Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A Prayer for my soul - For your church to care

O Heavenly Father, thou art compassionate and merciful, great and glorious. Your name is excellent and so are your deeds. You cause the storm to rise and the mountains to fall. You still the waves and limit its boundaries.  The whole heaven declares your glory and earth is your footstool. You alone with your Son and thy Spirit has worked and accomplished the glorious work of redemption and to this I now turn. I pray dear Father, that you behold your church, the Church of your Son and have great pity upon them especially the suffering churches. Cease the hands of oppression and uphold the arms of justice. Cause the hearts of your saints to persevere, cause our hearts to cry and care. O Father, that your church may be one as you are one. That we may feel each striking blow inflicted upon our brothers and sisters, that we may feel each day lived without food, that our senses may be heightened due to the immediate fear, that we may be able to emphasize just as your Son was able to emphasize with our sufferings. O, cause our heart to break, that we may rise in desperation to seek their prosperity. That we may no longer linger in apathy but dwell in prayer. That we may empty our pockets and purchase materials of blessings, that we may know of what it is to partake in their sufferings. Help us Father, awake your people and I thank you for the many caring saints who have taking up their cause. I delight in them Father. Jesus, continue to build your church and as you build it there, forget not us, but come to us and establish your throne in this camp dominated by materialism and intellectualism. Remove our dross, inspire us once again with your teaching to live simply and radically. Remind us again of community, remind us again of solidarity, remind us again of sacrifice, remind us again of LOVE.

I pray also for the world, for the whole world is in your hands and you have all authority and power. I pray for many governments who have the power to do good but at current are willing evil, that they may turn from their ways and do the duty of their office. We pray for light in our darkness, peace in war torn places, prosperity instead of poverty, grant ways to overcome sickness, above all I pray that the world may come to know and love your Son, Jesus Christ who is Saviour of all who believe.


A treasure Hid on a Saturday night

A treasure was hid on a Saturday night 
By a Scot of a brilliant mind
With housemates near, which one did bump
The other did play a beautiful song. 
Hear the anthem of God’s chosen ones 
Attracting a peacock to peak our joy
Let it rain the skies declined as we marched through the mud-spattered wood 
Where thickets lurch and boys did climb upon a church 
Which once did have a love like ours for Jesus Christ
Verily verily he often would say pray the father for his kingdom come 
With arms held high in unity bound students weigh what contour love may take 
The treasure found by a group of hounds 
A fitting find to end the night 
She did smile a summers smile 
The bump diminished none of her glow which did spring 
From knowing God’s good show


The garden eclipsed by the bright Sun

The garden eclipsed by the bright Sun
Where daises beautiful and bold play out their songs -
It was delightful, no ruins breathing but lilies whistling.
What landscapes blossoms the uprising afternoons - 
Couples twice seen luring the minnowy brooks,
Awaken affections; heavily tapestry gently weave love 
Between greener banks of happy doves  -
Young lambs in springtime adorn the uncounted primroses.
 Laid I webbed sweetened and restrained 
By the beauty of Nature’s sight!


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Letters to Sybil (2)

My darling Sybil, the rain poured much this morning almost drowning the tent in which we lay. Cold are the nights and leaden in the sunlight hours. Even when the sun does pay us a smile without you near it is all a glare. If a bullet or the thrusting of an enemies knife kills me not then the distance that partitions us will eventually murder me. I am not alone in this feeling, for I have made an agreeable comrade. His name is Aemon and long we converse into the late midnight hours talking about many an imperative subject, discoursing about the distressing nature of politics and useless ends of philosophy. We disagree on many themes but both like twin brothers agree on this topic of love where many of our comrades comprehend as a feminine affair. They are beast thrown into a paradise who regards it just like the wild from which they were taken - we are no less men for speaking of such a tranquil weighty subject for we take our course from Him who created it all.

When I speak of it I talk much of you and of Him who gave his life for humanity. It is this activeness of it which has amputated me from your velvety embracing arms. I long to be held by them again and this such longing may yet keep me alive. The first of June will soon draw nigh when your beloved will take up arms against the foe whom so far has no genial spirit or warmth but malicious and malevolent to mother and child. Much would I have preferred the way of peace but these barbarians comprehend or appreciate nothing of her so in conflict we must endeavour and hope without doubt, understanding the fate of our civilization rest in our victory.   

My Dear, sleep I pray in the night and be at watch in the day that perhaps the hands of providence will favour my end; so as to be, you and I will meet and embrace and marry till death steals our love in our old becoming age.

With all the Love and more that a good man can give

The writings of Sunny Caane (1)

It didn’t seem a trifle task when I endeavour to put my hands to the plough. But upon labouring on the task, I felt so much strain that the weight almost became unbearable. It was like walking underneath a scorching heat, like treading on nails and walking a tight rope. I considered much whether to fold my hands and submit to where I came; then I remembered that the master of the business is not so forgiven to those who shrink back. The reflection on quitting became an un-desirous possibility for the weight of it all that is the force of the Master’s wrath will be much more than if I bore this current burden. So I persevered and achieved a noble end; the master was much glad and I too was filled with smiles of tiredness and gladness.

At first I saw him do things that good men ought not to do - it all became clear that men can clothe themselves in godly apparels but when naked they are worse than the devil. It was so with Tom; the shock of uncovering his sin was like the discovery of America by Columbus except I was filled with much sadness. The night was yet young so I encouraged myself to go to his house. Tom lived ten minutes away so I exercised my legs. There was much joy in the air as kids hung round the corner and little ones were leaving the park with their parents. To my surprise tom left his front door on a hatch so I let myself in. In astonishment as I walked to his living room I saw him lying with a woman that was not his wife  - Tom looked up and our eyes met.

Ever since of late I have held on to a fragile hope of love ever since the midnight when I saw her by the bar sitting as lovely as ever a goddess could. I knew her before and my feelings for her came suddenly like a rush of wind on a clear sunny day, it blew and overcame my mind. Since then I have been weak at her appearance and now seems a good chance to tell her. So I did. I approached her walking uprightly and then sat right next to her. Claire I said - she responded surprised that she knew my name. I continued and told her how beautiful she was and dared her to let me be hers. She smiled with her eyes twinkling and then stared into my eyes to say that it was impossible for us to be. I probed her to give me sound reasons why this cannot be and she insisted on a past hurt - she said little of it but this memory has placed a tear in her heart. Unwilling to accept her rejection, I told her that I know its not easy to give up your heart but she must move on from her past, no one is perfect and we all carry a history of which future we can change. I told her to give me a chance, that I would walk the extra mile - I will be the man who will run the hills and valleys with her. 

There is always something sweet, something sorrowful when I come to sit beneath the weeping and happy midnight stars. My thoughts hastily hasten to his small brown eyes where life as sweet as peace once dwelt so abundantly that all who saw and held him were captivated and secured in his joyfulness. I know that much of him is engraved among the stars and the reason why one star in particular shines brighter than the rest since his passing away is because of his uncompressible joy. The tears still fall from my eyes, wetting the blanket on which I lie. 


Storms of life

A glance at the news this week reminds us of the power of the ocean. On the one hand, a 16-year-old girl has become the youngest sailor to single-handedly circumnavigate the Earth. On the other, a cruise liner lies wrecked off the Tuscan coast. As I write, the death toll stands at 16, with more still unaccounted for.
To some the sea is a challenge to overcome. To others, a dangerous enemy.
Other news stories describe various storms and shakings; terrorist attacks in Nigeria, and the IMF’s warning that the world’s economy is “deep into the danger zone”. In the face of such challenges, Christians must draw strength and comfort from their faith in God. The Psalmist writes: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the Earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:1-3). As the Psalm continues, the writer contrasts the violent sea with a stream that makes glad the City of God (verse 4).
Even in the midst of storms, God provides comfort. 
Many people in our society have no belief in a personal deity who offers peace or intervenes in history. When they find themselves shaken by the storms of life, we must be able to offer them a glimpse of the peace that can only come from hope in the Christian God.
On one occasion, the disciples were on a boat in a storm, terrified for their lives. They woke Jesus, who uttered two words - “be still” - and the sea turned calm. It’s this kind of God that the world needs to know right now; a caring, powerful God who immersed Himself into our experience, faced the storms head-on, and in an instant calmed them. As we introduce people to the storm-stilling Jesus, they ought to wonder, as the disciples did: “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41)
The message of Christianity, however, is not simply comfort now, but hope for the future. In Scripture the sea is a symbol of evil, chaos, or hostile powers, so when John writes: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth […] and there was no longer any sea” (Revelation 21:1). He anticipates a day when all elements that currently stand against God’s purposes will be banished forever. With language echoing Psalm 46, John describes a river of life that makes glad the City of God (Revelation 22:1-3). In this New Creation, world economies will no longer collapse, for in it will be the wealth of nations (Isaiah 60:11). There will be no suffering, sickness or death; God will wipe away every tear (Revelation 21:4).
The Christian hope is not that God will evacuate us from earth to a disembodied existence elsewhere; a dramatic rescue from a sinking ship. Rather, God will renew creation, undoing the brokenness once and for all. The storms of life are like birth pains, anticipating the day when God will make everything new (Romans 8:18-25). Until then, we are to proclaim the gospel message of hope. We should seek to alleviate suffering, care for the poor, and give people a taste of what life will be like in God’s New Creation.
Whatever storms you may be facing, take comfort from the promise of hope, and seek to extend His peace to those around you. The same God who said “be still” to a raging sea, encourages us likewise: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). 

David Stroud is the leader ChristChurch London and host of the Everything Conference on 17 March with keynote speaker Os Guinness

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A Prayer for my soul

                              Oh lord I pray that I may live my life to bring you praise

That in me all may see the beauty of Christ

That all may see the overflow of your love poured in my heart.

To you Alone I am living for

So I put my Life in your Hands.

All that I have I surrender them to you

Take it all away if it will hinder me enjoying you with all of my soul.

                      Oh LORD I pray that my life may bring you praise!


Saturday, 21 January 2012

Death will be no death to me

O I wish you were mine 
But my flowers do fade
And the night does come
Where all my sorrows begin again

Tis a wasteland a barren place
Undeniably a deserted Land
I speak not of the desert or mars
But of my heart which finds its home in thee

If I should die with her eyes in view
Death will be no death to me 
A smile will remain with joy, unknown 
The hour when death finally close my eyes. 


A date with Love (1)

Tonight I have a date with Love
Where Her and I shall sit to talk
Of Why of her I have never known
Or me she has not long to show. 

                                                               Oh soul and heart - how dress we tonight of all
Where at last we sit to cite our yearning more
                                                                  Of long we dreamt to have her all
Tonight will she yield and have us all

I knock the blue holy door
                                           Designed with awe and unwelcomed none
                                                  And then Love appeared as a masterpiece
Her glittering eyes encouraged me in

                                 Love’s hall carved like Jesus’ home
                               Angels mounted the open scene with cheer
                                 Where Love dressed in apparel of Gold
                                      Walking me gently to sit me by.

Dear Boy do speak your heart
Hide not heat or cold nor sigh
                                         All I know for all I see
But long and better to hear it from thee....


Friday, 20 January 2012

Gasping for justice

After Stephen Lawrence was murdered his parents faced a valley of institutional failing and disregard, ranging from a press that initially didn’t bother to report on their son’s death to a police force that didn’t bother to investigate effectively. A failed private prosecution and the public inquiry that concluded the police were institutionally racist constituted another two lowlights. In their tenacious campaign to see Stephen’s killers convicted, the discovery of new DNA evidence finally led to their sentencing.
Describing the moment the verdict was announced, Neville Lawrence said: "It was like when you dive underneath the water and you hold your breath, and you have to come out and huhhhh [he gulps in air loudly]. I thought my heart was going to fly out through my mouth and drop on the floor when I heard 'guilty'."
A man gasping for justice.
Much has changed during these 18 years due to the tireless commitment of people who continued their fight for justice. Celebrating Martin Luther King Day we glean from the wisdom of another man who gasped for justice. Warning against “the myth of time”, as if there is something in the flow of time that would correct all wrongs, King said: “Social progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless effort and the persistent work of dedicated individuals.”
Standing on a hill in Galilee, Jesus pronounces those who hunger and thirst for righteousness blessed. It’s that ache for justice that works for them, the very hunger for righteousness that drives them on (Proverbs 16:26). Living in a fractured world, they not only share in the pain but also share in the promise that they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).
In his Confessions, St Augustine describes his search for God:
“You were within, but I outside, seeking there for you…
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness 
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped
and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.”
A man gasping for God - burning for peace, moved by a spirited hunger and thirst.
The prophet Isaiah gives us a glimpse of a similar aerodynamic in heaven where for a long time God has been quiet. But now, He gasps - leading His people by ways they have not known, guiding them along unfamiliar paths, turning the darkness into light and making the rough places smooth. “These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:14-16).
That promise forms the arc over our struggle. Placing the Christian community in the midst of a groaning world, the apostle Paul locates our endurance and overcoming in relationship. Our overcoming lies in the reality that we are inseparable from divine love.
To overcome is also to remain faithful to Christ, exercising a stewardship that reflects his image in the world (Romans 8). As the political activist Helen Keller said: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” People who ache for justice can bring about a seismic shift, affecting moral, social, historic, economic, spiritual and legal dynamics in society while also testifying to the capacity to overcome.
King’s lens was shaped by his conviction that the arc of the moral universe is bent toward justice. The victory “through him who loves us” celebrates Christ’s lordship, love and faithfulness.

Marijke Hoek, Coordinator Forum for Change - Evangelical Alliance

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Miscellanies 28

I am my friend a soul in need of the grace of God. This need is great, so much so that no man may give it but God. It is like being thirsty, more bread will not do but water. Yea, and this grace is needed in abundance for a little dropping of it will not do. A little dropping of water will not do for a man dying of thirst, he needs a tap of it. It is with me, I have thirstied myself with my many sins and now I am desolate, empty and dying - good-works will not clench it nor morality. A thirsty man is in need of water not bread, likewise I am in need of his grace not good-works. I have heard your words my friends and I do have faith - faith as beautiful as she is as not yet departed from me. She is still treasured and priced in my heart but the faith I possess is the one which sees the love of God poured into the heart which makes one say Abba Father. This I must have by experience and it is only sovereign grace which can do such a task. So I wait until I am bathed in his grace, until then I shall thirst and long till his light finally dawns and he kisses me with his grace.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Miscellanies 27

After what felt to be a gravely day, being buried in misery, worthlessness and powerlessness, I felt myself supernaturally resurrected from such dejected state by being among the congregation of the redeemed. All of a sudden it came upon me like mist, feeling no gravity but an uplifting of joy and peace which snuck so quietly into my heart. I noticed it as one notices the sunshine after the passing of the clouds - I felt removed from those things which occupied my heavy heart before and now I felt placed upon the soft ground of hope, security and power. My friends in whatever state your heart may be, do not neglect the church for therein maybe your healing.


Saturday, 14 January 2012

Sound of 2012

2012 has only just begun and I already love its sound. Last week, the soulful young singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka received the prestigious Sound of 2012accolade, topping the BBC list of the most exciting emerging artists. His first television appearance on Jools Holland’s show was described as “a tender moment of humanity in the midst of Bjork's chirruping and the scrappy bombast of the Chili Peppers”. His beautifully crafted songs are peppered with spiritual lyrics and contain a considerable gospel influence.

“Oh my, I didn't know what it means to believe. But if I hold on tight, is it true? Would You take care of all that I do? Oh Lord, I'm getting ready to believe. We'll be waving hands, singing freely. Singing, standing tall, it's coming easy. Oh Lord, I'm getting ready to believe."

Having grown up in Britain after his parents fled the regime of Idi Amin, Michael ascribes his growing love for music to the influence of his schoolteacher in Muswell Hill, who encouraged him to play and explore various musical styles. In the midst of the bombastic drums of league tables, the annual middle class scraps for the best schools and the chirruping of a narrow academic focus, Miss Ogilby’s affirmation helped shape her pupil’s musical capacities to their full potential - a tender moment of humanity indeed.

We can all contribute to such a distinctive Sound of 2012. Investing our best in people. Composing new sounds in harmony with God’s Spirit. Writing new lyrics that resonate with timeless truths and melodies that do not harmonise with the dominant popular tunes. For, while dissonance sounds less than "harmonious" to some ears, it is a requisite part of most compositions - without it music tends to command little attention.

This week the BBC launched The People's Passion, a brand new choral work that can be performed by people across the country at Easter. Schools, existing choirs and those still to be formed in communities or at work can be part of this nationwide premiere - “a moment of national harmony”. Alongside it, five new plays on the daily life of people working in a fictional British cathedral will be broadcast, containing new compositions. During Holy Week, the drama and music will draw people into the Easter story.
2012 is only two weeks old, but each week has brought a new, fresh and creative sound, the resonances of which can be endless - the harmonies of which can truly glorify God.
“A moment of national harmony” may be too ambitious a key to hope for, but “…singing freely, standing tall, I'm getting ready to believe” that God is composing something new.

May we be sensitive to the sound of God’s Spirit and flexible to follow where it leads us, for: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:8) 

Marijke Hoek, coordinator Forum for Change - Evangelical Alliance

Friday, 13 January 2012

How a Christian can live a comfortable life?

Very few Christians have leaned what St Paul learned which is this: “In whatever situation, I am to be content.” If we all take our seat and sit under the high tree of grace, we may all begin to learn this difficult lesson and come to an understanding similar to that which the apostle discovered. This lesson is difficult because it goes first against our nature - the rich man is never content with his riches nor the poor man content with his poverty. There is always something of more attraction, something more delightful, something more satisfying so men whether rich or poor are apt to moan and murmur about their situations. Poor men learn to be envious, they covet those things which they do not possess and when favour falls upon those who already have plenty this favour offends them. They murmur about their misfortunes to God and whereas they ought to be wanting to possess a contented spirit knowing that one’s life does not consist in one’s possessions but in Christ. This bitter poison is also found in regards to gifts; men with one talent are often sitting in the pews in jealousy of those who possess what seems to be a hundred talent. They have a big plank in their eye and being blind to it constantly seek with great deceitful energy to show the grain of sand in their brother’s eyes. Rich men learn to be covetous, thirsting more for gain and profit than being thankful of the grace given to them in their abundance. They become like the grave never satisfied and always lusting, being full of wants and constantly overlooking that which they ought to give a great attention.

Many Christians are far from contentment but many are discontented. They complain inwardly that another has a better spiritual gift, more beautiful, more riches, more grace, better dress, more scriptural knowledge, more loved, better regarded, more pious, more popular and many other things that discontentment yields. They believe that if they possess these things they will be better Christians but little do they know that God keeps these idols away from them because if they should have it, they will perish with it. Oh Christian, learn to be content in whatever situation you are for if we must always give thanks (1 Thess5:18) then in nothing be discontented.

If you learn this great lesson that the apostle learned, then my friend you will live a comfortable life. The secret of this lesson is simple - it is Christ. What else does a soul need which has Christ as its pride, joy and glory. Surely everything else is as dung, as trash for the fire. If your child is taken from you, you have Christ to whom all things are counted as loss. If that girl or boy don't love you back, Christ will be enough, His love is better and He always loves you. When the wind of adversity destroy your belongings, what are they compare to Christ who is the infinite delight of his Father. Whatever your condition is, sweet or bitter, cold, or thirsty, abounding or in want, the soul which has Christ as the supreme treasure will be content and live a comfortable life* for he has chosen the one thing which will never be taken away from him.


*The way a Christian live a comfortable life is by being content in all that Jesus is for him and to always give thanks to God in every situation knowing the hands of providence is always at work painting and decorating the soul into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Friday, 6 January 2012

A Word for Those Who Have Forsaken Jesus

How eager Jesus was to restore broken fellowship with his apostles after the resurrection! Surely this is a sign of how eager he is to restore us when we have drifted (or bolted) away.
All the apostles had forsaken him. In the garden, at his most sorrowful hour, "They all left him and fled” (Mark 14:50).
Now he was raised. What would he say to those who had abandoned him? Three healing things:
  1. To Mary at the tomb: “Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17)
    “Brothers!” “Your Father!” “Your God!” I am going now. You will come later. We are, and we will be, together. I forgive you. Our Father forgives you. 

  2. He finds the apostles, stands among them, and says, “Peace be with you.” He showed them his hands and his side — horrible reminders of what it cost him when they forsook him. And he says again. “Peace be with you.” (John 20:19–21)
    “Peace!” Not “Shame!” I forgive you. I take you back. I entrust you with my mission: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21)

  3. To Peter, three times: “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” And to his three positive answers, Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15–17)
    I have not given up on you, Peter. You are a shepherd of my sheep. Do you recall that I prayed for you? I told you what was coming. I never let you go. My command was a promise: “When you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32)
Jesus was eager to repair the damage that had been done. Eager to forgive, restore, recommission. If you have forsaken him, let him down, offended him, take heart, he is not less eager to repair things with you. Seek his face. Ask him. Receive his grace.

By John Piper

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Constrained by a lower theme

Forgive me Lord for how I be

Currently constrained by a lower theme

Of love below the heights of Christ 

Which brings me down to own a frown.

But I must yet with all my strength

Take hold of that higher theme

Of Christ unending love for me

Which cannot fail nor death destroy. 

It's hard to party when my Brother’s and Sisters are suffering

 ‘In the last days the hearts of many will grow cold’ - these words in surveying my week has almost ringed to be true. Cold towards what? Towards Christ and his church. Much of it has been due to the overwhelming influence of worldliness and sins in my own soul. But it is not entirely frozen; praise be to God for his mercy and for putting his defibrillator to my chest to awaken in me a cry - that is, a heart felt passion and anguish for my suffering brothers and sisters in this Christ soon completely redeemed world.

Recently in my own country of Nigeria, multitudes of Christians have perished at the hands of terrorist, and the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has issued a warning to all Christians in Northern Nigeria to flee given them three days to leave otherwise they will further their attacks. The Nigerian government has sworn to act with the President Goodluck Jonathan vowing to crush the group. 

Many in the middle east are undergoing an exodus on a massive scale. In Tunisia, priest are being murdered, in Uganda acid was thrown on a bishop, in Natoo village four leaders of the church was warned that if they refuse to give up their faith they would be evicted. In Indonesia anti-Christian incidents nearly doubled in 2011. In Beijing Forty-eight members of the Beijing congregation were arrested because they met outside; in Saudi Arabia the newly crowned prince headed the religious police for many years. In Sudan persecution increases, in Somalia, Muhammad a convert to Christianity had his house burnt down by al-Shabaab militia. How many more persecutions are happening but never make the news?

Persecution is no new news to Christianity but what is is the lack of solidarity or heart felt sorrow towards those being persecuted. I cannot speak of statistics but I can speak of my own life. Although I do pray for many persecuted Christians it is often casual and are soon forgotten. At times my heart goes out towards them but it is not enough. My heart should be as that of the Apostle Paul who said ‘And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches’ 2cor 11:28. I pray that this too will weigh heavy upon our hearts.

I thank all of the organizations and people who are employed in this duty of helping and seeking the welfare of many persecuted Christians - I pray that this may be all of our concerns. Let us tarry in prayer for them and give as we are able to remembering that they are part of the same body and their master is the same as ours.

I pray for the governments of the west to act and take an active action in eliminating this threat. But we do not pray for their death but for their conversion, for their welfare to have an ideology of love and mercy. 

With a heart of deep compassion for my brothers and sisters in Christ, it becomes extremely difficult to party when so many of them are suffering. But I do remember those words of our Lord Jesus Christ Matthew 5:10-12 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” 


Book Review: Damned Nations: Greed Guns Armies and Aid

Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid. By Samantha Nutt. McClelland & Stewart, 272 pages, $29.99This book is a culmination of two decades of Samantha Nutt’s works in the field of war and human rights.  She wrote this book to challenge prevailing assumptions about the factors that lead to war, and what we might do differently. Being an infant in this field of war and humanitarian issues, this book has rapidly nourished my growth into a young man who now has a clear understanding of the factors that lead to war, methods which develops aid programs and the importance of social change through education especially the education of women.

Nutt, in her book shares with us her experience of her presence in some of the most hellish places on earth from Somalia and Congo to Iraq and Afghanistan. Combined with her experience, Nutt excellently analyses the problems of current policies in humanitarian aid and how rich countries are not doing enough to stop arms flowing into the war-torn areas around the world. Arms distribution argues Nutt is one of the main reasons why peace in this war-torn countries is far from being accomplished. She writes ‘Peace development and security will remain stubbornly out of reach for any civilian population choking on weapons fed to them by countries with eighty times their GDP.’ Her fight is not merely with government officials or CEO of multi-national companies, it includes us all. Speaking of her own country, Nutt writes ‘Canada, which is among the world's top 10 arms exporters, has had one of the lowest international arms transparency ratings.’ Because of this, we have all became a part of the problem as Nutt puts it  ‘When our national pension funds profit from this social malaise, and when our prevaricating governments — wittingly or not — would rather give a one-fingered salute than open the books on what, precisely, is being shipped to whom, we too have become part of a very sinister equation.’ The terrible truth affirmed by Nutt is that we are all consumers of war.

In dealing with issues concerning humanitarian aid, Nutt cuts right to the chase. She exposes the lack of distinction and clarity there is when Armies are the agents primarily responsible for carrying out aids. Nutt says emphatically concerning this issue that ‘The business of saving lives is no longer distinct from taking them’ and ‘Security interests trumped humanitarian and development concerns’.  This has led to the erosion of humanitarian space and the security forces taking up this role only breeds more hatred in the minds of the local citizens because some are deeply convinced that the occupiers are the enemy.

Nutt highlights the selfishness of aid organizations, large and small who serve their own fundraising objectives rather than serving those in need. She exposes the wasteful nature of volunteer tourism in which gawkers and do-gooders are unable to resist the urge to do something. Whilst their motives are good and commendable, it is better long-term if the local people could be employed to the working positions rather than short-term volunteers.  Also says Nutt ‘Ethical, responsible developments programs serve the needs of communities first, not the yearnings of students in their gap years.’

Nutt is not opposed to aid but speaks realistically that aid, ‘is an imperfect response to a violently imperfect world. She continues, ‘aid can be enormously beneficial in improving education and health, strengthening governance, and promoting social stability. Aid has the potential to be of tremendous value in tackling systemic injustices and inequities, and in curbing deaths from war, famine, and natural disasters. The challenge is in knowing which factors contribute to the various sides of this equation.’

There are much to be said of this book but to reduce its longevity I’ll conclude with some of the practical solutions Nutt presents to some of the issues she stresses. Nutt suggests that ‘When making decisions about who and what to give to, look for organizations and initiatives that directly improves woman’s lives through community based development’. Nutt is fully convinced that ‘Local women’s organizations are critical to the struggle against violence and injustice, and women and girls born into environments hostile to their full and equal participation as citizens have waited long enough.’ Also she appeals for Electronic companies to make more efforts in naming their suppliers, complete their chain supply audits, and improve transparency to minimize conflict minerals. For Nutt education is key, especially education of women as suggested by the moving story she documents. ‘Has any of this helped you? All this humanitarian effort (Nutt asks a woman who has had her share of the problems of war and have been enrolled into a development program). She stooped to the ground and wrote her name on the sand and then said next I will write my sons name.’

A Somalian boy looks out over the Seyidka settlement for the famine stricken near the capital Mogadishu in September 2011.K.Oni

Purchase at: http://www.mcclelland.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780771051456#desc

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Book Review: The next door boys

The Next Door BoysLeigh’s past year has been spent battling ovarian cancer; after defeating the disease she is determined to be independent by going to college. Leigh has been known as a lot of things - the girl who sings, Jaron’s little sister, the girl who sews and the girl with cancer. Leigh wants to live her life and college offers her that freedom but her parents would only let her go if she lives next door to her brother. 

This is the first Mormon fiction book I’ve ever read and I’m glad I read it because it introduced me to the experience of Mormon student life. This story follows the life of Leigh Tressman detailing her experience of college as she faces the normal pressures and demands that most girls encounter. Leigh, unlike most other girls had recently overcome ovarian cancer and the pressures and demands of college life is heightened. 

This book at its core is romantic as well as displaying the different dynamics of relationships. Leigh as a strong relationship with her brother, who is very protective of her and he is an example for how guys should care for their sisters. Leigh has a more evolving relationship with Brian who is the other boy next door. Seeing the friendship between Leigh and Brian evolve is one of the main attraction of the book. It is slow in developing and mixed emotionally.

Overall this is a good fiction to read; the story develops gradually sustaining the readers attention who is always intrigued to know of what will happen next in Leigh’s college experience.

purchase at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-next-door-boys-jolene-b-perry/1103696437


Book Review: At the throne of Grace

book title frontThis book is a collection of Pastor John’s scripture readings and prayers that serves to edify, encourage and stir up Christians to have a deeper communion with God. Pastor John takes a passage of scripture, and then in prayer expounds upon it before his sermons. The depths of the prayers displays the heart of a man who has truly devoted his life to God and to knowing him. This book offers the reader an opportunity when lost for words in prayer to read these prayers as a way to express their feelings and desires. Each prayer begins with a brief scripture reading and a devotional and then comes the sample prayer. The reader has the freedom to begin wherever they like. Personally, the greatest benefit I received from this book was how it has directed me to other book on prayers such as the Puritan Prayers and also the book's clarity in revealing through prayer God's character.  


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy new year

My friends, I hope that you are not among those numbers who think that by beginning the new year in church they will obtain and have the favour of God. Such nonsense belongs in a pigs field and not in the sanctuary of God’s counsel. Although I would rather have you found in the company of saints where sin cannot reign without being challenged and put down. But I know that some of you are of a better mind, you love the church of God and the company of the saints; so it is your souls delight to be found with them in the inauguration of the new year. Your will is good and throughout the year your feet will continually be found in the sanctuary where the redeemed gather. But for those of you who only attend to acquire God’s blessing and favour for the new year, fear; and be filled exceedingly for if God was to give you your proper wages it is death and hell. What you seek is good, for God delights in us seeking his blessings and favour but your approach is abominable to him. He knows your kind, knowing you have no real love towards him or affection but you are only there to abuse his gifts. You are better of not seeking him but I beg you to change your approach. Have a heart that truly wants Him for all that he is, love him and start by believing in his glorious gospel. That gospel which says For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

And some of you my friends have no inclination towards God whatsoever - many are found in my generation who call themselves agnostic when properly they should call themselves droopy, lethargic and unconcerned. God features not in their new year and some wishes him entirely gone because they have planted for themselves pleasures which are contrary to his ways. For you my friends I beg, to consider your ways in this new year. Life is a fading flower, here today and gone tomorrow. You read the news of daily occurrence of murder and deaths, how there are a million ways to depart from this world - would you not be so wise to make your eternity secure? My prayer for you as I have no confident in your will to repent that God will work so mightily in you as to open your eyes, so that you may see the flashing lights of the gigantic train which soon will crush you if you do not move out of its way.

This new year will bring with it many sorrows and many joys - God in his wisdom has hidden the future from our eyes. It is like walking in darkness wherein God has put out his arms for us to hold - his arms is outstretched and this year God is calling you to take his arm so as to be your guide. If you refuse, sooner or later death or something of its kind will swallow you up forever but with God, you are safe for all of eternity. He will at last bring you to that green pasture which is the end of all who by faith have taking hold of his arms. I wish you a happy new year and I pray that you live it day by day without fear or anxiety for he who is called Christ once said ‘fear not for I am with you’. Therefore tighten your belt and salute the new year with a solemn confidence that God who has marched the days before you will see you through every trials and joy, knowing that you are much loved by him because of that deed which he planned before time began and completed in the fullness of time namely the death his only begotten who is true God from true God and true light from true light.

Happy new year my friends!


Dedicated to excellence

I ought to be dedicated to excellence, that everything I do is done to the best of my ability. We ought to give all to God and do all as if ...