ORDINARY JESUS

I have a feeling that any Christian reading the title of this article might be appalled but I really like this title, so we are going to stick with it. Since we are doing things weirdly, I am also going to alter my writing structure for this particular piece and talk first about the purpose of this article.

My sincere hope in writing this article is that you will begin to see more and more that God is interested in the mundane parts of your day. That God sees you struggle with choosing between black or brown shoes for the perfect corporate look and he is very much concerned about your sleeping habits. More than anything, I pray that when you are done reading this, that your daily activities become brighter because you finally see God’s light in all of it. Amen.

A quick summary of my Christian life – born in Nigeria, I am no stranger to religious intensity and that means that I tend to think of Jesus and the gospel in two very distinct ways.

First, Jesus as saviour.

This is the more popular stance of the personality of Jesus in which we see him give his life on the cross for our sins. This Jesus is the one we focus on as we sing songs of love and pour praise like poetry every Sunday and in our daily prayers. I see this Jesus as the one I run to when I am weak or scared or tired. Jesus as saviour is my lifeline and he always comes through.

The second is more unpopular – Jesus as Lord.

This personality of Jesus is where I am reminded that Jesus is no less God than the Father. He is Heavenly Royalty and is deserving of all the worship that we give him. It is this Jesus that comes to mind when I sin or when I forget that I am not surviving on the power of my will. He is also the Jesus I hand over to when the devil comes at me with all his nonsense.

Either way, I am always thinking of Jesus in this light and as I read through the gospels, I unconsciously look out for these. I see loving Jesus in the story of blind Bartimaeus and conquering Lord in his command to raging storms, “Peace be still”.

I see a forgiving saviour in his decision to dine with Zacchaeus and a judge Lord in his fury when the synagogue was used inappropriately. It was always one or the other, but I do believe that God is helping me see through a third and different lens.

This process started as I watched the third episode of a brilliant television series called, “The Chosen”. It is based on the life and times of Jesus but as it is made to be a series, it does something that all the former movies about Jesus could not do – it actually shows glimpses into the ordinariness that Jesus had to deal with it.

As I watched this particular episode, I was drawn to two scenes where Jesus would lay down to sleep and he would pray these words Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings sleep to my eyes”. This might sound absurd but as I watched this scene played out the second time, I was struck by the fact that Jesus had to sleep while he was on earth. Of course, I subconsciously knew that, but I had never given it much thought till that day.

It is important that we notice the words I used; Jesus didn’t sleep only because he wanted to but because he had to. He was completely human which means he got tired and needed food and rest regularly.

Seeing Jesus, the saviour of my soul and the conquering Lord of all things visible and not visible in a seemingly ordinary position of sleeping was a bit startling for me. I was taken aback that Jesus had to basically go through things I would consider inconsequential so that when the time was right, he would do something I cannot do for myself.

As I thought about this, I realised that the bible addressed this in the book of Hebrews:

For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.

Hebrews 4:15 (AMP)

Jesus knows exactly how it feels to be human. He knows the feeling of sand on your feet and how satisfying it is to wash it off and lay down at the end of the night. He knows how the smile of a child can literally make a day brighter.

He knows that wine tastes good and can get one drunk when you over-indulge. He is 100% human in that he faced every temptation that comes to man and he is 100% God in that he did not give in to any sin.

Why does this make me happy?

To know that Jesus can relate with the ordinariness of life that Monday brings after Sunday means he can walk with me through the lows as much as he can walk with me through the highs.

In simple terms, Jesus is not appalled when I am weak at the knees as my crush walks into the room. Nope, he can walk with me through that. Jesus is not disappointed when I want to over-indulge in eating because I am sad or happy. Nah, he wants to walk with me through that feeling. Like David said so beautifully,

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 24:4 (BSB)

I hope this has brought you much joy as it has brought me. However, I would like to conclude with this analogy I learnt recently. I believe one of the most popular phrases in the Christian faith is what we are to accept Jesus as.

We say almost every day when people are called to salvation that we are to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour. For the longest time, I have considered this ageless description and the words of Saviour and Lord have grown to mean so much to me.

However, I have recently begun to consider the third word there, personal.

Jesus comes into our heart first as personal. He comes first to establish a relationship with us individually.

If I know anything about relationships, I know that both parties have to have some things in common and Jesus does not break that rule. Jesus left his throne to go through the ordinariness of life as a human for 33 YEARS AND SOME MONTHS so that he could have that in common with us.

That is love at divine proportions and it makes me giddy!

I hope that my thoughts were shared clearly. I hope that when you have to deal with something that doesn’t neatly fall into your relationship with Jesus as Saviour or Lord, that you remember there is a third option – Jesus as personal.

Jesus too had to deal with the ordinariness we deal with from day to day and he actually found a fool proof way out of practically every temptation.

This would mean that to navigate life with Jesus as personally as you want means you can lead a victorious Christian life in EVERY facet of your life.

Even in ordinary things.

EZEONYEKA GODSWILL

Book Review: The Shepherd, The Overseer, and The Soul

Author: Funmi Adebayo
Pages: 150
Publisher: The Christ A Poet Concepts, Nigeria.
Reviewer: Adeleye Olaoye, Ubamara Ezenobi, Zoe Ziva, Ebubechi, Clement Victor

Funmi Adebayo, the author of this book, gives us this gem of a book through the light of the Spirit of God penetrating into 1 Peter 2:25 and Ezekiel 18:4. The Shepherd, Overseer and the Soul is a book aimed at building foundational knowledge on the role that the soul of a man plays in the life of a believer. The Author has broken this book down into 7 Chapters to help relate his message.

The author started by making clear that the human soul is eternal. It cannot be dissolved by death, unlike the human physical body. The soul is the representation of a man in the spirit realm. Therefore, what becomes of the soul of man is the reality of that man

He then further compared the mind as a signal analyzer. An example of a signal analyzer is an Oscilloscope,  it’s a device that analyzes signals of different forms and has a wide application in different fields and professions today. From the author’s analysis, the mind acts as the signal analyzer while the heart takes the final decision.

If man wasn’t already dead spiritually then God wouldn’t have bothered about giving him a new spirit and a new heart.

Funmi presents a compelling argument by clearly stating that it is not enough to just claim you believe in Jesus Christ. You must also prove that by obediently following Him. If you truly believe in Him, you will hear Him and do His sayings. God’s desire for His children to be tamable and coachable just like the sheep because hardly deviate from the path channeled by the shepherd and are much sensitive of intruders or strangers.

We are not of the world. Yet at the same, that does not mean we are not meant to be in charge. This is quite a salient point made in the book reminding us that we are the light of the world and while we remain here we are to be in charge by and for our Lord Jesus Christ and make known the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and powers among the celestial ones.

Talking about God as Shepherd, Funmi posits that God is completely charismatic in his leadership; strong communicator, empathetic and relatable, confident, motivational. This in return gives us joy, loveliness and makes resources available. His final words were “As we have returned to the Shepherd of our soul, let us trust Him for the best in life. Remember He is the good Shepherd, Who gave His life, His soul, for us His sheep. (John 10:11.)”

Man With The Mic

I fear for the man with the microphone
He must speak that which was spoken to him
But does he listen only to speak to the crowd
Can he listen enough to listen while he speaks

I wonder at the woman with the microphone
Laid out in beautiful worship before her Lord
Does her feet still know the grounds of this world
Will this dance of transcendence translate or transform

I fear and I wonder at the man I could be
Microphone in hand, driven by more than I can transmit
I pray that my eyes and heart never know another Lord
That I never be left on my own with a microphone

I wonder at the people we will be, microphone in hand
Telling of his love, revealing to all what they need to hear
More than words we can describe yet we raise a sound
So I pray with the microphone in our hands only Him will be heard


Ezeonyeka Godswill
Oraegbu Philipa
(c) 2022

Redemption Memo

It began like this…

Clad in purple and linen, cat-walking with stiletto strapped feet,
I miss my steps

Fall into a gully of mud
Stumble into the midst of men mouthing profanity

Stench ooze from me like box of putrid egg

I become crafter of maleficence, of deeds done in darkness

Yet, I am of tender days than to perpetuate impurity
You, of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.

Lord, seems mother said you do not appose your eyelids like the sons of men?

But why are these befalling me
Or why should I be falling?

Like Martha, this is how I feel:
Lord if you had been here, my soul would not have been ensnared in the tempter’s trap

Now I come with a bunch of sins, my back bent into a hunch

Have mercy on me, Lord, have mercy and vanquish this vile!
Let these things cease, like when you stilled the storm

Will you discard the memento of your purchase?
The one you stamped by your blood on the tree, like Rahab’s scarlet cord hung over the window in Canaan?

Up till now, the spies are over the gate of my soul, watching, waiting to devour & divide me as a spoil—this moribund mortal

But the redemption of my soul is costly,
And in it, you promised sin shall not have dominion over me

This is why tonight, I recite to you the memorandum of my redemption
I hope you heed my cry and help me.

Ayooluwa Olasupo Ìmísí
©2021

Can I trust you?

Can I trust you?
Trust you enough to behold my nakedness,
To come before you bare-
With engraved scars and a broken soul,
Can I trust you will hold my brokenness,
And make a sculpture out of me,

Can I trust you?
Trust you enough to let go,
And drown me into your vessel,
Guiding me through the waves life throws at me,

Can I trust?
Enough to abandon all I have built,
Pillars of sweat and blood,
And follow you to the promised land,
Though alien to my eyes but familiar to my heart,
I hear how it calls out to my spirit,
And sings sweet melodies of what my future would be like!
This rhythm soothes my soul,
But fear has gripped me by my spine
And has crippled my faith and numbed my feet
So I ask, Dear Lord,
If I give you my hands to hold,
Can I trust you?
That you will never let go
Until these songs of the future
Become a reality I dance to!
Can I trust you?

Adeleye Olaoye
©2021

MY LOVER AND I

Every day, I wake up with a smile
Knowing that while I slept,
Oblivious of my surroundings
My lover was wide awake
Watching me all day long
Yes! All day long

On some days, life happens
I sometimes withdraw in fear
As my adversaries gain ground
A whisper of comforting words
I am with you always- my lover says
Yes! With you always

I could become careless
Going astray in my utter foolishness
Desiring to be free, I get enmeshed
Confused, bitter and lost
Then he finds me – He was looking for me all along
Yes! Looking for me all along

I love him but He loves me more
I give to him but he gives me more
The ultimate he did on the horrendous cross
Freeing me from sin and death
Making me His forever
Yes! I am His forever

The Lord has appeared of old unto me, saying, yea
I have loved thee with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31: 3

Ajegbomogun Olufunke
©2021

A Failed Weapon

There is a weapon, I mustn’t use as a Christian
Because using it, is tantamount to failure
I am strongly warned by captain of the Lord’s army
Never to use this weapon
It is certain that, it will definitely fail whether here or hereafter

Rickety machine gun, Mr. flesh
This weapon is weak to execute righteousness without taking the glory
Executing, holiness, peace, love,
humility, joy, kindness is far-fetched from this weapon
Using this weapon for the Lord’s battle is disastrous

A weapon set against the user
You shoot hatred, you inherit broken relationship
You shoot lust, you inherit vanity
You shoot anger, you inherit disorientation
You shoot worries, you inherit high blood pressure

Truly, is a weapon set against the user
if he uses it, the arm of flesh will fail.
The only authentic weapon to use for the battle
Is the weapon of a new man
Created in the image of Christ Jesus

Brightobong
©2021

What do I have in my hand?

Exodus 4:2, 17

“And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.
And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.”

Me? Like, you mean, I?
I mean, I’m looking around me
And no one else is here.
It looks like you’re talking to…
Oh. It’s me you’re-? Okay.

What do I have in my hand?
Okay, let’s see. Errrm.
Wait. Do you mean like hand-hand,
Or do you mean it, like, figuratively?
Because, see ehn… Oh sorry.

See ehn, I have a pen, but I also have a…
Wait. Am I saying this right?
Because a part of me thinks
That you probably mean what do-
Oh. You mean like in my hand

– Like physically? Okay

Well, it’s a pen. And it’s blunt.
Sorry, of course a pen is not a pencil.
It cannot – errmm – cannot be blunt.
Or maybe blunt also means… Well…
I mean that it doesn’t write

Hahaha – hmm. Sorry.
I swear the laugh was a reflex.
I thought that you said it’s enough.
And somehow it sounded funny and-
Oh. You mean it’s- you mean it’s enough?

Sorry, what exactly is it enough for?
Oh my God! God is talking to me!
What a – what a – wait. Hold on.
This feels normal all of a sudden.
What a normal thing it is.

A God, talking to another God.
Yes, Sorry sir. You were talking.
So, my pen. Right.
You said it was enough for –
Sorry, for what again?

For signs?
Of course, who didn’t know that.
Pens are for nothing if not for
For signatures and putting down th-
Oh, not that? But you said-

Oh, you mean “Wonders.”
I wonder what You mean.
How could a pen – I mean – I bought
It from Malam’s shop oh. I just thought –
Just thought I should tell you.

Oh, you already knew that.
Of course. You’re God.
Silly me. Lol. Sorry. Wait. Is that a sin?
Saying Lol at God? Oh it’s not?
Oh well, I didn’t know. Lol.

So, you’re saying with this old thing,
This blunt little blue pen
That I’m going to – sorry repeat that part.
Right. I’m going to bring the world-
Wait. Did you mean the entire world or-

Oh, okay. The entire world, you say.
Is going to come down to its knees
In worship to the Almighty.
Hahaha. Lol. This one sweet me ehn!
Sorry. We’re being serious.

It’s not like I don’t believe you oh.
Okay, maybe a part of me doesn’t.
But – ah! – but even you check am na.
It looks too – Oh. You know, abi?
Oh, you’ll help me. Ha!

Well, if you say so.
you, from Heaven, say so.
Then, I guess I agree with you.
Amen oh.
Amen.

Nonso John
©2021