Monday, 30 May 2016

Father of the Fatherless

And  after that Hezron was dead in Caleb–ephratah, then Abiah Hezron's wife bare him Ashur the father of Tekoa. 
1 Chronicles 2:24-25 (KJV)

It breaks my heart any time I hear of a young widow that had young children at home when her husband died. Often times these women are in their twenties, thirties or even forties.  I was 42 when i lost my husband, my youngest was 7 and oldest 16. I remember thinking how in the world was i going to get all of them through school the first child was just about writing her WAEC (Final High School exams). When I thought of the fact that the baby of the house was only in primary 2 (second grade) and imagined how many more years it would take for her to finally get to the University  it seemed sooooo loooong. Way too long to raise them on my own. It felt like it would take forever just endless years of making decisions about their education, years of handling the successes , milestones and challenges. There would PTA meetings, visiting days, graduations and other school activities. Then of course career choices and weddings. The joy and thrill that accompanied such thoughts of the children's development just wasn't there anymore i didn't want to do it alone I just couldn't do it.

We were married for almost 18 years and though it felt so short looking back I am thankful for the time because I know of women who had been widows after fewer years some hadn't even had children,others had babies, toddlers and very young children and some where pregnant when their husbands died.  Truth be told no matter how long you've been married even if its for forty years or more and you have grandchildren loss is still painful and hard.  But when you are only starting out it can be difficult taking on the role of mum and dad watching,your children grieve or grow up not knowing their dad or having him around to do all the things fathers do can be difficult and possibly frightening. Think of the authority and leadership fathers provide, discipline issues, your son or sons having a mentor to help them become good and responsible men plus the girls also need their dads. 

As we celebrated the children's day 27th May I wanted to dedicate today's post to widows raising children on their own. Reading Ferree Hardy's post on the Widow's Christian Place blog a few days back she shared something similar and that's where I got the amazing Bible verse from its a reminder that there have always been young widows raising children and God is mindful of them. Ferree went on to say Ashur the child born after his father's death became the founding father of  Tekoa this means he was successful for me what it means is that if Abiah (his mother who was widowed while pregnant)could do it then you can. It may not be always easy and the challenges are there but all you need is to trust God to step in and also to bring people to help you along the way, 

All my children were old enough to know what happened and each grieved in their own way. I was thankful they knew their dad and he was part oftheir lives for a sometime albeit a short time.  As we worked through our loss I encouraged the children to see God not only as their heavenly father but as their earthly father. He says He is the father of the fatherless. When there are decisions to make we bring them to Him as the head of our home, when we didn't know how school fees would be paid or school and other supplies needed we talked to the big daddy. I have told God over and over again that I can't do it alone and I leave things to Him asking for His leading and help. Guess what He has not failed me. There are times friends of their dad / family friends take interest in the children and spend time talking with them and advising them.

My conclusion is that prayer works and God cares! I encourage you to do the same and though there will be times you will wish for a physical dad you can rest assured that with God's help your children will turn out right and be what God created them to be. They will be a source of joy and comfort to you and if the Lord feels they need to have another physical dad He'll work it out in His perfect time.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Finding Your Rehoboth

Genesis 26:12-13, 22-23(KJV)
12Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.[] 13And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
22And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.[] 

It's been so long since I wrote and honestly wish it could have been different. I sincerely apologize. The last part of 2015 saw me jostling two jobs, moving house and doing a lot of work in the new house. Coupled with single parenting, church and other family engagements i just kept failing. 

Last year I read Genesis 26 a number of times initially it was because I wanted to study the life of Jacob and decided to start from his father but many verses in Gnesis 26 spoke to me probably because of some of my experiences and what I was trusting God for. There was famine in the land and God told Isaac not to go to Egypt but remain in Gerar however it was not without challenges. Lesson one - we can still have challenges when walking in the will of God. The Philistines  filled up all the wells Abraham had dug and strove with Isaac over the new wells they dug. By now you must know that the fact that you are grieving or a widow doesn't mean you will be spared other challenges of life. You are alone and the one person you would have worked through life's challenges with is not there. In some cases opportunities are hidden in our trails. I guess you might be thinking why  its like that or even wish it is different, well same here. Unfortunately we don't get to decide that and it's one of the reasons why we need to just trust God. Knowing He always has our best interest in mind.  We have to learn to trust Him difficult as it may be when things don't go as planned.

So here was Isaac the son of promise the son God insisted was the 'one' the heir apparent and the one through whom God's covenant with Abraham who be preserved and the nation of Israel born. Isaac was by no means a nobody his father was rich but more importantly a friend of the Almighty God.  It won't be out of place to say he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and so his life should have been an easy ride but nay, alas he faced struggles and challenges like the children of the servants born to his family. In fact his challenges were on a larger scale since all they depended on him.  Interestingly, in the years and months preceding the loss of Tunbosun I was at a place were life was good my job was good and I was doing well, law practice and business were good for my hubby, the children were doing well, ministry was a joy filled service to the Lord. I was happy after all that's the Lord's promise for us as His children negatives were not part of the deal of being children of the most high God. Trials had come and gone but I was so confident that no major tragedy  would come our way. Things could only get better and God was going to satisfy us with long life to enjoy His blessings. Alas I was sooo wrong (keep using King James English 'alas' for lack of a modern word that will have the same impact for me lol).

When I woke up one very normal Saturday and ended up  a widow before the day ended my shock was much. Such things shouldn't  happen to us   God we are your children , joint heirs with Christ blah blah blah.  Maybe having someone fill up your wells or strive with you over what is yours cannot be compared to the loss of a loved one but we can learn from Isaac. The man had a ' never say die' spirit and attitude. He never gave up he just kept moving ahead until he hit rehoboth. He didn't even argue or insist on his right even though he was the victim. You may feel like the victim death never gave you a chance to fulfill your dreams, it came uninvited and took what was yours with no apologies. Like Isaac you can choose to still keep digging because you also have a Rehoboth  . Your loss might have set u back but is only temporary there is a place of fulfillment God is taking you too. 

If Isaac decided to give up , get angry and stop digging may be the story would have been different. A a point I determined I would keep digging, keep moving forward keep searching because somewhere after the storm the sun will shine again and guess what it is shining again and it can be so for you. Because Isaac kept at it he sowed and reaped a hundred fold, he became so blessed the Philistines envied him. That can be your story but yours can be better. Keep digging! Keep seeking God, pursue your dreams, keep hope alive 

May you go forward and grow in grace, may all that you do be blessed of the Lord and may you receive a hundred fold in return. May God make  room (rehoboth) for you and make you fruitful and joyful in Jesus name.

Monday, 10 August 2015

From Mourning To Dancing

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
Psalm 30:11 (KJV)

Can mourning ever truly be turned to dancing? I guess this question passed through my mind several times after my husbands death. To help me through the grief I was reading scripture on grief and comfort. Interestingly scriptures you knew before read, quoted and sang about took on a totally new meaning. For years I had loved and sang Ron Kenoly's song that says'He's turned my mourning into dancing again,His lifted my sorrow I can't stay silent I must sing for my joy has come' . It was a truly comforting song to sing when you face diverse challenges in life especially as the lyrics are taken directly from scripture. When some of those storms came and blew past it was a major breakthrough. One may be tempted to feel a sense of accomplishment as in wow! I really put my faith to work and God came though for me and then we promptly get on with life. 

However when a major life altering tragic event like the death of your beloved spouse happens a whole lot of things including certain scriptures take on a new perspective. The night my husband died after the lack of tact and sensitivity of one of the policemen  who answered my call to my dear Tunbosun's phone and my initial shock and confusion, I was able to make a few calls and then hurdled my children into my car and drove to the hospital all along praying, crying and reassuring them he would be okay. As I drove into the hospital i saw a police van packed in front of the emergency room. The police men and a couple of nurses were standing around the van. It didn't look good but I kept holding on. I parked told the children to wait then walked toward the van suddenly my legs became so heavy every step of that short work felt like there was a weight tied to my legs as i approached the back of the van I saw him .........the rest is history.

Many times I have remembered my walk that night in relation to Psalms 30:11 then the inevitable question would come to mind, is it possible for mourning feet to dance again? If you had asked me that night and the weeks and months following my answer would probably be no or at best like Ezekiel at the valley of dry bones i would have said God alone knows. To start with my feet were literally so heavy and it was impossible to dance then there was no song or joy in my heart or lips since dancing goes with being joyful and singing. I had even wondered if it was even possible to simply live again how much more dancing. I have come to realize that some things in life can only be possible because there is a God who has the power to change any and every situation. A God of unlimited possibilities He alone has what it takes to turn impossible situations around. I am talking of impossible situations like making the mourning to dance.

Is your heart heavy with grief? Do your feet feel like they have lost what it takes to dance?  Have you asked that question like i did i.e. can these feet dance again? Beloved child of God I have good news for you. The answer is a resounding yes. As you allow God to work in you,  you will surely dance again and it is not out of compulsion or a sense of obligation to God but dancing as a result of unspeakable joy the Lord will cause you to experience, spontaneous dancing because of the beautiful breakthroughs and testimonies God will bring into your life. He will remove every sack cloth of grief and sorrow and gird you with gladness.  My prayer for you is that like Sarah soon you will say 'God has made me to laugh so that all that hear will laugh with me. The same way people came to weep with you God will do what will make people rejoice and celebrate with you in Jesus Mighty Name.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Watch with Me

Then  saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Matthew 26:38 (KJV)

In this part I will like to mention some unkind, insensitive and unnecessary comments by church folk, friends and men of God. 

During my husbands one year memorial/ thanksgiving service to appreciate God's faithfulness to us in that difficult year the pastor preached an excellent,heart war mining and encouraging message he talked about great men of God who in our opinion might be considered to have died early but said God was concerned with us fulfilling purpose and it's not how well but how long. He spoke of John the  Baptist dying early but having fulfilled his assignment this resonated so well with me because God had ministerd that to me and I included John the Baptist life and death in my book it was like he had read the book but then it was only made public the evening before and he was not there because he was coming from a journey. A senior pastor got up to lead prayers for the family after the message and said something about John the Baptist being beheaded because he did what he wasn't asked to do that is rebuking Herod for taking his brothers wife. So 'if John the Baptist had kept to his assignment he wouldn't have died' I couldn't believe my ears. To start with I believe God expects us to speak out against injustice and sin. I read a book once and the author said for every generation of evil doers and wicked people that includes leaders or should i say especially leaders that He will judge the christians who lived at that time and sat on the face doing nothing. No wonder in Nigeria today some people think some pastors are feeding off corrupt government officials instead of rebuking them or simply telling them the truth of God's word and whatHe expects of them. Secondly, even if you believe what this pastor said, was a memorial service a good place to say so? To me it was so insensitive and that's putting it nicely.

A widow shared how either at her husband's funeral or somebody else's funeral  someone shared from Isaiah 57:1 it talks of the righteous dying young to deliver them from the evil to come another Scripture I found so comforting. A pastor now comes up to say there is nothing like an evil day and the person who died  had died an untimely death. Can you beat that! Talk of insensitive. Why do some pastors talk like that? A pastor is a Shepherd and should be a lover of people, tender, loving. At a meeting about 2 years ago a sister shared how she had got to a point where she was suicidal and would have committed suicide but God intervened through a pastor. The pastor ministering got up to rebuke her saying she would have gone to hell and he wanted to tell anyone who thinks like that or says stuff like that they were toying with God's judgement blah blah blah.  Incidentally this lady had been sitting next to me and had shared me her story.  Her parents were wealthy but the fathers siblings had taken e everything  and subjected them to a very hard life of abject poverty and struggles my heart broke for her. Thankfully people hushed the pastor.

I remember a pastor telling me they needed to pray for me and separate me from the dead presumably my husband. In respect and because I was meeting him for the first time or so I didn't answer. As far as I am concerned I have never been attached to the dead it is normal to think of my husband, miss him or dream about him that doesn't mean I am connected to the dead. The Bible says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord based on this and many other scriptures I know once a believer dies such a person is in heaven. 

It's not just pastors but brethren in church can be the same or even worse I won't share because in the course of talking on the reproach of widowhood I have cited some instances. In my book I have a chapter titled 'Watch with Me' taken from today's scripture Jesus was about to face a painful, shameful ad horrifying death on the cross it was the most difficult moment of His life and he needed His diciples to watch with Him, pray with Him and just be there for Him in a difficult time. He didn't need judgment or theology. If Jesus could need  people to be withHim in that difficult time it goes to say that we all do. When we do find our selves in the company of those who are grieving we should be sensitive and relate with them in love instead of trying to prove we are ' spiritually correct' or whatever it is so called men of God or Christians try to prove when they do what they do. One hallmark of christianity is love and if there is ever a time we need to show love it's in times like that. 

Avoid insensitive and unnecessary statements and practices- show some love

Monday, 20 July 2015

Broken by Reproach 2

Cursed  be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. 
Deuteronomy 27:19 (KJV)

I'll continue from where I stopped last week

3) The widow could be married off to a sibling or relation of her husband- I heard a widow recount her story on radio and she said a particular relation who was suppose to inherit her slept with her and discarded her. She was handed down to others who kept sleeping with her but not making any commitment to her. She did so because the only way she and her children could be given anything was if she remained married  in that family. Another reason this is done is if the man did not have children or a male child the child she has by his relation is considered his son. Another widow had to sleep with some of her husbands colleagues and boss to get paid his benefits. I remember a widow we interviewed years back who had two girls  and she had to go get pregnant ( don't think it was by any relation of the husband) because she had to produce a male child that will be considered heir to the husband before anything was given to her. It took about 10 or more years of legal and spiritual battles and her giving birth to a boy out of wedlock to get anything. The brother in-law had taken everything and locked her out of her home.

This is the 21st century and women are by no means property that are owned by a man and treated as if they were a piece of furniture meant to be used and discarded. Men that insist on holding on to these negative practices usually do so because they are selfish, wicked and greedy they usually don't mourn their brother but focus on what they can get from what he left in my opinion they are a sad representation of what a man should be. Sadly women are at the forefront of ensuring widows go through these practices.

The list goes on but I believe we all get the gist. In concluding this part I will say a word to perpetrators of these wicked practices that add to the sorrow of widows and sets them up for reproach. Life is in the hands of God and regardless of the circumstances under which a person dies if God doesn't allow it the person won't  die. So please don't label a woman a killer especially when deep down you know she is not but because you have eyes on her husband's property you afflict and reproach her.  Also desist from afflicting her in the name of tradition. If you cant help her then let her be. It may look like she is helpless and vulnerable and you can get away it  but remember today's scripture you may just be bringing a curse on your self and maybe your generations after you. Deuteronomy 10 :18 says God ensures the widow and fatherless get justice. Exodus 22:22-24 is frightening but God doesn't just say things He follows through on what He says. God is solidly behind that widow and He will fight for her. You may have the strength, financial muscle or influence to face men and have things go your way but with God it is an entirely different ball can't fight Him. 

A word for widows who are victims of all these. Please don't be like a sheep led to the slaughter have your own people around you even when going to the village for burial. Families and churches should learn to stand by their sisters or daughters. I refused to wear only 3 or 6 clothes it was a decision I had to make. I wasn't rude but I was firm. Some times widows put themselves in a I am so helpless position in the name of I am to traumatized to speak for my self or stand for what is right. Other times she feels by resisting or speaking out it will be termed as acceptance of guilt or she will be considered as not mourning since she has the strenght to  fight injustices. All these are just part of the schemes of the wicked to keep you under. The violence against persons bill has been passed into law in Nigeria and it includes sanctions for negative widowhood  practices. There are many CIvil Society Groups and organizations working to help such people but sometimes you must reach out. The law is on your side, many decent God fearing people are on your side and above all God Almighty is on your side so don't suffer in silence speak out and seek help.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Broken by Reproach

Thou  hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.  Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
Psalm 69:19-20 (KJV)

In the second part on the Reproach of widowhood I listed some things or reactions to widowhood that elicit stigma and reproah. This week i will continue with some traditional practices against widows that are demeaning and must be stopped.

1) Sleeping in the same room with the corpse or drinking the water the body was washed with, being shaven and taken to a shrine to swear an oath of innocence -  this  is done to prove the innocence of the widow if she drinks the water and nothing happens to her then she is innocent but if she falls sick or dies as a result then she is guilty. Now imagine the man died of Ebola or some other dreadful disease chances are that she'll fall sick and probably die. If she is the cause of her husbands death and takes an oath terrible repercussions can be expected.  Many times these so called shrines are nothing but manipulations of men and demon spirits. There may be women that have killed their husbands and husbands that kill their wives but they are usually the exception and not the rule. 

Most women infact well over 90% will not kill anyone let alone their husbands especially when there is no gain whatsoever to widowhood. In spite of this, many of our cultures still consider the woman as the first suspect even when it is so obvious that she had nothing to do with the man dying.  Asking a woman who has just lost her husband to drink the water the corpse was washed with or leaving her alone to  sleep with the corpse is one of the most wicked and inhuman acts any person can do. The night my husband died I went to the hospital and saw him lying dead in a police van for almost two years I couldn't get that image out of my head if i closed my eyes to sleep that was what I saw even now many times it flashes through my mind its been a battle if I had spent that whole night with him alone I don't know for how long that traumatic memory would have been ectched in my mind.

2) Wearing  black or particular clothing for one year- my mum dislikes black clothes. Over the years I found she would make comments like why black if you wore a black dress or skirt. Even when she sees people in black she comments sometimes adding how she doesn't like black. There are many beautiful black dresses, suits, skirts etc and I doubt if there is anyone who doesn't have a black outfit but for her it's a no go area. I later realised her dislike for black is most likely because she had to wear black for a year after my father died and black just brought back painful memories.

After my husband died  I was told by some of my inlaws that they would make a set of 3 or 6 outfits that would be my clothes for the next year. I asked to be shown from the Bible where this was a requirement I remember one or two persons saying ' it's in the Bible' okay simple, show me? I still Dey wait. When I refused I was now told to pick the same number from my clothes dull colours and wear only them then after the year I give them out or burn them hmnnn....

People believe this proves you are actually mourning and the one year signifies the period of mourning. After which i guess you are  expected to close that chapter of your life and move on, i wish it was that simple. The only thing this achieves  is to push the widow into more grief and make her stick out like a sore thumb. If you wear black or the same set of clothes  everyday for a year people are bound to ask why then you get all sorts of mixed reactions making it difficult for you to move forward in your grief and with life.  Its like you carry a spirit of grief around and you are announcing here comes the widow dressed in black. The clothes will naturally fade and wear out because they are worn so frequently making the widow look a sorry sight.  

Even if it is a personal decision to do so i believe the widow should be encouraged to at least look presentable. I recall for the first year I wasn't really interested in clothes and couldn't be bothered about dressing up but I tried to look decent even at that when I saw my pictures from my daughters High School graduation which was about four months after my husband died I was horrified at how I was looking.  I looked so so sad and dejected. Unfortunately some people want you to look like that for the rest of your life.

Life can be hard and for many widows especially in this part of the world it can be really hard. The Psalmist that wrote Psalms 69:19-20 can easily pass for a widow because the way he expressed himself captures the very essence of what many widows experience.  But there is a balm in Gilead who knows and understands. You may have been broken by reproach, robbed of your dignity and self esteem but God calls you precious . He says with everlasting kindness He will have mercy on you and help you.  So shall it be for you in Jesus precious  name. Amen.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Tragic Death

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints
Psalm 116:15 (KJV)

Last week two of my contacts shared something with me on WhatsApp. It was a write up titled 'How the Apostles Died' coming at a time when I have been sharing on the reproach of widowhood it meant a lot to me. In my last two posts I mentioned that one of the factors that encourage reproach or stigma against widows is the fact that in many traditional settings and sadly even in many Christian circles in Nigeria when person dies a tragic death in an accident, suicide,  murder etc it is considered a bad omen. The write up shows that those who hold these beliefs are so far from the truth.

I am sharing this write up on how the Apostles died to encourage you if you have lost a loved one who loved the Lord and people want to make you feel bad because of how they died know it that every death of a believer is precious in God's sight He knows it will happen and He allowed it not because He doesn't love you or them but for reasons best known to Him. ( Sometimes the Lord may choose to reveal to us the whys while other times He chooses not to but wants us to trust Him in it all ). If anyone deserved to die peacefully surrounded by family it was these great men and founding fathers of the Christian faith. Did it mean they failed or sinned? Definitely  not. I know for sure God was with them every step of the way and the moment they closed their eyes in death they opened it in heaven. Since then till today the blood of Christian martyrs have fueled the gospel and rather than serve as a deterrent, has been the reason many have come to knowJesus as Lord and Saviour. As horrible and unfair as these apostles experiences seem God worked them out for His glory.John's exile in Patmos gave us the book of Revelations while Paul's time in prison gave us most of the epistles containing fundamental Christian doctrine.

I f you have lost your husband or any loved one as a result of Boko Haram or religious extremism in Nigeria or even outside Nigeria where we have ISIS and so many other terrorists groups please be comforted. As  difficult and painful as it may be God knows and will execute justice for you. Deuteronomy 10:18 says He ensures the widow and the fatherless get justice so leave it in His hands and rest assured that your loved one is in a better place you cannot begin to imagine the beauty and glory of their home in Heaven. They are free of pain, sorrow and all evil.  I pray the grace to carry on without them will be released to you by the Holy Spirit until that day when you shall meet them to part no more

I don't know the original source of this write up but I appreciate it.  I have come across how the apostles died in the past but this time I sincerely value it.

1. Matthew

Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound.

2. Mark

Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.

3. Luke

Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost.

4. John

Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered From death.

John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully

5. Peter

He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross.

According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

6. James

The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club.

* This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.

7. James the Son of Zebedee,

was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer Walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and Knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

8. Bartholomew

Also known as Nathaniel Was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

9. Andrew

Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: 'I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.' He continued to preach to his tormentors For two days until he expired.

10. Thomas

Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent.

11. Jude

Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

12. Matthias

The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

13. Paul

Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many

epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.