Your voice laps like a flowing stream,
Across howling space.
Your face beams a summer dream,
My pulse on a race.
Like morning dew, my eyes wink;
Bees busy for nectar.
The sun crawls, mimics your coming,
A paining night that slows the dawn.
Though each moment’s delay ticks
My day with unveiled smiles;
I put on white dress, perfume the air
With a sweet scent.
At night I sleep with an open eye;
I peep out the window all day:
Lend the sun some wings,
And stir him to faster pace?
Fun to see the glow, the flutter
Of a cockerel close to crow!
© 2014 Celestine S. Ikwuamaesi
IF MY CROWN were worth a dross, the cross remains a showy sham.
If my heart should glow as snow, Jesus’ blood flowed with a flaw.
Enthralled by the warped wood, the wide spreading arms, I stared;
Yet couldn’t see on the marred face, the price He paid for my freedom.
I wondered! Why bear the shame of my wallowing in the mire?
I wondered! What a huge price for a heart fit for the dump!
After grace had cleared the fog, my worth weighed like a feather.
The cross dulled my brilliance; I came down crashing in a flash.
I had thought of my rich crown; that the world should doff and bow.
Then I saw His thorny crown, the blood and the rich harvest.
What a disdain I deserve for my pride, what I made of grace!
My silk rustles aloud the shame; but my burlap sings His praise.
© 2015 Celestine S. Ikwuamaesi
AT A PRAYER meeting week ago, a Christian friend shared a testimony of his brief meeting with God years ago. In a momentary experience, God showed him one of the problems that faced the church. By church, I mean you and me, and the corporate expression of this unique fellowship of believers.
The testimony went beyond attracting my interest. It confirmed my fears that something is wrong with the church. I had noticed a gap between the original and modern church, and mused over the issue. I tried to place a finger on the cause. One of the two cannot be real! The New Testament accounts of church life sound like a fantasy—tale by the moonlight. However, modern church appeals more to the intellect, personal desires, and material expectations from God. When one compares the old church with the new, we find two speaking to God in two separate languages.
Going back in history, the earth was dark and empty when God’s love stirred Him to create a place for a people with His image and likeness. He said, “Let there be light.” At the end of sequence of events, God created man and set him in the midst of what He had judged to be Very Good. Love brings something good. Hate is weak and gives rise to evil. Love comes from God, hate from the devil. Today, the world has moved away from where it started.
Jesus Christ came with a simple message. “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the Good News!” (Mark 1:15 NIV) God’s kingdom is synonymous with His love. When heard Jesus, he noticed that his end had come. He could not withstand the power of kingdom love.
Christ raised a team of simpleminded men, took them around the country showing the power of kingdom love. They saw it through signs and wonders. Captives of the devil regained freedom while relief came to the broken-hearted. Those on the devil’s death row received pardon. Testimonies flowed from the hearts of a baffled public and the devil’s former captives. “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (John 3:2 NIV) Whoever comes from God must be equipped with kingdom power of love.
Our Lord drove the message home to those of us who, through faith in His name, are disciples. He tasked the disciples: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (Mat 5:44, 45; Luke 6:27-28)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (Romans 3:14 NIV)
Kingdom love is the mark of God’s children and Christ’s disciples. Our spiritual power flows from it hence the Holy Spirit comes into us with love at the new birth. (Romans 5:5)
Jesus was barred by the Samaritans on his way to Jerusalem. In response, James wanted to call fire from heaven to consume the people. He had a biblical reference to support his move. However, the Lord rebuked him: Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. (Luke 9:55, 56 KJV)
The Lord’s reason showed later in Acts 8:14; 9:31. Most Christians still live the Old Testament law of an-eye-for-an-eye. We are comfortable with imprecatory prayers of the old while living the new spirit life in Christ.
The Jewish authorities manhandled the apostles but released them later. In response, the church prayed: And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word… (Acts 4:29 – 31 KJV)
Verse 31 shows what happens when spiritual warfare is kingdom-driven.
Proponents of fire-and-brimstone prayers claim to aim at the devil. We choose a Bible text from the Old Testament and lob it at the enemy. Use of God’s word in warfare is not a matter of plug and play, but as the Holy Spirit directs. Besides, should we use our anointed tongues to praise God or curse the devil? (James 3:9-11) Can one make a black pot blacker by painting it with black paint? Do we understand that God’s presence fills the place of praise, causing the enemy to flee?
God took him to a place of prayer and opened his ears to His children pray. He heard a barrage of fervent praying that elevated the devil and availed nothing. To God, the tongue should be put to better use.
Nation in a mirthful mood,
Whirring discordant triumph,
Eyes steaming noxious passion.
Revelry boils over;
Death in the embrace of a squall
Eddies skyward; the stench chokes.
Itch for holes, fun in dark slits
Of black-eyed vipers, foxes;
For beds, quilted thorny spreads.
Swarms of gaunt vultures hover,
Craning in graveyard muteness;
Keen eyes, sharp claws, ready to pluck.
Rainbow spray of emotions,
Like dew glistening at dawn,
Awaiting the summer sun.
© 2015 Celestine S. Ikwuamaesi