The Trail of Death


A while back, say about 27 years ago, my mom received a call from a distant relative. It was a Saturday as I recall, and we very convivial about what we would have for breakfast. It would be a combination of akara and pap or moin-moin and agidi, depending on the mood mom was in. But then, the telephone conversation didn’t seem to go well. I remember mother’s face caking into a frown that left my brother and I a little uneasy.
‘What is it mommy?’ I asked after she had left off speaking and put the phone back in its place. Back then, everything was menial and Saturdays were sort of an avenue for my mom -and probably, every other working class mom in Nigeria-to communicate the ‘mechanical’ state of things that the late 1980s trickling into the early 1990s were. From having to plough through our two bedroom apartment, all covered in thick brown rug to wiping the furniture rid of dust with a dry piece of clothe, blending the beans my mom had skinned, making breakfast, eating it and eventually settling to a retinue of newspaper articles mother made me summarize, Saturdays were almost never fun, even though I still have the Old Lady to thank for it, given the few proficiencies I picked up.
But this Saturday had brought with it much more than the usual drudgery, it had brought pain. ‘Your dad’s cousin has been arrested in Malta, ‘ she flinched. It was a moment rarely seen; my mother to flinch. Anyone who knew my mother easily branded her a hot-head who had  little to zero compassion for things she considered stupidity. And getting clamped by immigration in a country you had no business in, seemed like stupidity to me.

‘Where is Malta, mum?’ My little brother asked. ‘And how did Uncle So-and-so get there?’

Mom flinched again but this time, a tear wheeled down her cheek which made us realize that there was more she wasn’t saying. In hindsight, I think my dad’s absence at the time, compounded her reaction. You see, my dad was an aviator and would very often, be away for protracted periods, in the sky, moving people and their belongings from airport to airport, almost never stopping in any location for long enough to phone home except for when he made a major stop which meant his aircraft needed fixing. Uncle So-and-so’s telephone call had coincided with such a time when my dad hadn’t called in about two days. 
‘Malta is off the coast of Africa,’ mother said and then continued, ‘near Spain.
‘Your Uncle says he was lured with getting a job in Spain as an electrician, but not having money for a plane ticket, he travelled by road to Agadez in Niger Republic and then through the Sahara Desert to a place called, Tobruk from where he boarded a boat to Malta, where he has now been arrested.’

Mother began to cry. I sense that things were worse than she was letting on but I couldn’t bring myself to begin to cry along with her as did my little brother. Dad had left me in charge. And it was a responsibility I held on to even though I didn’t know how. I kept a stiff upper lip and simply bellowed over and over again, ‘Everything would be alright.’

‘He said he was happy to have been arrested,’ mother said and then continued, ‘that the trip was gory with many deaths. Once the Tuaregs had attacked the truck he was commuting in, taking his money, belongings and his passport and those of every other person in the truck except the driver whom the bandits seemed to be in cahoots with.

Mother seemed very beaten by this news by this time as she relayed it. She was on the floor, her crying becoming a wail which made me wonder.

 But that was the story you could share with a child. The real story as I later came to learn was that Uncle So-and-so had been lured, robbed, sexually assaulted, stabbed and left for dead somewhere in Libya. A Good Samaritan had found and freighted him across the Mediterranean to Malta where he was arrested, treated and later, deported to Nigeria.

I remembered the story now because of something I saw on Facebook a few days ago about an Abeokuta-based trafficking ring and their modus operandi. It’s still the same; they lure unsuspecting people-parents of eventual victims and the youngsters themselves-with fictitious jobs abroad, offering incredible pay.
It’s the same tactic that worked on my relative twenty-seven years ago. And need I say, he later died; not from the trauma of escaping the throes of death while crossing the Sahara but from HIV that he got infected with from being sodomized on his road to fortune.

Stories about helping people find work overseas are often not true. They are a lure into prostitution and other forms of enslavement and the sad part is, the trafficking rings make you pay a fee to take you to their hell.

Monies as much as N350,000 to N1,500,000 are demanded upfront by these traffickers to take victims -desperate for a better life-to Italy, Spain, Libya or Malaysia only to make these people pay them an extra amount of money through prostitution or other forms of enslavement.

As I drift away from typing this piece, I remember a 1979 movie, Ashanti and how it captured the gloom of trans-Sahara human trafficking. The very suggestion of going to Europe through Niger is never a good prospect, if you ask me. The trail across the desert up to the Mediterranean Sea are always lined with corpses. 

Be careful.

Head and Not Tail


One of God’s promises to the Seed of Abraham was that he was to be head and not tail-above only; never beneath-in this life. To the Jews who claim this promise, this has been true. Many Jewish families coming to America from Europe in the 1940s came with about $8. Today, Jews in America are difficult not notice because they are at the helm of American politics, science & tech,  business, media and sports. You may not find many Jewish actors but the film directors and producers are almost always Jewish. The sport club owners, the venture capitalists and the hegemony of Wall Street. They too are almost all Jews.
Why? 

Because of a conditional promise in Deuteronomy 28:13 says, 

‘If you listen to these commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.’

The Jews, as we know, have not always kept their part of the bargain otherwise, Jesus would not have had to come and pay the penalty for their failings.

But God is ever faithful. The Bible says He is faithful even when we aren’t (2 Timothy 2:13) and that, God gives without changing His mind (Romans 11:29). 

And so, we see the Jew excel in this world. He excels with this promissory note of God; the same promise whose terms have now  been satisfied by Jesus Christ  and credited to our account. 

The Bible says we who are Christ’s are Abraham’s Seed and heirs based on the promise (Galatians 3:29). Every benefit God committed to perform when He entered into a contractual agreement with Israel belongs to us in Christ because Jesus satisfied the demands of the contract. And so the headship belongs to you and I who are born again.

This headship is what was working in Joseph that took him for the pit to the palace in a short span of time. It worked for David; taking him for tending sheep to leading a nation. It worked in Jesus when He took on lowly flesh, went to hell and sacked the place. He was raised the third day and today, He seats at the helm of everything…with you seated together.

You are the head. It is your place in Christ Jesus, and this isn’t something to be superspiritual about. Headship means leadership. And because of this gift that you now have, there can be no dispute to you place among men.

You are the head and not the tail, above only and never beneath.

Shalom!

Houses and An Inheritance: The Role of the Father


In a world where men are steadily barraged by the question of their identities, one can almost understand why so many men are so resigned. The socioeconomics of parenting particularly in the developed world has led to a rise in stay-at-home dads.  

Or maybe because women have proven to be more emotionally intelligent in the workplace, we are seeing a sustained trend of women taking the breadwinning roles at the home front.We have also witnessed more dereliction from fathers, which I must presume, comes from a place of angst at a world that has so much changed.

But it isn’t how much the world has changed as it as it is about how a lot of men have morphed away from the idea of who a man is. I mean, a real man.

Now, I would most certainly write a book were I to describe a man–not the one I am, but the one I see in the Bible; the one I aspire to be–but that’s not the reason I wrote this post.

 Like the never-ending line drawn across the horizon, the man I see for myself is an unnerving image which is why I like to look at him pixelated, in tiny bits so that my focus does not become blurred by it’s his resplendence.

Proverbs 19:14 is a pixel that I am newly accustomed to. It says,

‘A house and self-sufficiency are a father’s inheritance, but from the LORD comes an insightful wife.’

Leaving the wife part out, even though I am thankful to God for the gift of an insightful wife myself, a man is responsible for the gift of a house and riches to his child. It isn’t enough to teach them God’s ways or send them to school, you’ve got to provide a house and  start up capital for the next generation not because it is what a man should does but because it is part of who a good man is…to his children (see Proverbs 13:22)

Don’t say your parents left you nothing and so, you too would leave nothing to your own kids. 

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children not because it is what he does but because it’s who he is.

Never Question God’s Love

Sometimes, we put out our faith for something. And for every intent and purpose, we even get to a point where we know how it is going to happen; this thing we are believing God for.

But then, it doesn’t happen as planned and we are tempted to get offended. Don’t! 

In that hour, it is time to worship God; to recognize that God’s love for you cannot fail; to reaffirm in your heart your unwavering trust in the love that God has for you.

The Bible declares that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Faith may fail according to the Bible but God’s love for you never fails.

Never question God’s love for you! Worship Him, don’t complain…

Christ In You


Christianity is not a religion. And this isn’t about making cliches or semantics. Christianity is the vivacious life of God infused and operative in a person. 

Before Jesus came and died, God our Father would provisionally let Christ come upon certain people for certain specific purposes and then it would lift off of them when that purpose was accomplished. It was given by measure unto them. 

But when Jesus came, He came as the Christ -the Overflow of God’s wisdom and ability-for the Bible declares that He (Jesus) whom God had sent speaketh the Word of God for God has not given to Him the Spirit by measure unto Him (see John 3:34). Jesus was the first to come with the Overflow of God’s anointing. 

Now, we who are in Christ have been born into this Overflow of wisdom and power. It was what was meant in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 when the Bible declared:

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold all things have become new. And all things are of God…

‘Behold’ is the operative word in these verses. It means that in Christ we are to behold the newness of life; the harmonization of our lives with that of Almighty God by Jesus Christ.

We are one with God.

But beyond being in Christ, Christ is in you. When you got Born Again, you didn’t just get immersed into Christ, Christ sipped into you too through and through; giving you the assurance that you share in God’s wisdom and power.

It is a mystery but know this, if it is possible with God, you too can achieve it in Christ and with Christ in you.

Jesus is Coming Soon 


Jesus is coming soon, you’ve probably heard preached; the operative word being, ‘soon’. The thing is, soon could mean the next minute and it could also mean, the next fifty years. 
What’s paramount is not the Lord’s return but the time in-between.

How do I know this? 

In Matthew 25, Jesus gave the parables about the wise and foolish virgins, the bags of gold and the sheep and the goats, to teach the importance of how we use this time before He returns. The nutshell of these parables could be summarized in these words: 

Being mindful of Christ

So who or what is Christ?

Christ is the Anointed One and His Anointing; the very Kingdom of God; the place of saviors where nothing is impossible.

Christ is the place of profit; where the spirits of just men are made perfect. In our hearts, Christ is the hope of glory.

Christ is the intersection between God and men; where love meets sin and washes it clean.

It is this mindfulness that drives us to see Jesus in others; that cause us to evangelize, give and be a blessing to our world. It is how we show love to the least of our brethren.

Jesus is coming soon…and another way we show our mindfulness of Christ is by take the communion. With it, we proclaim the Lord’s death until His return. 

And so the message, ‘Jesus is Coming Soon’ to the church is not necessarily about the judgement that comes at the end of the age, but about how becoming Christ-conscious can truly change the world.

Shalom.

Glossolalia


Cryptography is a means of communication between two parties that alienates a third party from intercepting, interpreting or using the information transmitted for its own purpose. 

In the world of finance, cryptography is the system that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are run on to prevent tampering and equivocation.

But Cryptography, as  with all original ideas, has its origin in God. It’s the idea behind speaking in tongues; perfectly communicating with God in a world with so many demons. It is the language of Christ; spoken through the Holy Ghost in name of Jesus by the Church. 

In war, armies are compelled to use cryptography to communicate battle plans from one command to another with the sole aim of preventing the enemy from deciphering what’s being communicated.

 The Bible says that Satan, the enemy of all mankind, has certain administrative rights in this world. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, he is referred to as the god of this world. Ephesians 2:2 calls him the prince of the power of the air. It is no news that Satan is fluent in all human languages; accounting for significant portions the vocabulary in use today from Latin America to Vanuatu in Oceania. Listen to people talk and it’s not hard to hear Satan’s input in etymology.

The  very languages of men wreak of weakness and fear.

Speaking in tongues therefore provides a means to communicate with God without being eavesdropped on by the enemy. It is the conduit of refreshing by which Christians can rest, restrategize and rehash onslaughts against the wicked one.

1 Corinthians 14 elucidates how valuable speaking in tongues can be. Aside from being the dialect of God, it is a means  of thanking God in a way that’s most meaningful to Him. 

Speaking in tongues has a sanctifying effect on our physical bodies and  can also be a means of discerning the Lord’s specific mind about a matter that may not be covered by the scriptures when it wells up in prophecy. 

Most importantly, speaking in other tongues is vital to spiritual growth. Three scriptures attest to this immense benefit; making it one of the very important aspects of the Christian faith. Isaiah 28:9-11, 1 Corinthians 14:4 and Jude 20 all point to the value that speaking in tongues is. 

It isn’t a denominational phenomenon but a Biblical one. The original Greek translators called it, Glossolalia,  meaning, ‘the language of the tongue.’

 And in punctuating this piece, God himself endorsed speaking in tongues.

In Mark 16:17, Jesus said, “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;

Shalom!