Freedom

I want to be free to live,
A life free from difficulty,
A life with no tragedy

I want to be free to walk,
walk and never be stopped
Free to walk away from that sin that enslaved me,
Free to confront the devil that estranged me

I want to be free to speak,
Oh let my tongue leak, the truth.
I want to be free to spill out words that heal,
Words that plant and uproot futile roots

I want to be free to see,
See beyond diverse challenges,
See an adventure in the midst of peril

I want to be free to smile,
A smile that brightens and brings joy to a troubled mind and uplifts the weary heart

I want to be free to dream,
Dreams that are not assaulted by ferocious nightmares,
Dreams that give the assurance of a bright future

I want to be free to give,
Give without demanding to receive
Free to give myself up, just as Christ did for us

I want to be free to worship,
Acknowledging him who has dominion and lordship

I want to be free to love,
Unconditionally, exclusively and indefinitely

I want to be free to be the creators poet,
Free to get my papers wet,
With blue blood as they surge freely through my pen

I want to be free to write my piece,
Without chaos afflicting my peace

I want to be free to be the “me” that I’m supposed to be,
Not regarding people’s thoughts and opinions of me

I want to be free from pressures,
Free from peer pressures that accelerates my blood pressure
Free from living to measure up and forgetting his “treasure up”

I want to be free from the shadows of my past,
Free to take off this obfuscating mask
I know I committed crimes and crossed lines but I want to be free to bask in his ever redeeming light,
Free to actualize that in Christ, I am worth a Jew’s eye

I want to be free
According to God’s will
Flourishing like the flowers
Gushing with full strength like the waters
And as a tree planted near the rivers whose root spreads across like the garment of a diva

I want to be free expanding in knowledge
thrilling in the realm of possibilities
healing the broken souls with those words gifted from above

So, I desire to be free
Free from the seal of fear and jest
Free from imperfections and wrong decisions
Free the rain of confusion that overwhelms the kingdom on the inside,
Free from the floods of lust that empties grace
And takes away God’s face
I need to be free!
clothed with righteousness on the race
Nurtured on the way
Living to become my very best

Princess
The Alchemist
© 2019.

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REDEMPTION

When you think of redemption
You think of letting go the pieces your life has become
To be put back together
You think of wholeness, newness
When you think of redemption
You think of brokenness
The image of you crumbling, like a folded piece of paper
Your head between your knees, rocking back and forth, mumbling words, seeking help
When you think of redemption
You think of a new page
The already drawn out lines – direction from your Creator
He said, here’s life, a blank sheet, decide if you’ll follow the lines
Or scribble across the page
When you think of redemption
You think of a new person
A life bereft of old trappings
A life, anew
Because love
Because transformation
Because newness
Because God
When you have redemption
There’s that Peace that passes your yearn to grasp its meaning
Redemption let’s you take those baby steps
Your hands in God’s, your steps right behind his
When you think of redemption, you know there’s hope.

IfiokAbasi Okop
© 2019

RHYTHM

I am the music
The rhythm that moves to no beat, moves to a silent fear, a fear that the music will stop
My body is rhythm –
Looking for an opening, a scar to let this bottled up angst and terror move to the beat
Wait, what beat?
-The fast, irregular, jarring leaves my hands in the air, my mouth in my heart
I’m flailing, a lost soul in an abyss
The music is spikes, needles in my brain, insanity comes, slowly, silently, holding breath, holding life
The music is ice, freezing time, freezing me –Limbo
I pause the music and I’m still, no breath, no life, still
I press play and I’m the wind
The last beat holds my breath
I don’t want to let go
If I press replay, can I stand this, again?

IfiokAbasi Okop
©2019

The Zone

I crawl, and it’s okay for me
Cause standing tall means I could fall
But then…I will be seeing better while standing
And I could take a step or two for all to see

See, Moses was my comfort zone
I stayed sure with him until he was wrong
Now he’s gone
And I need to be strong
And courageous
And bold

Because that’s what I was meant to be all along
I had been with my 100 sheep
All obedient, no strays attached
But see the wild beast came and took one
So should I go for that lost obedient one
Or stay with the 99
98, 87, 56, 4, 3, 2,1 until I realize that I washed once again, wrong

We mistake mediocrity for moderation and vice versa
We prefer to sleep all day and be obsessed because it’s easy
than to work with our bare hands and buy a new car
No new signs!
And just as water is a good servant and a wicked master so is that comfort zone of yours
For whatever stops moving, starts moving back
And the frog that gets cozy with a warming water, gets boiled in the end

So sit, then crawl, then stand and walk, then look and leap and jump, or fly and soar
Before walking to your new seat really fulfilled
Cause, our sole purpose is to leave our restful zone to our purposed zone
Which is certain to give great comfort,
And It’s cool to work within your comfort zone but know when to leave
Cause there’s more to life than just sitting
Once!
We’re desire to become bold and courageous and strong

Azubuike Chinonso
©2019

Teen-Page

This book, not like conventional books Begins on PAGE 13
Tales of time to decide what life would mean
These pages chronicle more than stages
They tell of a journey every human must take

PAGE 14 goes on nicely
Realities are made and fantasies are destroyed
Some stories told in childhood seem not true and helpful for the journey ahead

Listening and perception engages the mind
Principles are laid and habits gained
Responsibilities birth abilities never thought of
What beauty inked on PAGE 15

PAGE 16, just like any other page, is a transition, a shift
Moods swing to and fro
And the rhythm of perfection is heard along

When difficulty is served
The right tool (character) is used to deal with 17
As the drums of fear are beaten
Those who can oppose it do
Those who can’t sit back

Teenage years is like a learning platform
Although not Udemy, it teaches a lot
Prepares you for adulthood and maturity
Passing or failing will not make you a certified teen
But reading each page would
No one ever said PAGE 18 is the peak in life
Other pages do exist but it’s only a beginning of a new book

© 2019
@adethatwrites

LIVING & LOVING

Some people claim love does not exist

But let me let you in on a little secret I know

I have firsthand beheld love’s true being, I can tell where it lives

Hold your horses, don’t be hasty without no compass in my hand

I will reveal love’s abode, I will tell you where it breeds

 

It lives in the morning tea we take together at our table

The prayer we said to our father before we left our comfy rest

It lives in the goodbye we say longing for more minutes but looking forward

To the beauty of the evening when work would have hid its face

Producing fruits we would together feast on – our satisfaction found at home

 

It takes us by surprise as the little boy that has now become ours

The smile that spreads through our eyes as he speaks songs strung from our heart

It is the worry that lines our face as we tend to a skinned knee, a broken heart

It is the conviction we instill, the purpose to fulfil, the truth we teach and live further and farther

It is in looking back at those years, watching amazed as a son celebrates our love, father and mother

 

  • Ezeonyeka Godswill

Billy Graham (1918-2018)

For six decades, the tall sturdy frame of evangelist Billy Graham graced the TV screens of living rooms the world over. His unmistakable voice boomed over the radio in cars, tool sheds and stores, and left lasting auditory memories with most who listened. The message he had was almost always the same: the Gospel, in its simplest possible form, delivered with decipherable honesty and earnest. It was this plainness in speaking, as well as in his living, that endeared him to millions across the planet.

Early Years: From Dairy Farm to Bible School

Billy- or William Franklin Graham Jr, as his parents had christened him -was born in 1918, to a dairy farming family in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the year in which the first world war ended- but that seemed a somewhat faint and far off reality from the quiet town which the Grahams called home. Billy’s later life was spent lacing the air waves with his charming Carolinas accent; perhaps God left nothing to chance when putting together the aspects of this exceptional evangelist’s personality. Apparently not even his speech.

Graham’s parents were practising Presbyterians (his mother moreso), who attended the local denominational church with their children on Sundays. They did have regular family devotions as well; but it’s not clear that young Billy was initially stirred by any of the early exposure he had to the Christian message.

It was at a revivalist meeting that Billy Graham got converted. The year was 1934. Mordecai Ham, a travelling baptist preacher, had come into Charlotte and was holding revivalist meetings. Billy was invited to attend by one of his father’s workers, and it was there that he made the formal decision to commit his life to God. Commentators point out that his wasn’t the storybook ‘bad boy turning to Christ’ event; master Graham was no mischievous fella. But he was gripped enough by Ham’s preaching about sin and salvation, to make a life altering decision that day.

Two years later, Billy completed high school. He hadn’t been an exceptional student by any stretch of the imagination; at one point, a teacher of his had warned that he might not make it out of school. Nevertheless, he scaled this hurdle, and went on to study Theology at the Bob Jones College in Tennessee. It’s safe to say that his issues at school probably came down to an apparent nonchalance about school work on his part. After all, he was in fact a bookish lad in his own right- it’s said that he sometimes got so immersed in his reading that he seemed to grow oblivious of his own self.

The Making of an Unshackled Travelling Evangelist

Graham’s time at Bob Jones wasn’t the happiest in his life. He found the rules too stringent, and the doctrine taught and practised there rather shackling (the institution’s authorities were so strict with their students, they screened whatever correspondences came in to them, and what they sent out. Feeling stifled of real spiritual freedom, he transferred to the more relaxed (but nonetheless conservative) Florida Bible School.

His trouble with the Bob Jones College hints at what was a severely polarized church at the time. The liberal Christians, wary of the supposed threat posed by the advances in science and the secularization of society, had retreated to an understanding of the Bible as not inerrant, while racing out of their pews to embrace the ‘progressive’ world beyond their church walls. Conservative Protestants were doing the exact opposite: they stared in defiance at the liberalizing society, railed against what they believed was America’s multiplying evils, and affirmed a straight jacket literalism in their exegesis of the Bible.

But Billy was learning (perhaps not very consciously) to thread a reasonable middle path. In later years, he would come under fire from both sides of the divide: liberals would label his preaching “too simple,” and conservatives would condemn him for being unnecessarily cozy with liberal ideals.

After completing his studies at the Florida Bible School in 1939, Graham enrolled at Wheaton College, hoping to get grounded in the ministerial work he was looking to begin. There, he met Ruth McCue Bell, the grand daughter of a missionary, who would later become his wife. And it was in this period that he preached his first sermon (in a small baptist church), at the behest of an academic dean at Wheaton.

In the decade that followed, Graham briefly pastored a church, worked with a Christian youth organization, and oversaw an alliance of Christian schools. It was at the end of this time that he turned towards itinerant evangelism.

The Start of a Remarkable Ministry

Chroniclers of Graham’s long life point to his visit to California in the early 1950s as the time in which he began to grow in prominence. He had been invited by a Christian organization, Christ for Greater Los Angeles, to preach in their city. When he did begin to deliver sermons there, his simple, earnest message drew people to his meetings. Secular historians say it was down to his charisma; many who were in the crowds insist that it was more the compelling nature of his sermons that brought the masses to the large meeting tents.

Some have said that his popularity was helped by local media’s favourable coverage of his crusades, which was in turn the result of his having admirers in the media circles, and his vocal opposition to communism. In a world increasingly torn between Communism (and its associations with militant atheism) and capitalism (cast as allowing for the freedom of religious observances), Graham’s condemnation of the former was sure to endear him to the US’s anti-communist elite and common people.

While it’s reasonable to view his preaching within the historical context in which it took place, we would be rewriting history if we gave it credit for Graham’s success at bringing people to Christ. The single most important factor in the success of his ministry was his dedication to the ‘total Gospel’, and its effectiveness, shown in the transformed lives of those who embraced the message. Besides this, it’s hard to explain how an increasingly skeptical Western society (one in which ‘theologians’ proclaimed that God was dead) would turn out millions of people to hear a preacher repeat the old fashioned gospel?

Going Global

In time, the crowds at the meetings grew so large, and the work of organizing such gatherings became so complex, that Graham and his friends decided to incorporate the ministry. They named it the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).

With wider media coverage and a more sophisticated media structure, Graham was able to reach other parts of the United States. Millions more were ministered to, and the conversions numbered in the hundreds of thousands. By 1952, the BGEA made its first landing in the United Kingdom.

It was in England, where the state of religion was represented by a staunchly liberal church, that Billy Graham’s international evangelism truly began. Many thought he would not be nearly as well received there; the Brits were supposed to be more measured, prim and proper, not given to the outward expression of emotions and overly simplistic teachings that characterized the American evangelist’s crusades. But they were wrong. After initial opposition by officials within the Church of England, Graham did finally set foot in the UK. And the crowds were just as big (and emotive) as the ones in the United States.

By the time he delivered his final sermon in 2005, Billy Graham had preached to over 215 million people across the world. He was a known bearer of the gospel, recognized for the way in which he was able to persuade his audiences with it. Between his going global and retiring in the mid 2000s, he had touched every inhabited continent of the world with his message. Thanks to his efforts, many accepted Jesus as their saviour.

An Uncommon Man’s Legacy

Graham’s influence stretched over the entire spectrum of human endevour. He was friends with (and counselor to) heads of state, from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush. It’s reported that he had a good relationship with the Queen of England, Elizabeth II. He was also known to have spoken out against dehumanizing the underprivileged, including Black South Africans who were oppressed under that country’s White minority rule for the greater part of the 20th century.

It’s hard to exaggerate Graham’s impact on the Church’s approach to evangelism. His organized, media savvy organization helped take the Gospel farther than most had managed up until his time. His preaching, which emphasized mere (basic) Christianity, became a template for others who came after him.

Billy Graham passed on in February 2018. The world- or much of it -eulogized him. Countless words were spoken of his voice and looks, but also of his humility, faith and love. It’s certain that the man himself would have wanted to be remembered simply as a servant of Jesus, who put the resources of the age to good use in making the truth of God known to all people.

Ikenna Nwachukwu ©2019

Slavery

I spoke to Runs girl once,
She said her anger is her source
As she was forced to this life
By her Uncle who came like a thief in the Night and her virginity was the casualty
So the penalty is death for all those who now commit the crime of sleeping with her
She blames they, them
For the mayhem she cause their Marriages
‘I wouldn’t pay for damages when my case has been adjourn’
Everyone I told turn a blind eye to my hurt
Now my heart burns with hate
If you stare at me, your fate might be a night to that hell I have been put through
I and my crew will screw all of you till you forget your wives and call us Boo
She like many others are Nigerian avengers
Fighting the ghost of their abusers
And I too felt her pain
A slave to a past that had been stained,
But can be snow if she chooses to let his light glow
Even if life has given her a low blow as she wrestles with her past demons
She can tag him in
He will guarantee her the win
Then the will to talk of his saving grace with pride
Everywhere she goes, she sows seed of hope to girls like her who are still slaves to rippers of souls
Tell them the past matters but the future is what they want to see and behold

Victor Isoje
(c) 2018