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

Let Me Judge


Let me be your judge
Shhh…. don’t freak out
I’m not here to condemn
I want to reconcile

Two different time zones
In one space
This spaceship ain’t moving at all
Can’t you see?

It’s been a circus
A bit forward at a particular time frame
Then comes a reminder of how much today owes yesterday

Let me be your judge
Let me free you
Says the lamb that rejected not the abattoir
Why the tour?
Come closer
I mean much closer
For my yoke is easier

I know your past
Let me be the one to state if you stand condemned or not, let me be the judge.

Yesterday is in the past
What matters is today
Let me hug away that feeling that makes you think yesterday can stop today

Let me be your friend
Let me in
Let me be you
Be your all

Ebube
©2022

GRACIOUSLY TIMED

One of the existential questions I have fought within my lifetime is “why were we born?”

I did battle with this thought many times because I could not fathom the justification that I was born without my consent and now, I had to make good decisions in order to make heaven.

Needless to say, decision-making tires me out. The struggle was not about making good decisions but that I was forced into this position by no choice of mine.

Today, I think God has been gracious enough to reveal answers I think might come in handy for anyone in a similar predicament as I was.

I would like to present this answer in the same way I got it chronologically and hopefully, it will make as much sense to you as it did to me.

First, we start with the concept of original sin. The book of Genesis opens us to God’s revelation to Moses on how the world we currently live in began. It points out many fascinating ideas that I would like to dabble in but for the sake of this discussion, I would stick to specific verses that would be useful.

And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die” (Genesis 2: 16-17).

Here we see God provide the instruction our forebears were eventually going to disobey. I used to look at this instruction in very literal terms, but a new light shone on it when I considered the fact that the book of Genesis was a vision to Moses and he was probably trying to interpret heavenly mysteries in human terms.

This meant that the significance of the instruction was more worthy of note than what type of fruit was being referred to. Thinking in this line, I believe that God gave Adam a choice between letting God decide what was good for him as opposed to gaining that knowledge for himself and doing the decision-making by himself.

In effect, God was telling Adam, if you take on decision-making, you are going to be killing yourself.

This understanding built my first step towards an answer and I believe it has credence to it because the stress of decision-making is why I got into this predicament. If we take our focus off me for a moment, we find quite glaringly that humanity on its own proves that we are not great at making decisions.

Many of the sorrows we suffer on earth are the direct or indirect implications of our decisions.

It is important to note that our good intentions do not make this any better because, the flaw in our capacity to make good decisions comes from our inability to operate as God – having all the information of past, present and future.

This would then mean that our best option was and always have been to allow God to do the deciding for us. Adam and Eve should have known better.

Now, riding on that revelation, I feel I would like to have words with Eve and Adam when we get to heaven. I was inclined to think this was their entire fault, making me the innocent recipient of someone’s mistakes. I did not think God was fair to let their problem become my destiny alongside all the millions of babies born every day. For this, God provided a thought process that I would like to share with you.

Consider the language from Genesis 1: 20 – 31. A recurring phrase you would find is “…after its kind” followed by the instruction to reproduce.

Dr. Myles Munroe does a great job of explaining this phenomenon by pointing out that God put the future of the plant within it in seed form. The same he did with animals and also with man. Thus, when you hold a mango in your hand, the fact is it is just a mango, but the truth is that you are holding a potential forest.

This reasoning can then be applied to humanity and we can make the conclusion that when Adam and Eve made the wrong decision, we all did it together because we were already in them… just in seed form.

Now comes the good part:

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” (Genesis 3:22).

I know it is odd that I am romanticising the separation of man and God, but I have recently come to an understanding that makes this a bittersweet beginning to the human dilemma.

According to the vision, Adam and Eve have sinned, God has doled out the punishments (which when we study closely, is in the favour of man) and the last thing he does is create a rift between himself and man.

This rift may look like a move of anger, but the verse clearly states why it was necessary and even a move of love – if man in this state (filled with the knowledge of good and evil) were to remain in the garden, he would have access to eternal life. On the surface, it doesn’t look like much of a problem until you consider the possibility of life as we know it existing forever. If that doesn’t scare you, it scares me.

Humanity and world systems have failed too many times to prove that we are not great at this decision-making thing. We do have our moments but overall, we are barely getting by. So, it is grace – that God keeps us from eternity, for a while. This is what I believe time to be – a enclosed moment in eternity to live out the mallady of self-will.

Here is an analogy to help with this. Imagine a father warns his son to not play by the roadside. The son does not adhere and in a freak accident hurts his ankle and falls on the road in such a way that he could be killed by oncoming traffic. The father’s first reaction would be to yank his son as quickly as possible to safety first before tending to his hurt ankle. I now believe this was what God did.

Sin was a minor problem, but eternity would have been worse off so he yanks us off the road and places us in a capsule called time. While we are there, he tends to our wounds by offering payment for our sin that we don’t deserve and a power to overcome sin in a way that is beyond human. Then, he would eventually round up time and take us back to eternity. Only that this time, we would not receive eternal life in our failed nature but in a resurrected nature, insured by God himself.

I hope this answers some questions and hopefully raises new ones. In the end, God’s love is consistent through the scriptures and in our experiences when we let him. The key is to honestly approach him first as Saviour and then as Lord. It does make sense when you wholly experience it.

 As for me, I am so glad God cares enough to provide answers to the ramblings of my mind.

GODSWILL EZEONYEKA

What to pray about

Hello, My name is Niel and these are the ChristaPoet Freestyle Sessions. This year, ChristaPoet wants to give you a special perspective to our freestyles. At first, some of these poems were published as stand-alone pieces. But in actuality, each poem is an untitled part of freestyle session. Each freestyle session is given a topic for the poems to address.

On this particular day, March the 26th, 2021; the topic was “What to pray about”. There was silence in the large Christapoet group, apart from my own prattling about the topic of the day and my reason for choosing it. This sort of silence is kinda normal. But at 8:28pm… Hanna Azubuike wrote:

Pray about your heart to God
Pray about your art to God
Pray about your mine to God
Pray about your gold to God
Pray about your genes to God
Pray about your offspring to God
There would always be a reason, so pray without ceasing

And at 8:35pm, UC Truth retorted:

Pray your desires
My teacher once said
When you feel it you probably should say it
To God

So I come bare when I pray
When I pray I come bare
Stripped of all what God should not hear
I come with screams and silent
I come with words and rhymes like a poet
I come with sobs too
And mutters too

I’ve prayed about the mansions and the gutters too

I don’t know what you know about what to do when you come to pray
But I’ll never want to keep from God
An atom of what I really wanted to say to him today

Yeah. The two of them wrote from somewhere real. You see, sometimes, a topic touches you or reflects your current dilemma or just provides an opportunity for you to say something…

Like what Olufunke Ajegbomogun said at 8:44pm.

We don’t want to bother God
Says man made of mud
So we bottle up what we ought not
Leaving our mind in knots
You receive not for you ask not
What to pray about,” You say?
All things my brother, so you don’t become a prey
Everything my sister, on every blessed day
So Unfriend anxiety
Cast away it’s ray
Put on Christ’s piety
Your armour of faith
Whatever it is
Grand or small
Possible or impossible
Serious or minor
Pray about them all
Yes! In all things by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…
So go on your knees
Lift up those hands
Put your hands together
Lie down flat on your tummy
Stand on your feet
Sit on the floor
Whichever position you choose, just shut out the noise
Surrender all
Cast it to God
Receive His rod
Believe it’s done
Make a loud noise
Wait till it comes

Some of these pieces and sessions, I remember like…an old friend. Some are like a stranger that has been sent to instruct me. I didn’t write anything, nor did anyone else, that night. It was all like a long whisper telling us “what to pray about”.

I believe that if you had read any of these poems on their own, you would get a part of the picture. Now you see them together, I think it’s a more wholesome picture. Tell us what you think, and see you next time.

Authors:
Hanna Azubuike
UC Truth
Olufunke Ajegbomogun

The Three Abstractions

Time like air is boundless, existing independent of us
Helping us take note, employing us
To nurture after our to-do-list
Yet reminding us the risk
of not being
of not seeing
The thought of it as illusion only makes bold the impact on our vision
An endless circle
Old enough to seal life’s chronicles
Yet does nothing to change it
The only certified entity to bridge it.

Love like the sea, is deep
Accommodating everything cold
and warm-blooded
Not seeking its own way
Needs nothing external to become
Countless questions on its existence
Unending thoughts on its purpose
And like the absence of peace
Making monsters of those who go by without it
The true essence of its fragrance waiting always on those who have gone past feeling
to becoming love.

Death, what happens when you’re busy making other plans
Claiming more lives with its rude interruption
The least talked about of all three
Yet with each blow comes a string of thought on time and love
Each seized breath a trail of shadows to your canvas
With more questions than answers
How much time is left?
Is love evident?
What next after death?

Imani Dokubo
©2021

not Ready

When I thought about the word
My heart leapt in silent laughter
as if to share in quiet joy my awe
At how I once believed readiness was a chapter
That I needed to attain to do more
Such an appalling misrepresentation of the matter

To be ready is to be a willing one
To serve opportunity’s timing now not after
To date today and not cheat with tomorrow
To learn while you grow from experience gathered
To live prepared for the much you know and the few you control
And ready you will always be, if you follow this pattern.

– Ezeonyeka Godswill
(c) 2021

Holy Gist

Yesterday was quite cloudy
It felt like the travelling rain
Decided to stop at my terrain to greet
But it didn’t
Flashes of lightning like swords fight pushed through the thick black clouds
It was an intentional scare I thought
And my thoughts slept with me

Now I’m thinking about it
How is a God whose voice is louder than the thunder speak so softly
That you could hear distinctly in stillness?
I remembered a time
I also wondered what lights really is
You know
Stepping into that flash of light as in the lightning
Light in light?
No shadow of turning?
How is that even possible?
How will light so fill a place
That it will cast no shadow

Hold it! what could Holy mean?
All white, flurry, smells like sweets?
Holy!
Set apart!
Yes, I later learnt what it meant
Separated for the divine
Who is actually The Vine
The one from whom we got our alias – the Branches

I was told that the Vine isn’t just a fruit tree
That it’s a tree that creeps
Better put infiltrate
It takes over
Just give it time
It’s so beautiful that after it’s done with the host
All you can see is vine
Branches faithful to the course
Actually bring forth the fruits
Occupy till I come
For you are a chosen generation
A holy priesthood
They are the ones
That become the Light in the light
The ones that there is also found no shadow of turning
God is light, in Him there’s no darkness
You are of God Little Children
The glory of the vine had made us one
As they are one
Abiding in Him as He is in the Father

How did I start this gist?
I hope it still rains today
Who knows it could make me think of another gist tomorrow.

Pearly Thoughts
(C) 2021

Not Perfect, Worthy

I’m human.
Trust me, I am.
I wear my pants one leg at a time.
And, believe it or not.
I cry. I fall. Yes, I even fart.
Ew.

Sometimes I feel worthless.
Like collateral damage. Expendable.
But, come on. All said and done.
We all know an Old Shot’s a Nigger.
Once every day; twice on Sundays.

Barbarians and Predators
See them threaten to Terminate us.
But as imperfect as we are,
Our God don’t use no erasers.

Perfection is not me.
I’ve never claimed it.
But He who called me?
Come on. Dude’s on Fleek.
Faithful. Holy.

Nonso John
(C) 2021