Report by Sister Grace Nartey-Addo
The First Abuja Parish joined other Parishes of The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria to celebrate this year’s Christian Home and Family Life Emphasis Week, November 5-11, 2018. The week-long celebration began with Fasting and Prayers, and continued with teachings on Cleansing the Family, Deliverance and Thanksgiving Service. The theme for the celebration was: “The Family that Lives by the Word of God.”
In her opening remarks, Rev Mrs Ada Felix Ebo, reminded members that every family is dear to the Lord’s heart, because the idea of the family originated from God. Hence, God blessed the family after establishing them, and immediately made a way of reconciling the family unto Himself through salvation after the first family failed Him.
Rev Ada said the family that lives by the word of God is the family that lives together and exhibits the following characteristics: They seek God first, understand, acknowledge and reverentially fear God. They submit, humble themselves and are led by God; they pray together and make it difficult for the enemy to sow seeds of discontent among them; they turn nations and people to God; their children are trained according to the word of God; they have mutual respect for roles, hierarchy and responsibility among others.
Members of the Christian Home and Family Life arm of the Parish conducted Bible
Studies on Tuesday 6 November 2018 and on the morning of Sunday 11 November 2018 respectively. Topic: Families who Lived by the Word of God: Aquilla and Priscilla (Acts 18:24-28).
From Wednesday 7 to Sunday 11 November 2018, the First Abuja Parish was blessed once again with the presence of Rev. Obikwe Nwandu as guest speaker. In his introductory remarks, Rev Nwandu underscored the fact that raising Godly families implies the existence of Godly Marriages …marriages that did not take for granted the cultural/traditional procedures pertaining to marriage, such as parental approval, dowry payment, etc. He said lack of adherence to these procedures could lead to foundational problems in future due to their significance.
Anchoring his message on Ephesians 5:17-33, the speaker noted that marriage is not instituted by any man, but God. As such, it is important to be totally dependent of the institutor’s manual which is the Word of God. He said: ‘’being baptised in the Holy Spirit is a pre-requisite for a successful marriage’’ especially having hindsight that every marriage has an enemy whose major objective is to destroy us, or wait till the children come, so he could attack them. He reminded us that although Satan sought God’s permission to attack Job, he did not ask for permission to attack Job’s children.
The guest speaker said, the success or failure of every marriage depends of the level of the Husband’s knowledge of the Word of God, because as the head of the family, he must constantly cleans/wash down his family in God’s word, seek solace and direction always from the Holy Spirit.
He said the word of God directs our speech, thought processes and behaviours towards each other, our children and other members of the extended family. It is important to identify the qualities we like most in our spouses and continually thank God for them, because thanksgiving produces increment.
He advised wives to emulate Sarah’s humility and submission to Abraham even when the stakes were high. She submitted to her own husband and sought the face of God quietly, and God did not allow her to be put to shame.
Rev Nwandu entreated men to love and make time for their wives by avoiding quality time robbers such as Social and the electronic media, and to also develop themselves together with the wives if they want to go far in life.
Speaking on the Sub-Topic: ‘’On what standard is your marriage based,’’ the guest speaker stated that the Godly family that must stand the test of time has no room for worldly standard but must be built on the standard of the Word. He said although every man is a product of his tradition, conscious effort must be made to eschew some of our traditional practices that contradict the word of God.
To build a godly family, we must avoid: unforgiveness; nursing offence; bitterness; etc. Rev Obikwe reminded wives that every man is a boy at heart, missing the mother, so every successful wife must have many caps and learn to wear the right one at the appropriate time.
The husband must always protect the wife from being abused by his relatives, and every effort must be made to make the home the place the family would want to come to.
On the Issue of the Dowry, the speaker emphasised that it is not fetish but enshrined in the word of God (1 Samuel 18:5-6; 27; 2 Samuel 3:12-14). It is a transaction that legally and spiritually changes the woman’s identity from being under the headship of her father to that of her husband. Lack of honouring the payment opens doors for the enemy to strike the family.
The speaker highlighted the importance of the role of fathers in the family and gave a breakdown of stunning statistical figures on the effect of absentee fathers on the American society, for lack of credible research findings in Nigeria. He stated that for children whose fathers are deceased, the church’s leadership could play that role.
Rev Nwandu identified one area in the family where a lot of attacks are unleashed due to foundational flaws on the way children are conceived. He said fornication, polygamy, multiple sex partners, and adulterous relationships, which is known as transference of spirits, opens doors for the enemy to attack the family. To address this situation, there was a Deliverance Service on Saturday, November 10, 2018 to cleans the family from all foundational flaws.
Sunday November 11, 2018 marked the final day of activities, with thanksgiving and rededication of the family unto the Lord. Rev Nwandu anchored his message titled: ‘’Blessings of the Father,’’ on Genesis 27. He enlightened members on the importance of a father’s blessing. He hinted that it is not common to see a poor Jew anywhere in the world because of the importance they place on the father’s blessing, and that it is a daily practice for Jews to bless their children every morning and in the evening.
He said every parent represents the children in the spirit realm, so it is important to be cautious of the words we speak into our children’s lives. According to the speaker, every spoken word is accounted for in the spirit realm. The guest speaker said, every word a parent utters on a child is a prophecy, so it’s important to encourage our children by invoking blessings on them … especially those blessings that come from the soul, as father’s blessing changes the spiritual aroma, places the child on the road to prosperity and promotes fertility.
During the course of the service, fathers were asked to lay hands on and bless their wives, and both parents in turn laid hands on their children and blessed them. The Minister-in-Charge blessed those who did not have their parents or spouses around, quoting Number 6:23-27.
In his goodwill message, Chairman of the Congregational Ministries Department, Rev. Ibeawuchi U. Agwu, re-iterated most of the issues previously spoken about during the Mid-week Service and added that the Family Week gives the Church the opportunity to interact with each other, identify issues that helps us build stronger and better families and avoid those things that destroy the home.
The week’s activities were concluded with dedication of Church members who offered seed money to build Godly altars.