Tag Archives: lagos

Guest Blog: Do NOT Mismanage God’s Affairs by Lucky Atugbara

Do NOT Mismanage God’s Affairs by Lucky Atugbara

Dear Readers,

Once upon a time, in the not-too-distant past, my husband and I lived for two years in Lagos, Nigeria. Some people pray, “Lord, I will do anything for You, but please don’t send me to Africa.” Being sent to Africa was one of the best things in my life. I needed to be there. God sent me there to learn some important spiritual lessons that I could only have learned from being there! I also met some lovely life-long friends during the process.

One of them was our driver Lucky. Like many people in Nigeria, two jobs are a reality. Lucky worked for us at a secular job as our driver, but his “REAL” job was that of a minister. Some people believe that pastors must have higher education. I agree that education is an excellent plus for pastors, but in some situations and some countries, that is not realistic. Lucky is a self-taught minister of the gospel, and he is good at it. Theologian A.W. Tozer sums it up when he says, “The thing that must really be understood is that our knowledge of God cannot be acquired simply through academic processes. What we really know about God is what He has faithfully revealed to us.” ¹

Lucky occasionally sends me his Sunday sermon messages. I devour them! God is using this man to preach the gospel in Lagos. Below is a recent sermon he sent me. Yes, I edited his “speech” a little—with his permission—to make it more readable to my blog followers. I hope you enjoy it, and as you read it, look for the main point. The main point is the essence of our walk with our triune God.

Patti Greene

  1. God will never allow spiritual growth if we do not manage our lives correctly. So instead of praying for something from God, we should pray for the spirit to handle our sin, guide us into His truth, and be responsible for what He has given us. God will not allow you to have something you have prayed for if you cannot manage them.
  2. God created men and women to worship Him—as God. He required a manager to manage what He made. Note that whatever you mismanage, God will not allow that area of your life to grow—until you can handle it.
  3. If we ask people why God created man, they usually say, “It is to worship God.” Correct, but we must worship Him with the right motives, the right desire, and glorify Him because He is God.
  4. Whatever you mismanage, you will most likely lose. Whatever is under your care, work diligently to protect and care for it. God cannot give you what you pray for if you do not manage what He has already given to you well. He can only provide you what you can handle. You pray for a new house. But God looks down on the apartment you have and sees it is not well-kept or clean. So, He says, “No! You have not managed the apartment I gave you, so you may not have a house.” He only gives you what you proved you could manage.
  5. Some people might get jealous of your ministry. They may not understand what is going on behind the scenes and making your ministry grow and flourish. If you do not manage your church or church assignments correctly, you may lose them, just like if you mangle your body, you might lose part of your arm, leg, or health. If you mess up your relationships, you might lose them. If you mishandle your children, it is possible to lose them. If you blow your money or bungle your business, you could lose them.
  6. To my pastor friends, I say, “So stop crying, Pastor. Don’t say, ‘I don’t know what’s happening to me. Life does not give you what you deserve but for what you fight for. Start reading Philippians 4:6.”

Ask. Seek, Find

My dear friends, the only way we can defeat the enemy we face is to pray. We must appreciate and tell the people that God has blessed us in one way or another.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7 NASB).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6 NASB).

GOD BLESS YOU, MY BELOVED MADAM,

I hope you liked my sermon and have extracted something from this message.

In God’s Grace,

Lucky

Bible Verse:

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve (Colossians 3:23-24).

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, I come to You today lifting my heart to You. I desire to work and serve You diligently. Please take away all my ungodly motives, my wicked spirit, and any desire to be “seen” for my works. Make me desire to live a life pleasing to You in grace, love, and humility. Remind me that my purpose in life is to understand the revealed truths You give me through Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

¹ Tozer, A.W. Delighting in God: True and Absolute Freedom is Found only in the Presence of God. New Delhi: General Press, 2020.

Verses are taken from The New American Standard Bible (NASB).

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Poverty and The Poor

Poverty and the Poor

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The last few days I have been thinking a lot about poverty and Lagos, Nigeria. My husband and I resided in Lagos during 2013-2015. We saw a lot of poverty as we traveled within the city. I know there is poverty in the United States, but the poverty in Lagos was different than what we had seen in the United States of America.

Poverty is a global problem, but the poverty I saw in Nigeria was more bothersome than what I had seen in the USA. Maybe it was because I was unaccustomed to it – maybe not. Each nation may have different issues to consider, but the results usually involve what most people think poverty is – a lack of food, clothing, and shelter.  Knowing that poverty is a very complex issue, I decided to look at some of the issues that led up to poverty in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, many politicians were corrupt and governmental money was not being used to help the people in the country. We saw the imported products being unloaded from the docks because manufacturing, agriculture, and entrepreneurship were limited due to lack of education or funding available. Buildings dangerously toppled down from lack of codes or enforcement. Transportation and roads needed a throughout upgrading. Getting used to an electrical system where your electricity goes out 5-10 times per day was strange. Schools, hospitals, and medical facilities were in need of an upgrade. The majority of the economy’s focus was on oil production, but there was pilfering of oil, unequal distribution of the oil’s wealth, and disdain by many locals towards the oil companies. Beggars were commonplace. I ran into a lot of “workers” who felt they deserved a handout just because we supposedly had more money than they did. Paying a bribe for safety or special favors began to seem logical after a while. In our short time there, we experienced two close calls with criminal behavior. And being an avid newspaper reader, I read many newspaper articles about the living conditions of the people in the northeastern part of the country being killed and displaced due to the terrorist organization Boko Haram.

The first step of my research for this blog involved trying to figure out who really were “THE POOR.” I decided to search the Bible to find out what God had to say about the poor. While I couldn’t find a definitive definition in the Bible of who exactly the poor are, I found multiple words and phrases about the poor in Strong’s Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon. From various verses throughout the Bible, the poor were noted as weak, hungry, indigent, needy, of the lowest class, impoverished, reduced to beggary, afflicted, wretched, lean, powerless to accomplish and end. In addition, Strong’s mentions the Greek word ‘ptόchos’ defines the poor as:

One who crouches and cowers; beggarly; destitute. The Greek word ptōxόs defines the poor as deeply destitute, completely lacking resources (earthly wealth) – i.e. helpless as a beggar. It relates to “the pauper rather than the mere peasant, the extreme opposite of the rich.”

Andrew Wilson interviewed Natalie Williams in his article Who Are the Poor. In that article, Williams states,

One biblical characteristics of poverty is [you are] powerless to raise yourself out of your circumstances.”

It is my opinion that since not all poor people are destitute, it would be wise to look at poverty and the poor in the context of each Scripture that addresses the issue. That is a challenging task since the word ‘poor’ and/or related words are mentioned in the King James Bible hundreds of times.

  • Poor – 205 times
  • Poorer – 1 time
  • Poverty – 15 times
  • Beggar – 3 times
  • Destitute – 8 times
  • Needy – 38 times
  • Penury – 2 times

Living in Nigeria made me wonder what God’s attitude toward poverty is. I noticed that poverty was affecting good people as well as bad people —maybe not equally, though. I noticed many Godly people who were poor and I noticed many ungodly people who were rich. It saddened me to see the shame, struggles, and ruin that affected many poor people, but it also saddened me to see the rich and famous lack humility, peace, and an ungodly lifestyle. My conclusion regarding poverty is that poverty does not have to lead to an ungodly life, but life is still tough. In the Bible, the word ‘poor’ most often referred to a person’s economic situation. But in each Biblical and/or current story on poverty, the causes and circumstances surrounding poverty are very different and complex.

Possible Causes of Poverty

  1. Sin; Genesis 3:17-19
  2. Trials/Misfortunes/Bad decisions i.e. stock market crash, bad investment, illness; Job 1:13-21
  3. Lack of discipline; Proverbs 13:18
  4. Idleness; Proverbs 10:4
  5. Neglect in giving; Proverbs 28:22
  6. Divine punishment; Proverbs 22:16
  7. Injustice; Proverbs 13:23
  8. Debt; Matthew 18:23-25
  9. Natural occurrences, i.e., tsunami, famine, tornado, hurricane, flooding; Genesis 47:20-22

Sometimes our attitude towards the poor has to do with why we “feel” a person is poor. We might not feel sorry for a person when they are poor because they don’t want to work and are just expecting a handout. When I see people asking for money on the street corners, I am a skeptic most of the time. I wonder why they are experiencing poverty or if they are really poor or even a fraud. I wonder what the cause of their poverty might be and then I make a judgment call. Whether that is acceptable or not, I do know that God is very specific about how He wants the poor to be treated.

How Should ‘The Poor’ be Treated?

  1. The poor should be treated fairly. Exodus 23:6
  2. The poor should not be mistreated. Galatians 6:9-10
  3. The poor should be cared for. Luke 3:11
  4. The poor should be helped generously. Jeremiah 39:10
  5. The poor should have special privileges. Exodus 23:11

We should show compassion for the poor among us. When we look at the early church, we see a Godly attitude shown by the first believers toward the poor. We see Jesus having compassion on the poor. The Bible says that when we show compassion toward the poor we will be rewarded. The Bible even gives some examples of the poor we should help – the orphans and the widows specifically. [Note: The family should be the first to help relatives, especially the orphans and widows in need.]

Poverty Principles

  1. Poverty will always exist in this world. Matthew 26:11
  2. God is concerned about poverty. Psalm 14:6
  3. People in poverty are expected to work if possible. 2 Thessalonians 3:10
  4. Family members are to help their poor relatives. 1 Timothy 5:8, 16
  5. People who are financially able should help the poor, i.e. gifts, food, clothing. Ephesians 4:28
  6. The church should help the poor. Acts 15:26

So far, I have spoken only of the physically poor. However, there is also the spiritual poor – those without Jesus Christ in their lives. And just as there are reasons for physical poverty, there are reasons for spiritual poverty. One may lack faith, understanding, or knowledge of God. This is where those who understand the redemptive power of Jesus Christ must pray for the Holy Spirit to change a person’s heart so that they will be drawn into loving relationship with Jesus. God does hear the prayers of the poor in spirit who are willing to trust Him for their daily needs.

I once saw a lady in Lagos on the street begging as she wearily walked up and down between the cars. Her shirt top was pulled down as she was nursing twins – one on each breast. She wore raggedy clothing. Her facial expression exhibited true despair. Her body screamed “malnutrition.” I don’t know about you, but in my estimate, she qualified as being one of the poor. You will run into people throughout your life that God will call you to minister to. They may be needy; they may be destitute; they may even be faking poverty. But by using your God-given wisdom and discernment abilities, He will show you what He wants you to do or how to help the poor! He really will!!!

God Bless,

PATTIGREENE.eps-(1png-300x9

Bible Verses:

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. Proverbs 14:31

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:26

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, when we see weariness, distress, and poverty, please allow us to discern who you want us to minister to – both physically and spiritually. Open our eyes to see everything we encounter through your eyes. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


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Strong’s Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon. 14 March 2016. Online. EliYah.com.

Wilson, Andrew. “Who are the Poor? A Conversation with Natalie Williams.” 14 Oct 2015. Web. 13 March 2016.

Zondervan Dictionary of Bible Themes. Ed.Martin H. Manser. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999.

My Housekeeper

I love my housekeeper.

Yesterday I received a Facebook post from my good friend Glory. It was simple and easy to read, but so powerful. It simply said, “Become friends with people who aren’t your age. Hang out with people whose first language isn’t the same as yours. Get to know someone who doesn’t come from your social class. This is how you see the world. This is how you grow.” I do not know the source of this statement, but knowing my friend who posted it, I feel sure she meant that this is how you grow as a Christian.

Glory's post FB 2

As an USA expat living in Lagos, Nigeria, I have now seen poverty, unbelievable health problems, corruption, and the tears of people reaching out to God for help. But, I have also seen the calm sweet spirit of those who love Jesus and want to be obedient to Him no matter what life has brought them.

In Nigeria, most expats have housekeepers, cooks, and drivers. I am no exception. Yesterday, I told my housekeeper to show up, but that she was not going to clean for me, because I wanted to take her out for a birthday lunch. I decided to take her to a simple place next to our flat where we could walk to and not spend too much time.

I was ready to go. Mary (not her real name) showed up in a nice, lovely suit for the occasion. I was just wearing my regular old jeans that I had worn the past two days. I was gently jolted into reminding myself that this lunch was a very special occasion for her. We arrived at the restaurant. Remember, it is Nigeria. We had to proceed through a scanner and have our purses checked before being allowed entrance. The table in the main restaurant was covered with a bright white tablecloth adorned with a lovely folded cloth napkin. I ordered a steak and French fries. She ordered a hamburger and French fries. She ate her French fries with a fork. We laughed. I told her that in America, we eat our French fries with our fingers. I made her order a dessert since it was her birthday. She ordered an apple pie to go. She wanted to share her special occasion by bringing something home to her husband and son. Throughout the meal, we shared our lives. She told me about her tribal wedding and her white wedding. She asked me if I drove a car. She was shocked that someone from the USA didn’t have a driver to drive them everywhere. She doesn’t drive. You see, there is no opportunity here for her to ever own a car. She takes multiple buses to get home after cleaning my flat – sometimes taking up to three hours to get home.

table set

One day I asked her what she really wanted if I could bring her one thing back from the U.S. Her answer wasn’t fancy clothes, toys for her son, or needed medicine. She wanted a new watch. Hers wasn’t keeping time correctly, so she wanted a new watch, so she wouldn’t be late to work.

The lunch ended. We walked back to my flat. She left. I sat down and I thanked God for an opportunity to share with someone who was not my age, someone I had to ask to repeat what she said when she jumped into her tribal dialect, and someone who definitely was not from my social class.

Then, later that night, when I read the post from my friend, I could totally relate to it, because I had just experienced it and lived it this very same day.

While my housekeeper thanked me for my kindness towards her, I thanked God for the blessing I had just received.

Bible Verses:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

“I will make them and the places around my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in its season; there shall be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26

Six hours after I posted this blog, I received a message from Mary that I want to share. It is written exactly as she wrote it.

“Gudeven mum. I am very happy and appreciated for what u did for me .may almighty God reward u and bless ur family in jesus amen.I love u mum .thanks Mary.”

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