Many marriages have continued to hit the rocks from circumstances that are avoidable. Bishop Ada Gordon Osagiede Jnr provides some tips on how to ensure an enduring marriage.
Known for his very penetrating teaching on leadership and youth empowerment, for Bishop Osagiede Jnr, the common aphorism that good homes beget a good nation holds true. He has devoted time in trying to nurture successful marriages. Recently, he organised a programme for couples. Christened "Excellent Couples", the cleric says it was actually a programme "that God put in my heart to reach young couples who are ten years old in marriage and below.
"The vision is to teach, admonish, and encourage young couples to pay attention to the details of their marriages and relationships. So I believe that it is a great programme that God is using to establish the family units because there are young people, especially in our generation who are experiencing difficulties in their marriages. So God wants to do more in the lives of young marriages. The focus is to pay attention to the details of your marriage," the presiding minister of the Spirit and Life Bible Church (SLBC) and facilitator, Godhead Prayer Ministry International, said.
Besides ministering to the needs of couples, he has delved into making the youths more focused and purposeful in the midst of daunting challenges. "We are beginning to see that many youths want to get involved in the system; youths are very passionate about their country. You see many youths, over time, because of what they have been through the educational system, the workforce in the country; have been very discouraged by the nation. So many of our youths don't like what is going on in the nation, but God has been able to use the vision of the youths of excellence to adjust the mindset that Nigeria is the only nation we have.
"There is nothing wrong in you wanting to go abroad to school, but at the end of the day, realise that whatever nation you live, you are a second-class citizen of that nation. That's one thing my father always told me that if you are not in your country, you are a second-class citizen. You cannot be fully accepted as a first class citizen, or a son of the soil there but in your own nation, no matter how bad it is, it is the nation of your birth." With this in mind, the cleric, who lives abroad, has continued to instill that principle on the young people and with verifiable impact.
"We have young people who are passionate about the country, standing against corruption, indecency, and want to move this nation forward with every influence that they have so we are very grateful to God and we would continue to do the work. God wants to raise a generation of young people of excellence who practice righteousness, free from the mindset of corruption, deceit, greed, militancy and other evils," he said.
Assessing the country's state of affairs
He believes that Nigeria is entering a new dawn of her existence. "I believe what is going to happen in Nigeria is something that has never happened before. Nigerians are beginning to see for themselves that we can have a say on what is going on in the nation; we can have our own opinions on how we want our nation to go. I believe strongly that the young democracy that we are running is just the beginning of what is to come and that is why I believe that the situation and the state of our country right now is a growing stage of democracy, awareness, enlightenment and so I am very encouraged by what God is doing."
According to him, before now, Nigerians had been very passive in the way they did things, with an average Nigerian just letting things go. "But I see gradually that we are beginning to rise up and do things that we have not done before. I just believe this is the beginning of things to come. We are in the age of information with television, the Internet and satellite so people are more enlightened, more aware of things going on and that is putting a lot of pressure on our leaders to begin to act on something that normally they won't have acted or done and they are beginning to do things like that now. I believe it is here to stay and I trust God for that."
Role of churches
I believe the first response the local church must is to pray, that is the first response God has instructed us as believers to pray for our leaders because the bible tells us the prayer of the righteous avails much. So I believe that Christians are to first pray, one thing that happens much in the local church is that many believers conduct prayers based on their affiliations.
You can have a church which is supposed to be praying for the well being of the leaders, for God to give the leaders wisdom but certain believers are praying for the downfall of their leaders, praying for things not to work out, praying for their own person and that is not what the scripture teaches. The scripture teaches that we should pray for the leaders of the nation.
Now except a leader is blatantly going against the law, committing atrocities against his people, killing his people then that is injustice and we cannot pray for his well being; we pray that God would remove him from power but there has to be unity in the local church that when we pray it should be together. Then after praying it is now time to take actions. Who are those believers that God has been stirring their hearts to go into politics and be in the helms of affairs, until those people begin to rise up then we cannot be in the system, righteousness would be in the system because righteous people are in the system.
"So the only way righteousness exalts a nation is that righteous people who have been made righteous by God through Jesus Christ are in the system. So I always encourage believers to be part of the system, I mean agent of change in the system," the clergy insisted.
Leaders and People's trust
The cleric wants Nigerian leaders to have the trust of the people because of the possibility that in spite of the endemic corruption in the land, there are still some leaders who mean well for Nigeria. "They want to do well and put up programmes but the system has been so corrupt-the system has been so against the progress of the people that even though a person is there to do well, their good is over-shadowed by all the bad. So leaders have to earn the people's trust because until the people can trust you, then the people cannot rely on the things you do. They cannot give you credit for the things you do. So, I encourage our leaders to be transparent to the Nigerian people. We are supposed to be in democracy and we voted you in so you are answerable to the people. That is how it is supposed to work."
Acquisition of private jets by pastor
What does this man of God think about the growing appetite by men of God to acquire private jets? His simple response lies in the book of 3 John 1: 2-"Beloved I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in good health even as thy soul prospereth". According to him, God is not against prosperity, but "He is against our wrong attitude of prosperity." He also abhors hasty judgment of servants of God. "Some of these men of God that are enjoying the grace of God upon their lives today have been through challenges of life without anybody knowing.
" I believe that the future of Nigeria is great. I say that with all sincerity in my heart because when I look at all the things that Nigeria has been through over the years, I always say that what Nigeria has been through in the last 10 years is enough for us to be in war today-the religious violence, political situation, the death of the last President and the assumptions of office by the incumbent President, all those things are enough to create tension and boiling point to spark a religious war," he stressed.