By Sam Eyoboka
SAPELE—SAINT Joseph’s Chosen Church of God, SJCCG, a spiritual church founded on certain basic principles including divine health and divine healing, has decided to focus its attention on lifestyles and harped on the need for Nigerians to eat and drink wisely to stem the growing tide of untimely deaths in our society today.
Returning to Sapele in Delta State, the neighborhood of its birth in 1937 by founder, Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku, for its 57th annual conference, the church adopted a unique subject, nutrition as its focus at the new SJ Christian Conference Centre on Sapele-Warri Expressway where a certified health minister cum life coach, Rev. Mike Okonkwo spent a couple of days to teach on the harmful effects of some our diets.
The nutritional expert, Rev. Okonkwo stressed the need for Nigerians to check their traditional eating habits to stem the growing number of deaths arising from cardiovascular diseases including high blood pressure and stroke, arguing that “our diets and lifestyle determine the condition of our lungs, arteries, veins and the availability of oxygen to our cells”.
He opined that over 30 million Nigerians currently suffer from diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and kidney diseases; colon, breast and prostrate cancers, noting that unless Nigerians heed the call for healthy diets, million more Nigerians will unknowingly development these diseases and suffer the consequences.
Speaking on a theme; “Eat and drink the Lord’s way” at the 5-day conference which ended last Sunday, Okonkwo who advised Nigerians against red or white meat and cow milk, maintained that medicine, supplements and all forms of human approaches to these life-threatening sicknesses have proved inadequate, saying the only answer to the reversal of these sicknesses is eating right.
The guest speaker and head of Good Health International, a Port Harcourt-based NGO, further argued that living a sickness-free life is possible without going through life threatening surgery and all those potentially lethal drugs, stressing that it can be achieved simply by eating the Lord’s way, emphasising that God never designed man to eat meat but rather vegetables and fruits.
“Diabetes and obesity which are in the increase in Nigeria, are merely symptoms of poor health in general,” he said, adding that heart diseases are fast becoming the most pervasive killer in our present culture. He stressed that animal protein, despite Western propaganda, increases risk of death by four folds especially via hypertension, diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, arthritis and stroke.
He therefore enjoined Nigerians to abandon their current eating habits and return to the old ways of eating local foods laced with vegetables, fruits and herbs most of which were God-given to Africans to strengthen them instead of red meat arguing that most carnivorous animals like lions, dogs, vulture and such like, are, according to experts, naturally lazy in comparison to others like the elephant and man.
“If God created man to eat meat, He would have given him a set of teeth similar to those of the lion and dog. Majority of Nigerians are eating thrice as much animal protein as they should. God, through Mother Nature, has provided a balanced food for infants who actually need more protein. We call it breast milk, which is said to supply everything the child needs.
“Now, how much of mother’s milk is protein? Mother’s milk is only about 3 per cent protein at birth and gradually reduced to 1.5 per cent protein after about six months. So where did the idea that human beings require so much protein come from? Another study had just found out that a high animal protein, low carbohydrate diets shortens the lifespan of people. The finding provide convincing evidence that high animal protein is as dangerous as smoking is to our health,” he stated.
In his opening remarks at the conference, the spiritual leader and pioneer Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Apostle Hayford Alile said: “The myriad of health challenges confronting contemporary Christian community is an indictment on the faulty teaching and grave negligence of our body. We need to give adequate attention to our body; the vehicle that will take us to our God-given destination.”
“Your body is the direct result of what you eat. God created us to live in eternity but if we eat outside His prescription we shall surely die. Man’s appetite and his inability to control it, raised the curtain of death to humanity. And today, the same curtain is still left opened by man’s familiar foe — Appetite. The first sin man committed had to do with food. EATING the fruits of the FORBIDDEN TREE. Although Adam and Eve may have lived longer, however, the number of years decreased overtime to the biblical years of three score and ten (70 years),” Alile pointed out.
Outlining the importance of this year’s Conference theme; “Eat and Drink the Lord’s way”, he maintained that the need to complete the touch of the Hand of God on our bodies, spirits and souls, has become imperative.
“Our bodies still get sick and plagued by diseases in spite of the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us and the freedom He promised us. I believe even though we read the bible often, we still lack the knowledge of who we are,” he stated, drawing attention to biblical book of Hosea 4:6 which states: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”.
Continuing, Alile said: “We are gathered here to learn of who we are, the consequences of the sin of disobedience and how to live one with God in happiness, joy and good health. Our Church St. Joseph’s Chosen Church of God was established in 1937. We operate under the dictates and leading of the Holy Spirit. Our mission is to provide spiritual values and to pursue salvation for humanity through the instruments of preaching, teaching and the practice of divine healing and living in divine health coupled with manifestations of the power of the Holy Ghost.
“This is the principal doctrine of our church and constitutes a major aspect of our operation and mission to the body of Christ. Many are the beneficiaries of the grace we enjoy, especially the first generation members of the church. Divine health and healing embodies our covenant with God to the point that we have an area mapped out before the altar in all our stations we call the Healing Ground and many testimonies are produced on that covenant ground,” he maintained.
“It is imperative to emphasize that through the practice of divine health and divine healing thousands of Nigerians were healed through prayers by the Elect of God, late Apostle Joseph Ikechiuku and even till now, God does His mighty works of healing in our midst.
“Let me re-emphasize for the sake of clarity, erase all doubts and assuage all fears, that, the 2015 Conference theme; “Eat and Drink the Lord’s way” which is health related, is in no way an attempt to re-negotiate or erase our stout belief on divine health and the practice of divine healing, which is, and will forever remain the basic tenets of our faith as members of St. Joseph’s, but rather, it is an attempt to point out costly consequences of taking the grace we enjoy out of context and for granted. Just like our Master, Jesus Christ who said that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The Conference is aimed at perfecting God’s divine programme for man and intends to attend to this puzzle from seven cardinal perspectives.
*Try to correct the harmful imbalance with the triune partners: the Spirit, Soul and Body, for it takes the Spirit, Soul and Body to praise the Lord.
*Use tools and employ teachings that are scripture based, highlighting areas where our Omnipotent God has put in place certain natural mechanism to attend to the challenges associated with our bodies.
*Address and correct the prolonged error of allowing our throats to be an in-road to different avoidable health complications. We need to give adequate attention to our body; the vehicle that takes us to our ultimate destination. For example, a house no matter how beautifully built, over time needs maintenance.
*Examine how our modern world is evolving, especially the processing of modern menu and drinks and the attendant effects of modern processed food and drinks. This development has affected us. Your body is a vehicle of your emotions, a vehicle of your feelings, a vehicle of your ministry and a vehicle of whatever you need to get done in life. And you have to take care of that vehicle. .
*The effect of modern diet which is believed to be the main reason why people all over the world are fatter and sicker than ever before. We will establish the fact or fallacy guiding this conclusion during this Conference.
*Identifying certain basic health principles that once violated, produces unsavory consequences. The principle of wrong dieting, lack of body exercise will invariably result in bad health condition.
*The cultural and environmental influence on our menu, today we have all been programmed to eat and drink what major food and beverage companies want us to consume. We have all grown up with our neural network connected to us by catchy jingles, colorful packaging and constant reminders during half-time and in between our favorite TV and radio programs. We need not to be influenced by persuasive adverts that make us eat food and drink liquid not meant for us.