Dear Christian,
I hope you do not have to get to the end on the tunnel and find it pitch black, For you to realise that you are light.

Ini Brown

Book Review: Beauty from Ashes

Author: Hope Stansberry
Pages: 280
Reviewer: Beatrice Ani and Godswill Ezeonyeka

Advanced Review Copy (or ARC) on Reedsy Discovery: https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/beauty-from-ashes-hope-stansberry

Trauma has a way of lingering. Letting go of the pain is what we want most but, in most cases, it is this need that makes us stow away our pain and give it life for longer than is required. Hope Stansberry presents us with an intense story of triumph over trauma and its bewildering effects. It is a story of love and discovery that surely would give the reader the much-needed healing and entertainment they might be in search for.

Just like every other romance novel, this Christian romance fiction will make one lose track of time until the last page is read. It’s an absolute page-turner. Stansberry captures a vivid picture of love in the very familiar and endearing pursuit of Cameron for Natalie’s friendship. Friendship blossoms into romance but in the most unlikely way and this journey delivers to the reader a relatable story of redemption, trust, faith, recovery and how our suffering produces perseverance.

This is not the ideal sappy romance fictions, but it does tug at one’s heart. However, for those looking for a story that portrays the bitter and beautiful parts of healing, this is an ideal read. The pain that Natalie and Cameron have had to deal with and will go through is very well portrayed and this makes their characters stand as perfect mirrors for anyone going through pain. Christian readers will find the focus on how God heals to be very familiar and endearing however, non-Christians can also relate to how we all react to love regardless of what we believe. Hence, I would definitely regard this book as a good read for anyone that is willing to. It is not preachy and definitely gets the message across. My only critique would be the length, possibly Stansberry may want to give us a sequel?

Beauty From Ashes is a book I will recommend for any person above childhood (however that is calculated these days) because it speaks to one of our primal needs which is healing from pain. It is a beautiful balance between reality, faith and romance. As earlier said it is quite a quick read but it is sure to leave you reeling and loving every moment, every word and wanting more.

CAP MONTHLY E-MAGAZINE // JUNE 2020 (FREE DOWNLOAD)

In this edition of Christ A Poet’s Monthly E-Magazine we talk about The Righteous Man. Our special guest Ugochukwu Eluchie, shares a bit of her journey with us and her idea of being righteous conscious. As you download and read we pray you take a conscious step to study God’s Word with an open mind to discover who you truly are in Christ, and all you’ve been freely given.

You can get your free download here and also share with your friends. Be sure to share with us your questions, concerns, and what you look forward to in next month’s publication.

CAP MONTHLY E-MAGAZINE // MAY 2020 (FREE DOWNLOAD)

This month, we featured the CEO of Shuzia! Our discussion with ‘Napa Onwusah was filled with wisdom and insight only found in a heart dedicated to God, his people, and his work.

In her words, “When you grow your faith, you starve your fear.” This edition of Christ A Poet’s Monthly E-Magazine talks about Triumph Over Fear. As you download and read, we pray that you take a step to triumph over every fear that stands in your way of operating at the level God has designed you to.

You can get your free download here and also share it with your friends. Be sure to share with us your questions, concerns, and what you would like to read in next month’s publication.

FREE DOWNLOAD

THE TRAIN: THE JOURNEY OF FAITH

PRODUCER: DAMILOLA MIKE-BAMILOYE
DIRECTORS: YEMI ADEPOJU & ISAAC FEMI-AKINTUNDE
CAST: SEUN ADEJUMOBI, OMOLARA AYOOLA, TOLULOPE MIKE-BAMILOYE
YEAR: 2020

REVIEWER: IFIOKABASI OKOP

The Mount Zion Film Productions (MZFP) has, in recent years, undergone a great transformation in the production of her films, with fresh, relatable stories, terrific acting and fantastic cinematography. Damilola Mike-Bamiloye took the Christian film industry in Nigeria beyond what his father started, thereby sparking the interest of many to watch their films and have their lives changed.

“The Train”, a biopic on the life of the founder of The Mount Zion Film Productions, Mike Bamiloye, was highly anticipated since the beginning of the year when Damilola made the announcement on his social media pages. It was released May 3, 2020 on Damilola’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGyPHwlkRV_Ai7aLRXpXJow) and has since generated testimonies, raves, reviews and trends all around the country.

The film chronicles the life of Mike Bamiloye from his childhood to the early years of his ministry. It is divided into different chapters depicting various stages of his life; his childhood, education, friendships, marriage, ministry and his absolute trust in God’s will for his life and calling. “The Train” is an enthralling story that holds your interest for its almost three-hour duration, soaking in every step of Mike’s journey, leaving you spell-bound.

The cast of the film is well put together and the acting effortlessly delivered. I would imagine the work put into that, given the fact that they portrayed real people, some of whom are still alive. Seun Adejumobi, who plays the older Mike-Bamiloye, was perfect for the role as his delivery of a wide range of emotions were realistic. You’ll root for him, cry with him, laugh at him and pause the movie to pray the times he takes those proverbial leaps of faith. The “Agbara Nla” herbalist scene is excellently recreated and it shows the level of dedication this actor put into his work. The child actor, Oluwasola Peter, who plays the younger Mike-Bamiloye, is a delight to watch; his mischievousness cracked me up and his childish innocence endeared many viewers to him. Omolara Ayoola is brilliant in her role as Mike’s older sister, living and breathing her character in each scene, bringing her A-game to make her performance memorable. Tolulope Mike-Bamiloye perfectly embodies the character of Gloria Bamiloye with apt genteelness and grace that made me fall in love with her character.

Other elements in the film have great attention paid to them. Set in the 1960s to 1990s, the film’s set designers, costumiers, makeup artists, location managers put in a lot of hard work and creativity into making sure it felt like a period film. The sets, costumes, hairstyles, props- TV, radio, currency, telephone, lanterns, cameras, kitchen plates- were all from the 90s. The Ilesa dialect of the Yoruba language Mike Bamiloye grew up speaking is used for a greater part of the film, showing the attention the filmmakers gave to the little details.

The cinematography is well-thought out. It does not just tell a person’s story, it uses the environment as a character, depicting its aesthetic in relation to a scene’s emotion or action. Music and sound is the heart of this film. Joshua Mike-Bamiloye channels his awesome creativity in highlighting the emotions in each scene through his choice of sound and, of course, there were scenes that moved me to tears. The music was largely responsible for that. The reworked version of “Oruko Jesu O Tobi” is superb and the theme song, “The Train”, done in collaboration with Lawrence Oyor is timely, provocative and contemplative.

“The Train” scores a high point by not being preachy but ends up passing across a great deal of messages through its casts’authentic, passionate performances. This film relentlessly opens you up to the truth that God’s will and way is the perfect path and that the bigger-than-life calling we have can be successful if we trust Him, foolishly. Mike’s ministry was an uncharted territory but he believed God for the strength needed for his journey.

“The Train” (WATCH HERE) is a classic that has set a new standard for the Christian film industry whose future productions certainly have big shoes to fill.

IfiokAbasi Okop
©2020

2 Corinthians 12:9

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The power of Grace was more evident to me when God came through that year in that simultaneous dramatic events of life.

Being one of the best students in my faculty, many would not believe I could be struggling to understand Statistics and Research Methodology because I had a previous brilliant performance in a related course; but the truth was their “efiko” was having a tough time understanding the course. Their “efiko” was empty in statistics.

Not only that, their “SU” brother (Scripture Union brother) was seriously romancing with lust and about to lay with her, but being a leader in the fellowship, time was preventing the showdown. You can imagine the congregation model about becoming the specimen in the devil’s laboratory.

All of that was happening two weeks to the examination. So on this fateful day, I can’t remember what made me to pray. I had never seen myself so broken before. I prayed that God would grant me access to understand the most difficult course in my life and help me to lose appetite for immorality. I prayed until I fell into the hands of sleep.

It was incredible that, I was among the best students for the course when the result was released; and unbelievable how the passion for lust was lost in me. Indeed, I was helped by God’s grace for it saved me from failure and the sweet poisoned hands of lust.

The beautiful thing about God is the unending love to save us from the messy lifestyle. He is always ready to deliver us from danger zones if we will cry out for help.

There is assurance that He has sufficient grace to help us in times of need if only we will approach His throne of grace for inexpressible mercy and grace in times of need as rightly put in Hebrews 4:16. God needs our boldness and openness in running and speaking to Him when things are not going as they are supposed to.

The problem however is that many times we want to prove superheroes and pretend to people around us that things are fine whereas we’re on fire. However, it is only when we have the understanding that God only strengthens us when we expose our weaknesses to Him, until then, we will continue to struggle with our infirmities.

God is beckoning on you to see that the activation of His strength for you is in presenting your weakness to Him. God’s strength cannot be released nor His power be on you if you are still running in your strength.

Beloved, I beseech you to pause, present your area of struggling and infirmities to Him. For it was written in Isaiah 40:29 that, He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength; and in verse 31, the clause with assurance states, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Won’t you pray for strength for your accepted weakness?

© Josh’ Oloyede Oluwafemi.

NIGHTMARE by Benjamin Skomorac

(Commentary by the Author Included)

With his mouth open with horror,
they run among
fragmented boulders of stones,
halfway between father and her,
little girls dressed in nothing,
terrified of strangers,
in the night while he forgets
toys somewhere;
as the father of the arrow,
which he throws straight into the sky
with a call for the innocence of suffering.

BOSNIAN TRANSLATENoćna mora

Otvorenim ustima od užasa,
Trče među
Rascjepkanim komadima kamenja,
Na pola puta između oca i nje,
Djevojčice obučene u ništa
Prestravljene od stranca,
U noći dok zaboravlja svoje
Igračke negdje;
Kao otac strijele,
Koje baca ravno u nebo
Uz doziv nevinosti stradanja.

COMMENTARY

The content of the lyrics of this poem hides many metaphors and hidden meanings. This means that the song Nightmare encourages thinking and searching for the deeper meaning of each word. Hidden motifs like “toys” or “arrows” paint the whole picture of trouble. Because of that, the song is called Nightmare. Father and daughter are the figures discussed here. The verses are sorted by pictures of distress. The song has a sad effect and a very important message for the whole world. Likewise, the verses mention innocence. So these people in the song are innocent and want justice for their people. In all this, the worst pictures are watched by children, watched by war, fighting and dying. These kids are dirty and hungry for the whole situation. Therefore, this is a message to the world that we need peace. We see tears and pain in the eyes of children. We are all sensitive to the baby crying that is painted in this song. Here we see salvation in a plea to God that can only help us deal with every problem. For the great God is always with us and always helps us in every trouble. That’s why we need to reach out to him and ask for help. Every believer knows that God always responds to our prayers. This song is a support and a strength for all the people in the world who are hungry and living a bad life! Emotions are stronger than any word!

Bosnian translation

Sadržaj stihova ove pesme krije mnoge metafore i skrivena značenja. To znači da pjesma Noćna mora potiče razmišljanje i traženje dubljeg značenja svake riječi. Skriveni motivi poput “igračaka” ili “strelica” slikaju čitavu sliku problema. Zbog toga se pjesma zove Nightmare. Otac i kćer su ovdje prikazane brojke. Stihovi su razvrstani po slikama nevolja. Pjesma ima tužni efekt i vrlo važnu poruku za cijeli svijet. Isto tako, stihovi spominju nevinost. Znači, ovi ljudi u pjesmi su nevin i žele pravdu za svoj narod. U svemu tome su najgore slike djeca, gledaju ih rat, borbe i umiranja. Ova djeca su prljava i gladna zbog cijele situacije. Stoga je ovo poruka svijetu da nam treba mir. U očima dece vidimo suze i bol. Svi smo osjetljivi na bebino plakanje koje je oslikano u ovoj pjesmi. Ovdje vidimo spasenje u molbi Bogu koja nam može samo pomoći da se riješimo svakog problema. Jer veliki Bog je uvijek s nama i uvijek nam pomaže u svakoj nevolji. Zato mu moramo pružiti ruku i zatražiti pomoć. Svaki vjernik zna da Bog uvijek odgovara na naše molitve. Ova pjesma je podrška i snaga za sve ljude na svijetu koji gladuju i žive loš život! Emocije su jače od bilo koje riječi!

by Benjamin Skomorac
(c) 2020