I was being tempted with what was natural. Right there on that stage, I was encouraged at her sight. Somehow, I became an example to her.

The future is broad, any bad decision you make today can follow you into the future and any good decision you make today can also help your confidence tomorrow! Opportunity is not a justification to do certain things. Before you do something, ask yourself again “do I have control over my emotions or is my emotion controlling me?” My emotions controlled me for a while but I had to put it under control.

However, the ability to overcome certain temptations don’t make us better than anyone else! Where she is strong, I might have failed and where she is weak I might stand strong.  It had nothing to do with me being better than her, I was not! However, the ability to overcome certain temptations don’t make us better than anyone else! Where she is strong, I might have failed and where she is weak I might stand strong.

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SEXUAL ABUSE & VICTIM BLAMING | The Misconceptions


For anybody whose, once normal and everyday life was suddenly shattered by an act of sexual violence– the trauma, the terror, can shatter you long after one horrible attack. It lingers. You don’t know where to go or who to turn to…and people are more suspicious of what you were wearing or what you were drinking as if it’s your fault, not the fault of the person who assaulted you…We still don’t condemn sexual assault as loudly as we should. We make excuses, we look the other way…[Laws] won’t be enough unless we change the culture that allows the assault to happen in the first place.

– President Barack Obama, September 2014

Everybody is responsible for what they do, nobody is responsible for your lack of self-control. If you don’t have self-control, you don’t have it. You cannot control what appears before your eyes, you cannot control what happens around you to some extent but you can control how those things get at you! Your reactions to life can only be governed by you and not by external forces. Let me narrow this down to how we often make victims of sexual abuse of any kind take up the blame for the evil meted out on them.

A rapist is a rapist, nobody turned him or her to a beast, they abuse people simply because they are evil and they are evil because that is the life they have chosen to live. They look at every given opportunity to pounce on the vulnerable and take advantage of them. Why on earth would you think that dressing and “green light” is what makes rapists rape? Does it even make sense? Whether someone was all over you or not, it justifies rape in no way. It doesn’t matter how close someone got to you or how you got charged emotionally and sexually by someone’s presence. We always have a way of blaming the victim rather than condemning evil and bringing the perpetrator to book!

You don’t take ice cream from the hawker without paying for it no matter how inviting it is and no matter how the seller says “should I get you one?” When you take it without paying, you may get a jungle justice! If someone looks inviting, and you must have sex with her, why not man up and tell the person what you want? If they refuse you, then you are only assuming that they were inviting you. I don’t understand how we face victims of abuse and say to them “well, I am sorry that this happened to you. But what were you wearing? Did you ever got close to him in any way?” How about fathers who sexually abused their girls? How about Aunts who abused their younger nephews? How about office bosses who abused their secretary?

No matter how naked a woman walks on the road, even if she walked naked into your room, you are responsible for how you control yourself. If you must have sex, there are lots of people out there willing to give you their body for a small fee! Why not go enjoy yourself with people who are willing than force yourself on someone else? I get very sad when people come up to say things like “but you have been giving him green lights and that is why he raped you.” So, rape can now be justified based on the victims’ closeness right? If we want to address indecency, carelessness and other things, we should straighten up and address it but trying to sound a bit defensive on behalf of rapists makes you just the same thing with those rapists.

It pains me when we make victims feel that they were responsible for the wickedness meted out on them! It’s like saying that rich people are responsible for the robbery or kidnap they experienced simply because they had money and flaunted it. We have made it seem so evil that a sister visited a brother! As much as I always encourage people to be cautious of who they visit and how they visit them since our society has gotten even worse, I can never in no way want to justify rape by any slightest means using how frequent a lady visited a man! Are there not men who raped their wives’ sisters and cousins?

No matter how seductive a woman looked, if you want to satisfy your lust and she willingly gives you her body, it is your business and it doesn’t concern me. But, if you had made the request and she declined you, leave her body alone! There are prettier and more endowed people who are ready to satisfy your lack of self-control. How did we arrive at telling some girls “well, your short skirt made him rape you!”, how did we get to that point of making ladies or rape victims feel they were responsible for the wickedness of another man?

I understand it when we say “don’t visit a man alone so that you can stay on a safer side.” “Put an eye on your children’s relationship with the elder ones because the world isn’t safe anymore…” I understand so well when we encourage people to take cautions but when we start sounding judgmental like “weren’t you the one who has been feeding his lust?” then we are missing the whole thing! That I showed you how much I have in my bank account isn’t a justifiable reason to rob me, that I was walking on the streets with a gold watch isn’t a justifiable reason to cut off my ankle! Yes, I might not have to wear my gold watch to every place because I am being cautious but if I do, I shouldn’t be blamed or made to become responsible for another person’s irresponsibility.

In case you don’t know, the data available has shown that most sexual crimes occurred to victims wearing various kinds of non-revealing outfit including snowsuits! Housemaids, unkempt women and young boys have been sexually abused! No matter how rapists try to use dressing as an excuse, it has never been the reason for their crimes! Don’t try to transfer the responsibility of self-control from the perpetrator to the victim! It is not only wrong, but it is also wickedness on your part. Only people who have been sexually abused before may be able to understand better that dressing isn’t why they were raped! People are raped in their pyjamas, long flowing free gowns, people are being raped in the midnight when they had no appealing makeups!

According to a research by Robert R. Hazelwood, a special agent in Behavioral Science/Research Unit Quantico and Janet Warren, Institute of Psychiatry and Law University of Virginia Charlottesville

“The majority of the sexual attacks (55-61%) committed by these men were premeditated across their first, middle, and last rapes, while fewer rapists reported their crimes as being impulsive (15-22%) or opportunistic (22-24%).”

Most rapists premeditated their actions which has nothing to do with arousal as a result of what they saw! And most sexual abuse victims weren’t abused by strangers but by people who have observed them over time. It could be relatives, neighbours, friends and even leaders! Fewer rapists raped because they found an opportunity to rape. If dressing is why a woman should be raped, why are prostitutes not being raped in their brothels? The relationship between dressing and rape is a myth! While certain dressings may invite unwarranted sexual advances, people who rape don’t rape as a result of dressing and people’s attractiveness have nothing to do with rape most times.

When people say “no” to sexual advancements no matter how they have appeared inviting, they should be left alone! No victim of sexual abuse should be made to feel responsible for another person’s wickedness and lack of self-control. By making rape victims responsible for crimes committed against them, we are building rape-culture and we are absolving sexual abusers and making them feel good about their crimes. Somehow, we are also shutting victims up and we are indirectly saying to them “you caused it, you deserve it!”

GRACE | The Jacob Experience


When we talk about God’s grace, calling those who weren’t worth it “sons and friends” (John 15:15) and bringing us into union with him, I am always reminded of the story of Jacob. The story of Jacob is one that we would revisit always to understand how we are justified and blessed. Jacob isn’t a man you would want to do business with, he isn’t that person you can trust with your life because he isn’t just deceitful, he does it creatively. By human standard, Jacob doesn’t qualify any good thing and he is supposed to be punished by the law of karma.

When I was a child, I would read the story of Jacob and get a bit upset. I didn’t like the fact that Esau was shortchanged despite his efforts, I didn’t like the fact that Isaac called Esau specifically and demanded his games! It isn’t as though Isaac wasn’t aware that there was other livestock around, he just wanted to eat of Esau’s hunting. I felt maybe, there would be a reverse of the blessings and a curse instead upon Jacob for being deceitful. It would have served as a great moral lesson! God never saw it that way. In God’s perspective, Esau was immoral!

Jacob appeared to be very unloving and uncaring, we see a scene where his elder brother came back from games and was very hungry. Even if Jacob was so wicked and selfish, he would have demanded a share of the game in exchange for the food Esau was requesting. Esau was desperately hungry and was willing for any “fast food” he would access. Jacob, seeing his desperation took advantage of him and requested for his birthright!

It was easy for Esau, there was no written record after all and Isaac wouldn’t be careless enough to will his properties to Jacob. Of what use was the birthright anyway? Esau gave him his birthright verbally, feeling it was nothing! Jacob was known as a deceiver, it was obvious to everyone that had any dealings with him and somehow he even had spiritual edge and backing! While escaping from his brother after he had deceitfully taken the blessings meant for him, he ran to his mother’s village and would still scam Laban of almost everything he had.

The question is, why did Jacob had it all easy for himself? Esau was more adventurous and he had so much strength in him. He was his father’s favourite but unfortunately, there are certain things we can only access by grace and favour, this was the edge Jacob had. God had chosen Jacob over Esau, this is so that He can display the extent His grace can go in accepting people regardless of their flaws. God had chosen Rebecca to be Isaac’s wife so that through her, He would facilitate His plans. Rebecca knew what was at stake if she allowed Esau take that blessing since she had received the revelation beforehand!

Isaac loved Esau, it was on Esau that he had wanted to pour every one of his blessings! He preferred Esau’s games over the livestock at home. When he had requested Esau to go hunt games and prepare them for him to eat and bless him, Rebecca who loved Jacob called him, prepared a lamb and dressed him with the skin of that lamb. From the human point of view, Isaac was deceived but from God’s perspective, it was a divine orchestration. Nature didn’t qualify Jacob but God qualified him!

Isaac was expecting Esau and not Jacob but Jacob came in the covering of the lamb. He still had that voice of a very deceitful man, nothing changed about him! The only difference was that he was under the covering of a lamb that was slain! His voice couldn’t stop him from accessing all the blessings Isaac had in store. Isaac couldn’t postpone the blessings, as long as he was feeling something that looked like the skin of Esau, as long as Jacob had that skin on his body, he received all of the blessings.

Jacob needed not to do anything but enter the covering of the lamb to access that blessing. It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but God’s mercy (Romans 9:18). God had chosen Jacob and when God has chosen someone, nothing will change His mind. Later, through the lineage of Jacob, a saviour would come and all men would be reconciled to God through Him by faith.

This is how we have come into union with God. The Israelites were the ones regarded as God’s chosen people, the gentiles were dealt with as people without God. However, by approaching God in the covering of Jesus, we became accepted because God isn’t just feeling us or seeing us, He sees Jesus in us and He treats us as Jesus would be treated. God worked it intentionally, to reconcile all men to Himself. The Bible says in Galatians 2:20

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Just like Jacob, we can now approach God with boldness, He can reach out to us and call us “my Son with whom I am well pleased!” It has nothing to do with what we did, it is not about our past. Jacob had a change of name, not because he became sorry for everything he did nor was he willing to restitute. He was qualified for a change of name because of the blessing and the fact that God had chosen him. Concerning us, the Bible says in 1 Peter 2:9

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

We are accepted of the beloved, we may have been physically stained with years of prostitution, adultery, cultism, stealing and so on. Our identity may have been linked to our mistakes but God sees us differently the moment we enter into Christ who is the rest the Bible talks about. We may all be struggling with certain addictions, we may still be rising and falling but because we are in Christ, we can approach God. While the accuser may say “but this is a prostitute”, God is saying “I see Jesus, this is my son!” This has been God’s arrangement from the foundations of this world. The Bible says in Ephesians 1:11

“Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.”

No wonder the Bible says we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings! God had given us everything that is meant for Jesus. We aren’t just a kind of Jesus, we have become one with him, we are the body of Christ and God is giving us the treatment that can only be given to Jesus. We have been accepted of the beloved and nothing can change God’s mind!

When Esau tried convincing his father, Isaac told him it wasn’t possible to reverse it, he told him that there aren’t any more blessings left. He may inherit some of the castles, he may inherit some of his father’s wealth but for the blessings? All of them had been given to Jacob! It doesn’t matter what people around us have, God’s blessings aren’t measured by material things! The blessings Jacob received wasn’t material things, they were spiritual.

Jacob got a change of name, the same way you have gotten a change of identity! Your past isn’t your identity, what you have been known for before you came into Christ isn’t who you are. You are God’s son in whom He is well pleased. The Bible says, in Christ, you are neither male nor female, you are neither prostitute nor thief! You are just like Jesus, to understand your identity, look to Jesus. The Bible says in John 1:12

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”

You have been given that wonderful right and therefore you have access! It got to a point Laban pursued Jacob to have a pound of flesh on him after it seemed Jacob had deceitfully taken all he had but guess what? Jacob belonged to God now, God stood in for Jacob. It didn’t matter what Jacob had done wrong, God stood in for him and asked Laban not to hurt Jacob. This is what God’s grace does in our lives, God is at peace with us, He sees us differently and as long as He sees Jesus on us, we are accepted. God’s acceptance is irreversible.

Just because Jacob came in the covering of the Lamb, Isaac only had one choice which is to bless him! Concerning the believer in Christ Jesus, the Bible says in Colossians 3:3

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Do you see that? Our life is now hidden in Christ forever and there isn’t anything God sees in us other than sons! In Christ, we have all become sons of God through our faith in Him. (Galatians 3:26).

Scripture Reference: Genesis 25-27

AskGeorge: Why Did Jesus Curse The Fig Tree?


Please, I’ll appreciate it if you can squeeze out time to attend to my question. I was doing a little study this night about the supposedly “BARREN” fig tree Jesus cursed in Matthew 21:19; everything seemed fine until I read the same account in Mark 11:13 and I became confused. My question is: “Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?” Matthew’s account gave us an impression of a fig tree that is BARREN but Mark’s account said it’s not yet the season for figs, and as such, the fig tree is not to blame. Sir, how do we reconcile the two accounts?

– Ebuka, Nigeria

We know that the Bible spoke so much with symbolic terms which makes it a bit difficult when we don’t understand what those symbols are pointing at. The fig tree that Jesus cursed was prophetic as the tree represents Israel. The Bible says that the fig tree was looking very green, healthy and promising but it still had no fruit. To understand what fruit signifies, we may need to look at what Jesus said in Matthew 7:16

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?”

Somewhere else in John 15:2, Jesus said

“He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”

Fruits here signifies character and the fig tree according to the story looked very fruitful from afar but had no fruit in it. Reading Mathew and Mark’s account of this story together gives us a better perspective. This fig tree represented the nation of Israel at that time, it represented their self-righteousness and religiosity which truly isn’t yielding the desired fruit God expected of a man. The Bible says in Jeremiah 8:13

“…there will be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the tree, and even the leaf will wither…”

Just like the religious leaders of those days loved to showcase their allegiance to the law in their ambiguous and pretentious “make-believe” ways, they make noise about their tithing and keeping of the Sabbath but Jesus said they ignored the main thing. Let’s read:

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” – Matthew 23:23

We must also note that the story of the fig tree happened within the same time Jesus went to cleanse the temple. Matthew and Mark account may seem to contradict each other because the account of Matthew has it that the fig tree was barren while Mark’s account had it that it was not yet the season for figs. Before we explain this, you must understand that the story of the fig tree was intentionally acted out by Jesus as a prophetic move. It didn’t happen as a coincidence, Jesus intentionally went to the fig tree, He acted it out because of what it represents.

When you do a close study on fig trees, they produce unripe fruits even before the leaves starts becoming very green. Whether in season or out of season, a fig tree full of green leaves is expected to have some fruits on it. That is why Matthew’s account termed it “barren” because it had no fruits even when there were green leaves on it. However, the significance of what happened was that Jesus came looking for fruit in a good looking, healthy tree and couldn’t see any. This represents God coming to look for fruits in His people who are part of the branches that Jesus talked about but couldn’t find any.

By condemning the fig tree, Jesus condemned self-righteousness of Israel with which no one can ever produce the desired fruit. In Romans 9:11-24, Paul also used the analogy of branches of a tree to describe how we have been saved by Grace while those who are bent on the law are hardened. By cursing the fig tree, Jesus cursed self-righteousness which the Bible calls a form of godliness and display of religion without power. Let’s see how the Bible puts it in 2 Timothy 3:5

They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

This was exactly the case of religious Israel at that time. Another way to put it is that Jesus indicated the fate of those whose source is the law which cannot truly sustain them. Paul referred to the law as the ministry of death and this was the case of the fig tree which Jesus cursed and it died!

It wasn’t the season for men to start bearing the kind of fruit that God expected because Jesus hadn’t died on the cross and the Holy Spirit which is God’s Spirit in us, working in us and producing Godly desires, had not yet been given. No one was born again at that time and no one was expected to bear the fruits of the Spirit! The Bible says in Galatians 5:22

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love…”

However, with the self-righteousness which they portrayed at that time and with the rejection of Jesus, they were simply saying “we don’t need help! We are self-sufficient! We are producing fruits…” They claimed to be producing fruits while they were not producing the fruits God desired of them. By condemning the fig tree, Jesus was showcasing the fate of those who believe that they can be saved by the law or their righteousness.

People can put up the uniform of religion, mask themselves with several rituals and ordinances, portray themselves as perfect people but there is only one way to truly be Godly and that is to believe in Jesus and receive the Spirit of God which is God’s way of making us be like Him even in character. When we have the Spirit of God in us, we begin to bear the fruits God desires of us.

Conclusively, Jesus only acted out the fate of a spiritually blinded people who still trust their self-righteousness and efforts for salvation. They can put up a form of religiosity, they can look righteous on the outside but they are spiritually barren because they deny the power which makes us Godly.

Blessings!

WHEN ABILITY MEETS PURPOSE


Years ago, at my very tender age, I discovered I could write. I realized that at any time I place my hand on blank papers I could write just about anything without prior preparations. I might have written a lot of crap those days but I was very sure that many of my mates were not able to write the least of the “nonsense” I wrote those days. At least, to the level of my knowledge at that time, I offered the best that my intellectual capacity would carry. It was something natural for me as I didn’t know why anybody couldn’t just write at that time. It was a talent that got better as each day progressed.

But it wasn’t clear to me yet why I could write, it was not clear to me why God gave me that ability. I got very better with time as I took baby steps but the ability in itself was there even though the purpose wasn’t clear to me. All my life, I never wanted to be addressed as a writer, I had a soft spot for other things but right inside of me, I was exhibiting creativity to some level.

Some years later, it got clearer. It wasn’t an accident, it was part of God’s divine plan for my life. I would imagine Him, forming me in my mother’s womb and saying “This is George and I am wiring in him the ability to write with ease and inspire a certain audience through the style of art I am giving to him”. I would write just anything I want to write, I would write romance and very core erotic stories but the purpose of that gift isn’t just to enjoy and communicate my fantasies, there is more to it! Not knowing the purpose doesn’t deny me the ability and sometimes, the devil takes advantage of our ignorance to use the abilities God has given to us for himself.

This is how it is for everyone! We all have diverse abilities which God has given us for certain purpose. It may not be significant in the eyes of men, it may not even make sense to you but by the time you align your ability to God’s will for it, you discover a dimension of that ability which no man had seen. God, speaking to Moses said to him:

“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also, I have given the ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you… They are to make them just as I commanded you.” – Exodus 31:2-11 NIV


God can fill someone with the ability to do natural and skilful things, God can also give one a unique spiritual gift for a specific purpose. But these things aren’t enough on its own to keep you running. Bezalel, son of Uri and other workers were given an ability from God by His spirit and Bezalel had received knowledge, understanding and wisdom which is the ability to apply knowledge rightly.

But as much as they had these things in them, God said to Moses “they are to make them just as I commanded you.” Notice, the statement doesn’t read “they will make it just as I have commanded you.” It reads “they are to make them just as I commanded you.”

Talents and abilities aren’t enough, they don’t indicate spiritual maturity. There is always a place of harkening to instructions and following guideline. With all the ability they had received, they weren’t functioning on autopilot. God uses men but men are also people of choice, as much as you have the spirit of God in you, you can decide if you should work by the leading of the Spirit or not. Maturity comes by obeying instructions, as we hearken to instructions, we are trained unto maturity. Children may have so much knowledge and even skills, they may learn computer programming at a very early stage but they remain children and must be properly guided, else their knowledge becomes destructive and useless.

In the things of the Spirit, no one ever gets to the peak of maturity. We mature every day as we walk with God but we never reach old age in God, we never know all there is to know about God because our natural mind cannot grasp it all at once. As much as we have received several abilities, we are to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. For as long as Bezalel and others were to make those things, they were to submit to the instructions of God.

Their gifts were given them for a specific purpose. As long as they use it for that purpose, there was fulfilment. Being gifted is not enough, God may have given you a special ability but possessing it isn’t an indication that you’ve arrived at the point God wants you to be. God’s gifting, talents and skills ought to be used in line with God-given instructions. God doesn’t give us gifts because He can’t achieve certain things without us, He gives us the ability because He takes pleasure in achieving those things with us.

Whatever we have on the inside of us takes up our character in its expressions. God may give you a special ability to sing and write songs but whatever you decide to do with that ability is what the ability will express! God may give you the ability to write but whatever you decide to do with that ability is what it will express. Two persons may be using the same kind of Smartphone, one would use his smartphone as an alternative to PC in managing his documents and another person may use his own as an alternative to the point-and-shoot camera in taking certain photographs! So, the phone assumes the character of the user, not necessarily because this is the vision or purpose of why the phones were made.

The ability God has given you will assume your character. If you want that ability to be used for the purpose for which it has been given you, you must be conformed to God’s word, you must walk according to God’s plan for your life. Satan gives no one ability, he only inspires them to use the ability God had already given them in adverse to divine purpose. Even if you had to study before you could learn a skill, it is God-given because the ability to grasp information and bring forth tangible results with it was pre-installed in you by God. Look at verse 6 of our Bible text, God said to Moses

Also, I have given the ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you”

Whatever ability it is that you have, it was given to you by God for a purpose and you only find fulfilment in using them for that purpose. We aren’t to act in arrogance because of our various abilities, Bezalel, Oholiab and others had these abilities beforehand and may not have known the purpose for those abilities till Moses got the instruction from God. Whatever ability we have, even when it isn’t clear to us on what God wants to do with us, we should use our abilities to the glory of God, we should serve others with it in humility. Many times, it is in the place of service that we discover why God gave us certain abilities. God said to Jeremiah

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

God made you for a purpose and the abilities He gave to you is for that purpose. Ability is not enough, being skilful is not enough but by harkening to instructions, by yielding to God’s word and allowing the Holy Spirit find expressions in us, we are aligning ourselves to God’s purpose for our lives. True success and fulfilment are found when ability meets purpose.

PODCAST: ETERNAL SALVATION | Noah and the Ark


Salvation is such a big deal in Christianity. When the subject is deleted from the Bible, then Christianity would make no sense anymore. The essence of the coming of Christ is to save us free from the demands of the law, to deal with the sin issue and to unite us with God.

However, the big question among Christians is “after we are saved, can God change His mind? Can we get unsaved because of what we might do wrong in the future? Are we saved forever or is there more to it?

In this podcast, we will be looking at the story of Noah and how God showed us His will concerning salvation.


Listen and download for free!

HOW SAFE IS YOUR BANK CARD?


This isn’t the kind of regular articles you read on my blog.

I read a post on Headstart Africa concerning how unsafe bank cards are and this may serve as an add-on to that. I believe we all need more information on how unsafe our cards maybe and the little steps we might take to keep it safer!

One day, I asked a friend of mine to help me with her MasterCard because I wanted to make some order from an international merchant website. As at then, Naira VISA cards weren’t working on most international websites because of a Central Bank Policy. She sent the details of her card to me and very early in the morning, I made transfers to her account and decided to proceed with my orders. I was expecting that her pin would be requested and I was expecting the banking system would generate a one-time security code which would be sent to her phone for authorization.

Guess what? The moment I keyed in her card details, I clicked on the “complete purchase” button and boom! It was successful. I made about six different transactions from different stores and she called me out of shock that morning to say that she got credits and then debits! Telling her it was me calmed her nerves!

Some years ago too, my brother received a debit alert of about forty-five thousand naira and when he rushed to the bank, nothing would be done about it. He got the alert very late on Friday night and was in the bank on Monday morning but 24hrs was enough! The transaction was made on an international website that sells ladies wears. After series of questions, he said he gave his card to a friend to help him withdraw and I said to him “afterwards, he probably won’t need your card to do what he wants to do with it.” He requested that the card be deactivated and till date, he never got a refund.

More recently, a friend called me to report that her mother’s account was debited of five hundred and seventy thousand naira. The alerts came in several smaller amounts till it rounded up to five hundred and seventy thousand naira. They didn’t recover a dime and it devastated them to some extent.  Why do these things happen and how can it be prevented?

HOW DO BANK CARDS WORK?

I understood how credit and debit cards work when I was making a research on how to clone sim cards. Don’t give me that look, I didn’t try it on anyone, it was for research purposes. The science behind bank cards is simple, it simply allows you securely access your account and make transactions instead of writing a cheque or queuing up in the bank for withdrawal. Your cards contain details and certain codes that can access your bank information and perform desired transactions.

Here are some things you must know and do to prevent loss of money!

1. YOUR CARD CAN BE CLONED

In 2014, the UK Cards Association reported that over 300 million pounds were spent using cloned bank cards.

Just like sim cards, the data stored in your bank cards aren’t safe on their own. The details on your card can be transferred to another card that has no information on it. So, you should be careful where you swipe your card or the restaurant and hotel staff you give your card to. The microchip on your card is where your bank information is saved and these things can easily be copied into the machine with which you swiped! In the case that after swiping your card you started noticing unauthorized activities in your bank account, you may need to quickly call your bank. There are some options for preventing cloning of cards which isn’t available in some countries. 

2. YOUR CARD DETAILS MAY GRANT ACCESS

All the stories I shared above happened simply because someone had access to the simple and basic card information. Depending on your card issuer, the card number and the CVV at the back of your card may be all anyone needs to initiate a transaction. So, whether you are giving someone your card to help you make a withdrawal or you gave a cashier your card to make a payment on the POS machine, the details can quickly be captured. When a cashier wants to go inside with your card, you have the right to protest because your card digits may be written down elsewhere and used against you.

You don’t have to give people your bank card to make withdrawals for you but if you must, give it to people you trust. Someone can take your card details and never do anything with it for a long time until you forget they ever had access to your bank cards. Ensure your card is safe with you, it is a personal belonging.

The 16 digits, Expiry Dates and CVV of your bank card may be enough to carry out a transaction.

3. INQUIRE ABOUT TOKENS FROM YOUR BANK

What is a token? In a more simple term, it is the same thing as having “two-ways authentication method” to be able to finalize a transaction.

Some banks ensure stricter security on the cards they issue while some don’t. Access Bank Plc in Nigeria, for example, activates a software token on your VISA cards to authorize any transaction being performed by a third party. This token comes in the form of OTP. Once you sign up for internet banking on your account, the settings are there by default. The last time I used ECO bank card, there was no such thing like authorization and I later learnt that many banks activate it for you on request.

You may either request for a token using your bank app or you fill a form in the bank. The extent with which these tokens protect your card transactions may also be determined by the services you allow it on. It may not be the same thing for every bank. Zenith bank, for example, will simply require you to activate software token from your bank mobile app while GTBank and First Bank may require you to fill a form.

Tokens come in the form of hardware, software or both depending on what your bank offers. So, you may also need to visit your bank’s customer care to know what works best for you as regards protecting your card. This is the best form of protection for your cards at the moment.

4. HTTP WEBSITES ARE BAD FOR YOUR CARDS

When you are making online payments, you should check whether the website you are visiting is secured. This means that the website must be encrypted, ensuring that the details you enter into it are not sent in plain texts. This means when you put in your card details, it is not saved in a way it can be read by the website owners, the webmasters, the admin, hackers or anyone who have access to the dashboards! They can use your card details to initiate further transactions. The website should have “S” after HTTP and that is not enough. You should also check if the green key that appears before “HTTPS” is locked, open or broken. If it is locked, it means it is secured! The image below shows what a secured website looks like.

The green colour means “safe” and the locked padlock means “data is transmitted securely”.

5. AVOID PUBLIC Wi-Fi FOR TRANSACTIONS

Free Wi-Fi can be very appealing! You may be in a hotel, an organization, a campus or a firm where free Wi-Fi is offered to everyone. It is nice but never listen to that voice asking you to perform all your transactions now that you have the opportunity. Public networks are not safe, hackers can use it to access your details. The reason is simple, someone set it up and other people are also connecting to it. It is easy for people to access your Smartphone or PC through public WI-FI. If you must connect to a public WI-FI, disable file sharing by every means and mind the sites you visit! Some Wi-Fi routers can be programmed to redirect to certain URLs.

6. DON’T TAKE IT LIGHTLY

In some countries especially in the Western World where the credit card is king, your card digits and the CVV is all anyone would need to access the credits. Many other countries activate other kinds of security to prevent fraud.

In some countries, your card issuer is responsible for loss due to fraud to some extent. You must report cases within 2 days – 60 days if you noticed unauthorized activities on your cards. If you report within two days, you may be responsible for up to $50 or $500 in the case of reporting within 60days. Aside from that, the remaining amount may take very serious processes to be refunded to you. In Nigeria, you may never get a refund! When you notice any unauthorized transaction, don’t wait to know if magic would reverse it! Report to your bank immediately as the earlier the better.

There are other times you may get a text message or calls claiming to be coming from your Bank’s customer care centre, requesting for your Bank Verification Number, Card Details and other security information with a threat that your account will be blocked if you don’t do so. Simply ignore those messages or visit your bank in the case of doubt or confusion.

7. YOUR CARD IS YOUR BELONGING

I have said this over and over again but I need to say it again. Your bank card is your belonging, it may not be safe even in the hands of the ones you trust with your life because other people close to them can have access to it. Regard your bank card as the key to your treasure vault as you wouldn’t be waving a key to your treasure vault in the public!

The above are a few ways you would be a victim of fraud and ways to prevent it from happening. Always remember, your Bank may not give you all these details if you don’t request for it or don’t research them yourself. Many Bank staffs are also not very informed on some of these security challenges. You must keep your account safe, it is your duty to keep your cards safe but there might be that time when carefulness is not enough and that is where you would need measures like talking to your bank about Tokens, smart chips and so on.

Before I forget! Many banks have suggestion and complaint box these days and you might also make suggestions for implementation of software tokens and stricter security on every single transaction (in case there is nothing like that in your bank). You never know how far your suggestion would go in adding voice to what is already obtainable.