Basketball: 3 Tall Men, 2 Kings, 1 God

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Growing up, I realized that I was growing taller than my mates and was always made to stand at the back of the class during morning assembly. Occasionally the height advantage felt good as a child but more often than not, towering over my peers brought with it unnecessary attention from teachers who were always looking for a scapegoat? My height was an enemy.

Then I got older and I grew taller and taller and taller. Currently standing at 6ft 4in tall, I have stopped growing now (I think) and apart from getting those “I don’t want to stand next to him” stares I get when group photographs were being taken, nothing annoyed me more about my height than being constantly asked “why don’t you play basketball?”

As a kid I was never interested in the sports called basketball. Soccer was my cup of tea. I dream soccer. I eat soccer. I lived soccer. I even played soccer once with a broken hand. Soccer was my all. But that didn’t stop the “why don’t you play basketball?” questions from coming. Of course I am tall and it was expected.

I thought about developing an interest in “the beautiful game” as basketball is often referred to and maybe “not waste my height” as people kept saying.

Then the unexpected happened.

I should have been maybe 14 years old or so when the boys in my hostel were invited to play basketball at a court close to school. I had never played the game before but my height got me the “lead role” and I flunked. Badly. That wasn’t even sad part, to rub salt into the wound, a senior in school disappointed with my display said and I quote “bush boy, you can’t even play basketball”.

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So being the youngest goalkeeper to make the Senior team and also being one of the fastest track and field athletes in my age bracket wasn’t enough but since I couldn’t play America’s game, I was a bush/local boy?

I never step foot in a basketball court again. The hate for the sports had reached a climax and there was nothing that was gonna change that.

Then came a hero!!!!!

A King in his own right.

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He came, swept me off my feet and made me fall in love with a sports I should have played (height wise).

The King was LeBron James.

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It’s being over half a decade since my hatred for the sports was diluted by this one human being.

Just when I was getting a little comfortable with the idea of liking basketball, Steph Curry came along and blew me out of the water.

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He made me love the game if not for anything but for his love for God. Being a devout Christian, a Jesus loving husband and father, Curry has my favorite scripture Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” —and Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ that strenghtens you”—on his game shoes.

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Steph once explained how his faith has been his driving force. He said “I’ve always been a believer that the Lord has put whatever talent in you, [and] whatever gift He has put in you, He wants you to get the most out of that. He wants you to succeed; He wants you to pursue and work and be passionate about it,” Curry says. “It’s not about getting any of the glory for yourself; it’s all for His [glory]. That’s where you have to keep perspective. Work at it and do all you can so you get the most out of yourself, but do it for His will.”

What a man!!!!

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Soccer still has my heart but basketball is gaining a large stride but God will always reign supreme.

Stand tall, give God pre-eminence in everything you do, always study the Bible (King James) and watch God sprinkle curry into your life (no pun intended).

Remember, you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Philippians 4:13

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Did I use sports to talk to you about Jesus? Yes I just did. God bless you.

 

 

 

Operation “JUMP and PASS”

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“The day my enemies turned tail and ran, they stumbled on You and fell on their faces.
You took over and set everything right; when I needed You, You were there, taking charge. I’m thanking You, God, from a full heart. I am writing the book of your wonders. I am whistling, laughing and JUMPING for joy” —->>> Psalms 9:1-4 (MSG).

You shall surely JUMP AND PASS your adversaries. ‘Exercise’ your faith!!!!!

 

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When Worry Makes You A Warrior

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A few years ago, Martha was asked by a colleague to pick up her grand mother for her checkup at the hospital. Martha didn’t know this woman. All she was told was that this person was more than 90 years old and probably quite frail. But the person who opened the door when Martha knocked could hardly be described as old and frail. The person who stood before Martha was a sprightly lady who appeared to be in her seventies at most.

“Do you mind me asking how old you are?” Martha asked on the drive to the doctor.

“93,” the woman answered.

Martha was astonished. “You look so much younger,” she said. “What’s your secret?”.

“Well, honey,” she answered, “30 years ago I made the decision to stop worrying and I haven’t wasted a moment on worry since.”

It was this decision that made her younger and healthier than her chronological age. Think of all the energy she gained through her decision not to worry. Think of all the anxiety she spared herself, all the needless stress she avoided.

Are you aware that 85 percent of what most people worried about never happened? and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.

Stop killing yourself with worry and start lifting yourself in prayers. Don’t be a worry warrior when you can easily prevail on the alter of prayer.

 

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What is New About Your Love Life?

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You are both in love, that’s not new.
You talk to each other every day, that’s not new.
You lovebirds can’t stand being away from each other, nothing new.
You have unbridled, wild and sometimes steamy sex, still not new.

What’s new about your relationship with God pertaining to your relationship with him/her?

Has dating him taken you farther away from God or closer to God?

Has dating her strengthened your faith and resolve in God?

Has dating him made you worry more or worry less?

Has your “new” relationship increased your attendance in church and Godly activities or has it made going to church a burden?

Has being intertwined in your relationship entwined you in sin?

Has your relationship improved your Bible study hours or made your Bible a fashion accessory for only Sundays?

Do you both discuss sex more than God in your relationship?

Has “Good in bed” become your priority in choosing a date instead of “God lover”???

A relationSHIP without God is like a ship without a rudder, it’s going nowhere meaningful.

A relationSHIP that isn’t God centered will crash and it’s occupants will drown in sin.

Evaluate your love life now and make “God” the priority. If he is not in, he can use the door!!!!

 

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Day 7: The Grace Obtaining Divinity (GOD)

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It is Day 7 of the 21 day Prayer and Fasting…. (Click HERE to read about it)

This is the second week of the Prayer and Fasting program. Click HERE for previous messages for the first week.

For today, we would be looking at the grace manufacturing factory.

Whenever I look back at my life, where I was and where I am. To the life that I live and lived. To the sins I committed and the ones I continue to commit both knowingly and unknowingly. To the little money I have made. To the small qualifications that I have garnered. To the friends that I loved and lost (including an ex girlfriend who the cold hands of sickle cell anemia took) a couple of years back. To the people that I have touched and those that have touched my life.  To all the times I traveled in planes, cars, buses, bikes and even trains. To the days I drove and was driven. To the times I was sick and even admitted in the hospital. To the times that I had unprotected sex. To the times I did things that could have make God give up on me. To the tears that I have cried and the joys I have experienced. To the good, bad, worrisome, joyful, enlightening, happy and sad times.

When I look back at my life in retrospect, it keeps dawning on me that if it were by my power or might I would have been dead a long time ago.
If it were my power, I would have at least had a fatal accident one of the over a thousand times I have traveled.
If it were my might, I would have been stricken and killed by one of the hundred sicknesses I have endured in my life.
If it were my knowledge, I would have run mad or lost my senses by the regular and intense studying and reading during my time in school.
If it were by my parent’s resources and money, I wouldn’t have been able to finish school or even complete my Masters.
If it were by my senses, I would have been afflicted by a sexually transmitted disease or gotten a girl pregnant our of wedlock as punishment for fornication.
If it were my educational qualifications, I wouldn’t have the job that I have with many more qualified people than I am currently jobless.
If it were for my spirituality, I would have been smitten and killed by the numerous blood craving witches and wizards in the underworld.

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In all, I have seen that it’s not by my power or my might but by the Spirit of the Lord (Zechariah 4:6).

In all, I am what I am, I am who I am, I do what I do, I am alive today, I have the family that I have, I have the little money that I have not by my power or might but by the grace of God that is with me (1 Corinthians 15:10).

In all, what I will become, places I will go, people I will meet, money that I will make, impact that I will have and the life that I will live will be made available because His grace is sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

In all, the battles that I will conquer, the enemies that will trample upon, the possessions I will acquire, the children I will have, the beautiful family and wife that I have, the plenty money I will make, the impact that I will make will be made possible because “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Finally, in all, learn to never ever take credit for who you are or what you are or even what you give. Make it a habit to give credit to who credit is due for its by His grace you are even alive.

Stay grateful to remain graceful.

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See you tomorrow.

Message preached by Pastor John Olumuyiwa at Winner’s Chapel, Oghara, Delta State.
Written by Kurtis Smith

10 Things You Might Not Know About God

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1. He loves you more than you can ever comprehend: I have often heard people say things like “my sins are probably too big for God to forgive me” or “The things I am going through, I think God has forgotten me”. Let me break it down for you, God gave up His only son (Jesus) to die for you (yes you). So why will He forsake you in your troubled times? God has never and will never forsake you. Even in your trials and tribulations, He is there in your midst. Remember Psalms 23:4 says “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me”. That passage clearly states that you will pass through the valley of shadow of death not may pass through the valley of shadow of death. But one definite thing is that He is there with you. Don’t be afraid.

2. God does not kill people, the devil does: There is this popular notion that “God gives and God takes”. That’s a notion implanted in the minds of people by the devil through the mouth of Job in Job 1:21. That passage is often misunderstood as meaning God gives children and takes them prematurely when He wants them in Heaven. God is light and death is darkness. Can light and darkness mingle? NO! The same God that said “The thief (devil) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I (God) am come that they might have life, and that they might have it in abundance” (John 10:10). The same God that said “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:27). The very same God that also said “Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil, for I am with me; My rod and My staff will comfort you.” (Psalm 23:4). This is the same God that will take (terminate our lives on earth) His children. The same Children that He sent His only son to die for? God does not take people, the devil kills people.

3. There is no sin too big for God to forgive: To tell you the truth, one of the most annoying things about God is His readiness to forgive even the greatest and most evil sins. For example, if the leader of Boko Haram, the evil sect that has killed thousands of people happens to give his life sincerely to Christ on his death bed, God will forgive him and he will go to Heaven when he dies. Imagine? That bastard man will go to Heaven if he gives his life to Christ. You know why? Jesus Christ died for him as he died for you and me. So what’s that sin of yours that has weighed you down for so long? Malice? Abortion? Adultery? Murder? Combined, they are too small for God not to forgive you. Go to Him with a sincere heart and He will forgive you over and over again.

4. God does not keep record of wrongs: Human beings are like record keeping machines. They forgive but actually no one ever forgets. When that friend’s cup if finally full as Nigerian’s would say, you will hear things like “you have been doing this same thing and I have forgiven you but now I can’t take it anymore”. You know the amazing thing about God? He forgives and forgets. God doesn’t keep a record of your sins because according to Him, it never even happened. For old things have passed away and all things have become new. The devil has a way of reminding you of your past, the devil will be like “now you are claiming a good wife, remember when you aborted twice and when you slept with your husband’s cousin”. In God’s World, as long as you asked for forgiveness, you never even committed those sins.

5. God doesn’t punish you for sinning: This is the most ludicrous accusation ever made of God. God gave His only son to die for your sin and thats the same God that will punish you for the same sin He gave up His only son to die for? The devil and his tricks. Let me explain this to you the best way I can (I hope the Holy Spirit explains it to you better). Jesus came to die for the sins you committed in the past, the present sins you are committing and future sins that you are yet to commit. That means even the sins you are yet to commit, He died for them all. Why then will He punish you for the sin He already died for. When you sin, ask for forgiveness and His Grace will cover you but when you sin and don’t come back to Him, you leave your self open to the attacks of the devil.

6. God wants us to be rich: There has been this long standing view by some Christians that God doesn’t want us to be rich because according to them the Bible says in  1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil” and Mark 10:25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” It is a travesty of all ramifications for misguided people to misconstrue God’s Word to mean that wealth is evil and poverty is the right way of living. The same Bible that said in Ecclesiastes 10:19 that “…money answereth all things.”? The same Bible that said in Psalms 112: 1-3 that “Blessed are those that fear the Lord…for wealth and riches shall abide in their house”? Let me ask you a question that would shock you. Are you aware that Jesus Christ while on earth was a wealthy man? Let’s go back to the scriptures, in Mark 1:17, Jesus told the disciples to follow Him and verse 18 says “At once they left their nets and followed Him”. Confirming this part of the scripture, Peter said in Matthew 19:27 “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”. How therefore would 13 able bodied men including Jesus eat, dress up, travel without money? To back this point of view up, in  Luke 9: 10-17 before Jesus fed the five thousand, he told the disciples in verse 13 “You give them something to eat.” and they replied “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” How can they consider buying food for five thousand men minus women and children (which could be as much as fifteen thousand people) if they were broke and without money? Jesus and his disciples were rich hence they could go about preaching the Word of God without financial constraint. Now we have established that Jesus was rich while on Earth, why then would god not want us rich? The same God that said in 1 Corinthians 10:26 that “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” The fullness includes money, cars, private jets, yachts etc. The devil wants you poor, God wants you rich, don’t be deceived.

7. God loves sex: It seems sex is one of the most forbidden topics ever. A topic that only evil minds discuss (according to some pretenders). Someone once told me that sex should only be discussed by married folks and I was stunned. People tend to forget that God loves sex. Although sex was designed by God for procreation, He also created sex for sexual gratification. Where the World gets sex wrong is the context of practice. Sex should be done within the confines of marriage, no exceptions. God loves sex. Sex is not an abomination. If sex were, how come all animals have sex? God implanted the ideology of sex in every animal He created. No animal goes to a special school to learn how to have sex, they are born with it. No matter how much a couple prays for a child, if they don’t have sex, the child will never come. Only Jesus came without sexual intercourse. Your pastor’s parents had sex before he/she was born. As a matter of fact, your pastor and their spouse might just have had sex before he preached to you on Sunday. So why the hypocrisy and secrecy behind sex, even between married couples. God loves sex.

8. No human is born by mistake: The stand Catholics take concerning abortion is that no matter how sperm fertilizes an egg (whether through rape, adultery or even incest), it’s still a human being and should not be aborted. My stand on abortion isn’t that strong but according to God, no child is ever born by mistake. Every child has a purpose on earth. Every child/human has a special gifting. Everyone is on Earth for a purpose. Jeremiah 1: 5 says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”. So before your parents even had sex, God knew you would be born and He already set you apart from others. You are the most unique “you” in the world, so why copy someone else?

9. Worry belittles God: It’s only human to worry. We worry about the most mundane things. We worry about things that will never happen. We worry about what we will eat. We worry about what we will wear. We worry about our jobs. We worry about money. We worry about school. We worry about our children. We worry about our parents. We worry as if worry would change anything. worry just makes you restless and often makes things worst. Let’s take a look at Matthew 6:25-33 which says:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”.

To put this in an understandable context, let’s imagine you are married and your wife tells you she wants a car. You promise to get her a car as soon as you can. But she keeps pestering you that she needs the car now but you keep reassuring her of the promise you made. She becomes restless with worry for the car and goes to meet her boss at work who gets her the car with the snap of his fingers. She drives it into the house and tells you that she couldn’t wait anymore for you to get the car and ended up getting it from her boss. How would you feel as a man? Immasculated? Upset? Betrayed? Wronged? Foolish? Hurt?
If only God were human, that’s how you will make Him feel when He promises you something and you can’t trust Him enough to get it for you.

10. God doesn’t need you for anything: Remember this every day of your life. God doesn’t owe you anything. God doesn’t need you for anything but you need Him for everything (Bishop David Oyedepo). People have this mindset that giving their offering or tithe in church is doing God a favour. He gave you all that money in the first place so what’s the fuss about? “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalms 24:1).  All the money, all the women, all the cars, all the jets/planes/cruise ships are His, so how do you want to bribe God? The only thing you can give God that He can’t give Himself is praise and worship.

Note: Numbers 2 and 5 were taken verbatim from: “7 Things That Death Teach Us”

 

Further Reading: 10 Things You Might Know About The Devil

 

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