Sunday, 31 October 2010

The broken bread

The latter stages of this week saw me drifting from a Christ centre enjoyment to a self reflective bitterness of my imperfection and sinful heart. Toppled with external pressures and unbridled despair, I found myself in a state of unhappiness of heart and soul, in which some commented to me that there is a lack of joy in me.

I smiled but yet maintained a sorrow in which only Christ could lift. He is my sweet comforter. I played with the notion of not going to the morning service but the Spirit prompted me to go, for there I would find peace for my aching soul.

In anger of heart at my failures, I ventured up to church and displayed a negative attitude towards the sermon preached, but my heart softened as he spoke. Then came the broken bread.

It was time for communion, and there the Spirit reminded me of my beloved who died for me. I gripped the bread and ate it slowly and drank the juice (his blood) to the full remembering that no longer guilt I should feel for my sins, because if I should continue in guilt, then it would imply an unbelief in the sufficiency of my beloved’s sacrifice. I felt in me at that particular moment an uplifting from my sorrows; and if you shall see me today in a happy elation, it is all because of Him.

I remembered him on the cross, for his body was broken for me and his blood was shed for me. He loved me before I was born. His Father saw all of my wickedness and yet with a great delight, He chose me. His choice could not be based on anything I ever did, but I know that it was His pleasure and will to the praise of His glorious grace. I am marked with his perfection because I was imperfect, so why should I dwell on my imperfection and be weighed with grief when I could dancingly dwell on his perfection and be laden with gentleness of heart.

If you are like me and your sorrow is heavy upon your fragile bones, I beseech you to remember the broken bread and to eat of him; yea take and eat, and sweeter than honey it will be to your mouth; and as the rain to the grass so the broken bread shall be to your soul.

K.Oni

Christians and Halloween

Halloween October 31

Halloween. It’s the time of year when the days get shorter and the coldness begins to spread throughout the land. For many Brits, there is an excitement and eager expectation of celebration for what is the spookiest holiday of the year. Children in schools are dominated with this theme and in their classes they will be carving out pumpkins and if your family was exciting enough then, spooky decorations would fill your house. Retailers also take the opportunity of this dark holiday by providing costumes and dark decorations at reasonable prices but I must say that some of the costumes cost more than my most expensive clothes. Halloween is seen as an opportunity for huge profit in the market place as it is only surpassed by Christmas in terms of economic activity. Nevertheless, Halloween brings with it a festive mood where children seek to trick or treat and adults see it as an opportunity to dress up and party. So, how should Christians engage with Halloween?
                                                          
The name Halloween derived from the old English ‘Hallowed’, meaning holy, sacred or sanctified. Halloween became attached to this word because of a Christian festival known as All Saint’ day or All Hallow’ Day. This was a day to honour all saints and particularly a day to honour saints who didn’t have a day of their own. Prior to All Saint’ Day was All Hallow’ Eve which was the evening before All Saint’ Day began, the time of remembrance. As Christianity spread throughout Europe it collided with pagan cultures and their festive holidays. Many of the new pagan converts still enjoyed their pagan holidays and in order to prevent a defilement of the Christian faith, the Church would commonly move a Christian holiday to a date on the calendar that would challenge a pagan holiday. Therefore, new converts don’t have to miss out but now they too can celebrate. The Church only succeeded in Christianizing a pagan ritual because the converts still held on to their old rituals but mixed with Christian symbolism. This is what happened to All Hallow’ Eve.

The pagan alternative to All Hallow’ Eve is a festival known as Samhain which celebrated the final harvest, death, and the onset of winter, for three days-October 31 to November 2. The Celts believed the curtain dividing the living and the dead lifted during Samhain to allow the spirits of the dead to walk among the living-ghosts haunting the earth. Some embraced the season of haunting by engaging in occult practices such as divination and communication with the dead. They sought "divine" spirits (demons) and the spirits of their ancestors regarding weather forecasts for the coming year, crop expectations, and even romantic prospects…..For others the focus on death, occultism, divination, and the thought of spirits returning to haunt the living, fueled ignorant superstitions and fears. They believed spirits were earthbound until they received a proper sendoff with treats--possessions, wealth, food, and drink. Spirits who were not suitably "treated" would "trick" those who had neglected them. The fear of haunting only multiplied if that spirit had been offended during its natural lifetime,’ Travis Allen.

Understanding the Pagan background of Halloween, how should Christians respond? Should Christians withdraw entirely and sanctify the day as was originally intended by the Church? Should we be counter cultural and instead of embracing and treating the demonic spirits, should we rather honour the saints above? Should Christians like Christians of old who knew of the pagan roots of Halloween who confronted pagan rites which appeased the lord of death and evil spirits? Albert Mohler, in his article Christianity and the Dark Side — What About Halloween? writes that ‘The complications of Halloween go far beyond its pagan roots, however. In modern culture, Halloween has become not only a commercial holiday, but a season of cultural fascination with evil and the demonic. Even as the society has pressed the limits on issues such as sexuality, the culture’s confrontation with the “dark side” has also pushed far beyond boundaries honoured in the past’. With all these in view, how should Christians engage with Halloween?

According to John Piper, this kind of question is whether a Christian sees Christ against culture, Christ in Culture or Christ over culture. Our views on Christ on culture will determine our engagement with Halloween. Churches are filled with members who hold to different perspectives varying in degrees and Piper encourages Christians to think biblically and carefully about any holiday, any event, and how they might be salt and light in it. The last point on being salt and light should dominate our hearts when engaging with Halloween. How can I be salt and light to a people who are in darkness and bring to them the light of Christ. Parents should be wise and make ‘careful decisions based on a biblically-informed Christian conscience. Some Halloween practices are clearly out of bounds, others may be strategically transformed, but this takes hard work and may meet with mixed success’ Mohler. As Christians we should take the opportunity to promote the cause of Christ, proclaiming his victory over Satan and his entire host, offering reconciliation through the message of the cross.

K.Oni



Saturday, 30 October 2010

Christian dating to God's glory

christian dating

Dating for some Christians is a complex thing especially if the Christian may not know how to go about it. Many may have wrestled with this concept not knowing which actions serve to glorify God. The Christian dating scene is not as vibrant and lucrative as the non-Christian scene not in terms of happiness but that of frequency. Christians should by no means seek to compete with the non-Christian dating scene because both are geared to operate on different principles. Perhaps you are one of those Christians who feels lost in how to go about pursuing a relationship because you want to avoid the emotional heartache which is so prevalent in dating. Therefore, Dating is put off and you seek to establish a more fitting, carefully constructed replacement but somewhere along the way you was lost in translation. Or perhaps Dating for the Christian is one of courtship which is where older adults normally the parents chaperone the couple as they move towards marriage. Or for the Christian from a non Christian background, who will be highly influence from his previous life may be highly perplexed and promiscuous in one’s pursuit of seeking a God honouring dating formality. With all these different avenues and complexity, one is left to wonder if there is a guide which can lead people from all different backgrounds and scenario to a pursuit of developing a God honouring relationship.

It is to be said that dating could be defined as the activity of going out regularly with somebody as a social or romantic partner. This is the view this article will hold especially to the focus of a romantic partner but one does understand that the meaning of dating varies from individual to individual. So, if dating is viewed as the activity of going out regularly with someone then how does one govern this activity which will glorify God and avoid the pitfalls of relentless heartache. Before this is tackled, it is good to note here, an article by Camerin Courtney titled ‘Why aren’t Christians dating’. In her article she points out the burdening fact that she and other Christian single sisters are simply not being approached by Christian guys. She comments, ‘If it was just one or a couple of us experiencing a dry spell, I could understand. But when so many of the vibrant, put-together, intelligent, God-fearing, reasonably attractive single women I know spend nearly all of their Friday and Saturday nights for practically years on end hanging out with each other… not always by choice….; I've got to think maybe this is a trend. In fact, a recent poll on the Singles Channel revealed that 54 percent of you (both males and females) haven't been on a date in more than two years’. Here, she makes a very good point and one should perhaps reflect on ones own surrounding and see if this is the case. If you are a girl, perhaps you may ask yourself when was the last time you have been asked out by a Christian guy and if you are a guy then you may ask yourself that when was the last time you approached a Christian girl whom you clearly fancied. From these self reflective questions, two further issues arises. 1. Who should ask who and 2. The fear of rejection. Before the continuation of these issues it is crucial to mention here that the Christian life is more than dating and for some the pursuit of dating becomes idolatry. The fullness of a Christian life is in Jesus and He is their all satisfying treasure, so if the pursuit of dating begins to dominate one’s heart and affection then one should avoid the pitfall of idolatry and fix their eyes unwavering on Christ who is their heavenly bridegroom.  These two issues are left for the readers to ponder and come to their own conclusion but it is to be mentioned that Men in the bible are seen to have taken the initiative in acquiring wives for themselves but also as is the case of Ruth that she was proactive and if she had never did what she did, then perhaps Boaz would never have approached her to be his wife because he favoured her that she would have approached the younger men. But this does not give license for men to be apathetic in their pursuit because of rejection. Rejection does indeed hurt the soul and wounds the pride but revealed love is better than concealed love. Of course one ought to be wise in his approach and rejection should not cripple you but perhaps it may leave you for a while walking on a stick. So, Men should ask women and women should ask men perhaps to the lesser extreme of Ruth.

The guide in which all Christians may turn to in order to pursue a God honouring relationship is the bible. One ought to search the scriptures to see those things which delights the heart of God; and God delights in our romantic relationships for male and female He created them. There are many principles one could draw out from the treasury of scripture but to prevent the longevity of the article, a couple will be mentioned below and hopefully to your benefit. These are not to be followed legalistically so to avoid that sin, this paper only list those principles which addresses the heart of a man in relation to his God which naturally leads to how one will behave.

1. Love God- Loving God is the sum of the Christian life and a genuine love for God will naturally lead to loving other people. ‘Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love‘. 1 john 4:7-8. When you Love God, you will love the person that you are dating and you will seek their good because love is kind and patient. It is not proud, it seeks to protect and always trust. 

2. Trust God- Loving God naturally means that you will trust God. You will trust God that he will guide you to your right partner and your trust of Him will be so worthy that when you feel a particular taste towards a person and God makes it clear to you that you should not pursue them, you will in that moment trust God and forget your fleshly wants. In doing this, you are avoiding the pitfall of heartache for you and for her. So before you pursue someone in dating, it is important to seek God and ask of him diligently whether this is a worthy cause or not.

3. Follow Jesus- Our Bridegroom said ‘seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness  and these things will be added to you’. The added things mentioned by our Lord did not include dating in the passage but the principle remains that we should seek him first. Our Shepherd did not say, seek first food or dating but seek first the kingdom of God. Some in their desire for a spouse tend to neglect this command and thus swim in the sea of idolatry. Their partner becomes their all; or their pursuit and wantonness of a relationship becomes the bread of their existence and where they could have been satisfied with abundant manna from heaven, they settle for the crumbs which is not fitting for the children of the house to eat. So, follow Jesus and seek him first then the pursuit of dating will not become idolatry but it will serve to glorify God.

Dating was defined as the activity of regularly going out with somebody as a romantic partner and that men and woman should pursue a relationship that aims to glorify God and three non legalistic principles were suggested. If dating still remains an issue for you for this article only briefly touched on some of the issues, then please feel free to comment and if you do want to know more of my personal views then ask and it shall be given to you.

K.Oni

Quote from: Why aren't Cristians dating? by Camerin Courtney. http://www.crosswalk.com/singles/11621064/


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Hungry for more

I see tonight, many souls, with sweet delight particularly to the things of the Lord, standing with passionate hearts, hungry for more, that is of his presence and of his joy to engulf them. With praiseful hearts they declare his praises and there eyes set like flint to seek his lovely unveiled face. And I standing there, watching the believers take to their God, felt his presence for I had spent parts of my day in his presence and it was very familiar to me. It delights my soul that there are such as these whom God is their pleasure, the reality of everything sweet. To them, like me, there is nothing sweeter or more enjoyable so that their being here is of a willingness of heart to take the opportunity to delight in his holiness. It may be true that some are here for the benefits, they want to advance their own agenda and feel that by being here tonight, God may bless them and thus they can show off their power and display the gifts bestowed upon them for their own glory. May it never be true of me O LORD but sanctify my heart that all I do may be for your eternal glory.

Psalm 145 was read aloud by a multiple of people and it is a psalm of exaltation. Will you not worship the Lord? as He not yet consumed you with his delight? as He not yet covered you with His garment? Is your heart not longing for Him while you stay away from Him? Is your throat not dry and won't you come to his fountain to drink so freely? Has He not yet kissed you? Have you not seen the flame in his eyes and how it burns for you? Oh I plea with you with all of heavens host, come, come, for He has prepared a place for you.

Hungry for more is an extended worship/prayer session for two to three hours where people can come to worship and pray freely. There is a worship band and opportunities are given for people to pray out loud or share what is in their hearts. I was there for an hour and a half, and it was sweet delight to my soul and I was filled with a peace and joy in which the Lord at times showers me with, so that I can do nothing but still my soul and adore the loveliness of his holiness.

K.Oni

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Psalm 3- An exposition

This is the first Psalm to bear a title. It is a Psalm of David and we are told that this Psalm was born from his plight from his son Absalom. If you turn to 2 Samuel 15, you will find the story there and how deep the conspiracy was that Absalom plotted against his father, that he turned the hearts of the people towards himself and away from David. Absalom had made himself king by sweet deception and now he sets his face towards his Father to have him removed. David being wise, gathered his whole household and fled not knowing whether he would return or not but that he committed to the LORD.

So we read in vs. 1, O LORD, here he pleads directly to God, the same God who told Samuel to anoint him as King of Israel. The same God who delivered him from the hands of the philistines and the jealousy of Saul, to this God he makes his plea and one can imagine David to be on his knees drenched in tears and declaring with an heaviness of heart, O LORD, how many are my foes. Here, David expresses to God the wonders of foes who are against him. He sees the multitude of his enemies and is dismayed by it, they are to much to count and this brings him very low. If he turns to the right, there is an enemy, if he turns to the left there is a foe. His troubles are never ending for as each day passes by there is yet a new foe who rises up against him. The psalm is also an evening psalm, a psalm for believers who feel the heaviness of the enemies oppression and the brutal betrayal of close friends. The arrows of the enemy is bent, targeting the mind and hearts of believers, the devil roams like a roaring lion and what are we a mere sheep to do? Just like David, his precious counsellors forsook him and so it may be that your close ones may turn against you and double is the inflicted pain upon your unsettled soul. Sorrow may come in the winter but spring may bring forth Joy but how miserable is the sorrow which comes season after season, yea, even in the summer. David had numerous enemies but our Precious Saviour had more. The whole host of hell was against him, our sins was a plague to him, he bore our infirmities and carried our sorrows, the hate of men burned against him, his friends deserted him and the cross witnessed his drinking to the full of that bitter cup.

But we see David to take his heavy yoke upon God, and in his pleading to God he remarks a statement which would have had more injury to his injured soul. The closed wounds were reopening and with immense sobbing he dared not contemplate the truth of it. For it is one thing for the enemy to inflict a physical suffering and yet one can rejoice exceeding in the soul, but when the soul of man is attacked, the body will find no rest but aches and torment will follow him. His enemies boasted about him that vs. 2 God will not deliver him. This was his enemies sword to his spirit, for they could not touch him physically so they touched him spiritually with their words. It is a most terrifying believe to contemplate that God has left a person and it is the worst of all possible things in the universe. Let my mother and father forsake me, but not God because He is my only comforter and resting place. If God was to leave me then I am better of not to have existed and double is the pain of this truth to the saint who once knew God and fell in Love with him. No breaking of the heart spoken of here on this earth could describe the stinging of the departure of the heavenly beloved. For it was the cry of our Saviour upon that rugged cross when at last the Lamb opened his mouth in perilous cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”. Here, our messiah is forsaken so that you may never be forsaken, he was rejected so that you may be accepted. So, when the enemy say of you that God has forsaken you; despite your trials and hardship, light the fire of your faith and declare with David, vs. 3, But you O LORD are a shield around me; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. David asserts his confidence in God. He remembered God’s promises and faithfulness. He declares that God is a shield around me. Peace must now flood the heart of David and we can imagine him to have begun to lift his head and his crying beginning to cease. God is a shield to him and what injuries can the enemies inflict against God? Who can lift up their sword and prevail in battle? The devil tried but the cross disarmed him. Although the foe bends his bow and roars mightily, the shield of our Shepherd is impenetrable, the whole trinity defends us. More than having confidence that God will protect him, David asserts that God bestows on him glory. This glory, David had witnessed when he was king and will once again witness when God vindicates him and seats him once again in his temple. Earthly glory diminishes and the glory given to a believer  is not like that which was given to Moses who, would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

David is confidant of the divine protection of the LORD and vs. 4 to the LORD he cries aloud, that is all of his troubles he communicates with God and he declares that God answers him from his holy hill. Did not our Lord say to us “I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name… ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete”. God loves to hear our prayers and loves to answer them, no payer of the saint is ever wasted and though there may be a delay according to your timing, God always answers our prayers and gives to us for certain those things in which he has promise in the holy scriptures and in his divine wisdom answers our prayers according to his will and what we need. So, flood the heavens with your petitions and let it be real.

Vs. 5 I lie down and sleep. Note here, the peace that comes from the assurance that God is a shield around me. For when the heart is heavy, one finds it hard to sleep but the heart filled with faith in God will not be so troubled by his conflict because he knows that God is able to protect him and thus one sleeps with comfort resting one’s head upon the breast of Jesus.  As he sleeps in peace, David also awakes in peace, I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. His troubles have not killed him in his sleep because he forgets about them for the peace of the LORD rules his mind and he dreams of his heavenly beloved and all the while he sleeps God sustains him. He acknowledges the sovereign hands of God in his waking because if it the LORD had not sustained him then he would not have awoken again but is despair would have killed him or his enemies would have found him. Knowing of the sweet protection of the LORD, he declares to himself in his waken that vs. 6 I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. David readies himself for the day and although the sheer multitude of his foes should make any man tremble, yet David trembles not. Should we not be the same as David, to sleep with peace in the night and awake with this emphatic declaration, that although the storms rages all around me, I will not fear for my captain is the one who rules the storm. David venturing into his daily storms is wise to begin with prayer and his prayer is of an active nature for God to move and grant him victory. Vs. 7 Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God. David ask of the Lord to deliver him and it will be so as long as God arises. He ask of God to strike all of his enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. This was a fitting prayer for David to pray because his enemies had spoken lies against him and spoken falsely about God that God had forsaken him and will not deliver him. The cross has disarmed all the victories of the enemy towards you believer, therefore be confident and declare victory over your enemies for we wrestle with the spirits of the air. Pray for the kingdom to come and where there is affliction and chained souls, rejoice and pray exceedingly with confidence and gladness of heart for our captain has given us the victory.

Vs. 8 From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people. It is clear from this verse that David ascribe all deliverance to come from God. The salvation of men’s soul from the pits of hell is all of God. It is God who delivers and salvation belongs wholly to the LORD our righteousness. Paul affirms the same truth when he writes, “For it is by grace you have been saved, though faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast”. so let us ascribe our deliverance completely to God and not think which is blasphemous that we saved or delivered ourselves, attributing any confidence in the will of man but let us boast in the sovereign free will of God. Also, note that David concludes that God’s blessing to be upon his people. David here means Israel, not Assyria or Egypt but upon his chosen people. And now is God’s blessing not upon his church,  if you are in Christ Jesus then you are endowed with all of God’s blessing and I pray that more of his blessing may fall upon his church, the elect of all the nations, tribes and tongues.

K.Oni

Monday, 25 October 2010

Helping out at One B


One B is a community house where a group of believers aim to live together in intentional community and share their lives. The aim of the community is not just inward looking but explicitly outward looking as well. The house is to be a light to the local community and hospitality, welcoming those who are in need and embracing the outcast with the unconditional love of God.

Today, I went round to the house to help out with some of the things that needed to be done because there is much to do in the house yet. On arriving, I noticed that it was a very big house with many rooms and it was evident that the house is in the process of renovation. I was giving a job to do and I did with joy although my clothes acquired a lot of dust and thought perhaps I should have brought another pair of clothes to change into. Then it was time for lunch and I was served with pasta which I enjoyed and then I attempted to make myself a coffee but I threw half of it away because it was very bitter.

Whilst eating lunch I was introduce to three people and it was a delight to meet them and one guy in particular I had a very good conversation with because he told me of his situation and I had the opportunity to minister to him. I was prompted in my heart to pray for him but I delayed a while because I wanted him to finish his dialogue. I reminded him of the passage in which Christ told his disciples not to worry about anything but to trust in him, yea, to trust in their heavenly Father. He acknowledged that he needed to do that more and I encouraged him to do so. I still wanted to pray for him and then I was interrupted for it was time for my next duty, so I quickly prayed for him and said my good bye.

Another thing I did was that in doing my duty, I took the pleasure in praying for the house, I prayed that it may be a blessing to this community and many who venture in here for help may find faith in Christ Jesus. I will continue to pray for this house and pray that the love of Christ may be so tangible and the house a light for the whole community. I will pray for peace and for all the work that yet is to be done.

K.Oni

Sunday, 24 October 2010

This week

This week has been to me a mixture of casual doses of melancholy and a sweetness deriving from the loving kindness of our heavenly Father.  My feet at times moved not; although the heart was filled with ambition which then led to frustration because I had not freely accomplish the things in which I had aimed to accomplish. Nevertheless high points of my week was when on Wednesday I played for UWE 1st against Exeter and I was deeply humbled because there was no place in the starting line up for me but I was later substituted in and scored the winning goal which I attributed to divine providence. Also, meeting up with people in small group and having dinner at our house with some friends was of sheer delight and the times I spent in writing and reading was sweet to my soul. Although, some of the old worries and anxieties, wanting to come back again, I cast them away to the wind and entrusted myself to Jesus and his promises.

Yesterday I went to a day conference with the Christian union in Exeter and my heart was strangely warmed because the meal for the whole day was the Love of God. Mike Reeves spoke and I have heard him a couple of times and he loves God, yea, the triune God and loves to speak about God. The whole assembly I believe was moved and my regret was that I made not much effort to invite more people to this meal which was wholly tasteful. I shall hope to deposit sometime on this blog of that which I have learnt.

Also at the international event I went to after the conference, I was approached by a Lady who told me all of her troubles and deep it was but I thank God for her life and I pray that she may continue in the steps of her sweet Saviour, Jesus Christ. Some have sensed a pastoral aura around me and my aim for the future is to be a pastoral/missional theologian but I feel an inadequacy in me, nevertheless it is Christ who accomplishes and gives gifts to whomever he wills.

May God bless you all and I pray that I may not restrict myself in my love for you all.

Love. K.Oni

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Her name meant love

Prudent eyes and a affable smile
Your features do shine
More than the brightest light.

A vision of peace, I had never seen
Until the day I met with she.
My heart did burn and bend with ease.

The wind did blow, gentle and soft
The tide did still and danced along.

My summer wind at last has come
Caressing, inspiring the leaves around.

I could but follow, her dreams were mine
A prey to her unaffordable smile.

Her name meant love and love I found.
Eternal time my love will last.

K.Oni

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

He is coming for a pure bride

Like the Psalmist, my heart is stirred by a noble theme as I contemplate the coming of the bridegroom for his bride.  For His dwelling place is in heaven where he is enthroned and contrary to all of the wonders of heaven, there was none fitting for him to make his bride. His heart yearned and longed for a satisfactory partner, but there was none to his taste. He remembered the assembly He long ago had with his Father and there he remembered that a bride was given to Him. His heart burnt with praise for His Father had summoned him saying ‘My Son your hour has come’.  The whole host of heaven gathered round the throne and witnessed a sight that no eyes had seen and that which mankind would witness for thirty three years. The Son eternal, the Prince of Peace did not consider equality with his Father has something to be grasped but he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. For he was coming for his bride, the only one he chose out of all of the peoples of the earth to be is treasured possession. For he did not set his affection on her because she was beautiful, on the contrary, on the day that she was born her cord was not cut, nor was she bathed in water to make her clean. No one looked on her with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these  things for her, but she was thrown out into the open field because she was loathed on the day she was born. But, he loved her, yea, it was love at first sight and when he passed by her and saw her struggling in her own blood, many prince would have walked away, but he paused, moved with a dancing affection of unrivalled grace and said to her, ‘I am a rose of Sharon, a lily among the valleys. And I will make you a lily among thorns, an apple tree among the trees of the forest. And when it is time for Love, I will spread my wings over you, I will cover you with my garment, the garment of salvation and the robe of righteousness. I will cover your nakedness and anoint you with oil. Bracelets I will place on your wrist and fine Jewels on your neck, for you are mine. Your fame will go out among the nations because of your beauty, for it is perfect through my splendour which I bestowed on you.’

She grew before Him like a tender plant and He instructed her in all of her ways. He became enthralled by her beauty and she honoured Him. He protected her and cared for her and she gladly rejoiced in him. She would sit at his feet each night and tenderly He spoke to her and His words would cleanse her, removing all blemishes, stains and wrinkles. His presence was like a fragrance to her, the darlings of heaven looked with jealousy, and she would often say to him, take me away with you, to your Father’s chamber. One evening, he called her to his side, his eyes burning with passion for her said to her, ‘My beloved, I must go to my Father’s house to prepare a place for you and after a time I will come for you. Do not let your heart be troubled for I am always with you, and when I come again I will receive you to myself never to depart again. If you love me you will let me go, you will obey all that I’ve taught you, for because of the words I have spoken to you, you are already clean. Be watchful, for I may come for you at anytime’.

K.Oni

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Psalm 2- An exposition

The Psalm here is written about our precious Lord Jesus Christ because in Acts 4 when Peter and John had been released from prison and went back to their brethrens, this very Psalm was quoted and Peter gives us an interpretation of solemn comfort that our Lord Jesus is the Anointed one.  ‘Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your Holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed’, Acts 4:27. Here we see the deep hatred of man against his creator because was it not the Eternal Word which was made flesh, and this Word was the light of men but men had grown to love darkness.  Yea, men would rather stay in their wickedness and plot against their Lord but how foolish are they to think that they could ever have succeeded. The rulers in view here are like Pharaoh, vain and conceited and thus Yahweh destroyed him and in this Psalm, it is so for the rulers and kings who will not draw back from their plans and beg mercy from the anointed King whom they thought they had killed.

The Psalm begins with an interrogation, a perplexing question that why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain, vs. 1. The Psalmist here is amazed and so should we because God is of no comparison to feeble man for is man not like grass and his glory like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. And thus the Psalmist says that the people’s plot in vain but they do not see it because their foolish hearts is darkened by their suppression of the truth of God. They plan to move in rebellion against God and it is instigated by the leaders of the earth. The kings of the earth take their stand. That is in their wilful state, the kings having met together took a collective decision to stand against their God, having total contempt for his reign and seeking to dethrone him. And the rulers gather together. It is not just the kings but their rulers as well who take their stand and carefully they would have plotted their plans and see it wise in their own eyes. They are prepared for war and everyone is involved, the kings, the ruler, and the peoples. There is now a commotion in the camp and the people are ready to fight and the instructions are joyfully giving out, “Let us break their chains and throw of their fetters”. The peoples are now ready for the battle, ready to commit all manner of abomination and eagerly awaiting when they will set themselves as their own god. There is an excitement, but it is a foolish excitement because they have become deluded and forgotten whom they were up against. Would not a wise king carefully search out his opposition to see whether he can gain victory and so act accordingly but if there is no possibility of victory will he not surrender? But the rulers and kings are dull and have no understanding, they follow the paths of Pharaoh and their end is the sea of destruction. But does this not speak of your own heart? You have set up your plans and are firmly established in your ways, you reject God your creator and despise his anointed, you loathe his laws and set up your own. Is your heart not rebelling against God and as the Lord gives the kings and rulers a solemn reply so he will do with you if you continue in your rebellion.

Vs. 4. The Psalmist now turns our attention to the throne of Heaven and tells us what the LORD thinks of their foolish plans. The LORD being mighty and glorious is not at all afraid of men though their numbers be mighty, yea to be as numerous as the sand, the Lord is not all moved in panic but He sits and Him who is enthroned in heaven laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. This is a fitting response from the Lord because it is beyond comprehension that man should think that he can win against his creator, the omnipotent one who created him. Therefore God laughs at them and shows derision at them yea, a hatred for their plans and now after laughing at them, he rebukes them in his anger. Now, the Lord is angry and as a just King he rebukes the dissidents and he does it in great anger because He vs. 5 terrifies them in His wrath saying vs. 6 “I have installed my King On Zion, my holy hill”. Here the Lord rejects all the kings of the earth and speaks to the peoples that he has installed his own King. This King the Lord has chosen himself and gladly he expresses it to the kings, rulers and peoples who have gathered together to dethrone him. This is a grand exclamation! This King as we know is Jesus Christ, the Lion of Judah who is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. He is the judge of the whole earth and all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him. When he was on the earth and the devils saw him, they begged him not to torment them and how double will mans pleading be when they have eyes like the devil and truly see the awfulness of  his terror towards foolish rebels. But those who have beating their swords in to ploughshares and laid down their weapons of rebellion, they would indeed find a meek saviour, who clothes them in garment white and places a jewel on their neck. They will indeed find a husband, a gentle king who is about to wed his bride, that is the portion for those who have become wise and submitted to the rule and authority of God’s established King. So will you not leave the camp of the rulers and kings of the earth and swear a new allegiance to God’s appointed king? Or will you remain in the camp of death and delay your entering into the camp of life? I plea with you that the terror of the King is indeed great and Just like his Father, he will manifest a wrath and anger that your skin will want to flee from you.

vs. 7, The Psalmist once again draws our attention into the inner chambers of heaven and focuses on the particular word of the installed King and He declares, I will proclaim the decree of the LORD. Here we see a stark contrast, for this King is not marked by disobedience but by obedience, for the kings of the earth conspired and rebelled but the anointed King seek to obey and proclaim the decrees of the omnipotent one.  The decrees are not his decrees but gladly he proclaims them and with great delight He does them. Also the LORD said to his anointed that “You are my Son, today I have become your Father”. But we see from his earthly reign that men rejected God’s king and continued in their rebellion.  For Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own: but he sent me… you belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.. He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” John 8:42-47. Jesus is the Son of His Father and for that claim many sought to kill him because he was making himself equal with God. And their conclusion was correct because we must never forget the deity of Christ and that eternally He has been by the Father’s side.  The LORD continues his solemn word to His beloved Son saying vs. 8 “ask of me”. Here Jesus could approach his Father and ask anything he wants for Jesus’ request are always according to His Father’s will and therefore it is the Joy of the Father to give it to him and the same commandment is extended to us by the Lord Jesus himself that if we should ask anything in his name he will do it. For you see that our Lord is not at all selfish but he is just like his Father. So if you do have a request, come boldly before your king and ask of him, but ask according to his will and he will do it. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance the ends of the earth your possession. The earth belongs to the LORD and everything in it, therefore, He has the right to give it to whomever He desires and here He aims to give it to His anointed king if the anointed one ask it of Him. You will rule them with an iron sceptre and you will dash them to pieces like pottery, vs. 9. Jesus is to rule with a solid hand that none of his enemies will no longer be able to stage a rebellion, for his enemies will be utterly crushed, for his hand will be heavy upon them. They would have no strength to eat let alone conspire and go to war, for their hearts will be dismayed because the Lord has smitten them and eternally paralysed them. And because of his harsh and unrelenting destruction towards his enemies, the rulers and kings of the earth are warned to be wise, vs. 10. 

Vs. 11, shows how they are now to conduct themselves which is to serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. The kings, rulers, and peoples of the earth are to delay no longer what they ought to have been doing, they ought to have been rejoicing and serving God with reverent fear and they would have felt the Love of God and never to have witnessed his terrible wrath and heavy hand upon them. It is so with us also, that we ought to believe in the gospel of God if we are to escape that day of trouble and distress for every human being who does evil, first for the Jew then for the Gentile. For it is an awful thing to perish while under sin and have not yet found a saviour, so it is of extreme importance that one should kiss the Son, lest he be angry, vs. 12. That is that one should come before the cross and kiss the feet of the saviour who died for them. One should humbly accept that Christ died for them because on that day when He comes with his holy angels and you have not yet kissed him, like it was with the Egyptians on the day of Passover, he will not pass over you but he will be angry with you for his eyes are like flames of fire and in his terror he will terrify you with his hot anger that you would have no where to flee but to the pits of hell where his anger will burn forever. So will you not kiss him today, for his kiss is the sweetest of all, sweeter than honey and more precious than gold. It is soft and gentle and it nourishes the mouth. His kiss goes deep into the heart and He does it so passionately that it is forever etched eternally into your mind. For if you do not kiss him, you will be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. But now, we read this comforting, soothing words which rightly ends the psalm, blessed are all who take refuge in him. Come and share in his blessedness, it is the dearest thing of all, for just as he inherits the earth, it will be yours also for he gladly shares it with you and you become co-heirs, yea, for he has gone to prepare a place for you. He has done it all and he does all things well. The anointed of the LORD is calling you today to put down your weapon of rebellion and follow him, do not tarry any longer but come believing. Can you not hear the joy in the camp of the living, for they sing with trumpets and their feet dance so merrily. Do not stay with the wicked but be wise and come and rejoice and serve the Lord with trembling and delightful fear.

K.Oni

Should a Christian fight or not

On Sunday evening, a good friend of mine was driving me back home when we engaged in a discussion on the Just war theory, whether it was ever appropriate for Christians to fight or whether pacifism was the only seating place for the believer. The conversation arose from a discussion about John Stott on how he changed his position from being a pacifist to a believer in the just war theory (please correct me if I’m wrong). It is critical to mention here that pacifism and the just war theory are asking two different questions. Pacifism focuses on the individual while the just war theory focuses on the governmental usage of force to promote justice and scripture evidently is used to support both cases.  Also, the relation between the Church and State are to be distinguished because both are giving two different responsibilities by God and one is strictly giving the role of unrelenting pacifism, e.g. sermon on the mount, Luke 23:24, Romans 12:14-20. And the state I believe to be giving the role of Justice because the Just-war theory ‘attempts to limit both resort to war and the conduct of war to what justice allows. As an application of Christian love it gives priority to reconciliation, and seeks to prevent just punishment of an aggressor from deteriorating into vengeful retaliation’ New dictionary of Christian ethics & Pastoral theology, pg 527. The crux of the conflict between pacifism and the just war theory is should a Christian fight or not?

Should a Christian fight or not?

Pacifism literally means peacemaking. ‘Blessed are the peace makers, for they will be called Sons of God’. Pacifism refuses to sanction wars or any participation in warfare, it says with Origen (an early church Father), that ‘we no longer take sword against a nation, nor do we learn any more to make war, having become sons of peace for the sake of Jesus, who is our commander’ (Against Celsus 5.33). Other early church fathers echoed Origen’s perspective and adamantly claimed that Christians are forbidden to join the army and if you was already a soldier when converted then you are forbidden to engage in warfare. Another example used to promote the cause of pacifism for Christians in all spheres is that of when Christ disarmed Peter when he emotionally cut off the ear of the soldier when Christ was betrayed by Judas. Jesus clearly showed that his disciples were not to fight even though their master was being falsely arrested and if we are not to fight for our master then we ought not to use violence in any situation.  But is it always wrong for the Christian to fight? Advocates of the Just war theory, particularly  developed by Augustine which witnessed the demise of pacifism which dominated early Christianity propagated that Christians are to respect governmental authority and governments are given the authority by God himself to punish evil. So, although the Christian is to turn the other cheek, the government is to issue justice in the form of punishment which glorifies God as governments are fulfilling their role in which they were established for. ‘For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong…but if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God‘s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer’, Romans 13:3-4. Therefore, if a Christian is in a position of authority, should he turn the other cheek, relinquish his role or should he fulfil his responsibility as being an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer? As it was established in the first paragraph that pacifism and the just war theory addresses different questions, so we can say with John Lasserre in his book War and the Gospel, p.132 that ‘God has charged the church with the duty of preaching the gospel, and the state with the duty of ensuring the political order; the Christian is both member of the church and citizen of the nation; as the former he must obey God by conforming to the political ethic of which the state is judged….’. So, are both views reconcilable?

John Stott in the Cross of Christ comments that ‘Christians must struggle with the dilemma and not try to polarize over it. Just war theorists tend to concentrate on the need to resist and punish evil, and to overlook the other biblical injunction to overcome evil with good, and to forget that according to scripture evil deserves to be punished. Can these two biblical principles be reconciled? Christians will at least stress the need to look beyond the defeat and surrender of the national enemy to its repentance and rehabilitation. Then the so-called ‘politics of forgiveness’, developed by Haddon Willmer, is relevant here. David Atkinson sums up this emphasis well:

Forgiveness is a dynamic concept of change. It refuses to be trapped into a fatalistic determinism. It acknowledges the reality of evil, wrong and injustice, but it seeks to respond to wrong in a way that is creative of new possibilities. Forgiveness signals an approach to wrong in terms, not of peace at any price, nor of a destructive intention to destroy the wrongdoer, but of a willingness to seek to reshape the future in the light of the wrong, in the most creative way possible’. (The Cross of Christ, pg 357-358).

Conclusion

As our conversation drew to an end, I emphasised that the individual Christian must work according to one’s conscience although being rooted and grounded in scripture and also that situations differ and context is of major importance. The Church is given the role of pacifism e.g. if the church was to be attacked, bombed, targeted, etc.. we are not to retaliate ‘for we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered’, but if the state was to be attacked, then the bearers of justice are to lift their hands and if God as appointed Christians in such roles of authority then they must carry out their duties in love with no hint of retributive vengeance but of justice and seeking to establish peace and saving as many lives as possible for even our Lord Jesus is coming, yea, he his coming to Judge the world and to put away his enemies.

I have only touched briefly on some of the issues.

K.Oni

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Bible: Precious, True, Glorious Baby Talk

                            

Human language is precious. It sets us off from the animals. It makes our most sophisticated scientific discoveries and our deepest emotions sharable. Above all, God chose to reveal himself to us through human language in the Bible. At the fullness of time, he spoke to us by a Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). But that Son spoke human language, and he sent his Spirit to lead his apostles into all truth so that they could tell the story of the Son in human language. Without this story in human language, we would not know the Son. Therefore, human language is immeasurably precious.

But it is also imperfect for capturing the fullness of God. In 1 Corinthians 13, there are four comparisons between this present time and the age to come after Christ returns.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)
Note the comparisons with this age (now) and the age to come (then):
Now: We know in part.
Then: When the perfect comes, the partial will pass away (vv. 9-10).
Now: I spoke and thought and reasoned like a child.
Then: When I became a man, I gave up childish ways (v. 11).
Now: We see in a mirror dimly.
Then: We will see face to face (v. 12).
Now: I know in part.
Then: I will know fully, even as I am fully known (v. 12).
In this context, we can see what Paul means by saying, "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child." He is saying that in this age, our human language and thought and reasoning are like baby talk compared to how we will speak and think and reason in the age to come.

When Paul was caught up into heaven and given glimpses of heavenly realities, he said he "heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter" (2 Corinthians 12:4). Our language is insufficient to carry the greatness of all that God is.

But what a blunder it would be to infer from this that we may despise language or treat it with contempt or carelessness. What a blunder, if we began to belittle true statements about God as cheap or unhelpful or false. What folly it would be if we scorned propositions and clauses and phrases and words, as though they were not inexpressibly precious and essential to life.

The main reason this would be folly is that God has chosen to send his Son into our nursery and speak baby talk with us. Jesus Christ became a child with us. There was a time when Jesus himself would have said, "When I was a child, I spoke like a child and thought like a child and reasoned like a child." That is what the incarnation means. He accommodated himself to our baby talk. He stammered with us in the nursery of human life in this age.

Jesus spoke baby talk. The Sermon on the Mount is our baby talk. His high priestly prayer in John 17 is baby talk. "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" is baby talk. Infinitely precious, true, glorious baby talk.

More than that, God inspired an entire Bible of baby talk. True baby talk. Baby talk with absolute authority and power. Baby talk that is sweeter than honey and more to be desired than gold. John Calvin said that "God, in so speaking, lisps with us as nurses are wont to do with little children" (Institutes, 1.13.1). O how precious is the baby talk of God. It is not like grass that withers or flowers that fades. It abides forever (Isaiah 40:8).

There will be another language and thought and reasoning in the age to come. And we will see things that could not have been expressed in our present baby talk. But when God sent his Son into our human nursery, talking baby talk, and dying for the toddlers, he shut the mouths of those who ridicule the possibilities of truth and beauty in the mouth of babes.

And when God inspired a book with baby talk as the infallible interpretation of himself, what shall we say of the children who make light of the gift of human language as the medium of knowing God? Woe to those who despise or belittle or exploit or manipulate this gift to the children of man. It is not a toy in the nursery. It is the breath of life. "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63).

By John Piper- desiringgod.org

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The freedom of Romans 8

 I feel in me a hellish despair in which I brought about by due negligence in which I rejected the clear instructions of my conscience and now feel the due penalty of my dear perversion. The bondage of the will is scarcely free if free at all for those righteous things in which I desire to do, I can do not; but those principles of perdition I find to reign in me and that very freely. I yearn to flee this bondage but where can I flee from my own skin? For if I should escape to the monastery it is there with me, if to the far east where materialistic sensuality is of a lesser degree, lo, there it is, clinging to me never wanting to let go. So night and day my eyes drip relentlessly like the rain for I dread those awful scriptures that speak of hypocrites like me whose end is the river of hellfire where the devil himself screech and what is to be my shout? In anguish I pace my self up and down trying to find precious scriptures that relieves the conscience of a tortured soul and therein my eyes found the sweet comfort of Romans 8 after the despairing reading of the chapter before. For the apostle begins with the contented words, ‘Therefore there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life as set me free from the law of sin and death’. And there I saw my victory, that no longer a slave to my passion I should remain but for I be found in Christ Jesus. And there my feet gladly fled for my skin could not have victory there and with great excitement I went on my knees and repented before my Sovereign Saviour and read aloud Romans 13:11, ‘So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies or drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissention and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature’.

K.Oni

Friday, 15 October 2010

From Darkness to Light

Friday Night Theology











Wednesday was a good day. 

33 men thought lost were found.  After 69 days shrouded beneath 700 metres of rock thousands of journalists with their cameras, politicians with their speeches and family members with their tears, bore witness to this dramatic salvation. 

This was a mesmerising story from the moment the mine collapsed, leaving little hope that anyone would come out alive. It took 17 nerve-wracking days for any contact to be made. In those first two weeks, it was like searching for a needle in a haystack as boreholes the size of a grapefruit were sent deep underground.  The seventh attempt returned with a scribbled note attached, the simple red lines on a scrap of paper offering the first glimpse of this 'almost Biblical rebirth'.

It could have so easily ended in a very different way.  This was life out of death; it was rescue from the jaws of tragedy.  And it made for a great news story.  Not just great, but good.  Amid a back drop of suffering and pain, economic recession and global poverty, for a few days the world has rejoiced.

And cultures have collided.  In the light of such remarkable human ingenuity and courage it was God and not man that was praised.  Each man stepped out of the capsule that had shuttled through nearly half a mile of earth and rock with 'To Him be the glory and honour' blazoned across their shirts.  Even the somewhat sceptical British press struggled to define this remarkable escape as anything but a miracle.  Mario Sepulveda, the second miner rescued was in no doubt where credit was due, 'I was with God and I was with the Devil, they fought me, but God won.  He took me by my best hand, the hand of God and I held on to him. I never thought for one minute that God wouldn't get me out of there'.

I do not know whether this was a miracle. Maybe even asking the question betrays my innate scepticism, maybe I am being too rigid in my categories.  Maybe God can work miracles through our endeavours.  Maybe the work of a surgeon in a hospital theatre is as much a witness to God's involvement in our lives as the prayers said at the front of church.  I am reminded of the story of a man stranded by a flood who turns away a rescue boat, and then a helicopter because he is waiting for God to save him.  The miners in Chile did not turn away the rescue capsule, nor were they in any doubt that God had saved them. 

We can have it both ways.  We can believe in supernatural intervention, where that which was thought impossible is achieved by God.  But we can also rejoice as a man reaches down into the depths of the earth and helps his fellow man to the surface.

I joined with the estimated audience of a billion rejoicing yesterday.  I joined with many of those who were thanking God.  I took time to think of those who have not been granted a little more time, those who die from preventable diseases, lost in accidents and natural disasters, those killed in battle or in peace. 

And I wondered whether I share the same enthusiasm to see people rescued beyond their present life.  Am I as eager to see the world know God as their saviour as I was when I awoke on Thursday to find that the last of the miners had made it to safety? 

 
Danny Webster - Parliamentary Officer
Evangelical Alliance

Rene and Poet

Rene: So, my good Poet, why the Long face?

Poet: I really genuinely don’t know which step I ought to take for I am besotted with her but when I do see her all of my premeditative plans seems to be non existent and I feel somewhat unworthy and my soul is quietened within me. Perhaps I wish for her not to know although I do but I am not yet convinced either way whether her feelings are reciprocal so yet I linger in the dark but I must not stay there too long lest a charming handsome guy should take her away and forever is my opportunity gone. So what must I do? (Shrugs his shoulder, and then pauses for a little while).
For I enjoy our friendship but I think that at times because of my disposition to withdraw and remain quiet and hardly display no affection that I may be driving her away so I must change and perhaps be loose but to behave in this manner, I am not well trained so my folly may be evident and she being quick natured and cultured may see this and take the wrong assumption from it; although if she made the right assumption then I would be glad, then I could take notice of her following actions and that should give me clear signs of what she thinks of me.

Rene: My Poet, what is she to you?

Poet: She is to me when I’m with her like a summer’s afternoon, the butterflies wandering up and down, the flowers ever so green and hearing the soft sounds of the water trickling down the stream. I lay still with awed eyes tired by the mid-day beam, snared by her availing beauty. (He looks up with a gentle smile starring passionately into Rene's eyes). She is my sunrise, the cascading melody of all my desires.

K.Oni

Hypocrites deficient in the duty of prayer

Some harsh but true words from Jonathan Edwards. 



It is the manner of hypocrites, after a while, to return to sinful practices, which will tend to keep them from praying. While they were under convictions, they reformed their lives, and walked very exactly. This reformation continues for a little time perhaps after their supposed conversion, while they are much affected with hope and false comfort. But as these things die away, their old lusts revive, and they by degrees return like the dog to his vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. They return to their sensual practices, to their worldly practices, to their proud and contentious practices, as before. And no wonder this makes them forsake their closets. Sinning and praying agree not well together. If a man be constant in the duty of secret prayer, it will tend to restrain him from wilful sinning. So, on the other hand, if he allow himself in sinful practices, it will restrain him from praying. It will give quite another turn to his mind, so that he will have no disposition to the practice of such a duty It will be contrary to him. A man who knows that he lives in sin against God, will not be inclined to come daily into the presence of God; but will rather be inclined to fly from his presence, as Adam, when he had eaten of the forbidden fruit, ran away from God, and hid himself among the trees of the garden.
To keep up the duty of prayer after he hath given loose to his lusts, would tend very much to disquiet a man's conscience. It would give advantage to his conscience to testify aloud against him. If he should come from his wickedness into the presence of God, immediately to speak to him, his conscience would, as it were; fly in his face. Therefore hypocrites, as they by degrees admit their wicked practices, exclude prayer.



If you have left off calling upon God, it is time for you to leave off hoping and flattering yourselves with an imagination that you are the children of God.

But it your case be such as is spoken of in the doctrine, it is surely time for you to seek a better hope, and another work of God's Spirit, than ever you have yet experienced; something more thorough and effectual.

No poison groweth in the paradise of God. The same hope which leads men to sin in this world will lead to hell hereafter. Why therefore will you retain such an hope, of which your own experience shows you the ill tendency, in that it encourages you to lead a wicked life?

Many men cling to a false hope, and embrace it so closely, that they never let it go till the flames of hell cause their arms to unclench and let go their hold.


If you have not spirit to love God above your dearest earthly friends, and your most pleasant earthly enjoyments; the scriptures are very plain, and full in it, that you are not true Christians. But if you had indeed such a spirit, would you thus grow weary of the practice of drawing near to him, and become habitually so averse to it, as in a great measure to cast off so plain a duty which is so much the life of a child of God? It is the nature of love to be averse to absence, and to love a near access to those whom we love. We love to be with them; we delight to come often to them, and to have much conversation with them. But when a person who hath heretofore been wont to converse freely with another, by degrees forsakes him, grows strange, and converses with him but little, and that although the other be importunate with him for the continuance of their former intimacy; this plainly shows the coldness of his heart towards him.

True love to God seeks to please God in every thing, and universally to conform to his will.
A prayerless life is so far from being an holy life, that it is a profane life. He that lives so, lives like an heathen, who calleth not on God's name; he that lives a prayerless life, lives without God in the world.

How can you expect to dwell with God for ever, if you so neglect and forsake him here? This your practice shows, that you place not your happiness in God, in nearness to him, and communion with him. He Who refuses to come and visit, and converse with a friend, and who in a great measure forsakes him, when he is abundantly invited and importuned to come; plainly shows that he places not his happiness in, the company and conversation of that friend. Now, if this be the case with you respecting God, then how can you expect to have it for your happiness to all eternity, to be with God, and to enjoy holy communion with him?

Let those persons who hope they are converted, and yet have in a great measure left off the duty of secret prayer, and whose manner it is ordinarily to neglect it, for their own sake seriously consider these things. For what will profit then to please themselves with that, while they live, which will fail them at last, and leave them in fearful and amazing disappointment?

It is not very likely that you will ever be constant and persevering in this duty, until you shall have obtained a better principle in your hearts. 

Jonathan Edwards


I never knew

The morning comes with light to my soul
And lo I knew its source.

For the night had been dark for long
Lost in my sins
                        and fantasies.

Alarmed dismay the morning will sing
Frantic noise I cannot sustain
To arise again to this gall and bitterness
Yea this bitterness of my hardened soul.

That cup in which He trembled to drink
I did entirely reflect that double was my portion of it.

For no sinner like me there ever was and will ever be
I was frayed,
                    Dreading to wake.
But I never knew in the sunrise

Kind-heartedness He would confirm
That He would breathe life into me
Escorting me to repentance,

And once again cause a Praise
              To arise
From the mouth of a pitiful saint

K.Oni

I dance to your tune

I heard your story
I heard your ways

Beautiful like butterflies
Sparkling like diamonds

Your wings will fly
As  you soar the skies

Your name will be among the stars
Never to fade nor perish

Though we are fading flowers
And the leaves do fall

But you will stand because
You have trusted in Him

So I dance to your tune
To your melody that draws me

K.Oni

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Four new things

A good friend of mine on Tuesday asked me a question and the question was, ‘what’s new for you this week?’ In my dejected state I replied and said ‘not much, not much at all’, but in fact that wasn’t the whole truth because in thinking about her question, a couple of things, some to my surprise are in fact new. There are four new things which have happened to me.

1. A new Love for fair trade 70% dark chocolate.   If you knew me and my hatred for the taste of dark chocolate then this news would be a complete shock to you but yes I have moved past my original feelings for dark chocolate which in itself was a tremendous shock to me for I confidently asserted that I would never like such a chocolate for it was too bitter for my sweet tongue. But lo and behold I now enjoy it and deeply understand why people love dark chocolate. Also this perhaps could be related to people’s initial reaction to Jesus. They hate him and find him to be bitter, but when they encounter him like the apostle Paul, Jesus becomes the sweetest thing to them and he who once was bitter, yea a kill joy to their earthly pleasures is now the One with the fullness of life which their new hearts crave so violently.

2. Friends of the Earth. I was about on my way home from town when I was stopped by a lovely girl called Anna. She was a fundraiser and I had been a fundraiser and I love talking to fundraiser and when she stopped me, I gladly stopped and for the next 40-50 minutes we had a lovely conversation ranging from the activities of Friends of the earth, to her personal life and ultimately to the gospel. I shall briefly tell you of how we came to talk about the gospel but the whole conversation was very interesting and she said so herself. Focusing on the gospel, she told me that she had some pains in her body and seeing this as an opportunity I told her of my visit to bath where I saw Jesus Culture and witnessed many healings. She was surprised and asked me whether I grew up in a religious home, I replied positively and then outlined for her sufficient reasons to give the bible a hearing which then paved a way to telling her the gospel. She did raise one good objection which was, ‘the disciples could have stolen the body of Jesus because they felt so guilty for having deserted him’. I told her to think about it and if it was so, then the disciples would have been guilty of a greater crime because many more people, thousands lost their lives because they preached a false message. Now which is more evil? She agreed and I told her the good news of Christ Jesus and through my encounter by the grace of God, her opinions of Christians shot through the roof because her past experience was that Christians were passive so I told her that God is in the business of reconciling the world back to himself. Also she asserted that she would pick up her dusty bible and read it and I told her to read the sermon on the mount and Johns gospel. There are many more things I could write to encourage you but glory belongs to our God. Also I did sign up and now I give £10 a month beginning in December.

3. Harmonica. I purchased a simply harmonica book and DVD box set and it came with a good quality harmonica. I thought it wise to learn an instrument in my spare time and perhaps it may be a good skill to have since I have not many skills. Learning thus far as been good and very soothing to my soul, I play notes at random and love the sound of it. When I play I think of David, yea David the shepherded when he would play his instrument to King Soul and those evil spirits sent from God would depart from him. When I see those corrupt principles in me or when I’m hit with a dose of melancholy, I simply put my tongue to the tune and lo the spirit of gentleness sits with me and temptations fly from me as far as the east is from the west.

4. Leading bible study. At UWE Christian Union, I am currently a supportive bible study leader which means that whenever the existing leaders can’t make the study, I step in and have the privilege of leading souls to the wonders of the word of God. My aim in leading bible study is to hopefully excite in people a passion for Jesus and a deep love for him. I aim to excite all of their faculties, yea even their minds and emotions so that Jesus can be their all satisfying desire and joy amidst the fountains of worldly activities. But before I excite this in people it must first be excited in me because one thing you must know about me is that if I have no Joy in Jesus I would display an almost unmissable sadness that I cannot hide though I try and my conversations with you would be very brief. Also  if I appear dejected it is mainly because I have no experiential peace with God at that moment although I am always at peace with God because of Christ death on the cross. And also if I appear to be enthusiastic it is because I feel the weight of his love upon my aching soul and thus I am with you. So how I am with God naturally expresses itself of how I will relate to you. Although it is to be said that it is more complex but nevertheless this is the crux of it. The bible study went well and I did excite in people a more deeper love for Christ and how awesome it is that Jesus is God, yea, the Word made Flesh.

So four new things have happened to me this week and perhaps there is more but I believe that this is sufficient for this post.

K.Oni

Psalm 1- An exposition

By K.Oni


1. Blessed. The book of the psalms opens with a benediction which is a state of being blessed and the word translated is plural meaning blessedness. The rest of the psalm distinguishes between the blessed man and the man who is not blessed at all because he is not in a state of being blessed. As a Christian one should be abundantly joyful because we are in a blessed state and that always because God has justified us in Christ Jesus. There is therefore no more condemnation for those who are blessed in Christ Jesus but there is still condemnation for those who are not in a state of being blessed in Christ as the psalmist reveals in vs. 4 & 5. Note, that this should cause you to rejoice and perhaps to enjoy your blessedness it is wise for you to consider what it is that you have been blessed with and a searching through scripture should reveal this to you and cause you great excitement because now the LORD watches over you and he does it like a joyful mother looking after her precious son or like a bridegroom caring for his bride.

The blessed man is described both positively and negatively. The blessed man is a man of such character who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, that is that the blessed man does not take advice from the wicked, he despises their company and does not give a thought to any of their suggestions. Also the blessed man does not stand in the ways of sinner. This implies that a man of God should not accompany himself with those who do evil, to stand along side them as if supporting their activities. Although it does not mean that one should not be with sinners for then that would mean for you to go out of the world but for the blessed man not to stand in their ways or conform to their ways.  The blessed man does not sit in the seat of mockers, that is that his ears are to sensible for the things which are holy and despises those things which are profane. When mockers begin to mock God, he stands up and departs, taking no delight in their folly and becomes greatly offended when they use God’s name in vain. The blessed man Loves God and must naturally hate the things that God hates and we see in vs. 2 that the blessed man’s delight is in the law of the LORD. This is his positive character. This was the longing of all those men in Psalm 119, to delight in the law of the LORD and to keep them, especially in vs. 97 which reads ‘Oh how I love your Law, I meditate on it all day long’. Oh how this spirit is so much needed in our churches today, to love the Law of our precious Saviour, Jesus Christ. The messiah himself said that ‘If you love me, you will obey what I command’. And even more so those who love the Lord delights in his command and we see this active fruit in the blessed man, yea he delights in his law and that is that all of his faculties are excited. For when he reads of the two great commandments his heart is so excited that he longs to do them, yea it becomes his passion for he delights in it. Consider those things in which you delight to do, how easy is it for you to do them, are they to you a burden but many see the Law of Christ a burden but it is so with them because they have not yet loved the Lord in order to delight in his divine and pleasurable ordinances.  And we in the age of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are under the law of Christ which brings freedom and our delight should far exceed the law which is here in view for we have a greater revelation and on his law he meditates day and night. Note here the consistency of the blessed man, it is not enough to spend ten minutes on the law of God but day and night. It does not mean that one spends the whole day in a monastery but rather the law of God is very practical and it is to be obeyed. Day and night the blessed man loves the Lord his God with all his heart and delights in obeying his commandments and thus his meditation is day and night because all he does is according to the law of his precious saviour.

In vs.3 we see the result of the blessed man who delights in the law of the LORD, for he is like a tree planted by streams of water. Note, that he is like a tree, yea, an healthy tree not a wild tree but one which is planted by streams of water. And here water we can say to be the rivers of grace which plants the sinner in the garden of Christ and is upheld by the righteousness of Christ and the Father loves to tend to it and prune it. We see that this tree yields its fruit in season. our blessed Lord in his discourse to his disciples solemnly told them that ‘neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me’, and somewhere else our Lord comments ‘others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop- thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown'. The blessed man will always yield its fruit in season and regardless which season it is whether it be the season of persecution, the season of trials, the season of being rich, the season of depression, the season of signs and wonder, which ever season it may be the blessed will always yield its fruit and that the fruits of righteousness. And also the blessed man’s leaf does not wither, that is that his righteousness will never fade for his righteousness is in Christ  Jesus, he will never loose his beauty nor would a single leaf drop to the ground. Whatever he does prospers. Here let us consider the only righteous man in all of history, the man Christ Jesus. We see that in his life, everything he did and still continues to do today prospers. He gains victory in all things even in his death. So it is with every blessed man in Christ Jesus because God works everything for our good and happily we should take to the plough especially to that of the kingdom for we are guaranteed success because God works for our good even in our deaths or apparent failure it is eventually to our success.

Vs. 4 solemnly tell us that the wicked man has no part in the blessings of the blessed man for naturally the wicked man hates God and he will not be planted by streams of water but rather the wicked will be uprooted for destruction. No one speaks more plainly of this than our Lord Jesus Christ himself when in Revelation he says concerning the wicked that ‘the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur’. it is a terrifying thing to be numbered with the wicked and I plead with all to take part in the gospel of God and believe in Him who died for their wickedness and was raised from the dead. The blessings of the blessed man is not so with the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. The character of the wicked is that they are like chaff so when cereal crops are harvested the chaff is removed and deposited with the straw in the field. So the wicked are spoken of to be worthless and irrelevant yea irrelevant to the things of God and of his new creation and they will be destroyed with the old creation, yea, with an everlasting stay in hell. The righteous man should be moved by this as God was moved in so far that he loved the wicked man and therefore sent His anointed one to die for them so that whoever believes will not come into judgment but pass into life everlasting. Our preaching of the gospel should therefore be earnest and our praying should be unceasing and our serving should be magnified and our love unconditional. If the wicked man does not come to believe in the gospel, the wicked will not stand in the judgement vs. 5. They will be there to be judged and their own conscience will render them guilty and justice will be their portion. Justice is necessary because God is Holy and because there will be no wicked nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. On that glorious day when the Lord shall come to gather the elect and make a seating for every saint in his kingdom whom he purchased by his blood, joyfully there will be no room for sinners, those yet to be marked by the blood of the lamb and justice shall be served coldly and gladly for the Lord shall rid his kingdom of his enemies.

And a reason for the cleansing of sinners from the assembly of the righteous is giving in vs. 6 for the LORD watches over the way of the righteous. God is constantly looking on the way of his saints, though they may walk through the shadow of death yet his eyes is upon them, a happy smile behind a frowning providence. The LORD delights to watch over them for he is the good shepherded who gave his life for the sheep. He numbers the hair on their heads and although the devil attacks them yet their eternal life is secured and they have authority over all principality and powers. The ways of the righteous shall prosper because God is for them but the way of the ungodly will perish. The end for the ungodly man is certain as is the end of the blessed man. The end for the ungodly man in ultimately the wrath of God in the dungeons of hell while for the blessed man the presence of God forever where there is pleasures forever more. A wise man would no longer delay what type of man he ought to be but the sinfulness of man deceives him. So I plead for you to tarry no longer but to now put your faith in the darling of heaven, the lamb who was slain for thee. Blessed is the man who put his trust in God.

K.Oni