Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Did Michael Jackson Get Born-Again Before His Death?

By Bishop Andy C. Lewter

June 29, 2009

According to the MARY MARY’s Facebook Page, Michael Jackson Received Jesus Christ.

"Last night we received some good news from Terri McFaddin-Solomon who is good friends with Sandra Crouch. Three weeks ago Sandra and Andre' spent some time with their close friend, Michael Jackson. Michael asked Andre` to play, "It Won't Be Long And We'll Be Leaving Here."

Michael then prayed with Sandra and Andre and accepted Christ into his heart. Now he's singing in the heavenly choir! Our Hearts Rejoice.

Find here: http://gospeltoday.ning.com/profiles/blogs/reportedly-michael-jackson

Friday, June 26, 2009

Creative Discipline Ideas

By Lisa Whelchel

As you well know, the parenting adventure is different with each child — and it's vital to recognize and adapt to your children's various temperaments, strengths, and weaknesses. Think of yourself as a sculptor shaping and molding the lives of your young ones. With each child, you may be working with a different medium. You could be endeavoring to form one youngster who appears to be as hard as marble. As an artist, you might use a chisel, hammers, even water, while sculpting your masterpiece. You may have another child who is more pliable, like clay. Even then, as a potter, you might use fire, a knife, and your bare hands.

It doesn't matter what substance you're working with, be it wood, ice, bronze, wax, sand, steel, or foam. Each raw material requires a distinct combination of tools to strike the balance between respecting its uniqueness and steadfastly pursuing the potential beauty within.

In the following articles, I will present different tools and creative ways to use them as we allow the Lord to work through us, shaping our children in His image (see Colossians 3:10). You'll see, there's no reason discipline has to be boring!

Experiment. If one idea doesn't work, try something else and come at it from another direction. But don't dismiss a failed method altogether; it may work on another child or at another stage of childhood. Believe me, your departure from the ordinary ways of correction will keep your kids on their toes, wondering what you'll next pull out of your bag of tricks. The road is long, but it doesn't have to be dull.


If you're looking for ways to get your kids to clean up after themselves, try these ideas:

1. Here's a solution for a perpetually messy bedroom: Explain to your child, "I cannot bear to look at this room anymore — it's too messy! I'm going to turn off the circuit breaker so I can't see it. When it's clean enough for me to tolerate, let me know and I'll turn your power back on."

2. About an hour before bedtime, call for a "Whole House Sweep." Set the timer for 10-15 minutes. During that time, everyone must put things away that are out of place. When the timer buzzes, check the house. Then move bedtime up five minutes for each item left lying around or out of order.

3. Tidying up the house can be a full-time job when you have little ones. Part of my children's morning chore list includes "Pick up personal belongings." They know I mean business — if anything is still left at breakfast, I put the item in a large box or sack. Then, at the end of the week, the kids have the option of buying it back for 25 cents per item or leaving it there for me to take to the Goodwill store, a ministry, or the church nursery. If it's hard for you to donate a toy that you know cost a lot, try to remember that you'll probably be giving it to a child who will appreciate it enough to pick it up when asked.

4. Next time your child "forgets" to put something away, like video games or sports equipment, put it away for him. When he asks where it is, tell him that he'll just have to look for it. Believe me, he will learn that it's a lot more trouble to find something that Mom has hidden than it is to put it away in the first place.

5The next time you ask your child to clean up a mess and she comes back with, "But that's not mine" or "I didn't do that," say, "Fine, then for the rest of the day I will only wash the dishes I used and the clothes I wore, and I'll only prepare the food that I'm going to eat."

6. This next idea is a stroke of brilliance, and I can't wait to try it with my own children. For every article of dirty clothing left on the floor rather than placed in the hamper, have your child make five trips from the place where the clothes were dropped to the washing machine, hamper, or utility room. The child must pick up the clothes, walk downstairs, put the article in the hamper, take it back out, return to where it had been dropped, drop it again, pick it up again, and then repeat the cycle. And a pair of socks counts as two, which makes 10 trips!

Adapted from Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2000, Lisa Whelchel. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Find article here:http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/effective_biblical_discipline/creative_discipline_ideas.aspx

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Papi Don't Provoke Them

By Uvoh Onoriobe
Charlotte, North Carolina
June 24, 2009

Today I remembered an incident that happened while I was in Junior Secondary 3.

I provoked our math teacher so bad that she felt like tearing me apart. She gave me 24 strokes of the cane. I got up from the table she had laid me with a smile on my face. Alas the smile was short lived. By the time I got to my seat, tears flowed freely from my eyes.

I made efforts to dry my eyes. I can't remember which was more painful- the hurt from my behind or the fact that some of my classmates where rolling on the floor laughing.

I had been disciplined for what she kept repeating- What effrontery!!!

I was used to strokes of the cane from home when ever I behaved badly. I always managed to utter to my “punishers” that it did not hurt. That provoked them to give me more until I pleaded for mercy. Many times I felt they were just been wicked.

Now I have children. I tell them what to do and they look at me and say “Daddy but I don’t want to” I look at them and by reflex I do not spare the rod and spoil the child.

Sometimes I feel bad. They are just kids I reason within me. But they have to be trained to be of good behavior I hear inner me say.

Today I heard Him say “Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated. [Do not break their spirit.]”Colossians 3:21

I still believe in the ministry of the rod but I am looking for accompanying therapy.

I stumbled across the following techniques prescribed by pediatricians. I am looking into them. So help me God.

* Use distraction to get your child's attention away from inappropriate behaviors.

* Stop inappropriate behaviors with a firm ‘no' while looking your child in the eyes.

* Physically move your child when he is misbehaving, especially if he didn't respond to your firm ‘no.'

* Use extinction to remove attention from undesirable actions. As long as your child can't hurt himself, you can walk away and not give him attention or an audience for acting inappropriately, especially if he is having a temper tantrum. Giving too much attention to your child when he misbehaves can reinforce bad behaviors.

* Use natural consequences (rewards) to let your child learn the results or consequences of his actions. For example, if he throws a toy out the window, then he can't play with it anymore.

* Use logical consequences (rewards), for example, if he doesn't put away his bike, then you will do it, but he won't be able to ride it for the rest of the day.

* Use time-out to remove positive reinforcement or attention when he misbehaves.

* Withholding privileges is a very effective discipline technique, especially for older children. Find things that he likes or especially enjoys (playing video games, renting movies, going to the mall, talking on the phone), and then take it away as a consequence for misbehaving.

A Neuroscientific Look at Speaking in Tongues

By Benedict Carey

New York TimesNovember 7, 2006

The passionate, sometimes rhythmic, language-like patter that pours forth from religious people who “speak in tongues” reflects a state of mental possession, many of them say. Now they have some neuroscience to back them up.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five women while they spoke in tongues and found that their frontal lobes — the thinking, willful part of the brain through which people control what they do — were relatively quiet, as were the language centers. The regions involved in maintaining self-consciousness were active. The women were not in blind trances, and it was unclear which region was driving the behavior.

The images, appearing in the current issue of the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, pinpoint the most active areas of the brain. The images are the first of their kind taken during this spoken religious practice, which has roots in the Old and New Testaments and in charismatic churches established in the United States around the turn of the 19th century. The women in the study were healthy, active churchgoers.

“The amazing thing was how the images supported people’s interpretation of what was happening,” said Dr. Andrew B. Newberg, leader of the study team, which included Donna Morgan, Nancy Wintering and Mark Waldman. “The way they describe it, and what they believe, is that God is talking through them,” he said.

Dr. Newberg is also a co-author of “Why We Believe What We Believe.”

In the study, the researchers used imaging techniques to track changes in blood flow in each woman’s brain in two conditions, once as she sang a gospel song and again while speaking in tongues. By comparing the patterns created by these two emotional, devotional activities, the researchers could pinpoint blood-flow peaks and valleys unique to speaking in tongues.

Ms. Morgan, a co-author of the study, was also a research subject. She is a born-again Christian who says she considers the ability to speak in tongues a gift. “You’re aware of your surroundings,” she said. “You’re not really out of control. But you have no control over what’s happening. You’re just flowing. You’re in a realm of peace and comfort, and it’s a fantastic feeling.”

Contrary to what may be a common perception, studies suggest that people who speak in tongues rarely suffer from mental problems. A recent study of nearly 1,000 evangelical Christians in England found that those who engaged in the practice were more emotionally stable than those who did not. Researchers have identified at least two forms of the practice, one ecstatic and frenzied, the other subdued and nearly silent.

The new findings contrasted sharply with images taken of other spiritually inspired mental states like meditation, which is often a highly focused mental exercise, activating the frontal lobes.

The scans also showed a dip in the activity of a region called the left caudate. “The findings from the frontal lobes are very clear, and make sense, but the caudate is usually active when you have positive affect, pleasure, positive emotions,” said Dr. James A. Coan, a psychologist at the University of Virginia. “So it’s not so clear what that finding says” about speaking in tongues.

The caudate area is also involved in motor and emotional control, Dr. Newberg said, so it may be that practitioners, while mindful of their circumstances, nonetheless cede some control over their bodies and emotions.

Find here:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/07/health/07brain.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1163220226-9xMQzjBrBipvyv/6lWos4w

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Choices Papa Gave Me

By May Akabogu-Collins, PhD
The Washington Post
Sunday, June 21, 2009

His name was Chukwuneke. Formally he was Dr. G.C. Akabogu. Many called him Professor; I called him Pa-Pa.

His father died six months before he was born; his mother, two weeks after.

An uncle took him in but at the first chance gave him up to the missionaries in Nigeria. They baptized him, renamed him George and shipped him off to seminary. When he saw my mother, he abandoned the priesthood.

My father was handsome, although short. He had curly, jet-black hair -- bushy eyebrows, big brown eyes and narrow nose in a dark face. A lemon for an Adam's apple.

In a culture that prefers sons, he had seven daughters. Growing up, he said to us: Take it like a man. Back in Nigeria, when I was a high school senior, Pa-Pa summoned me to his study. Sitting behind his wooden desk surrounded by bookshelves filled with dusty Latin classics and Greek literature, Pa-Pa had Time in one hand and Newsweek in the other. Vivaldi's "Gloria" was playing. Jimmy Carter was coming into office in America.

"See?" he began in his courtly manner. "Half his Cabinet are barristers; the other half? Economists." I stared at his Cambridge diploma on the wall. Since my sisters were either in law or medical school, he continued, "You must major in economics."

"It's a man's world, Chum," Pa-Pa repeated all throughout my senior year. A woman's educational background would shape her future, he said. "A degree in economics -- the golden degree -- would ensure your independence," he concluded, rising from his chair.

I had wanted to major in journalism.

Four years later, after my bachelor's in economics, Pa-Pa insisted I earn a doctorate and become a university economics professor. We were sitting at the dining table. It was the height of the oil boom; free universal education was the national policy in Nigeria.

"In a few years," Pa-Pa predicted, "a B.A. will be common." I gazed at the framed picture of my dad with John Paul II, taken on a trip he led to the Vatican. "Moreover, you don't want to end up in a nine-to-five-till-you're-65-job, now, do you, Chum?" he asked in a tone of blatant disapproval. "No, sir," I replied. He smiled, revealing pearly teeth. "Good."

I'd wanted to be a writer.

Pa-Pa was unlike any other African father I knew. Growing up, Saturday was my Armageddon. The Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary stood on a stand, and as early as kindergarten, we had to learn 10 new words a week and write a folktale every Saturday using those words. By junior high, I'd inhaled countless classics. All through high school, my father held me captive conjugating Latin verbs. During senior year, we spent uncountable hours together translating the Iliad. Times like that, I wished for one of those illiterate African fathers. Often during my college years, Pa-Pa provided an outline for my research paper. Moments like that, I was proud of my dad.

All those hours studying Latin taught me a lot about English and fostered in me a facility with French and Spanish. Years later, I would transform those hours into a new life.

Like most African fathers, Pa-Pa used proverbs to instruct. My first semester away in college, I blew my allowance. I asked for more; he declined. Go to the ant, Chum, he responded, discover its ways and be wise. I learned fiscal responsibility. While working on my doctorate at the University of Southern California, I hinted that I'd fallen in love: Until you finish chewing what you have in your mouth, he wrote, you ought not to bite off more. I learned focus.

After grad school, I brought home a male friend. Pa-Pa took one look and declared him "an addled-brain -- someone to avoid." But I was a big girl now. I didn't have to listen to Pa-Pa anymore. Five years later, my husband disappeared. Saddled with three kids, I rang Pa-Pa. He sold a piece of land, sent me a check with a note: "If you bungle raising those children, nothing else will have mattered." Eager to regain his approval, I secured a tenure-track position as an economics professor. I enjoyed teaching, but the thought of grinding out obscure scholarly studies -- necessary for tenure -- numbed me. I'd. Rather. Be. Writing. Interesting. Journalistic. Essays. I finally spoke up. Pa-Pa replied, "It's entirely your choice now, Chum . . . "

Huh? "Follow your deepest conscience. I left the priesthood when I realized the authentic thing to do was to marry your mother . . . Carpe diem!"

Yes, sir!

I last saw my father six months before he died. Eighty-five years old, he'd come to America for medical treatment. I escorted him home to Nigeria.

Heavily sedated, hunched over in his plane seat, he suddenly whispered, "Be attentive to your children . . . okay, Chum?" Tears knocked; I blinked and stared off across the skies. I saw Pa-Pa holding court under our mango tree, reciting Shakespeare under the moonlight. I can still see him, there, conducting an imaginary orchestra playing Vivaldi's "Spring."

In today's world of absentee fathers, my father took me beneath his wings. In a world where the pathology of dishonesty by priests is an old story, my father chose the path of honesty. In a culture where women are a second choice, Pa-Pa gave his girls choices. I owe him to live honestly.

May Akabogu-Collins is a professor of economics and a freelance writer. She lives in Vista, Calif.

Find here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/19/AR2009061902328.html

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Competing Passions

By Uvoh Onoriobe
Charlotte, North Carolina
June 17, 2009

I have followed with keen interest the discussion that has arisen from my plea to God to “Take Me Back”. I want to give Him thanks that he heard my cry and I am revived.

Plainly put ‘Love Waxing Cold’ is BACKSLIDING. I found an article by Diane Dew that did justice to the matter. I want to believe God is calling members of this forum to pray. To lift each other up that His coming will not take any of us by surprise. Be blessed by this!


In Scripture, the term "backslide" is used to describe the stubbornness of Israel: as back- sliding children (Jer 3:22), a backsliding daughter (Jer 31:22), and as a backsliding heifer (Hos 4:16).
The word "backslide" literally means "turn back" or "turn away."
A. Turning from God. 1 Ki 11:9
B. Turning from our first love. Revel 2:4
C. Turning from the gospel. Gal 1:6, 7; 3:1-5
D. Turning to Satan. 1 Tim 5:15
E. Turning to evil. Psa 125:5
F. Turning to the world. 2 Tim 4:10
G. Turning aside, off-course, "like a deceitful bow." Jer 14:7


Hos 4:17

1. Marriage to the ungodly. Josh 23:12, 13; 1 Ki 11:4
2. Bad friendships. 1 Corin 15:33 1 Pet 4:2-4
3. Lack of fellowship; isolation. Heb 3:12, 13; 10:25
4. Sexual defraudation in marriage. 1 Corin 7:5
5. Divisions, arguments. Mat 18:35 1 Tim 6:20, 21; 2 Corin 12:20, 21
6. Jealousy, envy, hatred. Mat 5:23, 24 Gal 5:15 Heb 2:15
7. Adultery. Prov 29:3; Jas 4:4


1. Heresy, philosophy. Acts 20:30; 2 Corin 11:4; Gal 1:6-9; 3:1; 4:9-11; 5:7-10
2. Inadequate teaching; poor foundation. Hos 4:6;1 Corin 3:1-3
3. Poor (or no) leadership -- or an over-dependence upon it. Ex 32:1-6; Jdg 2:19
4. Neglect of prayer life. Zeph 1:6; Mk 14:37-41;
5. Spiritual apathy. Prov 6:10; 24:33; 10:5; 19:15; Isa 51:17; 56:10
6. Spiritual blindness. 2 Pet 1:9; ev 3:17
7. Deliberate disobedience. Mat 7:26, 27 1 Jn 2:4
8. Unbelief. Psa 106:24; Jas 1:6-8

C. COMPROMISE WITH THE WORLD. Prov 26:11 2 Ki 17:15; Amos 3:3

1. Competing interests: compromise. 2 Ki 17:33, 41; Psa 106:34, 35; Jer 2:31, 32
2. Ingratitude; independence from God. Deut 8:10-14; Psa 107
3. Spiritual adultery; idolatry. Hos 2:13


A. Prayer. Mk 14:38; Lk 22:46; 1 Corin 10:12; Eph 6:18; 1 Pet 5:8, 9; Jude 20, 21
B. The Word of God. Mat 8:24, 25; Lk 4:4, 8; Eph 6:17
C. The prayers of others. Luke 22:31
D. Diligence to spiritual things. Heb 6:11; 2 Pe 1:5-7, 10
E. Walking in the Spirit. Gal 5:16; Lk 4:1-14
F. Abstinence. 1 Pe 2:11; Jas 1:27
G. Godly living. Rom 6:19-22; 2 Pe 1:7, 8
H. Self-examination (good, to a degree). Deut 4:9; 2 Corin 13:5
I. Submission to the discipline of the Lord. Heb 12:8
J. Good preaching. 1 Corin 15:2
K. Exhortation of other believers. Heb 10:25; 1 Tim 4:6


Jer 3:22 "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings..."
A. God loves the backslider and promises to receive those who return with repentant hearts. His desire is always for restoration. Deut 4:29; 1 Chron 28:9; 2 Chron 7:14; 15:2; Neh 9:17; Isa 31:6; Hos 6:1; 4:4 "I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely ..." Mic 7:18; 1 Jn 1:9
B. God strives with the backslider (2 Ki 17:15), and he often must use extreme measures to bring us back. He lovingly will use anything--sickness, misery, grief--to get us to return. Psalm 107
C. His patience toward those who "keep on backsliding," however, is limited. God grows weary with sin. Prov 24:16; Jer 15:6, 7
Hos 11:7 "And my people are bent to backsliding from me ... How shall I give thee up ...? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? ... mine heart is turned within me..."
Heb 3:10 "Their hearts are always going astray ..."
Jer 8:5-12 "slidden back by a perpetual backsliding"
Jer 14:7- 12; 15:6, 7 "Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward...; I am weary with repenting... since they return not from their ways."
1. Some have a propensity to backsliding.
Jer 8:5-7
2. Some become reprobate--beyond any place of repentance.
Isa 1:5-6; Jer 6:30; 15:1; Ezek 22:18; Heb 6:6; 10:26-29, 38, 39; 1 Corin 5:10-13; Rev 2:4, 5, 21-23; 3:2, 3
3. If they are rejected of God, however, it is because they have rejected Him. His desire is always for our return.
2 Chron 30:6; Isa 31:6; Jer 3:4-22; Hos 6:1; 14:4-7
D. Backsliding displeases God and provokes him to anger.
2 Ki 17:11, 17, 18; Psa 78:56-59; 106:40; Zech 7:12
E. His eagerness for our return is pictured in the story of the prodigal, how the father "ran" to meet him. Lk 15:20


A. “... only acknowledge thine iniquity." Jer 3:13, 14; 12:13
B. Change your ways. Job 22:23; Psa 51:3-4; Isa 1:16-20

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How I Missed the Dew of Hermon

By Ayamma Umanah
The Netherlands
June 14, 2009

Yes, its me again! Its my last full week in the Netherlands and  while i have enjoyed my stay in this scenic country, boy would I be glad to be back to good old Naija (that's nigeria, for those of you wondering). Someone might wonder and ask why? Is it because of the cold? Not really, though it plays a part  as I havent still gotten used to the below 17 Celsius temperature. Or the food? Not really that either, even though I'll be glad once more to eat hot spicy (peppery) food and swallow eba! No, none of these things was a major source of discomfort to me. What I missed most was the worship culture of Nigeria! I posted my thoughts on the emptying churches of Europe previously. What i didn't elaborate on was how it impacted on me and my stay in the country. As usual, on getting to a new place, I sought fellowship with other believers. Being in a university community, gatherings of believers wouldn't be hard to find, since that was the norm back home in Nigeria........well so I thought. Maybe I didn't search well enough, but suffice to say I didn't find any......at least none that met regularly. Nijmegen, the Dutch town where I am, is the oldest town in Netherlands and predominantly Catholic. However, that statement itself is outdated because presently a great majority of its inhabitants don't go to church at all. In my first week, so no church. Second week, I managed to find that there was an English service to be held in the students' center and it turned out to be a Catholic service! Get me right, I have absolutely nothing against Catholics, I have wonderful Christian friends who are Catholics and are faithfully serving God within the Catholic Church, but it just isn't it for me. I had hoped it was an Anglican service since that was more in line with what I was used to, but imagine my surprise when I was told the Anglican English services hold only twice a month in that town and alternates with another town! So, due to my faulty calender observation, I'm ending my stay in Netherlands having attended Sunday service only once in 6 weeks. By the way, the Catholic service was good - so why didn't you continue, you may ask? Thats another day's blog. 

Okay, so I can't make Sunday service, let me attend bible study, which is also held twice a month. It wasn't the same either. We were studying the lives of certain persons who had read the bible and drew their conclusions and made certain recommendations. Yes, there was a bible reading, but after that we discussed their recommendations, the bible had little place in the study beyond the reading. Oh and guess whose work we were studying.....Ignatius of Loyola! Interesting coincidence to me. Anyway, despite everything I learnt something and was glad for the fellowship in whatever form it came. 

So, you would ask what is the purpose of this reminiscence of mine? On the last study day, which coincided with the last day I would be in the study, the lady coordinating makes the announcement, that henceforth , the bimonthly Church services will no longer hold there anymore. The reason? The catholic service is being moved from the morning to the evenings which effectively rendered the Anglican congregation homeless. Within me I wondered why then can't the Anglican church use the morning slot? Maybe the Catholics will have their Dutch service then? Imagine my shock when the reason was that there was no Cleric to provide the service! As it was revealed there was only one Cleric covering two big towns so in the morning he goes to the other town to hold services. And the more flimsy reason? People with children can't make morning services! To furhter add to my agony, she goes on to share how in the last three years 3 protestant churches had to combine their churches because of declining number of members, so also is the Catholic church (I guess the Anglican had always been smaller so they weren't ambitious about expansion). Now you see why I miss Naija! At least in the towns, you had an abundance of churches to attend, a flurry of activities, needful and otherwise! There is always somewhere to worship no matter how small, even in the very islamic North. 

I weep for Europe!

Yes, someone might point out, where has the abundance of churches and proliferation of ministries taken us too? I used to reason that way until confronted with this situation. It wasn't for nothing that the bible cautions against forsaking the gathering of the Saints. There is something powerful in being in the gathering of fellow Believers. Yes, christianity is personal, but we need one another to grow well.  There is an anointing that prevails, whenever God's people gathered together in His name. Even when you say, not everyone in church is a child of God in the true sense, but there will be one or two who truely are and that invites God's presence. If circumstances deprive us of that fellowship, God grants extra grace for that child of His. For those of us used to the freedom of worship and abundance of places to fellowship, we may not understand how it feels when that priviledge is denied or can't be exercised. I now understand why people in iron curtain countries, risked everything to meet. I now understand why Apostle Paul always rejoiced whenever he could have brethren visit and fellowship with him. One would wonder, Bro Paul? Why? He understood we can't make this journey alone. Yes, the Holy Spirit is present to comfort and guide, yet we need the encouragement and the push we get from other brethren. Jesus knew this, hence He had disciples while on earth. Some might dispute that reasoning of mine, but explain why on the night He was betrayed, on finding the disciples asleep, He wondered why they couldn't watch with Him? He is God, yet He wanted their input, companionship, you name it! Even now, He still desires our fellowship with Him more than anything we can offer Him.   My point, fellowship matters. It is important and needful. So I'm glad to be going home. Back to the boisterous Nigerian church environment. Our freedom to jump, pray and shout, pray as loud as our voices can carry - (I'm not a proponent of that anyway) - dance and just be us in the presence of God. I miss all that and for me the adage that says" North, South, East or West, home is best" holds true now more than ever. 

But imagine that final homecoming and reunion at the marriage feast of the Lamb! You don't want to miss that, so wherever you might be in the world, however your present circumstance, nothing can compare to that Church gathering up there. Dont miss it for anything!!!!!   As a last word......or words, I was sent a touching video of a father (Dick Hoyt)  and his physically challenged son (Rick Hoyt), who despite their individual limitations, together have undertaken to participate in events most people wouldn't dream of. Their secret? TOGETHER! Together they were able to achieve what either wouldn't have been able to do alone. 

So together as the body of Christ we can exceed the limits life places on us, but more importantly, together with our Father, we can do the IMPOSSIBLE!    

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Wonderful New Month

By Ayamma Umanah
The Netherlands
June 1, 2009

Hey everyone!!!

Its amazing how time flies. Suddenly we are in another new month - It's June already.....the last month in the first half of the Year 2009. I'm sure we all entered this year with loads of expectations and resolutions -that is for those who make them. By now, some of us are already jumping with glee that YES! I'm on track. Some of us are less joyous, because we probably are seeing the lapses and wondering, "How in the world am I going to catch up?" There are still those who would rather not be reminded of the passing of time, because as far as they can see, nothing has gone the way they planned it!

If you ask me I'm not exactly sure where I would place myself in these stratifications. And truth be told I don't really want to. But then, the planners amongst you will ask, " How then will you assess your goals and where you have fallen short?" Some others will applaud my decison and say, "You go gal, life is to be enjoyed , not monitored constantly which will take the fun out of it."

Fortunately , both parties have valid points. One needs to have goals in life and periodically check them in order to see if one is on track or not. If somewhere you have gotten off, then find your way back. However, a life filled with only goals and constant checking , lives little or no room for the spontaneity that adds spice to our lives. Life then can become restrictive, boring, and one of constant competition and repetitions! So, I have chosen to chart the middle road - (lazy of me, I suppose) - and mix all the stances. While I look back to see how far I have come especially with plans, I don't let myself get depressed or indulge in self pity on how far I am from where I ought to be. I choose to believe each day is an oppourtunity to live better and achieve what I couldn't yesterday. I am not a proponent of "opportunity comes but once", if not several people whom we now look up too as achievers would never be in that hall of fame!

Let's look at the biblical times and check out some of the heroes in that dispensation.

Jacob, given the blessing and right of the first born, yet had to run away for years. Through so many disappointments, he still became the Patriach of Israel and inherited the land of promise. Moses, first a prince, then a fugitive , then again a leader of a great people. His name remembered both in Egpyt and Isreal. If he were only a prince in Egypt I'm not sure he would have been so remembered!

How about our contemporary times?

Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and numerous other people who survived bad business deals, bankruptcy, failing health, and a host of other failings and disappointments. They all chucked it up as experience, learnt from it and moved on , determined to create a better tomorrow. Contrast that to certain other men who, because they failed in their goals, allowed depression to set in and never tried again, and so remained nonentities forever, or worse still, committed suicide because they felt they couldn't face tomorrow?

So what's the essence of my long 1st of June sermon? You may ask. Decide like Apostle Paul, to forget the things that are behind (January to May), and press on to the things ahead (June to Decemeber). So much more lie ahead of us. Great oppourtunities, joyous encounters, life changing and defining experiences that we will miss if we remain fixated on past victories or failures. So don't be like the Greek god, Janus. Who have 2 faces - one facing backwards and one facing forward! I doubt that fellow made much progress in life. Why? Because there will always be something in your past beckoning that will impede your forward progression.

So happy new month to you all. May you make the best out of it and many more months to come.

God bless you real good.

Take Me Back

By Uvoh Onoriobe
Charlotte, North Carolina
June 1, 2009

Thank God for the ability to write and sing. I equate it to a vent. Without these one could literally blow up from life's pressures.

I remember when I was on fire for God. I desired to be in His presence at all times. At one time, I wanted to get into the offering bowl so I could give Him my all. His commandments were my mainstay. Sin and sinful thoughts pricked my heart and made me cry: create me a clean heart. How I loved Him.

In the course of time, I realize that I am no longer as passionate as I used to be. These days I partake in certain activities and am not perturbed. Is this a sign of backsliding? Have I developed a reprobate heart? I hope not.

The other day I met a preacher who was relentless in selling me her beliefs. She promotes the once saved, forever saved theory. She claimed nothing can pluck us away from God's hands. Right away, I remembered that they that endure till the end will be saved. I shook my head and said no. I may have my struggles but there is no way I will go in that direction.

Deep in me I want to go back to the place I once knew- where I trembled at His word. The place where I had decided to make a covenant with my eyes not to regard or take pleasure in iniquity. The place where pride and unforgiveness could not fester.

I decided to go back to my collection of gospel tracks and lo I found just what I needed. The lyrics from Andrae Crouch's Take Me Back was timely.

Take me back, take me back dear Lord
To the place where I first believed you.
Take me back, take me back dear Lord where I
First believe.

I feel that I'm so far from you Lord
But still I hear you calling me
Those simple things that I once knew,
The memories are drawing me.
I must confess, Lord I've been blessed
But yet my soul's not satisfied.
Renew my faith, restore my joy
And dry my weaping eyes.

I tried so hard
To make it all alone
I need your help
Just to make it home.

This was the beginning of a revival. It was coming back. I renewed my commitment to Christ whom I am espoused to. I kept singing. Brian Doerksen's Light the Fire Again was a definite help.

Don't let my love grow cold
I'm calling out, 'light the fire again.'
Don't let my vision die
I'm calling out, 'light the fire again.'

You know my heart, my deeds
I'm calling out, 'light the fire again.'
I need Your discipline
I'm calling out, 'light the fire again.'

I am here to buy gold
Refined in the fire
Naked and poor
Wretched and blind, I come
Clothe me in white
So I won't be ashamed
Lord, light the fire again!

I am still here and keeping my vision on target. I will make that eternal dwelling place not made with hands. So help me God.