These Shoes

I wear this spectacles of tinted glasses
I see these golden flashes, rays, colours that sits well with me
I mean these oval screens before my eyes make me see better

I don’t eat on Sundays before solemn services
To eat before paying Him a respect is to belittle him
This spectrum of mine must be what God wants for all men
No frowns or you could lose the crown.

I’m free to give the bible my own voice
It’s no noise, I’m helping God create a community
I mean a village of serious spiritual servants, you know?

My code of conduct is God’s standard
The bible isn’t enough
I make it whole

Symolean
© 2021

The Changed Man

Behold all things have become new
and the old lie in a forgotten heap
childish memories of me digging
underneath my bed on a Sunday morning
for where I’d tossed in my old pair of shoes
nowadays the changed me keep them up neatly
on a rung of wooden stiles the carpenter calls a shoe rack

Bible sleeps on a bedside stool
for a constant bath in Holy words I reach
across to it as often as I go
drink in words that lead, that guides
same letters in the book, a new meaning on the morrow

I remember mom’s narration on Joseph
please tell Dolly Parton
I share same story with her Coat Of Many Colours
only I took mine to many tailors
at the price of my chopped sandal soles
shoes on worn out feet
grazing gravelled road as they bleed
thank God, praise God I sing
because no longer do I handpick rags
all I see are tailor-made suits
my wardrobe is a rainbow of clothes
none having no holes

Nonetheless what I have outgrown is
the filthy old man inside of me
that cheated at elementary school
and purloined mum’s ten kobo
when she was busy at the hearth
One day aunt Betty suffocated my wrists inside mum’s purse
and gave me her two kobo
number eight of the decalogue says, ”Thou shalt not steal”
I hear you ma, my heart thumps with complete remorse
Tell that to the birds, coo that to baby lions
Whisper that in the ears of insensitive politicians
and the starved masses reaping where they did not sow
maybe they’ll pause then retrace their steps
and make way for the new experience.

Rebekah E.
© 2020

ONE SECRET CHRIST LIVED BY

Sometimes I wonder why I experience highs and lows in my walk with God. During my highs, I’m unmindful of the lows, rather, I revel in an ecstatic feeling of sailing into a permanent, victorious, Christian Life. Eventually, the lows creep in and I feel God is hiding His face from me. I begin to feel a void; my bible studies slowly become uninteresting, my prayer life drops to the point where all I can whisper is ‘help me Lord’.
Currently, I’m in a spiritual high and I’m using this opportunity to understand the pathway to my spiritual low so I can avoid it by every means. I’ll go ahead and share it with you.
John 5:30
[30]I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord–but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me. (Amplified Bible)
Things you can deduce from here:

  • Jesus, while on earth, was a full-blooded man who had the potential of sinning if He chose to. Let me show you something;
    Romans 8:3
    [3]For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], [Lev. 7:37.]
  • Jesus never did anything throughout His work on earth without asking for directions from God.
  • He relied on the still small voice for every thing.
    So how did this help me?
    Let me show you something else:
    Psalm 32:8-9
    [8]I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
    [9]Be not like the horse or the mule, which lack understanding, which must have their mouths held firm with bit and bridle, or else they will not come with you.

God speaks to His children by His Holy Spirit. God is constantly speaking through the still small voice. He’s always telling you what to do and how to do it. He’s interested in you, your kitchen, your laundry and even when you’re in front of your computer.
He wants a willing obedience for every single thing He lays in your heart. Being a mule or a horse grieves the Holy Spirit.
In my case, I realize when I leave out the Holy Spirit in some areas of my life, I limit Him and when I do things my way, I grieve Him. When I hurt Him consistently, I’m ruining our relationship. My physical impulses would begin to call more shots and I die gradually.
The good news is that I have the right to choose who calls the shots in my life.
Romans 8:12-13
[12]So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh.
[13]For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.
Ask the Holy Spirit to explain these passages to you. It will make more sense.
I’m not saying I’ve not grieved the Holy Spirit in the course of this High but I can tell you that I genuinely repent and obey that exact instruction. God is looking for a person who’ll have no will or opinion outside of His, a person who will yield as Christ yielded.
I believe you are that person.
Shalom.

Favour Omeje

(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