Ogo Ekwueme's ChristianBlog

Ogo Ekwueme's ChristianBlog

Christian Blog

This is a blog set up for people to be blessed by your messages or comments put here. It may be messages you heard on tape or on sunday service or a message from God, please feel free to post new messages and to comment on them

10 Facts About Rapture, Anti-Christ and the temple in Jerusalem you should know

Daily and misc. messagesPosted by Ogo Tue, June 28, 2016 15:21:14
Hello Guys,

I just stumbeld on a vlog post which I feel is interesting and a good view.

http://www.pebsng.com/2016/06/10-facts-about-rapture-antichrist-and.html

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The Song Within

Daily and misc. messagesPosted by Ogo Wed, October 21, 2015 09:59:54
This intriguing message I heard from Joel Osteen galvanised me to share his message on my blog.

Always have a song within you, a meoldy in your heart. Most times, when we go to church on Sundays, it isn't enough, we need to always have a song within us to make our christian lives more effective.

Just like a helium ballon which rises because of its amount of helium in it, evenutally falls when the helium dissipates, this is akin to our christian lives, we need to always fill ourselves with songs of praise to keep our lives on the rise.

Even though the issues of life tries to distract, worry or aggrevate us, we should keep our joy, hope and peace in the Lord. The birds of the air always sing come rain or shine. We should behave like them. We should not complain about matters but always praise God about evertyhing.

Here is a saying you should remember

"When you complain, you remain... When you praise, you are raised..."

When something brings you down, always remeber to have a song in your heart and praise God always...

Remember to always keep God first place and He will take you places you've never dreamed of -- Joel Osteen

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Closer... Deeper... Richer

Daily and misc. messagesPosted by Ogo Mon, June 16, 2014 12:46:51
Obtained from thesecretoasis.wordpress.com



I came across this post, written by Osita Arum about two years ago, and it caused a major shift in my fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I saw it again a few days ago, and I knew I just had to share it with you.
It’s a conversation that could only have been borne out of a close, deep, rich relationship. It’s a long read, but I know you would be blessed. So, here it goes:

The Holy Spirit said to me,

“Like the battery in a phone, I like being used. If you don’t use me, you won’t feel a need to fill me back up – thereby, creating laxity which leads to FAMILIARITY.

But when you use me in calls (when we talk together), when you use me in text messages (when we pass each other love notes), when you use me to browse (when you come to me for revelation from the heart of the father), when you use me to play games (those times we just have fun); in those periods when the battery starts going down, maybe one bar or the tones of low battery start beeping – that point when you seem to start losing my closeness, that’s the time to go back and recharge. That is the time to go back and seek me. For at that same time too, I seek you, so that we can have fellowship – so that we can relate, so that we can play, so that I can share with you what’s in The Master’s Mind (get some free downloads). I really don’t want to lose a moment with you.

I know most times you can’t do without a phone. Many times when it goes off, you feel like that’s when many people would have called you and that’s also when you would have missed very many vital pieces of information. Of course, that’s the same with me. When you don’t recharge quickly and come back, you lose many things I have in store for you and it’s not my fault. It’s not that I’m not there, but the ear (your heart) you need to pick my signals have been shut down by you and I can’t do anything about it if you can’t do anything about it.

I really feel so jealous when I’m fully charged and you leave me on fire (still plugged in the electric socket). That’s not the reason I’m being filled in you. I get so filled in you so as to be unloaded by you into someone else or somewhere else I’m needed. The reason I say I do a new thing today in Isaiah 43:19 is that I’m just tired of affecting your life ALONE. I want to reach others through you. That’s why I moved from being a stationary friend (land-lines) to a mobile pal (mobile handset). At least, when you have so much of me, you can offer to those who have need of me, anywhere you go – though you can never have enough of me. I can talk with you anytime & anywhere. THE PRICE TO STAY WITH ME IS YOUR TIME (browsing, calls, messaging, photo-snapping, video-making, music & message listening, etc). THE PRICE TO STAY WITH OTHERS IS YOUR MONEY (credit purchase).

It’s really fun being with you. I really love us to stay so close as not to lose each other. I’m glad the more when I pass the message of heaven to you. You make me not to miss there entirely when you pick up what I said to you from THE FATHER and do it. This creates another heaven down here on earth. I really love to know your friends the more, the way you store their names and numbers with me. I keep you in remembrance of them anytime you need them but all the more, I hope to see Me being discussed in the conversations you make with them. Though I might not be the outright topic because of what the environment welcomes at the moment… I really do understand. But you can at most take my fruit in there, in case anyone goes hungry. I’ll still be felt there.
You know them (Gal5:22-23) – my LOVE APPLES when there’s any spot of hatred, bunchy JOY BANANAS if someone get’s sad and ORANGES of PEACE in the midst of confusion. Or you can slice some PINEAPPLES of PATIENCE (P.O.P) as time goes by, CHERRIES of KINDNESS to bring those far away closer and share some lumpy PEARS of GOODNESS to set a standard. Try also to pass round the FAITHFULNESS CARROTS to show whom you are and Whose you belong to, melt down things with WATERMELON – it passes the note of GENTLENESS & you can finally wrap it up with some SELF-CONTROL CUCUMBERS. They will love me at the end through you – giving the glory to God above, while you reap the dividends down here on earth.

I know there’s this hunger deep inside you to sometime upgrade your phone to something better, or even trendier so as to blend with the changing society. I genuinely understand you dear. That’s exactly the same way I love you to get into a new and deeper level of relationship with me. This I so desire without you neglecting the days of our little beginnings. In this world, you might upgrade from a 3310 to a camera phone or from a curve 1 to a bold 5 and you hate the former phone like it was a disease to you then. Not so with me. I love the earlier periods we shared. It was the bedrock of the future things we now discuss. If you didn’t know how to speak in tongues in those days where you barely stay 15 minutes with me, how could you have lost more than 3 hours just to hear what I have to say now? You couldn’t have been able to speak to a group of people if you had not started by stammering when you first went to talk to someone about your saviour, Jesus.

Get the new phones but don’t forget how the other ones were as faithful partners to you all this while, not deserting you when it looked like you weren’t in vogue. You have allowed them to fall off your hands a number of times on your way to getting a better one. They’ve gone down the floor many times more than Jesus fell on the way to Calvary. Yet, they still took your calls, sent your messages, played your games, stored phone numbers and took very little or nothing from your pocket when you went for repairs. Now you utterly disdain them in exchange for one which cost you a fortune and still does so when it asks for maintenance. Are you not like those unfaithful guys and girls who have friends who know them in and out, their strengths and weaknesses, their public life and secrets and still keep up with them, but when they want to settle down in life, they think they should upgrade? They come to ask me for a LIFE-PARTNER but they have had a PARTNER who has been with them for LIFE.

NEVER EVER NEGLECT, FORGET, DISDAIN OR KICK-AWAY THE DAYS OF SMALL BEGININGS. They are the days that count most in your life.

Yes! The day’s over. It’s time for a nap. But I know what it feels like to oversleep. No. No. No. No. Not at all! I don’t mean I sleep. I don’t even sleep. But the Master Jesus, when He pleads on your behalf before The Father, He makes mention of how man loves sleep and what sleep feels like in the flesh. Remember, He was once here, but now He makes intercession for you up above. This is not a license anyway for you to go snoring all through the night till poverty snatches your inheritance. So, do us both a favour; remind me to wake you up a long while before day so that we could have some fellowship. Oops! That’s when the sleep is sweeter, right? Well, I also learnt that it’s also the best time that’s good for couples to wake up and really do the talking and their other fun. So, I also think we should do the same.

So tell me.

I’m the alarm.

You are the Handler.

What time do you want to set me?”


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For Those In a Hurry (www.rzim.org)

Daily and misc. messagesPosted by Ogo Wed, March 05, 2014 10:43:29

More often than I’d care to admit, I find that I am in a hurry. Now, it’s not the typical kind of hurrying—rushing to get into the ten items or less lane at the grocery store, speeding through traffic, or running around juggling four or five tasks at a time. It’s more an inability to be present to my life as it is right now. So often I find that no matter the circumstances, I’m hurrying through them, wondering or worrying what is next.

This pattern of hurrying through life to the “next event” seems fairly typical and engrained from a young age. When I was a child, I couldn’t wait to be a teenager. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to be in college. When I was in college, I couldn’t wait to be a graduate student. When I was a graduate student, I couldn’t wait to be a professional. I look back on those hurried days now and lament that I rushed through them so quickly.

Of course, our efficiency-driven society doesn’t help our propensity towards hurrying through life. We live in an “instant” society, and our increasingly rapid technological developments only add to our impatience when things are not achieved instantaneously. While technology has greatly improved many aspects of our lives and I certainly wouldn’t want to go backwards, I recognize that my own propensity to hurry, coupled with a society that moves at ever-quickening speeds, can be very detrimental for any kind of reflective life. How often I find myself disappointed when my prayers are not answered instantly; how angry I become when the smallest glitch slows my achievement of personal goals; how frustrated and impatient I become with others when their own “improvement” doesn’t move at my break-neck speed.

The lives depicted in the Bible couldn’t be more different from our hurried lives. More importantly, and perhaps to our great frustration, the God revealed in the biblical stories is rarely in a hurry. Abraham and Sarah, for example, received the promise of an heir twenty-five years before they actually laid eyes on Isaac. Joseph had a dream as a seventeen year-old young man that his brothers would one day bow down to him. Yet it was countless years and many difficulties later that his brothers would come and kneel before him, asking for food. Moses was eighty years old—long past his prime of life—when God appeared to him in the burning bush and called him to deliver the children of Israel. David was anointed king by Samuel as a young boy tending his father’s flocks, long before he finally ascended to the throne. And Jesus spent thirty years in relative obscurity, and only three years in publically announcing the kingdom and God’s rule that had come in his life and ministry.

From our perspective, it is difficult to understand why God wasn’t more in a hurry to accomplish the plans for these individual lives as a part of the larger narrative of redemption. The Messiah was prophesied hundreds of years before he actually arrived on the scene. We cannot help but ask why God seems to move so slowly?

In Peter’s second letter, what is considered his last will and testament, he discusses the slowness of God in relation to the second coming of Christ. Many arose even in Peter’s time asking why God was so slow when it came to delivering on his promise of an eternal kingdom. They began to mock God assuming that “as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be.” Not so, Peter argues, for the slowness of God is in fact our salvation. “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance… Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation” (2 Peter 3:9, 14-15).

The long, slow, journey, marked by many Christians in the season of Lent towards Easter morning, can be arduous for those of us who find ourselves constantly racing towards what’s next. These forty days can serve to remind us of God’s great forbearance and patience with us, even as they hearken to us to enter the wild spaces of wilderness waiting with Jesus. These days intentionally slow us and create space—what theologians call liminal space—making room for those of us who rush to wait and rest in the “in-between” and the “not yet” for God to act. Waiting for God in this liminal space gives us more opportunity to be patient, “looking” as Peter says, at the “patience of our Lord to be salvation.”

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.



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Unobscured www.rzim.org

Daily and misc. messagesPosted by Ogo Tue, March 04, 2014 09:44:24

A trend continues to take place in the online world of anonymity. Several websites offer the opportunity to air one’s darkest secrets. Visitors put into words the very thing they have spent a lifetime wanting no one to know about themselves. While visiting, they can also read the long-hidden confessions of others, and recognize a part of humanity that is often as obscured as their own secrets—namely, I am not the only one with a mask, a conflicted heart, a hidden skeleton. “Every single person has at least one secret that would break your heart,” one site reads. ”If we could just remember this, I think there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world.” Elsewhere, one of these sites made news recently when one of its anonymous users posted a cryptic message seemingly confessing to murder, catching the attention of Chicago Police.(1)

So often the world of souls seems to move as if instinctively to the very things asked of us by a sagacious God. The invitation to confess is present in the oldest stories of Scripture. After his defiance of God’s request, Adam is asked two questions that invite an admission of his predicament; first, “Where are you?” and later, “Who told you that you were naked?” God similarly inquires of Cain after the murder of Abel, “Where is your brother?” Through centuries of changing culture and the emerging story of faith, this invitation to confess is given consistently. “Therefore confess your offenses to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed,” writes the author of James 5:16. A similar thought is proclaimed in 1 John 1:7. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Perhaps the call to transparency is not from a God who delights in the impoverishment of his subjects, but a God who knows our deepest needs.

The hope of an online confessional brings us one step nearer to meeting the need of bringing what is hidden to light, and it is commendable that so many are giving in to the impulse to explore the ancient gift of confession. But perhaps such an impulse to haul the truth from obscurity is worthy of something even greater than anonymity. Light is not meant to be kept in shadows; the benefit of openness is not meant to be experienced alone. The stories and scriptures mentioned above speak of the element of community in confession, the promise of fellowship where there is courage to be honest about our selves and our needs. On websites of nameless visitors, though I tell you my darkest secret, we remain nameless to one another. While it may help significantly to know that I am not the only one with a mask, my mask remains. The anonymity factor offers the glimpse of light while maintaining the security of darkness. But isn’t this undermining the very light we seek? It is akin to lighting a lamp and putting it under a bowl.

Jesus reminded crowds full of secrets and sinners that there was no reason to do this. When a hemorrhaging woman in a swarm of people reached out to touch the fringe of his robe, she did so anonymously. Her condition would have classified her among the unclean, and it was therefore illegal to touch anyone. She probably calculated, “If I could just touch the hem of his robe, I could be healed. The crowd will keep me hidden. He won’t be bothered; he won’t even need to know.” But this was not what happened. Jesus knew he had been touched and immediately called the woman out of her anonymity. Before him, she was not lost in the crowd.

While we may successfully remain shrouded in disguise from the community around us, the Christian story invites the world to see that we stand unobscured before Christ and united with him nonetheless. Such a thought can indeed be terrifying: before him, we are not disguised. But more than this, it is inherently a gift. In his presence, none are kept in obscurity, hidden in mask or shroud; there are no shadows of anonymity that can hide, nor crowd large enough to keep us hidden. We are not disparaged for the flesh and blood and material of our humanity, but shown instead its true and greatest fulfillment.

The invitation to emerge from our darkest failings, lies, and secrets is not an invitation to dwell in our own impoverishment but rather a summons to light, reconciliation, and true humanity. The unique message of Jesus is that there is no reason to hide. Before we came up with plans to improve our images or learned to pretend with masks and swap for better identities, he saw who we were and was determined to approach regardless. Before we found a way to conceal our many failings or even weighed the possibilities of unlocking our darkest secrets, God came near and called us out of obscurity by name.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Gabe Falcon, “It’s creepy and cryptic, but is PostSecret murder confession real?” CNN, September 2, 2013.

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Laws of Retention

Daily and misc. messagesPosted by Ogo Fri, February 14, 2014 16:54:00
Cleft on the Rock

THE LAWS OF RENTENTION

TEXT : Matt 7: 24 to 27

One of the most important spiritual laws, is the law of retention. That’s because change doesn’t occur because you heard a message that changed your life.. Change comes because you retained the information you heard and you put it into practice. Matt 7: 24 to 27. There is no need acquiring loads of information if you will not retain and implement. From statistics

The average retention span of an regular man is stated below. we retain approximately 10% of what we Read
20% of what we Hear
30% of what we See
45% of what we Hear And See
50% of what we discuss with others in a group discussion
70% of what we Say or repeat to others
90% of what we practice.

SOURCE http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/hrdlink.html.

"Research done by Edgar Dale showing the effectiveness of learning . In other words if you really desire change and transformation, sitting in church to hear Gods word is not the end point of transformation its actually just the beginning of transformation. You need to take a step further by engaging in (1). Meditation of Gods word. Jos 1:8. Ps 1:2 (2) praying about the words you hear so you can have a revelation of it and not just head knowledge eph 1:17 to 20. (3) get a small group of people you engage in edifying group discussions with Acts 4:23, Dan 2:17. (4) have someone or some people you are teaching what you are learning (5) put into practice what you are hearing Matt 7:24. Except you put these into practice, all you have heard and read, will profit you minimally. Matt 13:3 to 9.



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Happy new year (My testimony video)

Daily and misc. messagesPosted by Ogo Fri, January 31, 2014 19:28:00
Happy new year folks....

I am so happy to write to you guys again after a devastating accident I had on January 11th, 2014. The devil tried but he could not because God is God and He is God alone.

Please see attachment for the video I am posting.

Messages will still be coming. Hope you have a fun filled new year..

Remember "Keep God first place and He will take you places you have never been" -- Joel Osteen...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152168315889555

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Questioning Gabriel by rzim.org

Daily and misc. messagesPosted by Ogo Mon, December 23, 2013 07:25:32

The Gospel of Luke begins with two monumental exchanges between the material and the spiritual. A messenger of the Lord appears first to an aging man in the midst of his priestly duties, and later to a young, peasant girl in the midst of anticipating the life ahead of her. In each visit, like a gust of wind that turns an umbrella inside out, the message delivered was the sort of news that moves the lives of all who go near it, let alone the worlds of those who heard it first. Both visits incite fear. Both invoke questions. But in the interchange of the eternal and the temporal, though the promises of God are similarly moving, we find two very different human responses.

Zechariah was chosen by lot amongst the other priests at the temple that day to offer the daily incense to the Lord. While the crowd stood praying outside, Zechariah entered the temple only to find an angel standing on the right side of the altar of incense. “And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him,”imparts Luke. “But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John’” (1:12,13).

Now Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth did have any children. The angel’s words confronted a prayer long on his lips, a hope long deferred, a shame daily unforgotten. Zechariah’s response does not seem unreasonable to me. Fearful and uncertain, his wounded heart cried to know that God had been moving in those silent years of childlessness. “How can I be sure?” Zechariah asked. Another translation renders, “How will I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years” (v. 18, ESV).

There is a protective cynicism that runs in the hearts of those who live in the reality of unanswered prayers. Do we really believe that God not only knows the greatest desires of our hearts but is also able to answer them? Do we trust the most weighted areas of our lives, the most tender corners of our hearts in his hands? At such moments of reckoning, Jesus’s words seem much more a commandment than a comfort: “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1).

The angel replied to Zechariah’s question with words reassuring and rebuking at once. “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time” (vv. 19, 20). It seems unfairly ironic. The one who remained upright through years of anguished silence was now silenced himself.

Six months later, this same messenger appeared before a young girl named Mary. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (1:30,31). Like Zechariah, Mary was troubled. And similarly, she responded with a question. But unlike Zechariah, who had diligently prayed for such a miracle, Mary was unwed, a teenager with marriage and children as hopes yet unrealized. And yet this peasant girl responds with faith greater than the priest, with wisdom as sharp as her youth. “How will this be?” she asked.

Whereas Zechariah spoke in fear and uncertainty, Mary spoke with unfathomable faith. In the tenderness of youth and greatness of belief, there was no question in her mind that God would do as God said. Her question was as trusting as it was expectant: “I know this will be so, but how, since I am only a virgin?” In other words, how will God accomplish his plan through me? She was ready for the unfathomable because she saw her days in the hands of the one who sees all things.

The responses of Mary and Zechariah remind us that we live well when we give God room to move sovereignly over our lives, through loss and silence, surrendering even our expectations to the one who sees. Unlike Zechariah, Mary was never introduced to her messenger. Yet to Gabriel she uttered, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (v. 38). Mary’s was a life that seemed both aware and ready for the world to be a place where God is ready and able to break through.

Perhaps for this reason Elizabeth recognized that Mary was blessed among women indeed. For most of us it takes places of loss and mourning to discover the unfathomable places of God’s presence and grace, tears and silence to shape our truest song.

One can only imagine the words welling up inside Zechariah as his child was delivered from the womb of his once-barren wife. Naming his newborn son, his mouth was opened and he declared in song, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel… [who] enables us to serve him without fear.”

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

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A God Who Desc ends coutersy RZIM

Daily and misc. messagesPosted by Ogo Thu, December 12, 2013 13:05:09

The first time I walked through the crowded, pungent streets of Bethlehem, I was struck by the disparity between what I was seeing and “the little town of Bethlehem” I had spent my life imagining in manger scenes and songs. The harsh reality of God becoming a child—not in a sweet and sentimental village somewhere far away, but in the midst of this cold and dark world I knew myself—suddenly seemed a blaring proclamation indeed. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. It is little wonder that some of the most theology-rich hymns are Christmas carols that have at heart the Incarnation. In a darkened world not unlike this one, two thousand years ago, God came in person.

Almost immediately after his Christian conversion, Charles Wesley took to hymn writing as a way to capture the hope of God’s nearness persistently stirring in his mind. Though a few of the words have long since been changed, one of his 6,000 hymns is a widely beloved declaration of this Incarnation. Seeking to convey in pen and ink a Christmas story both familiar to our hearts and startlingly unfamiliar in its wonder, Wesley wrote:

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
“Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born to-day!”

The Christ child in the manger is forever an indication of the great lengths God will go to reconcile his creation, a savior willing to descend that we might be able to ascend with him. “Welkin” is an old English term meaning “the vault of heaven.” In this dramatic word, Wesley illustrates the crux of Christian theology: All of heaven opened up for the birth of a king and the rebirth of humanity. The vault of God was thrown open to make way for the one who was coming and all that would come as a result of it.

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die;
born to raise the sons of earth;
born to give them second birth.

The Incarnation is the jarring reminder that God speaks and the world is moved. While the Christmas story reports the massive hope that God came near, the ordinary and incredible signs of redemption show that God has chosen to remain. Wesley saw this intimate connection between God’s nearness and the transformed likeness of our humanity. Where God comes near, countenances themselves are changed.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
bruise in us the serpent’s head.

Now display thy saving power,
ruined nature now restore;
now in mystic union join
thine to ours, and ours to thine.

The startling hope and mystery of the Incarnation is that it reorders the world we know—visually, physically, restoratively, eternally. Where there is despair, where there is joy, where there is need, Christ is living in its midst. Where there is a heart that prepares him room, the Spirit has already transformed life in his image. Come, Desire of nations, come; fix in us thy humble home. These cries have been heard. The vault of heaven is open.



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Nelson Mandela and the Human Struggle for Dignity and Freedom courtesy RZIM

Daily and misc. messagesPosted by Ogo Thu, December 12, 2013 12:50:25

I’m sitting at the airport in Bahrain, about to catch a flight to Jakarta. The television screens are full of coverage for a man of courage, conviction, and influence. Every now and then his picture with his winsome smile is shown with the words under it: Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013.

Looking at the dates, I thought first of my mother. She was born just two years before him but passed away nearly four decades before he did. Yes, she had a short life span. She did not make a world impact but it was because of her that I am a free man today. Her life and example were for me, life-defining. Nelson Mandela, by contrast, changed history for millions, if not for the world. A different role, a different call. So it is that each one of us has a part to play, whether of great influence or of small influence, but equally important.

Yet, as I look at his picture and consider his legacy, I mourn the loss of not just a person, but an example for all politicians. While his early years were more aggressive, his veteran years spoke of wisdom gained through steps and missteps. Where are the leaders like him today? Many of those who are eulogizing him have evidently not learned from him. For one, he bore no hatred towards his oppressors. Even his period of violence was short-lived and tempered. When he acquired freedom he did not ask the oppressed to “go and vote for revenge.” After his time in prison, he did not use the microphone to whip up hostility, division, and frenzy or go on diatribes blaming his predecessors for doing everything wrong. He did not use language that some in the media do, some verbiage that is too vulgar to even repeat. He wanted to correct society, not change, penalize, or pollute it. He won supporters to his side with grace and dignity, not by bullying.

On one occasion I nearly met the man. It was my loss when it didn’t come about. I was in Cape Town after having spoken to the framers of the Peace Accord in Johannesburg when I received a call from his office where his staff was trying its best to bring about a meeting between us. But a strong bout of pneumonia, which he had contracted in prison, hit him hard at that time and actually plagued him for the rest of his life. Not meeting him was a loss I felt. I would have loved to have asked him a few questions. One I would like to have asked is, “Deep inside, did you ever feel like giving up?” I suspect I know the answer, but just to be inspired, I would have liked to hear this one-time boxer turned freedom-fighter in his soft voice express his determination to never give up.

The world has become a dangerous place. We need the Mandelas who know when to lead, how to treat their opponents, and when to step down. There is so much hatred in speeches today, such inflammatory rhetoric. There is such an unyielding quest and clinging to power that we shudder at the seduction so evident. What we win the masses with is what we win them to and we are subjecting a generation to ignoble speech and lacerating rhetoric: How will this win them to noble ends?

Two remarkable decisions among many show how Mandela bore no contempt for his adversaries. Journalists have pointed this out. You’d think they themselves would be instructed by it. When he received the Nobel Prize he chose to share it with his predecessor, President F.W. de Klerk. This was an incredible move, truly walking the second mile. He never wanted to play the hero. He knew the fight wasn’t about him. Also, at his inauguration he invited the white jail warden to be present as his personal guest. Mandela cautioned leaders that hatred beguiled the mind and was an emotion leaders could not afford without reaping the whirlwind. He would give no place to mockery that masqueraded as statesmanship.

Our own leaders today would do well to learn from Nelson Mandela rather than just giving grandiose speeches about him. What he began still has a long way to go. I am a Christian and I admire the courage and sacrifice of people such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. Even if we are not all on the same page theologically, we are on the same page for the protection of people who are exploited or abused. It is a noble end. But the way our media and political leaders frame the problem actually digs a hole deeper than the one they are trying to fill. They poison the soul but expect healing. When language comes easily for those who have the microphone, it can become fatally fluent.

I spoke once at the Islamic University in Malaysia, one of the oldest such universities of the world. I was asked to present a defense of Christianity to a primarily Muslim audience. It was a nerve-wracking hour, with sophisticated scholars in the audience. I would not compromise my convictions. I needed to build a bridge without surrendering ground. “How does one handle this?” I thought. I did my best and the response was truly gratifying. Even the head of the Islamic Studies department, the professor who was my host, said some of the kindest words afterward in her office.

That evening I was taken out for dinner by a professor who specifically asked if we could have an hour. His name was Professor Living Lee, a geologist by specialty. He told me this story. Some years ago the late vitriolic Muslim apologist Ahmed Deedat was presenting a defense of Islam at the same university. Ironically, he was from South Africa too. He had a bent to abusive language and inflammatory speech, mocking opponents and inciting anger in his supporters towards those of a different view. He provoked all the baser emotions for a supposedly elevated cause. Deedat had delivered his talk at the university in his usual hate-filled style, mocking Christianity and calling it nonsensical and unlivable, among other charges. When Professor Lee, one of the few Christians in the audience, questioned his charge, Deedat called him to come to the front. Professor Lee walked forward. Deedat raised his hand and with a full swing slapped him with a stinging hit to the face. Professor Lee was nearly knocked to his feet. Deedat then barked, “Now turn the other cheek!” It was obvious what he was trying to do. Suddenly he paused and said, “We can do this quicker. Give me your shirt!” Professor Lee unbuttoned and took off his shirt. “According to Jesus, you should now offer your trousers, too, shouldn’t you?” Deedat said. Professor Lee turned to the audience, apologized to his students and faculty colleagues, took off his trousers, and quietly walked out of the room in his underwear. The audience was in a dazed, stunned silence. Outdone by a gentle but equally determined scholar, Deedat looked utterly juvenile and like a man who had just been hoisted on his own petard.

Dr. Lee went back to his office and put his face in his hands, his spirit swirling with indescribable emotions. He wept though he knew he had done the right thing in standing his ground. A few moments later there was a knock on the door, then another, and another, and another. When he opened the door, he saw students and colleagues lined up to apologize to him for the pain and foolishness just displayed.

Deedat was freewheeling in rhetoric but a slave to pride. Quite incredibly, he spent the last few years of his life smitten with a stroke, unable to speak. The only weapon he had was lost to him. But in reality, Deedat could never have attained greatness because he was already too great in his own eyes.

Mandela had a cause greater than himself and is so remembered. He spent the last few years of his life quite unwell. But his example continued to speak for the freedom of all mankind. His spirit fought for the dignity of man, and he never compromised the dignity of anyone in fighting for it.

So when we read 1918-2013 we would do well to remember that though the span of Mandela’s life is finished, the span of our human struggle is not closed. But if our leaders do not know how to use speech supported by character and instead use words only to provoke hostile instincts, we will kill others with hate and the bracket around dignity and freedom will be closed. Not everything that is fatal is immediate. We are near the edge of that precipice. We have a choice. We all have a platform.

I cannot end without mentioning one wound that Mandela probably wished he could have healed: the break-up of his family. The price for him was huge and the pain must have been deep. It was a price my mother would not pay: We five children would have been the cost. It is a sobering reminder for all of us. Our nation and our homes need healing. The national struggle and the heart of a child will shape the future. Politicians and parents play that role. No momentary gain had dare violate eternal truths.

I pray for our leaders. I pray for our families. May God guide and help us






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