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

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

Focus

In this time that is critical
If your Christianity is not radical
You cannot be classical

And for you to be classical
You’ve got to be practical

Your phone number
Should not be available to the devil
Because your steps are on a higher Level

Status is changing
Instead of declining
Keep inclining

Better days ahead
So focus your head….

Dr. Uwe
© 2020

Blanket One: The Cross-Bearer’s Blank Intellect?

‘Godidit.’

That’s the trendy new term with which internet atheists mock ‘scientifically illiterate’ Christians for ascribing every good thing to God. When us faithful people praise God for the birth of a new baby, deliverance from dangerous circumstances, or even the beauty of a sunset, skeptics now respond by shooting that short ugly line back at us.

‘Goddidit’- a bundling together of the phrase ‘God did it’ -is the latest addition to a pool of cliché terms that militant unbelievers draw from to highlight the apparently lazy intellectual attitudes of Christians (or their lack of any intellectual attitude).

The careless compaction of the words that make up the term is itself supposed to suggest that Christians can’t speak intelligently about what we say we believe. It also carries with it the idea that we are unwilling or unable to probe physical reality with our minds, and just invoke God as an explanation for things we can’t understand.

In a nutshell, it’s supposed to make Christians look dumb.

But are Christians really bereft of intelligent thought?

As a Christian and a proud lover of all things intellectual, I deny that this is the case. I know too many straight-thinking, ridiculously smart people who live a life of faith to accept the assumptions implicit in mocking terms like ‘Godidit’.

I mean, there are brilliant responses to such derisive claims, as well as to the more sophisticated arguments against belief in God- responses formulated by Christians. There’s even a whole branch of Christian ministry- apologetics –which tackles these issues. It’s clear to any well-informed person that Christians aren’t intellectually inept by definition.

Also, contrary to popular belief, faith, especially in the Christian context, does not defy logic. Too many times in the bible has the message and personality of Jesus been called to question and that many times it has stood its ground against reason. The abhorrent laziness of ‘some’ Christians in our day does not do justice to the fact that ours is a faith-based on undeniable facts and answers not many are willing to accept.

Unfortunately, many Christians have accepted the unbeliever’s caricature of them as weak-minded without realizing it. You see this resignation in the way a lot of us respond to questions about God and suffering, or nature and its functioning, or the resurrection of Christ. “Just have faith” or “because the Bible says so” appear to be the standard answers to such inquiries. This sort of attitude fuels atheist memes about Christians, and undermines our attempts to reach out to a world that won’t simply take our word for it.

We’ll conclude with a two-sided appeal. To the unbeliever or skeptic: Christians aren’t silly by default. We can and have answered your questions about our faith with logic, facts, and sympathy. If you’re open to sound reasoned arguments for Christianity, please look up the works of Christian apologists. We’d recommend reading C.S. Lewis if you’re a regular fella (like us), or William Lane Craig if you’d like more advanced stuff or watch lectures by Dr. Ravi Zacharias on Youtube.

To our Christian brothers and sisters: faith is not an excuse to indulge in intellectual laziness. Always be ready and willing to give reasons for your faith (1 Peter 3:15). Be like Paul at Athens, if the occasion demands- debate the skeptics with smarts and tact. Show them that to believe in Jesus is not to cower from reason, but to believe in the one who is Logic made flesh.

Selah.

 

By

Godswill Ezeonyeka and Alexander Ikenna.

THE BLANKET: An Introduction to Us

The human brain has a system of recognizing patterns and overtime saving energy by blazing past these patterns to expected results. When you’re just starting to learn math, you would have to grapple with why 1+1 should equal 2. Over time, you just know the answer is 2. Your mind skips the reasoning process and jumps to the answer and for every time you turn out to be right, the process becomes shorter, leading to faster answers and lightspeed reasoning.

It’s a fascinating fact about the way our minds work.

As the world grows more socially intelligent, we are increasingly aware of the rising epidemic that is “Stereotyping”. I say that we are only getting aware because this issue has been around for as long as we have been. I believe that stereotyping has its roots in our brains trying to reach conclusions as quickly as possible, so much so, it misses out on the individuality of the experience of life.

I dare say, that we are all guilty of stereotyping; it’s our nature.

That last statement up there is stereotypical too. The thing is, this pen is cocked and pointed at all of us not because we have evil intentions all the time, but because we carry a mind that needs to be trained to do better.

The Bible says in Romans 12:2, to be transformed by renewing the mind. The key is in the brain, in the mind. If we willingly take a step back to reconfigure our minds, we will be creating a transformed world. The following series hopes to question as many stereotypes as we can, but it will have no impact on you the reader if you don’t make a conscious and willing effort to accept when you are in the wrong and to make a change for the better.

Humanity is really a host of individuals. The human experience is individual by every definition. To throw a blanket over any group might save you a moment of consideration but you risk prejudice and consequences that might never be recovered from. Take this journey with us not to feel good about yourself, but to make a conscious effort to recalibrate your mind, to be transformed.

 

Cheers.

BY

Alexander Ikenna & Ezeonyeka Godswill

Movie Review: Paul, Apostle of Christ

 

Production Companies: Affirm Films and ODB Films

Distributor: Sony Pictures

Release Date: March 23, 2018

Running Time: 106 minutes

Reviewer: Chidimma Nnagbo

pau apostle movie poster

Paul, Apostle of Christ is woven around Paul (James Faulkner), Luke (Jim Caviezel) who played the role of Jesus in “Passion of Christ”, Mauritius Gallas (Olivier Martinez) Prefect of Mamertine Prison and the Christians under the care of Priscilla (Joanne Whalley) and Aquila (John Lynch). It is a 2018 American biblical drama film written and directed by Andrew Hyatt and Produced by David Zelon and T.J. Berden.

Rome suffers a devastating fire outbreak and Emperor Nero pins the blame on Christians and unleashes judgment on them by torture, setting them on fire on the streets of Rome and slaughtering them on sight. As a result, all Christians go into hiding under the care of Aquila and Priscilla. Luke enters the city just when they need counsel on what next to do. They ask Luke to seek Paul’s wisdom during his visit to him in prison.

The movie is faith provoking and sad but at the same time lacks the ability to hold a viewer spellbound. Of all the accounts of Paul in the Bible, the makers of this movie chose to showcase the end of Paul’s life when he is old, weak and almost ineffective, which by the way the bible has little record of. He even whines about his bones racked with pains and his eyesight bad. The Paul in the bible was bold, influential and the most eloquent of all the apostles so portraying him the way he is portrayed seem almost dissatisfying. Luke is seen persuading Paul to pass wisdom and letters to the Christians in Rome and beyond. In reality, Paul was not someone that needed persuasion to preach the gospel. His character, even in his last days was poorly sketched.

The cinematography, lighting, and costumes are perfect but the set is flawed. An idea that Paul is in the darkest and most hideous part of Rome’s cells is given but Paul is seen in a relatively well lit and somewhat spacious cell. The movie is not as explicit as expected of a movie staged centuries ago. The only act of violence shown is a hung man being set on fire. Asides that, every other act is told, not seen. Compared to ‘Passion of Christ’, this film is modest. This limits the communication of the supposed hardship Christians in Rome are going through to a viewer. The flashbacks of Paul’s active days which should have been the highlights of the rather dull movie is so poorly staged.

Does the movie achieve its purpose? If it’s purpose is to remind Christians what Christianity is really all about in a time where everybody is ‘woke’ and fighting for one right or the other, then yes. The message of love is strongly advocated. Cassius (Alessandro Sperduti) is seen dividing the Christian refugee camp and calling for justice against Rome. After what they subjected Christians to and what they are still subjecting them to, one might think waging war against Rome and fighting for their lives would be absolutely right; but Priscilla and Aquila chose a different way. They tell him he and any other person that carries arms against the Romans would be banned because they are Christians and live a lifestyle of peace. When Luke reports to Paul the situation of things at the camp, he says ‘Let peace be with you because we live in the world but we do not wage war as the world does. Peace begins with you. Love is the only way’. Cassius breaks into the prison to release him, he still doesn’t go. Instead, he asks him of whose authority he acts because it certainly isn’t of God’s.

Paul’s discussion with Mauritius Gallas after Luke healed his daughter shows effortless preaching of the gospel and conversion to Christianity should be. After Paul preaches to him, he asks what if he doesn’t believe after everything that has happened. Paul tells him it takes just a moment and it isn’t him but Christ himself that looks down upon a person and shatters his defenses. At that moment one would realize how much God knows and loves him.  He says he will pray that moment comes for him.

The scene of the afterlife shown where Paul meets all those he persecuted in an open field with dry grasses with warmth on their faces is a picture of heaven as I hope it will look. Then, a man I suppose is Jesus is seen from afar walking towards him. Perhaps this particular scene was not given much thought. Maybe it would have been better to end the movie with Paul’s execution.

Here is the official trailer:

 

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

I = LIFE

It came in a flash like some Allen knew exactly what was on my mind.

In the midst of 2 strangers in a BRT bus, one looked like another normal guy, and the other like a boss.

*Lagos my location, but I had thoughts in heaven.
So I felt heaven on earth, well that’s what you get for being in Him.

Have you ever wondered how lovely it would be to spend a whole day without bad mouthing anything, anywhere or even anyone?

Like No…
Bastard; playfully said
or
Fool; with a lovely pat on the head

No…
‘You will never amount to anything’ from a mother to a child and perhaps;

No pastor would lead a congregation of well meaning followers to a battle ground that makes a post of ‘deaths to whoever’ and then tag God in prayers like he was a supporting cast in this horror movie on a steady loop in their mind.

But they don’t see it,
We don’t see it,
I mean how black can a heart get before truth can no longer wash it?

I wish we can all set a day apart;
A day when we will all agree to rather trade punches than hurt with our words

A day when we will be focused enough to not let any slippery dark word go unapologized.
A day when we stop using these black knights to bat men, but rather;

Step into the light and use white to bathe them.

A day, when we master love
Then We try a week,
Then a month;

And soon it becomes abnormal and weigh a thousand tons on our lips whenever we try to muster the courage to plant a word that will grow into a scary tree from these our mustard seeds.

So I decide daily, surely, purposely;
I choose to believe differently
To fight differently
To speak differently
See differently

And actually stop playing the devil’s hate game with him.

Since we are buddies, let me play a little with God;
For I am in Him
And He is in me
Heaven in *Lagos;
LIFE!

I will be that one drop of oil that will float above stormy waters.
I will fight alongside anyone I can, till my heart goes silent with its beats.

It’s who I am, it’s what I give,
LIFE!

 

*Lagos is a major city in Nigeria.