Tuesday, 7 July 2020

MOTHER, BE GENTLE ON YOUR GIRL-CHILD!


                   
Most mothers are highly protective of their daughters. The reason is obvious. They are conscious of the fact that female children are fragile, and they need to handle them with care. Many of us have heard many ugly stories of how some girls were raped by boys, who sometimes were their school mates or close relations such as uncles, cousins et cetera, and how some shameless men had abused young girls in time past. All such stories can create fear in the heart of mothers because every mother wants the best things in life to happen to her girl-child.
In order to prevent their daughters from men who may want to take undue advantage of them, some mothers turn out to be very tough on their daughters. It’s good to exercise discipline, but let it be motivated by love. Be a friend to your girl child, and in fact become her best friend. I was in a cab one day and I overheard a woman telling her friend that, "I told my daughter, I am not your friend, I am your mother." Well, I guess she had her reasons for saying that, but I am afraid, she may lose the confidence of that daughter. She may never open up to her mother even while in crisis. psychologically, she has been injured by that statement.

Some Christian mothers think that once they conduct morning devotions as a family, go for church services with the children, automatically the children should embrace Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Sorry, it is not always so. Prayerfully and personally introduce your child to Jesus Christ, the Saviour. Some of the children even follow you to church just to satisfy you and be free of your many questions. Have you cared to find out what they do in church?

During a Sunday service, a teenage girl sat next to me and was very busy on her phone. Sometimes, one assumes that the fellow may be reading the bible using the phone, but that day I noticed that she was actually chatting. I then asked her what she was doing and like an innocent child she said, “I am chatting with my brother.” I asked her further, “Where is he?” and she replied, “He is overseas.” I was careful not to be hard on her, but I simply warned her that we are in the presence of God, so she should stop chatting. Thank God she listened to an elder’s warning. She stopped and said, “Thank you ma.” Some others could be chatting with some boys who could easily deceive them into nefarious activities.
Mother, give your daughter more time. Talk as friends, do a lot of gists together, laugh together, tell her life stories about yourself and others. Tell her about life and how wicked it can be sometimes, and as she listens to you, encourage her to ask you questions, and gently provide her with helpful answers. Allow her to share her thoughts and fears with you. In fact let her be aware that some bad fathers had abused their daughters, and some even impregnated their own daughters. Recently on social media, a woman was heart-broken as she found out that her two daughters were impregnated by her son, who is their own brother. What a sad story!

Mother, be the first person to teach your daughter about sex education. Don’t wait until she learns the wrong things from outsiders. Teach her about human anatomy, and instil confidence in her to resist any careless touch of any part of her body by the opposite sex. When she is still young, between ages 2 and 6 or thereabout, tell her not to sit on the laps of boys and men, and encourage her to report to you any male that tries to force her into doing that. You know the danger as an adult, but she doesn’t know, please protect her.
Remember, dear  Mother, in trying to train this precious gift of God, be gentle and be loving. If she cannot discern love through your actions, she can turn rebellious once she leaves the confines of your home and may decide to go against all your orders. This is why it is very important to pray to God to save the lives of these young ones. May God help all mothers to be godly examples to their children. Amen.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT CROSS-CULTURAL COUNSELLING!



In discussing this topic, I will be sharing some case studies across cultures so as to prepare us to be culturally sensitive, BUT BE BIBLICALLY RELEVANT. We need to understand where people are coming from and what is obtainable in their cultures for us to have meaningful counselling sessions with them, or else we shall be guilty of judging other people’s cultures and that may be counter- productive. People come from different places, and cultures vary from place to place. For instance, in a particular East African country, it is not strange for a single unmarried lady to invite a single unmarried man to a restaurant for a lunch break. She will pay for the food and they will keep chatting. It depends on her, that may happen one or more times, but at a time she chooses, she can just slip a piece of paper into the man’s hand telling him about her intention, and requesting for a meaningful relationship. It is culturally acceptable.

In some other cultures people will look at such practice with disdain. One will hear comments such as, Why must a lady be the first to ask the man for friendship? She is making herself too cheap or is she frustrated? The culturally acceptable way is for the man to be the one to ask the lady for her hand in marriage. That’s another cultural perspective.

In some parts of India, in the continent of Asia, there’s what is called an “arranged marriage,” whereby the parents will be the one to search for a suitable man for their female child and the couple-to-be will only meet each other on the wedding day. No courtship. The wife is the one to pay the dowry to the husband, whereas in some other cultures, when a man matures and desires to marry, he will be the one to search for a lady to marry, and  the man will be the one to pay the bride-price to the wife’s family. The latter is very common in many parts of Africa.

Yet, among a particular tribe in the Northern part of Nigeria, in the continent of Africa, it is cultural for the parents of the lady to buy many items that she will carry to the husband’s house. This includes but not limited to, bed and mattress; refrigerator, Gas cooker and gas cylinder, plates, and cutlery sets; wrappers et cetera. If you are not from such a culture, you will likely ask the question, “So what then is the man supposed to buy if the wife is expected to furnish the house? That’s the culture! Most times the husband already possesses all those stuff in his house.

What is the essence of all these case studies and many more that you will come across? This is to help us understand the fact that people are from different places, and worldviews are not the same. This understanding will help us to know that as counsellors, we shall be faced with cases that will make us marvel, or a little bit confused sometimes. This is why we need the help of the Holy Spirit as we try to help others manage their issues of life. We must be conscious of the word of God, and we must equally be prayerful as people open up their hearts during Counselling sessions. It is important to seek to understand the counsellee’s cultural perspective and what he or she understands with regard to God’s position concerning his/her matter.

For example, there’s a tribe (name withheld) where it is culturally acceptable to fornicate, but adultery is forbidden once a person is married. In fact, a single girl is expected to have one or two children before she can be considered suitable for any suitor. You raised your eyebrow I guess! Yes, that is the culture! Once she has a child or two, it is believed that she is fertile and will surely produce children by the time she is married. The truth remains that this is against the word of God. Fornication is a sin. God will judge fornicators and adulterers. (Hebrews 13:4). We should be bold enough to declare the truth, in love. It is a myth that if a single girl gives birth, it is certain that she will be productive as a married woman. It is God that gives children to people. A Christian counsellor must be versed in the word of God, be able to interprete the scriptures correctly, and apply God’s word appropriately. May the Lord help us with this noble assignment. Amen.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

WHY DO YOU GET OFFENDED WHEN “A FRIEND” WALKS OUT OF YOUR LIFE?



 God is our creator and He had a relationship with the first man, Adam, and later with Eve. In Genesis 3: 9, “Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” To me, that’s a language of love and friendship in many circles, but at God’s appearance, Adam was hiding this time around. Why? He was hiding because of his sin of disobedience to God’s command.
As people rightly claim, Christianity is not a religion, but a personal relationship with God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. Our father in heaven is the author of relationship and as His children, we too long for relationships always. So we cannot blame anyone for desiring to have a relationship with other people. Unfortunately, many of us feel disappointed when the people we call our friends try to walk away from our lives for reasons best known to them. My question is, Why do you feel offended? I think you feel offended when you reflect on the things you have done to assist that fellow, or what that friendship has cost you over time, such as money, time, and resources. Maybe some secrets shared in confidence et cetera. Who owns your time, money, and resources? It is God! So release those pains from your heart.

I think we should learn to accept people as they are. We need to realize that God brings people into our lives at different seasons of life, for different reasons. Our acknowledgement of that truth will free us from undue stress. What I am sharing with you here has helped me greatly. By the grace of God upon my life, I love relating with people. Even when I meet people for the very first time in some instances, they just open their hearts as it were to me, and we will begin to discuss deep issues of life. Personally, I am awed at the way God does it and upon reflection, I have asked myself, “Why did this person pour out his or her mind this way? I realize that it is not about me, it is about the great God that I am representing here on earth.

Some of the friends you meet will be available for some time and suddenly you notice that one or two of them is seemingly tired of your usual concern. When you even try to put a call across to her/him, she/he does not like picking your calls again, and when you send short messages to her/his phone, it is either you receive no reply or she/he manages to drop two or three words. Initially, you want to make an excuse for her, “Oh, maybe she is very busy, or maybe she is stressed.” Beloved, why not watch the handwriting on the wall? She/he needs her/his space, please allow her/him to go. Remember, there was no misunderstanding between you, it’s just that she/he just switched off, please release her/him to enjoy her/his freedom. Maybe if she/he needs you at another season of her/his life, she/he may reconnect, and in that case, gladly receive her/him, provided you are still available.

I love the the way a friend describes it in her book, *the three levels of relationships – the Leaves relationship; the Stems relationship and the Roots relationship. Some people breeze in and breeze out, (Leaves); Some move into your life just to fulfill God-assigned tasks and they are gone forever (the Stems), while some become part of your life in summer and in winter, in joy and in sorrow (the Roots).
(*Grace Olanike Ijaopo, 2019. A Flourishing Life: 60 keystones to living in abundance. Help-Line Foundation International, Ibadan, Nigeria.)

Prayerfully identify the kind of friends God is bringing your way. A clear understanding of this write-up should free you from some of those pains and guilt feelings. You don’t have to offend people before they move away from you, they may not be designed to be there for life. Only Jesus can be with you forever. If any offence is involved, then settle it and forgive each other. A misunderstanding of the three levels of relationships can make you lose a true friend that God is sending your way, I mean if a “Leave friend” has left you and you get so bitter, and you then generalize that all friends are like that, when the “Root friend” is brought your way, your mind may not be clear enough to welcome the person. Friend, in all things, give thanks.


N.B. Please contact us at Joyful Callers Counselling Ministry for your questions, comments and Counselling needs @ WhatsApp +(234) 813-814-3021  or send an email to joyfulcallers@gmail.com
                        
                                         JESUS CHRIST HEALS!

Sunday, 31 May 2020

HUMILITY IS PRICELESS


Two Case studies briefly:
One day, I attended a church convention, where some guest ministers have been invited. Just before the sermon delivery on this particular day, there was a Music ministration by one of the prominent gospel artists in the country. It was such a powerful ministration that the atmosphere of the church was well charged, and we felt the presence of God no doubt. Personally, I felt that the meeting of that day had reached its zenith and that we should just close the meeting in prayers. But remember, I was not in charge. The Church pastor invited the guest speaker to mount the pulpit in order to deliver God’s word to the people. The preacher in question did not consider the fact that he came from another city so as to preach in that convention, he recognized the move of God among His people. In a few words, he acknowledged that indeed God has blessed His people that night, and he led the congregation in a closing prayer. You may want to ask, “What happened to the sermon already prepared by him for the occasion?” In my own understanding, he handed it over to God in all humility. I can imagine what went on in his mind that day. Could it be something like this? “God, you have done your work here tonight. I worship you, Lord!”

The second case study: I was invited to minister at a church in Lagos, and we had a discussion on “Cross-cultural principles to marital success.” I was given about 30 minutes to do that, after which the general overseer was to come up to preach his Sunday sermon. That’s ok. I tried to keep to time as my usual practice, but when the leader assessed the level of interaction of the church members he extended the time. After I completed my God-given assignment, I stepped down from the pulpit, for the general overseer. To my surprise, the man of God told the members that it was obvious that the Lord has spoken to all of us already, and there was no need for any other sermon. He then prayed, after which he intimated the members with the announcements.

These case studies are to draw our attention to the height of humility that was displayed by the two servants of God that were affected. My question is this? If you happen to find yourself in the shoes of any of those Church leaders, will you respond the same way or will you insist that you must still preach your own sermon for the day? Well, if God leads you to go ahead to preach after such powerful presence of His, it is not a sin, but be sure He is the one leading you to do it, and not your flesh. May the Lord clothe us with His humility, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Friday, 29 May 2020

A CALL TO HOLINESS: KEEP YOURSELF PURE - PART II (for married men and women)


“A woman confessed to her husband one day that all the four children in the family actually belong to another man...” She claimed to have become a born again Christian and she couldn’t continue with the feelings of guilt.” Ah! Adultery! Woman! Very sad story, but true!

Mr. Man, how will you feel if your wife finds out that you are having “an affair” with another woman?
Madam, will your husband shake your hand and congratulate you if he finds out that you are in an intimate relationship with another man?
I believe your guess is as good as mine. You will be full of rage (a fit of intense anger); disappointment, confusion, a lot of unanswered questions. Well, the list is endless. This may degenerate into verbal abuse, fighting and injuring your partner, and in an extreme case it can lead to divorce.

Yet, we hear and read ugly stories about married men and women who are having “affairs” Let’s address it the Bible way, they are living in adultery. It doesn’t matter whether you are into a physical sexual affair, an emotional affair, or a virtual one (social media stuff). As far as God is concerned, Adultery is SIN. No excuses. It is clearly written in God’s word, “You shall not commit adultery.”(Exodus. 20:14). It is explained further in the gospel of Matthew, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (5: 27-28). Ah! Is it that serious? Yes, it is a very serious matter. Maybe you need to read what Jesus said in the gospel of Mark, chapter 10, verses 11 and 12, “So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”  

 People of God, let us fear God. Some people are afraid of sexually transmitted diseases, but they do not fear God, and that informed their sinful lifestyles. The infections can be treated no doubt, but sin will send you to hellfire. FLEE! Let’s conclude by reminding ourselves that “The fear of LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” (Psalms 111:10)

Saturday, 9 May 2020

A CALL TO HOLINESS : KEEP YOURSELF PURE - PART I (for spinsters and bachelors)




In present times, it is sad to note that many of our youth no longer consider pre-marital sex as SIN. To some, it is a normal practice and to show that one is enjoying life. Unfortunately, that is deception from the pit of hell. Any youth that embraces an immoral lifestyle is destroying both his present and future life. Some years ago, a spinster asked me a question, “Antie, do you think a lady can get a man to marry without allowing him to have sex with her before marriage?” My simple reply was, “Yes.” But if he insists, then “Such a man is not your husband, if he is, he will wait until you both are wedded.” The word of God makes it clear that Fornication is a sin. “Now the body is not for fornication (sexual immorality) but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” (I Cor. 6: 13b). These are the struggles the young ones are grappling with in our days. Has God changed His standard of holiness? Not at all! Youths are admonished to, “Flee fornication (sexual immorality). Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (I Cor. 6:18).

As part of the divine task given to Joyful Callers Counselling Ministry, we visit Secondary Schools to challenge students about their studies and we also give moral instruction. On an occasion I was warning the female students against unwanted pregnancies as a result of careless living, but to my surprise, the principal sought permission to share a story with us which shook me as a person. I learned that present-day girls who commit fornication are now smarter and they rarely get pregnant, but that they can never be successful in life however hard they try. This is because the boys that they had slept with had removed some vital things from them spiritually so as to enhance their own lives, but the girls had been completely destroyed without their knowledge. Another fellow shared with me that some girls get into some boys’ lives and their destinies get altered negatively while the girls make ‘gains.’ Which other warning are you waiting for?

 Ephesians 5: 3 states, “But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints...”). Read this scripture also and shudder, “...Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell...” (I Cor. 10:8)  
God demands holy living from all of us. In Hebrews 13:4, it is written, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Wait until the right time! I mean enjoy sex within Marriage! May we not be found wanting at His judgment Seat. AMEN.

For further enlightenment on this subject, please visit my blog on “Dangers of pre-marital sex” on Esy’s blogs reading4joy@blogspot.com

Thursday, 30 April 2020

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL CHRISTIAN COUNSELLORS


The word of God says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall (perish): but “in the multitude of Counsellors, there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14 KJV).

Several years ago, I attended a wedding ceremony at a Church. The officiating clergy admonished the couple on what it takes to enjoy a Christian home, and in addition, he advised them that they should not encourage the third party in their marriage. He said further, “Don’t allow or encourage those people, the olofofo, (busybodies) called counsellors to interfere in your marriage. To an extent that was good pastoral advice, but personally, I felt very hurt as a practising Counsellor because I found it highly derogatory to have referred to counsellors as “busybodies.” In my mind, I said “Lord, this pastor is not helping this couple. As much as I do not support the idea of bringing in the third party into the marriage, the fact still remains that this newly wedded couple will need help along the way. This is a journey they have not passed through before, so if there is any need for them to seek help from a counsellor or anybody they feel led to talk to, I believe that they should be encouraged, and not discouraged.

It is unfortunate that some people have wrong notions about the counselling ministry. They think counsellors are busybodies, but as time goes by they will acknowledge the fact that counsellors are needed in our society. There are no specific books in Bookshops that teach couples how to relate with each other at each moment of life. For example, how to greet your spouse when you wake up, how to feed your partner, how to please your husband et cetera. Most of those things are culturally based, therefore, if the need arises to seek help from professionals, I believe they should be encouraged. These are end times, many homes are facing economic distress, emotional and even spiritual problems. Many homes are being destroyed by the powers of darkness, and Christian couples must be spiritually alert. I heard a true story of a pastor who told his wife on a particular day that, “I just feel like beating you, yet you did not offend me.” What interpretation will you provide for such? It is an aberration!

Where there are healthy families, there will be a healthy nation. Unfortunately, many homes are going through turbulent times. The statistics of couples filing for divorce in courts is skyrocketing, while others who want to be modest opt for separation. In the year 2020, it was reported that at a particular court in a city in Nigeria, there are about 4,000 divorce cases still pending. Isn’t that heartbreaking? That is just from one court. What is the statistics from other courts in the land? What do you think will happen to the future of the children who are from such homes? They will inevitably be affected adversely. Let’s ask the question, How many of such people had a heart-to-heart discussion with their spiritual leaders or professional counsellors before rushing to the court? Some of them might have been brain-washed that they should not get any third party involved, others might be reacting as a result of what their parents had suffered in their marriages, and the children are now telling themselves, “No, not again! My mother suffered domestic violence, I cannot stomach this non-sense! But they forget that God created us as individuals and we should be responsible for our lives. Domestic violence is on the increase! Men beating their wives and vice versa. This is evidence that society is truly decaying.

In Exodus 18:13-26, the man Jethro had to call Moses’ attention to the necessity of getting more hands to help him in handling the matters that the Israelites were bringing to him. In essence, there was a need for more counsellors if not, Moses would suffer burnout. In the same vein, we need more counsellors to move to the stage.
Nobody can counsel effectively without the help of “The Counsellor,” that is The Holy Spirit. We must learn to communicate with Him and seek His directions as we talk with people because He only can truly solve those problems. In the world, many people are aching and many are broken-hearted. One day, a lady called me on the telephone and we conversed for some time. Initially, I didn’t like the idea, and I encouraged her to come to the counselling office so that we could discuss extensively. On her part, she didn’t want face- to- face interaction, but after some telephone discussion, she agreed that she would come to the office. Unfortunately, she disregarded the two appointments that she booked. The Holy Spirit then helped me to realize that there was a need for a paradigm shift. All clients may not show up in the office, just take advantage as the case presents itself, so I followed her up with text messages, and sending relevant bible passages to help her.

As human beings we operate from different perspectives. When a man and his wife can no longer understand each other, they should seek the help of a professional counsellor, who by the help of the Holy Spirit can help them to see the matter from other perspectives. A friend shared a story with me that a newly married couple found themselves in a mess that could have cost them their new home, just a day after their wedding. After all the merriment at the wedding reception, they went to their new home rejoicing, but by the following day, there was a problem. The dustbin was filled with all kinds of stuff. The husband was expecting the wife to empty it, and the wife too was expecting the husband to empty it. So the man spoke up, but the wife refused and they began to shout at each other. Their pastor said he felt led by the Holy Spirit to go and visit them that morning, but he was hesitant. This couple just wedded yesterday, they should be enjoying their honeymoon, why should I disturb them? Well, he obeyed and went to the house.

As he approached the house he overheard the new couple shouting at each other, so he understood why the Lord sent him there. As he entered the house they greeted him, Ah, pastor, welcome sir. He then asked them what caused the quarrel between them and they explained. The wife told her pastor that in her family, it was their father that used to empty the dustbin so she grew up to believe that it is a man’s job, while the husband said it was his mother that empties trash at home. The pastor now counselled with them and made them see that both of them are right in their thinking, but that was their parents’ homes. Now they must decide how they want to run their own home, not necessarily following the old patterns. Thank God for that divine intervention, and peace was restored.

The Holy Spirit needs our hands, our feet, our mouths and all that He can use to reach out to people who are aching, and others who may just need little encouragement to push ahead with life in a world such as ours. The Bible is central to our counselling practice as Christian Counsellors, as the Holy Spirit grants us necessary illumination. No one has the wisdom to relate with people who are in pains and need succour, we need God’s wisdom, guidance and His words to pass across to people in this troubled society. Prayer component cannot be overemphasized. We must be very prayerful. Begin to pray for the client once he or she books an appointment, while the counselling session is ongoing, remain connected to the Holy Spirit, and as a follow-up strategy, keep praying that the Holy Spirit will help him or her to be victorious through the crisis.

God is building men and women who will surrender their will to Him to move to the nooks and crannies of this world so as to preserve the world for Him.  God is calling out to willing hearts to help in rebuilding lives.

Are you ready? May God find you faithful. Amen. 

N.B. Do you perceive the need for training? Join our online training at Institute of Christian Counselling and Mission Studies. Log on to www.iccmstudies.net for a rich experience in basic Christian Counselling. It is a flexible programme and it is cost-friendly.