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Archive for February, 2013

Again, Police And SSS Trade Words Over Killers Of Governor Oshiomhole’s Aide With (PHOTOS).


By SaharaReporters, New York

The credibility of Nigeria’s security agencies was again brought into question today as wild accusations and counter-accusations rang out in the public hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions looking into the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, the Private Secretary to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

The governor, in his testimony before the committee, reiterated his position that Mr. Oyerinde was killed by his political opponents.  He said that the police deliberately went to arrest innocent people in order to give the impression that they were working, and thereby divert attention from the real culprits.  The police, he insisted, are trying to cover up the real criminals who perpetrated the dastardly act.

The Director General of State Security Service (SSS), Ita Ekpenyong, gave a detailed account of how the service carried out its investigations and arrested its own batch of suspects.

DIG Peter Agana and DCP Chris Ezeike testified on behalf of the police, and they sought to fault Governor Oshiomhole’s testimony, describing it as frivolous, baseless and unfounded.  Ezeike said that the police investigation of the remote and immediate circumstances surrounding the murder of Mr. Oyerinde revealed that he had had a problem with his landlord.  He said they were also exploring the politically-motivated killing theory as well as the multiple fatal accidents that involved the convoy of Governor Oshiomhole.

The police further insisted that their own suspects are the actual killers of Oyerinde, and that his wife, Funke, was invited to identify the suspects.   The suspects, he said, were taken to the scene of the crime and all of them admitted the role they played in the crime.

Ezeike denied that he told anybody that he wanted to meet with the Governor privately on the matter as had been alleged by the Governor.  He maintained that the SSS transferred seven suspects to the police, and not the six earlier paraded, and that Lawal Abubakar who was arrested in Kano was not handed over to them.

“They (SSS) did not transfer any report either preliminary and concluded, and no single item stolen from the deceased’s house as exhibit was handed over to the police by SSS,” he said.  Muhammed Abdullahi, who was the ring leader, confessed that the gun they used was locally-made gun but the SSS maintained that it was a double-barreled gun that was used to commit the crime.

The police admitted that the suspects arrested by SSS are actually criminals because they confessed to many crimes they have carried out in Edo State and its environs.   The Governor and the human rights lawyer Femi Falana told the committee that so far, there were two contradictory reports on the case, and that there is a need for the President or National Security Adviser (NSA) to set up another Independent Panel to investigate and reconcile the two versions of both Police and SSS.

The Attorney General of Federation described the case as complicated and that it is difficult to determine which version to believe.
In a very strange case, the SSS and the police have paraded a different set of suspects, each of which confessed to having killed Oyerinde in his residence in Benin City.

The public hearing was attended by leaders of the Nigerian Labour Congress, civil society organizations, and others.



NSUK Killings: God’s Word To Nigerian Leaders And Military By Wale Odunsi.

By Wale Odunsi

“So soldiers killed four undergraduates and over 24 hours later, Education Minister maintains a deafening silence. No one has resigned; no one thinks it is appropriate to apologize…Who says Nigeria is not a jungle.” – My father, a septuagenarian and civil war survivor, asked rhetorically a day after the gruesome murder of NSUK students.
For years decades, the Nigerian Military have never failed to remind us that we are in a country where the amount of respect for bloody civilians can barely buy a loaf of ‘Agege’ bread or a bag of ‘pure water’.

The intolerance, arrogance and zero-decorum they display when handling civil matters is best seen than heard and when we complain, the top echelon claim that the subordinate officers who carry out despicable acts are the “bad eggs”. But have the bad eggs taken over the basket?

Personally, I think it’s high time the National Assembly pass into law a bill legalizing extra-judicial killings. That way, we will at least know beforehand, that those who derive pleasure in cutting short the lives of defenseless citizens have no case to answer.

On Monday February 25, 2013, Nasarawa State University Keffi, NSUK, had its share of severe batter from the usual suspects. Reports say soldiers had been invited to the school by the state government, the school authority – or both. Their mission was to quell a peaceful but tensed rally by learners of the institution, protesting recurrent water scarcity in and around the campus. The students had barricaded the inter-state road stretching through the façade of the school main gate.

I got wind of the crisis at exactly noon from a friend studying Accounting. The Jambite was in a confused state of mind as we spoke over the phone and I could tell. He was jittery, narrating in an unbalanced voice what initially sounded like a film trailer. According to him, the men in khaki fired directly at the crowd after taking strategic positions in a way that suggests they were facing the enemy. By the time they were done, no fewer than three students had lost their lives, a few more with gunshot injuries and many others badly bruised. The soldiers then moved from one hostel to the other, flogging the helpless ones who escaped unhurt. Haba, broad daylight slavery in one’s country!

Moments later, I called two other friends; the story was same. At this point I became extremely worried. To stay abreast of the situation with their safety in mind, I kept in touch hourly with all three till the end of that day. If I had been that attached, one can imagine the trauma of the parents/guardians in their homes, shops, and offices while the sad event lasted. Some might have in fact experienced a heart attack.

But for how long will this ugly trend persist, till doomsday? As we have always advocated, the attitude of military personnel and other law enforcers must be thoroughly scrutinized on a regular basis. Deploying armed troops to deal with internal issues of tertiary institutions is unacceptable and stand condemned. The actions of whoever sent out the invitation, the Oga who gave the order and the soldiers themselves will go down as another senseless killing of promising future leaders. These occasional youth-cleansing attacks are crime against humanity and I urge the United Nations Human Rights Council, UNHRC, to investigate this recent incident. Lest we forget, an exact scenario almost played out late last year at the University of Abuja.

Only a week before the NSUK disaster, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa whose articles I find interesting, wrote on “Media – Military Relationship In Nigeria” (see…). In paragraph two, the brilliant officer wrote: “The military is increasingly concerned about its image and reputation mainly on its professional disposition and the civil-military relations that could improve its relationship with the media. The media – military relationship in Nigeria in most cases has been insalubrious and often contemptuous. The basic explanation is that the history, natures and cultures of the two institutions are however fundamentally adversative… The military however is hierarchical, regimental with great inner pride and loyalties. It is non-democratic, action oriented, audacious, intolerant and impatient to outside interference – all these are tendentious, and must be so if it is to be effective in exercising its constitutional responsibilities.” Although I totally understand the context of which he was arguing, his colleagues may well put that the strength to successfully achieve such enormous responsibilities into warfare and defense of the nation, not the poor masses!

If Nigeria was a state where people regard value, the press should have been inundated with resignation letters of Nasarawa State government officials, Commandant of the Keffi Army Barracks and especially, the Vice-Chancellor the school, Prof. Shamsudeen Onyilokwu Onche.

Now that the news has generated national and international uproar, those indicted will as usual deny; the rest in positions of authority will force out of their mouths lame emotional speeches and condolence statements. Lobatan! End of story.

I wish that the spirits of the dead will not let the murderers rest. Their souls have protested and their voices have reached the Most High God who has sent a statement in which I find solace.

“Verily I say unto all in Nigeria permitted to carry firearms: By this, I mean the Military, Police and State Security Service, ye shall not count yourselves worthy of eternal rest yet.  From up here, I see how excited ye get whenever ye brandish the barrels of your guns at my people. Continue to kill them, ye need not halt. Too many damage ye hath done, but remember, judgement is mine.

Woe I say woe unto ye corrupt leaders: By this, I mean both elected and appointed public officials; serving and retired. Have thou heard that the cry of the students killed was scarcity of water? If ye hath judiciously used the abundant wealth I deposited in thine land; if ye hath put in place necessary infrastructure which are visible even in less-endowed countries; if ye hath ensured provision of basic amenities – decent road and rail network, uninterrupted electricity supply, quality health care service, grants for the poor, the aged and the jobless, many late souls from thine country would not have passed away so soon.

I eagerly anticipate all that fall in the categories mentioned. A special prosecution awaits thy souls. I advise, be fully prepared to argue thy briefs. Ye have a lot of explanations to give me thy God. For it shall come to pass, all man shall give account, every single account of thy time on earth”.
Twitter: @WaleOdunsi

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

“Deliberate Propagation of Falsehood”: Minister of Justice Rejects Testimony of Ministry of Justice Over Oyerinde’s Murder.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke has roundly denied that the Ministry is “confused” about the situation in Edo State where the police and the State Security Service have different reports and different sets of suspects in the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, an aide of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

In a letter to the Chairman of the Committee on Public Petitions of the House of Representatives today, the AGF repudiated comments made yesterday at a public hearing by Mr. O.T. Olaitigbe, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation on his behalf and the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Testifying at the hearing yesterday, Mr. Olaitigbe had said that the Ministry was “confused” and could not proceed with the prosecution of the suspects because of the need to harmonise the two reports.

Mr. Adoke said the comments were a figment of Olaitigbe’s imagination at best, and far from the truth.

Declaring he was “shocked, embarrassed and utterly disappointed” by Olaitigbe’s comments, the AGF said the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions had been instructed only to inform the Committee as follows:

1.    The Federal Ministry of Justice had examined the powers of the State Security Service as provided by Section 3 of the National Security Act, Cap.N.74 LFN, 2004 and the powers of the Nigeria Police Force as provided by section 4 of the Police Act Cap. P.19 LFN, 2004 and had come to the reasoned conclusion that the power to investigate crimes of the nature under consideration (murder) resides with the Nigeria Police  Force while the power to gather intelligence lies  with the State Security Service; and

2.    Murder, the offence allegedly committed by the suspects is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the States in the Federation. The Criminal Procedure Act, Cap., C. 38 LFN, 2004 is very clear on this matter.

The Federal Ministry of Justice, the AGF therefore stressed, has no power to prosecute murder cases that as occur as an offence committed against State law and that the matter was  already been handled by appropriate authorities in Edo State.

Expressing his regret over the misrepresentation and the apprehension that Olaitigbe’s testimony has generated in the minds of Members of the Committee and the general public, the AGF disclosed that he has instituted an internal investigation into the matter and that appropriate measures will be taken to discipline any officer found wanting in this “deliberate propagation of falsehood.”

Full text of the letter:

HAGF/NASS/2013/VOL.1/2                             28th February 2013

The Chairman,

House of Representatives,

Committee on Public Petitions,

National Assembly Complex,

Three Arms Zone,

P.M.B 141,




My attention has been drawn to the representations made by Mr. O.T. Olaitigbe, Deputy Director, Public Prosecutions of the Federation on behalf of my office and the Federal Ministry of Justice at the Public Hearing organised by your Committee on 27th February 2013 on the alleged complicity and improper investigation in the murder of Oyerinde Olaitan, an Aide to the Edo State Governor.

2.      It has been widely reported in the electronic and print media that Mr. Olaitigbe while making his presentation to the Committee, stated among other things that the Ministry of Justice was confused as a result of the investigation reports it had received from the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service (SSS) which appeared to have indicted different sets of suspects for the alleged murder of Oyerinde and that the Ministry could not proceed further with the prosecution of the suspects because of the need to harmonise the two reports .

3.      I wish to completely disassociate myself from the comments purportedly made on my behalf by Mr. Olaitigbe as the comments were at best, a figment of his imagination and very far from the truth. Mr. Olaitigbe was under firm instructions to inform the Committee that:

(a)    the Federal Ministry of Justice had examined the powers of the State Security Service as provided by Section 3 of the National Security Act, Cap.N.74 LFN,  2004 and the powers of the Nigeria Police Force as    provided by section 4 of the Police Act Cap. P.19 LFN, 2004 and had come to the reasoned conclusion that the power to investigate crimes of the nature under consideration (murder) resides with the Nigeria Police  Force while the power to gather intelligence lies  with the State Security Service, and

(b)    murder, the offence allegedly committed by the  suspects is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the States in the Federation. The Criminal Procedure Act,  Cap., C. 38 LFN, 2004 is very clear on this matter. The Federal Ministry of Justice therefore has no power to   prosecute murder cases as murder is a state offence committed against State law and that the matter was  already been handled by appropriate authorities in Edo State.

4.      In view of the foregoing clear instructions and position, I am shocked, embarrassed and utterly disappointed by the representations reportedly allegedly made on my behalf by Mr.Olaitigbe. I have accordingly instituted an internal investigation to unravel the mystery and appropriate measures will be taken to discipline any officer found wanting in this deliberate propagation of falsehood.

5.      In the meantime, I wish to assure your esteemed Members and the general public of the principled stance of my office on this matter as already elaborated above and to inform you that my office was never at any material time confused as to the steps to be taken in this matter. I sincerely regret the misrepresentation and the apprehension that it has generated in the minds of Honourable Members of the Committee, as well as the general public.

6.      Please accept the assurances of my highest regards and consideration.


Honourable Attorney General of the Federation

and Minister of Justice


Daring to share…

“We are therefore Christ‘s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
2 Corinthians 5:20

Several years ago, I was in a Bible study where a physician shared various medical issues people of the Bible experienced.

In one example, he discussed how Jonah would have looked after spending three days in the belly of a fish submerged in seaweed, seawater, and the fish’s digestive acids. If you have ever had your hands in water for an hour, you know how wrinkled and gnarly they look. Now, think of your whole body wrapped in seaweed and submerged for 72 hours in salt water.

And this was no ordinary fish; it was especially prepared for Jonah. That fish was so large that it could swallow a whole man. To get to this size, the fish had to be around for a while. Once the fish vomited Jonah out and onto the Mediterranean shore, probably in Syria, it told Jonah to go to Nineveh, a three-day journey across a dry, hot desert.

Bleached white when he came out of the fish, I’m sure he was quite a sight walking across the hot desert with the sun baking his skin. Can you imagine what his clothes and skin must have looked and smelled like? No one was going to offer him a ride in that condition. No wonder the people of Nineveh took notice of him. As he walked for a solid day through the ungodly Nineveh, the largest city in the world at that time, Jonah proclaimed their destruction because they denied God.

If a bleached-white guy was walking down your street, sunburned, smelly, predicting your annihilation, would you immediately put on sackcloth and ashes and pray to the God this guy is proclaiming? I think not, but the very existence of this man, somewhere, out there in Nineveh, caused even the king to strip off his clothes, put on sackcloth, sit in an ash heap, and ask God to forgive his people.

Now, that is an evangelist!

Prayer: God, thank you for your word and the example of Jonah. Thank you that I can be a witness no matter what I look like. I just need to be in the right place at the right time, wherever you want me to be, so that I might share what you have done for me through the sacrifice of Jesus, my Lord. Amen.

Devotion: How have you shared what you have witnessed about Jesus Christ to others?.

By Fred Gillett, Crystal Cathedral Pastor

Life Is Not Fair!

I returned and saw under the sun that — the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.
Ecclesiastes 9:11

Recommended Reading
Hebrews 12:1-2 ( )

Where do children learn to say, “That’s not fair!” Probably where they learn almost everything — from adults. And we, and those children who imitate us, are usually right. Life is definitely not fair.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message   ( )

But, as the song says, “That’s life!” It’s impossible to explain or justify the unfair things that happen in life. Bad things happen to good people and bad people seem to get a pass; deserving people get overlooked and undeserving people get rewarded.

It was that kind of inconsistency that caused King Solomon to declare that all of life is vanity. In today’s vernacular it would sound more like,

“It’s fruitless to try to figure this out. Life is filled with unpredictable variables.”

Instead, from our New Testament perspective, we know to put our trust in God, live with humility, pursue wisdom, and enjoy the blessings of God when they arrive. And leave the secret things to Him (Deuteronomy 29:29).

The Judge of all the earth will one day “do right” (Genesis 18:25). Until that day, we rest in what He causes and allows.

Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts.
F.F. Bosworth

Deuteronomy 23-25

By David Jeremiah.

Finding Christ.

He first found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah!” (which is, being interpreted, Christ). – John 1:41

We must notice the kind of argument Andrew used with his brother. He just went to him with a great joy in his heart, ‘the joy of discovery and of satisfaction,’ and told him about it. An English preacher gives in a sermon this illustration, showing how much more convincing power there is in a little bit of real Christian life than there is in a large amount of apologetics.

A minister delivered in his pulpit a very fine course of lectures in refutation of some form of infidelity. He delivered the course chiefly for the benefit of one man that attended his place of worship. The man was sceptical, and the preacher hoped to remove his doubts. Shortly after the close of the lectures this man came and declared himself a Christian. The minister was very glad, and said to him, “Which of my discourses was it that removed your doubts?” The answer was, “Oh, it was not any of your sermons that influenced me. The thing that set me to thinking was a poor woman that came out of the chapel beside me one night and stumbled on the steps. I reached out my hand to help her, and she said, ‘Thank you;’ then she said, ‘Do you love Jesus Christ, my blessed Savior?’ I did not, and I went home and thought about it; and now I can say, I love Jesus.”

An ounce of heart is worth more than a ton of head in winning souls.

When we have really found Christ ourselves, the best way to bring others is just to tell them what Christ is to us. One word of genuine and hearty confession of Christ by a person whose soul is full of the new-found joy, is worth more than the most eloquent sermons to lead others to believe in Christ.

Let us be sure that people know from us that we have really found Christ; then they cannot but be impressed. It will surely be a sad pity if we should so live that they will not suspect that we are Chrstians.

By Vine.

Bible In A Year: February 28th…

By Book Old Testament New Testament Proverbs & Psalms
Deuteronomy 25-27 Leviticus 4-5-14 Mark 10:13-31 Psalm 27:7-14

Fire In The Sky.

Recently, my brother told me about a very vivid dream he had back in December of last year. He said that in the dream he was looking up in the daytime sky and looking at a strange looking white cloud. The cloud got bigger and bigger and then became a huge fireball that was going to hit the earth. Then more of these clouds appeared in the sky and became fireballs. He noticed that they were getting closer and closer to where he was standing and realized if he didn’t move from that spot he would get hit so he moved. He was never afraid in the dream. That’s all he could remember of the dream.

He asked me what I thought that dream or, perhaps, vision could have meant. I said it sounded like something out of the book of Revelation when God pours out His wrath upon the Earth. This dream came to mind when I learned of the fireball that exploded over Russia a couple of weeks ago. My brother said when he saw the video of the fireball exploding on the news it also reminded him of what he saw in his dream. The exploding fireball was exactly what he see in the dream. You can see the video of the Russian meteor here:

Soon after the Russian meteor event, a fireball is seen and videotaped flying across the California night sky. The video can be viewed here: Then a couple of days after that event another fireball was seen across the night sky in Florida. The video can be viewed here: There was also a video on You Tube that reports that were over 50 similar events that happened that weekend that were not recorded on video. These meteorites could have been flung from the asteroid that passed so close by to the earth.

On the same day of the Russian meteor an asteroid passed within 17,000 miles of Earth. Our man-made satellites that we get our satellite TV signals from are 22,000 miles from Earth so this asteroid flew below our man-made satellites. Is this just coincidence or is it a warning? Jesus, when asked what would be the sign of His coming or return replied with one of His answers: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” Luke 21:25

The meteor that exploded over Russia broke the sound barrier and caused a sonic boom which blew out hundreds of windows and injured about 1,000 people because of the flying glass. What makes this story even more interesting is a seemingly unrelated event that may not be unrelated. A shocking announcement came from the Catholic church. The Pope was stepping down from his position because of health reasons. A Pope hasn’t resigned from this office in over 600 years. Popes are usually carried out in coffins.

What makes this event so in interesting is a prophecy by St. Malachy concerning the Popes of the Catholic church. It is not Biblical prophecy so we cannot put our trust in this prophecy and state it will happen beyond all doubt, but it is intriguing. St. Malachy supposedly had a vision in 1139 that there would be 112 more Popes. The last Pope would be known as Peter the Roman. Pope Benedict XVI, the current Pope and 111th Pope, just announced his resignation. This means that the next Pope is supposed to be the last Pope as Christ will return during his reign in office.

What is the prophecy connected to 112th Pope? It reads as follows; “In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit … Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations: and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people. The End.” The city of seven hills is supposed to be Rome. The terrible judge is Christ when He returns to set up His kingdom. This event is supposed to follow a seven year tribulation period. Believers in Christ are supposed to undergo extreme persecution in those days. In some countries, they already are.

Revelation 17 has an interesting prophecy concerning a woman sitting on a scarlet beast. ” I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” These are excerpts from verses 3, 9, and 18.

There is only one city that sits on seven hills or mountains and that is Rome. The woman in the prophecy is Rome, a city setting on seven hills. Now is St. Malachy’s prophecy real or a forgery? My answer is let’s wait and see. If you do an online research on this you will see a much divided opinion. How is this related to the fireballs in the sky? Within hours of Pope Benedict XVI announcing his resignation, lightning struck the Vatican or St. Peter’s Basilica. You can view the video here:

Do we have fire falling from the sky in the book of Revelation? Revelation 8:7 “‘The first angel sounded , and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up , and all green grass was burnt up .”

Revelation 8:9 “And the second angel sounded , and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; ”

Revelation 13:3 “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,” This fire comes from the Antichrist not God.

Revelation 16:8 “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. ” Fire is definitely going to be coming down from the sky during the tribulation. Are we seeing glimpses of this now?

Later this year, there is going to be new comet in the night sky. It is supposed to be brighter than the moon in the night sky. I remember seeing comet Hale-Bopp in the night sky a few years back. This new comet is going to be quite something to see if the sun doesn’t destroy it first. You can see the video of it here:

What did Jesus say about all this? “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28

The Pope announces his resignation, lightning strikes the Vatican, a fireball explodes over Siberia, an asteroid barely misses the earth, and a new comet is on its way. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Copyright 2013 by Gary Goodworth

What Your Longings Can Teach You About God and Yourself.

Editor’s NoteThe following is a report on the practical applications of Barry Morrow‘s book,Yearning For More: What Our Longings Tell Us About God and Ourselves (IVP Books, 2012).

No matter how hard you seek fulfillment in all this world has to offer, you can often become disenchanted with life and struggle with longings for something more.

If your yearning for more than this world can give you has left you frustrated and disappointed, you can find hope if you look at your longings from God’s perspective. God designed the longings you experience in this world not to completely satisfy you, but to point you toward another world – heaven – in which your yearning will finally give way to complete fulfillment. Each of your longings is a sign of transcendence embedded in your earthly life.

Here’s how you can learn what your longings teach you about God and yourself:

Recognize the limits of what this fallen world offers you. Since sin first corrupted the perfect world God created, worldly things – from a new job or romantic partnership to a bigger house or better car – promise to meet your desires, yet fall short of delivering the ultimate satisfaction that you seek. Admit the reality that nothing you want can truly satisfy you except one thing: a relationship with God. Stop trying to find meaning and significance in the world’s wisdom, pleasure, power, riches, altruism, or naturalistic religion. Shift your focus to what matters most: seeking God alone.

Look beyond what’s urgent to what’s important. Don’t get stuck in your everyday, mundane concerns – if you do, you won’t notice the signs of transcendence that God has placed all around you. Make a daily habit of withdrawing from the busyness of dealing with life’s urgent activities to spend time in reflection and prayer, asking questions about the important issues you encounter in the situations you experience.

Develop a sacramental perspective on life. From God’s perspective, there’s no distinction between what’s sacred and what’s secular. Everything in life is sacred to God. When you look at life this way, you can notice how everything you do is imbued with a spiritual meaning. Doing your activities with an attitude of faithfulness to God turns them into sacraments – signs of God at work in your life.

Discover how your fear of death points to transcendence. The idea of death naturally scares people because God’s original design for us didn’t include death – death entered the world only after sin did. The fact that you feel afraid of dying is a sign that points to the reality that you’re actually an immortal being who’s trapped inside a mortal body right now. One day, when you die, your soul will break free of your body and live forever in the afterlife, either in heaven with God, or separated from Him in hell – depending on whether or not you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Discover how your uneasiness with time points to transcendence. Time passes so quickly that it’s natural to want to slow it down, but you can’t. Your frustration with not having enough time to do all you’d like to do highlights the fact that your time is limited on Earth, and points to the reality that every moment you have is a gift from God that you should do your best to use well.

Discover how your sense of humor points to transcendence. The incongruence and absurdity of life that seems so funny points to the reality that you live as a fallen creature in a fallen world. When you don’t take yourself too seriously, you can see your need for a Savior to redeem your life.

Discover how civility and manners point to transcendence. The urge you feel in your conscience to treat people with dignity and respect is a sign of people’s eternal value, because God has made them in His image.

Discover how your family life points to transcendence. The daily rhythms of your ordinary life with your family at home help you learn eternal values that shape your soul, such as: compassion, understanding, respect, unselfishness, loyalty, and joy. These values all help you become a person who knows how to love more like Jesus Christ. So your family life is about much more than mere function; it points to God’s redeeming work going on in your soul.

Discover how your work points to transcendence. You can truly enjoy your work only when you work for more than just money, power, or prestige; you need to experience a sense of meaning and purpose in your work. Your drive to seek significance (not just success) points to the fact that God has individual vocations to which He calls different people to meet the world’s needs in ways that they’ll do well and enjoy. Also, since your work has eternal value, you regularly sense an urge in your conscience to give your best effort to produce work of excellent quality.

Discover how sports and leisure points to transcendence. The time you spent at leisure enjoying sports helps you relax and enjoy life. As you do, you can reflect on the meaning of your experiences and celebrate your blessings, and that points you to the reality that God is at work beneath the surface of your life. The respite from life’s stresses that you enjoy during your leisure time expresses the universal human desire to escape this fallen world for a paradise of some kind, and that desire points to your innate desire to make it to heaven someday.

Discover how the arts point to transcendence. The arts (such as movies, plays, literature, visual art, and music) can move you deeply because the best arts productions resonate with something God has placed within your soul. When that happens, the arts inspire you to respond with wonder, awe, and worship that all point to the reality of a spiritual realm.

Discover how your pain points to transcendence. The pain you experience in life leads to suffering that reminds you that you live in a fallen world but were made for a perfect one. You naturally long for help in the midst of your pain, and only God can truly give you the help you need.

Discover how your pleasures point to transcendence. No matter how much pleasure you can eke out of life in this fallen world, you’ll eventually end up disenchanted with it because it won’t ultimately satisfy you. But your longing for ultimate fulfillment leads you to seek God, who alone is able to give you all you seek.

Adapted from Yearning for More: What Our Longings Tell Us About God and Ourselves, copyright 2012 by Barry Morrow. Published by IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove,

Barry Morrow brings more than 25 years of experience working in the marketplace with businessmen through teaching, speaking, and consulting, primarily through his organization,FinishingWell.

By Whitney Hopler

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a contributing writer and the editor of’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.

Publication date: February 20, 2013

How to Spot a Healthy Church – Quickly.

In the last 18 months I have come to a few conclusions about how to quickly gauge the health of the churches we visit–either to preach or simply to participate in a worship service. The Lord has allowed us to travel from coast to coast and to visit country cities, city churches and suburban churches–some large, some small, and many in-between. I don’t know if doing this sort of itinerant ministry makes you more qualified to evaluate churches, but the very fact of being in a different church almost every Sunday inevitably forces you to think about where you’ve been, what you’ve seen, and what you’ve experienced. On one hand, it’s obviously true that coming in to preach and then leaving doesn’t allow you to do an in-depth analysis. But when your schedule takes you from Tupelo, MS to Muscle Shoals, AL to Baton Rouge, LA to New Brunswick, Canada to Arlington Heights, IL (my current schedule), it does allow you to worship in a variety of settings and it gives you a birds-eye view of how things are going in various churches.

I have come to the conclusion that there are two very obvious indicators of church health that the one-time visitor can gauge very quickly.

  1. Hearty congregational singing.
  2. Obvious affection between the pastor and the congregation.

I have written quite a bit about hearty congregational singing. That’s one factor that I never fully appreciated until I started traveling and preaching in different churches. Healthy churches love to sing. This is not a statement about worship style, hymns vs. choruses, Power Point vs. hymnals, and it has nothing to do with denominational preference, church size, location, or the beauty or lack thereof of the sanctuary. I am not suggesting that healthy churches have great “music programs,” a phrase I don’t much like because it tends to emphasize the performance side of things. I’m not talking about excellent “special music” or beautiful choir anthems or praise bands or organ music, as good as those things may be. Lots of churches with big “music programs” hardly sing at all, although they may have big choirs and put on excellent Easter musicals. I am speaking of a church that truly loves to sing, where the music is based on good theology and the whole congregation lifts its voice in song, where a visitor can’t help but join the rising chorus of praise to God. That’s easy to check because it’s obvious. If the people aren’t singing, you can tell it. If the singing is anemic, preaching is generally more of a challenge. I think there is a lot of theology here and some insight into the human heart and something about the work of the Holy Spirit that I don’t fully understand, but I have experienced it over and over again. Healthy churches love to sing. I’ve yet to visit an unhealthy church or a troubled church with strong congregational singing.

I have’t written much about the second point, but it is equally obvious to me. When there is visible affection between the pastor and his people, when he loves them and they love him, and when you can see that expression of affection before and after the service as he greets people, and when you sense his love for his people as he speaks to them from the pulpit, there you have a healthy church. This is not a function of personality because some pastors are naturally more reserved and others are more outgoing. Pastors and congregations come in all sizes, shapes and various permutations. But you can’t fake genuine love. I have come to understand that a true bond between a pastor and his people is a precious gift from God. It doesn’t happen overnight but is built up over time as the pastor preaches strong messages from the Word and the people listen with eager hearts. And it is buttressed by times spent together laughing, crying, praying, talking, singing, eating, arguing, confronting, thinking, dreaming, meditating, evaluating, rejoicing, worshiping, sharing, proclaiming, rebuking, exulting, and all the other things that go into the life of the local church.

I do not tire of quoting Jess Moody who said that people choose a church with their noses. They can smell the joy.

That’s as good a summary as I’ve ever heard. People can smell the joy on Sunday morning. And they can smell the other stuff too. Sometimes it’s easy to smell the manure of church conflict. Most of us have had the experience of visiting a new church and without knowing anything about it, we sense that something is wrong inside the church. People look distraught, upset, flat, disinterested, and sometimes you can feel the tension in the air.

I don’t think you can fake joy. Even unbelievers can sense it. And nowhere is it more obvious than in hearty congregational singing and obvious affection between the pastor and the congregation. Where those things are present, you have found a healthy church.

(I’d love to know what you think about this. Do you agree with these two marks of a healthy church? What else would you add that would help a visitor quickly gauge the health of a church? Click here to offer your comments.)

By Dr Ray Pritchard

Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries and author of And When You Pray. He has ministered extensively overseas and is a frequent conference speaker and guest on Christian radio and television talk shows. He has authored over 27 books, including Credo,The Healing Power of ForgivenessAn Anchor for the Soul, and Why Did This Happen to Me?

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Will You Honor a Forgotten Hero Today?.

Today marks the anniversary of the arrest of the family of Corrie ten Boom in Haarlem, Holland. Most of us are familiar with the narrative as told in her book and later in the movie produced by Dr. Billy Graham, “The Hiding Place,” but few are aware of the full details of the story and the integrity and courage of that Dutch household. Glenn Beck aired the movie on GBTV and invited me to Israel to tell the story at his “Restoring Courage” event last year.

Corrie’s father, Casper ten Boom, met evil face-to-face on that bitter day in 1944 when Nazis invaded his home in search of hidden Jews. According to the Gestapo, he was worthy of death for one reason only: Helping Dutch Jews evade arrest and deportation to Nazi concentration camps. About thirty people–Bible-believing family members and friends–had gathered for a prayer meeting to pray for the Jewish people and the peace of Jerusalem; all were arrested.

Corrie had been in bed for two days with influenza when she heard the incessant buzzing of the alarm used to warn Jewish guests. Thoughts of a drill in progress were soon followed by the realization that it was no drill as the Jews rushed past her bed and into the hiding place that had been prepared behind a wall in her room. Hearing heavy footfalls on the stairs below, she secured the trapdoor and dove back into her bed, feigning sleep.

Her door burst open and a man demanded her name. “Cornelia ten Boom,” she sleepily replied. The Gestapo leader casually asked, “So, where are you hiding the Jews?” Corrie denied any knowledge of Jews or an underground ring. The seven Jews hidden behind the fake wall were not discovered and were eventually led to safety–following in the footsteps of some 800 others who escaped near-certain death.

The tragedy is that while virtually every Jewish person knows the story of Anne Frank, almost none of them know the story of the ten Booms.  There are three trees planted at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem for Casper ten Boom and Corrie and Betsie, but few know their story of courage, sacrifice, and love.  Because I am the Chairman of the Board of the Corrie ten Boom Museum I had the privilege of speaking at the ceremony when Casper and Betsie were honored in this special way, but my heart is filled with the burning desire to make sure this message is taken to the nation of Israel…and I need your help.  Will you honor these forgotten heroes with your gift today?



This is the reason we are working so hard to bring the Christian Zionist Heritage Center to life.  We must tell the story of the ten Booms–and so many other wonderful stories of love, sacrifice, courage, support and devotion–to the nation of Israel.  Most Jewish people have never seen an act of kindness from a Christian.  Most of them think, as my Jewish mother did, that Christians are the source of hatred, persecution, and even death.

You and I know that this is not true, but they will not hear unless we tell them.  Your gift today to support the Jerusalem Prayer Team will help us make the Christian Zionist Heritage Center a reality–and touch the future of the entire nation by changing the way they view Christians and showing them God’s love in action.  We cannot do this without you.  Please be as generous as you can when you send your gift today.

When you send your gift of any amount today, we will send you a DVD of the virtual tour of the ten Boom home and clock shop in Haarlem, Holland. You will be able to see and hear the story of the “Hiding Place” in a powerful new way. With your gift of $40 or more, we will also send you a bookmark, Corrie’s book “The Hiding Place,” and a special Corrie ten Boom notebook. Filled with information about Corrie’s life and family and their work, along with pages reproduced from one of her journals, including one of her favorite poems, it is a treasure you will cherish.

If you are able to send a gift of $100 or more, we will send you the DVD and a special double-sided commemorative Jerusalem Prayer Team clock. Prepared especially for our friends and supporters, this beautiful timepiece harkens back to the ten Boom’s heritage as clockmakers, and links you to our continuing of their work on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.


Your support of the Jerusalem Prayer Team allows us to continue our work on the Christian Zionist Heritage Center, to stand up and speak out for Israel, and to meet urgent humanitarian needs among the poor Jewish people living in Israel.  Thank you so much for being part of this vital worldwide prayer movement.

Barukh atah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam, ozier Yisrael bigvurah.

Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, who girds Israel with might.

Your ambassador to Jerusalem,

From Mike Evans the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team

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