t began as an idea in the 17th Century Europe when landowners and the propertied class, owned everything and preyed on the serfs but at the same time wanted an avenue to give the latter a sense of inclusion and belonging. The Industrial Revolution of the 1760s which led to the radicalization of the manufacturing sector became an opportunity for the nobility, the industrialists and factory workers to recreate and bond outside the coal and mining sites. In order to keep the troublesome Ludites busy, distract them and let-off steam outside the textile, metal manufacturing, agricultural and transportation sites following the advent of the Industrial Age, football was invented as a recreational exercise. The working class was offered an avenue to bond with the new capitalists who owned the factories in which they worked and the game of football offered an avenue and a veritable opportunity in this regard. Soon, like most other inventions which the capitalists have cashed in, football or soccer as it is known depending on which part of the world you reside was later hijacked by the bourgeois class and turned into a money-making venture. What started as a recreational exercise between England and Scotland in 1872 has now gone global with the maiden edition of the World Cup staged in 1930 in Uruguay.
This quadrennial exercise is now a money-spinning industry worth billions of dollars today around the world and with it are the national pride, prestige, money, nationalistic fervor and influence that accompany unarguably the most populous sport in human history with the popular Olympics. Every four years, qualifying nations of the world gather at the World Cup matches staged at winning bid venue as 22 players jostle and toss the rounded leather ball among themselves and score goals. It is the most-watched recreational event in the world; an estimated number of 1.4 billion viewers will be glued to their television sets throughout the 30-day global fiesta currently going on in Brazil, South America. The glitz and razzmatazz are electrifying. But beyond the façade are certain spiritual truths we can glean from the most populous game on planet earth.
Take for example the match between Switzerland and Ecuador last Sunday; a-3 -minutes extra time gave Switzerland the opportunity to put the match away and trumped over Ecuador 2-1. In the journey of life, it is not over until it is over. The Word of Life, the Holy Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 9: 10: "Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it, for there's neither work to do nor thoughts to think in the company of the dead, where you're most certainly headed." Life is full of most-chanced moments and rare opportunities, which we can each judiciously capitalize on and change our future and ultimately our eternal destiny. On the Cross, our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified for your sin and mine and the sin of the world; but two notorious armed robbers hung with the King of kings and Lord of lords. The two "bad guys" had their few minutes left on planet earth before transiting to eternity. One of the thieves said to our Lord Jesus Christ and Savior: "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" (Luke 2: 39). This thief certainly knew Jesus Christ was the Messiah, because he said so. As eternity beckoned unto this thief, a rare opportunity presented itself for him to change his inevitable end as death starred him in the face. This thief should have capitalized on his last moments and risked it all. He was dying anyway and thus had nothing to lose by professing faith in Jesus Christ, but had everything to lose, including life of torment and sadness in hell if he maintained his course and spurned his moment. Like Switzerland capitalized on 27 seconds of their 3-minute extra time in their match with Ecuador, the other thief hanging on the cross for his last moments on planet earth said to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." (Luke 23: 40-42). This wise thief-what an oxymoron-did two things which all Christ rejecters of the world have refused to do today which will torment them for eternity: 1. He rebuked the other recalcitrant thief, which most people of the world do today. 2. But he did not stop there, but seized his last chanced moment and committed his life into the secured Hands of Jesus Christ, the Owner of Life and this dying thief entered Paradise even before Papa Abraham because our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who owns paradise told him in Luke 23: 43: "Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."
Why does the world so hate the Gospel which is Good News? Why would any reasonable person hate the Good News? Why do some human beings refuse to give their lives to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? It is not that the people of the world cannot give their lives to Jesus Christ, trust Him with their eternity and make Him their Savior, but they do not want to, period! I ran into a Moslem man few years ago during my graduate years at the University of South Florida in Tampa. From my name, he bonded with me and soon we began to discuss about eternity. He complained endlessly why he would never become a born-again Christian and I asked him why. "You Christians only pray and go to church and just tell people to simply and just belief in Jesus Christ and that is all," he ranted. "What is wrong with that?" I asked him. "It's too easy, you make God to be too easy to worship; you Christians continue to tell people that they should just belief, compared with us Moslems; we pray five times daily, we go on pilgrimage to Mecca, we fast 30 days during the Holy Month of Ramadan and do other things which will please Allah and we would be rewarded for those things." I looked at him and said; "That's precisely why I am a Christian, because it's easy. I don't want to go through the monotonous routines of five times daily prayer and the burden of pilgrimage to Mecca and other works because candidly, I don't know the amount of those works that I have to perform to get it right with God. A person who lived just 40 years old would have no chance of entering your Al-Janna-the Muslim paradise-compared with a 70-year old person. Come to think of it, why should the true Lord God Almighty make it difficult for human beings to enter paradise? Aren't we His children who got lost through disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and through the Blood atoning sacrifice of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the True Lord God Almighty desires His True children to know Him and come back home. Why would God make it difficult and hard for lost humanity to worship Him? I am a Christian, a born-again child of God through simple faith and belief in what Jesus Christ had done on Calvary as my Savior and Redeemer, because I can't be just, righteous and pure enough to earn the salvation of God, do you understand?" He looked at me askance as we headed for the parking lot on campus and I knew he got the message.
Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ told the Pharisees, those cantankerous and cranky religious racketeers consumed with spiritual hubris in Matthew 21: 32: "For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him." Why would the Sovereign Lord God almighty of the heavens and the universe make it difficult for human beings to be saved? Why would He want us to work for our salvation and compete with His Grace? What would be the cut-off grade for making paradise if it is by human efforts and works? That is why Apostle Paul said it plainly in Ephesian 2: 8-9: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast." The greatest sin any human being can commit on earth is to tell the Lord God Almighty how He should be worshipped. It is the highest level of hubris and greatest rebellion more than the rebellion of Lucifer in heaven now known as Satan for any mortal human being to tell the Immortal Great Alone, the Sovereign Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that are in them and the Great Creator on how He should be worshipped. This is what virtually all religions of the world are all about, but religion of whatever hues will not take us to heaven. All these man-made ideas and efforts are a continuation of the rebellion of the human race which began with our First Parents, Adam and Eve when they disobeyed their Maker in the Garden of Eden by falling for Satan's deception. Unfortunately, many human beings continue to wallow in this deception today; that somehow we can work our way into the Presence of God through human efforts. The fact of the matter is that all religions of the worlds that teach salvation by works have missed the point. We need Grace; which is the Favor of God through profession of faith and belief in the Blood-Atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is only one way to paradise, period!
The name Marion Morrison may not ring a bell but every human being on heart knows who John Wayne was during his lifetime-the handsome debonair American actor who starred in nearly 200 movies. Throughout much of the 20th Century, he was an icon and even today, the numerous movies he starred in still enrich our world. Like all movie stars and icons, he did it all: liquor, womanizing, smoking etc and many who didn't know or read about his final moments on earth may be surprised when we get to heaven. In 1978 when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, John Wayne confronted his mortality like the rest of us and his attitude to life changed dramatically. A friend visited him at his Los Angeles, California home and preached Jesus Christ to him. John Wayne accepted the King of Kings and the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ as his Lord and Personal Savior and nine months later on June 11, 1979 the iconic John Wayne passed on to the other side of the eternal divide. Do not be surprised if you see the Duke in paradise!
No one knows when our time will be up here but we all know none of us will hang around here forever. Death is an inevitable tragedy we all must pass through, but each and every one of us has the power to decide where we will end up. On the road to eternity, two options are opened before us: Hell or Heaven. Jesus Christ emphatically said it: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14: 6). That is a Big Line, as thick as a Mahogany tree in the sand. It's either this Jewish Rabbi is a jerk and an imposter, or he is exactly what He says He is, but He cannot be both. We don't know the remaining number of years for each and every one of us on this planet earth, but not everyone will get extra minutes of life as Switzerland got against their match with Ecuador last Sunday which they cashed in and coasted home to victory at the current soccer fiesta in Brazil. Do not wait like the dying hung thief who changed his eternal destiny on the Cross, because such extra hours of life may not present itself again, neither should you wait till stomach cancer assail you and bring you to the realization that you need Jesus Christ as John Wayne discovered at the dusk of his earthly life. Extra minutes or years in the journey of life cannot be banked upon or guaranteed and as the Ecuador soccer team squad discovered; "…but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24: 13). Hear the call today and give heed to Jesus Christ, seriously you need Him and if you spurn His offer of salvation, you will lose out in the end.
Dear Man of God, I am happy to see you on Facebook and I read all your column articles. They are sources of inspiration to me and to others as well. I believe in you and I know whoever believes in the prophet of God shall see the mercy of the Lord God Almighty. Remain blessed man of God. ---Mr. Felix Odumakinde Oriskaiya, Lagos, Nigeria
Yes, you are blessed and I say it again and decree that you're indeed blessed in the Mighty Name of God. Thank you.
Bless you sir. I am not sure if you will eventually receive or get to read this mail or not. But all the same, I will still send it. I have been reading your articles on this column and I want to refer especially to the one you about witches and family background. I read what you wrote about your auntie; Madam Aina Rachel Fayemiwo and I have similar experience. I have been going through a lot in life in the last one year. I am an IT consultant based in the UK. I lost my job last year and all efforts to get another have been incredibly unsuccessful. Many times, I get interviews and "near offers" but when I am celebrating and about to go start the project, they come back to say the project has been placed on hold meaning the project is cancelled. This has happened about four times. Next month will make it exactly a year since I lost my job, meaning I have not earned considerable income for almost one year. I have had to live with some savings which is now finished and have piled up incredible debts ranging from credit cards, mortgages ( I only just bought a house last summer) etc.
My family and I (wife and kids) fasted and prayed endlessly with no tangible results as it were. The only kind of job I get to do on part-time basis is cleaning job. Well, there is nothing to be ashamed of for me (even though I was working as an IT consultant for banks making £450 per day, I am now making £120 per week from cleaning). I contacted some men of God and they told me to pray that there is something great ahead and that soon I will be celebrating. But I am "dying" daily as it were because of piles of debts. I have seen the hand of God in my life in the past but I do not understand my present situation. I feel so disappointed with my present situation because in the past, there have always been ways out of every situation but this time, I do not understand why it seems like heavens is closed to me. Please, I need spiritual direction. If I know what to do to get out of this present situation, I will not hesitate to do it immediately as I now just feel like dying these days.
God bless sir while I wait for your urgent response. ----Mr. O.C. (writer's name concealed at his request), Manchester, UK.
Dear Mr. O.C, what a heart-wrenching story but the Lord God Almighty will turn your adversities into great victories and hundred-fold restoration in the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen. Please call me directly in Chicago at 773-660-8917 at your earliest convenience and you can also reach me on my private email address for urgent spiritual help at: [email protected]. If you are using this private email, please write SPIRITUAL MATTERS as the heading of your email so it won't be treated as junk or spam and deleted. I look forward to your call or email. Please do not panic. The Good Lord knows what you're going through. He hasn't forgotten you and please do not commit suicide. Let's talk. It shall be well with you and your family in Jesus Mighty Name, Amen.
Sir, How are you today? I hope the week has been pleasant to you. They say everyone should try having a spiritual advisor and now, I am requesting a personal favor in the area of a special prayer. I'm currently married and I have been contemplating on either divorcing or separating lately from the wife, well, actually been contemplating quite some time now. I know what the Bible says about this issue but I find myself not happy and also finding myself resenting my significant other more and more. I don't want to end up just hating her all the way because we have a beautiful three years old daughter going on four. Can you please help me pray concerning my marriage? I have been praying but I guess I really want a quick answer that I have not gotten yet, don't want to say my faith is dwindling but I won't lie, my faith drags me down sometimes and I pray for His grace for sustainability. I will need your help in prayer to inquire of the Holy Spirit on my behalf as to what is lacking on my behalf. Am I with whom I am ordained to be with? Thank you Sir and have a great week.-----Mr. O.A. USA
Thank you for your email Mr. O.A. (real name concealed at writer's request). We cannot find a quick answer t fixing your marriage so you and I will have to set up an appointment where we can join faith with one another to salvage your marriage. The Holy Bible is against divorce except on certain cases such as proven marital infidelity or marital unfaithfulness in a marriage covenant. I have written a lot about this issue in my column here in the past and I will advise you lay your hands on those series before we discuss. Thank you.
Thank you Dr. Fayemiwo, I really enjoyed your spiritual write ups, highly inspiring, and spirit filled. May God Almighty continue to uphold you, increase your knowledge and understanding in Jesus Name, Amen. I am a man that always want be close to people that search the truth and preach the true Word of God. Sir, I need spiritual guidance as well. I am a born again child of God, spirit filled, but I am still struggling to find my feat in life. I will like to talk to you personally, and even join your faith with mine, and seek God's face so that I will know the mind of God concerning my life. God bless you Sir. Thank you----Mr. Damola Ojutalayo, Canada.
Thank you for your compliments. The Bible says "Iron sharpens iron" (Proverbs 27: 17) and Galatians admonished all Christian to demonstrate our love for one another by carrying each other's burdens and in this way fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6: 2). Please call me and let's talk. Remain Blessed in Jesus' Holy Name, Amen.