A LETTER TO MY OLD RUGGED CROSS

Dear old rugged cross
Blessed are you among wood and timber
Because on you rested the greatest sacrifice ever
On that night at Golgotha
On you was my Jesus crucified
And now I stand justified
Before the God of my salvation and life

Dear old rugged cross
It hurts to tell you that many are lost
And those who remain cling to a civilised cross
They have forsaken the ancient landmark
While on a self-satisfaction task
Ignorantly falling to damnation on a fast track

Yes you may have seen some violence
But not as much as there is in my presence
For the love of men wax cold
And iniquity is in abundance
The time of true faith fades away
And religion, false belief finds its way
And unfortunately, the Christians refuse to take their place

I must confess you are quite heavy
And I might stumble and fall on this journey
But all my cares on Jesus I lay
Dear old rugged cross
On you, I sacrifice all my flaws
As I wait for my Lord’s applause

Yours sincerely,
The Young Believer


Ezeonyeka Godswill
(C) 2011

Words for My Father

Baami,
For the times your words enveloped my fear,
Times your voice echoed courage into my soul,
And you became strength for my arms,
When the weight of the world became too heavy for me to bear,

Nna,
You built an image our lives could reflect on,
And carved words into pointers to guide us,
As we journeyed through the world,
You denied yourself of pleasures,
So we could afford the luxury we desired;
A price you’d pay as long as you had breath in your lungs,

How can I forget the touch of your rod,
A few lashes to straighten us when we went wrong,
How can I forget lessons enriched in respect, integrity and diligence,
Lessons drawn from the scenes of your life,
Lessons we could hold in the palms of our hands,
Lessons that moulded us into the men we are today!

Abba,
I choose to count my flowers while the sun still shines upon your face and the wind gently caresses you,
When the air in your lungs still warms up your chest,
And your heart still beats,
Today, I choose to celebrate you for being nothing short of a father!
Happy Father’s day Baami.


And to those Father who has gone beyond this world,
We choose to remember you and say you live on in hearts!

Olaoye Adeleye
(C) 2022

Goodbyes

It’s hard to say goodbyes
Always feels like a lump
Too big to swallow
Too hot on the tongue
Too sticky to spit out

Does Life play a trick on us
When it shows us love
When it watches us love
Then expects us to say goodbyes
Starting what it won’t finish
Because life never really ends

Here the comfort lies
When the Truth speaks
Pulling pictures to remembrance
All tagged with love and laughter
‘we had a good time together
I hope to see you again someday’

Pearly Thoughtz
(C)2022

My Shepherd

It’s in His nature to provide for me even when I don’t know what I want.

He feeds me with goodness and floods peace to my soul.

By His name, He restores me to sight each time I lag.

Even though I walk through hot coals with bare feet unending, He swallows up my fears in comfort with healing and gifts in His bosom.

He sets me up for royal treats in the darkest storms and redeems me with the outpour of his spirit and an overdose of merriness and joy.

Surely goodness and mercy follow me forever as I am now a host of His eternal spirit and life.

As the years draw nigh

With love shining in many forms

Like a rose among the thorns

I have come to understand and believe that everything written in the 23rd Psalm seized to be my responsibility the day I said YES to Him, my good Shepherd.

Imani Dokubo

(C) 2022

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

THE MOST IMPORTANT EVERYTHING

Do you ever get the feeling that you have been lied to?

I think many people especially feel this way when they are convinced of the promise in the pursuit of some goal, only to find out that there is more than meets the eye. Let me tell you a story.

The year I would get into secondary school, my parents had a wild idea to put me in boarding schools with my brothers and sisters. I say it was a wild idea because, at the time, that should have been frightening to a boy my age. I think the only reason my parents even considered the idea was because I was going to the same school as my elder brother and sister.

When they asked my opinion, I was absolutely elated to go, which I can imagine was surprising. You see, my brother had done some background work of convincing me with the age-old scam of “you can do whatever you like”.

I say it is a scam because while it had some truth to it, there was definitely more to that story than he let on. So, when the other parts began to unfold, I felt scammed.

In retrospect, I do not think my brother was trying to be malicious in his description of what being in a boarding school would be like. In fact, he was correct because to date, my ability to adapt to any context I have found myself in is largely credited to my boarding school days. So yeah, I did have the freedom to do whatever I liked but this freedom came with varying degrees of expressions and consequences.

The thing my brother was trying to achieve was to point my eyes to the most important thing or most attractive thing about boarding school.

So, while he may have not been trying to swindle me, I made the mistake of misinterpreting his information from the most important thing to the most important everything.

I find this is common with us as humans. As we travel through the most visually driven age of time, we tend to look at those shining bright ahead of us and we spot what we reckon is the most important thing and falsely tell ourselves that it is all we need to be like them. We assume that if this is the focal point of their success, it must be the entirety of what their life entails.

As you read this, you might plead guilty to this crime or not. Still, I want to provide one more important expression of this interesting subject: Marriage.

All you need is love. Popular? True? Or not?

Writing this as a single person, I have come across too many adults that have taken this popular phrase from the most important thing to the most important everything.

Love is essentially the central focus but to think that you can survive a marriage with just love would be setting yourself up for a great disappointment. You are going to need trust, lots of discipline, forgiveness, resourcefulness and so much more.

Someone might argue that love is supposed to encompass these qualities. To that, I would say most people can forgive and be hospitable to people they wouldn’t want to go home to every day. I should mention quite clearly that I do think love is by far the most important thing but without every other thing, it can falter.

My pastor said this quite succinctly; most couples that go through divorce still love each other but they go their separate ways because they don’t know how to live together.

Now that we have explored these examples, here is my suggestion; Get the full information.

Knowing the most important thing is great but knowing that everything is important is better. You are creating a blind spot when you ignore the process of learning.

It is important to note that I do not think you will get all the information you need before any decision or taking any step. In fact, I think you will always have blind spots, but I believe you can be intentional about avoiding as many blind spots as you can. You will be doing yourself a huge favour.

To conclude this article, I would like to highlight one of the saddest expressions of this flaw. Many people have been sold on the idea that our Christian faith is predicated on God’s love. While this is the most important thing, it is not all there is to it. Here is a bible verse to help us.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

Many know this verse but they make the mistake of taking note of only the most important thing which is indeed love.

If you read the entire verse you will notice that Paul does not discount the place of faith and hope. These are not love but they are also pivotal to having an effective Christian life.

There is even more to the Christian life, but I hope this example helps you understand that every part of our Christianity is important and should be paid attention to.

This way, when you face persecution, (which is also part of our faith) you can be well prepared.

Pastor Mike Todd said, the blows of life that tend to knock you out are the ones you don’t expect. I hope this article helps you to double back and learn to learn all there is to learn. It is a wise way to live.

EZEONYEKA GODSWILL

Kindness Versus Love

Kindness is a display of charitable behavior towards someone, while love means a profound and caring affection towards someone. Clearly, kindness and love don’t mean the same thing. Kindness is what one shows to the outsider, while love is for the insiders. It’s not rightly acceptable to say you are kind to your own children. You simply love them. You are to be kind to someone out there but loving to your own family. Thus, love is certainly of a higher value than kindness.

The prodigal son’s elder brother only knew and lived on their father’s kindness. He never knew nor understood their father’s love. He kept doing many things to please the father who was already pleased with him. On the day his brother returned home, the Scripture apprises to us that he was in the field till quite a later time of the day, whereas the main servants were already at home. One would wonder what he was doing out there all alone. By living only on his dad’s kindness, he only could SOMEDAY expect to receive a kid goat from his dad, when everything, including the fatted calf which was later killed for his brother, was for him to enjoy had he understood his dad’s love.

Hmm, it’s sad to know that many children of God are living exactly like this prodigal son’s older brother. They only know of God’s kindness, never His love all their life. They relate with Papa God as His hired servants when they are actually His beloved children. And mere kindness never gets anybody the best, only love does, always. God is kind toward everybody but especially loves His own children. You may have started on God’s kindness, as we all somehow do, but you don’t remain there. You need to move on to knowing and receiving God’s love that you may experience and enjoy God’s best in life henceforth.


The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Jeremiah 31:3
Funmi P. Adebayo is a preacher of the gospel of Christ and believes that His gospel covers everything, as God is God of all things without an exemption at all. God has helped him found a ministry by the name, THE SIMPLE LIFE OF CHRIST MINISTRY (AKA THE RESTING PLACE), the platform through which God’s Spirit is helping him to reach out to the world with the simple message of Jesus Christ and by the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, which is solely for the defense and the confirmation of the same gospel of Christ.