Showing posts with label Nigeria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nigeria. Show all posts

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Empty Throne

It was Nicholas Roerich who in 1922 drew a painting titled The Last King. Empty throne. It caught my attention when I saw it in Jill Carathini's write up on Creation is Groaning in Slice of Infinity this morning.

In the middle of our predicament and distress as humans on earth, especially in times of crises as we are in currently, it is easier for some people, having looked at every corner without getting any answer, they equally look at God's direction, and all they could see is an 'empty throne'. It is as if everything is out of control and humans are running helter-skelter to lift themselves from their bootstraps without any transcendental oversight. We hear the statistics and fear grips our hearts because everybody seems to be doing trial-and-error while people are dying and being buried. Nobody has an answer. Many atheists have confessed that one of the reasons they do not believe in the existence of God is because of the presence of evils like this, though Christian apologists have taken time to give explanations like the one here. Even many Christians seem to be very confused because just two months ago, many of their prophets were declaring bogus things about the year 2020 in the name of God, but none of them saw the ravage Coronavirus would do to the whole of human community. In the middle of the confusion, they look at the direction of God and what they see, as it were, is an 'empty throne'. But nothing can be farther from the truth. 

Firstly, It is an unhelpful approach to try to figure out what God looks like from the middle of a broken situation. Like Henry Blackaby said in Experiencing God, "when you face difficult or confusing circumstances, they can overwhelm you. If you bury yourself in the circumstances, you will always have a distorted understanding of God". Our experiences and feelings can change and fluctuate with time, and we cannot trust them to make objective conclusions. We must make conclusions based on information from outside of us. Philip Yancey said in Where is God when it hurts, "a wise sufferer will look not inward, but outward" towards God, who is a wounded healer Himself, in times of suffering. When we look around us, buried in the current statistics and the sufferings we and others go through, most likely, we will see an 'empty throne', as if nobody is in control; even when we see someone on the throne, it will be a distorted view of God. Hence you may say, "God does not love me" God is not fair" "God has abandoned me". But these statements are not correct. They are distorted views of God taken from the midst of our troubles. It is very important that we step out of the middle of our troubles and see things that happen around us, our circumstances and situations from God's perspective. Blackaby continues, "The Holy Spirit will take the Word of God and help you understand the event from God's perspective. He will reveal to you the truth of your circumstances. Then you can adjust your life and thinking to what God is doing". 

What is it that is revealed to us from the Scriptures? An empty throne? No. "For you have upheld my right and my cause; you have sat on your throne, judging righteously". Ps 9:4 NIV. The Lord Jesus is seated on the throne with His Father even as we speak. (Rev.3:21). "He that made this world, runs it". Observe what the Psalmist said in Psalm 9 quoted above: firstly, He that sits on the throne is active in his life. God has maintained his cause and he has a relationship with Him. Secondly, God judges righteously. In the midst of any situation, what He does is righteous. 

Even in the current COVID-19 pandemic, God is on His throne. Nobody else is there. We are His children. He knows that we are still here and will uphold "our right and our cause". The coming weeks are critical especially for those of us living in Nigeria. But our approach should not be that of fear and panic but that of faith and hope. Observe all you are asked to do as a person living in this human community. He will do what is right no matter what your experiences may be in all of this. His love and peace make all the difference. The throne is not empty. He sits on it and is actively working in and around our lives. He has proven over generations that he can be trusted. Remain blessed.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Dr Bilal Philips canvasses for the inclusion of the Islamic perspective in the educational process in Nigeria

Dr Bilal Philips is the Proprietor of Islamic Online University and has already said that about 12,000 Nigerians have enrolled and are studying Islamic studies in the university. Having said that, what caught our attention is that he plans to establish the university in Nigeria, the process is already ongoing and is canvassing for the inclusion of the Islamic perspective in the educational process in Nigeria. By this he means that students who are studying any other course in the country may be required to take one or two courses in Islam in order to enable them understand the Islamic aspect of their course of study.

The former Minister of Education and former Governor of Kano, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, commended the works of Dr Philips and boasted to be the first Governor to make it mandatory for the civil servants to apply the Islamic perspective in carrying out their functions.

The full story is in The Nation:


The proprietor of Islamic Online University (IOU), Dr Bilal Philips, said on Monday that no fewer than 12,000 Nigerians were presently studying through the institution.

Philips made the disclosure in Kano, when he visited former Kano State Governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.

According to him, the Nigerian students are part of the 300,000 students studying in the institution at no cost.

“We are also presently planning to establish the online Islamic University in Nigeria. We are going through all the necessary processes.”

Philips canvassed for the inclusion of the Islamic perspective in the educational process in Nigeria, to enable students understand the Islamic aspects of any course they study...
 
This information is not just to keep us at alert, but also a call to prayers for Nigeria.

Prayers:
1. Pray that God will frustrate all the efforts to Islamize this country.
2. Pray that the fire of God will envelope His Church in Nigeria. May the knowledge of the Lord spread all over the earth as waters cover the sea.
3. Pray that God will open the eyes of Christians who are in positions over these schemes and enable them to stand with Him.

Friday, 3 June 2016

The controversial Sharia Bill in the House of Reps and the Church response

Our attention has been drawn to the Bill being sponsored by Abdullahi Salame, the lawmaker representing Gwadabawa/Illela federal constituency, Sokoto State. The bill is titled, “a Bill for an Act to alter Sections 262 and 277 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to increase the jurisdiction of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory and the Sharia Court of Appeal of a State by including Criminal Matters of Hudud and Qisas and for other related Matters.

According to Wikpedia, Hudud (Arabic: حدود Ḥudūd, also transliterated hadud, hudood; singular hadd, حد, literal meaning "limit", or "restriction") is an Islamic concept: punishments which under Islamic law (Shariah) are mandated and fixed by God. While in the case of murder, Qisas means the right of a murder victim's nearest relative or Wali (ولي) (legal guardian) to, if the court approves, take the life of the killer. Qisas is one of several forms of punishment in Islamic Penal Law.

The proposed bill was briefly discussed on the floor of the House Thursday May 19, 2016 before it was referred to the Committee on Constitution Amendment.


The sponsor claims that the bill is designed to protect Christians from wanton attacks in Northern Nigeria. He equally said in his interview with PREMIUM TIMES that the insinuation that the bill will be implemented in other parts of Nigeria apart from the Northern Nigerian States is false. But the critical questions remain:

  1. Does it means that if the law is not put in place that Christians will be prone to attacks in Northern Nigeria? Why is that? Does it not sound like Dhimmi status kind of living where non Muslims live as second class citizens under the protection of Muslim overlords as long as they pay Jizya tax?
  2. Why the zeal to expand the powers of the Sharia Courts when already there are complaints all over the place that non Muslims are often taken to these courts especially when matters involve them and their Muslims neighbors?
  3. What is the priority of this bill in our national life when the citizens are living in serious hardships because of the challenges we are faced with? The oil price is down and responsible leaders are running helter-skelter on how to fix their economy, what is utmost in the mind of Mr. Salame is how to enlarge the powers of the Sharia courts.
  4. Does this not show the components on Political Islam which intends to subjugate every other person under Islamic law?
  5. Is this not a pretentious and deceptive step to sneak in the total Islamic law through the back door that will ultimately subject the nation to Islamic laws?
  6. Is it possible to operate two codes for the administration of criminal justice in one country? Is it not a journey towards anarchy to define crime in different ways for different people within the same country?
Many questions! No wonder everybody is reacting, especially non Muslims. The truth is that this bill will not stand because God has not finished with Nigeria. Nigeria cannot be subjugated by any man. It is also instructive to read in between the lines the response of Hon. Jonathan Gaza Gbefwi when he was reached for comments:

"The Bill came up on the floor and was automatically referred to the ad-hoc committee on constitution review.

There was no debate on it either for or against because the House is a democratic representatives chamber of the Nigerian people

Even if five people only have an issue with any section of the Constitution, the House will give it a listening ear.

The ad-hoc committee on Constitution review has one member per state and women and other representation.

The precedence is that it is in this committee that these kinds of matters are thrashed out.

Any bill that has potentials to divide the country into religious or tribal lines or to reopen settled constitutional issues will most likely fail in the committee.

It should be noted that constitutional review bills are special bills that undergo many stages, unlike an ordinary bill.

These include committee stage, the plenary stage for voting by 2/3rd of the House, 2/3rd of all the state Houses of Assembly before it comes back again to the National Assembly for voting again and finally it must receive presidential assent.

We are still at a very early stage in the process and Nigerians should not worry about bills of this nature as the House has shown over the years to be the protector of Nigerians’ national unity and interest."

Signed:

Hon. Jonathan Gaza Gbefwi
Deputy Chairman
House Committee on Media and Publicity.

The Church Response
The Church will have to wake up to live up to her responsibility. Church leaders will have to review the way we see these ones in political leadership. Instead of seeing them as avenues for money, we should see them as God's ministers deployed to the area of political governance. The church leadership should be influencing the political and judicial leadership to make sure that there is righteousness and justice in our street. Some practical tips include:

  1. Make a list of the members of the House of Reps and the Senate who are in your church or Diocese or Ministry. Get their contacts.
  2. Make a list of those within your sphere of influence that can help you reach to members of NASS.
  3. Make that phone call to explain to them the implication of these bills including the Grazing bill and others for that matter. 
  4. Depending on your sphere of influence and the number of those who listen to you, organize a meeting of all the NASS members and politicians who hear you. Teach them and explain these bills and their consequences to them. Sincerely pray for them and their work and let them know that you look forward to their progress and success. All these you do without asking them for money except for willing partners with the same vision. Let them just know that they are God's Ambassadors in those chambers. This meeting can be organized in Abuja where it will be easier for them to attend and the hotel bills borne by the church.
  5. Make your own contacts available and remain reachable in case they have questions and need clarifications. Continue to call them from time to time and make the meeting a regular one, like bi-annually or quarterly for prayers and reviews. Remember NEVER to ask them for money but solely for the purpose of good governance. Only the church can give spiritual perspective to these our members in the NASS.
  6. Sensitize your church to pray sincerely for the politicians and their work. Our prayer contents matter a lot. Avoid fanning unnecessary ethnic and religiously-biased sentiments which cannot produce positive results. Some specific prayer points may need only the Prayer Band to hear and handle for proper understanding.
Why are all these very important?   "...Pray to the Lord for it (the nation where you reside), because if it prospers, you too will prosper..." Jer 29:7 NIV (Emphasis mine). We need peace to spread the Gospel.
God bless you.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Fulani Herdsmen attacked a village near Jos, Plateau, Nigeria

This is part of the war of Islam against Christianity. One may even be tempted to say that Boko Haram members have sneaked into the communities and are using these herdsmen as a cover up. Please continue to pray for the brethren living in areas where they suffer severe persecution. May God help them to be strong till the end. May their lives and testimonies bear fruits that will remain.

Last month, Fulani herdsmen attacked two homes in the predominantly Christian village of Hwak Kwata-Zawan, located near the city of Jos. The militants also raided a nearby compound consisting of Nigerians who had been initially displaced by violence elsewhere in the country's Plateau state. The total number of fatalities resulting from the raids has reached 15, leaving many more in the community grief-stricken and emotionally wounded.
In one of the village homes, 57-year-old Rose Monday was killed while trying to protect her three young grandchildren from the gunmen. Two of the three children had unfortunately succumbed to their injuries. Their elder sister, five-year-old Anna, who miraculously survived, is receiving treatment in hospital for gunshot wounds. Rose's daughter (the children's aunt) added that their remaining relatives are consoled to know that one day they will all be reunited as a family with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Read more here.