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The setting starts in a train, Controllers checking tickets

“Farhrschein, bitte”

The voice of the ticket controller jolted the teenage girl back into attention. With dreamy eyes, she looked at the Controller as if asking “why are you disturbing my thoughts?”

“Farhrschein, bitte”, repeated the Controller.

Suddenly, the girl comes into full attention. Her heart started pounding wildly, simultaneously, sweat broke out on her face and under her armpits. She was instantly uncomfortable and jittery. The Controller noticed her discomfort and knew exactly what it meant. She had no ticket to board the train. The penalty was 40euro.

With cold patience of a vulture waiting for its victim to die before it will scavenge its flesh, the Controller stood watching her rummage through her rucksack searching for a ticket both of them knew was not there. By now, the other members of the controlling team, having finished checking the other passenger, stood by watching the two of them.

Finally, the Controller broke the awkward silence in a monotone “Ausweise, bitte”.

The teenager was more confused than frightened. Today of all days. She had promised her mother she would stay at home but, her friends had called that they were meeting to meditate and get power. It was going to be exciting. All the stuff about Halloween and the ability to fly and do magic, just as she has seen in the movies. She was looking forward to an exciting afternoon then a quick dash back home before her mother returned from work. She was quite sure she could make it there without getting caught, since she hadn’t seen the controller in weeks. Returning would have been no problem since she could collect money from her friends.

All these thoughts raced through her mind. Meanwhile, the Controller had brought out his pen and forms waiting for her identity card.

“Naomi”

Her head jerked suddenly in the direction of the voice calling her name. Right before her stood a very tall and strongly built black man. He had a puzzled look on his face as he asked: “Naomi, why did you not tell them your ticket is with me?”

All she could do was gape at him. “Who is this? How did he know my name?”

Turning to the Controller, the stranger said, “This is her ticket”.

“Are you together?”

“Yes replied the stranger. We had to sit separately because the train was crowded when we entered”.

“Where is your own ticket?” The Controller queried the man.

As if waiting for him to ask, the man produced another ticket.

All the Controllers pooled around immediately scrutinizing the tickets with forensic detail. Both are valid.

But the Controller was not satisfied. “What is your name?” He asked the teenager?  “Naomi”,  came the replied.

“May I see your identity card, please?”

She brought it out with confidence. Satisfied that her name was Naomi, the Controller returned it and stepped back.

“Come” said the stranger; there are vacant seats in the front.”

Without waiting for her to reply, he took her by the hand and gently pulled her after him. She was only too happy to be led away from the group of Controllers who by now were regarding her with a sad look of a vulture whose prey suddenly came back to life, before it started tearing its flesh.

The stranger chose a seat far away from the controllers, while the other passengers were watching the scenario had puzzled looks on their faces.

They had scarcely sat when the question came rattling out of the girls mouth. “Who are you?”

“How did you know my name?”

“Where did you get the ticket from?”

The stranger simply said, I am your angel”.

“Angel?” gasped the teenager immediately, all the eyes in the vicinity looked in their direction, more puzzled than shocked.

“You are an angel?”

“Why don’t you look like one?”

“But, but” stammered the girl, “angels are white not black”.

“I am your guardian angel”. The stranger continued. “The outside complexion does not matter to God. It is what is on the inside. Remember, Judas Iscariot was white, while Rufus who helped Jesus carry the cross was black.”

“So you are a real angel?” Wow! Do you actually fly? Where are your wings if you are a real angel?”

 The angel ignored all her questions and said simply:

“Go back home”.

“Why?” You don’t know where I am going”?

“You will get into trouble where you are going. Your friends are going into Satan worship and want you to join them.

Use the ticket in your hand and go back home.”

“I don’t understand” protested the girl. “It is just a game and fun, everyone does it. I mean all the children in the school are talking about it.”

“There is nothing pleasant or funny about the devil and witches. They are evil. Go back home, Naomi.

I will see you later.”

By now the train had reached Hauptbahnhof and they were standing on the platform. Some of the passengers stood by watching the two of them cautiously.

“Why did you come to me?” I do not pray and we do not go to church at home?”

“Your grandmother in Africa prays for you every day. It is her prayer that God answered.”

“Go back home, Naomi. I will see you again

“When will you come back?”

“Whenever you have a situation you cannot handle”, he replied.

As he stepped back to enter into the train again, which for strange reason refused to leave the platform, she asked “What is your name?”

“Karis”

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    • Are You Ready for the Storm?
      A storm is coming. The torrential rains shall fall. The waters shall rise. The floods shall sweep away all wood, hay and stubble. The violent winds will blow away all that was built irresponsibly. (Alois_Wonaschuetz)

      A storm is coming. The torrential rains shall fall. The waters shall rise. The floods shall sweep away all wood, hay and stubble. The violent winds will blow away all that was built irresponsibly.

      Are you building your house on the rock or on the sand?

      "Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded a rock. And every one who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them will be likened to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it fell. And its fall was great " (Matt. 7:24-27).

      "What sayings of Mine" is Jesus specifically referring to in these passages? Reading in context, Jesus began a lengthy teaching from Matthew 5-7 and the central theme of it seems to be the character of the heart of man—from the Beatitudes, to loving our enemies, to having the right motives in giving, praying and fasting. Then He goes on to teach them about the Father's care for them and not worrying but seeking first the kingdom of God. Finally, Jesus comes to the end of that teaching and speaks about hypocrisy and righteous judgment and reverting back to heart matters followed by a warning of false prophets and those who call Him Lord but don't do His will. This entire teaching is traditionally known as the Sermon on the Mount, and it ends with the parable of the wise and foolish builders.

      This was one of Jesus' first and most foundational teachings. It set the tone for His public ministry. As ministers that is important for us to know. We must emphasize what Jesus emphasized. These sayings prepared the people and His disciples for what was to come. Herein we find the standard of Jesus' life and ministry for all He did and taught. The heart must be right or nothing else will be right. If the heart is not right people won't do what He says. We must build our lives on Jesus' words, especially these first words of the first lengthy sermon He preached.

      Storms Test the Strength of the Foundation

      Jesus was the Master Builder. When it comes to building people, He is our primary example and pattern. The apostle Paul refers to God's people as God's field and God's building (1 Cor. 3:9), and he calls all ministers his fellow laborers who plant and water the field, and who are to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ.

      The image of the people as a building under construction is very interesting because it highlights the responsibility of ministers to be faithful in how they build. Ministers are like building contractors who are only permitted to build on the prescribed foundation (see 1 Cor. 3:12-15). There are both wise builders and foolish builders (Matt. 7:24-27). To build on the foundation a building of durable material (gold, silver and precious stones) means not only to teach sound doctrine but even more importantly, to be a godly example and live a sanctified life of fidelity to the truth, thus helping to mature the saints. Ministers and especially pastors/shepherds, because they live with the people, teach more by their life example perhaps than anything else.

      On the other hand, to build with perishable material (wood, hay, and stubble) is to provide inadequate or unsound teaching or to compromise the truth by living a lifestyle that contradicts or falls short of modeling it. It is the quality of every builder's work and not the quantity, as seems to be much of the focus today, that shall be tested by fire, for which every builder shall give account to the Lord.

      In Jesus' parable (Matt. 7:24-27) He uses a storm, signifying the pressures, hardships and trials of life, as well as the persecutions we will suffer for the gospel, as a measuring gauge for how solid our foundation is. And what is our foundation based upon? Jesus taught us that it is based upon doing His sayings. Obedience is the issue. ""Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). Obedience, not lip service, is what God requires.

      Have you ever thought about what gives us the strength and fuel to obey God? Why are some people obedient and some are not? Why are some doers of the Word and some are not? Why do some people stay faithful to God and remain true while others do not? Why do some start this Christian race but never finish? What is it that causes us to endure to the end (Matt. 24:13)?

      It is the fear of the Lord. Obedience to the Lord is not only proof of your love for Him (John 14:21), but also of your fear of Him. There's been an emphasis on love, although we've fallen short of the full counsel of God in that area, too, but there has not been nearly as much of an emphasis on the fear of the Lord. It takes both of them to produce a strong constitution in your Christian life. Notice in the following two different translations how the love of obedience in Jesus was rooted in the fear of the Lord. They are identical. Or a better way to say it would be that the manifestation of the fear of the Lord is obedience to His Word and His sayings/commandments.

      "His delight is in the fear of the Lord" (Isa. 11:3a, NKJV).

      "He will delight in obeying the Lord" (Isa. 11:3a, NLT).

      I love this verse of Scripture. It feeds and fuels the fear of the Lord in me and the delight to obey Him. This is our sure foundation. Since our obedience is the manifestation of the fear of the Lord in our lives, and since that is the difference between building your house on the rock or on the sand, we then could say that the fear of the Lord is what builds a strong foundation for our houses, which represent our lives. The fear of the Lord produces durable materials in our lives that will strengthen us to stand even in the midst of the storms. Can you see that?

      A house is built by wisdom, and the fear of the Lord is the beginning or the foundation of wisdom/knowledge. Once again, a house represents our lives, homes, families.

      "Through [skillful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation]" (Prov. 24:3, AMP).

      "Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord" (Prov. 1:7a, CEB).

      "Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge" (Prov. 1:7a, NLT).

      If we build our lives and homes on the true wisdom and knowledge of God that comes from the foundation of the fear of the Lord, we need not fear the storm, because we will stand.

      Paul's Great Desire

      One of the apostle Paul's greatest burdens was this very thing: that the people He ministered to would stand firm in their faith and remain obedient to God even in the midst of the troubles and persecutions of his day. Other New Testament writers shared the same burden.

      Paul's great desire was that the people he taught would not falter under pressure, lest his work be useless or his labor be in vain. Notice his great concern for the Thessalonian saints (1 Thess. 3:1-9). He had warned them of the troubles that would soon come. In his farewell speech to the Ephesian elders, he warned them of the same troubles (Acts 20:25-31). To the Galatians and the Hebrews he did the same, warning them not to turn back to the Law. He was preparing them for the storm and the persecution they would receive from preaching the cross and paying the price to follow Jesus. Warnings are such a large part of the Scriptural admonition that Paul and the other New Testament writers gave to the churches. Today there is a glaring absence of these warnings in our preaching.

      Here are just some I found in the New Testament: Matthew 7:15, 10:17, 24:4-5, 24:11-13, 24:24; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 12:1, 15; Acts 20:29-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10:12, 11:3; Galatians 6:7; Ephesians 5:6, Philippians 3:2, 18; Colossians 1:28, 2:8; 1 Timothy 4:16; Hebrews 2:1-3, 4:1; 2 Peter 1:10, 3:17.

      Fellow minister and preacher, how well are you preparing yourself and your people for the storm? Are you teaching them the whole counsel of God or catering to itching ears? Are you including the warnings in your preaching? Are you preaching on only the goodness and mercy of God, or do you also preach on His severity, wrath and judgments? Are you only preaching on the love of God, or do you place emphasis on His holiness too? Do you ever preach on sin and repentance? Are your concepts of the love of God and the grace of God accurate and in accordance with Scripture?

      If not, then you may be guilty of the blood of men: "Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not keep from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. .... Therefore watch, remembering that for three years night and day I did not cease to warn everyone with tears" (Acts 20:26-27, 31).

      Make sure you are preparing yourselves and those whom God has entrusted to you for the storm. Oh, how much stronger our churches would be if we included these things in our preaching and teaching and living them out before the people!

      Bert Farias
    • Message from NCEF to all Christians in Nigeria

      It is now clear that if Christians do not organize to actively participate in Governance, the instrument of the State shall be used to progressively decimate the Church until Christianity is eventually “eradicated in all its forms and ramifications” in Nigeria. To avoid this calamity from coming to pass, the NCEF advises all Christians as follows:

      National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF
    • Tell My Church and the Nation to Repent: They Are Not Sincere

      For the Nigerian Church this message is very timely and approriate. Considering the situation we are facing,  what God requires of the Nigerian Chuch to avert disaster is REPENTANCE AND UNITY of the Church.

      Urgency and sincerity are two words  rolling around in my spirit as I write this. With yet another historic event—the senseless killing of now 59 people in Las Vegas—we are being warned as a nation.

      Bert Farias
    • Why You Need to Embrace the Lost Art of Saying "No"

       

      I descended to a whole new low in my parenting a little while ago. In a moment of paternal virtue, I offered an expedition to a local pottery painting shop to my elementary-aged daughter, For a brief moment, I was indeed “Super Dad!” And then came my spectacular fall from grace.

      Drew Williams
    • SUNSHINE OVER THE NIGERIAN CHURCH – Christian Leadership Meeting  

       Christian Leaders unanimously declare support for CAN Trust Fund … urge immediate announcement in all Churches and contribution by all Christians

      Sunshine over Nig 3

      Nigerian Christian leaders held a crucial meeting today (Tuesday 7th November, 2017) at the Sherpherdhill Baptist Church, Lagos, to deliberate on crucial issues affecting the Nigerian Church and the Nation. In attendance was the President of CAN, Rev. Dr. Olasupo Samson Ayokunle, the immediate past President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Prof. Joseph Otubu, Rev. Dr. Musa Asake, Prelate Samuel Kanu Uche (the Prelate of Methodist Church), Pastor E. A. Adeboye, Bishop David Oyedepo, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude, Rev. Dr. Caleb Ahima, Pastor Paul Enenche, Pastor David Ibiyeomie, Pastor Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, Bishop Wale Oke, Archbishop Magnus Atilade, Baba Aladura Elder (Dr.) Bob-Manuel, Dr. Napo Emuchay, Apostle Alex Bamgbola, heads of CAN, heads of denominations and ministries, as well as States and Local Government Chairmen of CAN, and heads of Christian Fellowships. Christian Groups like Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) and Nigeria Christian Graduate Fellowship were also present and spoke at the Conference.

      The meeting, which started with opening prayer by Rev. Father Matthew Ogunyase, condemned in strong words the Islamization Agenda being pursued by the Federal Government of Nigeria, using State resources. The President of CAN, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, delivered a strong paper stating facts and figures in support of the unequivocal stand of the Church that there is an Islamization Agenda going on in Nigeria.

      The paper of the President of CAN condemned the unbridled and lawless attacks of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen on Christians and Christian communities, the violation of the Constitution of Nigeria with regards to membership in OIC, Islam in Africa Organization, Saudi Arabia led Islamic Coalition against Terror, the violation of the Federal Character Principle in Federal appointments by the current Administration in favor of Muslims from the North, the lawless and unconstitutional use of State resources to sponsor Jaiz Bank (Islamic Bank) and the use of State resources to float Sukkuk Bond. The floating of Sukkuk Bond in Nigeria is illegal and unconstitutional to the extent that State resources were deployed to establish it.

       sunshine over Nig 4

      The President of CAN also refuted claims by Christians in the Buhari Administration that there is no Islamic Agenda warning that Christians should be careful not to jeopardize their faith in exchange for temporary appointment in Government. He insisted that the instrument of the State is being used to sponsor an Islamization Agenda without due consideration and regards to the rights of other citizens in Nigeria who are not Muslims. He made copious reference to the Abuja Declarations 1989 of the Islam in Africa Organization (IAO) and the OIC strategy meeting in London in 1983 where decisions were taken to destroy Christianity in Nigeria and convert the nation into an Islamic State.

      The meeting called on the National Assembly to publish the list of all international organizations that Nigeria belongs to and insisted that Nigeria must withdraw from every international organization that is based on religion in compliance with Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution.

      The Christian leaders also expressed grave misgivings over the current discrimination in the North, particularly in the so called “Sharia states” where Churches are not given Certificate of Occupancy to access land to construct places of worship for Christians. The Church leaders wondered why such discrimination should exist in the country if truly all the citizens are one. They urged an immediate reversal of this obnoxious discrimination based on religious intolerance.

      CHURCH LEADERS DECLARE TOTAL SUPPORT FOR CAN TRUST FUND

      Speaking one after the other, the Christian leaders called for Unity of all the Christians and the need for every Christian to support Christian Association of Nigeria. To strengthen CAN and make it more effective, all the Christian leaders supported the CAN Trust Fund and urged all Christians to contribute monthly to support it. Pastor Adeboye in particular, decried the lack of funds in CAN and the fire brigade approach of soliciting funds whenever the Church has critical needs. He advised that if all the Christians would contribute N500 per month, or at the very least N100 monthly, to the CAN Trust Fund, there would be a steady flow of funding that would be used to serve the interest of the Church. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Bishop David Oyedepo, Bishop Mike Okonkwo and all the other Church leaders present spoke one after the other in support of the CAN Trust Fund and urged all the Christians to pool resources together to make CAN stronger.

      sunshine Over Nig 5

      The Trustees of the CAN Trust Fund also spoke during the meeting and assured the Church leaders of accountability and transparency of the funds. The Trustees gave assurance that the funds shall well managed and used in the interest of the Church.

      A ten point Communiqué was issued by the Church leaders after the Conference.

      Bosun

       

      CAN TRUST FUND

      GTBank

      02 20 39 08 38

      CAN TRUST FUND

      Zenith Bank

      10 13 99 45 95

      CAN TRUST FUND

      UBA

      10 20 00 57 52

      www.canng.org

      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

       

      Karis
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