The strongest charm ever made: Samson’s tale retold

I lived a life full of pride. My life was awe with matchless grace. My hair was strength, my strength was grave. Nations and cities bowed to me and all I knew was victory. Victory, till I fell to charm. Now let me tell you about the strongest charm ever….

Yahhhhhh!!! I’m so excited to write this. Sometimes most truths are really just hidden in plain sight.

Let’s start by screaming at her, cursing out loud, and maybe, if we get the chance, we would still shake her hand; because she showed you the way.

On a cloudy Friday evening, I took the lone road I’d always stayed away from. The grasses were wet, my feet felt moist. The air was soothing and my heart was free. I saw her. I trusted her, why won’t I, When I had nothing to lose. She was the roadside beauty. Her wink always made me act funny. She was good; at least that’s how I remember it. She was on every man’s lips, only problem was, not every man could get so lucky; her attention had a high price.

I was muscular, athletic and strong. In many parts of that region, I was a kickass warrior. Trouble was my father’s name (laughs); I could almost always get away with anything.

She caught my attention that cloudy evening, when I chose the wrong street to walk my dog. I was careless as usual, not minding whoever my dog tried to disgrace. I loved it actually; what a Bruno he was. As I turned down the lonelier bend, there she was; looking. Charming her way, as usual, she was the first to notice, after all I had big abs. While I was still carried away by the stubbornness of Bruno, she was positioning herself for the kill or let’s call it; the catch.

My heart stopped, I couldn’t even contemplate. Was I delusional, such a beautiful somebody could not even have existed in your time? Call it whatever, but I was hooked at first sight. Unfortunately, I had developed poor wooing skills; like always, my muscles did that job. I was already on a spaceship to HERS and there was no turning back.

I saw her, I know I saw her. I cannot be mad, my two eyes caught her; smiling at me, and my godammmn legs just had to find out. Then we made out (and don’t even ask me what charm I used); I was getting wooed and I didn’t even know it. Her body was perfect, her sense of humor would make you feel like you had never laughed yet, there was no other girl on her level, she was phenomenal; and she knew it.

I was in trouble; and I didn’t even know it yet. I was trapped in the web of my desires.

I fell! I fell without a rope and don’t dare ask me where. I’d whisper anyway, I fell in sin.

It didn’t take long; I was already proposing pitching some permanent ideas to her father. She was my burger without the buck, my silent night on a stormy day, my rose without the thorn, she was my slut. I couldn’t bare it anymore, so I told her everything; my heart is yours.

He was my stuff, my war without the sword, my pass, my personal bodyguard, He was my crush. There he was sleeping on laps; I would like to narrate how beautiful he was, but let me bear my cross. I would have loved to trade souls, but money was always first.  

It was my first loss, she was my only cross, her lies were stronger than death, she was my curse. ‘My heart is yours’ I told her, and that was clearly her plus. The battle was lost the first time we crossed, but how would I have known that I had been jazzed.

Three times she asked and three times she tricked me. All she wanted was the gold and it didn’t matter if my eyes had to go. Three times I broke her bounds, but her jazz was too strong; because every single time, I only came closer to telling her, what made me strong.

Now it is gone, now I am no longer strong. Now she is gone, I wouldn’t even know if she’s not. My eyes are gone and so are my locks, now I could never kill a thousand men like I had with a jaw bone.

Her charm was strong, only it was not hers. My heart was wrong, it fell in LOVE.

Love; real or not was strong enough to cost me my strength.

Love; true or not, was strong enough to take Christ to the cross.

Love; now or later will cost you some sacrifice. May it be for the good. May it be for the truth. May it be real.

Love’s charm is unbreakable.

John Okor and Steven Kator Iorfa

© 2019

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Ambition

IF YOU ARE YOUNG, THEN YOU ALREADY GOT A MAJOR PROBLEM…..?

You’re probably too ambitious.

I’m young like you, or at least my mind is. And you have no idea how ambitious I am. Unfortunately, that’s the sickness that plagues you too.

Yeah I know, I’m totally aware, that I just called your always present, overzealous, soulful Ambition, a sickness. A sickness that needs to go away and I’ll tell you why.

Don’t get me wrong, ambition is good. Good Ambition is good.

But your ambition, that your precious drive, that unexplainable passion has left you living a pixelated life. This is not a 100% match make, but I’m kind of sure you’re part of the 99; the 99 that don’t understand that ambition is the door, but patience is the key. In lay man’s terms; time, plenty of time is the avatar to your fire nation.

I said I’ll tell you why, so here is it.

Ambition is crazy, it’s the local dog off its leash, it’s a wild cat far away from the wild, it’s the wisdom-less chi that lives inside you, that tells you everything is possible. Everything is not possible mate, but some things are; just some things.

And maybe Ambition is not the problem, I mean; shouldn’t I simmer down on this factor that has accelerated civilization for all of man’s existence? Then you have to be the problem.

Yeah…I said it, I know I said it. You’re the problem. Because it’s a blessing to be blessed with even a little ambition, but yet the curse; cause it came with no ‘handle with care’ manual, it came with no prescription to tame your dose; its abuse.

So I’ll tell you why ambition is bad, firstly and apparently, you cannot predict how life will turn out. Secondly and famously, you will probably chose a style of attack that will end with you king dead. And I mean, from the plethora of options of people past, who have achieved their dreams, how exactly are you supposed to approach ‘this little light of yours’? Ambition is bad because 99 out of 100 of you will make it bad, preferring to pursue rather than to wait, preferring to strive rather than to be patient.

We all hate that phrase; be patient. I mean, what gives anybody the right, including yourself, to demand patience from you, when it is clear to all mankind that nobody knows the time, the place and the when, when everything could have ultimate meaning.

The problem with ambition is, you might spend all of your good years pursuing, striving after this dream, that islandic passion, without any applaud-able achievements to show for it, and yet, that drive will still be on heat, ambition will still not set you free.

I mean, isn’t it really ambitious of me to think that I could sentence Ambition to a life ‘outside your heart’?

And yet without Ambition, life will be a whole lot harder.

John Okor

(C) 2019

Doubts, Me and God.

When I first faced doubts about God’s love for me, I was thirteen years old. I would love that you read to the end.

Experience has taught me how natural doubts are. They never mean that you are not a child of God. They only show that you are living in the physical too because, really, we are living in two worlds simultaneously, the spiritual and the physical so while we live in a world that is intangible, we also live in a world that our five senses interact with. Tangible. Point is, I am a child of God and I doubted.

I didn’t lose a loved one to doubt God’s love for me. I did lose but I’d already started doubting before then. I made prayers and didn’t see the answers. I tried to convince myself that God had a better answer because I was told that God usually had three answers, it was either a ‘Yes’, a ‘No’ or ‘Wait/Not now’.

Well, wasn’t God just unpredictable? I remember back then, I’d go to a church meeting and see other people fall under the “anointing” and think to myself, “What about me?” When prophecies came for people, I’d pray and hope that I would at least receive mine. I doubt I still need to say I didn’t. This was all before I lost a cousin to cancer. I’d watched my mum develop high blood pressure while she spent all her money treating my cousin with both ‘white’ and ‘black’ medicine before she passed on and everyone said “Let the will of God be done”. So I doubted.

One day at school, the principal said, “God will punish everyone that steals” annoI just felt, well, they deserve it. Truth is, you might find a lot of people say God punishes people but He loves them. This would have been fine if they said it with the plain reason the writer of the Hebrews had when he said, “The Lord chastens the son He loves” but no, They believe once you lose your job, it would be for something wrong (in the sight of God) you have done or you fall ill and people start asking, “Have you asked God for forgiveness?” “Have you really reflected on what could have led to this?” Oh. No one’s ever asked you that? But I bet one day, it seemed  like you woke on the wrong side of the bed and you started asking, “What have I done wrong?” Done wrong to who? And getting punished by who? 

So deep seated in our consciousness is the idea that God is holy and will therefore do whatever is “just” and “right” as He deems fit, no matter how evil it is. And no. We don’t like to call anything something as ‘killing’ evil if we “know” God to be the doer. We say things like, “Maybe God just took his daughter to test his love for Him. Weren’t those assumptions? Plus when did the value of evil change depending on who does it? There were doubts.

But Apostle James said God does no evil. He said by the Holy Ghost that God is not tempted of evil neither does He tempt any man that way. God said we should not kill or steal and infact, the ten commandments are written in one line. Love. He would not do contrary because He is love and He is unchanging. The fruits of the Spirit do not include killing or anger or even jealousy. Why even did Jesus say “Be like your Father who causes His sun to shine on both the just and the ungodly?” and why did Apostle Paul say in Ephesians 5 that we should be imitators of God by walking in love if all this  doesn’t show that God has just one disposition? Love! I didn’t know and so I doubted.

I can say my doubts were dispelled completely as I learnt from the writer of Hebrews that Jesus is the image of God, the full representation of who God is and I gleaned from the prophecy of Jeremiah (31:34) that we will all know God and the stability of His character when we understand how He forgives. How does He forgive? 

Jesus Christ, when He was asked how many times forgiveness is required, gave a brief reply heavily laddened with meaning. Seventy times seven. He was saying “Behave like God”, ” Forgive uncountably”, “Do not bear the number in mind”, “Forgive ahead of time”.

Same way Apostle Paul revealed in Corinthians that In Christ, God reconciled men to Himself and everyone who believed (in Christ) was a new creature whose sins were not being put against him. The Holy Ghost was teaching through the apostle that we receive forgiveness as a gift and that you were forgiven before you even faltered. What were those things that made me doubt again? What are those things that make you wonder, ‘Oh where is God? Why does He seem to be like this?

Well, Jesus, the image of God healed and if He healed, it means God doesn’t put illnesses in people or “permit” them. We live in a world whose system is dead. If Jesus cast out devils, He was opening our eye to say, ‘See! You did nothing to deserve this. God is not in it!” How about when He calmed the storm? He was saying, “God’s hand isn’t in these natural disasters” Don’t you love God? It was personally a relief to me to know that the enemy, subtle thief as he is was the complete evil. It unburdened me to know God is always for His creation.

Even as I read the popular John 3:16, I learnt that God’s love is seen in the fact that He gave Christ(His son) to die and take our place in judgement so that we are declared innocent. Apostle Paul supported the truth by again declaring in Romans that Christ showed His love for us by dying not for a good or righteous-in-themselves humanity but for a world of sinners and in Ephesians, he buttressed his point saying that God’s show of love supersedes all that we can imagine or hope for because He blessed us with all good things in God (spiritual blessings), made us partakers of the divine nature and given us authority by seating us with Him. Ah!

I tell you! I doubted no more!

I’ve been through the valley of doubt but have learnt that, in that valley is where the enemy wants to have us all. In the pit of fear. I’ve learned by gazing on the love of Christ that I can put faith in the God who is good and true. I can put faith in the God who loves because it is His nature, not based on my doings and appearances. I have learnt much more that God’s love for me is primarily seen in the eternal life in His son(1Jn 5:11-13) and the gift of no condemnation(Rom.8:1) all my possession because I received His spirit on believing(Eph 1:13), not necessarily in good grades or income flow or working inter-personal relationships because they are controlled by men. 

All the while, it hadn’t been God. It was me. My mind being tilled by the enemy. I now not only receive edification, prophecies or healings but I also give by the Spirit at work in every believer because I have learnt that faith in His name and acting on what the word says is all the victory I need ‘coz there is no limit to what God can do through the willing. 

I renewed my mind in the word and began to know God. Light came and dispelled darkness. Love came and chased fear. Faith came and doubts were gone. I have learnt to take my stand with God’s word. You should.

by Buzhoo (2019)

Film Review: Miracles from heaven

Production companies: Affirm Films, Roth Films and Franklin Entertainment

Distributed by Columbia Pictures

Release Date: February 21, 2016 (Dallas) and March 16, 2016 (United States)

Running time: 109 minutes

Reviewer: Chidimma Nnagbo

 

There are a lot of questions that defy answers. One of such questions is why we don’t receive everything we ask of God at the time we ask for it. Is it the result of our inadequacies or God’s mysterious ways? Most Christians consider these kinds of questions abominable and faithless, either because they have never been in situations that stretch their faith past its elastic limit or they have attained a certain level of faith no amount of earthly difficulty and emotional stress can waver.

Miracles from Heaven is a 2016 American Christian movie directed by Patricia Riggen, written by Randy Brown and produced by DeVon Franklin, T. D. Jakes and Joe Roth. It is based on a book by Christy Beam which tells the true  story of a heart-wrenching situation when God seem far away and non-existent. The film was released on March 16, 2016. T

The movie starts with a picture of a happy Christian middle class family. Jennifer Graner who seems to have no troubles switching from core action movies to love movies to now Christian movies played the role of Christy Beam, the mother to 10 year old Anna Beam (Kylie Rogers) who had a rare, incurable disorder that leaves her unable to digest food.

Christy Beam on recommendation tracked down a doctor who specialized in rare conditions like Anna’s but couldn’t get an appointment to see him since there was a waiting list of patients. Dejected and sympathetic of her daughter who was in severe pain, they left the hospital to a restaurant where they met the delightful, energetic and kind-hearted Angela (Queen Latifah). Angela brings a little humour and comic relief to the story as she does in most of her other movies. She befriends Anna and her mother and offers to take them on a tour round Boston and to see the Aquarium which she had missed visiting back home because of her sickness. In one funny scene, Angela had to Jack her dilapidated car door open using one leg and two hands in a frantic fight.

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Angela with Christy and Anna Beam

Finally, Anna got an appointment to see Dr. Nurko (Martin Henderson) and after series of trials nothing could be done to help Anna. Anna had a roommate in the hospital, Hailey, who had cancer. She told Hailey about Jesus and spoke about the fact that he’s always present with her. Hailey believed; but Hailey’s father warned Christy to stop her daughter from giving his daughter false hope.

Things were quite bad at this point. The pain was so excruciating Anna wanted to die. Her mother had lost faith in God. They didn’t even have the finances to continue with the treatments. Dr. Nurko advised her to take her daughter home.

Back home, some people in church told Christy Beam her daughter’s condition may be as a result of her or her husband’s sinfulness or even Anna’s. This infuriated her and she stopped going to church. A dark shadow was cast over the family of 5. She had prayed, cried and begged God, yet nothing changed and her poor innocent daughter was still suffering with an enlarged abdomen and severe pains.

The turning point of the story was when Anna fell into a tree while playing with her sisters. A rescue unit  got her out after several hours. Miraculously, she was cured of her sickness after the fall. Her abdomen returned to its normal size, and she could eat without tubes. Later on, she told her parents that while she was in the tree, she left her body and that she saw Jesus and that Jesus had told her that she would be okay.

The part I consider most interesting in the movie was Christy coming back to church. The media came to cover the service as Anna’s story had gone viral. Christy stood at the pulpit and made a very honest speech. She said when Anna got sick she couldn’t understand why such a devoted God-loving little Anna was going through what she went through. She felt alone and angry that their prayers weren’t being answered. She quoted Albert Einstein ‘“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” There was a flashback of how extraordinarily they got an appointment to see Dr. Nurko, they met Angela,  who brought a little laughter to their faces in the midst of their hopelessness, her husband got a free flight ticket to Boston for himself and Anna’s sister when they had no money. She said she was blind to those little miracles.

She asked one crucial question: “why was Anna healed when today around the world, there are so many children suffering?” She admitted she didn’t have an answer. But as far as she was concerned, those who suffer are not alone in their hurting state. God remains with them through their travails.

The movie stands out because of this: while God’s power was clearly and gloriously shown, questions in the mind of Christians were not sidelined and covered with empty speeches and acts. The acknowledgement that everything isn’t always perfect was captured, yet the presence of an omnipotent God was also evidently displayed.

©Chidimma Nnagbo, 2019

Confession

Bless me father for I have sinned,
It’s the…. First in a long time since my last confession.
I come to confess that I have no need for these confessions.
That two thousand years and counting, I accept the new profession.
I confess,
That I accept Jesus as Lord therefore I am no sinner.
I confess,
That sin is now locked up and I am it’s master.
I confess,
That I am blessed beyond a curse, and even on dark days I do not need you to bless me,
You see, Abraham’s blessings are mine.
Therefore I confess,
That I am light to shine in darkness, even in my hard times.
I confess,
That when I fall, I will take outstretched arms and rise again from empty tombs of fleshy desires.
I confess,
That when you fall, dear Padre, I will stretch my arms to hold you up and God help me,
I confess,
I am Christian and therefore in me shall the nations of the earth be blessed.

I confess, dear Sir,
I am not alone,
There is an army of us rising!
So forgive me padre for I have sinned,
This is my first confession in a long time,
I haven’t confessed my confession of Jesus to you till now.

Father, forgive me for I have sinned
I have spat on your face
I have lied, cheated
I have killed myself so many times
The only movie I see is the Edge of tomorrow
The robe you once gave me
I have torn into pieces
A Louie rag I now put on
To slay the daughters of the world
As I feed on the crumbs of their flesh
And quench my thirst with their desires
I have spilled the blood
Of new born babies all over hands
And i have stoned You with my acts of imperfection
And crowned You with my thorns of Mistake
I hope You can forgive me for all these sins,
Cause now, i find myself
Right in the tomb you called me out of….
I hope that came out right,
For i have lost it all

Olaoye Adeleye
St. Davnique
© 2019

Tattooed me

But He was wounded for our transgressions
He was crushed for our wickedness
The punishment for our well-being fell on Him
And by His stripes we are healed.

The stripes signified his tattoos …
Our names where tattooed there on his body
Don’t be startled he cant forget us
Our names are permanently tattooed on his skin
So say to yourself “He tattooed me”

With his Alcoholic love,
That produces eternal drunkenness
He tattooed us
So that when we fall in love we get risen by his Grace
Cause falling for him is rising in peace
So say to yourself “He tattooed me”

When troubles seems to roar at us,
Like the animal king trying to scare its pride
We roar back with an unknown language
And confusion becomes the dress they wear
So you know what to say “He tattooed me”

Let us suck sense when we think of Success
its not by what you have but by who you have
And when you succeed and the seed you sucked
Makes you feel it is by your power then your sense sulks!

I’ll tell you a story
about one man they called Joseph,
Whose destiny was wrapped carefully with poverty,
Whose freedom was enclosed in the hands that collected money for him to be sold,
Who was tied above for people to watch from below exactly how God made him,
Whose pride was locked up in a prison they called circumstances!
But within him laid a being that has been his assurance, he called father
Who looked at him in such situation and called him ‘Success’
so when you feel it is all finished
Say to your self “He tattooed me”

I believe,
Not in the power of other spirit
But in the power of the spirit he promised never to leave or forsake us
For the sake of love on the cross he shed his blood for me!

…and when my feelings tend to lecture me on if God is with me or not
I’ll sit it down and give it a cup filled with his words to taste and see that the Lord is good!

 

– Felzpoecy (2019)

C. H. Spurgeon – A Biography

C.H. Spurgeon, in full, Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born on the 19th of June, 1834 in Kelvedon, Essex, England as the first of seventeen children to John and Eliza Spurgeon.

He was raised a congregationalist and became a baptist in 1850 at the age of sixteen. He preached his first sermon the same year and the way it happened would not be out of place if it was described as “he was tricked”. An older man asked him to go to the little village of Teversham the next evening

“…for a young man was to preach there who was not much used to services and very likely would be glad of company.”

It was only the next day that he realized the young man was himself.

In two years, he became a minister at Water beach, Cambridgeshire. Two years you say? Yes. Two years at age eighteen. The year was 1852.

He had no formal theological training yet was probably the most read preacher in England. He went on preaching up to thirteen times a week and could make himself heard in a crowd of 23,000 (He had an amplifier vocal chord). He had preached over 600 times before he was twenty years old. It was in that same year, 1854, that he became the minister at New Park Street Chapel in Southwark, London.

Within a year, there was need for a new structure due to the population of his congregation and from the opening in 1861 of the new tabernacle which held 6000 until his death, he continued to draw large congregations. However, in 1856, two years after he became the minister of the chapel in Southwark, he founded a ministerial college and a year later, an orphanage.

He founded sixty-five other organisations. When the organisations were listed on his 50th birthday, Lord Shaftesbury who was present said, “This list…were more than enough to occupy the minds and hearts of fifty ordinary men”.

He was married to Susannah Spurgeon and they had twins; Charles and Thomas Spurgeon.

Whilst Charles Spurgeon wasn’t known as a theologian, he was deeply theologian in thinking and his sermons were rich in doctrine. He believed doctrine was what made the Puritan age glorious than the “whipped creams and pastries which are in vogue”. He had a cross-centered and cross-shaped theology and believed that preaching the crucified Christ was the only reason why such crowds were drawn to his church for years.

He was an ardent fundamentalist and distrusted the scientific methods and philological approach of modern biblical criticism. Remember, Puritan? Unadulterated. Because of this, he was involved in many controversial theological discussions especially within the Baptist circle. In fact, the increase in the liberality of the Baptist Union was the reason he left the association in the year, 1887.

C. H. Spurgeon liked to refer to himself as a Calvinist and described the school of thought (Calvinism) as “placing the eternal God at the head of all things”.

He authored many sermons, commentaries, books on prayer, service and soul winning, magazines, poetry, hymns and more. Some of his book titles were Jesus came to save sinners, the golden alphabet, Life in Christ Vol. 1 and 2 and so many others. His sermons which were often laced with humor were widely translated and extremely successful in sales. He was influential across various denominations and if you have a little knowledge about this servant of Christ, you would have expected me to earlier introduce him with a name he was and is famously known as, ‘The Prince of preachers‘.

The source of the truth in all Spurgeon’s preaching was the God-breathed, inerrant Christian scriptures. He once held up the Bible and said,

“These words are God’s… It is pure unalloyed, perfect truth. Why? Because God wrote it”.

He was not just a Bible-based preacher but a Bible-saturated preacher speaking thus, “Oh that you and I might get into the very heart of the word of God and get that word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf and consume it, so ought we to do with the word of the Lord. Not crawl over its surface but eat right into it till we have taken it into our innermost parts…but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible, until, at last, you come to talk in scriptural language and your very style is fashioned upon scripture models and what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the word of the Lord.”

He was consumed with God’s glory and the salvation of men, embodying Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:15, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” and stood as a witness to what happens when love for God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated truth feeds the flame of love for people; An explosion of zeal and energy, all aiming to glorify God and bring sinners into the fullness of joy with Him.

C. H. Spurgeon died at the age of 57 on the 31st of January, 1892 in Menton, France.

 – Buzhoo (2019)