Monday, August 8, 2016

Step Out

I used to teach martial arts in University and I remember an exchange with a student of mine. He said to me, "Do you ever feel afraid when you get into a fight?".

There was no wind blowing around us as Time stood still, waiting for the Zen-like answer from an ancient sage with white beards like Pai Mei. Just silence as I really thought about his question and all the combat scenarios I had been in. 

"All the time..." was my answer. It was my honest answer. 
People used to say I was a darn good fighter back in the day, but that didn't change the fact that I had to deal with fighting fear as I shut out the whole world and saw the only thing that my eyes and mind would see when I stepped into combat mode - the opponent. 


The older I get and the more I amass skill at various aspects of life that I have devoted myself to, I find myself constantly humbled at what is out there, out of the range of my knowledge and ken. I also realize, more and more, I don't have all the answers. Like a business is tossed to and fro in the larger waters of macro-economic forces, so it is with life; there are just too many things that one cannot control. 


However, in the end, courage is not the absence of fear. 

I see so many who have just given up on life because of rejection, failed dreams - and hopelessness. For many of these people, though they are alive, they are actually dead, like a switched off fan continues to rotate till momentum ceases. It is a horrible thing and many times, I cannot fault them. Life can be very hard. However, as 'simple' as it is, to get the most out of the limited time that is your life, you must DECIDE to LIVE. This is not necessarily easy because deciding to LIVE means you will have to step out - and who knows what is out there?

There could be "a lion in the way". 
There could be the thundering hurricane. 
There could be a string of rejections, hurt and pain. 
There could be death and disease.
There could be lack and dearth of resource. 
There could be total loss of the ones or one you love.

But it is only in stepping out that you find out all that you were created for and meant to be. 

Friend, out there, there is peace.
Out there is love and a warm embrace. 
Out there is the pitter patter of the feet of children and their heavenly smiles.
Out there is the shout of victory and the thrill of overcoming. 
Out there is the joy that exists from putting smiles on a million face - or even a billion.  
Out there is the crowd shouting and singing along to your song. 
Out there is the physical expression of the dream you see only on the inside. 

Out there is a good death after a life that is well lived... 
A mischievous smile as you gather your feet into the bed for the last time.
A little tear escaping your eyes as you caress the soft brows of your great grand children. 
A mouth full of gums and teeth muttering divine blessings.
A soft pillow propping you up as the light that is not the bulb glows brighter in a room where everything is fading as your step, gracefully, into forever - because forever is not that far...

Like a wise person once said, ALL you desire and are meant to be is at the other side of fear.

Step out...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Bleeding Son (4)

Chapter Four: In the Beginning

“EL RIDES OUT! EL RIDES OUT! EL RIDES OUT!!!”
Instantly, I threw down the lance I had in my hands, leaving the students who stood before me in the Battle Hall and charged towards the doorway to catch a glimpse of The King, our King - EL. The students stood behind me, firm in their fight stances and not moving, though you could see the gleam in their eyes as they longed to see the King ride. Who would not want to see EL ride?! You see, everything about EL is the definition of beauty, splendor and grace!


First, every time EL stood from his gigantic throne in the Hall of Thrones, the whole of the Kingdom was astir. This was not an everyday experience and when it happened, no matter how many times it happened, it was a rare treat. Thick smoke and vapours of sweet incense that seemed to be his very breath would pour out from the great Hall of Thrones, and every nostril would be filled with the sweetest and most soothing scent imaginable, the air was extra-charged with that humming tingling buzz of his person, while in the middle of the vapour and smoke there would be the thundering of The Voices, ear shattering voices that were gentle and powerful, in the oddest sort of way. And then the shouting would begin: EL rides out! EL rides OUT! EL RIDES OUT!
Of course, it was the Seraphs who were shouting and chanting about The King riding out. By their very nature, they were really chatty, almost shy, more beautiful than handsome - and extremely powerful. Their priviledged position was that they floated and fluttered in the air and stands right above the King, chanting to one another about how Holy and Epic and Awesome the King was! This may seem odd to Earth dwellers who would wonder how you could talk about how wonderful someone was….forever. But when you looked into their eyes, you could see why the Seraphs never stopped chanting. They were constantly in awe of the King as they flitted in and out of that thick cloud of white intense vapour, thundering, lightning, incense and of course, Kabod!
They were the ones who were bathed again and again and again in that awesome stuff, the very life force of the EL.
Kabod was life, Kabod was beauty, Kabod was a covering, Kabod was intelligence, Kabod was….everything - and EL was the very essence of it.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Bleeding Son (3)

Chapter 3: Domino Effect

“So tell me, comrades, when a person is raped, who is the victim?” Azazel said, with a smile on his face as he leaned back on his plush rich couch, a goblet of wine in his hand, which he sipped from every now and then. Two well-built guards stood behind him him, motionless and unblinking. They were some of the most ferocious warriors in Azazel’s ranks. On equally plush couches, eating sweet meats, fruits and other spicy titbits were other generals of the region, all subordinates to Azazel, Prince of Sector Four, which included portions of Europe and Africa. The others around the golden table were princes of individual countries in Sector Four.

“The person who gets raped is the victim, of course,” Rabkar, a quiet but extremely blood-thirsty fellow replied.



“Any other answers?” Azazel asked, looking around the room with a mischievous smile on his face. The others simply stared back and waited. It was one of those moments where one had to be patient to allow Azazel ‘school’ them, as he like to do – which was fair, because Azazel was well and truly cunning.

“Ok, Rabkar is right. The person who gets raped, in that scenario, is the victim.” He paused for effect before going on, “However, to inflict damage on another, you must have been damaged in some way. The rapist has been broken in some way, the abuser has been abused, the criminal has been starved, deprived, of something – and it goes on and on. You must always understand that in order to damage humanity, which is our delight and our response to the One who calls himself God, the emphasis must be to create damage that causes more damage, to spawn destructive systems that spawn destructive systems…
If you can destroy an individual, warp him and mess him up, that is good. If you can destroy a community, that is even better. If you can destroy a family, that is absolutely fantastic – because families replicate, they breed, they multiply, they become more and more, and if you have an infected seed, a rotten union, a dysfunctional home, that, my comrades, quickly becomes the breeding ground for a broken society. It’s a game of Dominoes - “

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Bleeding Son (2)



Chapter Two: The Morning After


Michael opened his eyes, and shut them immediately. The light of the sun streaming through the window seemed to send a million daggers into his eyes and re-activate the headache…which was far better than the migraine that had decimated his skull for days on end. Nonetheless, the headache was quite bad. Cautiously, he opened his eyes again and slowly sat up. It was not a dream, after all. He had done it. As memories of the previous day coursed through his mind, the tears quickly followed. God, he thought, I actually did it. How could this have happened, he thought to himself. Now, she was well and truly gone leaving him all alone. He had never felt so alone in his life – and all the chaos, all the madness, all the pain, all of it had start with a simple online chat.

He had met her a month ago, randomly, as these things tend to play out. Work was over, but he had stayed back to cool off after the craziness that was his daily work routine. As Chief Strategy Officer of a medium-sized IT firm, he was always immersed in numbers and charts and endless meetings and review sessions and… It just had no end. Home was no better either. His baby was all grown now, walking around the house, grabbing at things, putting things in her mouth, poking fingers into dark warm places like electric sockets and underneath door hinges, while he shuttled between trying to finish some work on his personal laptop, keep an eye on her at the same time as he waited for the arrival of his wife, Linda. His work was hectic, but he was able to get home for about 7pm on a regular day. Linda, on the other hand, was the Head of E-Business in the nation’s leading bank. Basically, getting home at 10pm was normal even now that she was pregnant. 

Enter Ola.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Bleeding Son

Chapter One: Midnight Dance

“As you should be able to tell, we’re here to, er, kill “it” – and by “it” we mean, er, him.”
A polished nail, a polished dark nail, a polished dark long nail on rather long fingers pointed in the direction of the sleeping man, before the hand of its owner casually fell to his side. He was one of the four who had entered into the room where the sleeping man snored softly, his back exposed, as the figure that was bent over him massaged his back, neck and scalp.

Slowly, the massage stopped.

“Sirs,”, the masseur began, “this man is in my care at this time. Today has been a long and terrible day for him, and for me. Please, move on…”
“Move on?” the sneering voice responded, before chuckling softly. The sound was almost kind. “You are quite aware that if we need to, er, cut through you to get to him, we will have to, er, cut through you, right?”

As the question was asked, the other three that had stood behind the speaker at this time slowly fanned out into the large room. They were tall, about a foot taller than the masseur who was dwarfed by their height, and their shadows shrouded his smaller figure with a thin veil of darkness. Their ill intentions were clearer with every passing moment.

“Sirs,” the masseur, “I have not been informed prior to now about two things. I have not been told that it is his time to die, and I have not been told that it will be you who will take his life.”

There was a pause before he let out a deep sigh, knowing that he had committed himself.
“And so, I cannot let you kill this man…tonight”.


The door opened slowly without a sound and four more men walked into the room, all about the same height as the first set of intruders. The only difference was there was no mask to their intentions, as they all held curved short swords, with sharp serrated edges that were clearly designed for making messy deep wounds. The others who had been in the room slowly drew out their swords, which had the same design.

“As you can tell, friend¸” their leader continued, with a chuckle, “you are outnumbered”.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Evasive Gospel of the Kingdom (Part 3: Conclusion)



Ah, the Kingdom of God! 


I have not written for a while as the end of the last year and the beginning of this one has been one crazy maelstrom of one life-bending after another. However, I guess that in the end, it has become clearer, for me especially, that a lot of my purpose is tied to The Kingdom. I appreciate the feedback from those who have said they have been waiting for the concluding part of the article, “The evasive Gospel of The Kingdom”, which I was going to write in time – but it is always good to know that you are making sense in some small way to people.  So, without further ado, I will jump right into this final part of the article, “The Evasive Gospel of The Kingdom”


In really delving into an understanding of The Kingdom and part of our purpose within the context of that Kingdom, I had touched on Lucifer’s purpose for man, which can be summarised into 3 basic points:
1.    Destruction and degradation of this extension of the Kingdom of God called Earth.
2.    The defilement, debasement and degradation of the human race – as well as other creatures linked to the human race.
3.    The destruction of man through separation from God. 
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Evasive 'Gospel of the Kingdom' (Part II)

Let me start by explaining why Heaven is so boring…

Or, better still, let me try to shed light on why OUR picture of The Kingdom of Heaven is so boring. When I was younger, like any child, I was curious about this amazing Heaven that seemed so fascinating to everyone and I remember asking someone who was close to me what Heaven was going to be like. The response was:

“We will drink from the River of Life. We will sing before God…in the sky”

That REALLY spooked me.

Imagine an eternity of ‘bliss’ where you do not sleep because there is no night, and where all you do is sing √§nd bow down before God, and get breaks to drink from the River of Life, and then you go back to singing before God. People always try to be ‘reverent’ and say that you cannot describe that as boring, but in honesty, how ‘blissful’ is the notion of singing and drinking water, no matter how amazing the taste, FOREVER and EVER and EVER!!!

That sounds like HELL!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Evasive 'Gospel of The Kingdom'

In the strangest turn of events, I find that the hardest people to discuss The Kingdom of God with are Christians. The reason is simple. For the average Christian, the ‘church’ service and ‘church’ life is often the centre from which all else finds expression. So if one doesn’t talk about God in the context of attending a service, doing some religious activity or belonging to a religious organisation or denomination, the average Christian can’t understand it. However, when you bring up the portion where Jesus says “THIS gospel of THE KINGDOM shall be preached as a witness to all nations – and then shall the end come” (Matt 24:14), certain things become clear:

1. Someone dying is not good news, for starters – and ‘gospel’ can be loosely translated to mean ‘good news’
2. That said, the goodnews/gospel could not be about Christ dying because, er, He had NOT died.
3. Jesus was talking about the goodnews/gospel and people coming into The Kingdom when there were NO Church services… Remember, this was way before the book of Acts (and the gatherings in homes described by Acts are nothing like our ‘services’ – but that’s topic for another day)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why do marriages break up? (Part III)



Over the course of writing the other parts of this article, I got into a few private conversations around a marriage built on purpose, and also got some interesting feedback. In this concluding portion, I will try to answer several of the questions raised, while attempting to provide a fairly satisfactory ‘conclusion’. If you have been patient enough to read thus far, a key question that may come to mind is ‘How do we find and/or align with a compelling purpose within the context of marriage?’ or some may ask, ‘what should the purpose of my marriage be?’ 



First, let me start by saying, there is no blanket answer, just like it is impossible to provide specific answers to the question, ‘What’s the world’s best food?’ – but a few guidelines may help you get closer to aligning your marriage with an objective that helps the marriage stand the test of time. Personally, I also feel it will help in the choosing a partner because one goes beyond looking for a mate that is attractive to looking for a mate they can WORK with to BUILD something.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why do marriages break up? (II)


There’s a story I read some years ago of some prisoners who were told they would be adding some value by building a road. As the story goes, these guys were very enthusiastic and happy, morale was high and they put their backs into it, building the road. Perhaps they were motivated by the innate human need to make amends when one has done wrong, or maybe it was just the sense of fulfillment they would get when it was over, but for whatever reason, they worked hard at building this long road that went on and on and on…and on. 

However, at some point, productivity totally dropped for a simple reason.

Word had gone out that these prisoners were building a road to simply pass time. The road they were constructing in the middle of the huge expanse of land around the prison was leading to nowhere. On realising that their toil and tedium was largely for the purpose of passing time, all desire to go on building that road was lost. 

Marriage is pretty much the same. People are enthused about preparing for the wedding ceremony because there is a clearly articulated objective. Maybe people like having sex because they are clear that they want babies or they want a release or expression that is pleasurable. However, when it comes to marriage, you will be absolutely amazed if you ask people these fundamental questions:

1. What is the purpose of your marriage?
2. Why do you want to have kids - and if you already have kids, what the purpose for your kids?


I often hear answers like “It is good” – and that instantly begs the question, what makes it good? HOW is it good? Other answers are “God commands it!” which instantly begs the question, WHY does God command it? You see, while it may appear commendable to blindly obey God, I have come to believe that God expects you to find out the REASON behind his commands, not just stop at ‘God said so’…and this is where meditation, study and questioning come into play – but that is a topic for another day. Basically, God wants you to know WHY he ordained certain things so that when you explain and do these things, you are in alignment with the spirit behind the command – and by spirit, I am talking about the rationale, expected attitude and not an entity, eg the Holy Spirit. 

 So what makes marriages break up?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why do marriages break up?

This article was prompted by a little incident. I was driving to work with a colleague and we got into a discussion about marriage. I shared a few thoughts regarding marriage and he told me that was the first time in his life he saw the relevance of marriage. Apart from feeling happy I was able to make sense in some way, it also struck me – right between the eyes – that many adults who are already married or who are looking to do so still focus on things like ‘love’, sex, the need for company or societal demands as the reason for marriage.

Several of my peers with really young marriages are divorced and many others are going through the process. Others are married but have spoken about hating being married. One lady described marriage as feeling like a noose. Now, it is obvious that I am not an expert, but I put this note together to share (or attempt share) what I am learning on the journey – and that journey and learning process never ends. I doubt that many of the things said will be new, but maybe this will help to highlight other critical areas.



To be honest, when I was about to get married, especially considering my peculiar financial circumstances, I got LOADS of advice, from single and married folk alike. I sat in silence, with a polite smile on my face listening and sieving intently. Some of the suggestions were not worth a row of beans, some were totally nonsensical, while many other made a lot of sense – and these I still follow. However, now that I am married, I realize that what society needs is NOT more advice but more homes that work; homes that can be models. Society needs people who have a thriving family with an ambience of warmth, ‘real’, and God – and these families will need to allow others in so that people can see and learn what a thriving family is like. The Bible talks about God telling Moses to build the temple ‘according to the pattern SHOWN’ to him… It is easier to learn when we SEE something that works.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Jesus at the football games

Kuriak was a highly commercial city with colorful events occurring every other day, but its excitement was not enough for everyone, especially for those who liked games. Sam was constantly bored and unhappy because no game seemed to catch his fancy or make him happy. Then one day, Sam met Josh who said, ‘Hey Sam, would you like to try a game called football?’. Sam agreed and Josh brought out his football, and they played football every day – and Sam loved it.

Josh had to travel overseas leaving Sam. However, Sam never forgot his experiences with Josh and wrote them all down in his book – The Josh Book. Sam grew old and just before he died, he passed on the Josh book to his son, Bruce.


Now, Bruce loved the Josh Book very much and always found the stories fascinating, especially of the football game that no one ever played in the city of Kuriak. So, he and a few others decided they would play football and make it popular. The game caught on and soon everyone was playing football.

One day, Josh came back to Kuriak and Bruce ran out to meet his Father’s friend. ‘Ever heard of football?’ he teased. ‘Of course’, Josh said with a smile, ‘I put together the blueprints for the game!’. They went to the massive football ground, one of several in Kuriak that were modeled after Bruce’s Football foundation, and a team played the game as Josh watched.

When the game was over, Bruce, with a massive grin on his face, came to Josh and said ‘How was that for an awesome game?!’

‘Well,’ Josh said, ‘It sure was an exciting game for you guys. I really like Football, but what you guys just finished playing is called ‘Rugby’. Yes, there are teams. Yes, it involves a, er, ‘ball’,. Yes, there is a referee and a goal post and lines – and it really has some similarities, but this is not the game I designed. This is not Football, Sam’.

Sam looked at the massive ‘Football’ buildings and wondered, ‘How did we ALL miss it?’

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Open Invitation

Hello there,

I see that you are interested in being a part of my family. Actually, I put that desire on the inside of you and I am excited at the possibilities. I have also known you for a while and even sent several messages through people who spoke to you about what I may be like and what a relationship with me may be like – but who know very little about me… This is not a bad thing.

Everyone knows very little about me.



But I invite you to come and spend time with me, to know me, to know my family, to know pleasure – and to enjoy life!

But pause a while.

Let me tell you what this will entail. I want you to be by my side because I really love and want to be with you. However, in the space of time, I have an adversary who hates you, who wants to destroy you – and who you love, by your very nature. Being with me will change that with time.

But you will still live among those who love my Enemy, who live for my enemy – and you will be a lamb among very vicious wolves. They are dangerous, but if you choose to love me, you choose to love them...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

If I were the Enemy

I were your enemy

And If I loathed you, and hated you, and despised you – just for who you are and who’re you’re meant to be.

And if I decided to impede you, deceive you, and destroy you

But not just you

Your kids, your loved ones, what you stand for, and the very memory of who you are

Or who you were meant to be


And yet, knew that you were held by mighty hands, knew that I could not take your life

Except you gave it to me – or took it, or another did, for me

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Don't get married IF...

Today I write with a lot of pain, hearing stories of married friends who have gone separate ways. When these things happen, I have learnt never to take sides or to point a finger to any party because irrespective of what you may see, it is often hard to get the big picture, the true picture, if you are not in the marriage, in the home, living with the couple – and even if you are, sometimes, that doesn’t give you the full picture.

However, in discussing some of the issues with a friend, I feel that there is little useful information on key issues involving marriage, and on the core details around areas like sex, money, kids, in-laws, planning, people seem to be very quiet. The plethora of books around talk about love languages and keeping passion alive – but you cannot have sex all the time or always come home with a rose in your mouth to delight your spouse. Depending on what part of the world you live in, you may not even have a rose to buy in the first place.

The Church is often quiet on the details of sex, because people get really squeamish about talking about sex, but the Bible clearly says that older women should teach younger women how to love their husbands because the FACT is that great sex requires good TECHNIQUE and practise with your spouse and proper technique comes with guidance, and that is what makes pornography so stupid; the ways the people are pleasured on the screen will likely NOT be what pleases your partner and you will need to find out, IN marriage, the unique combination of stimulation or actions that please your spouse.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Our Favourite Demon (Part II)

           This is a continuation to the first part of the article. Click the link to read the first part:
                     http://christmeditations.blogspot.com/2014/06/our-favourite-demon.html


To really understand the events that happened next, you need to understand what our Worship Centre looks like. For some reason, I now realise that Worship Centre is a more appropriate name than ‘Church’ which is an extremely misleading term because the Church is not a place. Never has been, never will be…

We have a massive auditorium which had cost us about a billion naira to put together. We had contributed to building this place called a ‘ house of God’, stretched ourselves thin and finally, the edifice was up. I am very proud to say it was the best worship place in town and I was a bit upset when I heard that another congregation had been able to raise more money and were going to build a bigger structure. Well, for now, this would suffice, but if the numbers were done right, we would be able to move to a bigger location in a few years. Now, wouldn’t that make God proud!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Our Favourite Demon



                                                                  Reader Discretion is Advised...

I woke up in cold sweat, panting hard in the darkness, arms raised above my head in anticipated defense as I waited for him to charge through the walls again, pass through the barriers of what we call solid to catch me in that lethal embrace. A hand touched my leg and I screamed – and he screamed as well, my little boy who had come into my room to escape the terror of the thunder that sporadically rocked the heavens from time to time. Then there was the faint crackle of lightening that illuminated the room briefly and then I saw the eerie face behind him – and I screamed yet again!



“What in God’s name is going on with you, honey?” said my wife, who had gone to relieve herself and had come back to find the sweaty, shivering, emotional mess that was her husband. All I could say over and over, till the realization of the truth in my words slowly calmed me was:

“I had a dream.”

"I had a dream..."

Friday, May 23, 2014

When God steps away from you - with a smile...





I would pray. Then I would read some scripture. Then I would sit down in an uncomfortable position in order not to fall asleep – and I would wait. The night would be quiet, the candle would burn on the side, illuminating the night with an eerie glow and I would wait patiently for The Voice. My mind, like a rabid monkey high on a cocktail of LSD, crack, absinthe and caffeine would howl and scream and churn up a million voices in my head as I fought for control on the inside. Slowly, the monkey on the inside would get quiet and would start to find balance on the treadmill that was its abode and slowly, the silence I craved for would grow on the inside as I waited…for The Voice. 

In the end, exhaustion took over, my eyes became blurry, my knees would begin to ache, the voices in my mind would go from slow whispers to static and I would fall back in a heap, into the loving warmth and embrace of the patiently waiting mattress, as sleep, like a skilled lover, roved over my very being and in a few moments, it would be lights out – and another night would have gone without a single word from The Voice.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why your prayer will not be answered

So my friend’s mom was about to die and we were definitely not going to watch that happen. I do not want to go into details about that disease, but it was one of those diseases that could not be cured. So we got ourselves together and organised a “prayer chain”, and we fasted and we prayed and we got our faith all revved up and charged up and knew without an iota of doubt, even with several 'confirmations' that the Lord would step in and heal her.

She died.

I was there and had to watch with glazed eyes as people munched voraciously on the refreshment served at the wake keeping, reminding me of vultures feeding off carrion and enjoying the delicacy of the dead…


But that was just one of many instances.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Insight

I got into the office smiling, totally unaware of what lay in store for me. First it started with the tea lady who missed a step and poured a hot cup of black coffee on my trousers. I had yelped in pain, jumping up from my seat and had hit a colleague’s laptop right off the desk onto the floor and none of us needed a diviner to know the screen had cracked.

The problem was that it was that system that had the financials that my colleague had been working on for the presentation to be held that morning to the board at 9.45am. The time was 8.30am and there was no way in hell we could put it together on time on another system, considering it had taken 4 days to put the numbers together. Of course, the presentation went pear-shaped. My boss, Keith, tried the best he could to improvise after explaining to the board the unfortunate incidence. While a very tiny part of me was happy that he was under fire, since it’s not like he’s a nice guy, I felt really bad for him at the moment. The board had shredded him. Somehow, these old men in horn-rimmed glasses and pot-bellies appeared to expect him to have every detail of the financial reports, which was about 15 slides, all in his head.

They shredded him…and he shredded us – but I had had enough for one day…