Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Jesus & the Buddha on Happiness

Greatly disturbed by the suffering he saw in the world, 29-year-old Prince Gautama Siddhartha (563-483 BC), who was later called the Buddha (enlightened one), left his wife and young child and set out on a search for the meaning of life.
What he observed was the impermanence of the world—nothing lasted. In spite of this, people desired these impermanent things. They desired to hold on to life, health, possessions, and each other. But life, health, possessions and people pass away. Human desires would always ultimately disappoint. This, he reasoned, was the cause of human suffering.
Therefore, he concluded that if he could kill desire, if he could be tranquilly unaffected by either good or evil, his suffering would cease and he would be happy. He would be free from pain and the endless cycle of reincarnation. This was Nirvana.
It is ironic, though, that driving the Buddha’s rigorous pursuit to kill his desires was one great human desire: lasting happiness.
There was also a huge, vacuous hole in the Buddha’s pursuit of lasting happiness: no God. The Buddha didn’t say much about God’s existence because, frankly, to him God was irrelevant to human happiness. Rather, happiness was being free from desire-induced suffering and reincarnation. Happiness was the blissful end of individual existence—a sort of sweet annihilation.
 How different are Jesus’ answers from the Buddha’s. When a rich and troubled young man, not so different from the rich and troubled young Gautama, sought out Jesus’ direction for eternal happiness, Jesus replied,
You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. (Mark 10:21)
Notice that Jesus did instruct the man to become detached from his possessions. But he did not mean a Buddhist detachment. He said it another way here:
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:45)
The message is clear: desire the treasure! Desire it enough to count everything else as loss in order to gain it (Philippians 3:8).
The difference is that the Buddha wants to be desire-less and completely absorbed into the impersonal cosmos. Jesus wants us to deeply desire and be completely enthralled with the Person in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
That’s why, in the battle against sinful desires, Jesus is so much more helpful than the Buddha. He knows that our desire for happiness is designed by God, and so is our desire for permanence. They are not evil. Here is what is evil:
Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:12-13)
We are designed to be satisfied with the one eternal (permanent) God. Evil is when we believe that God will not satisfy us and therefore pursue happiness in something else. That’s the essence of sin. And the way we fight sin is not to kill desire, but to abandon our futile desires for broken cisterns. There is no water there. Go to the Fountain!
Jesus and the Buddha agreed that pursuing ultimate happiness in transient things is futile. But they direct us to opposite solutions. The Buddha says satisfaction is treasuring no thing. Jesus says it is treasuring God. In God we get all things. In no thing we get, well, nothing.

By John Bloom

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

There is no friend like Jesus


There is no friend like Jesus. There is no other friend like Him who carries all of my burdens, who is so keen to help, and quick to hear.

He is my dearest friend. The only one who died for me, to save me from the wrath to come. He is the only friend who took my shame, and gave me His name.

There is no friend like Jesus. In seasons high and seasons low, He is there by my side. Encouraging me to carry on, and when I offend him, He never offends me back.

He is strong and soft, gentle and meek, rich and poor, full of grace and truth.

He is my Lord and yet my friend, who laughs and weeps, and cares about my frame.

He knocks every day, with me to eat, instructs me in His better ways.

He cares for adventure, whether tough or smooth, He marches on. Death He mocks, danger He welcomes, Love is His song, He sings all the way.

He welcomes all to be His friend, will you come and be a friend of Jesus.*

K.Oni

*Some people have a bad picture of Jesus and thinks that He is very reluctant to welcome them, or that if they should come into his presence that they have to have it all together. This is perhaps why some people stay way and worship at a distance. Come now to the seat of mercy and you will find indeed a very forgiven friend who does not count your past against you.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Happy Bday Ken


It was my birthday yesterday and what a great day it was. I didn't want to do anything but my friends made it a lovely day by taking me to Nandos. Me and Louis had the extra spice half chicken with the extra spice sauce. Yea, we went all out. A good day overall. But this topped it. Its like the peanut butter on a toasted bread (that's if you like peanut butter with toast). Charlotte made me this card, I loved it so much that I decided to post it on my blog and it is the reason why I am writing this update. It is the best card I have ever received.

Thank you Charlotte.

By the way, the she referred to
in the card is Wisdom from proverbs.

K.Oni


The sweet hour of prayer


Last week was the prayer week at my church, but I had no part in it. I knew about it but wasn’t involved, mainly for reasons of work and other duties. These reasons are not at all acceptable because in reality, I could have set aside time to pray for the Church and its activities. One does not have to be in the space that the church made available to pray in order to partake in the prayer week.

So why was I absent in such a pleasing activity?

The reason why was that I didn’t want to. Not because I didn’t care, actually when you think of it, perhaps it is because I didn’t care enough. I am merely doing a heart surgery here, searching the faults in my own soul. I have at other times prayed for the Church with zeal and passion, but I have noticed that I have forsaken the sweet hour of prayer.

I have forsaken that sweet hour of prayer, which calls me from a world of care, to come to my Father’s throne, to make all of my petitions known to him, as well as my delights. I have forgotten, that many times it was the sweet hour of prayer that lifted my burdens and filled me with the joy of Christ. I have disremembered that the sweet hour of prayer is the upward glancing of my sighs to God, and that God is near when everyone is so far away.

But, the Spirit has made me remember this sweet hour of prayer, and has filled my soul with this sincere desire once again, to go to that place where I can cast on Jesus my every care. It is in that place where my soul can find relief.

My friends, I dare to think that many of you have forsaken this sweet hour of prayer. I fear that many of you have no care about it. The devil has done a good thing in making you pass by prayer for other activities. My friends, I plead with you to come back to this sweet hour of prayer. Whether you do it alone or in a group, I beg you to pray.

One writer has written, that prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice, returning from his ways, while angels in their songs rejoice, and cry, ‘Behold, he prays!’ Can the angels say that of you? Do you find no delight in prayer? Do you find no sweetness in it. Do you not meet God while you pray? Have you not poured your heart out to him?

God wants you to pray, all the angels want you to pray. So what is stopping you from praying? My friend, the only answer one can give in the final analysis is this; it is yourself that stops you from praying.

If you have never embark on the sweet hour of prayer I beseech you to enter it now, or at least have in your soul constantly the song of prayer. For I fear, that after many enter the gates of gold, that the one regret which many shall carry, or bring many sorrows to their hearts is this, namely, they would wish that they prayed more because of the things that would have happened.

Pray my friends while you still can, because there is a day when we shall bid prayer farewell. There is a day when I shall bid the sweet hour of prayer goodbye.


K.Oni

 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

What are the first of your desires?

If God did not save us because of works done by us in righteousness, then how did God save us? I shall tell you. He saved us acording to His own mercy. (Titus 3:4-5).

What are the first of your desires? Are they for gold? Are they for the advancement of your self-glorification? Are they for the pleasures of this world? Are they for the pleasing of friends? Or are they for Christ and His kingdom?

Please my dear saint, do scrutinize the principles of your heart. Do put the blade to it and open it as a surgeon in a matter of life and death surgery. Analyse your heart with care as if all you have depended upon it. Please my friend, do not pass this scene over without much lingering upon its landscape. Tread upon it and see if there is beauty or stench.

A heart born-again will have deep in its soil, desires and panting for Christ and His Kingdom. Those who have yet to see the light of day, that is, whose heart have not yet been born-again will have no desire for Christ and His Kingdom or at least no sweet interest in it. Has your heart a delight in things pertaining to Christ? Do you care about His Kingdom?

You, who call yourself a Christian. Does Christ have the first fruits of your desires? Do you spend the the strength of your joy all on him, or do you have your heart satisfied in the world and then on sunday, come to Christ to pay your due? Aren't you playing the harlot! I fear for you if this is your condition, you ought to 1. forsake your sins and 2. plead to your Father for a new heart, namely to make you a Christian.

What are the first of your desires? Ponder this question awhile, for I fear that many have no desires at all. And some only have desires in words but not in affections. There are others, who have a desire for Christ in the depths of their hearts, and it is them who rise early, and sleep late, living their lives for the glory of Jesus and His Father.

Only if I have this and that says the carnal heart, then I would be happy. But the heart which has Christ as its first desire, will say, all I need is Christ. He is my portion forever. As long as I have Christ I am content. Poverty may become my best friend, but yet I am happy. Sickness may drain my life for me, yet I am full of live.

My beloved, God saved you not according to your good works, but according to His own distinguishing, pleasing mercy. What Grace! If you are not astonished at such mercy, then my beloved, you have not begin to fathom the depths of your depravity and the gravity of your sins. O be sensible and have a passion for Christ, because contained in this passion, in its violent pursuit, and its satisfaction is your greatest happiness, when at last you rest entirely in Christ and behold His glory with fresh eyes, able to comprehend such wonders.

K.Oni


Friday, 25 January 2013

Breaking a bond


It was time for me to leave this world for another. A brief encounter with a strange creature last week, told me that I have been chosen to fight the power of darkness in their world. I accepted but was obliged to keep it a secrecy. To leave is hard, but one must to help a race unknown to me. I have to go alone, and this news broke Billie's heart. He was to me better than a brother. He was there for me in adversity, and in times when there was nothing to disturb the growth of the flowers, He was by my side. Many adventures we lived and our souls have become one. But this unusual chord among men, stronger than that of a brother, deeper than blood, with tears shed more than the forty days of relentless rain, I must leave Billie.  
 
"Will you not keep the bond of our friendship or will you have it fall apart because it is merely your will." Said Billie with an uncontrollable affection filled with betrayal

"My friend, it is not like that".

"Do not call me your friend, when you desire to untie our chord. You have chosen your direction and I wish for you to turn back to me."

Unable to look into his eyes, I uttered keeping back my tears, "This is why I wish to untie our friendship before it goes deeper, and one of us is hurt. You have been my friend, my joy and my supper. I knew no other boy like you. It breaks my heart to part from you but I must walk a lonely road."

"Why must you walk such a path. I can come with you. I am ready at any moment. Just want me with you. Just say it and I am ready to go where you will go."

"You have friends here Billie."

"And you have friends here too. Me. Stay."

"Where I am going, is not a place to take friends."

Searching into my eyes, Billie asked, "Where are you going?"

"I cannot tell you. It is too harsh a climate to watch you drown. That will injure my soul more than the suffering I will undergo." This much I was told by the strange creature who told me of the harshness of the darkness in their land. There was a high possibility that I could fail, and no friend, especially Billie did I want to see die. He has yet much training to undergo. My dream is for Him to surpass me. He has already inherited my will of heaven on earth.

" You said you will be with me forever?" Billie said with tears, hammering his fist unto my chest. I held him and whispered into his ears,

"I did – but words are only words. I said it then, but I must take them back now if they belonged to me. I borrowed it to you for a while, but now, we must part."
The words I spoke were lies. Words are not only words. Promises are to be kept. He is a scum who turns back on his words, but one who turns his back on a friend is worser.  

"Don’t go, without at least telling me where you are going." Billie was beginning to see my resolved will.

"Keep on dreaming my little dreamer." With a tender affection, I kissed Billie's head and furthermore told him. "Follow all of my signs, you have to stop watching me. You have to choose a direction, and when the moment is right for you, you’ve got to go. I have to go now. I am always here in your heart."
At this departing words, I picked up my sword and ran deep into the forest. But before I left, I made sure that Billie was passed out for I knew that He would follow me. For his safety and my sanity, I wish him to stay here and that one day, He will have his own path, knowing that the sky belongs to no one.
 
K.Oni

 

 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

My name is Mali-a-kim


I’m thinking dangerous thoughts,

Everyone is out to get me

So I stay on my own, cuz I don’t want to see the evil in their eyes.

Nobody loves me, I feel it every-time I go to sleep,

Or am I just mad, my thoughts, a product of my insanity.

Running fast, but my palms ain’t sweaty, heart beating fast

For a reason I want to believe,

That soon, the rocks are going to fall on me, somebody help me

I’m trapped inside my own mind.

Engaged in a battle that I really don’t want to fight,

So I write to maintain, a conversation with my own soul,

Knowing he be stingy, he want’s me cuz I’m all he got.

Many tears I’ve cried, veiled within this smile I wear

I really want to care, but my emotions are kept in chains.

Nobody want’s to know, but my name is Mali-a-kim

Raised in a place, that war, was it’s only friend.

Marginalize, there’s a million stories yet to be told,

Before I fold, I’ll write until the ink runs dry


K.Oni

Mali-a-kim is fictional, but I like the name so possibly I might make something more of this. It is a little abstract, but hey, abstracts are abstracts
 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

When a feeling rise


When a feeling rise, only to sleep at dawn

Never awakening again at the first light

Because, her, whom we played with,

Returned not, in the high noon, when the agreed-hour passed melancholy by.

Grieved I, the evening to sleep, knowing, she loved not me.

This memory wore me numb, could she not have played an hour or more.

This feeling rose, despite my reasoning will to avoid sailing her sea,

But now my ship is wrecked, and she came not with a kiss of friendship,

To at least wish me well.

 

K.Oni

What always brings me back to Jesus


There are some days where the last place I want to be is right in the presence of Jesus, or as the beloved apostle puts it, reclining next to Jesus. Instead of being a Mary, sitting and resting, looking at the gentleness of the kind saviour, I want to be a Mary, listening to the clatter of the dishes in the kitchen.*

A reason for this stems from an unwillingness to be chastised, or to rather not see the disappointed look in Jesus’ face.

I feel like Peter, falling on my knees and saying, ‘go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’

Prayer is no longer my friend. Guilt becomes my lover, and worldly sorrow is my unwanted acquaintance. In all this wandering and thirst in famine, there is one thing that always brings me back, Grace.

The Spirit begins to bring to my mind that Christ is not who I think He is. The Spirit reminds me that Christ would not break a bruised reed nor put out a flickering candle. Christ will not at this moment exile me with condemnation, but would nourish me with kindness and love. He is after all, our Saviour. And if He is Saviour, then He must save us from ruin.

This welcoming back is not without the sweetest of warnings, of the danger of sin, and the need of perseverance; but all this is said with eyes full of flaming love.

It is true if Christ said to me, that He hasn’t found my works to be perfect before his Father. I readily welcome such truths, and with wiped tears, I embrace my saviour who gave His life for me.

The Spirit, in grace, brings me back to Christ. I sit like Mary, warmed by the fire of Christ’s patience, gentleness, and dealings with me, which is infinitely better than the clatters of dishes in the kitchen.

K.Oni
*You can read the story of Mary and Martha here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+10%3A38-42&version=NIV
 

 

Book review: The Conviction To Lead


 People are captivated by the idea of leadership. For the last two decades, the public’s fascination with leadership has grown exponentially. I studied leadership as a module in my final year at university, and let’s just say that there was as many different definitions of leadership as there are people who have tried to define it.

How would you define leadership?

Albert Mohler states his intention clearly and warns the reader right up front that "my goal is to change the way you think about leadership. I do not aim merely to add one more voice to the conversation; I want to fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced."

Was Mohler successful in changing the way I thought about leadership?

What Mohler thumped in me through this book, was simply the centrality of what a leader believes to permeate their leadership. Mohler writes: "The church desperately needs . . . effective leaders who are authentically Christian-whose leadership flows out of their Christian commitment."

Albert Mohler states his grand objective when He writes:

"I want to turn the Believers into Leaders and the Leaders into Believers. My goal is to know the blocks out from under the current models of leadership and forge a new way. I stake my life on the priority of right beliefs and convictions, and I want to lead so that those very beliefs are perpetuated in others . . . My goal is to redefine Christian leadership so that it is inseparable from passionately held beliefs, and so motivate those who are deeply committed to truth to be ready for leadership."

In this book Albert Mohler speaks with authority, by applying scripture to leadership and drawing on His own experience in being president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Conviction to lead is a good introduction and abiding principle to leadership, especially for those in church context. But one might need other leadership text along with Conviction to lead, if one is in another field of work.

K.Oni

 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Short story: The sad princess

An excerpt

Once upon a time, there lived a princess who was very sad. No one knew the reason why the princess was very sad except that one day, when she woke up on her twelfth birthday, she had lost her summer’s smile.

The princess’s smile had been so radiant that other kings and queens would travel from afar to see the lovely expression on the princess’s face. The princess’s smile made everyone smile and forget all of their sorrows; so that when this tragedy happened to the princess, her Father was very sad about it, and wanted to regain his daughter’s smile again.

“What shall we do, my queen, to get our daughter’s smile back,” asked the King of his tall, brown, beautiful queen.

“I am not sure”, replied the queen, with a frown that could make a jester miserable for a whole month.

“Maybe we can ask the Princess, your Majesty,” said one of the King’s trusted officials.

The Princess sat in her room with an expression that could make the sun despondent. Her Parents entered, and asked her what could possibly revive her wonderful smile. To which the Princess replied,

“I am not sure Papa and Mama, but I do not like being miserable.”

This made her parents even sadder, and at once they decided to send a request to the whole world offering a reward for anyone who could regain their daughter’s smile.....

You can buy the sad princess here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Sad-Princess-Ken-Oni-ebook/dp/B00IMX47CE/ref=pd_rhf_pe_p_imgnr_1

By K.Oni

Saturday, 19 January 2013

When hope is gone

When hope is gone, despair moves in to the house bringing with him all of his hopeless friends. Never loose hope, even when it all seems hopeless. Remember, with God all things are Possible and that He is Hope that never fails.
 
K.Oni

Les Misérables: a grace-fest

I only came to watch a cheesy sing-a-long with my mate on a Sunday night, but within 10 minutes I was quietly weeping at this story of super-human mercy, manifested through fallible human beings. I’d stumbled upon a grace-fest.
 
“Look down look down, upon your fellow man.  
 Look down and show some mercy if you can.”
 
Prisoner 24601, Jean Valjean, has been granted parole after 19 years: five years for stealing bread for his sister’s starving child and 14 years for escape attempts. Valjean gets his papers, which mark him as a convict, meaning he is unable to find work, money or shelter. My heart hurt with its contemporary resonance. Although the probation service does an amazing job and many charities help those leaving prison find work, the prejudice experienced by Valjean is all too familiar.
 
I work with women in the criminal justice system and have heard story after story of hard attitudes, closed doors where employment or housing is concerned, that could’ve made a difference.
 
Much rejected, Valjean finally experiences acceptance when he encounters a Christian – a bishop – who feeds him and offers him shelter. Not only this, but when Valjean attempts to steal the bishop’s silverware, the bishop covers for him, telling the police it had been a gift to Valjean. This act of grace changes Valjean’s life. I can’t help wondering what would happen if Christians today weren’t known for judgment but for generosity and free-flowing grace? I daydream of a world where mercy triumphs over judgment, no grudges are held, where mistakes are learnt from and moved on from. Where love covers a multitude of sins.
 
Fantine’s fall from grace is next. It transpires she has a child who she sent away to live with an inn-keeper, who she sends money to. Fantine then loses her factory job, sells her hair and her teeth, becomes a prostitute who contracts TB. Again, I think of the women I’ve worked with in prison who’ve had their children removed by the state, who work the streets, whose drug addiction has taken its toll on their teeth and who contract all kinds of diseases. And I’m praying, that those children have adoptive families like Valjean and aren’t left languishing in our over-stretched care system.
 
The film ends with the death of Valjean, who’s met by Fantine’s ghost, singing some pseudo-biblical lyrics such as “come with me, where chains will never bind you” and “to love another person is to see the face of God”.
 
By this stage in proceedings, I was done in. I wasn’t thinking about the terrible representation of women in it (quite literally virgins, mothers or prostitutes) or the problematic elevating of the love story over the political barricade. I was musing on mercy, great huge waves, giant lung bucketfuls.
 
Mercy. How it could revive the Church in the UK, marking it out as exceptional, where all are loved and given multiple chances. Where a perfect God uses His imperfect children to carry it to others. And from my fondness for Brecht in my undergrad days, I remember that to cry at a performance is not the same as having changed something. I must not mistake my tears for engagement and action with the issues raised, with mercy.

Quite a lot to think about on a Sunday night.
 
By Sara Kewly Hyde, theatre maker, thinker, blogger and activist who works with women in the Criminal Justice System. - Evangelical Alliance

Friday, 18 January 2013

Girls are sold for a price

The problem is deep

Humanity has dug its own immoral grave

When girls are sold for a price

At an alarming rate.

Used as a tool, then polished for the next use

Fouler than a trigger

At least the gun ain't alive to feel its immoral use.

This is a war, bigger than terrorism, but

It seems we are all avoiding the training camp of freedom.

Soldiers beat their bodies to kill,

Will you not train to free, sweating blood to see little girls release

From the oppression, creation is crying for law -

Will you cry too? or give some money and time to help the cause, because somebody has to.

I know there's much to do, but a tree grows from a seed

It takes time, If you do not feed a kid He dies -

This cause will never be aborted, even if the government turns a blind eye.

I'm asking you to see the darkness on the horizon, no. It's right on our stage,

Now run with your touch of hope and set the stage on fire.

K.Oni

Watch the nefarious trailer documentary: http://nefariousdocumentary.com/

Will you meet me there?

My friends, yet to believe in Christ, will you meet me there? But where you ask? I shall tell you. Will you meet me on the happy golden shore where time no longer plays her song and death no more hearts to mourn, will you meet me there? Will you, my friend, come meet me in that place where families will no longer part, and all broking hearts mend? Will you run to meet me in that place where all of our cherished hopes are no longer vain, where pain shall not be found nor misery to injure our dance? The storms of life are soon to be over and all of earth's summers are soon to end, for behold, the unfading joy of heaven has ripened, ready to descend upon our passing air, no time left to waste, for now you must choose if you want to meet me there. But how my friend? What way should I go - what must I do? Ah, my friend it is this and this alone, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall meet me there.

K.Oni

The Love that the Spirit shows


Always remember this and never forget it, namely the Love that the Spirit shows when he reveals in the hearts of men Jesus Christ the saviour. When men’s hearts are burdened with grief, laden with the poison of sin and hammered with the nails of misery, the Spirit does in this dark moments shine the light of Jesus Christ. O how amazingly sweet it is! I know you understand my joy dear saint for you have been where I have been. You have felt hopeless, you have felt useless, you have carried the weight of sin, you have felt un-loved, un-cared for, un-satisfied, then all of a sudden there is the sweetness of Christ presented to your soul. Your soul now knows and sees that Christ is all sufficient, all glorious and one who takes away all of your injuries. He is bigger than the wound, He is deeper than the hurt and more abiding than the pain. O you see it is the Spirit’s love and comforting nature that presented to you Christ in all of your ills and difficulties. I know and will forever know that for all of man’s misery and discontent, the Spirit will always present to them Christ.
K.Oni

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Letters to Sybil (5) - Forgive me

My darling Sybil, this letter is for Grace Lovelyawe, that flower planted in the garden of Joy by Jesus when He first thought it a noble thing to create mankind. You my dear, I miss everyday. This war is drawing to a close and having this thorn upon my conscience I desired to write to our good friend, who is a friend of her Christ much more than I am a friend to Him. Instead of sending this directly to her I thought it wise to send it to you first and then you can pass it on to her. It was a matter to be addressed and God-willing that the sun may smile upon this situation. I shall write a letter to you soon.

Dear Grace, to you I have not been a friend, never once greeted you with a tender kiss. I always met you with a frown and did all I did towards you with a greyish grudge. It is not becoming of me to act such but there is an unseen feeling about you which conjures up such jealous emotions. Perhaps I wish for you to speak in a peculiar way to me which never once met your attitude. With others you displayed a sunshine of zeal but with me, you were as dull as the British rain.
 
I assumed your hate, and I felt your loathsomeness of my manners the first time your eyes encountered mine. I fell in love as a brother for his sister when both understand the intensity of family union, charmed by all your feminine ways, but my masculinity must have offended you as Jews were offended by gentiles inviting them to eat pork.

In the following days we met fortuitously, equally excited by the same message of grace; but upon recollection it is clear as one views the stars at night when the tired clouds have departed that you never once thought of me as a friend. You saw me as a rival, one who retained a tower of knowledge and influence which by nature would have been naturally yours in our given environment. But your glory was to be shared. My dear friend, I saw you as no rival for I conceived myself to be below you. Your majesty and far superior nature which I had of you made me think and believe that you scorned me. This bad taste of yours which I believed in my heart brought me to look upon you with red bitter eyes. As a consequence I immediately did all I could to quench the fire that marvellously lit up in me whenever I met you. Such flickering flame will only in the end be blown out by your hateful wind. My love for you and desire to know you as a friend and sister were replaced with the stench of unfriendliness.

It is my deep regret that I acted such towards you. You were a rose armed with sharp prickles. Your coldness froze my heart. Look how we have both fallen! I consider that I can only speak of my perception of you and not in actuality until you confess if my readings of you were correct. If there is any grace in Christ, any truth in His death and any hope in His resurrection, that upon your reply I beg that you lay open the truth and blood of your heart, for I could have easily been mistaken and have the error all in my house. I perhaps instead of reading the actual words on the paper have rather foolishly read in-between the lines.

I do repent with groans and sighs like peter, and I have spoken to the Spirit whom I am sure I have offended by my un-loving ways towards a dear sister who has been clothed with all of heaven's grace. I ask for your forgiveness as the scripture commands  for you have been blessed with that garment of righteousness. I hope to see you again to plea for grace in person, to be once again melted by your eyes, and to act upon you as a friend, a sister, rather than as an enemy.

With all of Heaven's sunshine
Sebastian.  

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Christians: The need for sexual purity. Masturbation


The bible records the sexual failures of a number of men and women even those who are classified as ‘Faithful’ and whose examples we should follow. The Bible has it all in its records of the varying degrees of sexual sins committed, ranging from incest to adultery, and even to a man sleeping with his Father’s concubines. A concubine is a woman who cohabits with an important man. Some of these sexual sins were met with strict divine strokes whilst others were passed over; nevertheless repulsive in the sight of a gracious God who grants mercy on whom He wills.

Sexual sin one man has said is a crime against one’s own body because the body is meant for Jesus, that is, the body is meant to be used in such a way that makes much of the beauty and glory of Jesus. Sexual immorality simply belittles this beauty and stains the beauty and glory of Jesus. This won’t make sense to anyone who is not united to Christ or who doesn’t have the Holy Spirit living in them because they won’t see the ultimate design of what our bodies were meant to be, namely, a Temple for the Holy Spirit. Because our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit which in itself is amazing because we have God dwelling inside of us, meaning that God is always with us, which should fill us with Holy joy because nobody else in all of creation possess such a heavenly privilege not even the angels, we should seek to be more holy and continuously advancing with great hurricane violence on the ladder of our sanctification.

But as you and I know that this precious, sweet honey-coated truth is so easy to forget in the midst of what seems an eternal battle between the lust of the flesh, namely sexual immoral desires against the frail willingness to be holy and sanctified. Of course, some have a steel desire for sanctification but I fear that many who profess godliness on Sunday have again picked up the fan of a frail willingness to be holy and thus they fall and are back in the same place with the same confession.

The sexual sin I want to focus on is the sin of masturbation. Some secular psychologist and medical authorities may say that it is healthy for one to masturbate happily and freely without the need to feel a religious guilt or to be Victorian about sex. This is only to numb the guilt of what has a deeper source of impurity, namely the heart, for as one teacher once said, that from the heart comes all impure thoughts. I am part of a group where some members have shared their guilt and shame from a constant cycle and powerlessness of defeating masturbation because they know deep down that this sin is really a dishonouring of their bodies because of the root of it which is an impure heart.

C.S Lewis helps us see the slavery of masturbation when he writes in one of his letters: 

For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself. Do read Charles Williams' Descent into Hell and study the character of Mr. Wentworth.

And it not only the faculty of love which is thus sterilized, forced back on itself, but also the faculty of imagination. The true exercise of imagination in my view, is (a) To help us understand other people, (b) To respond to, and, some of us, to produce art. But is has also a bad use: to provide for us, in shadowy form, a substitute for virtues, successes, distinctions, etc. which ought to be sought outside in the real world--e.g., picturing all I'd do if I were rich instead of earning and saving. Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.

(From a letter to a Mr. Masson dated March 6, 1956 in the Wade Collection at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL)

This unhealthy use of masturbation is prevalent in men as well as woman in the church. It is a sin which many keep secret and a great danger of this sin is as C.S Lewis puts it is that we keep a harem of imaginary brides or groom locked up in our prison to return their often. We lose in this process a touch with reality and expect things of the opposite sex which only imagination can provide.

As dirty as you may feel in what you know as a Christian to be wrong, yet isn’t it wonderful that God who is holy does not leave His temple which is your body. I mean think about it. God is there to stay, through the thick and thin. You must remember the promise that the Holy Spirit is sealed in you until the day of redemption. So no matter how many times you have failed God is in this for the long run, committed to your sanctification. So I'm begging you not to belittle him by questioning his faithfulness. And also please make much of your bodies in such a way that makes Jesus beautiful.

In this short post what I really want to communicate to many struggling with this is really the grace of God and his understanding of your condition.

The Psalmist writes, As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

God is your Father and He knows your condition. He knows that you are weak and that you are dust. Yet He loves you and his patient with you. Always think of him as a gentle Father who is leading you into maturity. You may have failed a thousand times yet his grace is ten million more times plentiful and abounding for you. He knows that you were going to fail, that is what the cross of His Son is all about. Now, do not let the devil or your flesh rob you of your joy. Repent this instant and begin to enjoy your relationship with your Father who will not give you a stone if you ask him for bread. He will give you bread in abundance.

K.Oni

Saturday, 12 January 2013

I knew a sad boy

I once knew a sad boy, who once upon a time loved to dream a dream. He dreamed one day to change the hearts of men with his words, to elevate those without hope to the mountain of fulfilled ambition. But as time grew on and the winds of sadness and failure blew in his nostrils, He had lost his dream and now only held on to the dream of death.

K.Oni

Are you living for the World's approval?

There are some saints who live their Christian life in much care of what the world think of them. They must be careful that they do not appear too religious, or too heavenly minded that they are of no fleshly concern. They are irritated by those who would stand on street corners to preach loudly the gospel of Christ - they see these as brutes and are very much intimidated by them. Also when it comes to issues which makes the world mad, that any one would differ from them and have such a back-wards view, these saints will be silent and not step on the podium to declare God's truth. In secret they would affirm the biblical stance but in public they would be as silent as the darkness. They do not want to loose friendship with the world and thus they keep in line with all of its beauty and dare not defile it with gospel strokes. Those who live like this are not truly happy or rather they have a grieving conscience because the Spirit in them would have shown them their errors. Why would thee want honour with the world when thou has it with Christ? O saint be wise in your manners and forsake your love for the world. Be gone with it and come to the marital bed to which you have been avowed.

Let the world think what they will of you; perhaps in their eyes you are a cast-away, but remember that in God’s eyes you are precious, chosen and like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood. Be like Christ whom you claim to love who did not seek man's applaud but the praises of God; "This is my Son with whom I am well pleased", came the voice from heaven.

Tell me my dear saint, how better-off is the one whom his fellow friends pleads innocency but the law holds him guilty? He is no better off; therefore what counts the oppinion of men when compared with that of God. God already esteems you and made you his Child. He has already sent His Son for you obtaining your salvation. Has the world ever done such a sacrificial thing for you? No. Be wise Christian and be content with being a favourite of Jesus Christ. Seek his truth and display his truth to a world that urgently needs his radical love. If they crucify Christ they will crucify you. They disrespected Christ therefore you musn't expect anything less. Forget the world's acclamations and fading applause but live for the eternal applause of heaven and seek to please him who is a better friend than all of the earthly one's you now possess. If you are ashamed of Christ before them, then my friend, fear that horrible day when Christ shall be ashamed of you and it will be revealed that you were never his. Be sensible my redeemed saint, be sensible. For what is a few minutes of shame compared to the glory of eternity. Now is the time to dust off the world's approval, shake it away from your clothes and with great zeal seek Christ and you shall find that you shall be of more earthly good.

K.Oni


Friday, 11 January 2013

Jesus never leaves me alone

As I grow, I see that even the roses fade. The bright moments filled will glory diminishes. Those who were decorated with youthful beauty have been dulled by age. Many who had strength as mighty as the great rock are now scattered pebbles. The day is always superseded by the night, and the seasons come and go. But there is one thing that I have found to remain constant, namely, Jesus, heaven's sunshine who never seems to leave me alone. I remember in the periods where I thought that nothing was for me, yet I heard ever so faintly his tender voice, whispering 'Be of good cheer'. In those hours and a thousand times more, He has been by me, filling my heart with joy like the birds of springtime and the flowers of summer. My Jesus is ever faithful, ever blooming for his own, and always from His fullness giving me to eat and drink. O I am at times lost in his Heavenly Love, pure as the dove and stern as a Father's discipline. Even through the clouds of midnight, He is there by my side always saying, 'My dear boy, give me your burden to carry. Your fickle spirit is not for carrying loads and burdens but it is for carrying my sunshine, it is for retaining it. Your soul have no need for the night, it is made for the day.' O how he ravishes me that now, the close companion of a woman will not do, nor the closeness of a brother, although these things are to be prized. Yet I have found that as I grow Jesus has become to me all things; and that is because He has shown me his faithfulness and daily encouraged me to be of good cheer.

K.Oni

My Soul, sing this Hymn with me

What is your trouble my Soul? What is it that has thrown you into a tempest rage? Is it because of the wants which you desire that is lacking from you? Is it because you are discontent of your current position in life and will to do more? Are you full of jealousy? Are you envious because those of your peers are advancing and you are declining? Are you in tears over your sins? Are you willing to be more holy but you see your failures as clear as day? Are you mournful over your bitterness?

My Soul, whatever it is that troubles thee, let it trouble you no longer. It is not so much trouble that troubles but a heart unwilling to rest on the promises of God. Has it not been written, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil". Yes it has been written thus and on this you should stake your comfort. Cease my soul from murmuring! Away with your complaints. No more mumble under the clouds of your misery for mumbling is no better than mutiny in the heart; it is a rebellion against God and his goodness.

Be still my Soul, for the Lord is on thy side. Do you believe this or do you dare to doubt even this where the devil dare not lie in his own heart but will come and fill you with lies regarding this unmovable truth. He is on thy side and because it is so, bear patiently the cross of grief or pain, In every change He remains faithful.

My Soul, the waves and winds haven't forgotten for a single hour that voice who ruled them here below. When in their distress they raged at the King and his disciples, having a demon in them to devour God's holy saints, the One to whom all must bow spoke with the voice by which they were created to be still. And without delay, they quietened as a child weaned and nourished from his Mother's sweet breast. They obeyed without an objection.

Therefore my Soul, my troubled soul, cast all your lot upon Jesus Christ. Throw yourself upon Him with great earnestness and you shall see that you shall come away weaned and quietened. Your lot will be among those who are led by the still rivers. Do it now my Soul, all of heaven is awaiting thy prayer and submission, the Lord Jesus himself is waiting for you and he expects no delay. Will you break the Father's heart by not returning to his supper table, will you not come at once to break bread with him. Can you not see Gabrielle delaying his departure to heaven for He is waiting to bring back goodnews to heaven's shores. Will you allow all the host of heaven to mourn another day because you are not willing to repent? O come now, sing the hymn with me:

1.Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
 
2. Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
 
3. Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.
 
4. Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
 
K.Oni

Thursday, 10 January 2013

There are some friends when adversity comes

There are some friends when adversity comes
Who drop off like leaves when autumn comes.
And there are some friends when adversity comes
Who stick like life when the *Kingdom comes.
 
K.Oni

Inspired by Thomas Watson the Puritan

*The Kingdom refers to the kingdom of God for when His Kingdom comes it brings life.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

O Holy Spirit, thy grace, thy blessed help supply to me

O Holy Spirit, thy grace, thy blessed help supply to me at once right now, to aid me continue with joy on my journey to the gate where Christ shall welcome me, and in hope because of thy great help, will say unto me, 'welcome to my rest my good and faithful servant.' But now, O Holy Ghost, I lack strength to gain such a merit and in thy help I do cry to carry me home. As well as my comforter, yield in me that strengthening fruit of self-control and perseverance. I want to wear his diadem and join among the multitude who shall forever sing his praise until eternity dawns and sleep covers her brow. I am a weak soul and in thee my Sealed Spirit do I turn for help. Dance in me freely once again, lend me thy aiding hand, be frustrated no more.

K.Oni

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A prayer for my soul - Remove your stroke from me

My God, I said , "I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my eyes by not looking at unworthy things, and I will guard my heart by keeping it focus on Christ". For a while My Lord, I maintained my discipline, I kept on the path of holiness till I looked away. My heart burned with passion, my eyes were enticed by the world and my distress grew worse. I cried and remained silent in despair mourning my ungodly ways. "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am. Behold, you have made my days like a few nights and my lifetime is nothing before you. It shall disappear as the smoke. Deliver me O Lord from all my transgressions. For what do I wait? My hope is in you. I am mute; I do not open my mouth. It is hard to pray to the heavens, for you have filled me with despair and sadness. Remove your stroke from me; I am spent by the hostility of your hand. When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him; you have taken away my joy. Hear me O God, give ears to my petition; hold not your peace at my tears for soon I will go to the grave. Look away from me, that I may smile again, put in me a clean spirit and restore the joy of my salvation!"

K.Oni

Monday, 7 January 2013

I saw in her a sweet temper of spirit

I saw in her a sweet temper of spirit which as now appeared to me the reason why she carries herself in an equal poise whatever her condition is. I have seen her in life's saddest hours and the lines of joy on her face diminished not - they were just as vivid in life's sunny periods. It is as if, or rather it is so that God whom she loves as taken a leaf known as contentment from the tree of life and planted it in her soul. Her whole disposition is as the greenest leaf, even winter shades not its colour. Her contentment is habitual, continually shining forth as the sun gives off its heat. I asked her the reason of such continual satisfaction and with all of heaven's smile she said "Dear boy, this contentment which is in me is not something which comes from nature, it is heavenly born, a gift given, a treasure bestowed. It has its source from heaven's throne given by him who gave his Son and sustained in me by faith in continually gazing upon his son's beautiful face. My heart is set on Him who died. I have learnt this as I walk on my journey to glory and the secret is rather simple, namely it is fixing one's eyes on Jesus Christ, knowing that in Him all of life's pleasures are contained. So whatever the weather, I am always content, possessing a deep joy locked up in the chamber of my heart that no matter how hard or consistent the thief tries to steal it, he will always fail. My dear boy, have Jesus in your heart always and you shall be content as I and enjoy God as you were made to." With these words she departed to the alter of grace falling on her knees to pray. As soon as she bowed her head there was a bright sunshine never felt before in depths of my heart that I too knelt beside her, praying to the Father to grant me such a contented spirit and bid me live like her to younger generations, setting forth a godly example.

K.Oni