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!

Advertisements

6 Ways Less Attention Keeps You Attractive


Yea, humans need a lot of attention, they want to be called, sent text messages and their pictures used on your profiles. In relationships, everyone wants to be regarded and treated special but what you also don’t know is that for many people, too much attention can become boring. They may not admit this because they fear they may lose the attention they get but if you also want to remain attractive, be ready to make people want you, learn to keep them in suspense sometimes, let also make efforts towards you.

You are eager to see some tips? Here we go!

DON’T GIVE GIFTS EVERYDAY

Many times I realized that people stop appreciating your gifts when it is coming so often like what they could pick up just anywhere. You can make people develop an entitlement mentality, in the sense that they feel “of course, he is supposed to get me a gift.” They may be happy with the gifts but it doesn’t surprise them anymore when it comes everyday! So, buy gifts less often so that each moment can count and be a surprise. However, each time you should give a gift, be creative with it. You don’t have to break a bank anyway!

 Gifts should say “I love you” and not “I am obsessed with you.”

CREATE ENOUGH SPACE

Until people also start missing you, don’t stop creating a healthy space. Sometimes, people don’t even know if they would ever miss you because you do not give them any space to breathe and be on their own. When you give people space, you are letting them know the special place you occupy in their hearts. This may not sound like what people want to hear, but, don’t always be there at all times when it isn’t necessary.

When you are always filling up space, they may have to start avoiding you and the attraction may suddenly burn out! Let them miss your presence, let them miss your attention and let them also have the opportunity to spill it out! You too need an assurance, don’t you? If you always check up on someone now and then, it may begin fine with too much excitement! But, a time might come when they begin to feel that you are too domineering, obsessed and creepy! They might have to start telling lies about their whereabouts. And, when people start to avoid you, whatever you shared with them is dying!

People appreciate what they also invest their effort into. Let them also try making efforts to come to you and they will value each time you share with them. You will appear desperate when you are always knocking on the door or bumping into her hang out with other friends. 

DON’T BUG HIM OR HER

Everyone hates bugs, they are very annoying! Indeed, they may complain that you don’t call often but a healthy amount of calls isn’t always enough and excessive amount kills the whole thing and make it boring; it is fine they keep missing you sometimes so that every call is worth it. Don’t flood their phones with text messages, calls and social media messages every second! Sometimes, if there isn’t any emergency don’t call few minutes or even hours after previous calls! Instead of asking “where are you? What are you doing?” at all times and for no reason, let them call you and complain that “you didn’t call me today…”

Text only sparingly!

Avoid making all your social media posts about him or her, avoiding trolling their posts and pictures! Aside from birthdays and special days, you should be yourself on social media without making her feel any sense of desperation. Don’t lose your identity for someone else in your own space. Let me tell you what desperation does, it makes them feel you are the one who needs them and they leave the entire task for you!

I never said you shouldn’t text! Texting is important; it is lovely but don’t increase the frequency and always make each text a surprise! Don’t rush to your phone when you feel they responded to your text or sent you a text. You know why? You need to make them keep missing you, flipping their phones here and there as they wait to read from you.

FEEL SPECIAL ABOUT YOURSELF

This is one big bonus I feel most women have over men, I may be wrong! But many women play hard to get even when they are burning inside of them emotionally, men seem to appreciate them more than they do to men if they fought to get their attention. You can turn the tables if you are eventually dealing with a lady who is attracted to you. Don’t make her feel unimportant but also don’t make her feel you are desperate. Even if you are, help yourself by pretending that you are not. You shouldn’t be desperate after all.

If a lady is attracted to you, don’t make your intentions known in a straight forward statement. Play around, speak in parables and show your intentions in your actions. It is natural; when it is too fast, it may die too fast but when it takes some time and some efforts, the appreciation gets better. Do you know what it means when you play a bit hard to get? It shows that you aren’t in a rush, that you value yourself and you can live without someone.

BE HAPPY WITHOUT ANYONE

You don’t go to the movies only when you are hanging out with someone. Live your own life and give yourself a treat too! Don’t lose your friends because a new person walked into your life. New people aren’t worth the sacrifice because they haven’t proven anything yet. Anyone can walk in at any time but not everyone can stay…

Give your time for yourself and others but never make anyone person have all of your time. When they discover that you are naturally a happy person, they would desire you more! Nobody wants to be with someone who is mean all the time!

Don’t enjoy your life just to show people that you are enjoying your life, be free with yourself, realize that you’ve got your family, classmates, office colleagues and so on in your life and spend time with them too! Let them come to your social media and realize that your life isn’t revolving around one person alone, let them realize that you are happy even without any special person in the picture and they will work even harder to make herself very relevant to you.

We train people to become toxic to us by making them constantly feel that we are useless without them or that our happiness is dependent on them.

DON’T PLAY GAMES

Playing hard to get doesn’t mean that you have to play games with people’s emotions when they truly mean nothing to you. People who play games only try to make others feel what they never meant, they want to make someone feel she is loved while she isn’t and they do this because they want to take advantage of someone even when they aren’t worth it. Playing games makes you less attractive, it may seem to be working at first but it destroys your integrity with time and can only get you desperate people who may not truly know what they want.

You can maintain your attractiveness by giving rooms for someone to also want you as much as you want them. Till then, you may be struggling to maintain what they found attractive in you. Make yourself uncommon and special!

Which of the points spoke to you? Let me know in the comment section.

#AskGeorge | “…I was raped three months ago…”


Greetings George,

Just finished reading “Raped at 17” from Okadabooks.

I commend your courage. I couldn’t control my emotions while reading the books, was reliving my experience all through. If only rapists know the pain they cause their victims, the world would be a better place.

I was raped three months ago, some weeks to my POP. I can’t seem to shake off the terror of opening my eyes in the middle of the night, only to find a masked man, holding a knife, in my room. If he had only taken my phone and money without abusing me sexually, I wouldn’t how felt that I lost much.

My greatest loss was losing my virginity to a man I can’t even identify after 27 years if keeping myself despite many temptations. After the incident, I felt that God shouldn’t have allowed it to happen since He knows how dear my virginity was to me. I felt that perhaps, God does not love me enough. The hardest part was pretending to sympathizers that I wasn’t raped and seeing them thanking God on my behalf.

Love, Nigeria


Dear Love,

I feel so bad about what happened to you, this world isn’t such a safe place especially when people are judged and criticized for telling their stories. I admire your courage to open up about what happened to you. We can’t turn back the hands of time to undo certain things that have been done but we can contribute our quota by exposing their tactics. I want to assure you that it was never your fault that you were raped, it was never your fault that you couldn’t fight and I don’t want you to entertain any sense of guilt or shame. You may indeed be going through certain kinds of trauma at the moment, it is also true that you might have at some times want to see where you went wrong but trust me when I tell you that you aren’t responsible for what happened to you. So, nothing should get you ashamed of yourself.

Let No One Judge You

Don’t let anyone or yourself judge you for what you weren’t able to do at that moment. For some people, their body system gets frozen in shock when they encounter such and it would be difficult to think out something at those moments. Those who haven’t experienced this will never understand and that is why they have no right to judge you. If there was any possibility that you could have stopped it, you could. But since you weren’t able to stop it, it was because you can’t.

Your Virginity Isn’t Your Beauty

Although you have lost your virginity to a rapist, it is not all that you have and I don’t want you to go on feeling that you have lost everything. You are more important than your virginity and as long as you still have yourself, you’ve got more glorious and rewarding days ahead of you. Don’t feel dirty, don’t feel you’re worth just little, don’t look down on your value. Let’s agree, you lost your virginity to a rapist but you never lost your beauty and your beauty or self-worth isn’t tied to your virginity. The big question is: who do you see in yourself? What do you see about yourself? Where do you tie your value? Beauty is what you see in yourself! 27 years of keeping your virginity cannot be compared to the years and years ahead of displaying your beauty.

Handle The Flashbacks

The memories will not disappear in a flash, you may always have flashbacks and very upsetting times but these flashbacks are normal but do not let it stress you. When the flashbacks come, you already know why and you shouldn’t panic. For some people, when they don’t find ways to calm themselves down they may become dangerously tensed. In these scenarios, you may have to hold your breath for a few seconds, exhale through your mouth, walk up to the mirror and tell yourself that you are good, clean and perfectly fine. Keep encouraging yourself until you’ve restored calmness. Do not resort to drugs or alcohol just to calm yourself because they are depressants and would have dangerous effects including a feeling of depression and suicide.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

It is also important that you don’t shut yourself off from people. Right now, people’s touch and attention might seem irritating to you, you may even never like to have anything to do with male folks but you must understand that these are feelings effected on you by the traumatic experience of abuse and rape, your body system is developing defence mechanism. However, reopen yourself to people, especially those you feel safe around, they aren’t responsible for what happened to you too.

Open Up To Someone You Trust

I didn’t want to tell you this first because it may not sound so cool to you. As much as you may not want to tell people that you are raped because of the stigma attached to it, it is not good to hide it. It sets you free, relieves you and makes you heal even faster. The reason why people don’t get healed is that they are scared to speak up, they feel they would be seen as dirty, they feel they would be judged and looked at differently but as scary as it seems, opening up is one way to freedom.

To open up doesn’t mean to tell the entire world or just anyone around you. You may not want to do what I did, you may not have to tell the world if you can’t bear it. I told my story so that people like you can discover you aren’t alone and open up about it. For now, you may only want to speak to people you trust, someone who won’t judge you and yet someone who won’t cry more than the bereaved. If you don’t think you have someone to talk to, you would talk to a therapist if you have access to one. Otherwise, it is okay that you have opened up to me and as we communicate you will surely find healing.

Don’t Feel Helpless

Don’t feel helpless. This is very important. It is in those feelings of helplessness that depression comes in and you see yourself giving up so soon. You are strong and you can convert this experience to strength just like I did! Reach out to people, help those you can help and let others cry on your shoulders! This is one way to reclaim your strength and cope with difficult times.

God Loves You Regardless

Now, let’s talk about God. Does He love you less? Did He allow these things to happen to you? Why didn’t He do something? I know one thing for sure my dear, bad experiences aren’t indications that God loves us less and it doesn’t even mean that those without such experiences are better than us. The Bible says in Romans 8:35,37

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”

You have overwhelming victory in Christ, He loves you more than you can comprehend! Some people experience worse things, some people are killed every day for no fault of their own but guess what? Even these people are loved by God. We are not in a perfect world, we have people with different personalities in this world, we have wicked men and good men in this world and everyone is responsible for their choices. The rapist chose to rape you and in a short or long time, he will be judged for it. You would be choosing to help others overcome their trauma and this way, you are letting God use you affect others positively. So you see? We are in the world of human and certain times what we experience are based on people’s actions and not God’s actions. God loves you regardless!

Let Nothing Steal Your Joy

There are other reasons to be cheerful and thankful, you’ve still got a life and you are an inspiration to several other people! You are the reason why other people will choose not to give up and live. Like my story made you realize that we can overcome these things, yours can save a whole lot of generations. You can still have peace in your relationship and marriage without your virginity. Purity is a condition of the heart as the Bible says “blessed are the pure in heart…” What is yours is still yours, a mere rapist hasn’t stolen anything from you!

Love, I hope to hear from you again and I will always be here for you. I also bring you greetings from Adaeze Dexy Onu whose words have also been infused into this response. A whole lot of persons care about you.

God bless you.

With love,

George O.N

#AskGeorge | “…I was molested while growing up…”


Dear Mr George,

Good evening. I just read your book titled Raped at Seventeen on Okadabooks, and I knew I was going to reach out to you.

My name is Mary by the way, and I was molested when growing up too, I haven’t been able to tell my family members about it and I agree with you when you say there are many incoherent things. Sometimes I sit and wonder what would have happened if I screamed or if I was simply bold enough to speak up.

Please, I need to know if you went through therapy because sometimes I feel I need to talk to a therapist.

I hope to read from you soon.

Regards,

Mary


Mary, I feel so exhilarated that you found time to read my story notably with the fact that you are just like me; in the sense that we went through child molestation while growing up. I understand you when you say that you have not been able to tell your family members, particularly when it would appear incoherent, no story of abuse ever sound coherent when narrated because many people don’t know such things happen.

I hope you aren’t being abused anymore by any means? Is there any sort of lifestyle which you don’t like that you have been exposed to? I will like to get feedback on this if you don’t mind sharing with me.

Many people don’t know these things happen and they would ask “why didn’t you shout? Who did you tell? Why did you allow him to touch you? What took you so long to speak up?” Most of these questions aren’t just raised out of concern, they are raised to put the blame on the victim and exonerate everyone else. However Mary, maybe I didn’t try so hard to muster courage and speak up and I will never use it as a standard or encourage others to follow suit. If it is something you can do, please speak up.

Although we may both have endured some degree of abuse, the way we manage it would be distinctive because we may differ in character, skills, background and activities. While I never met a therapist, I believe the degree of healing that I experienced started when I decided to forgive myself, admit it was never my fault and make up my mind that I wouldn’t let those ugly experiences change who I am.

Trust me, Mary, it may be hard to some extent but you will surely pass through it. You need to open up to someone you trust, it may be your family member, a teacher or a senior friend. But in any case, you are like me who wasn’t convinced to spill it all out to my family, you may want to pour out your heart on a diary. It mustn’t go public if you don’t want it but I have realized that we can pour some of our heart’s burden out it out on a book.

Just like you, I have always wondered what would have happened if I screamed, punched him or even stabbed him but then, I just couldn’t! So, I have stopped thinking of what I wasn’t able to do because not all of us are too strong to throw punches and scream. I believe that by writing my story, exposing this menace, inspiring people and making them see what they never knew was there, I am fighting even harder. I am fighting harder by letting Parents know that these things happen, by revealing the tactics of these predators and together we are all winning against child abuse!

Though I didn’t go to a therapist, certain activities I engaged in (youth organisation activities, leadership activities, writing and reaching out to young people) seemed therapeutic for me, it helped me greatly and also gave me an advantage that I can understand so well when someone confides in me about the abuse they went through regardless of gender. Writing my story did it for me too.

More so, as a Christian, I trusted Jesus so much which for me came with enormous spiritual advantage. I will encourage you to meet a therapist, it will go a long way for you. As long as you feel you need to talk to a therapist, you should go ahead. And in addition to that, trust God, don’t be alone, don’t feel disadvantaged and never believe you have a case that you can’t handle.

I will be glad to hear from you again anytime soon!

You are strong!

Get Raped At Seventeen

IS JESUS HIS NAME?


I have come across a lot of debates going among certain Christians and even the so-called “Reformers” as to what the name of God’s only begotten son is. Is His name Jesus, Yeshua, Isa or just another name? I wouldn’t want to delve into very deep Greek, Aramaic or Hebrew analysis and I also wouldn’t want to delve into any deep theological discourse because I can’t claim to be an authority in those aspects. However, common sense will help a lot here. What is His name?

In the Old Testament, when the Prophecy of His birth came, the Bible says in Isaiah 7:14

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”

The Prophecy revealed He will be called “Immanuel” and that is to say; people will behold Jesus and admit “Wow! We have God among us!” Immanuel doesn’t suggest “we have a type of God with us” but “we have God with us.” The begotten son of God is to be the identity of God among the people, a display of divine humility and of course, divine help. This doesn’t mean the name of the Son of God was going to be named Immanuel, it was only communication and a sign of Him being God in the flesh. This alone disproves any opinion that He is not God. The Prophecy agrees that it will be said concerning Him that “God is with us!” If we should explain in context, it is not talking about us having God’s backing or support but having God’s manifest presence.

When Jesus was born, the Angel said in Matthew 1:21

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

The argument about the name of Jesus starts with consideration from the original writings that had the name of Jesus as “Iēsoun” which is the Greek transliteration of Yeshua, a common alternative to Yehoshua from which Joshua became transliterated in common English. If He said “pray in my name”, people argue that we must have to pray with His name in its original form but I think this is where we miss the whole point of praying in His name.

When Jesus said we should pray in His name, He wasn’t asking that we form a ritual of saying “in the name of Yeshua”, He was rather meaning that we stand in the authority of who He is to pray. When I ask you to go to a mall where I am well known with a written document from me and make a demand in my name, you aren’t going there to say “give me some Cheese in the name of George I pray you…” The moment you make your order and show the documents that proved you came on my behalf, you are functioning in my name. Or perhaps, I gave you my credit card and asked you to use as much as you can of it, any transaction you make is made in my name. When a President of a country sends a representative to an occasion where he was invited, whatever the representative says there is credited to the president because whoever came to represent him came in his name.

So, we miss the whole point when the argument about the name of Jesus is based on the speculation that if we don’t mention “Yeshua” in prayers, then God will not hear us. Of course, the name given to Him by Mary is “Yeshua” but as languages continue to evolve, names will continue to adapt and be tone friendly with the evolved language. Joshua never used to be Joshua, Mary never used to be Mary, Judas, Jude or Judah used to be Yahdah! As long as languages evolve, names will change with it but it doesn’t change the personality.

In Nigeria for instance, Enugu is a transliteration of Enu-Ugwu which means “top of the mountain” but because of pronunciation problems in English, it was anglicized as “Enugu” and today it has become its official name because of the ease of pronunciation but it hasn’t changed the location to become something else. Enugu still refers to the location that used to be “Enu-Ugwu”. The same is to be said of “Igbo-Uzor” in Delta state which currently is called “Ibusa”. Igbo-Uzor means “Igbo people who are on the way” but for ease of pronunciation in English, it was transliterated to “Ibusa” in English. Some still call it “Igbouzor, Ibusa or Ibuzor” and it all refer to the same place!

This is the same way it is for the name, Jesus. Jesus is the English transliteration of “Yeshua” in Hebrew and “Iēsoun” in Greek. There is no “God-ordained” language as He communicates to people with languages peculiar to them. Our everyday interaction with other people around us keeps influencing our vocabularies. Today, we have the British English, we have American English and we have Pidgin English and other forms of English. The English language isn’t an ancient language, it developed from a dialect of the German language and have eventually become a global language. Languages aren’t permanent, they keep changing. Therefore, how we spell or pronounce things will change but what remains unchangeable is the person or object that bears the name.

For example, Okra which is an English name for a vegetable known as “Lady’s finger” originated from the Igbo language name for it which is “Okwuru”. Does that change the nature or taste of it? Does that change the functions? No. It changes nothing about it. In the same way, when we say “Jesus”, we are still referring to He who was named Yeshua or Iēsoun. It doesn’t change His function, He knows we are referring to Him just as different people know me by different names as “Onyedika, Onyedikachukwu, George, GracefulGeorge, GG and the rest.”

Certain conspiracy theorists argue that the name, Jesus was derived from the Greek god, Zeus. However, this argument doesn’t stand a test of time and should be dismissed as one of those theories that aren’t true but meant to confuse people and distract them. Zeus is an Indo-European god in the ancient Greek religion and the name is an ancient Greek word which refers to him as “god of the skies and thunder.” The argument is also as a result of the similarity between the spelling of “Jesus” and “Zeus” and pronunciation similarities when Jesus is pronounced with Spanish tongue. However, that two words sound similar doesn’t make them the same just as “address” doesn’t mean “a dress”, Jesus doesn’t mean “hail Zeus.”

So, how did the name Yeshua or Iēsoun suddenly evolved to Jesus? As the Bible got translated into the English language for easier access, so was all the names also translated to English. Every new day, the English Bible keeps undergoing revisions so that it can also communicate with the present-day English language. The English of today never used to be the same as the English of yesterday. Remember that the English language developed from a dialect of the German language with Latin influences and it has continued to change. This is why we have old English and modern English. For example, Godwin is an English name that may seem to mean “God is the winner” when considered with modern English but the name truly means “Friend of God.” Gladys may seem to mean “gladness” with modern English but it truly means Princess or lame when considered from the Welsh origin or “small sword” when considered from the Latin origin.

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and therefore a direct translation of Yeshua from the Hebrew word to English will be “Joshua” while the New Testament was written in Greek with Yeshua (a shorter form of Yehoshua) being written as “Iēsoun”. So a direct translation to English from Greek becomes “Jesus.” Both Joshua and Jesus have the same meaning but Joshua was written in Hebrew while Jesus was written in Greek and it reflected in the translations. We aren’t speaking Hebrew or Greek today and in the same way, we are calling the name of Iēsoun in the language that we speak today.

In older English alphabets, the J letter didn’t exist. Iēsoun used to be translated as “Iesus” in English. You would notice that the early King James Bible (1611) have “Iesus” instead of “Jesus”. The letter J was only differentiated from “I” around the 1500s but became general in the English land around 1630. That is to say that both the “i” and “j” sound shared the same “I” alphabet. The letter J is the last letter to be added into the English alphabet and was placed immediately after “I”. The Hebrew, “Y” sounds “J” which explains why all names that start with Y in Hebrew begins with J in English. For example, Yadah in Ancient Hebrew is Judah in English and Yehoshua (Yeshua) in ancient Hebrew is Joshua in English. This explains how languages evolve and how the spelling isn’t more important than the actual person or object being referred to. The Encyclopedia Americana has this to say

“The form of ‘J’ was unknown in any alphabet until the 14th century. Either symbol (J, I) used initially generally had the consonantal sound of Y as in year. Gradually, the two symbols (J,l) were differentiated, the J usually acquiring consonantal force and thus becoming regarded as a consonant, and the I becoming a vowel. It was not until 1630 that the differentiation became general in England.”

There is nowhere in the Bible where Hebrew was exalted over Greek or where Greek was exalted over Aramaic and this shows us that God isn’t reached by a specific language and it doesn’t matter if you are calling Him in English, French, Hebrew or Greek! God is the one who programmed languages to evolve from human and it is not going to stop as long as the earth remains. As at the time of Jesus, Greek was the scholarly language and even though Jesus spoke Aramaic, the records were taken in Greek. Yet, both the Old Testament Hebrew, the translated Old Testament (Septuagint), the spoken Aramaic and the written New Testament Greek were all-powerful. Even the Jews of those times welcomed the Greek translation of the Old Testament and most synagogues used it as it is speculated by historians that the scroll Jesus read in the synagogue was the Greek version. Language is simply meant for ease of communication.

If we insist that Jesus must be called “Yeshua”, we would also insist that we must be speaking ancient Hebrew! Yet, even the Jews of Jesus times didn’t speak Ancient Hebrews neither could most of them read Ancient Hebrew writings which fast-tracked the Greek translation of those days. The point shouldn’t be about the language or what names have evolved into these days. It should be about having what God wants us to have! God gave us His son Jesus, He is God among men, He is God’s way of being with men in the flesh and the most important thing is that “we have Him!” Whether we call Him in ancient Hebrew names, Greek names, French names or Modern English names, He is the same God with us! He is the same saviour of the world and He hears when we call because everything including languages proceeds from the things already made by Him.

Isn’t it beautiful that every tongue and tribe can call the name of Jesus in their various forms without difficulties? Isn’t it amazing that God’s revealed word has come to us in our languages? When we read and understand the word, isn’t it beautiful that we can say “God is with us” in our own words? In Matthew 1:21, the Angel said to Mary

“…you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

The essence of naming Him Jesus (Yeshua) is because of the role He was going to play; the role of salvation. Today, Jesus still mean the same thing with Yeshua or Iēsoun which is “The Lord is Salvation”. Zeus has no same meaning with Jesus and no matter how some claim that it sounds the same, it doesn’t share the same meaning just like “dog” is not “God”. It is like saying “because Zeus has a beard on his face, every man who has a beard is Zeus.” Isn’t that absolute nonsense? Whether you call Jesus in English, Hebrew, Greek or even Latin, it remains the same! The changes in words and languages cannot change the character behind the name. Names change with time, this is why Judah suddenly became Jude or Judas in the New Testament.

One thing is certain, people who come up with these theories try to appear sincere and they seem to just want a “return to the worship of God” but we never left in the first place and they are only a distraction which is the work of darkness rather than the work of God! The argument about the name of Jesus and the false theories being peddled isn’t what we were asked to do. Before you heard these theories, what did Jesus mean to you? Isn’t it “The Lord is our salvation”? Why would you let the “confusionist theorists” confuse you and make you believe that you have always believed in what you truly have never believed in? How can Jesus, whom you believe His name means “the Lord saves” suddenly start meaning “Hail Zeus” to you? This is just the devil’s distractions. If you speak English comfortably without feeling guilty, why feel guilty when you say “Jesus” which is the English form of “Yeshua”?

Christ isn’t His surname either. Christ means “the anointed one” translated from the Greek word “Christos”. Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus or Jesus the Christ simply means “Jesus, the anointed one.” Jesus isn’t anointed in part just like the Prophets, He has the fullness of God in Him. The Bible says concerning Jesus in Colossians 2:9

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.”

Look at that! The Bible says that ALL the fullness of God lives in “the anointed one.” This isn’t talking about the fullness of God but all of His fullness which means that God is complete in Jesus and Jesus is the complete expression of God. When we say “Jesus Christ”, we are saying “Jesus, who is different from other Jesuses, who is God among men both in manifestation and experience.”

His name is Jesus and He is God with us and also in us. Jesus said in John 14:20

“In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”

He is in the father if you have seen Him you have seen the father but even more amazingly, we are in Him and He is in us. What does this mean about God, Jesus and us? Watch out for my next article.

IS CULTURE UNCHANGEABLE?


Many times, we justify certain ideas with the line “it is our culture” and we allow maltreatments, abuses and so many negativities to thrive just because this was how people lived in the past. Racism and gender discriminations can be said to be culture because these are ideas, customs and social behaviours that have thrived over the years and have even found a way into the present age. Let’s understand what culture is: cultures are ideas, customs and social behaviour of certain people while tradition is the passing of culture down from one generation to another.

I was arguing with someone about these things and he said: “We are imperfect people and therefore we need culture as a guide.” But, is that supposed to be so? Is culture truly meant to guide us as humans? Who sets up the cultures exactly? Perfect people? I admit people develop culture overtime with how they had lived and in what they find comfort and ease of life. However, these cultures can also be formed on the wrong perception of life, on human weaknesses and on what people thought was working but truly never working. A culture may be relevant today and lose relevance tomorrow and this is because our minds are evolving and we can’t stick to the patterns of yesterday if we must forge ahead.

“Cultures can also be formed on the wrong perception of life, on human weaknesses and on what people thought was working but truly never working. “

I was in a firm previously, sitting at the reception and waiting for my job to be delivered and I noticed a man who walked in and headed straight to the attendant who was already attending to a young lady. He demanded that he gets attended to immediately as he was in a hurry. The young lady turned, looked at him and said: “at least if you want them to leave me and attend to you, you should have pleaded with me first…”

Guess what?

This man got full of rage! He started vibrating and making noise as he walked around the hall calling for attention. He threatened that he was going to beat up the young lady, that in our culture, a woman (especially young ladies) aren’t supposed to talk when “men” are talking. Isn’t that a stupid culture?

“Who gave her the right to talk while I am talking? Does she know who I am?” He raged

I got so angry but my consolation was that I noticed some group of men setting up formations to take turns on him if he ever lays his rusty hands on the young lady.  Well, in the end, we had a heroine!

Why did I tell this story? In parts of the world, women are seen as unimportant people, they are seen as weak genders whose only role is to be married to their husbands and live for their husbands alone. If the man had beat her in some environments, she will be asked to bear it because she is a woman but in developed countries like America, he would be arrested and charged for abuse.

I was in a bank some years ago when a man slapped a woman because they were arguing about who came first. To my utmost surprise, this man was not arrested by the forces around until the woman called her husband who called the police. These things exist as cultures all around the world and the question remains, should we keep entertaining such irresponsibility in the name of culture? Who set the rules? Are we made for culture or is culture made for us? Is it wrong to question the imperfections we see in what happens to be culture or traditions?

I heard people say that a man who accepts to be wed in the Church of the woman is not “man enough” and the idea of what it takes to be man enough in the part of the world where I came from is to be arrogant and “women domineering” in which a woman doesn’t have a voice! Is there not a problem with these cultures? Cultures are imperfect just like the people who adapted to those customs over time and we must be willing to be dynamic and flexible so that we can always adapt to a better lifestyle that is more human-friendly. A lot of people are scared to question the norms because the culture seems to them as something that cannot be changed but if men decided to be eating with hands in the past, we can decide to eat with spoons today!

“we must be willing to be dynamic and flexible so that we can always adapt to a better lifestyle that is more human-friendly.”

Another instance is the idea that men came to this world to lead while women came to be led! These things became cultures over time but it is absurd to still believe that crap at this age! We are in an age where a lot of things must be questioned, we are in an age where we must question what makes the right hand, the only right hand! In many parts of the world, using the left hand to greet people is seen as an insult but some people make use of their left hands because that is how their brain conditioned them to act and trying to get them to switch is very dangerous to the brain. Do you see? The cultures of the past were established without certain facts and truths they knew existed. Some cultures were based on flat earth instead of a spherical earth, some cultures were based on the moon as the source of its light instead of a moon that gets light from the sun. As we make more discoveries and understand humanity perfectly, we should question and do away with cultures that are no longer relevant.

Culture shouldn’t be in control of you, you should be in control of culture. Cultures are subject to personal review and we should know when it doesn’t count and what to write off from it! If we must lean on culture simply because this is the prevailing ideas and customs from the past and the foundation on which our traditions were built, then it is a matter of the blind leading the blind. It will leave us retrogressive in life. We gradually change cultures when we begin to change our collective thinking. One person doesn’t change culture but one person can initiate it by raising the red flags of a certain culture and speaking out even when others find him or her odd!

“Culture shouldn’t be in control of you, you should be in control of culture. Cultures are subject to personal review and we should know when it doesn’t count…”

The advent of Christianity in various parts of the world changed a lot of things about people’s culture! For some, their cultures took a different turn, their cultures changed entirely! Globalization is also changing cultures and as long as these changes make us better and put everyone on equal opportunities, the changes are relevant.

Speaking from a Christian perspective, God doesn’t want us to stick to unchanging cultures, He wants us to be dynamic and flexible with culture in the sense that we should be ever ready to write off what we find irrelevant in cultures without minding what people around us think. The Bible says in Romans 12:2

Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

A culture like we saw earlier is behaviours and customs and tradition is the handing down of these things to other generations. Culture isn’t what brings transformation to the minds of people, culture is the futile approach of imperfect men to deal with their imperfections but many times it proves abortive and counterproductive. Why are we not to copy the customs of this world and in what context is the Bible giving us this encouragement? I will explain.

“The customs of this world is deeply rooted in racism, discriminations, abuse, selfishness, wickedness and so on!”

The customs of this world is deeply rooted in racism, discriminations, abuse, selfishness, wickedness and so on! These customs are rooted in lies, fear and insecurities but God’s word (revealed in Jesus) is what brings transformation! How? Jesus didn’t discriminate against gender, therefore we shouldn’t discriminate against gender! Jesus didn’t discriminate against race and therefore we shouldn’t discriminate against race. Jesus loved people regardless of who they are and therefore we should do the same.

When people credit gender discrimination to Jesus, I know they are simply trying to mix their customs with Bible verses quoted out of context. What is God’s word that brings transformation? Is it Genesis to Revelations? No! Let me show you something in the Bible. Concerning Jesus, the Bible says in John 1:14

“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

Jesus is referred to as God’s word, God’s word isn’t the totality of the Bible, Jesus is God’s word which became human! The Bible says He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness! He is the one who brings transformation to our hearts when we learn of Him and conforms to Him, letting what we learn of His character create a new way of life for us.

“Cultures aren’t unchangeable because humans who created cultures aren’t unchangeable either”

So, if Jesus didn’t treat people based on their gender, age, colour, religion and so on, I should follow Him in that regard too. Culture can be changed when you change the way you think and influence others with it. It may take time, you may be persecuted or even mocked but as long as you keep at it, you’ll influence others with it. Cultures aren’t unchangeable because humans who created cultures aren’t unchangeable either.

We change our culture by changing the way we think!

We change traditions by changing the culture that we pass down to our children.

10 WAYS TO SAY “I LOVE YOU”


Love isn’t just what we say, it is what we do. Unfortunately, many people say “I love you” but end up showing something different. We have always heard that one action speaks louder than a thousand words. There are other ways you could say “I love you” more profoundly.

Everyone needs that reassurance of love, everyone needs that security that is obtained when love is expressed and everyone wants to feel special and appreciated. However, not everyone seems to express love rightly, sometimes it seems we have limited ways of saying “I love you.” Whether you feel shy to say it or you want to express your love other ways, here are a few basic ideas to tell your loved “I love you.”

1. EXPRESS ADMIRATION

Love is indeed divine, divine love comes without a condition but we are also wired to express a degree of love based on what we admire, we are wired to also feel love and loved. What exactly is attractive in your loved ones? Do you find their figure, intelligence, hair, eyes or fingers fancy? Do you love how they walk or how they sing? Love lives beyond all of these but these features are worthy of appreciation! Express what you admire about your loved ones. You don’t have to wait till you could put it in perfect words, just express it the way you feel it. I just don’t always have to be those features that got you attracted to them at first, it could also be something new you discovered about them that is worthy of admiration and appreciation. You could say:

“I know you are much more than this but I admire and appreciate the way you put things together.”

2. LET YOUR TIME SPEAK

We only give our time to what matters most to us! Even our pets feel loved when we give them our time even when they don’t know what the word “love” means. There is a love language that is general to everything in nature! When we were of little age, we would plant beans in containers and every day we devote time to it and these plants usually blossom in beauty because they feel loved! But when we neglect them, they begin to wear off! When you devote time to someone, you don’t need to say a word for them to know you love them. Your time is very vocal and when you give it to someone, you are saying:

“Of all the things around me, I find you more important.”

3. NEVER MAKE IT ABOUT YOU

When you keep expressing characters that indicate love but ends up making it about yourself, then you are being selfish. Love is truly expressed selflessly because the true expression of love includes preferring the need of the other above yours! For example, you never have to be satisfied before you can do something for someone, you don’t have to feed to the full before you can feed another person and you don’t have to get all the clothes you want before you can extend some to another person. When you love selflessly, you are saying

“Although I have needs, your well-being is a priority.”

4. BE GENEROUS WITH RESPECT

Healthy relationships don’t exist without a strong foundation of a shared respect for one and another. Respect is not gender-based, it is not a gender responsibility neither is it meant for just one party! To respect someone means to believe, understand and admire someone even if they have different opinions from yours. Having respect isn’t enough, showing it is important! This means that even when there seem to be rooms for disagreements you still respect their opinions, their choices and their personality. When you respect others, you are saying:

“I admire, understand and believe in you! We may disagree on some issues but I can cope with your differing views.”

5. OFFER HELP

I usually paid my ex visits (when we were still dating) on weekends to help her do laundries, clean the house and assist her sometimes with the cooking. This was my way of offering help, not because it was very easy for me but because those were areas I could give my love-offerings! It doesn’t have to be convenient before we could do it. Sometimes, while helping her with the laundry, my clothes are waiting for me in my apartment to be washed. To help people isn’t just to do something; it is to do more than your share. It may be financial, intellectual, physical and many other modes of assistance and none is tied to any specific person. By offering to help, you are saying

“I want you to be happy; I want to ease the burden off you!”

6. EXPRESS AFFECTION

Affection is mentally appealing, it also brings emotional healing! You can express affection by touching, hugging and other forms of physical touch. Sometimes, people are tensed or bothered and while we may not have a solution to their problem, they would just need a hug, a touch, holding of hands or a kiss to feel better. There were many times in my life when affection was just what I needed, I needed just a hug or perhaps a touch with a soothing word that says “it is going to be fine!” Science has proven that there are mental and physical benefits to the showing of affection. For some of us who could still count how many hugs and touch we have gotten as adults, we treasure affection more than anything else because it seems hard to come to us. By showing affection, you are saying

“I know I may not be able to right all the wrongs that happen to you but I can let you feel my warmth, listen to my heartbeat and lean on my shoulders.”

7. GIFTS ARE SPECIAL

Gifts are very special but they don’t need any special time or special occasions to be given. The gift of a man makes a way for him, which is what the Bible tells us. You can also understand it to mean that the gift of someone say words that the person can’t say. Gifts are great on birthdays and anniversaries but they are also great on normal days! One of the greatest and fastest ways of communicating love is in giving gifts. Trying surprising your loved one today with an unexpected gift, you don’t have to break a bank but be creative! By giving gifts, you are saying

“I appreciate our friendship”

8. PRAISE THEM PUBLICLY

Sometimes, praising people publicly shows them how special they are, it also indicates that you are very proud of them. You could praise them when others are talking against them, you could defend their interest too. More so, you can also talk about how special they are on your social media handlers. This doesn’t mean bringing privacies into the public; love isn’t a private affair after all. When you are bold enough to appreciate someone publicly, you are saying

“I am proud of you and proud to tell the world that I love you.”

9. OPEN UP!

It is time to stop pretending to be who you are not, it is time to stop being rigid, it is time to bare your heart and let someone see you and love the real you! Many times we let our past experiences control us; we close up ourselves so much because we are afraid of getting hurt again. Love makes us vulnerable and until you open up yourself, you will be limited to the level of love you express by yourself. Lose your defences; stop hiding your weaknesses, let go of your pride and come out of your reserve! Until we trust someone with our vulnerability, we are afraid to love and be loved. When you open up, you are saying

“I know I have been hurt in the past but I want to trust you with my heart.”

10. SAY “I LOVE YOU”

Although not all that say “I love you” really mean it, you can mean it and say it. Do you see these three words? They may be mere archaic words but they are still very refreshing to the soul. It still happens to be the best way to vocalize your love! If you don’t mean it, never say it because it unlocks emotions! When you say “I love you”, you are also saying

“You see all these displays of attention, admiration and affection towards you? It is because I truly love you. Now, I want to be sure that you know it.”

There could be more ways to say “I love you!”

Which part speaks more to you? And which other ways do you think we could say “I love you”? Let’s get your comments!