THE AFRICANS IN THE BIBLE

1568307998234350287588732800503.jpgGod declares to African people in Psalm 68:31 that “Cush shall reach out arms to God as early Church loved this promise, saw a black man help Jesus carry Cross. considered Cush to be a metaphor for the Gentile Bride of Christ. The Psalms predicted that one day people would recognize the spirituality of the Cushites, and declare that they had been born anew in Zion in Psalm 87:3-6. Isaiah said God will bring remnant from Cush in Psalm 11:11, redeemed people bring gifts to Zion in Psalm 18:1-8. Zephaniah said from beyond rivers of Cush, God’s people bring offerings in Zephaniah 3:10. Amos expresses God’s concern for Cush: “‘Are you not like Cushites to me people of Israel?’ says the LORD” Zephaniah 9:7.15683073793472425722686661667645.jpg

Biblical scholars are aware ‘Cush’ refers to all of Africa, sometimes to all Africa except Egypt, and sometimes to ancient Nubia, stretching from modern Aswan in the north to Khartoum in south. Most of this area lies in the Sudan. But how is the general reader to understand Cush and Cushite used 57 times in Hebrew Bible are in a designation for an African nation and people? Some versions of the Bible translate “Cush” as “Ethiopia,” but this does not ordinarily designate the modern country of that name. David Adamo suggested the best translation is simply “Africa.” All of us have a right to know and applaud important biblical role played by Africans. People of the African descent claim the deep roots of their ancestors in the Bible.15683069277985189522243142459692.jpgAfrica is in Old Testament from Genesis one of rivers of Eden is around whole land of Cush, and another encircled land of Havilah that yielded gold, onyx and bdellium in Genesis 2:10-13. These products found in antiquity in the area known as the Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia. Tigris and Euphrates rivers located in Babylonia, shows good reason to believe rivers of Eden lay in Africa. We are told oldest human remains may be traced to Africa. Hagar, the Egyptian concubine of Abraham, derived her ancestry from south of Egypt. She alone of all the Bible characters gives God a name in Genesis 16:13. Like Abraham, she meets God in and is given a promise her progeny will become a great nation in Genesis 21:18.15683105750826963769477824241236.jpgmmmmmMoses’ Cushite wife aroused jealousy of sister Miriam in Numbers 12:11-16. Miriam, who resents her black sister-in-law, becomes white with leprosy until she mends her ways. This Cushite wife Zipporah is Moses’ father-in-law Jethro the priest, who instituted  judicial, administrative and sacrificial patterns of Israel in Exodus 18:1-27. He and his family received the exiled Moses during Moses’ forty years as shepherd in Sinai. Zipporah had understood importance of circumcision and performed the ritual on their sons in Exodus 18:1-27. Cushite wife helps Moses looks to father-in-law for guidance and direction in Numbers 10:29-32; Judges 1:16.15683067809035397664470500877270.jpgWhen Israelites settled land of Canaan there were Africans among them. Some  left Egypt with Israelites at the time of Exodus; others came military invaders in 1 Kings 14:25-28; 2 Chronicles 12:2-3; 14:9-15; cf. 16:8. The Ethiopian colony at Gerar buffer between Egypt and Judah. Ethiopians became permanent residents in Palestine, remaining there until time of Hezekiah in 715-685 BCE. “Journeyed to entrance of Gedor, the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks, where they found rich, good pasture the land was broad, quiet, peaceful, former inhabitants of Ham in 1 Chronicles 4:39 -40. Group of Philistines, Arabs, settled near Ethiopians in 2 Chronicles 21:16.15683060779121682956306936306740.jpgPersons of African descent appear took active role in Israel’s social and political life. A bride in Song of Solomon is black and beautiful in Songs 1:5. A Cushite who possessed tact, discretion and high position in the royal court appeared as a trusted courtier sent to tell David news of Absalom’s death in 2 Samuel 18:19-32. Africans enjoyed royal favour, as Solomon married an Egyptian princess in 1 Kings 9:16, 24; 2 Chronicles 8:11 and received Queen of Sheba in 1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chronicles 9:1-2. Influential queen ruled African peoples both sides of the Red Sea. Queen Sheba, may well have come to Solomon to negotiate and trade treaty with his growing maritime power. Tested him with hard questions, in the end she told him all that was in her heart. It appears that in this black woman Solomon found a kindred spirit with whom he could discourse freely.15683118638493056538262816214734.jpgThat relationship was sexual evidenced alliance did indeed produce children as the ruling class black Jews. Zephaniah, a descendant of Hezekiah, is called son of Cushi and brings the special prophecies of Cush in Zephaniah 1:1; 3:10. Jehudi, a courtier sent to Jeremiah with message from Baruch to King Zedekiah had the  Cushite ancestor in Jeremiah 36:14. And Baruch stands before the king, reading the words of God but king slashes scroll cast into fire in Jeremiah 21, 23. Ebed-Melek, confidential advisor of the king, is identified as Cushite four times in Jeremiah 38:7, 10, 12; 39:16. Believing Jeremiah was bringing God’s authentic voice to Judah, Ebed-Melek risked his life to rescue the prophet from cistern and secure for him a hearing with the king. Jeremiah commends the courtier’s faith in Jeremiah15-18, proclaims to him special covenant of God’s protection.156833171072865783293502443737.jpgIn Genesis 16 Hagar meets God who has promised to provide for her and son. 15683285280597530140274396867836.jpgIMG-20190912-WA0008.jpgIMG-20190912-WA0009.jpg15683283082642766521076979514161.jpg15683284047696941858969006489791.jpg15683969308308576360979223589953.jpg15683063656013498788289630592015.jpgCushite pharaohs ruled over Egypt, they contracted military alliances with both Israel and Judah, especially during the time of Twenty-fifth or Cushite Dynasty. Sabacho in 716-701 BC, is So in 2 Kings 17:4 contracted an alliance against Assyria with Hoshea, king of Israel, while Tirhakah (690-664) came to aid Hezekiah as Jerusalem was beseiged in 2 Kings 19:9; Isaiah 37:9. A mortuary figurines of Tirhakah reveal his African features of enormous statue still towers above great temple complex at Karnak.15670948767161078613926685946495.jpgThe kingdom of Cush continues to play a role in New Testament we read of the conversion of the Candace’s Ethiopian treasurer in Acts 8:26-39. Candace was the royal title of Queen Mother of Nubia powerful African nation located in what is Sudan. Greek was spoken in the court, so the chamberlain would have had no problem reading a Septuagint version of the prophet Isaiah; and Philip, a Greek-speaking Jew, easily communicated the Gospel to him. Candace wielded the real political, military power from capitol city in Meroe while her son served as a religious figurehead. Royal mother gifts to God on behalf of the kingdom sent by her chamberlain with gift to Jerusalem.Tirhakah_artTirhakah

Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, waged war against Sennacherib during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah (2 Kings 19:9; Isaiah 37:9) and drove him from his intention of destroying Jerusalem and deporting its inhabitants, according to blacksinthebible.org. God used this African king to protect the Jews as HIS chosen people. Also the Arts civilization flourished at high level throughout her realm, twice her forces engaged the Roman army in battle.15683124595885667631283936059650.jpgTo the north Cyrene, capital city of the Roman province Cyrenaica famous for three schools of philosophy and native sons excelled in medicine, mathematics, rhetoric and literature. Most famous or illustrious of these was the astronomer Eratosthenes, who in approximately 200 BC computed circumference of earth with remarkable accuracy. The brilliant Hellenistic poet Callimachus, director of library at Alexandria acquired the great reputation for versatility of aptitudes. And the athletes from Cyrene excelled in Olympic competition especially in horse chariot racing. Ships carried corn, oil, wool from fertile fields of Cyrene and contraceptive sylphium to Rome. Cyrene maintained a monopoly on the herb until became extinct over harvest in AD 200. Citizens of Cyrene roamed far and wide through Mediterannean world merchants, athletes, philosophers and orators, mercenaries, entertainers. The Jewish community of the city had a deep interest in Judaism and produced an important literature including a five-book history of Maccabees by Jason the Cyrenian in 2 Maccabees 2:43. The close ties with Jerusalem is Simon of Cyrene Libya helped carry the Cross of Jesus. A devout Jew goes to Passover, Jerusalem. He became a believer his sons known to Christian community in Mark 15:21; cf. Romans 16:13.1568307998234350287588732800503.jpgAn African synagogue of the Cyreneans and Alexandrians, first objected to the preaching of Stephen in Acts 6:9, other natives of Cyrene were early adherents of Christianity and carried good news to Cyprus in Acts 11:19-26. The Cyrenians and Cyprians travelled to Antioch with innovated Gospel approach to the non-Jewish Greeks. The revolutionary action drew attention of the Jerusalem Council, and Barnabas was dispatched to assess this new development. Convinced of the authenticity of the mission, Barnabas strategized with the leaders and went to Tarsus to seek out Paul. Implementation of African’s dream require involvement of multinational and multicultural task force. As the church at Antioch prayed, searched the Scriptures and strategized for a full year core of leaders developed. Of the five named, two Africans Lucius of Cyrene and Simon called the Black in Acts 13:1-2. Translations fails to inform us “Niger” is Latin for “Black” Simon of Cyrene. Missionary agency in large part initiated, strategized, promoted directed by Africans. The story of Acts tells us Paul and Barnabas promptly sent to Cyprus, home of some members of the Antiochene community in Acts 13:4-12. Archaeological evidence of arrival of the Gospel in Cyrene by the end of first century AD Christian burials inside the Jewish cemetery at Cyrene.15684580861912112964805784651956.jpgByzantine writer on interpretations of Biblical questions in the first half of the third century of the common era. Suidas (s.v. Ἀφρικανός) says Africanus was a Libyan philosopher supported by Julius’ works written in Greek shows author’s knowledge of Latin. He was a native of Latin North Africa the son of Christian parents from a noble family. Took part in expedition with Septimius Severus  against Osrhoene in 195. Is a friend of Abgar VIII. of Edessa whose materials from his works in archives of city. These relations reveal Oriental knowledge of Syriac, fourth chapter of his Κεστοί, he gives Syrian name of a fish. Familiar with conditions of Jews in Babylon in the Susanna Epistle Jews were living under their own jurisdiction in Exile. His works in Biblical criticism Hebrew language known. He was presbyter and bishop of Emmaus (Nicopolis) Palestine headed embassy to Rome on behalf of city. He was contemporary and friend of Origen lived in emperors Heliogabalus and Alexander Severus times. Africanus highly valued in Christianity of interest to Judaism. These works are: five books, founder of Church history, predecessor of Eusebius, source and pattern for the Byzantine chronographers for extracts from his work preserved fragments. His history of world seven epoch weeks like Jewish “Lepto Genesis” Jubilees, earliest history of human race, Jewish history synchronised general history. Put Moses 1,020 years before first Olympic date of Justus of Tiberias. Africanus source are traced various facts found in Africanus’ history parallel Josephus. In Biblical stories Africanus legends origin found in the Apocalypses and the Midrashim.15683064907397689947182494053598.jpgAFRICANS IN THE EARLY CHURCH15684524981767689343288530996876.jpg1568453317180494040346684595245.jpgClement of Alexandria in 150-215 was a Christian philosopher with keen desire to win pagan intellectuals to Christ. He directed catechetical school, Alexandria and wrote important exhortations to the heathen and Christians calling them to a more perfect life in Christ. Another African, Origen in 185-254, became the director of a catechetical school at age 18 was finest mind the church produced in 300 years. Origen highly successful in debating Jews, pagans, Gnostics credited with destroying Gnosticism. Important biblical scholar, theologian, an exegete, pioneer in biblical criticism produced Hexapla comparing six version of Bible.15684526730534572263193667551376.jpg15684528353382475705494581185241.jpg15684525396155447266077609462099.jpg15684527520384885477447801125455.jpg1568452774226694314850693388142.jpgIMG-20190913-WA0002.jpgHe influenced theological thought for centuries. Tertullian in 160-225 a pagan lawyer converted to Christianity. He authored the apologetic and theological, controversial works, first theologian to write in Latin. He formulated doctrine of Trinity, and coined nearly a thousand new words to explain Christian truths. Athanasius in 296-373, was Bishop of Alexandria and a major theologian and writer. He was the chief upholder of the doctrine Christ was both man and God and principle opponent of the Arian doctrine Jesus was man not God. As a very young deacon, he was influential at the Council of Nicea. And opponents referred to him as the “black dwarf.” He was repeatedly exiled and persecuted, but his principles ultimately prevailed at the Council of Constantinople in 381.15683136550409031563494505743307.jpgCyril, who died in 444 was a Bishop of Alexandria. He brilliantly represented, systematized teachings of Athanasius and Alexandrians. He was a vigorous opponent of heresy. Perpetua, Felicitas two martyrs died in Carthage arena in 202. Their story was widely used in the winning of others to Christ. Cyprian Bishop of Carthage died martyr in 258. Possessed profound knowledge of Scriptures, wrote important theology, fought heresy, and insisted on unity of the Church. Lactantius in AD 317 is best known for his Institutes, described as the “most comprehensive apology Christianity created before the end of the time of persecution.” The major theme of Institutes is justice. Lactantius insisted that God had given humanity a way of life open to all people regardless of race, education, sex, colour or creed. St. Maurice of Aganum born about 287, a Roman general who refused to kill Christians during a slave revolt in Gaul. He told the emperor Maximian: We cannot obey you without denying God, Creator of all things is our Master and yours if you acknowledge it or not. He was slaughtered by imperial decree with his regiment for defense of slaves.15683063971748743997771719083155.jpgG. Marius Victorinus in 280-363 was a neoplatonist professor of rhetoric with a brilliant record philosopher scholar. Educated in Africa but taught in Rome, wrote theological, devotional works, led to conversion of Augustine. Augustine in 354-430, Bishop of Hippo, was one of the Doctors of the Church. A profoundly influential theologian, he dealt with three heresies: Manichaeism, Donatism, and Pelagianism. Augustine remarkable insight into the human heart and soul. His most famous work is Confessions, describing his conversion to win others to Christ by detailing the philosophical basis for Christianity. And Monica in 331-387 was Augustine’s prayerful and powerful mother. Zeno of Verona was the bishop of Verona from 362 to 375. Over hundreds of his tractates survive and collection of sermons. Optatus of Melevis was Bishop in North Africa. He worked to reconcile Christians during Donatist Schism, and was influential in the East and West as well as in Africa. He died before 400 AD. By 480 Victor of Vita Bishop in the province of Byzacena. He described survival of Church during invasion of vandals. Saw persecution as religious and political. Bishop Vigilius of Thapsus participated in religious synod between Arians and Orthodox in 484. Produced important theological and ecclesiastical works.15683134503836206460010102808726.jpgFulgentius of Ruspe in 467-533 a Roman civil servant resigned his post to enter priesthood. In 507 was elected bishop of Ruspe. Later driven out of Africa by the Vandals, instrumental in popularizing Augustine’s work. Three early African popes: Are Pope Victor I in AD 189-199 popularized Latin as common language of church making  Christianity more democratic and accessible to ordinary people. Pope Melchaides in 311-314, also known as Meltiades persecuted prior to reign as pope, considered one of African Christian martyrs. Pope Gelasius I in A.D. 492-496 worked to settle conflicts in church and believed “civil and sacred powers of divine origin is independent each in its own sphere.”15683136036864992702812355303110.jpgLet us thank God for the important role played by Africans in Bible and early Church. Let us share Good News Christ died to redeem people of all races and nationalities. Let us proclaim that God’s love knows no boundaries. And let us affirm the amazing diversity of God’s creation! CBE advances the Gospel by equipping Christians to use their God given talents in leadership and service regardless of gender, ethnicity, or class. Together with supporters and ministry partners from 100 denominations and 65 countries, CBE works to inspire and mobilize women and men with Bible’s call to lead serve as equals in Christ.IMG-20190913-WA0001.jpgIMG-20190913-WA0000.jpgPaul says in Colossians 4:9 “Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you and Paul says in Philemon 1:10 Onesimus has become a son to him. Why did Jesus and Hebrews turn white in history books of Albinoes as Hebrews and Blacks originally lived and ruled in countries taken by thirty years war on continent and British civil wars of the 1600s. These race wars with religion are focal points Europe’s ancient Black and Catholic Rulers. Albinos chased out of homeland in Asia by Mongols into Black lands of Europe brought massive influx of millions of Albinos changed Europe in over two thousand years. Since then they portray Jesus and Hebrews white in books to impersonate history.

Some Black Verses In The Bible

Job 30:30, “My skin is black.
Song of Solomon 1:5, “I am black, lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.

Solomon 1:6,“Don’t stare at me because I am black for sun burns me. Mother’s  sons angry with me made me caretaker of their vineyards but I must take care of my own vineyard.

Job 30:28, “I mourn for comfort, I stand in the assembly and cry out for help.
Lamentations 4:8, Appearance is black like soot, They are not recognized in the streets; Their skin is dark, their bone is like that of wood.

Africans In Bible And Early Church

JESUS IN EGYPT/ISRAEL MAPS

15648316192607707449909183363327.jpg1564831665367273111586519463515.jpg15646569304355726739680845638052.jpg15646580529202498646035413327622.jpg15648546710452198377635394704783.jpg20190801_114025.jpg15646554813917923813950887627950.jpg15646562281846992982701824170222.jpg156528139138431019198289823953.jpg15652809163262709635233645971108.jpg15652812227642151811642722896062.jpg15652754342556541025313775213031.jpg15652775560478461047745527868434.jpg15652773988384062994561002768282.jpgIMG-20190803-WA0007.jpg1565278131237375231407812607157.jpg15654300362746904440185833961432.jpg1565431437013826047730710704884.jpg15648538306026119783726148711226.jpg15648543935634144667990688587349.jpg15648546510932550606444320384397.jpg15652752687567915768972387138132.jpgIMG-20190808-WA0011.jpg15652753242012541944933542349369.jpg15648551162901513821157231214724.jpg15648542978586972753849835007463.jpg15648540948062852046322113809379.jpg15648552624101731811809511746555.jpg20190803_1934071564833995601663476476502697859.jpg15646050110116496470922657949029.jpg15648555350191784473057191826756.jpgBible details of Jesus’ birth in Gospel in Matthew 2:1 is during the days of Herod who died in 4 B.C. Joseph and Mary fled Bethlehem with Jesus Herod ordered all boys 2 years old and younger in vicinity killed. Jesus could be 2 before Herod’s death so His birth between 6 and 4 B.C. In Luke 2:1-2, “In those days a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world be registered. This was first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.” Caesar Augustus reigned from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14 and Quirinius’ record and Judea in 6 B.C. This census mentioned by Luke is history details of time of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem in 6-5 B.C. Luke’s timeline: “Jesus, began His ministry about thirty years of age” in Luke 3:23 during time of John the Baptist in wilderness. John started “in the fifteenth year of reign of Tiberius Caesar. Pontius Pilate governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee. His brother Philip, tetrarch of Ituraea, Trachonitis, Lysanias, Abilene, during high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas” in Luke 3:1-2 time period. Facts fit A.D. 27-29, Jesus “about thirty years of age” in A.D. 27 shows His birth between 6A.D and 4 B.C. Jesus at 30 years began His ministry till thirty three years of age. As Jesus’ family moved Baby Jesus from Bethlehem into Nazareth and into Egypt to escape the massacre of innocents by Herod. Angel Gabriel warned Joseph in dream to leave at night and stayed three and half years in Egypt. Angel Gabriel returned to tell Joseph again in dream to take the Holy family back into Israel. When back into Jerusalem but another cruel Herod in power they moved back to Nazareth. Versions of living history of Jesus exists in many accounts narrated from other perspectives. Regenerations in modern cities means some old names changed but others retain consistency in the records. Psalm 69:35 says,“God will save Zion and rebuild cities of Judah so that they will dwell there and have it in possession. Jesus is real in history not fables misleading people. God’s word prophesied fulfilled in Jesus tells people to hear this Gospel message and to be saved in Christ Jesus Name. God Chose Jesus to REPRESENT HIM to bring people back to God before it is too late to repent. GOD HIGHLY EXALTED JESUS ABOVE ALL other names for there is no other name given among mankind to be saved. Jesus is ULTIMATE SACRIFICE who redeems mankind from sin and gives GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE to all Children of God. You decide to accept Jesus as your personal Saviour and be with God Forevermore. After that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will they teach their neighbour or say to each other, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know ME, from the least to the greatest,” says the LORD. ‘For I will FORGIVE their wickedness and will remember their sins no more says Jeremiah 31:33–34.

WHAT DID JESUS SAY ON TAX

IMG-20190718-WA0003.jpgMatthew 17:24-27;22:15, Mark 12; Luke 20, Jesus said, Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, to God what belongs to God. The Biblical accounts of Gospels in Capernaum said tax collectors of two drachma temple tax asked Peter if Jesus pays tax, he said He does. If Jesus paid taxes then what did Jesus teach His disciples? Matthew records two taxes  Jesus paid in Matthew 17:24-27; 22:15-22 temple tax and tax to government in Rome. People asked Jesus: “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?” It was a ploy to set a trap for Jesus. But He saw through their attempt to manipulate Him and falsely accuse Him of asking people not to pay. 15634591710442531419311844554429.jpgSo obliged to pay the tax, Jesus paid His taxes with the coin from the mouth of a fish Peter caught. Tax collector cornered Peter and asked if Jesus paid the temple tax. Later in Matthew 17:2427 Jesus said to Peter at home, “Simon, does the kings collect taxes from their own children or from other people? Peter answered the others. And Jesus replied we don’t want to cause trouble go cast a net in the lake and the first fish you catch open mouth, and you will find a coin. Use coin to pay your taxes and mine.” Take it and give them for my tax and yours.”15634589315132523190425229438762.jpgJesus told the Pharisees and Herodians to give to Caesar things belong to Caesar in Mark 12. The issue is controversial as people disagree on how the government spends money. Some people feel angry because their needs are not met though they pay tax. The Bible example of Jesus to pay taxes again in Gospel of Matthew Mark and Luke are other account of the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus to find the reason to accuse him. In Matthew 22:15-22 Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap Jesus to use His words against Him.Jesus on Taxes in the BiblePharisees disciples with Herodians said “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are sincere so teach the way of God in truth. You are not influenced by men. Tell us, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus, knowing their evil intention said, “You hypocrites why are you trying to trap me? Show a coin for paying tax.” They brought him a denarius and He asked them, “Whose head inscription?” They said, “Caesar’s. Then He said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God belongs to God.” When they heard this, they were amazed so they left him and went away.20190718_152609.jpgIf Jesus refused ​to pay or He condemned Caesar they will accuse Jesus of inciting rebellion. People had no choice but to pay as Jesus also did. And Zachaeus a tax collector climbed a tree to see Jesus passing by. Impressed Jesus dined in his home during meal he decided to restore money he extorted by collecting taxes in Mark 2:13-17. In Psalm 24:1, The earth is the LORD’S and everything in it but life requires money to function, pay staff, provide services, resources, processing, printing costs, transporting goods. And maintaining the structures and repairs restoration, regeneration, grounds and gardens etc. Too numerous to list costs of services provided by the nations. Amazon, Google, Wealthy Offshore accounts do not pay tax proportionately fairly like others.20190718_152057.jpgJesus and His disciples voluntarily gave to the Temple tax and state to set a good example. Taxes paid directly to local tax collectors who decided what people pay. Tax collectors paid by charging people more to earn money.  Levi, the apostle was the customs official in Capernaum taxed imports and exports as he liked. The Jews hated him because he worked for Rome and betrayed his countrymen.  Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector for the Jericho district notorious for taxes changed meeting Jesus of Nazareth.15634592789297575198766104501144.jpgPeople are saying the tax exemption for Churches are unfair making mega rich pastors super wealthy multimillionaires Church members struggle to pay bills, food, mortgage, health insurance, fees or basic necessities of life. Private jets, mansions get bigger, fleet of cars longer but members poor. Its a major source of tension rich multi billionaires are state sponsored in extravagant lifestyles. Schools reduce hours, hospitals cut staff budget reduced. The churches use tithe, offerings, donations, for salaries wages, cost of projects, feed orphans, help poor under the radar, homeless, HIV, disaster flood victims, TV ministry, preaching, teaching Gospel Message of Jesus Christ, Evangelism etc. among wonderful work  of God. Admission fee puts people off so first time Benny Hinn was at NEC entry was free. Thousands turned up with no room for overflow solved crowd control next visit with ticket admission. Only a few people turned up venue was almost empty. God said nobody must enter HIS Presence empty handed so Jesus talked about the widow’s mite even poor give. In Exodus 23:15 God said, no one shall appear before ME empty-handed. Also in Exodus 34:20 God said no one must appear before ME empty-handed. Again in  Deuteronomy 16:16 God said do not appear before the LORD empty-handed.20190718_151828.jpgGap between the rich and poor widens causing hunger and the stress, pressure, unemployment, lack, in deprived areas. No resources for disadvantaged so most public servants cannot get on the home ownership ladder. Many depend on the food banks despite their hard work and education. Zero hour job wastes time of trained staff without job or income. And the popular highly influential Christian leaders spew wrong ideas as ‘Christian Ideas.’ Don’t be misled…Study the bible yourself to know the truth of the Word of Christ. Read Bible as JesusFollowers and Christian’s. Some think Churches must follow Jesus’ example to provide fairly for the least in society too. So gap between rich and poor widens as many continue to suffer daily, starve and die in the most advance developed wealthy countries. Unfortunately a Class divide disproportionately allocate lion share to themselves as the world watches them flaunt it in their faces daily. 1 Timothy 6:10 says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Craving more money is cause of all evil in doing so wander from true faith so pierce themselves with sorrow.20190718_170247.jpg20190718_152338.jpgIMG-20190717-WA0000.jpgChristian family is fined taxes saying it is against God’s will to pay taxes. The  Christian family refused to pay income tax because its “against God’s will” but are ordered to pay more than A$2m tax (£1.1m $1.4m) to Australia’s tax office. It is Christian debate Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot and Fanny Alida Beerepoot of Tasmania do not pay income tax since 2011 as their religious right. Their farm was seized and sold by a local council in 2017 for not paying seven years of tax rates. Ms Beerepoot told the court: “We don’t own anything because it is God’s.” The siblings represented themselves in Supreme Court of Tasmania Wednesday, after did not pay $930,000 in income tax or other charges in 2017 ABC News said.The Beerepoots leave court on 17 July 2019Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot (left) and Fanny Alida Beerepoot (far right) seen here outside the court in Tasmania. Mr Beerepoot argued the law of God is the “supreme law of this land” and making people pay tax weakens dependency on God, leading to “curses… in the form of droughts and infertility.” “Transferring allegiance from God to Commonwealth means rebelling against God breaking first commandment,” he said, according to the public broadcaster. In judgement, Associate Justice Stephen Holt said he believed Beerepoots’ beliefs is genuinely held but there is no specific reference in Bible to support their argument. “In my view, Bible effectively said civil matters and law of God operate in two different spheres.” So the siblings ordered to pay sums of – Ms Beerepoot A$1.17m and Mr Beereport A$1.16m to cover income tax, administrative penalties and all interest charges” and costs in court documents. What do you think about various views?

BBC News excerpts reblogged & updated

FIRE DIDN’T TAKE OUR SOUL

1542541799044-834355254.jpgFire has not taken our souls and that is all that really counts,” Garcia said. “We have people left is more important than any things,” Jones said. But we have lost everything we had because the fire took everything but has not taken our souls and that’s all that really counts,” Garcia said. In the midst of fire adversity and a tragedy is poignant symbols reminding people to be strong in spite of problems. Most going back after the fire destroyed thousands of homes plus other facilities will rebuild the entire town of Paradise. The town was enveloped by “firestorm rained hell down,” said Butte the county sheriff, Kory Honea. There was no time to save whole town because fire spread at the rate greater than a football field in a minute. Focus turned into rescuing people from houses overtaken by flame and Jerry Garcia’s wife, Sharon, wasn’t interested in returning to the town they lived for decades but changed her mind planning on returning to rebuild new Paradise town. Isaiah 43:2 says you pass through the waters God is with you and when you pass through floods it will not overflow you and when you go into fire, it will not burn you. So survivors of fire have been rescued alive despite risks to their lives. Biblical unnatural wildfires are hard to contain due to combination of factors. Bible Signs of the end times of Biblical last days end time prophecy predict fires so complex beyond natural seasonal fires regularly contained. The property and life destroyed by fire and flood really damages communities. Yet in spite of all these natural disasters of earthquakes, floods, wildfires in Bible prophecy news people have hope. And news reports every week talks about a disaster of hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, globally. Isaiah 43:2 predicts you to pass through the waters, through the floods and fire but God is with you. I can hear you screaming if God is with you why did HE not prevent you passing through the floods or driving, walking through a fire. Floods, fires, famines, droughts and pestilence are the four horsemen riding bringing these upon the earth predicted in the Book of Revelations in the Bible. 1542534847296-834355254.jpgThe coming storms of extreme weather and climate changes intensify terrifying with harzards in the future preceding Rapture and later the Second Coming of Jesus. Apocalypse doomsday tribulation is going since the time of Christ but now floods, tornadoes, locusts are part of the end time birth pangs. Apocalypse, final judgment of man and destruction of the world by fire in Bible imagery is a real event on earth. All people are affected whether religious or not floods, fires, storms, unusual seven thunders in Bible prophecy demands the attention of all the people on the earth. Bible signs are these startling events floods hurricanes, tornadoes, in earthquakes, casualties by sea and land. The Bible says one-third of trees, people will perish due to weather fuelling fires in the last days. Fires get worse due to complex building material and high tech lifestyle links community the houses and closeness of homes. The Word of God warns that the heavens and earth existing are stored up for fire, but kept until the day of judgment and destruction of Great / Tribulations. It is the warning to heed and take seriously because structures must be designed to limit damage to life and property. Fires from thunders, earthquake, hurricane, floods are unpredictable. This is why it is good to prepare for survival or those who lost lives their souls to go back into heaven. This is not the time to be angry at God to blame HIM because thousands of years of warning is given to prepare against such times. Whether religious or not God does what he forewarned and it affects unbelievers lives too. Camp fire named by road near origin is the most destructive fire in state history and the deadliest killing so many people and still so many more unaccounted for. More than 10,000 homes is destroyed by the fire largely in the Paradise town of 27,000. Also gone are 366 commercial buildings and a third of town’s schools. There is so much to rebuild, but before that can begin, authorities must finish sifting through the ashes to find what’s left of those who didn’t make it out in time. Some may never be recovered and returning evacuees may find remains if authorities missed some sheriff warned.1542537330994-1895827285.jpg Still, residents are eager to return home, or at least to the rubble that remains. So how does a town nearly wiped off maps rise from the ashes? It’s a question with no easy answers. Since disaster began, local government officials emphasized the commitment to rebuilding the town, though its location means fire is always a risk. But it will probably take at least five to 10 years to restore the town, and it takes longer for individual residents, said Robert B Olshansky, an expert in post-disaster recovery. Rescue workers search areas to discover the suspected human remains in homes destroyed by Camp Fire Friday in Paradise California. “I’m confident they’re going to rebuild but it’s going to be tough,” Olshansky said. “The people there five years from now may not be same ones now. There are going to be a lot of households for whom it may still be a disaster.”Like pure gold, the refiner’s fire remove dross for a more beautiful and better buildings than before. This refining is to strengthen the enduring human soul or spirit as overcomers in life. Zechariah 13:9 says a third will be through fires to refine them like pure silver to test them as gold is tested. The spirit of grace and of supplications will help those look up to God to deliver and sustain them. And Isaiah 48:10 also states I refined you not as silver and tested you in fire to refine you in the furnace of suffering. Tests by the fire of suffering as silver is refined in a furnace. Like a refiner’s fire people are tested like exams are for promotion to higher spiritual level by the believers desiring God. And the painful sufferings are temporary on the earth compared to the joyful experience of victory. As fire strengthens bricks or wood, silver, gold, God refines mankind as Daniel and friends joined by Jesus in Babylon Iraq survived. Physical fire becomes a symbol of redemption testing a faithful believer to prove love and confidence in God. As Jesus was in the fire with Daniel so by Holy Spirit’s POWER of God, some survived location, speed, help, support of others. Christians who died, the souls go straight to God in heaven for absence from body means presence with God. So Jesus told believers, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire to become spiritually rich, wear white garments, and clothe yourself in righteousness and holiness. God accepts people as they are so call upon God in Jesus Name.1542536081369-834355254.jpgThe town cannot be rebuilt in the way it was federal officials warned the county, but some have hopeful vision for future. Newer schools, a sewer system instead of outdated septic tanks to be safer from fires. “If we are going to rebuild, we are going to rebuild community where this never happens,” said former fire chief’s town evacuation operation coordinator, Jim Broshears. The risk of fire is always present in forest area, high in the Sierra foothills and surrounded by canyons on two sides. The town experienced at least four evacuations due to fire in 10 years. Close to 200 homes lost in 2008 fires. But this was a worst-case scenario. Now, as community prepares to rebuild it must construct safer, more modern buildings, and perhaps look at how its forests are managed, Broshears said. “We have an opportunity to build forest in the model of pre-European settlement conditions,” Broshears said. That is going to be more resilient forest. Currently, the western sierras densely wooded not necessarily the best model for forests to get through fires, said Thomas Scott an expert on wildfire at the University of California, Berkeley. That’s because second-growth forests, woodland regrown after harvest carry fire further and faster than trees there before. Ideas of a pre-Columbian forest generally means not suppressing early summer fires, and removing some younger trees to create a more widely spaced forest. Forest management is not about harvesting trees, but thinning the forest to protect the community. “You get back a more pre-Columbian forest then that means it’s less likely to trap all those people in the town,” Scott said. Even with that approach there will still be fires, they would just be less likely to start at the crest of the sierras and stop at the Central Valley, he said. Fire is a process Californians live with, manage and stop thinking of as a foe, Scott said. The Paradise fire is special case because of sufficient fuels around the city which let the fire come in number of different ways,” Scott said. So homeowners can make properties less vulnerable to fire, ensuring roof not flammable with dried leaves, vegetation or creating defensible space. Fires driven by strong wind can’t be fought but with most fuel in the area burned up Paradise probably safe from fire for awhile but not forever and the rest of the state at risk most of the year. Not wanting to sound heartless, has to accept if you live in burnable landscape, climate changing may be “when” house burns not “if” a house burns,” Scott said. A rescue worker gives her cadaver dog water as they search the Paradise Gardens apartments for victims of the Camp fire in Paradise on Friday.The new Paradise rebuilding starts once the fire, currently burning 221 sq miles at 45% containment, is extinguished, and then hazardous ash and rubble cleaned up, it could take about a year. Butte county is advising residents on what to do when they return but they acknowledge could be weeks or months away. There is almost no gas, electricity, safe water and no emergency services, police station and fire station survived as did the town hall. Air is hazardous, with risk of falling tree limbs ongoing, and what’s left of homes, incinerated belongings and kitchen appliances are probably toxic. Residents are permitted to return but few will have anywhere to stay. The fire destroyed town so chances of successful rebuilding is much higher compared with other natural disasters, Olshansky said, thanks to insurance. As support from state, federal government loans, funding of a Federal Emergency Management Agency, will aid the town in recovery. Including constructing new public buildings Paradise unified school district lost three of nine schools, others sustained significant damage to rebuild. Before the fire residents approved $61m bond to fund buildings and equipments updates. Until students return to schools still standing, district looking at online programs Superintendent Michelle John said. Other school districts volunteered to take additional students. The rescue worker use cadaver dogs as they search Paradise Gardens apartments for more victims of the Camp fire in Paradise on Friday. Schools are key, Olshansky said; residents typically return to areas hit by disaster if schools continue to operate. Challenge in Santa Rosa communities hit by last year’s Tubbs fire, destroyed 3,000 homes. And so finding qualified contractors to rebuild the schools and homes damaged in Paradise estimated at least two to three times Santa Rosa experience, mayor, Jody Jones, said. “So having enough capable contractors to go round not slow things down building is challenge,” Olshansky said. Town is working on streamlining the process of building inspections and permits mayor said looking at support small businesses with high bankruptcy after disasters. It is thinking about the long-term’s tough, decisions the mayor added. The town’s council members, 17 police officers, and dozens of firefighters lost homes along with thousands of others so will rebuild. “We have people, more important than any things,” Jones said. Though lost the sentimental and highly valued material things but it has not taken our souls and that’s all that really counts,” Garcia said. “That’s why we’re going back.” What an amazing statement made because Jesus said real true life does not constitute the material possession accumulated. Years of hard work, sacrifices, generations of inheritance burnt down within last few days. Yet people still cling to love, hope assured knowing mourning may last for night season of painful loss or suffering but joy comes in the morning. May God strengthen the weak ones to help their unbelief and increase their faith in God in Christ. Above all, God does test run of to warn of worse unquenchable fires in hell and gnashing of teeth by groanings. These fires reveal preview of the worse fires of judgement of wrath of God. This is the time to decide to live for God to be in God’s Kingdom or to ignore God’s fire alarm warning hellfire not escaped. Do not let anyone deceive you a loving God will not punish by fire because Sodom and Gomorrah was burnt by fire. Live life to full but remember that you are created in God’s Image whether you are a believer or not, will one day in future face God’s future judgement. Take a full advantage as survivor, advise yourself you do not want to be anywhere near hell fire which is a million times hotter than the paradise fires. Faith in God and good fire insurance has buoyed Barbara Kramer, 79, whose two-bedroom home and car were destroyed. Apparently, lost everything but haven’t lost anything she said. “We’re Christians and everything we have belongs to the LORD so if it is gone, it’s just things.” Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude gratitude reflection for survival even if only in clothes on body. Thanksgiving gives hope of assurance to Trust GOD HIMSELF to provide again as HE did before. So is confident to rebuild but knew some don’t understand how one can lose everything they worked for their whole lives and not feel any loss of devastation sadness. Thank God for the ones with fire insurance taken care of so booked into a Hotels for weeks or as long as necessary. Others are in a make shift temporary accommodation at the moment trying to figure their future.

FAITH IS RESTORED IN GOD

Jessica Wilbanks

Journalism academician Jessica Wilbanks is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and creative nonfiction awards from Ninth LetterSycamore Review, Redivider, and the Ruminate magazine. In 2014, she was selected as a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Journalism. Jessica received her MFA in creative nonfiction from University of Houston where she served as nonfiction editor for Gulf Coast. She lives in Houston Texas with husband and son. Jessica Wilbanks is a third-year M.F.A. student in creative nonfiction at the University of Houston, where she serves as Nonfiction Editor at Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and the Arts. Her essays and creative nonfiction have appeared in theBulletin of Atomic Scientists, The PuritanSojourners, The Normal School, and Relevant Magazine. She was recently awarded Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from West Africa Research Association to conduct research for her thesis, an essay collection focusing on the history and practice of Christianity in West Africa. Jessica is the winner of a Pushcart Prize for essay writing, debuts the captivating story of how she turned away from God. She eloquently explores her long journey from being Pentecostal Christian who spoke in tongues to being an atheist. Drawn away from a Church after writing a ‘talisman’ in her pocket to abandon faith. She kept a façade by attending church pretending to take notes of sermons. But led a worldly life to escape the cage that seemed more boring compared to exciting lifestyle of two free spirit wild girls she admired and later copied. Eventually it was time to experience that side of life first by escaping to an institution where she gained freedom to practice her freewill. After a few years manages to restore her faith by travelling to West Africa, Nigeria to explore Pentecostal Christianity. Whether writing of scars, her dad’s rusty pickup trucks, massive Pentecostal revivals in Lagos, Wilbanks captures scenes beautifully. Wilbanks’s slow deconstruction of her family-given religiosity is the evocative inversion of average spiritual journey in her book. What impressed me most about this is a personal journey of faith story crossed path with academics who keep the faith matters private in an academic setting. This is a testimony of courage, a family reunion, forgiveness in situations that lead others on the journey of no return. Thank God for HIS LOVE, Mercy, Grace and restoration of faith in Jesus to give hope to people lost in wilderness of atheism. WHEN I SPOKE IN TONGUES is a memoir of profound destabilization that comes from losing one’s faith, as a young woman’s journey to reconcile her lack of belief with her love for her deeply religious family. Growing up in poverty in the rural backwoods of southern Maryland, Pentecostal church was at the core of Jessica Wilbanks’ family life. At sixteen, driven by a desire to discover the world, Jessica walked away from the Church. Trading her faith for freedom and driving a wedge between her and her deeply religious family. Fundamentalist faiths haunt the adherents long after belief fades former believers often live in limbo straddling two world views and trying to reconcile their past and present. Ten years later, struggling with guilt and shame, Jessica began a quest to recover her faith. It led her to West Africa, where she explored Yorùbá roots of Pentecostal faith, and was once again swept up by promises and power of Church. After a terrifying car crash, she finally began the difficult work of forgiving herself for leaving the church and her family and finding her own path. When I Spoke in Tongues is a story of the painful and complicated process of losing one’s faith and moving across class divides. And in the end, it’s a story of how a family splintered by dogmatic faith can eventually be knit together again through love.

Wondering about as belief fades former believers live in limbo of the two world views. Jesssica, trying to reconcile her past with the present, ten years later, struggling with guilt and shame, Jessica began a quest to recover her faith. It led her to West Africa, where she explored Yorùbá roots of Pentecostal faith, and was once again swept up by promises and power of Church. After a terrifying car crash, she finally began the difficult work of forgiving herself for leaving the church and her family and finding her own path. When I Spoke in Tongues is the story of the painful and complicated process of losing one’s faith and moving across class divides. And in the end, it’s a story of Jessica’s family reconciliation, after splintered by dogmatic faith is knit together through love restored in God. 

 CHIBUNDU ONUZO

Welcome to Lagos_cvr_300dpi print res (1)nterview:Chibundu Onuzo interview in new book Welcome to Lagos published, Houston Chronicle. Jessica Wilbank’s Teaching Philosophy: As writers, we are dependent on two streams to nourish our writing. First, is the stream of inspiration or mysterious and spiritual force that wakes us in the middle of the night with words singing in our heads. Then there is the realm of craft and technique, the editor and the workhorse. As creative writing teacher, I do my best to both equip my students with craft advice, structural templates that have best served my own writing, while also honoring and feeding my students’ original sources of inspiration. PAST WRITEFEST May 5, 2017

Writespace

Participating in the first workshop took place in May 2017. This was first year participating in Writefest–an amazing new writer’s conference in Houston sponsored by Houston Writers’ Guild and Writespace. Participation in panel called “How to Get Published in Literary Journals”and moderated panel with Andrew Sullivan, CP Heiser, Michael J. DeLuca, Holly Walrath, and Karen Bovenmyer. I was especially excited to meet CP Heiser, since Unnamed Press published Jessie Chaffee’s terrific new book Florence in Ecstasy. I never worked with Tony Hoagland in my graduate program but my weekend course with him several years ago was aimed at helping high school teachers better understand or appreciate poetry. That course was beginning of a massive shift in the way I approached imagery and detail in my work. I remember coming home from class at 5 pm on a Saturday night and writing for hours at kitchen table. His love for poetry was just so infectious, and he was so passionate about helping people see how alive and energetic poetry could be. I’ll never forget him telling us “I do a lot of things in my life…write poems, teach grad students, give lectures…but teaching community workshops is the thing I love doing more than anything else.” This beautiful excerpt is from “A Color of the Sky” in What Narcissism Means to Me.

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Jessica Wilbanks

The Honors College Faculty Jessica Wilbanks

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“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” —Maya Angelou

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IGNORANT Ignorant ignorant

1541706651819605598922-1.jpgIgnorant is ignorant of ignorance due to ignorance is bliss like burying own head in the sand ignoring obvious situations. Ignorance is glaring for all to see except the ignorant person affected. Although no one knows everything in life, basic common sense requires awareness of people’s educational, social, cultural or psychological and health needs to help interact better in society. God in the Bible says, My People perish for lack of knowledge. This means God’s manual of life is abandoned and ignored to search for alternatives to suit each person as they are fit regardless of whether it is in the best interest of others or not. Such an attitude concentrates efforts only on what is in it for me. Such a self-centred personality sees the world through only their viewpoint despite views of billions of other people on earth. Ego is inflated so much despite academic achievement ignorant and unskilled in dealing fairly with people. Unaware of ignorance lives in a bubble without realising difficulties in not recognising own incompetence. It leads to the hyper – inflated exaggerated self-assessment ego ignorant of damage of their own ignorance on themselves or others bullied into coercion. Ignorant naive ignorant but insist on dominating others is the tragedy of today’s society. An ignorant character is too ignorant to realize their ignorance, others deal with and put up with for the sake of peace. If ignorant but insists on making decisions that lacks awareness of consequences, it is often too late to repair damage others saw in advance but were overruled. The power game of feeling in control to tell others what to do feel empowered is a sign if insecurity. Constantly orders the others about without any taking of the responsibility for actions. Power hungry bubble wrapped in virtual reality lacks undertanding of practical daily issues.  15417067548761293330498-1.jpgUnderlying ignorant fear of unknown is reason lurking behind the ignorant who does not value or respect those around them who sacrifice time to portray their fake image perfect, grand, great or best. Yet deep down in their hearts unhappy about coercion threats for fear of being fired for genuine honesty. The truth is not clearly obvious to ignorant and yet argues and fights the best experts in the field of expertise. A strong egotistic will untamed fester’s into all aspects of their lives never having no for an answer. So moves heaven and earth to achieve any thing they fancy or feel like doing. This starts from childhood if the self-centred ego is not nipped in bud. Having control over peers and colleagues to manipulate them to do their bidding and dirty work for them. Ignorance is dangerous if the ignorant makes decisions of the policies they know nothing about. Meanwhile a choice of whatever they want supplied at their beck and call exploiting others. It means an ignorant person affects the other people suffering due to ignorant choices they make on behalf of others. The irony is people are most likely to be ignorant of extent of their ignorance do not listen to anybody. It starts, with the authoritarian, do as I say not what I do type of bullying compulsive behaviour. Impulsive decisions mean they do not remember what they said or what they did previously. Meanwhile everyone around them remembers their insults and tantrums of how they were made to feel small by them. So do not forget but dare not question their ever-changing decisions of instructions in atmosphere of fear. Ignorant lacks knowledge of the basic things even children may know. 1541706870660-566392789.jpgIt gets worse over time when the people hide the truth from them to conceal the effects of their aggressive reactions. The ignorant describe life in their state of unawareness of the things they should know. Means its ignorance defining lack of knowledge or training of ignorance of their harmful side of their ignorance. Lack of awareness is more dangerous as ignorant has not enough knowledge, understanding, or information about somethings they do or have to do on the behalf of others. Their ignorance rubs people the wrong way because but they ignore the expert advise and so do their ignorant things. Their opinion divides, damaging people, health, work, homes, families, etc. Precisely the kind of world ignorant run but unequipped mentally, morally ethically destroy environment and the earth. Ignorance of God’s plans, through Jesus’ purpose for mankind by ignorant people causes ignorant to live their lives trampling on other people like beasts. By ignorance they choose knowledge that leads to woes for many people. The question is how come the ignorant flourish like a great tree so overbearing little trees cannot get their daily Sunshine, nutrition or rain to live and let live and Jesus anymore? Jesus already warns of such perilous times so people must know how to respond not to react to the hatred triggered by them. It’s part of endtime prophecy in Bible on how evil is seen as good so good is seen as evil due to deception. Their negative vibes drive hatred and conflict distracts attention from their ignorance. People latch unto their loathing divide and rule targets fights and wars of destruction to cull the global population to dominate all people on earth. Ignorance leads to a world getting worse fuelled by hatred to spurs gullible to self-destruct. People are too busy projecting hatred on others to scrutinise their incompetency. Stress of constant pressure surround them so chaos and confusion since at the helm of affairs controlling others. Inability to listen to others destroys them so people walk on egg shells around them in fear. The spirit behind this is satan for just a season to be driven out by Jesus to take back power to Reign on earth.