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THE ROD FOR SHEEP, SNAKES, AND THE SEA – Final Part

shepherd staffWe see that after the much drama that took place in Egypt, Pharaoh eventually released the Israelites to begin their uncertain journey, which even Moses did not know the route. He kept on telling Pharaoh that God wanted His children to go and sacrifice to Him in the wilderness, a case that the Bible didn’t mention in Moses’ several conversations with God. Moses got a release order with a cloud of uncertainty as to the real direction he was to lead the multitude through. However, he didn’t have much to worry about, as the one who had performed extreme signs was capable of leading them out and taking them into their promised land. I can imagine the air of discomfort that hovered over Moses every time he went to his kinsmen and boasted that there is a promised land which was their final destination. Did someone ever ask him for a map of the route they were going to take? Did people ever wonder where he appeared from forty years after he disappeared from Egypt with no clues to his whereabouts? Let’s face it! It surely was not that easy for Moses to wake up and stand before this people who have known no other place than Egypt for over 400 hundred years. To convince them that they will have to leave their present zone, no matter how uncomfortable it was, to move to a location he called the Promised Land was a tough task. Moses Himself had never been to the place, neither anyone he was leading. So he not only had to lead the people, he had to lead himself.

Fast forward. They are now exited from bondage and breathe the air of freedom. They are not just laden with their properties, but with much wealth as God had promised. Now was the important task of where to go and what direction was the course. The story clearly tells us that God did not lead them through the shortest distance to the Promised Land; a route that ran through the territory of the Philistines, a belligerent people. He directs them instead towards the Red Sea. The story shows that Pharaoh suddenly woke up from his slumber and wondered how on earth he let those Israelites escape. He began pursuing them and the children of Israel heard about this. How on earth will Moses convince them that their lives were not in danger? They have lived in the constant fear of Egypt that suddenly every knowledge of the display of God’s power suddenly fizzled from their memories, and fear overcame them. Yet Moses was again called to task in delivering the word from God to a people that we railing invectives accusations against him. Moses just stood there and wondered how he was just doing his business and got intercepted by God. For no fault of his own the people had turned against him and his prophecy for a moment seemed to fall through and his ability to conjure up something strange again had ebbed. He had successfully found a profession, was diligent at it, and was made to stand before a king. He was successful as he swallowed up the thing that could have had him swallowed up, all by the rod. Now what?
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THE ROD FOR SHEEP, SNAKES, AND THE SEA – 2

Moses 1

The Sheep was Moses’ primary assignment and what gave him his livelihood. It was his base profession and what woke him early in the morning to get busy. If he didn’t do that, then his well being is not guaranteed because there will be no labour demanding reward. This was obviously what life dealt him far out in the wilderness of uncertainty and was a normal course he followed in order to make the best of his days. This sounds a lot like the story of most people who have a predetermined direction for their lives. Most times it’s usually not your choice if you go to school or not, it is a given. Until you finish from a university, you are usually following a determined course for your life because it is assumed that you must of necessity follow through if your life is going to have any relevance. Some of us were born into a family of lawyers and are beclouded by that reality that it is usually not a choice if you become a lawyer, since the family business musts be preserved. Moses encountered Shepherds and was catered for by the same, thus it was only natural that he fell quickly into the profession of a Shepherd.
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THE ROD FOR SHEEP, SNAKES, AND THE SEA

MosesThere are probably some three kinds of challenges you will face as you journey through your life; the challenges that prove your abilities, those that come to swallow you up, and those that come to oppose you from moving forward. I have always tried to see how I could group the nature of my tribulations so that I can easily identify as I meet them. It was until of late when I decided to study the book of Exodus that I entered into some understanding of how I could assess the character and peculiarity of the situations which we like face all the time. These are the situations I refer to as Sheep, Snakes, and the Sea; the three great S which some of us will have to confront at one time or the other.

Before I attempt at breaking these down, it would be proper to evoke the context of the story that equips my muse on this issue. Exodus introduces the man Moses to us all, and tells us of his rather strange upbringing and how he was like nothing short of a drama from beginning to the end. But from the whole, nothing struck me as much as the opening chapters of Exodus which tells of his unfortunate attempt at leadership, which led to his ultimate escape from the palace into the wilderness. He became a Shepherd, then a deliverer sent by God, then a way maker. Through this process, one thing was central in the scheme of things, and that was the Rod in his hands. Herein lays the convergence of three separate issues: Sheep, Snakes, and the Sea. With that Rod, he tended to the Sheep, swallowed up Snakes, and parted the Sea.
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RECALCULATING…

gps-deviceI have been engaged in a lot of reflection these days on how God speaks to us. Growing from the phase wherein I hoped for a deeply bold and crystal clear voice speak audibly to me, to a time when I become sensitive to His voice in my heart, I have severally enjoyed the leading of God in my life; sometimes to an embarrassing degree. At this point I am still learning how God speaks, and in the midst of it all I remain awed at the fact that I just cannot trap God in His ways. He chooses to speak in myriads of ways and limiting Him to certain parameters of communication becomes foolhardy.
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CHURCHIANITY, CHURCHIANICS, THE CHURCHED AND CHURCH – Part 4

churchTHE CHURCHED
Have you ever sat in an argument with someone who tries to defend the practices of his church? To such people, you find that there really is nothing you can say to help them see the light, except such is open to the truth for what it is. Sometime ago, I engaged a close family member in a discussion on some of the practices of her church. I did this not with the mind of spiting what was going on, but because I knew that such was a form of hindrance to true worship. I asked what was the basis for such practice, and how scriptural is praying to saints to intercede or intervene on our behalf. She went on a journey of explaining the long held traditions of the church and how this is an ancient practice. I asked again, if the man whom we all serve, Jesus, gave us such an example to follow. I know there is only one mediator between man and God, Christ Jesus. All I could see was this dear family member had really been ‘churched’. This also gave me occasion to look back at my life and realize that I too had been seriously churched and cannot exonerate myself from the stronghold of church captivity.
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CHURCHIANITY, CHURCHIANICS, THE CHURCHED AND CHURCH – Part 3

churchCHURCHIANICS
Way back in the late 80s and early 90s, I was heavily involved with an older church and for what I knew then, I enjoyed every moment of it. I wasn’t particularly interested in what the Minister had to say, because a lot of stuff was spoken above my small head and I sometimes was hard of hearing, especially when sitting with other young men. I was more enraptured by my puberty and the feelings of intermingling with the opposite sex who were a centre piece or focal point of lubricious analysis. Although this was my main preoccupation, I do clearly remember the processes and procedures that consumed the church life and the Sunday services as well. On Sunday mornings, you had the procession led by the choir and then followed by the Ministers, while a glorious hymn was being sung by all. I usually sat beside the organ so I could feel the low notes blasting through the pipes and resonating within my bowels. I loved that moment; it was like one was caught up into the heavens for a moment. It was however a feeling of musical grandeur that enveloped me as I saw old men with all grayed hairs displaying ancient and modern tunes with pure delight, but all sounding so harmonious that I wished it wouldn’t stop. But I assure you, there was no substance to such reverie.
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CHURCHIANITY, CHURCHIANICS, THE CHURCHED AND CHURCH – Part 2

CHURCHIANITY

Someone may ask what the heck ‘Churchianity’ is, because it doesn’t seem to appear in any dictionary. But without any clarification, you might already begin to comprehend that this is simply referring to the concept of the church, the whole idea and its attendant issues. By Churchianity, I am referring to the institutional church as we have it today with all its religious activities, its forms, its patterns, its hierarchy and structure, as well as its belief system. I will move forward to declare that Churchianity is what Christianity has become after nearly 2000 years of its founding.  It has become highly fragmented by differences in doctrines all emanating from the same book of faith, as well as divided in the procedures of worship. Many are caught up here and are already neck deep into doctrinal and procedural cultures that have replaced the truth of worship and the true essence of fellowship with God.
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