The Ministers were seated at the altar, all looking good. And so was the congregation of God’s people, looking great. They had every reason to be, as Rev. Dr. Victor Ibemegbulam, the Assistant General Overseer, was giving his daughter in marriage to the son of one of their oldest members. That was on October 6, 2018, at Revival Group Christian Mission, Amukoko, Lagos. Pastor Ify Anyalechi [my wife], Pastor Ikechukwu Kanu, who is my Deputy General Overseer, and I, sat with the ministers. I was invited to give the message.
The service was warm all through, the choir, being at their best. After the joining of the couple, I was invited to the pulpit for the message. I reviewed briefly the story of the two men, Cleopas and another disciple, who were travelling from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a distance of 60 furlongs, and the Lord Jesus, drew nigh and went with them – Luke 24:13-15. It could be a man and a lady, as we had witnessed a few minutes earlier, leaving their single status life for a journey of marriage that lasts about 60 years and Jesus drew near and went with them. “May it be the testimony of the latest couple in our midst! I prophesy that it will also be the testimony of every spouse here, in the mighty name of Jesus,” I told them.
One might ask why it was Jesus and not His Angel that went with them. Uncle Moses demonstrated in Exodus 33:2-15 that Angels were not good enough for him. Midway on their journey from Egypt, God told him that He would send His angel to go before them. Moses insisted that they would not go further unless God went with them. And He did. May it be our desire, not to do anything, unless Jesus goes with us!
It is possible to embark on a journey assuming that the Lord Jesus is going with you when He is not. Spiritual insensibility or wrong assumption can cause this. Joseph and Mary, in Luke 2:43-46, did not know, until after one day, that Jesus was not with them! Thank God that, when they found out, they stopped their journey and went back to look for Him. They did not mind the embarrassment it might cause them, of people asking, what went wrong or even blaming them. After three days’ searching, they found Him. For the prodigal son, in Luke 15: 12-16, it was his choice to stay away from his dad. Some marriages are like that, the couple distancing itself from the Church and from God until wahala troops in. Thank God that one day, in verses 17-20, the prodigal son came back to his senses. He resolved to go back home. He did, returning to the loving embrace of his dad!
The life of Uncle Samson was different. It was a tragedy, a man chosen and anointed by God before birth so that he would fight His battle. At maturity, he distanced himself from God and was more interested in women, women of easy virtue, God’s enemy, than his ministry. He broke his vows as a Nazarite, by touching a dead lion. Taking God for granted, he never knew when He left him – Judg. 16:20. It cost him his sight and life. But for the two men going to Emmaus, the Lord Jesus, Himself, drew near and went with them.
For us to have access to the Lord Jesus, we must be Born Again – John 3:3-5. To attract Him in the things we do, such as marriage, business, school, et cetera, we must be interested in Him. The two men were talking painfully about His death. We used to sing, “Let’s talk about Jesus”. It is good for spouses to be talking about Him and also about themselves. In Nigeria, many spouses talk about themselves but on negative issues: fault finding! In the US, it is appreciating each other. It can be the mouth, eyes, etc. “Honey, I love your nose,” a spouse tells the partner at home, in the car, and even in the Church. It is not a distraction. This is fellowship.
It was the intimate discussion of the two men that attracted Jesus. “They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed” – Gen. 2:25. There is nothing a couple cannot discuss and then come to agreement. “If two of you will agree on earth, concerning anything you will ask, My Father will do it for you,” Jesus said in Matt. 18:19. What the two men did not do also attracted Jesus. They were not gossiping about their Pastors, leaders, members, neighbours, et cetera. They were not quarrelling, not fighting, et cetera.
Jesus will not be in a home, where there is malice. A wife, not on speaking terms with her spouse, wrote him for money to buy foodstuff. “I have no money,” he replied. “What will your children eat?” She wrote again. “I don’t know,” he replied. In another family, where the spouses were bearing malice also, Uncle wrote to his wife to wake him up at 6pm and then slept off. When it was 6pm, she wrote, “It is 6pm” and kept the letter near his pillow. When he woke up some hours after 6pm, he started abusing his wife, calling her names. Aunty pointed her finger to the letter she wrote. Uncle was ashamed and sued for peace immediately.
To attract Jesus, we must be truthful. During a family devotion, a man said, “All liars are going to hell”. Their young daughter yelled, “So, mum is going to hell”. She had met her disobeying her dad severally, and also counselling a lady, to be obeying her husband, “As I do”. She was there, when their Pastor wanted to speak to her dad through her mum’s phone and her mum lied that she had left their house!
There should also be mutual submission, irrespective of the custom. A mum was angry, when she met her son washing the baby’s nappies. She accused the wife of making him her housemaid! There are things each spouse has an edge over the other. Submission is the answer. A wife should submit generally to her husband, unless it involves sin, for he is the head of the family – Gen 3:16. A husband is to love his wife exactly as Christ loved the Church by dying for her. I have always tested guys on this, when ministering in various Churches in Nigeria and in the US, asking: “Can you give a kidney to your wife, if she needs it?” If you will, “Can you give her the second one if the one you gave has packed up?”
If Jesus is with us, we “Shall not want”, for He will lead us to green pastures, even using what we have. He used the rod of Moses for the miraculous deed in Egypt [Exd. 4:3], a youth’s lunch to feed 5000 men [John 6:9], a widow’s pot of oil to cater for her [2 Kings 4:2], a bird and a widow, to cater for Elijah [1 Kings 17:4,9]. We need Him also for protection. If Satan could send the storm when Jesus was in the boat, what will he not do, when He is not present? [Mark 4:37-39].
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For further comment, please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0802 3002471; [email protected] yahoo.com