Speak from Light not from sight.

Azubuike Hannah

The Army

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

1 Kings 19:18 (The Living Bible)

For those that do not know where this verse popped out from, let me give you a quick glimpse at what was happening before this statement that was made by God. Elijah has been running away from Jezebel and many prophets of God has been slain. Elijah in his desperation, said to God, I am the only one left! After some instructions, God tells Elijah in what looks very much like an afterthought – “by the way I have 7000 more, quit your despair”

Like Elijah, we sometimes worry about where our world is headed. We are genuinely concerned about the state of the global church and rightfully so. We wonder if there are enough people who believe the right things and are willing to stand for truth in these times. While one can see what our fears are built on, let God use this is article to tell you quite succinctly – “by the way I have more people than your wildest imagination”

As I write this article, I am reminded of Gehazi, the servant of Elisha who was beyond terrified when a ton of soldiers on horseback came to lay siege on the house of his master. In his despair, Elisha – who has been calm all through – prays for his eyes to be open and then he realised they had a much bigger, more terrifying army laying siege on the so called “soldiers”. I hope this short reading has the same effect on your fears because the devil may try his hardest but there is definitely MORE on the Lord’s side than you can imagine.

Before you ever wonder if you are ever alone, I want to tell you that there are millions of fire brand, convicted and sold-out Christians in China despite the government’s efforts to shut them down. I want you to know that there are millions of crusades that do not make it to Television broadcasts and Online platforms. Just in case you need proof, you can go on the internet and you will find that the last National Day of Prayer hosted by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and Pastor Benny Hinn boasts of over 3 billion people connected at one time. The Bible is still the best selling book of all time, no book comes close and Jesus is still the most said name on earth. Do not let the devil fuel your fears, open your eyes to the army of the Lord.

I have realised that the devil has a habit of drawing people out of the whole by making them think they are alone. Nature tells us that is how carnivores hunt. When you feel isolated, then he can introduce strange ideas but now you know better – The army of the Lord is growing. It is always growing and though we might argue over certain things, never make a mistake that we are the strongest army that exists on planet earth and that is because we are on the Lord’s side.

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:16-18 (King James Version)

Jesus in that verse, institutes the authority and power of the church. We are strong and we are built on the truth that Jesus is the Son of the living God. One more thing it tells us is that we are on the attack! Contrary to popular belief, it may seem that the church is on the defence against the wiles of the enemy but Jesus tells us that we are on the attack. We take the battle to the enemy and what is more, his defences cannot hold against us. His lies cannot stand the clarity of our truth. His darkness disappears at the coming of our light and his power is non-existent when we come in the name of Jesus. Make no mistake, we are more and we are powerful.

In the song, “Break every chain” the writer articulates very perfectly that there is an army rising. Our army is present and always growing and guess what we are all about – breaking chains! So be encouraged, you are not alone. You are not weak. You are part of the strongest army that ever existed if you believe in the Son of God, Jesus – the risen Christ.

Let me end by saying this: I have personally lamented about the state of the world and the church but everyday I meet more and more people that give me hope. From The Christ A Poet Team to every voice publicly declaring the Christ everywhere, I am reminded there is an army and I am so glad to be part of it.

If you don’t believe in Jesus, you have to know that you are on the losing side and while you still have your mind, a good decision you can make is to choose to believe in Jesus and trust him with your life. When you do, you enlist into this army and together we charge!

– Ezeonyeka Godswill
(c) 2020

Sunday Perfect

Praise the Lord
I knew I shouted in response
But for the life of me I wonder
Why my eyes are closing in slumber
Maybe we should get a more interesting pastor
And I’d get more from my day at church

So I believe all that he says
But he has no idea what I’ve had to face
Its easy to talk when on that stage
Tis so sad but I’ll listen anyways
Maybe we should get a more compassionate pastor
And I’d get more from my day at church

My shoes hurt and I’m already hungry
We should be done by now one could imagine
So the fact that I zone out is no mystery
Might as well do something else, anything really
Maybe we should get a more time concious pastor
And I’d get more from my day at church

Wow wow oh wow I think my mind has gone numb
Our Pastor is absolutely the bomb
But I have not a clue what He’s shouting about
I’m trying sincerely I am and still dont know
Maybe we should get a more down to earth pastor
And I’d get more from my day at church

Like seriously… not again
I feel like last week cos this service is exactly the same
Am I the only one tired of this routine we run
Whatever happened to the dynamism and creativity in us
Maybe we should get a more flexible pastor
And I’d get more from my day at church

Oh my God, I cant believe he said that
He should know better after all he is the pastor
Hasn’t he heard, hasn’t he read or is he just clueless
oh no, he said it again nonetheless
Maybe we should get a more informed pastor
And I’d get more from my day at church

I always thought the worth of our day at church
Depended on the choir or the pastor that preached the word
See church was always meant to be a gathering of believers
For fellowship, cohesive growth and strength the Holy Spirit our teacher
Just maybe if we could all look up to Jesus and no one else
Everyday would be worth more to a perfect end
and then I will get more from my day at church.

– Ezeonyeka Godswill
(c) 2016

Fixed?

There is a reason we respect those who fix us
For we are married to mistakes and misgives
If we had no one to fix what was once broken up
There is no telling the darkness reality would be

There is a reason we respect those who try to fix us
Where others standby helpless and in hopeless anguish
They step on the price of past sacrifice to reach hope
And for a moment longer they give us a reason to believe

There is a reason we respect those who fail to fix us
Their failure comes at a cost of more than bargained for
If they could, they would work harder and not give up
But a one-eyed man can only lead a blind man so far

There is a reason we need a renewal and not a fix
Like Eden, this wound is located beyond man’s search
Jesus on the cross provided us a homing signal to healing
and “It is finished” was for us an eternal discharge

Now our respect may be well placed on these fixers
But they make no promises, only a willingness to try
Jesus offers you his life so you don’t have to fix yours
Now that is a certain promise for your faith and life

Ezeonyeka Godswill
(c) 2020

RACIAL RECONCILIATION: OUSTING RACISM WITH LOVE

” God created the human race, humans created racism.” -Jane Elliot

Racism. We all are somewhat scared of and responsible for this word. An upsurge in protests snowballing across many countries in the wake of George Floyd’s murder is shaming racism and racists. Topics that were once sacrosanct are now public discussions. The world is waking up to the damaging effects of institutionalized and systemic racism that has plagued “minority races” for decades. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, activists and protesters are stamping their feet down, pumping their fists in the air demanding equality for all races. These measures are certainly drawing attention to the issue but unless conscious steps are taken by every individual, it “may” be a waste of time. We may not be responsible for racism but we sure do have our work cut out in achieving its deconstruction.

Living in imperfect societies as Christians compels us to do the one thing we’ve been called to do – Love. The famous one-liner, “if you can’t beat them, join them” isn’t a Christian mantra, but rather debunking it is what we are called to do. We can’t stand up to racism by inciting hatred or shrinking into our holes but by loving people of all ethnicity and language like Christ did, unconditionally. Mike Todd in his sermon on racial reconciliation expatiates on a commandment God gave us; “love your neighbour – not your black neighbour, or white neighbour, or affluent neighbour”. The knowledge that in Christ, there are no divisions based on race or ethnicity would be more effective if it were truly practiced rather than stated.

Prejudice, discrimination, structural and institutionalized injustice can be demolished with racial reconciliation which upholds love, tolerance, inclusion and respect as its tenets. Recognizing the problem and actually believing it is a problem is a good place to starting the journey of racial reconciliation. We ought to have a level of self awareness rather than feign ignorance on the issue, only then will we see it as a social problem that needs to be tackled.

Racial reconciliation is not just the sermons but the conscious and consistent love for people, not because of the colour of their skin but because they are human. Love encompasses everything we need to fight racism. There is beauty in diversity, I mean the world will be so bland if everything existed in one shade. Accepting and embracing this draws us closer to the fulfilment of the revelation John had when he saw people of all race, language, nation and tribe worshipping God in harmony.

Reconciling races is possible when we’ve been reconciled to ourselves. No race is inferior to the other, therefore you are not inferior, the spirit in you is not the spirit of fear but of love and that eliminates all fear. We are all worthy of respect and equality and because this decades-long monster has eaten deep into our societies and institutions does not imply we have to settle for and expect less. We are to celebrate our ethnic identity and uniqueness, whether we be African, European, Asian, American, Australian, Biracial, Multiracial, we are God’s ingenious handiwork. We love God and by transforming into His image, we become love and in turn, we love others.

Self-examination reveals who we inherently are. There are social, religious and institutionalized constructs and biases inculcated in us from our childhood which may be discriminatory, this can unconsciously lead us to perpetrate the myths and stereotypes we grew up feeling were normal. Racial reconciliation means evaluating our beliefs and theories about people different from us and ultimately deconstructing the prejudiced, bigoted ones.

The one way racism can be ousted is through love, the God kind – agape. Sure activism raises awareness but treating everyone equally starts from an individual making the choice to love. And how best can we love except we have love in us? There is one who loved us all so much He gave His life for us and if we let Him in, then we too can love effortlessly, regardless of who it is, White, black, brown, red.

In a world where hatred and strife is growing, may we choose to be symbols of love.

IfiokAbasi Okop and Steven Kator Iorfa. ©2020