This is War

Battles to be fought

Wars to be won

Knees on the ground

Prayers to the son

Girding on my whole armour

Helmet wrapped in salvation

Shield engraved in faith

Sword spilling fiery words

Shoes dipped in the power of the Spirit

Going in this might

Losing not to naysayers

Victory is mine

For the battle is the Lord’s

Feet deeply rooted

In the finished work of the cross

Seated in heavenly places

To watch a war already won

I fight not with fear or dread

I fight for the greater is in me

I fight ‘cos it’s a good fight

I fight to take what had been mine

I fight to possess what I had been given

I fight ‘cos I had won

I am more than conqueror so I fight!

Oraegbu Philipa Ada

© 2022

THE GAY MISCONCEPTION

A societal conditioning

Christ a poet

It is routine for the ‘boys’ to take turns in getting the bill after each hang out. Today, Ugonna got the bill and after the jabs and hearty humorous perks, it was time to go home. As they got up to leave, Arinze with a smirk placed his hands on Ugonna’s shoulder and said, ‘Thanks dear’.
‘God punish you there’, said Ugonna violently shrugging off his hand.
The rest of the group exploded in hysterical laughter including Arinze. Ugonna joined in almost immediately. There was a silent understanding of what just transpired.

Something similar happened some time ago at work. My colleague and I noticed two guys holding hands. We fixated on their hands waiting for them to unlock their grip in time for us to conclude it is usual but they didn’t indulge our expectation.

‘I thought guys don’t hold hands for too long’, my colleague whispered.

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ORDINARY JESUS

I have a feeling that any Christian reading the title of this article might be appalled but I really like this title, so we are going to stick with it. Since we are doing things weirdly, I am also going to alter my writing structure for this particular piece and talk first about the purpose of this article.

My sincere hope in writing this article is that you will begin to see more and more that God is interested in the mundane parts of your day. That God sees you struggle with choosing between black or brown shoes for the perfect corporate look and he is very much concerned about your sleeping habits. More than anything, I pray that when you are done reading this, that your daily activities become brighter because you finally see God’s light in all of it. Amen.

A quick summary of my Christian life – born in Nigeria, I am no stranger to religious intensity and that means that I tend to think of Jesus and the gospel in two very distinct ways.

First, Jesus as saviour.

This is the more popular stance of the personality of Jesus in which we see him give his life on the cross for our sins. This Jesus is the one we focus on as we sing songs of love and pour praise like poetry every Sunday and in our daily prayers. I see this Jesus as the one I run to when I am weak or scared or tired. Jesus as saviour is my lifeline and he always comes through.

The second is more unpopular – Jesus as Lord.

This personality of Jesus is where I am reminded that Jesus is no less God than the Father. He is Heavenly Royalty and is deserving of all the worship that we give him. It is this Jesus that comes to mind when I sin or when I forget that I am not surviving on the power of my will. He is also the Jesus I hand over to when the devil comes at me with all his nonsense.

Either way, I am always thinking of Jesus in this light and as I read through the gospels, I unconsciously look out for these. I see loving Jesus in the story of blind Bartimaeus and conquering Lord in his command to raging storms, “Peace be still”.

I see a forgiving saviour in his decision to dine with Zacchaeus and a judge Lord in his fury when the synagogue was used inappropriately. It was always one or the other, but I do believe that God is helping me see through a third and different lens.

This process started as I watched the third episode of a brilliant television series called, “The Chosen”. It is based on the life and times of Jesus but as it is made to be a series, it does something that all the former movies about Jesus could not do – it actually shows glimpses into the ordinariness that Jesus had to deal with it.

As I watched this particular episode, I was drawn to two scenes where Jesus would lay down to sleep and he would pray these words Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings sleep to my eyes”. This might sound absurd but as I watched this scene played out the second time, I was struck by the fact that Jesus had to sleep while he was on earth. Of course, I subconsciously knew that, but I had never given it much thought till that day.

It is important that we notice the words I used; Jesus didn’t sleep only because he wanted to but because he had to. He was completely human which means he got tired and needed food and rest regularly.

Seeing Jesus, the saviour of my soul and the conquering Lord of all things visible and not visible in a seemingly ordinary position of sleeping was a bit startling for me. I was taken aback that Jesus had to basically go through things I would consider inconsequential so that when the time was right, he would do something I cannot do for myself.

As I thought about this, I realised that the bible addressed this in the book of Hebrews:

For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.

Hebrews 4:15 (AMP)

Jesus knows exactly how it feels to be human. He knows the feeling of sand on your feet and how satisfying it is to wash it off and lay down at the end of the night. He knows how the smile of a child can literally make a day brighter.

He knows that wine tastes good and can get one drunk when you over-indulge. He is 100% human in that he faced every temptation that comes to man and he is 100% God in that he did not give in to any sin.

Why does this make me happy?

To know that Jesus can relate with the ordinariness of life that Monday brings after Sunday means he can walk with me through the lows as much as he can walk with me through the highs.

In simple terms, Jesus is not appalled when I am weak at the knees as my crush walks into the room. Nope, he can walk with me through that. Jesus is not disappointed when I want to over-indulge in eating because I am sad or happy. Nah, he wants to walk with me through that feeling. Like David said so beautifully,

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 24:4 (BSB)

I hope this has brought you much joy as it has brought me. However, I would like to conclude with this analogy I learnt recently. I believe one of the most popular phrases in the Christian faith is what we are to accept Jesus as.

We say almost every day when people are called to salvation that we are to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour. For the longest time, I have considered this ageless description and the words of Saviour and Lord have grown to mean so much to me.

However, I have recently begun to consider the third word there, personal.

Jesus comes into our heart first as personal. He comes first to establish a relationship with us individually.

If I know anything about relationships, I know that both parties have to have some things in common and Jesus does not break that rule. Jesus left his throne to go through the ordinariness of life as a human for 33 YEARS AND SOME MONTHS so that he could have that in common with us.

That is love at divine proportions and it makes me giddy!

I hope that my thoughts were shared clearly. I hope that when you have to deal with something that doesn’t neatly fall into your relationship with Jesus as Saviour or Lord, that you remember there is a third option – Jesus as personal.

Jesus too had to deal with the ordinariness we deal with from day to day and he actually found a fool proof way out of practically every temptation.

This would mean that to navigate life with Jesus as personally as you want means you can lead a victorious Christian life in EVERY facet of your life.

Even in ordinary things.

EZEONYEKA GODSWILL

The Lord’s Prayer

My Father who art in heaven

Heaven your abode

Hallowed be thy name

Name above every other

Thine kingdom come

Kingdom of righteousness, justice and peace

Thine will be done on earth

Earth -my nation, my sphere, my life

As it in heaven

Heaven on earth I long to know

Give us this day our daily bread

For bread is now am expensive food

And forgive us our trespasses

Trespasses of japa- ing from your instructions

As we forgive those who trespass against us

By your grace we can

Lead us not into temptation

Temptations of compromise from your will

But deliver us from evil

Evil that lurks around within us

For thine is the kingdom

This very Kingdom

The power and the glory

Glory to reign and rule

Forever and ever

Ever till eternity

Amen! 

Oraegbu Philipa Ada

©2022

Out-Heal the Loss

Hello, My name is Niel and these are the ChristaPoet Freestyle Sessions. This year, ChristaPoet wants to give you a special perspective to our freestyles. At first, some of these poems were published as stand-alone pieces. But in actuality, each poem is an untitled part of a freestyle session. Each freestyle session is given a topic for the poems to address.

Today, we see the last of the February 25th 2022 poems. Topic was “Regeneration”.
Yesterday, we went through the ladies who all posted inside the 11th hour. So today we begin at 12:10 PM, with the CaP goddess, Chika St. Davnique:


I feel pain every time I think of my sister.

And I’m not thinking about myself when I think of her.

I’m thinking of all the ways in which she was alive.

I’m reliving the moments in which her smile lived.

And the pain I feel, it’s not selfish.


So no.


Adjust your lenses


And somewhere around this period, she got into a sensitive discussion with MeerahZoe. Now because some parts of the discussion was in voicenotes, I will give you a summary of the most important point made during the argument. The rest is honey and milk for CaP members. To join up, GoTo the “Join Us” tab

They were talking about different people’s reactions to loss. Chika said: As Christian writers, w hen we write, we owe it to the world and our audience to say what is true, and not just what we feel at the moment. Infact, whenever we want to be so subjective, we should state that this is us and just our perspective. Making absolute statements based on subjectivity has to stop.

At 12:36 PM, Chika St. Davnique made some some more poetry:


‘Please hold on while your transaction is processing…’

I’m staring lost in thought.
My mind, a multiverse of directions my thoughts wish to take.

Another line from a poem my father taught me floats into my brain…

‘We have come to the crossroad, and I either leave or come with you’

So I go with it.

The thought that we are always in the midst of a transaction. Always coming and going from an exchange. Always living or dying, giving or leaving.

The machine is still grinding, my body is still standing.
I wonder, does the man behind me know I’m lost.
Or is he lost in the endless start of things?

Is he coming and going from worries?
Is he in a loop of misdirection? And does he know the dimensions of life’s transactions?

Does he know what matters? Is he exchanging his time here for true treasures?
Or has he bought into the lie that he owns real estate in Time’s garden park?

‘Thank you for banking with us’

My fingers move of their accord. Cash in hand, I hold the physical equivalent of my time. I stroll on still lost… in thought trains.

Like, are we living or dying slowly?

And what is breathing if life is lived in beautiful moments?

Why does it come in cycles of the same patterns?

Are we living lives once lived?

…car honk and I remember to find myself.
Here.
On the road home.

Kinda like life, right?


And then, at 12:38 PM, catch a glimpse of what MeerahZoe was saying during the conversation:


This in itself is not a bad thing.
I’m a mental health advocate, and I know that self care is not selfish.
I also understand the human impulse to defend what we feel or are experiencing.

I was actually talking about the often masochistic need we have to hold on to pain even when we know it is crippling.


I have to say, I understood both their stances…but I just wrote on at 1:53 PM, probably with the mind to de-escalate the matter:


Black gems;
– made of what I used to call trash
– make me valuate my answers
– prayers sneaking outta coffins
– studded both my belt and cufflinks

What else?

I didn’t heal when you hugged me
I felt hate from my sulking
But I knew that was not important
I’m glad you haven’t kicked the bucket
Glad you haven’t kicked the bucket

Big wolves leaving bite marks
Farm hands turning lone sharks
My heart used to have cracks
Now it’s powdered like its custard
So I give it up to Father
Me I know he’ll take me farther
Speaking healing past the storm’s parts
Wash my eyes with water God spat


After a bit of silence, probably because I write mouth-shutting stuff, at 3:45 PM, Hanna Azubuike:


Please stop burning my eyes with how one should mourn a loss. You have healed, you have forgotten the pain you went through. Help with the Word if you must say something. Let her fully heal before you share how you mourned yours. You will never understand the closeness either. Let the eyes be dried before you point the picture and the different colors.


And at 5:49 PM, Imani Dokubo finesse with a few words from her beautiful:


Things die quickly when plucked from their source.
Root, the plants source.
God, the believers source.

Regeneration never happens without a source.


At 6:44 PM, the final freestyle of the day was delivered by Cap founder, Ezeonyeka Godswill, an enigmatic leader whose words always clear the air:


Writing is vulnerable. To war with the worlds in your mind so that you can birth words is sacrifice. We bear in our hands bleeding mysteries as we concise conscious constellations into careful captions. We know not all is said but what must have been said. The world wonders at writers not because it cannot produce as they do but because writers learn through the pain of introspection how to transport seedlings of thought across mind so that on the winds of communication the death of a world can find regeneration through the planting of these words.


Enough said; REGENARATE NOW, In the name of Jesus!!


Authors:
Chika St. Davnique
MeerahZoe
The Niel Quchi
Hanna Azubuike
Imani Dokubo
Ezeonyeka Godswill

Regeneration on Women’s Day

Hello, My name is Niel and these are the ChristaPoet Freestyle Sessions. This year, ChristaPoet wants to give you a special perspective to our freestyles. At first, some of these poems were published as stand-alone pieces. But in actuality, each poem is an untitled part of a freestyle session. Each freestyle session is given a topic for the poems to address.

I had told you in the first part of this piece, that these poets wrote 18 poems on this day, 25th February 2022. I want to do a sort of back and forth with the period that I draw pieces from. This time, I am continuing my account of a more recent time.

The topic is Regeneration.

And I bring you Zoe Ziva, writing at 10:33am, on the 25th of February:


That same Spirit that raised up Christ from the dead, heal your mum and heal my pastors wife too.

Vitalizing, regenerating, nothing broken, nothing missing.

Cardiac arrested, arrested the evil one, our prayers will not cease, this peace will not rest in this, for she will see the light of day on earth, stand on her two feet, her memory will reboot, amnesia would not be a name.

Your mum’s eyes will regenerate, God’s healing balm still has Gilead on it, now it resides in our heart.

Our faith will rise, our hands lifted, we do not forsake our own mercies, we choose to trust in The King rather than observe Lying vanities.


Since I’ve been younger till now that I’m grown, I’ve always seen that faith always wins.
Even in our time, this testimony would be so.

Rejoice.


And at 11:05 AM, the Elegant and Elusive Imani Dokubo:


I join you in prayers
I agree with you in faith
Her sight is restored
Her healing permanent

She sees clearly
The goodness and mercy of our God never runs out on her

We rejoice not in the future but now, for the end we have seen clearly.


Again, let me paint the context. So, one of us, Ade, had just written a freestyle spurt in which he indicated that his mother had just undergone surgery. We all subsequently dove into praying for her through our poetry…very touching stuff.

At 11:08 AM, Aebube with the kiss kiss emojis, wrote:


Just a turned ignition and boom
Men set off in tripedation

It’s not a holy feeling, the jitters are killing slowly
It made me sorrow only

Tell me I’m going to heal really quick from this fear and trepidation, this isn’t some perdition
right?

Of course it isn’t
For Christ paid the ultimate price so I’m forever freed from its shackles

My life is not on hold I’ve been unshackled from the chains of fear, the word alone regenerates me

For he has not given me the spirit of fear but of sound mind and power

Who I’m to agitate about tomorrow’s out come when Yahweh is there

He is the way, the truth and the life, for him alone I mount with wings like an eagle yet do not faint

My strength renewed, no cent used.


She posted that, and after a few minutes, at 11:50 AM, she continued:


They tried to bury me
Not ones
Not twice
For the third time I’m being covered with earth

Fascinating right?
So much they didn’t know
Ohhhh men carefully calculate

With vigour they plan our undoing yet
Ignorance deprive them of their sight

They can’t see right
Though all calculations seemed just perfect

They buried themselves and thought they’re done for, here we’re spouting a leave

With our lips pouted in mockery
They’re left in awe
Our God’s way smarter

We’re his seed buried to regenerate
Just like him we rise
Again and again we’re crowned with Victory to stay above and not beneath.


And then, my darling MeerahZoe, wrote this at 11:53 AM:


What’s more beautiful than a birth?
A rebirth.
The beautiful promise of a second chance
A do over when you’re done over

Twice I’ve lain in the fetal position
The first time oblivious to my existence
The second time wanting to end it

See pain is selfish, you only feel it when you’re self focused.
The man who invented diversional therapy would be out of business otherwise.

Twice I’ve lain in the fetal position
The first time oblivious to my Father’s company
The second time too self-seeing to see Him

It’s easier to ask for a break and a do over,
Blaming the God who supposedly didn’t give it
Than it is to see that the new life He gave you is all the practice you need to be reborn

But pain is selfish, and I would rather reject His comfort than put in the work.
Our faith walk however is sometimes like school, you don’t get past any stage without doing the work.

Standing on my feet again, I hope the sight of the ground from this angle is enough to remind me the next time
That a righteous man can fall seventy times
And rise up seventy times.


Today’s article has consisted strictly of women. I did not really plan that it should be so, but so it has come to pass. Today also happens to International Women’s Day. It makes me wonder, is there a local women’s day?

We hail the woman; for her tenacity, patience, kindness, beauty and industry.

Happy International Women’s Day


Authors:
Zoe Ziva
Imani Dokubo
Ebube
MeerahZoe

FRUIT DIAGNOSIS: For the 21st Century Church

Disclaimer: I am not writing this because I fully understand it, but I am compelled by this thought and I hope this essay serves as an invitation to the thinking table.

I like to believe that as we grow in the Christian faith, we are constantly learning. This means we are constantly coming in contact with truth. However, I have found that sometimes, things that struck me as profound still hold that essence even as I learn other new things.

This might be true for just my experience, but it is worthy of mention because it gives us a great rationale to kick-start this thought process. I cannot remember the exact time, but I cannot forget the power behind the truth of the difference between the gifts of the spirit and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Simply, it goes that gifts of the Holy Spirit outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are manifestations that are instant and sporadic in nature. Thus, the main difference they have with the fruits of the Holy Spirit outlined in Galatians 5:22-23 is that fruits are products of growth and they are consistent in nature.

This difference might seem simple enough, but it has evolved so much in my mind over the years. One thing that has been a hard pill to swallow is what Jesus said about fruits;

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.

Matthew 7:16-20 (NKJV)

I called this a fruit diagnosis.

If you are following this first point, I am sure you can put together that the fruits of the Holy Spirit are in effect of more consequence to the believer because they prove the presence of the Holy Spirit. This applies to many other things in life, and I find that this form of diagnosis is not as novel as I would like to present it.

In hospitals, symptoms are sought out as proof of an ailment or healing, we make sweeping comments about situations and people based on the results they produce and rightfully so. This is because fruits do not exist in a vacuum. If there is smoke, it is proof of fire. If there is a fruit it is proof of work, time, and a seed.

With this in mind, we can move a step further and ask; is there any sense in treating some fruit? By this, I am asking if it makes sense to treat a symptom or put out smoke. The very thought of it seems out of place because we don’t do this for good reason. I believe the reason is that fruit is proof of something else in the background. Thus, if some fruit provides you a diagnosis of an ailment, your response should not be applied to the fruit but to the problem, it is in fact pointing you to.

If you want the smoke to stop, you put out the fire; if you want the symptoms to stop, you treat the sickness. If you want to fix the fruit, you need to go to its source.

I find that in the 21st century Church, we tend to do the exact opposite of this common-sense approach. We see a flaw in our neighbour, but we go ahead to hack at the flaw which is a fruit of something else and we never address the real issues. This has given birth to so many weird laws and doctrines.

These injunctions while made with good intention, are very much harmful in the long run because while they might seem to address the flaw, they lead to long-term hurt, and most importantly, they never solve the problem.

Paul had a little issue with this concept in his day,

Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Colossians 2:20-23 (NKJV)

I would like to end here but permit me to do a bit of an over-emphasis. Going at people’s actions for the sake of the actions is either going to frustrate the person or imprison the person and it will not deal with the underlying issue. As a church, we need to come to terms with this and humbly undergo a re-orientation.

We must start looking to apply treatment where it matters most – the seed.

I believe that Jesus gave us a great example in doing this. In John 4:4-42 we see the account of the encounter of Jesus and the woman at the well. In their conversation, we learn very quickly that Jesus knew exactly who this woman was. He knew her wrongdoings and told her quite clearly that he did.

The thing that should strike us as odd is that for the rest of their conversation, Jesus never brings it up. In all of his instructions to her, he doesn’t ask her to leave her husband(s). He does something better; he addressed her heart’s questions and typically, transformation followed. It is noteworthy to mention that Jesus never shied away from correction, but it will do you much good to see the kind of instruction he gave. He never corrected actions for the sake of it; he always addressed an underlying mind-set or heart issue.

Thus, his instruction always pointed to solutions that would not only fix the fruit, but will heal the source.

I think we struggle to follow the perfect example of Jesus because seed instructions are not as dramatic or way too dramatic as fruit instructions. Even in a tree, cut off its bad fruit and everybody takes note but give it time and the faulty seed will produce yet another bad fruit. However, if the farmer addresses the root of the issue, it might demand taking down the entire tree or checking the seed before planting.

As a growing Christian, I have troubles with this drama imbalance too. I read the story of the rich young ruler and I can relate with the heaviness of heart in making such a dramatic change.

I also read the story of Naaman and I relate with the scorn that clearly said, “It can’t be that simple”.

I am however convinced that this is too important to give up on. So, I am writing this to other Christians in my century and beyond. We have to learn to leave the fruit and start looking at the seed.

I will end on this note. The further you go into seeking the source of a problem, the more you will find the nature of flesh and it can feel helpless because actions don’t change our nature; Paul told us that much.

However, remember what we said earlier about the fruits of the Holy Spirit? This is where they come in handy. The most important source to fix is the nature from which you are living. There are only two options: the flesh or the Holy Spirit.

If and when you decide to go with the Holy Spirit, you learn very quickly that it is work that is done in you. Your role in all of it is to surrender to the work and believe that it is for your good.

In the end, if you stay in the process long enough, you will notice your fruit changing and you will take no credit for it because the fruit is proof that the Holy Spirit is at work in you.

EZEONYEKA GODSWILL