Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Surprised by the gospel

It is a cry of derision to find in my soul impure motives in good deeds that are not to the glory of God. It is a worser cry of abominable filth when my actions are contrary to that of the nature of the divine. It is a shameful truth that I a wretched soul made to live on this earth to the glory of God have failed so miserably. I have in me uncountable idols, uncontrolled passions and earthly lust of which degrades the attributes of my Holy maker. I have indeed become a marred clay, a broken vessel, an unworthy creature unfitting for blessing of the sun and the satisfaction of the earth’s produce. If this be as I am before my eyes, how much more a pity and worm would my maker make of me? How much more a son of perdition, a being fitting for the eternal habitation of hell! It is not secret knowledge that God should hate me, have I not done all that his contrary to his will and does not justice fall blindly on evil doers? Yea, His sword falls sweetly on the wicked although he does not delight in their death yet it pleases him to vindicate His justice and to rid the earth of such vile creatures. For such a creature I was and such a view of God I knew until one with beautiful feet came with news; a most exciting news that God loves me in my miserable condition, he loves me and had send his Holy One to die for me and take my place. The news unfolded like pleasantries to my ears and in all of my imagination I could never have conceived  that my Maker himself would die for me. This only shows the mountain of how hideous my sin is but displays the magnitude of His love towards me. I am surprised by this news, by this gospel, that my God, my Holy maker should call for my reconciliation and fathom the happiness of his grace for me. Today I have become a man freed from eternal guilt and for the first time I love my God for He has first loved me.

K.Oni

Monday, 28 March 2011

Rene and Poet - part 6

Poet: Perhaps tonight she may know my Love for her. Not because she is beautiful but because she is more of me as I am. I tell you our souls are made of the same thing. My love for her is as the eternal sun, always shining and never fading. Oh I am hers, our separation is unspeakable-  Shall she refuse me, what will I do except to sit in my grave and close my casket. She is my idol, and thus far a bitter life I have fought and struggled only for her.

Rene: Oh Poet, you speak as if she is all of your entertainment and have forgotten me. Am I not a pleasure to your soul, am I not the boy you love to kiss in the rising of the sun. although I do not compare our loves yet am I meaningless to you when you speak so lofty of her.

Poet: Oh Rene, let my tongue be cut if I have offended thee; you are to me many waters, the refreshing of my soul, the comfort of my misery. But I am a man weak to her affection, I speak without sense and live when I see her a clueless man. Oh she is to me the magic of life, the limit of all beauty and joy. 

Rene: Poet my sweetness, refrain from making her an idol for she is not God

Poet: AH! she may not be but it is evidence that she is the daughter of God for only such hands could make such beauty.

Rene: Oh foolish poet, utter no such blasphemies for we know that God only has a Son. Nevetheless come with me.

Poet: Whereto my love?

(he grabs Poet and led him gently to the mouth of the river where they collected colourful pebbles for their evening adventure). 

K.Oni

Saturday, 26 March 2011

When its fully awake

But here I speak, my blessed she 
My blessed miss will you give me a kiss? 


O Man of me, my darling He
Shall I resist your redly lips?


Sweet the warmth you are to me
My blanket when the cold reveal


And you a tune of soothing love
The life the light the comfort one!


O; I do love your ways
Blessed be, the day we met


The day we slept two miles apart
Two nights from now we will twine!


Then dine with wine and kiss goodbye
To wake with the sun of my life.


But now we wait, still and say
Love be aroused when its fully awake!


K.Oni


An heavenly Child

Did ever such view meet an eye


Without the mind overwhelmingly high


The scene a distinct picture be 


A portrait paint which has no claim.


The tailor sigh no dress could match


Nature mourns no place she found.


Truly, truly she is an heavenly child


A daughter of heaven’s renown


K.Oni

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A prayer for my soul

I come before you Lord, after a long time away
I come to seek your presence.
Help me now to remain in you
Steadily nourishing upon your love 
Steadily gazing upon the brightness of your face 
Feeding whole heartedly upon the comfort of your words.
You have known my struggles and my sorrow
You have known my fight.
Humble me once again, humble me my Lord.
Christ, I have come to see is my lasting treasure 
All other treasures here on earth are sand
But Christ is better than Gold, He never perishes
Nor does He ever lack; Help me feed upon my bread
Help me drink the cup of my wine
That I may live with Joy and dance in your courts
That I may love my brethrens and arbour sin
That I may count your word a delight and pray unceasingly
That I may put to death my members here that Christ may be my Life.

K.Oni

Monday, 21 March 2011

Flawed saints - John Calvin

Martin Luther and John Calvin were seriously flawed saints. The flaws grew in the soil of very powerful and very different personalities. How different the upbringing of the two men—the one, the son of a German miner, singing for his livelihood under
the windows of the well-do-do burghers; the other, the son of a French procurator-fiscal, delicately reared and educated with the children of the nobility. How different,
too, their temperaments—Luther, hearty, jovial, jocund, sociable, filling his goblet day by day from the Town Council’s wine-cellar; Calvin, lean, austere, retiring, given
to fasting and wakefulness. . . . Luther was a man of the people, endowed with passion, poetry, imagination, fire, whereas Calvin was cold, refined, courteous, able to speak to nobles and address crowned heads, and seldom, if ever, needing to retract or even to regret his words.

Calvin’s Accommodation to Brutal Times John Calvin was very different from Luther but just as much a child of his harsh and rugged age. He and Luther never met, but
had profound respect for each other. When Luther read Calvin’s defense of the Reformation to Cardinal Sadolet in 1539 he said, “Here is a writing which has hands and feet. I rejoice that God raises up such men.”

Calvin returned the respect in the one letter to Luther that we know of, which Luther did not receive. “Would that I could fly to you that I might, even for a few hours,
enjoy the happiness of your society; for I would prefer, and it would be far better . . . to converse personally with yourself; but seeing that it is not granted to us on earth, I hope that shortly it will come to pass in the kingdom of God.”

Knowing their circumstances better than we, and perhaps knowing their own sins
better than we, they could pass over each other’s flaws more easily in their affections.
It has not been so easy for others. The greatness of the accolades for John Calvin have been matched by the seriousness and severity of the criticisms. In his own day, even his brilliant contemporaries stood in awe of Calvin’s grasp of the fullness of Scripture. At the 1541 Conference at Worms, Melanchthon expressed that he was overwhelmed at Calvin’s learning and called him simply “The Theologian.” In modern times, T. H. L. Parker agrees and says, “Augustine and Luther were perhaps his superiors in creative thinking; Aquinas in philosophy; but in systematic theology Calvin stands supreme.” And Benjamin Warfield said, “No man ever had a profounder sense of God than he.”But the times were barbarous, and not even Calvin could escape the evidences of his own sinfulness and the blind spots of his own age. Life was harsh, even brutal, in the sixteenth century. There was no sewer system or piped water supply or central heating or refrigeration or antibiotics or penicillin or aspirin or surgery for appendicitis or Novocain for tooth extraction or electric lights for studying at night or water heaters or washers or dryers or stoves or ballpoint pens or typewriters or computers. Calvin, like many others in his day, suffered from “almost continuous ill health.” If life could be miserable physically, it could get even more dangerous socially and more grievous morally. The libertinesin Calvin’s church, like their counterparts in first-century Corinth, reveled in treating the “communion of saints” as a warrant for wife-swapping.

Calvin’s opposition made him the victim of mob violence and musket fire more than once. Not only were the times unhealthy, harsh, and immoral, they were often barbaric as well. This is important to see, because Calvin did not escape the influence of his times. He described in a letter the cruelty common in Geneva. “A conspiracy of men and women has lately been discovered who, for the space of three years, had [intentionally] spread the plague through the city, by what mischievous device I know not.” The upshot of this was that fifteen women were burned at the stake. “Some men,” Calvin said, “have even been punished more severely; some have committed
suicide in prison, and while twenty-five are still kept prisoners, the conspirators do not cease . . . to smear the door-locks of the dwelling-houses with their poisonous ointment.”

This kind of capital punishment loomed on the horizon not just for criminals, but for the Reformers themselves. Calvin was driven out of his homeland, France, under threat of death. For the next twenty years he agonized over the martyrs there and corresponded with many of them as they walked faithfully toward the stake. The
same fate easily could have befallen Calvin with the slightest turn in providence. “We have not only exile to fear, but that all the most cruel varieties of death are impending over us, for in the cause of religion they will set no bounds to their barbarity.”

This atmosphere gave rise to the greatest and the worst achievement of Calvin. The greatest was the writing of the Institutes of the Christian Religion, and the worst was his joining in the condemnation of the heretic, Michael Servetus, to burning at the stake in Geneva. The Institutes was first published in March 1536, when Calvin was twenty-six years old. It went through five editions and enlargements until it reached its present form in the 1559 edition. If this were all Calvin had written—and not forty-eight volumes of other works—it would have established him as the foremost theologian of the Reformation. But the work did not arise for merely academic reasons. We will see in Chapter Three that it arose in tribute and defense of Protestant martyrs in France.

But it was this same cruelty from which he could not disentangle himself. Michael Servetus was a Spaniard, a medical doctor, a lawyer and a theologian. His doctrine of the Trinity was unorthodox—so much so that it shocked both Catholic and Protestant in his day. In 1553 he published his views and was arrested by the Catholics in France. But, alas, he escaped to Geneva. He was arrested there, and Calvin argued the case against him. He was sentenced to death. Calvin called for a swift execution, instead of burning, but he was burned at the stake on October 27, 1553.
This has tarnished Calvin’s name so severely that many cannot give his teaching a hearing. But it is not clear that most of us, given that milieu, would not have acted similarly under the circumstances.

Melanchthon was the gentle, soft-spoken associate of Martin Luther whom Calvin had met and loved. He wrote to Calvin on the Servetus affair, “I am wholly of your opinion and declare also that your magistrates acted quite justly in condemning the blasphemer to death.” Calvin never held civil office in Geneva but exerted all his influence as a pastor. Yet, in this execution, his hands were as stained with Servetus’ blood as David’s were with Uriah’s.

This makes the confessions of Calvin near the end of his life all the more important. On April 25, 1564, a month before his death, he called the magistrates of the city to his room and spoke these words: “With my whole soul I embrace the mercy which [God] has exercised towards me through Jesus Christ, atoning for my sins with the merits of his death and passion, that in this way he might satisfy for all my crimes and faults, and blot them from his remembrance. . . . I confess I have failed innumerable times to execute my office properly, and had not He, of His boundless goodness, assisted me, all that zeal had been fleeting and vain. . . . For all these reasons, I testify and declare that I trust to no other security for my salvation than this, and this only, viz., that as God is the Father of mercy, he will show himself such a Father to me, who acknowledge myself to be a miserable sinner”.

T. H. L. Parker said, “He should never have fought the battle of faith with the world’s weapons.” Most of us today would agree. Whether Calvin came to that conclusion before he died, we don’t know. But what we know is that Calvin knew himself a “miserable sinner” whose only hope in view of “all [his] crimes” was the mercy of God and the blood of Jesus.

Extract taken from John’s Piper book: The legacy of Sovereign Joy. 


Saturday, 19 March 2011

Flawed saints - Martin Luther

Martin Luther and John Calvin were seriously flawed saints. The flaws grew in the soil of very powerful and very different personalities.

“How different the upbringing of the two men—the one, the son of a German miner, singing for his livelihood under the windows of the well-do-do burghers; the other, the son of a French procurator-fiscal, delicately reared and educated with the children of the nobility. How different, too, their temperaments—Luther, hearty, jovial, jocund, sociable, filling his goblet day by day from the Town Council’s wine-cellar; Calvin, lean, austere, retiring, given to fasting and wakefulness. . . . Luther was a man of the people, endowed with passion, poetry, imagination, fire, whereas Calvin was cold, refined, courteous, able to speak to nobles and address crowned heads, and seldom, if ever, needing to retract or even to regret his words”.

Luther’s Dirty Mouth and Lapse of Love

But, oh, how many words did Luther regret! This was the downside of a delightfully blunt and open emotional life, filled with humor as well as anger. Heiko Oberman refers to Luther’s “jocular theologizing.” “If I ever have to find myself a wife again, I will hew myself an obedient wife out of stone.” “In domestic affairs I defer to Katie. Otherwise I am led by the Holy Ghost.” “I have legitimate children, which no papal theologian has.” His personal experience is always present. “With Luther feelings force their way everywhere. . . . He himself is passionately present, not only teaching life by faith but living faith himself.” This makes him far more interesting and attractive as a person than Calvin, but far more volatile and offensive—depending on what side of the joke you happen to be on. We cannot imagine today (as much as we might like to) a university professor doing theology the way Luther did it. The leading authority on Luther comments, “[Luther] would look in vain for a chair in theology today at Harvard. . . . It is the Erasmian type of ivory-tower academic that has gained international acceptance.” With all its spice, his language could also move toward crudity and hatefulness. His longtime friend, Melanchthon, did not hesitate to mention Luther’s “sharp tongue” and “heated temper” even as he gave his funeral oration. There were also the fourletter words and the foul “bathroom” talk. He confessed from time to time that it was excessive. “Many accused me of proceeding too severely. Severely, that is true, and often too severely; but it was a question of the salvation of all, even my opponents.”

We who are prone to fault him for his severity and mean-spirited language can scarcely imagine what the battle was like in those days, and what it was like to be the target of so many vicious, slanderous, and life-threatening attacks. “He could not say a word that would not be heard and pondered everywhere.” It will be fair to let Luther and one of his balanced admirers put his harshness and his crudeness in perspective. First Luther himself: I own that I am more vehement than I ought to be; but I have to do with men who blaspheme evangelical truth; with human wolves; with those who condemn me unheard, without admonishing, without instructing me; and who utter the most atrocious slanders against myself not only, but the Word of God. Even the most phlegmatic spirit, so circumstanced, might well be moved to speak thunderbolts; much more I who am choleric by nature, and possessed of a temper easily apt to exceed the bounds of moderation. I cannot, however, but be surprised to learn whence the novel taste arose which daintily calls everything spoken against an adversary abusive and acrimonious. What think ye of Christ? Was he a reviler when he called the Jews an adulterous and perverse generation, a progeny of vipers, hypocrites, children of the devil? What think you of Paul? Was he abusive when he termed the enemies of the gospel dogs and seducers? Paul who, in the thirteenth chapter of the Acts, inveighs against a false prophet in this manner: “Oh, full of subtlety and all malice, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness.” I pray you, good Spalatin, read me this riddle. A mind conscious of truth cannot always endure the obstinate and wilfully blind enemies of truth. I see that all persons demand of me moderation, and especially those of my adversaries, who least exhibit it. If I am too warm, I am at least open and frank; in which respect I excel those who always smile, but murder. It may seem futile to ponder the positive significance of filthy language, but let the reader judge whether “the world’s foremost authority on Luther” helps us grasp a partially redemptive purpose in Luther’s occasionally foul mouth. Luther’s scatology-permeated language has to be taken seriously as an expression of the painful battle fought body and soul against the Adversary, who threatens both flesh and spirit. . . . The filthy vocabulary of Reformation propaganda aimed at inciting the common man. . . . Luther used a great deal of invective, but there was method in it. . . . Inclination and conviction unite to form a mighty alliance, fashioning a new language of filth which is more than filthy language. Precisely in all its repulsiveness and perversion it verbalizes the unspeakable: the diabolic profanation of God and man. Luther’s lifelong barrage of crude words hurled at the opponents of the Gospel is robbed of significance if attributed to bad breeding. When taken seriously, it reveals the task Luther saw before him: to do battle against the greatest slanderer of all times!

Nevertheless most will agree that even though the thrust and breakthrough of the Reformation against such massive odds required someone of Luther’s forcefulness, a line was often crossed into unwarranted invective and sin. Heiko Oberman is surely right to say, “Where resistance to the Papal State, fanaticism, and Judaism turns into the collective vilification of papists, Anabaptists, and Jews, the fatal point has been reached where the discovery of the Devil’s power becomes a liability and a danger.” Luther’s sometimes malicious anti-Semitism was an inexcusable contradiction of the Gospel he preached. Oberman observes with soberness and depth that Luther aligned himself with the Devil here, and the lesson to be learned is that this is possible for Christians, and to demythologize it is to leave Luther’s anti-Semitism in the hands of modern unbelief with no weapon against it. In other words, the devil is real and can trip a great man into graceless behavior, even as he recovers grace from centuries of obscurity.

Extract taken from John’s Piper book: The legacy of Sovereign Joy. 

A Different man

The context gave rise to a manic man
A distinguished seed among his clan
With consensual nods they accepted his vice
He soon became the cultural type.

Volumes of values verily cried
Volumes of peasants happily clapped
It was a good Friday that he finally had
A rebel rabbi crucified to hang.

A fatal flaw But it was God’s design
The fatal feat which thronged Him wild!   
The man with Charisma which He hanged
Was the Man who appeared and soothed His life!

The context gave rise to an altered man
A distinguished genius among his tribe
With blood and tears He gave his life
For the bidding of the SON he hanged!

K.Oni

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A penitent prayer

Oh Lord my God
Holy and awesome
You are clothed with righteousness and splendour.
I am a worm, a lowly man that is laden with sorrow
For I have sinned against you!
Because I know you and the greatness of your holiness 
I despise my sin and loathe myself for sinning against you.
In times like these, I have no where to run nor hide
For your eyes are upon the ways of men.
Because I know you Lord I am sad
I am downcast within me and I know that you are watching me.
There is one else to turn but to you.
For you are the only God whose mercies are renewed every morning.
Here I am Lord with my impurities
With a broken and contrite heart I come before thee.
I am unworthy to be in the same realm as you
But here I plea in the misery of my bones
That you cause your light to shine upon me.
No more will I indulge in the ways of the flesh
Nor will I glory in the pride of life
But with humility I will have the mind of your son Jesus Christ.
You are my heavenly Father and I plea
That you bound me to your law
Let me not forget in my weakness and let me not boast in my strength
But at all times, let me do your will.
I love you oh God but I pray that you remove from me
The impure motives, the wants of the flesh and the craftiness of my heart
Replace it with your steadfast love and un-bias love.
Let me walk thy narrow path and kiss my cross.
Oh Lord my God
Holy and awesome
How excellent is your name in all the earth.


K.Oni

My Butterflies

At first she appeared a distant figure
Of us with nothing compared.
A tune of harp and drums
It seems a mixture to forget


A silent sweetness aroused my mind
As she drew nearer nigh
My butterflies fluttered about
As if all joys were encased in her.


I stumbled heartedly across her path
For my butterfly to obtain 
The bliss in which they fluttered around
A disco dance they engage!


She played with me a little while
The soothing pleasure of her delight
She teased and heightened my butterflies
Alas till I saw her love at best be fading be!


My play of Life, a tragic end
In the present tense of meeting her
A picture perfect portray her charm
An elusive actress she played my mind!


K.Oni

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

To take my guilt

I deserve no happiness my friend!
Let me suffer and die in my misery;
I am laden with a burden heavier than me
I am filled with an alien guilt of which I know I am to blame.
Why does the sun shine upon me
Why my friend, AM I not a vile soul
A wicked seed of Adams Loins.
Eve did not lure me nor did the serpent tempt me.
Upon my own influence I committed my sacred deed
Abominable to the Lord of host
Vile to the angelic host.
My eyes are waiting for death
Sickness come and strike me and paralyse my joints
Let me know no happiness but fill my days with sorrow
I am a soul most deserving of hell
If there are terrors greater than hell, then that is my portion.
In my sufferings will I find peace
For justice will be mine.
Under the torrent of wrath, I shall be satisfied.
Though my groans may exceed yet peace will fill my heart.
For I am my friend where I ought to be.

My friend, you have lost your senses!
Wake up and sleep not in your guilt.
You speak words of a fool
For if you knew the full measure of the misery of hell
You would speak no longer.
Let me counsel you and bring you to the one who understands your pain.
I hear the whole guilt of mankind was upon His shoulders.
He drank that bitter cup to the full.
To all who have trusted in Him he has taken their portion.
If you will come to Him today, He has taken yours.
And that burden which is upon your back
A gentle look upon is risen face will displace all your guilt away.

I shall come with you to find the truth of your words
I shall walk with you till we reach our shore.
Expect no cheer from my company
Or no words from my lips.
I’ll walk behind your happy face
I’ll walk with sadness on my face.

Oh my friend you do make me sad
A rain of tears flood my eyes.
If I could take your pain I would
But we go to the one with the delightful eyes!

K.Oni

Hell



We have often heard statements such as “War is hell” or “I went through hell.” These expressions are, of course, not taken literally. Rather, they reflect our tendency to use the word hell as a descriptive term for the most ghastly human experience possible. Yet no human experience in this world is actually comparable to hell. If we try to imagine the worst of all possible suffering in the here and now we have not yet stretched our imaginations to reach the dreadful reality of hell.


Hell is trivialized when it is used as a common curse word. To use the word lightly may be a halfhearted human attempt to take the concept lightly or to treat it in an amusing way. We tend to joke about things most frightening to us in a futile effort to declaw and defang them, reducing their threatening power.


There is no biblical concept more grim or terror-invoking than the idea of hell. It is so unpopular with us that few would give credence to it at all except that it comes to us from the teaching of Christ Himself.


Almost all the biblical teaching about hell comes from the lips of Jesus. It is this doctrine, perhaps more than any other, that strains even the Christian’s loyalty to the teaching of Christ. Modern Christians have pushed the limits of minimizing hell in an effort to sidestep or soften Jesus’ own teaching. The Bible describes hell as a place of outer darkness, a lake of fire, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place of eternal separation from the blessings of God, a prison, a place of torment where the worm doesn’t turn or die. These graphic images of eternal punishment provoke the question, should we take these descriptions literally or are they merely symbols?


I suspect they are symbols, but I find no relief in that. We must not think of them as being merely symbols. It is probably that the sinner in hell would prefer a literal lake of fire as his eternal abode to the reality of hell represented in the lake of fire image. If these images are indeed symbols, then we must conclude that the reality is worse than the symbol suggests. The function of symbols is to point beyond themselves to a higher or more intense state of actuality than the symbol itself can contain. That Jesus used the most awful symbols imaginable to describe hell is no comfort to those who see them simply as symbols.


A breath of relief is usually heard when someone declares, “Hell is a symbol for separation from God.” To be separated from God for eternity is no great threat to the impenitent person. The ungodly want nothing more than to be separated from God. Their problem in hell will not be separation from God, it will be the presence of God that will torment them. In hell, God will be present in the fullness of His divine wrath. He will be there to exercise His just punishment of the damned. They will know Him as an all-consuming fire.


No matter how we analyze the concept of hell it often sounds to us as a place of cruel and unusual punishment. If, however, we can take any comfort in the concept of hell, we can take it in the full assurance that there will be no cruelty there. It is impossible for God to be cruel. Cruelty involves inflicting a punishment that is more severe or harsh than the crime. Cruelty in this sense is unjust. God is incapable of inflicting an unjust punishment. The Judge of all the earth will surely do what is right. No innocent person will ever suffer at His hand.


Perhaps the most frightening aspect of hell is its eternality. People can endure the greatest agony if they know it will ultimately stop. In hell there is no such hope. The Bible clearly teaching that the punishment is eternal. The same word is used for both eternal life and eternal death. Punishment implies pain. Mere annihilation, which some have lobbied for, involves no pain. Jonathan Edwards, in preaching on Revelation 6:15-16 said, “Wicked men will hereafter earnestly wish to be turned to nothing and forever cease to be that they may escape the wrath of God.”


Hell, then, is an eternity before the righteous, ever-burning wrath of God, a suffering torment from which there is no escape and no relief. Understanding this is crucial to our drive to appreciate the work of Christ and to preach His gospel.


FROM R.C. Sproul http://www.ligonier.org/blog/hell/

Friday, 11 March 2011

Jesus, I want to walk like you walked

A true disciple seek to imitate their teacher, for the Christian, Jesus as well as being our Lord and saviour is our teacher. We have the embodiment of his teachings in the collection of books we have in the bible and we ought to have the same mind as Christ who says of His own Father that He only does what His Father does, John 5:19. John tells us that whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did, 1 John 2:6. As a Christian I am to walk as Jesus did while he was here on earth. Here is meant to walk in the holiness and purity and to display the goodness that Christ displayed while he was here on earth. Jesus commands His disciples that they are to continue his work in spreading the gospel “The time has come”, he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news”. “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”, Mark 1:15&17. “…. go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”… Mathew 28:19-20. And we read in Mark 16:20 that the ‘disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it’. Jesus also says to his disciples,  “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it”, John 14:12-14. Should you not read these words as if Jesus is saying it to you today if you are a disciple, should you not be encouraged that you are able to do what Jesus did while he was here on earth.

My prayer to my Father is to do his will and that is easier said than done. I long to do what Jesus did and to walk how he walked. Of course we are in a different context and environment but we have the same Spirit. We have the Spirit for guidance, the bible to lead us and Christ himself has given us a pattern. So as a student I am to walk in love, to seek the outcast, to pray, to do all to the glory of God. I am to carry my cross and deny myself, I am not here at university to do as I please but to do as He please. My constant mindset should always be how can I live and glorify Jesus in this area. But I have fallen extremely short. I am meant to be a slave for Christ but at times I have sought freedom although I have not realised it but my actions are quick to betray me. My prayer is to walk as Jesus walked and while this is naturally impossible, it is possible if I am filled with the Holy Spirit for it is then will I be able to walk in Love and power to glorify my Lord and Saviour.

K.Oni

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

My Sleep out

There was about 60 -100 of us who were armed with sleeping bags, cardboard boxes, sweets, chocolates, woolly hats, gloves and uncertainty. We didn’t know what to expect or what the evening would bring but all in all there was no rain and the streets were pretty quiet. We brazed the sub-zero temperature through the night to finish the sponsored event which is a bunch of people sleeping outside for an evening to raise money for different charities who work with the homeless.

This is an annual event and it helps generate awareness regarding homelessness. Alan Goddard, manager of the Wild Goose Cafe which helps homeless people every day, (I was raising money for this charity) believes raising awareness is more important this year than ever before. "Homelessness is getting a lot worse," he said. "The cuts mean government-funded centres are being shut without a second thought, and so charities such as ours need to provide extra support. When the sleepers wake up tomorrow morning they'll be cold and aching, but tomorrow night they'll go back to their beds. For homeless people it is hell every night."

Jonathan Swithinbank, from Crisis Centre Ministries, said: "When you experience something from someone else's point of view you empathise more with their circumstances. The stereotypical view of homeless people being 'bums' and 'junkies' is quickly eroded when you realise how noisy, smelly and cold sleeping on the streets is."

It was really amazing that I was able to do such a sponsored event and it had much impact on me. Since my first year at University, I had in my prayer diary to always pray for the poor in Bristol and I knew not how to help practically. This last year I have been able to help at the wild goose café and to sleep out for the night was another step in being able to help the poor.

My day began with a firm assurance that I had everything I needed for the sleep out; a sleeping bag and a bivvy bag was given to me by members of my church and I had sufficient blankets and gloves to keep me warm. I was picked up round 8:30 and got to our venue at about 9:30. We chatted and then took a group photo for the media before we commence in laying out our beds. My bed consisted of a cardboard box, my sleeping bag, bivvy bag and some blankets with me wrapped up inside safe and warm. There were couple of other students from my church of which it was a privilege and joy to share floor spaces with and we chatted for most of the night. A couple of us did a bit of bible study with intervals of soup and chocolate. We prayed also and as the night went by sleep became a necessity. I slept at 5:00 in the morning and woke up at around 6, I listened to revelations on my mp3. We woke up in the morning and all around us some were already packing to leave and some stayed to have a bacon sandwich. It was refreshing to wake out in the streets but I was glad that I would be returning to my warm bed. This experience has hammered home to me the difficulty of sleeping out on the streets and the many health dangers that comes with it. We had some St John’s ambulance volunteers on duty who stayed up all night to assure us of our safety and to dispatch any medical treatment if need. The homeless are not so fortunate.

I would like to thank all of you who prayed and supported me. I exceeded my target which was £500 and managed to raise over £700 including gift aid. It’s not to late to sponsor me and you can donate via my just giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Ken-Oni. Truly as the apostle Paul says ‘I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength’.

K.Oni

quotes taken from http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/news/Volunteers-sleep-streets-raise-funds-homeless/article-3297716-detail/article.html

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Concerning Spiritual Manifestations

In writing this article I am drawing heavily upon Jonathan Edwards treatise titled ‘The religious affections’. My aim here is to show that those who encounter God are to some necessity bound to display a degree of affection or external bodily manisfestation.

Two weeks ago in church, there were some who were moved by the Holy Spirit so much that their affections was of a high pitch. Some shouted and some were engaged in deep laughter and groans. Doubtless in the congregation that there were some who were ready to condemn these manifestations and prejudiced against them because they are never moved in such a way or think that God is of more a conservative nature.  But when one surveys the scripture one is immediately impacted with the high degree of commands and examples that shows a high degree of affections and emotions among God’s people. For example, take the first commandment: ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength’.  These are accumulations of expressions we are to display towards God and we are to do it with great affections. Love is an affection and so is gratitude, these are expressive in nature and while it is undisputed that love and gratitude are daily expressed with great excitements, should we not to a higher degree do such to our redeeming creator? Absolutely, for we are to love God with all of our mind, heart, soul and strength. In this matter some ought to be shamed and brought to repentance in the lack of affections demonstrated towards God.  Some people’s faith consist in weak, dull, and lifeless wishes of indifference in their walk with God or to say if indeed they are walking with God. But in other matters of life, their affections are highly excited when it comes to worldly interest, their outward delights, honour and reputation, they are fully engaged and display an array of emotions that it is clear that they are moved inwardly. But when it comes to faith and spiritual things concerning Christ, their affections are dull, their hearts are heavy, lacking in zeal, and cold. Such truths ought to move a man accordingly but having no true faith in them are not concerned by it.

But displaying external affections is by no means a certainty that it is from God or directed towards God. A view of pagan religions will prove that some of its members are equally moved outwardly in expressions of groans and laughter  and also to a state of ecstasy in which some do babble in different tongues and we know that the source of their manifestation is not from the Spirit of God but of his enemies, from the demonic realm. Also a man may naturally conjure up and excite himself without the aid of a supernatural being and display such bodily expressions that is contrary to order.

The scripture asserts that no man can see God and live. This here is because that God’s divine glory is too much for a mortal, and the body being weak is unable to bear such power, therefore when God’s presence is manifested upon an individual, the body is apt to react in all different manners and if God should fully disclose his glory unto us in our natural state then our bodies will be unable to bear such transcendent power.  The psalmist speaks of his flesh trembling, Psalm 119:120: ‘My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws’. Daniel in seeing a vision of the Lord says that ‘I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking…I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.. I stood up trembling’, Daniel 10:8-11. And the Apostle John, given an account of also beholding the Lord, says, Revelation 1:17, ‘And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead’. Although Daniel and John saw the Lord with their bodily eyes, we see Him with our spiritual eyes and the same glory can be witnessed by saints today as Peter declared, ‘though you have not seen Him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy’, 1Peter 1:8.

There is much to write concerning this matter but Edward’s treatise concerning the nature of religious affections deals with it thoroughly. It is plain that the bible often makes use of bodily effects, to express the strength of holy and spiritual affections; such as trembling, groaning, being sick, crying out, panting and fainting. But let us be wise in discerning these affections, let us not condemn those who display these manifestations as fools and let us not be ignorant that such manifestations may not necessarily be from the Holy Spirit.

K.Oni

Monday, 7 March 2011

Joy of confession 9

Oh God I feel very sad and sorry for my sins. I feel a bad soul and weak and really sorry for what I have done. If there ever was a broken soul it is mine, and if you were a man I would ask if there was any work that I could do for you. I would happily would have given you my right arm and right eye to show how sorry I am. Oh Lord, have mercy for my sins, pardon my iniquity for I am a man, only here today and gone tomorrow. I am like the flower of the field, and if you do not restore my Joy how can I praise you for the dead cannot sing your praises. I am terribly sorry and please I am a forgetful soul. Remind me at all times to keep away from the door of iniquity but to always stay on the path of righteousness. I am sorry my Lord, have mercy upon this trodden soul.


K.Oni

First and second year experiences at University

I wrote this I believe in my first year at university:

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you don't want to stop praying, you just want to continue. There is so much joy and peace, your body feels free, free from sin and free to love. Oh how I love to come to thee my heavenly Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. I love you oh Lord of my righteousness, I love your presence. Prayer is not boring, but it is exciting, if you ever think that prayer is boring it is my friend a lie from the devil. Prayer is peaceful and full of joy - secret prayer is even more comforting. You who have not yet tasted the goodness of the Lord in prayer, discipline your body to partake in such wonderful delight, in such a privilege. Start with a few hymns, a few song and open your mouth - pray aloud, pray quietly, pray with the psalms and rejoice exceedingly in the Lord, rejoice.

K.Oni

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Lamentations


The world seems again in painful contractions, whether reflected in literal earthquakes or in the metaphoric seismic shifts of tectonic plates. People huddle around graves next to the rubble of what used to be their cathedral and scramble across the borders of what used to be their host nation. The world is groaning, and so numerous sighs and laments rise up. As suffering is an integral part of life, so are laments a crucial part of this faith journey.

A lamentation was even nominated for Best British Single at the recent Brit Awards. The song You've got the Love, originally recorded in 1986, was covered most recently by Florence And The Machine.
Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air
Sometimes I feel like saying "Lord I just don't care"
And things go wrong no matter what I do

Sometimes it seems that the going is just too rough
Now and then it seems that life is just too much
But you've got the love I need to see me through

Laments are dialogues with God, filled with questions, protests, and even anger. They are marked by an unwillingness to settle for the status quo. Life is wrong and God seems to have forgotten about it. On the other hand, laments also recount God’s faithfulness throughout history, and so remind us of the kind of God we are praying to. Gradually, the expectation builds again that He indeed ‘has got the love to see us through’.

In his day, Paul cleverly resonated with the philosophical wisdom of the age. The Stoics of antiquity knew suffering produced perseverance, which in turn produced character. Paul echoes their insight but crowns the sequence with a Christian theme: suffering ultimately produces hope, poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
The assurance of hope is unknown in philosophy. The goddess Fortuna, who personified the idea of the unpredictable and unexplained, became the most important deity of the Hellenistic era. She dealt mortals unexpected blows in life and overturned seemingly tranquil lives without reason. At best, one would endure - stoically.
In contrast, God’s faithfulness solidly anchored the believers amidst hardships. While affliction and the bitter experience of life would cause the soul to bow down, believers call the Lord’s great love to mind. They are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  His enduring faithfulness gives them ‘staying power’ amidst life’s turmoil.
No wonder that when Paul reflects on the cosmic groaning, he places the Church in a central role. A suffering and dysfunctional world is standing on tiptoes, looking for the revelation of the children of God. In them the new creation has begun (Romans 8:19-23). The aching visionaries in and for the sake of the world have a glimpse of God’s new day.
Whether it is in the turmoil overseas or the budget cuts at home that seem to redefine the societal landscape, the people of God are present where the sufferings of life overflow so that the comfort of God may also overflow. We identify with the world’s wounds in the good hope that a new day is coming when all tears will be wiped away. Such laments invite God’s kingdom to come.

Marijke Hoek, Coordinator Forum for Change  (Evangelical Alliance)

Friday, 4 March 2011

Who am I

Who am I that I should be counted
Or that you should consider me
It is entirely at your own prerogative to neglect me
And although my tears may be silent
I will not hold it against you
I will greet you with a gentle smile
From the bottom of my heart where no traces of bitterness remains


K.Oni

Grieving the Holy Spirit

As well as often been moved by the sweetness of the Holy Spirit, I have often felt the extreme bitterness of the opposite. I have in many occasions grieved the holy spirit to such extremities that I felt the sentence of death in myself. If I had not known the scriptures so well, I would have soon lost all hope in repenting of sins for I would have surely believed that God could not so forgive them and that that eternal curse is upon me. Such is my condition in grieving the holy spirit that I become like a zombie an apathetic individual in whose revival laid in the returning joy of the holy spirit. And while His joy is absent so is mine. My countenance is sad and grievous, injurious to the soul and laden with all manner of self pity, I desire no company nor bread, but to be left to the wallowing of my own misery. It is a most frightful taste to swallow but I must eat of it if I am to have any hope of repenting and forsaking my ungodly ways. For this my friend is one of God’s discipline upon his child, a solemn warning not to play, dance or touch the fire but to flee from it. Darkness has no company with the light not does the light desire to play with the darkness but to kill it and entirely remove her from his presence. So must the saints of God deal with sin, they must entirely kill it if they are to enjoy the bliss of heaven here on earth. For in paradise there will be no sin, she would have been cast into the lake of fire and have no more part to play in the saint’s sorrow and anguish. Eternal happiness remains and sin is forever lost, she will be cast among those who entirely desired her here on earth and therein their marriage in hell will be eternal but the misery which the saints here on earth knew due to sin will be magnified a million fold there in hell. Those who have been entirely taken in by her whose sins have not been forgiven will surround her and choke her for the deceitfulness of her lust and trample her underfoot for the wickedness of her deception. While here, she is their friend, but there she shall be their enemy; but repentance doors will be eternally locked that no sons of Adam who perhaps seek to turn will have no means to unlock repentance doors. Some will seek to climb out but they will climb eternally, some will dig and thus dig forever. So while it is still today, harden not your hearts but repent and be forgiven while it is still today. And you saint’s of God, dabble not in sin but flee as far as the east is from the west away from her rest and rest in the delight of righteousness and let your journey be the walk of sanctification.

K.Oni