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A HEAVEN TO GAIN AND A HELL TO SHUN

Life Is Good, Life’s Good!

Life is Good generally refers to the good life here on earth, also applicable to companies, corporations and organizations that take up the challenge to produce goods and services generally accepted as making life and living good and worthy.

Sadly, and quite unfortunately, this life is so riddled with much falsehood, falsifications, lies, and outright untruth that what is called good might actually be bad, evil and dangerous.

Human beings have done quite a lot to improve our existence and advance the way we go about our operations, communications, productions, and general aspects of life.

Various people, cultures, nations and continents separated by lands and oceans have been brought together by science and technology as the world becomes a global village.

Living the good life means different things to different people. All right thinking people desire to have a good life, but most do not know how to go about it.

To some, the good life is about having the freedom to do what you like, having your way without any hindrance, and feeling good and happy about the things you do and the way you live.

To another, the good life is all about living an honest life with integrity, dignity in a descent home and family, with people of noble existence, having and maintaining self-worth, decent means of livelihood in joy, happiness, and peaceful co-existence.

 To the bulk of humans, many seek the good life in lasting prosperity, life of opulence with immense wealth and riches to sustain and enjoy it. They desire to be well-known and accepted in society, they also want power and position in public and private for adequate recognition and regard.

Liberal access to freedom and liberty has embolden the general resolve for individual pursuit of the good life. In their quest, so many people have thrown caution to the winds, having complete disregard for the good and needs of others as long as their own needs and desires are met.

“The good life is right in front of you.

Seize it and make the most of it.”

While we tend to perceive a good life in terms of a happy upbringing, a good training and decent education, promising and well-paying career, profession or enterprise, a happy marriage with an understandingly loving spouse and pleasing family, and a radiant focus upon life and future, there is much more to life than man.

You really need to pity self-centered people. What becomes of your riches after your demise? It is forcibly left behind to others who didn’t earn it and might not appreciate it.

Life needs be lived with a purpose. To find this purpose, noble, legal and dignified, one must first discover the Maker of life, and His purpose for you. To know life is to know God, and to know God is to find life in truth.

You are created for a meaningful purpose, and your true greatness in life lies in your consciousness of an honest purpose, founded on a just estimate of yourself, within the ambit of the standard of our great Creator.

In the last day, that great day of the feast,

Jesus stood and cried, saying,

If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,

Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (Joh 7:37,38).  

The natural man love to do things his way rather than follow the Word of God, though there were times, I’m sure you knew, when we bit off more than we could chew, but somehow we wriggle ourselves out of it, and life goes on.

Man love to be the master of his own destiny, the principal of his life. He loves the radiant adornment of the rich man in Luke 16: “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:” 

Man covet from time to time the material achievements of the Rich Fool without godliness in Luke 12: “And he spake a parable unto them, saying,

The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 

And he thought within himself, saying,

What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater;

And there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 

And I will say to my soul,

Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years;

Take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” (Luk 12:16 – 19).

Aside from the popular phenomenon of “take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” the good life is sought through an adequate blend of three essential aspects of man:

Self-mastery – Know thyself.

Exploratory study and research of life around you to learn and contemplate on what to do and the right way to do it in life.

Active participation in civic activities.

Successfully handling of these three parameters are expected to engender fulfillment and accomplishment, joy and satisfaction as well as happiness in the life.  However, this is not always so. No matter how well life is packaged, planned and executed, the rich also cry, it is absolute folly to trust in man rather than God.

Come unto me,

All ye that labour and are heavy laden,

And I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;

For I am meek and lowly in heart:

And ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Mat 11:28).

All those in living communion with Christ have been transformed and re-born to become goodness unto themselves and goodness in themselves, and to beam out blessing and spiritual influence unto others by the virtue of  the power of God in them, which, when quickened by faith, flows forth as a river, carrying life and refreshment to others. This is the good life.

The Rich Fool in Luke 12 was empowered and enriched by God unto material wealth, but he chose to put his heart on the pursuit of personal desires rather than upon God and spiritual gains.

And, since there is a Heaven to Gain and a Hell to shun, the wise man warns:

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God, and keep his commandments:

For this is the whole duty of man. 

For God shall bring every work into judgment,

With every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecc 12:8, 12,13). 

As you dress up in your radiant attires within the comfort of your home or office, people are dying per second per second, and many are not dying in Christ, they are following Satan down into hell.

Hell is the darkness of darkness, the epitome of sorrow and unending torment. Hell is full of misery, gloom, sadness, woe, and affliction without an end. No sane person would wish for his enemy to end up in hell.

Hell was not prepared for man, but as the final abode of Satan and his fallen angels. All the people who reject God and Our Savior Jesus Christ, to follow Satan, will go to hell.

And, behold, I come quickly;

And my reward is with me,

To give every man according as his work shall be.” (Rev 22:12).  

It is the way of the world to treat godliness and the Word of God with levity, thereby giving sin, sinfulness, and ungodliness a diminished view, depriving it of the serious consequence of failing to be on the Lord’s side in the end.

The five wise virgins entered with the Master unto glory, the foolish ones narrowly missed to make heaven, and it was very terrible for them, and very sad indeed.

Almost will never get it. They failed all the same, and end up in hell.

There is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun.

A biblical view of sin necessitates a judgment beyond the grave. A grasp of the horrors of hell should also ginger weary saints and drowsing believers to rise up for evangelism and fulfillment of the Great Commission. We must all desire and resolve to live a pure and holy life.

Like the five wise virgins, wise men and women are seeking and gaining salvation through Jesus Christ, as they realize how much they need Him. That is the good life.

Forsaking the world and its dainties, they follow Him through the waters, through the garden, through the judgment, through dark Calvary, and just all the way till the end, to gain Heaven.

There is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun.

A mother does countless things for her child.

But my mother is quite different in so many ways.

She was always there at very early morning prayers, Family Altar, and at night before we sleep.

Though Dad often led the prayers and bible exhortations, Mum had her prime roles, and would take the lead when Dad traveled.

A princess of the Ajoba-ma-d’ade royal family of Imeko-Afon, Egbado clan, Mum taught us to be meek and humble like Christ. You never get her applause and approval if you are proud and arrogant.

Industrious and hard- working, Mum made up for her lack of tertiary education with her prolific mien in trading. She is well known in the community as a kind lender, an honest merchant, and a woman of substance.

She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”

She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.”

A pillar of strength and support to Dad, “her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land”. She saw well to our schooling and progress in life, ever reminding us to “go to Calvary”, to watch and pray in faith, truth, and love, so that we all could be in the Rapture.

In-law meddling and parent’s concern for their married children has always been a great challenge when loved children grows up to leave and cleave to their own husbands and wives.

It was very difficult for Mum when I married a non-African wife and cleave to my nuclear family.

With wisdom, she adjusted and adapted till she become a good friend and confidant of my wife, and darling doyen ever-sought after lovingly respected Grandma to my children.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but Dear Mum Josephine O. Ojelabi, thou excellest them all.

photo of a man sitting under the tree
Photo by Samuel Silitonga on Pexels.com

“Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad.”

Olivet Heights, teach ’em Soccer!!!

Olivet Heights, teach ‘em Soccer!!!

Popular slogan of Olivet Baptist High School .

In the Swinging 60s through the Super 70s, Olivet Heights was great in academics, fantastic in sports, and scintillating in social activities. Her grounds are hallowed, a Mecca to students from other schools and colleges. It was always a pride to put on her uniform.

As the nation was ebbing out of the infamous Biafra War, and I was getting ready for life in the secondary school. Olivet Heights was my only choice.

When you have a great Dad, growing up becomes meaningful, and learning appears a great virtue.

Dad was well schooled, and a very serious Catholic, maybe more Catholic than the Pope!

Born in 1900 to prosperous Emmanuel Ojelabi, a prominent Lagos and West African Coast merchant, contemporary of Andrew Thomas, the wealthy Lagos trader and auctioneer – father of erudite lawyer, Chief Bode Thomas.

Dad was also very close to Chief P.A. Afolabi, grand-father of Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie. He was warmly welcome at any time in the palace of Alaafin Adeniran, father of present Alaafin Adeyemi.

Dad schooled at the Holy Cross School, Lagos, a premier Catholic School founded in 1871. He trained to be a teacher, and taught in schools in Lagos and Ibadan.

He later joined the Railway Corporation in Ibadan, was sent abroad for further training. He was the Railways Station Manager at various Loco Running Sheds, and retired as Senior Stations Manager, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Jebba.

Though adjudged to be brilliant and well-behaved from my primary school reports, Dad admonished me to study hard and prepare well when he paid and got me the Common Entrance Examination Admission Form into Olivet Baptist High School.

As admission to Olivet Heights was usually keen, tight, and highly competitive for candidates from many parts of the country, a peripheral staff in the school requested that I provide him with my name and examination number for him to give “unfailing assurance” that my admission to the school was guaranteed.

Thinking he was doing my parents a favor and great kindness, rather, this man caught the ire of my father.

In his rage, Dad did not only scold the man and rebuke him in public for perpetrating corrupt practices, he banished him from our compound, and warned him never to get close to me ever again.

Mother was in full agreement.

My parents then took me into Dad’s study, made me read chapter 1 of the Book of Proverbs. They both exhorted me on good manner, honesty, and a life devoid of cheating and untrustworthiness. I was made to memorize Proverbs 1: 8, 9 that day, and to read the Bible daily.

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 

For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” (Pro 1:8,9). 

That timely admonition continue to have a lasting effect and impact upon me till this day.

Joseph Babajimi Ojelabi died at the age of 75, on June 15, 1975, after a brief illness, when I was just settling down in Secondary school.

Jay Bee was a father like no other Dad because, though very many years older than me, yet he taught me so much within such a little time, showed me life, led me through practical Christianity unto Christ Himself, and gave me a good stead and platform to live by.

No words to express how important and loving my Dad was to me,

No words to describe his continuous positive powerful influence in my life and family,

He lived, and let me watch him learn how to live better.

A Dad like no other, J. B. Ojelabi. Adieu.

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