The criticality of our lifestyle as world changers

An Issue Paper presented at the National Strategic Youth Missions Summit, Salem University Lokoja, Nigeria by Steven Kator Iorfa

Introduction

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.(Mt 5:13-16)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect(Rm.12:2)

We live in a generation where the undiluted Word of God is already scarce. The youths especially can no longer endure the sound doctrine of God’s word and therefore teachers, mentors, disciplers, pastors, etc. are beginning to look for more appealing ways of presenting the gospel. They adopt high sounding philosophical and psychological motivations to get young people coming to church, and in very bad scenarios, some have employed devilish methods to attract, exploit and retain members. 2 Timothy 4:3 is fast catching up with us and before our very eyes, our friends, colleagues, children, wives, husbands, fathers and mothers have begun to accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and are beginning to turn away from listening to the truth and are wandering off into myths. However, in all of these, our heavenly Father has affirmed over and over again in 2 Timothy 2: 19 that His firm foundation stands, bearing this seal:“The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” What more can we say? Generations may come and go, civilizations arise and fall, dispensations change, but the Word of God will remain. The interpretation of His instructions on Christian holy living and conduct will not be subject to geographical locations or changes in generations. It is therefore critical that as world changers, we begin to pattern our lives and conduct to reflect the change we want to make, the change God has called us to make. To do this, we have to adopt a lifestyle different from what the world knows, has defined and accepts. We have to conform and be transformed to the life of Christ, the kingdom lifestyle. 

This plenary addresses issues on godly living for young persons who are aspiring to change their worlds. And it must be noted here that asides the term “world” meaning the physical planet earth, our worlds could mean the different platforms our Father has graciously granted unto us to serve him through. Thus, I would be having us treat the term “world” in a generic sense that would encompass the worlds of politics, academia, fashion and entertainment, sports, health, science/technology and innovation, art. Even the world of religion and spirituality. We will briefly define some key terms and then go on to look at the lifestyle of a world changer, its nature and criticality.

Lifestyle: a) Someone’s way of living; the things that a person or particular group of people usually do; b) the particular way that a person or group lives and the values and ideas supported by that person or group; c) someone’s way of living, for example the things they usually do, where they live, what they spend their money on, etc.

Critical: a) of the greatest importance to the way things might happen; b) extremely serious or dangerous; c) extremely important to the progress or success of something

World-changer: A world-changer is someone who is committed to changing the world. A Christian online devotional has this interesting thing to say about who a world-changer is; A world changer is not someone who blends in, a world changer stands out, sticks out and stands up ready to make a difference. A world changer goes beyond the usual expectations of Christianity. A world changer finds the most intense demands that Jesus places on Christians and does not shy away from them but goes after them with all his/her heart. A world changer does whatever it takes to get the job done. A world changer pursues God passionately. A world changer has been radically, completely and totally changed by their relationship with God. 

The world changers’ lifestyles

a) Dressing 

Do we now begin this endless debate about dressing? About whether it is okay to put on this and that as world changers? A world changer knows that when our Lord gave a command, He meant it and they are determined to live up to the standard. A world changer does not conform to the standard of dressing dictated by this world. He or she sincerely yearns to fulfil the mind of the Father. A world changer knows that he/she is always in the presence of God the Father and permit me to say that there is no sincere child of God who does not know how to dress and appear before his/her father. As God is with him/her always, so his/her dressing also, always must please the Lord. Or has the interpretation of the Word of God suddenly become subject to geographical locations such that our compliance with and obedience to it varies from place to place? Have we become so pretentious that the intensity of our obedience increases with our proximity to church alone? Are we world changers? Do we desire to become world changers? Can we please let our dressing and appearance reflect the true nature of the life we carry? Let’s be reminded of the scripture in Hebrews 4:13 which says “no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account”, and remember that He knows the very reasons why we dress the way we do. There is a pattern for Godly dressing, the pattern a world changer is known by.

b) Earthly riches and wealth

What about the love and desire for earthly riches? I know this is another area most believers do not agree on. But has our Lord not also clearly stated in Hebrews 13: 5 that as believers we should keep our lives free from the love of money, and be content with what we have? For our Father has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. What does this mean for us? Does this translate to our living beggarly lives and becoming burdens to our brethren and the heathen who seem to prosper? No. Our heavenly Father has also promised in Mathew 6: 33 that if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, then all other things will, in addition to His kingdom, be given unto us. We are not to live poor all our life. How else do we speak into the financial crises of our generation? How do we offer solutions to the enormous financial challenges of missions? We are to tap His resources for life, ministry and missions. But even if, He so desires, that through the denial of earthly riches, His children’s character be polished, shaped and sharpened, would we then as clay, tell the porter how best we want to be moulded?  

c) Prayer life and personal altar

A world changer is on fire for God and his/her prayer altar is always burning. He or she recognizes the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 18: 1 that men ought always to pray and not to faint. World changers are committed to building an intimate secret life with God for they know that in it alone lies their strength. Therefore, they will not trade their Quiet Times and alone with God for anything else. They cherish the refreshing times spent in the presence of God and are always eager and yearning to return there. King David, a man who radically changed his world in his generation, had this to say about God’s presence; “one thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” (Ps. 27:4).

Conclusion

In Mathew 28: 19, our Lord Jesus Christ commanded saying, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In other words, go therefore and change the world. How else can we change the world other than through the very best way we live our lives?

Firstly is the need to understand that the ability to really change our world and not just try to slightly improve it can only be divinely given with the ideas needed divinely inspired as in the case of Joseph and Daniel. Changing the world requires a power from Him that made the world.  Truly changing our world is about changing men and bringing them to the point that they become like Jesus. Where there is a complete transformation and renewal of the mind. It goes beyond an ability to put together a long list of exhaustive dos and don’ts to an internal transformation that seeks a fundamental foundation laying that equips an individual with the ability to take the right decision even in situations never met before or never put down into law.  This can only be achieved as God gives a man the ability to do so.

The second matter that proceeds immediately from the first is the fact that this ability is not available for every dick and harry. The decadence we have seen thus far cannot be attributed to the inability of God but rather the unavailability of usable men. There are those certified by heaven to carry out this task. Only such certified individuals get endowed with the divine grace to affect their generation and leave indelible marks of eternal worth upon the sands of time.  2Chr 16:8-9, makes it clear that God is actually more eager than us to demonstrate His power upon the face of the earth, but the bottle neck of the whole mix remains in the ability to locate such men on whose behalf He can show Himself strong. Such men that He can point to other men, such men about whom he can say “this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him”. It is needless to say that such men are scarce. This necessarily brings us to the point of realizing that it is such men who please God that will get endowed. Now the big question is what is the criteria, and the clear answer is “life”. There is that life that God is willing to associate with, that life that pleases Him, that life that He can call a friend. These are lives embedded in divine consecrations, lives that the actions you constantly see is a manifestation of the fact that they are completely sold out to Christ, again, lives who’s lifestyle is embedded in consecration. Heb 11 gives an account of such men in the Old Testament, men who loved not their lives. Even though they had limitations. They had not experienced the death and consequent resurrection power of the cross. As it is written Christ in you is the Hope of Glory.

The inability to connect with the almighty, the very SOURCE is what makes many resort to other means, but alas they can only be noise makers not change agents. If we must have devoted workers, honest students, faithful husbands, submissive wives, responsible fathers, sincere bosses, the list goes on… We must have correct lives to compel a following, lives inspired by God. True change comes from above.

We see few of such lives already existing in the world of missions, but many more are needed in business, law, engineering, medicine, banking…..lives before whom the Nebuchadnezzars of their professions will tremble and bow and acknowledge as in Dan 4:1-37. That the Lord HE is God. 

Steven Kator IORFA

© 2019

 

Suicide note

Ramatu,

You actually did form a part of my life, and you did so in ways I can’t explain. Only I wish now I had more time to appreciate. But even as I write, there is this looming doom in the horizon and it’s just few hours before the Imam comes with a vest of explosives to dress me up. Life has been most indifferent for me. I know they say it’s not a bed of roses, but I would have preferred a bed of thorns to what I am passing through. My peril describes that of a sinking man who actually thinks he is floating until his back touches the river bed. That’s the sad point I am now, a point of no return.

It all began when I met you. You carried an aura, a semblance of that possessed by Queen Amina. You were queen, an angel or so I thought. I fell in love with you. But ours was not the Western world where you could express your love publicly especially when it was considered ungodly. Religions in Nigeria demand purity and Islam would not be an exception. So even in the midst of our passions, I never got closer than close to you in those early days. You would invite me over to your house on Salah days but I shied away. I remember on one of such occasions you promised your father would be out and only your mum would be in. So I went along with you. We talked, joked, laughed and were only interrupted by your mum’s intermittent calls. That was my very first visit and it seemed pleasant. When you came to see me off, you held my hands for what seemed to me like forever. I felt I was in the presence of Allah. That night as I walked back to school, I felt butterflies dance in my stomach. Our friendship went on and on and we began seeing each other at late hours and odd places. I loved it but usually wondered what kind of father you had that was never at home to monitor your movements. Each time I enquired about him, you answered, “He has gone to the mosque”. He must be a devoted one I thought. Whenever you came to visit me, you would wear one of your big hijabs. When we wanted to kiss or do our thing, I would hide under the hijab. No one ever noticed, probably because romance under the hijab was the norm then. This went on and on until one day you said you would like me to meet your father. He was a politician and was well known throughout the state. We arranged for a Friday after mosque for me to meet him.

Alhaji Usman as he was called was not a man who spoke much. So that Friday when he met me in his house, he only asked my name and whether I’d been to the mosque at all. When I told him I had, he only smiled and went into his room. You were proud I’d met your father and even spoken with him. Your mother served freshly made Kunu and Masa but I didn’t join them. I was shy. That was my second visit and what would be the last.

One evening I returned to the room and met a note. I looked at Abdul and he jabbered “your girlfriend brought it.” I carefully opened it. You wrote, “My father wants to see you”. Fear seized me. Had he found out my sins with his daughter? I’d be finished. The next sentence read, “He said you should meet him at the mosque unfailingly this night, any time this night. Love you…” What could he possibly want from me? We had only met once. And why did he choose the mosque of all places? And he said any time at night, was he going to sleep there? I looked at my watch and it was already past seven. I decided to go straight away.

Alhaji Usman sat beside the Imam in a circle of eight men. One of them was dressed in army uniform. I could recognize the silhouette of one other person, Shehu. Shehu was one of the most notorious students in school, a strong advocate of Islam. What was he doing among noble men? I wondered. I drew a mat from the shelf and sat on it waiting for Alhaji Usman to be through. I could hear faintly their voices. It looked like they were agitating over something. The discussion went on for about forty minutes before they prayed and dispersed. I felt like asking Shehu to wait for me so we would walk back to school together but I had no idea how long Alhaji Usman intended keeping me. As the others walked out, I saw Alhaji discussing privately with the Imam and afterwards started walking towards my direction. I could perceive his Tulare fill the air, the scent of a noble lover of Allah. I imagined that it was bought from Mecca. As he approached, I quickly squatted well and bowed in respect. I received his outstretched arm and stood up. He did not look like he was mad at me for anything. His very first statement made me relax. “I knew you’d come”, he said. “Right from the very first day I met you at the house, I knew you were the special kind. But as you can see, you have come late and we possibly can do nothing today.” I saw the Imam approaching. He whispered something to Alhaji and then left. Alhaji Usman continued, “Please come a little earlier tomorrow.” He hurried after the Imam till they both disappeared into the inner room.

That night as I walked back to school, I wondered what Alhaji wanted from me. I thought about the man in military uniform, the agitation, the fierceness of the few faces I saw. What was wrong?

The next morning had a series of unusual happenings. The hostel tap had been damaged by nobody. Ali, the hostel chef, master in noodles and eggs did not open and most unusual of all, Abdul had left the room before me. I left my room to look for water in the next hostel. There I found Shehu addressing a group of students. I pretended not seeing him and quickly took the next turn towards the tap.

It was a light day and I returned to the hostels earlier. I and Abdul played the game of chess for a while and then I slept off. I woke up some minutes to seven and made straight for the mosque. They were already seated in the usual manner and the Imam was addressing them. He stopped when he saw me, motioned me to sit down and then continued. “Jihad is the holy struggle against good and evil. It is the fight against infidelity and the infidel. The opportunity the almighty Allah has given each of us to prove our fidelity. You are instructed to slit the throats of the infidel when you see him. How would you feel when you stand at the gate of heaven and Allah asks you, “what did you do with the one weapon I gave you, your body?” Will you display the wounds of martyrdom or will you bow your head in shame only to be thrown into the fires of hell?” As he spoke, I felt the tension, hearts beating, fists tightening, faces sulking. He sat down and then shortly after, the man in uniform who then was whispering to Alhaji stood to address us. He shouted, “Allah ku bar”. We responded “Allahu Akbar”. He did these three times and we responded and each time the tempo rose above the previous.

The meeting dispersed at about 8:03pm. Alhaji Usman walked up to me, his face so serious. He told me to follow him. I went with him into the inner room. There the Imam was sitting with three other mujahideen round what I observed was the blueprint of a building, a church building to be precise. He beckoned me to draw closer. I watched as all five men discussed. They studied the blueprint over and over again. Then it became clear to me. They were planning on blowing up the building. I became more scared when I heard the Imam say, “Sunday would be the best.” I looked at the name at the bottom of the drawing. It seemed familiar. “Was that not a church, wouldn’t there be people in there on Sunday?” I thought. By now, their intentions were no more hidden to me. This was war, and I was right in the middle of it, part of the plan so to say. Alhaji Usman told me we would be sleeping over at the mosque that night. I could not hesitate. After all it was already past ten.

The next morning at about 3:15am, I was awoken by the Imam. Alhaji had gone home and I was to make a journey with the Imam and the mujahideen to Suleja. The Imam drove the bus, I sat beside him. At the back were the mujahideen and one other face I could not recognize in the dark and more so because it was masked with a a cloth made from a talisman. At such, only those of us in the car were aware of a fifth traveller. The talisman would protect him from all unwanted eyes. Due to several other delays and visits paid to prominent politicians on our way, we arrived at Suleja around 4pm in the evening and that was when I realised that the unknown face I had travelled with all these while was Shehu. We were welcomed by five men who took us into a room lit by only two torch lights. There Shehu was separated from us into an inner room where only the Imam could enter. I was left with the mujahideen. They watched me closely and hardly said any word neither to me nor to each other. Later we were served kunun gyada and a cupful was taken into the room where Shehu was. After some time, it was returned untouched. I guessed he had refused to drink. The mujahid closest to me looked at me and said “He should be happy that Allah saw him worthy for this one” referring to Shehu.

The next morning, the 10th of July 2011, we left the house where we had passed the night. The Imam drove us again through a narrow path and packed some distance away from a building. He then whispered something to Shehu who was in front with him. Shehu was unusually big that morning. He alighted and walked down to us and said in Hausa, “Brothers, the time has come. May Allah be praised.” He looked straight at me and said “Carry on.” He then made for the building while the Imam drove away. Some time elapsed then we heard a blast, then screams, then noise, then silence. I bowed my head in utter shame, a murderer. The Imam said, “We head back home” then smiled and never said anything throughout the rest of our journey. Satisfied that the mission was accomplished, he sped off. The next morning I woke up still in the mosque and saw the Imam listening to the news from his radio. I heard them talk about the blast from a church at Suleja after which the presenter announced that the University had closed down its campus till further notice citing security concerns. The Imam had made it clear to me that having come thus far with them; I would not be allowed to turn my back anymore. Any attempts to do so would be interpreted as treason and infidelity. I needed not be told what would become of an infidel. I could not run away to my elder sister Aisha. She and her husband saw no use in me. And besides, they would not in any way help me. So later in the day, I went with the Imam to pick the few things I thought I might need.

Days rolled by and we went from place to place doing the one very thing. On 25th August that same year, we arrived at Abuja. There I met with several other disciples like myself. We were not allowed to interact with one another. Three people were selected for this one and they were transported to the venue in a similar bus with the one we came with. There the car for the operation would be waiting for them.

With each passing day, my interest for school diminished and I got more at home with my present life accepting my predicament as the will of Allah. I had not seen you for months now but would not dare ask your father. Even the few times he spoke to me, he only congratulated me for accepting the will of god. “Many youths” he would say, “will never be as courageous as you my son.” But I never stopped thinking about you. I never cared about the fact that it was him, your father who got me into all this. The more we travelled, the more I lost contact with you. It was clear to me now that you would have given all sorts of explanations to why I left and left you in the dark. But I loved you all these while. Time would fail me to express much love as I would have loved to for I must let you know the truth.

We visited Damaturu after our attack at Abuja. It was there that I came face to face with the one who would enchant me and declare me trusted. The initiation process was very brief but full of incantations. He told me I was hence forth worthy to meet Allah at any time I chose to, provided I chose the right cause. I had become a mujahid. At the completion of the Damaturu attack, I was told I would be taken away for training. I will spare you the details of my training because they are not good for a lady’s ears, especially one who has love for the trainee. While we were away, news reached us from Nigeria that eleven of our brothers had been killed by the Nigerian army. There was need for immediate deployment. So I returned home on the 30th of January, 2012 along with other brothers of mine.

Back in Maiduguri, I was reunited with my old family; the Imam and the earlier three mujahideen. We were all glad to see each other. It was there I got to learn of the next point of target. Musa, the eldest of the three mujahideen told me that his time had come. That finally, he would go to claim his seven virgins at the house of Allah. He was the chosen one. The Imam handed over to me a blueprint tagged “Army Headquarters Kd.” I was literally lost for words. The thought of raiding an army headquarter was just something I did not want to think about. Not that I was afraid but I felt, we were biting more than we could chew. Nevertheless, I reserved my feelings to myself. Letting out such discouraging feelings to the rest of the family would be counted infidelity. And for a young mujahid who had risen to high ranks in no time, I would dare not try that. We set off for Kaduna on February 6, 2012. It turned out to be a well accomplished mission. Two brothers well known to me now gone; first it was Shehu at Suleja now Musa in Kaduna. My time, I knew was coming.

Something tragic happened on the 31st of May. I and the Imam had gone to buy food when we received news that there was an on-going attack around home. For us home was far away from where the ordinary people thought it was and when “they” raided a small gathering of our brothers, they went to report to the media that they had looted our hide outs. Five of our brothers alongside an infidel who was kept in our custody were killed. It was another loss. We were visited at night by Alhaji Usman who assured us that only the will of Allah could be done, and only what he permits. The whole camp was filled with pressure. If “they” could get as close to the gathering of the five brothers then it meant they were closing in on us. The next morning, the three of us along with other prominent mujahideen sat down to plan what the Imam called “a series of jihads”. Two of our brothers were sent to Bauchi to carry out what we all agreed to be called “a friendly attack.” Friendly in the sense that not much damage would be caused but only to create awareness that we were still around. People argued and argued that whatever was worth doing was worth doing well. So if there was going to be any strike at all, there should be a proper one. Nevertheless, Bauchi’s mission was successful.

The next places of duty were Kaduna and Plateau. Some of our troops headed to Plateau while myself and the Imam headed for Kaduna along other brothers. We stayed there and planned fervently, a triad hit.

On the night of 16th June, I was summoned by the Imam. He looked at me very sadly and rubbed my head. I felt his rigid coarse palms on my newly shaved skull. Then he stroked my beards and asked in the calmest voice possible “has Allah not been good to you son?” I muttered a solemn but hazy “he has”, fully aware of what I felt was coming yet scared of the sudden reality. Then he looked down and said “go, prepare yourself. Your hour is come.” I left him not knowing how I felt.

Back in my room, I did not say the usual prayer that was the custom before going on divine duty. I picked my pen and pad and began. I had to write you because it was necessary. Each one of those moments I spent with the group, I spent for you with the hope that at the end of it all, I might have no difficulty asking for your hand in marriage having proven strong to your father but….here is where I end. All I have left are the scattered shots of the times we shared together, in memory. I hope I don’t misplace them on my way to heaven. It should suffice me to say that throughout my stay with the Imam, I failed to accept the correlation between the holy jihad and the struggle against western education. Please let the world know I did not die fighting against Western education. I died trying to please your father, for you. Mine is a different story altogether. Please kindly extend my last remarks to Abdul my roommate and tell him not to travel home to Mubi, at least not in the first week of October. I love you Ramat.

Sadiq.

Steven Kator Iorfa
©2019

Flying shadow

Black bird, d’you wanna fly?
D’you wanna take my blackness with you?
Would you rather take my darkness to the sky?
Or would you stay here too?

I’m caught in the midst of things I don’t wanna do,
Wings to fly I crave but don’t have,
I rend my clothes into halves,
And bare chested I stand in fear of you,

Lend me wings to fly,
No!
Take me with you to the sky,
No!
Heal my broken soul,
No!
Please make me whole,
No!

Flap flap flapped,
And off she went,
Flapped and leaving me a-trapped,
With my back bent,
And my soul sapped,

Black bird said no,
But at the horizon our shadows met,
And at the horizon my shadow flew.

Steven Kator

© 2018

The World’s Most Beautiful Bible

Magnificent bible that can be passed from generation to generation

If you ever had just one book… what book would it be? For most christians the answer is simple: it’s The Holy Bible. But what if the most important book of all this time could also be the most beautiful, sturdiest and important your family’s heirloom Bible? The one, which is passed from generation to generation: from you to your children and grandchildren.

Probably the most magnificent Bibles is Cassell’s Illustrated Family Bible, dated from 1840s-1860s, which is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful King James Version Bibles ever published. With 1600 pages and more than 900 iconic illustrations and detailed maps, it had almost an encyclopedic value.

Paulius Virbickas, entrepreneur and publisher who has published over 1000 books found this Bible sitting on a shelf, covered in dust, in an old antique bookstore. It seemed like it was just waiting for him patiently. As he slowly opened its cover and started carefully browsing through old pages, he immediately understood – this is it.

Together with his team Paulius devoted almost a year to painstakingly restore the magnificent graphic illustrations and decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign for The World’s Most Beautiful Bible. Just recently their Kickstarter has surpassed 100% funding and there are still some time left for those who want to get this magnificent bible.

This is a majestic Bible that contains extensive commentaries in parallel columns, as well as a complete Concordance and a comprehensive Bible Dictionary:

• The extraordinary Holy Bible is over 1600 pages long and dramatically oversized (9’’x11,88’’)

• Original King James Version (KJV) – a translation that is so important, that it is considered to be a driving force in the shaping of the English-speaking world.

• Embossed cover with gold finishing & gilded book edge.

• Handmade solid wood box

• All pages are printed on acid-neutral non-fading archival quality paper, sewn into binding to last long usage and could be open flat

• 3 satin ribbons in black, red and gold to mark your favorite passages

• Personalized cover with your family’s name

• Printed and bound in Europe.

Creators of this project promosed produce 5 versions of The World’s Most Beautiful Bible + 1 “stretch goal” version after they’ll reach $12 000 funding.

Here are these 5 versions of The World’s Most Beautiful Bible:

  1. Personalized Limited Edition

2.  Personalized CHRISTMAS SUPERSAVER Edition – The World’s Most Beautiful Illustrated Family Bible in a solid wood box

  1. Deluxe AMBER Edition in Handmade Wooden Box From Reclaimed Oak + hand bind premium black Italian leather covers & genuine Baltic amber cross

  1. Deluxe SILVER Edition in Handmade Wooden Box From Reclaimed Oak + hand bind premium Italian royal blue leather covers & silver cross

5.  Deluxe GOLD Edition in Handmade Wooden Box From Reclaimed Oak + hand bind premium Italian burgundy leather covers & gold cross

You can support this project and order one of the bibles, listed above here.

These little lines of mine

My name is Godswill Ezeonyeka and I am blessed to be here. I feel privileged but what can I say. When God calls He fills also. That is to say whatever you are meant to do you already have capacity to. It just needs a bit of harnessing.

  1. PURPOSE:

7 years ago, Wordsmith was not a word meet to describe me. In fact I was at an impasse with myself because I really wanted to know what it was I could do to impact my world, but writing at the time was not an option. Probably just a distant memory because rewind some 15 years I had tried my hands on poetry and that was it. But then during my university days, I once was watching an episode of Turning Point and they had this poet perform a piece. As I watched, I had this certainty, call it conviction if you will, that I could do what she did and needless to say I was excited inside because I loved it. I loved it and I wanted to do it and your guess is as good as mine “I did nothing about it”. Till I got an idea that was stubborn, it wouldn’t leave. It seemed as if my mind had a life of its own and soon I had to write. It was my first good poem (at least I think so) and it was more of a release than it was passion.

But then I had this question. WHAT NEXT? Now that I have written. What next?

That question’s metamorphosis is the vision that is Christ A Poet. You can visit http://www.christapoet.com to see what that is about. But this story I shared is to make a point; “Purpose is what directs passion and skill to solve problems”.

Many people writers are familiar with the writer’s block syndrome. But I can tell with your writer’s block on full gear, if your life depends on it, you will write and write well. As writers or artists in general, if your art creation is not for a reason bigger than yourself, you will always be substandard to who you can be.

Purpose drives you when you have the “inspiration”. Purpose drives you when you are sick. Purpose keeps you up late at night thinking of the perfect word to complete a line of thought. Purpose will make you go to your friends, beg them to put on the generator so you charge your phone and write. In general, Purpose takes the excuses out of the game. If you still have excuses (no matter how valid they are) for not writing, then you do not have a big enough reason/purpose yet. Purpose in simple definition is Why you write.

SO WHY DO YOU WRITE?

Before you rush to answer this question lets see what writing can do.

How Books Saved My Life

NOVEMBER 1, 2013

By Lindsey Collins

http://www.literallydarling.com

There is a term (a legitimate medical term), called bibliotherapy, and I think, unknowingly, it might have saved my life.

Bibliotherapy– noun; an expressive therapy that uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. The basic concept behind bibliotherapy is that reading is a healing experience.

There are libraries that make a practice of prescribing books to people as a form of therapy. The Center for Fiction in New York City actually employs bibliotherapists to give out book prescriptions. I think this might be the most amazing idea.

But back to me, and how books saved my life.

I was never suicidal, but I was angry and confused and hurting. My story is less common than most (at least I think so) but I hope you will still understand. Tragic circumstances took an angry, typical 15-year-old and made me into a walking emotional wreck. Most people who knew me then probably thought it wasn’t a big difference considering what I’d been through, but it was. I am just an exceptionally good faker.

When I was 15, my dad got sick. The disease doesn’t matter, but six months later he was blind. It’s been more than seven years, and it’s a fact that I still have a hard time accepting. When he first got sick, there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t make him better, couldn’t show the doctors how to fix him, and I felt helpless. So I turned to books. And TV shows. Any story I could find with a mystical, supernatural, or mysterious component. I carried books everywhere, weighing down my purse or just in my hands like a personal shield. I needed stories that didn’t require me to think beyond reading the words or watching a screen, and I threw myself in other (fictional) people’s problems. I cried with them, I laughed with them, I pitied them, and I used them. I used them to soften my own problems, the problems lurking in my house that I couldn’t repair. I don’t think I realized at the time, how much my situation was influencing my choices. I picked shows where people had the ability to heal, something I would’ve given anything to be able to do. I picked shows where 16-year-old girls fought monsters, both real and imaginary. In those six months I probably read a hundred books and watched a thousand hours of TV (sleep was not really being a friend at this point). Mostly it’s all a blur.

I’m 22 now. I’ve graduated from college, and I’m looking for a job. Looking back, I think those stories saved my life. They let my mind walk away and showed me that the characters I loved were the strong ones, and that I could be strong too.

This I culled from a site to show something people don’t pay attention to. Writing can change the world, one person a time. Yes many think reading is boring, yes many don’t see why you work so hard to string these words, and yes it all seems futile and you feel not appreciated and irrelevant. But you have your audience and no matter how little or big they are, they are hanging on your every word and they deserve your very best.

  1. Pursuit.

I am for the most part a poet. This means I try a lot of stuff, and I have learnt much. This platform is a bit limited for a proper transfer of knowledge but instead of giving you fish. I will tell you why and how you could fish.

First, you are only as creative as the amount of skill you have access to. What you dont know you cannot be creative with. Grow your skill.

Lets take poetry:

Poetry is the genre of literature with the fewest use of words. Prose and Drama get the liberty of using a tonne of words to drive home a point that the rhythm and rhyme constrictions of poetry will give you only 8 syllables to do same. Like every art form, there are rules. You have got to learn them. Some of such is:

  1. Rhyme and Rhythm: Lose this and you don’t have a poem. Your ability to string words in such a fashion that the mind of the reader travels but you still have control of where it goes is key to creating a good piece of poetry.

Disclaimer: Not every poem rhymes but all poems have rhythm.

  1. Structure: With many types of poetry at our disposal, an understanding of structure gives you a guide to follow. So when you choose a structure, you stick to it and get the best off it.

Examples of structural decisions:

Number of lines per verse

Rhymes or no rhymes

Language of choice

Story etc.

Find them, understand them. This applies to most forms of writing.

There is a lot you can do with writing but if you don’t seek to know you might find yourself stuck in a circle, writing the same things. And then writing gets boring both for you and the reader. So seek skill!

One easy way to learn is to watch and learn from those doing stuff you can’t yet do. In the story above… The poet in question was Janette…ikz. I presently have almost all her videos available on the internet. Infact I presently have over a 100 poetry videos. I am not sure of the number because I have not counted.

Also exercise is key. Take time to try new stuff when you write. You might not get it now but you will get better if you start now. Subject your work to criticisms and take them well. In 5 years time no word said to you will mean as much. And by all means write! Write! Write!

One more thing.

There are two kinds of writers. Those that wait for inspiration and those that draw inspiration out of its hiding place.

All these I am pointing is to say; When you have purpose, you have a reason to write. When you acquire skill you are equipped to fulfill purpose.

Finally…

These little lines of mine I wrote is a spin off the popular children song (I’m sure you all noticed). And like this song I hope this time we shared gives you a reason or an answer or inspiration to know you have what it takes to change the world in those little lines of yours.

(C) Godswill Ezeonyeka

2018

Christianity and the vicious cycle of political hopelessness

For a long time in Christendom, there has been an unfounded nursed notion that, active political engagement is inherently defiled and corrupt, hence Christians who are serious and passionate about the gospel should not be involved. Most Christians are of the view that anything besides pulpit preaching of the gospel is a distraction from the Great Commission. while this sounds religiously true, it is urgently necessary to understand that we believe in a God who cares passionately about His world and the whole of His creation (Jn. 3:16) and is therefore concerned about its affairs such as, how it is governed and who governs it.

The Lord in Matthew 28:18-20, commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey God in every area of life. In making disciples of all nations and in all areas, we must also disciple people to make godly decisions about politics and governance. Nevertheless, this is not the stance of many Christians. Some prefer to be indifferent towards governance and the whole process of electioneering. In Nigeria, majority of the active and most influential politicians belong to the ‘other side’ and are at the helms of government, advancing the purpose of their beliefs. That is largely the reason why today, the afflictions of Christians are multiplying all over the country; the incessant harassment of Christian farmers all over the country by Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram insurgencies, the displacement of Christians from their original villages in Kaduna, Benue, Taraba etc. and many more terrorist actions are few examples.

While some of these persecutions may have their place in awakening the Nigerian church and increasing her thirst for revival, could this have been the original will of our God; that His people have no safe place of worship? These killings and terror attacks might go on and many more may arise simply not because God wants it but because Christianity lacks influence in Nigerian politics. It is not just okay anymore to fold hands and watch helplessly as evil men decide the fate of God’s true children. In this write up, I introduce the term “political hopelessness” to help explain the default condition of an ordinary Christian in Nigeria towards politics. I also try to charge the heart of Nigerian Christians to get involved in politics, lead and establish God’s purpose on earth.

The lack of Christian influence in the Nigerian government has led to a vicious cycle illustrated below:

Most Christians have recoiled from affairs of the government due to past experiences and therefore have developed a default mindset that sees politics and every politician as evil and corrupt. This has consequently engendered borderless political apathy. However, not getting involved does not solve the problem, it only makes Christians to be outnumbered and consequently loose in the elections. So when the elections are over and most of the seats are occupied by non-Christians, we have nobody to represent our interests. No one to stand up and pass bills that protect Christian interests and affairs as evidently displayed in various systematised anarchy unleashed against innocent Christian farmers, villagers, schools or gatherings.

As time went on, we lost our voices and because our voices were lost, our interest were buried! We consequently returned to the beginning of the cycle. And on and on goes the vicious cycle. This cycle has been on for decades in Nigeria and we have consequently settled with a sense of hopelessness having ignorantly concluded that nothing could be done anymore.

Furthermore, many so-called Christian politicians have worsened matters. They come to the churches and kneel on the altars only to get elected and enrich themselves. Such people have lost the trust of the Christian masses for they have helped make them hopeless. Reserved for them in hell is everlasting torment, except they repent and occupy for God.

In order to remedy the situation however, the cycle has to be broken. Christians must begin to deliberately strategize and put trusted people in the right positions. These efforts may not yield immediate results but at least will set the pace for generations to come. The Bible also challenges us in Luke 14: 28 & 31 to first sit and count the cost, and plan. With determination and proper strategy, Christ will rule and God’s counsel will be established. It is necessary that stable government policies that promote the preaching and practice of God’s word at all levels of civil service be implemented. It will be glorious if the government of the day sees and believes in the end time revival of the land and hands over power to the Holy Spirit to move in the lives of citizens. How can this be achieved? To what extent is this achievable? It takes having a sincerely consecrated disciple of Christ to be in power. How else can he/she be in power if not encouraged to accept God’s leading and training, and then get involved in governance?

It is worthy of note that the involvement of Christians in government through the ages is the most vibrant reason why today, we have hospitals, abolition of slavery and the practice of killing twins, modern science, the true understanding of the worth of women, regard for human life, great works of art and literature, a workable system of justice, education for the common human being, the free-enterprise system, etc. A writer tells a story of a Christian minister named John Witherspoon who became president of the College of New Jersey in 1768. While there, Witherspoon taught Biblical principles of government to his students. Of the 478 young men who were graduated during his tenure, 114 became ministers; 13 were state governors; 3 were U. S. Supreme Court judges; 20 were U.S. Senators; 33 were U.S. Congressmen; Aaron Burr, Jr., became Vice-President; and James Madison became President. As a Christian, Witherspoon exerted an enormous influence on the direction of American government. So did Joseph and Daniel during their times in the Bible. These are eloquent testimonies of men whom God used in politics during their time. What makes it different now?

As Christians, we must come to the understanding that God is interested in having His Children take over every sphere of influence even on earth. And we must deliberately determine to make His counsel stand if we truly love Him. The true proof of our love for God and one another lies partly in our participation in politics albeit, with a kingdom mindset. How do we claim to love God if we don’t engage in things that enhance and promote His kingdom? How do we claim to love one another if we don’t participate in the area that most profoundly shapes basic rights and the freedom of others? We must arise, take the bull by the horns and put an end to this vicious cycle of hopelessness. You have the opportunity to influence the world for God if you will only take it.

However, taking the bull by the horns comes with a price. We must realize that this is a mandate worth living for and if need be, worth dying for. We must be ready to loose our lives in pursuit of this mission, bearing in mind that to live is Christ and to die is gain. And also that as long as we remain in the will of God the Father, there shall no evil befall us neither shall any plague come nigh our dwelling, except it be His will. We therefore, must come to a point where our lives mean little in the face of God’s great promises. He has said, “he that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal”. Eternity is the bigger picture. We must be able to give up our lives to pursue Heaven’s mandate. If we do not come to that point, then it is better not to have started. Are we ready to die if need be? Are we ready to say like Daniel and his friends, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” We will not compromise. And the Father will fight for us. We have the opportunity to influence the world for God if we will only take it. May God grant us the courage, Amen.

(C) 2018

Steven Kator IORFA

My Prayer

Success is subjective to individual values. The most popular definition of success however is attached to money and things money can buy. These things, no doubt make life beautiful; ranging from grand glass houses by the beach, buying an island for oneself, driving speedy bullet proof metallic cars, owning fleets of Titanics, drinking the best of wines and having to associate only with people of the same class. Giving 90% of one’s monetary worth to charity and still not being able to track one’s wealth without the help of a financial manager should be success enough. This introduces the next most popular definition of success.

Giving back to the society has become an everyday phrase. People want to impart on other people’s lives, genuinely or in genuinely. Some rich folks want ‘philanthropist’ added to their titles. Some want more fame than they have. Others use it as a diversion or leverage to retain what they have and keep gaining riches.

Another set of people have sympathy for humanity and want to help change lives. These set of people may not have much money but they are willing to share the little they have with people that don’t have. Nothing else gives them more satisfaction than the smile they put on people’s faces and to them this is success.

Worthy to note is the division that associate success to their careers. Doing well in what you like doing should be satisfying. Being recognized as a champion in one’s field of operation is elevating. The idea of being a professional and the most sort in the labor market is 90% of dreams that creep around at night on earth. Earning grandly in this career one loves is not something that is seen every day, so may it receive its due acknowledgement.

This last category is what I want my definition of ‘success’ to be. Firstly, I want my heart to burn so fiercely for God. I want him to set my heart on fire. I want to be consumed by desire for him. To be able to put him first and not trade him for anything else is what I desire. To lay on my death bed and be able to smile because all my life I have preached the gospel; I have won souls for Jesus; I have fought the good fight of faith; to have the gospel as my number one mission in life is my goal. For God to be ‘practically’ (not just generically) more important than my spouse, mother, father, siblings, career, money is my prayer. I am not satisfied with just telling him I love him and that he is more important than every other thing. I really want to deeply love him with clenches, fists, my last drop of blood and last draw of breath. I want to be able to preach the gospel without reservation; to yearn and groan for people who do not understand; to study and know the bible so well that I can teach effectively and answer questions in the hearts of men and to choose discomfort and inconvenience for the sake of the gospel. I want to be a mobile gospel, in fact. I need money, career and everything the world has to offer to weigh less than my desire to preach the gospel. I want nothing else in mind when I pray asides my brokenness for him and my requests for hearts receiving the gospel. I want to die calling myself successful because I preached the gospel and I love the lord. This is my prayer. I pray that I be successful!

Fidelis: Showing a little kindness

Christ a poet

A call came through my line. It had been a long while since I got any calls from unregistered numbers. I hesitated a little and went on talking to Ramat. The phone rang again and this time I felt like picking up. Just as my hand pressed the green button, the caller hung up. It was a flash. I looked at the number closely and realized it was totally strange. I felt a positive urge and so I dialed back. “Kator”, the voice called out. It sounded so familiar. It was a blend of nearly educated Tiv accent and an unpolished desire to sound British. ” Oh Kator”, the voice called again. ” Do you know who is speaking?” I paused a while, felt like dropping the call, but went on to respond. “Hello, I really don’t know who I’m speaking with.” This time an excited shrill spread through the…

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