*A keynote address presented by Rev. Fr. Dennis John Chukwubuzor Attah during the third national prayer rally organized against the massive blood shed, abuse of power and persecution of the Church in Nigeria at St Paul’s Parish Nrobo. Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.*
*REJOICE IN THE LORD*
The Lord is our portion and cup, in his light we see light, with him we shall do gallantly, and his Joy is our strength.
With maximum confidence in God, Job said: “I known my Redeemer lives, and he shall stand on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I known, that in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-26).
Even in this our own situation, the Church shares the same understanding, the same faith and the same confidence in God with Job. We known that the Nigerian situation has created a veritable platform for the demonstration of God’s power. This is because the whole world has heard how much the name of the Lord had been abused and how much the Church had been persecuted in the hands of few anti Church tyrants. We know that God will not fail to defend his name. Certainly, the Lord may not just end up passing judgment against the persecutors of the Church, but he will also bless the Christians.
*COUNT ON GOD*
It is possible that the persecution of the Church may increase, more churches may be burned, more Christians may be killed and the enemies of the Church may apply more stringent measures against the Church, but we are confident that at the end of the day God will show his power, he will defend the Church and he will bless his people.
As the true citizens of heaven, we should not concentrate on the physical or material conditions of things, we should rather give more attention to God’s infinite capabilities. As a matter of duty we should count on God and on nothing else.
In stead of dwelling on the past evils or on the present ugly experiences, Prophet Habakkuk advised us to constantly source for our joy from the Lord as he says: “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labour of olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls– Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength… He will make me walk-on my high hills (Hab 3:17-19).
One of the reasons for which we rejoice every time, is the fact that everything works for our good. Even those things that threatened death and destruction against us had always turned out to be life and blessing to us.
Nothing has the right to tamper with our joy because our joy does not come from here, viz; what we see, what we hear, what we possess, office we occupy, money in the account, what we eat, how we appear, government of the day, opinion of men etc. Those are subject of change, but our joy comes from the only one that is eternal, consistent and constant — *the God of Israel.* In him we live, move and have our being (Act 17:25).
This is because God constantly demonstrates that we are his own choice, he moves ahead of us and deals with every obstacle before us (Is 45:2). Usually, before our arrival he transforms every object of failure and shame into an instrument of success and joy. This privileges of ours confirms St Paul’s massage to the Romans in which he insists: ” We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).
In the social medium nowadays there are trashes and rubbish in circulation, some in the form of texts others in the form of pictures, many of which are meant to confuse, distract, demoralize, discourage and destabilize the Christians.
My advice to you as a child of God is: _Maintain your ground and retain your position as a child of God_ (Ex 14:13). Don’t allow the unholy trend to affect, influence or control you. Remember the one who called you out of slavery to himself and made you a son instead of an alien and made you a citizen instead of a slave or a stranger (Eph 2:19). Don’t forget you are purchased with the precious and blameless blood of Jesus Christ (1Pet 1:18-19). *Keep in mind: _you are not ordinary_* You are a the chosen race, God’s own people, a people set aside for God’s own glory (Ex 19:5-6, 1Pt 2:9-10).
*TO DIE IS GAIN*
These men brandish weapons and make holocaust threatening statements to instill fear into people. *Why should you be afraid of them or their weapons? Have you forgotten that Jesus has conquered death (Jn 16:33)? If it pleases God that they should Kill me, let them go ahead, after all, for a true Christian: _To die is gain and to live is Christ!_* For a true Christian, the main concern is to do what God demands and to be exactly that which would please God. The earth has never been our destination, our mission here is simply to worship, praise and serve God (Eccl 12:13). By his grace we are into the very business for which he has called us. Whether we stay long or short doing that is immaterial, what matters is: *Do we reflect the image of Christ!*.
In every situation God knows what to do. He has a plan over everything that is taking place under the sun. Fortunately, for us, he has a good plan for us, a plan of well-being and not that of disaster (Jr 29:11). For us, we know that everything works for good for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:28), and because we are of Christ we belong to the household of God, hence we really have no cause to fear.
_*The God we worship is the only God that exists, every other thing worshiped under the sun apart from him is a demon.*_
It is interesting to know that the almighty God we worship knows how to orchestrate a situation that would handle every case and fulfill his will. No wonder he maintains that we should stand our ground and watch him deal with our cases (2Chr 20:17).
*THE GREATNESS OF GOD*
Remember when you over emphasize the hugeness of the mountain, by implications you are deemphasizing the greatness of the creator of the mountain. Granted these servants of devil have done a lot of harm to humanity and have grossly misused God’s name, abused man and desecrated holy places, but they are not spirits and therefore are highly limited in capability.
What they threaten to do should not occupy our minds because despite their number, their weapons, their wealth and their connections, God can stop them within a twinkling of an eye.
No doubt, these evil men are out to destroy the Church and subject all men to the rulership of the Anti Christ, but the truth is that they can never succeed. Neither they nor their master, the devil created the world, hence they can never destroy it nor control it. They did not establish the Church therefore they cannot stop the Church. The foundation of the Church was not layed on mere sand but on the eternal rock *Peter* (Mt 18:18-19). The level of the Church is very far above that of devil and his agents (Eph 1:21).
Christians, be confident, our God is not far from us. And as the God of justice, he will not likely allow these ugly experiences to linger. As he clearly said that those who blessed you have blessed him, in the same manner, those who struck you struck him (Mt 25:40, Act 9:4-5). Let us remain patient with our God, waiting for his appointed time for our deliverance, looking up to his own reaction. Let us remain obedient to his will for us, not deviating to the right or to the left, but keeping focused on him. If we do not give up, very soon we shall testify that it is good to have faith in God.
Brethren, in a special way, I wish to congratulate you for the fact that until now you have retained your Christian dignity and have maintained the virtue of nonviolence and have observed the Christian morals of *sanctity of blood.*
Thanks for not losing sight of the one who called you in spite of the multiple provocations. The fact that you remained nonviolent at the face of all these inhuman treatments has proved some points in your favor:
1. You have shown that you are not ordinary but God’s chosen people.
You are serving a Living and Almighty God.
2. You have proved that you serve a reliable God that can defend himself and his people and not a helpless God that depends on military weapons.
3. You demonstrated that you do not have to fight for your God, but that he rather fights for you when necessary.
4. Your God is a moral, loving, and spiritual God of peace and not an amoral and mechanical god of violence.
5. You serve a loving God that shares in the plight of mankind, creed and nationality apart, and not a wicked god that glories in human pains and suffering, or a god that enjoys human blood and tears.
6. You shunned violence because it is an outright deviation from the teachings of Christ that encourages love for all, including enemies.
7. You despised arms because carrying arms would reduce you to be the students of the killers or at best, to be their equals, a level to which a Christian should abhor to be degraded.
8. Nigerian Christians, you have proved yourselves disciplined, refined and civilized people that see no reason in committing crimes in the name of religion.
9. You have shown the world that your God is an impact making God, feared for his might, requiring nobody to create fear around him.
10. You have proved that your God is worshiped out of conviction and not out of intimidation.
11. You have laid it down for generations to come that your religion is propagated with faith and virtue and not by propaganda, crimes, intimidation and weapons.
12. By your conducts one can simply conclude that anything worshiped out of fear and intimidation can not be the All-powerful and the Glorious God.
13. You have made the world to see that your religion is Godly, sustained by God’s power and known for moral rectitude unlike the godless and amoral religion that stripped of arms and violence would go to extinction because it gains adherence by violence and intimidation.
14. You have further made the adherents of the religion of violence know that they are not better than Roberts for their persistent attachment to a so called god that could neither speak for itself, defend itself nor fight for it’s worshipers.
15. You have held firm to our Lord’s cardinal moral injunction: *”Turn the other cheek”*.
16. Your attitude has convinced mankind, that without arms, without violence, and without cohesion the Christian God is doing exploits, keeping his promises, protecting and providing for his people.
Congratulations once again!
Always remember that the gospel of Jesus Christ has separated you from the rest of mankind and has made you children of God and coheirs with Christ and sharers in the glory of Jesus Christ (2Thes 2:14).
The fact that these evil men have made an age long evil plans which they have been gradually implementing is not questionable. It is a plan to subjugate the Church to servitude and to leave the people intimidated, but that shouldn’t worry any Christian, because no plan could ever be executed on earth without God’s own approval. They have schemed the death of Christianity in this part of the world without knowing that the life of the Church is hidden in Christ, who at the very foundation of the Church made it indestructible (Mat 18:18-19)
Some say they have connections all over the world, and they have acquired all kinds of weapons! *(It is true, and so what?)* The end of a war is not determined by weapons (PS 33:16-17). Yes they have connections all over the world but we have connections all over the universe and even beyond. They are coming against us with their human designed evil plans and their man-made weapons, but we are standing against them with the Almighty and Invisible name of the Christian God whom they considered impotent (1Sam 17:45).
Didn’t Pharaoh have all the weapons in his time? Did he not intend to end the Hebrew Israelite race? At the end didn’t God manifest? Did God not speak? Didn’t he settle the case with the Red Sea? Even now, that ancient God is the present God. He has neither failed nor disappointed his people. The only thing is that he manifests himself at his own time and in his own chosen manner. Brethren, these evil men and the evil system that today persecute the Church and threaten our very existence, will very soon be swallowed up by divine wrath.
No one ever dared the Christian God and had it funny. The sponsors and the evil agents that invade churches and kill Christians may be rejoicing that they are succeeding in their intention to strangulate the Church. They may be feeling that their islamization agenda is materializing, but I would rather want to make it clear to the whole world, that these ugly experiences are, contrary to their expectation, building up the Church and at the same time fortifying the Christians.
It is no longer a secret that some of the public office holders are determined to show openly, their total commitment to Sharia and the implementation of its laws in the country.
Looking at the above reality, one is forced to understand that they are out in their unholy intention to reduce the nation to an Islamic enclave.
The above and the careless attitude of the president towards the life and the sufferings of non-fulanies and the non-Muslims of this country, the way he pampers the notorious Fulani herdsmen and the way he condoned those who claimed responsibility for the multiple killings in this country, crowned by the murder of two Catholic Priests, right inside the church and in the course of Eucharistic Celebration, leaves no doubt that President Muhammadu Buhari is the man behind the mask.
But let it be clear to everybody that the Christian God is just patient and not weak and that he can decide to be silent for some time, but that does not mean that he wouldn’t speak at the proper time. No wonder he told the prophet Habakkuk that what He says must come to pass no matter how long it is delayed (Hab 2:4).
*EXTENT OF DAMAGE*
Having consistently persecuted the Church of Christ, perpetrated evil against humanity and sabotaged human civilization, the enemy of the Church and his allies are ripe for the consuming divine wrath. They may not likely escape punishment for all these evils because the extent of the damage is high. The only thing that may save them from abhor able punishments is a total repentance and restitution for the injuries they have inflicted on the Church and on the entire human race.
They have touched the untouchable. It is the Lord that maintained that anybody that touched his people, has touched the apple of his eyes (Zech 2:8). It was the president and his bloodthirsty Fulani allies that invaded the Catholic Church in Benue State, stopped the Divine Worship, killed the worshipers including two priests and celebrated their victory right inside the house of God. They further defiled the Holy Place: they wore the sacred choir gown and played the Christian musical instruments to the tune of of their unholy Victory Songs.
_(I insist without apologies, that President Buhari is responsible for the multiple loss of lives and properties in the country, because though he is the Chief Security of the nation, he had failed to provide the people with security, and he has as well refused to empower the people to provide themselves with security. Worse still, even though the people responsible for the massive blood shed are known, until now, no one is facing trial for the killings in the country, despite his public pledge to bring the culprits to book)._
*THE FATE OF THE WICKED*
The only thing that can save these evil men is true repentance and acceptance of the gospel of Christ with its massage of LOVE. Though, at present I am yet to see the sign of repentance in them, because as people mourn over the Christians they have killed, they are threatening to kill more.
From every historical and prophetic calculations, these blood thirsty men are not far from their Waterloo. The fact that they rose against the Church (people of God) has pronounced their doom. Of course, the battle is not ours but the Lord’s (2Chr 20:1-24).
Everybody and everything is now asking and pleading with the Killer and his agents to let the Christians be but just like the Egyptian Pharaoh of Moses’ time, he would not, because the wicked does neither yield nor respond to negotiations. However the response of the wicked to the divine vengeance is always automatic. I am sure that when the divine vengeance strikes, no one will plead with him again. Certainly he will be silenced and forced to let go of the people of God. Then the survivors of these wicked and bloodthirsty men would be compelled to acknowledge that apart from the Christian God there is no other God.
Some may think that I am not diplomatic in my approach to the experience of the Church in this country. They may be correct in their own opinion, but I find it difficult to be economical with my very vocation.
My vocation is to preach the gospel in season and out of season, welcome or unwelcome.
If I should be silent at the face of all these evils, I should be committing the same sin of omission as the head of state commits by keeping silent while his brothers and agents slaughter Nigerians like fowls.
*OBLIGATION TO PREACH*
It is my duty as God’s watchman to sound the alarm of danger to the unsuspecting citizens, in case of any form of inversion to enable people run to safety(Ezk 33:1-9). Hence, I do not preach the Gospel as a hobby or as a means of livelihood but as a matter of duty and obligation, holding it more important than every other concern of mine 1Cor 9:16-17).
Looking at the true situation of things, it is clear that devil has overtaken many people in this country and you and I as prophets, have the duty of calling their attentions to their evil deeds and to expose to them the implications of their actions and to inform them of the inevitable consequences of sins, in case they refuse to repent.
It is the lot of the false prophets to operate in the flesh, seek the face of men and dance to entertain the audience. In this generation many professed false prophets know how to tell the evil men of the society what they would want to hear, paint their evils away from their consciences, perpetuate the evil men in their wickedness and in return receive from the wicked what they want (undeserved commendation and material gifts). But the truth remains that the end of a false prophet may not be better than that of the wicked man he misleads by his false assurance of peace whereas the wicked is gradually stepping into his doom.
*GOOD BOY PROPHET*
Singing to please these killers (after killing two of my colleagues right inside the house of God, in the course of the Eucharistic celebration) is the worst form of self deception as far as I am concerned. It should also be stupidity on my part to address them in a manner that they wouldn’t know what I am talking about. Let Buhari and his agents know clearly that they are guilty of the massive loss of blood in this country and that the people are aware of their guilt. Even those people who sing for them now know that they are in danger of *divine Wrath.* Many sing for these evil men, simply because they wouldn’t want to fall victim themselves. On my own part, if God permits him, why should he not kill me as he has killed my brothers and sisters.
For you, you think you are living while you sing to please the very person that slowly tortured your mother to death and set your house ablaze.
Please go ahead in your praise singing!
Please go ahead living silently under your bondage!!
Go ahead and be his *good boy prophet* , because maybe he feeds you from his dustbin or because you desire to live forever. However, let it be clear to you that neither Buhari nor his agents can save you in case God turns back on you for your inaction.
Let the enemies of the Church be aware that they have failed in their evil intentions to islamize the country and outlaw the Church. They are just incurring the wrath of God and that of man for nothing because they can neither outwit nor overpower God. Their plans failed for the following reasons :
1. Their evil intentions and the satanic plans have been made known to the people around the world and every real Christian is now out to resist the agenda.
2. The method they employed is too crude and barbaric for any rational being in the 21st century.
3. The Lord is within and with his Church, hence they cannot just crush or level the Church unquestioned and uninterrupted as they imagined and desire.
4. As they are doing their worst to impose the Islamic religion on the country, the Christians are doing their best to hand the nation over to Christ.
5. This nation called Nigeria has already been dedicated to Jesus Christ the Universal King. Very soon everybody will begin to appreciate his reign as the king of this nation.
In few days time our national general election will start. An election that would determine the fate of the nation for some time, please, do everything legitimate to see that you exercise your civic duty, by voting the candidates of your choice. Do not be enslaved by any party but always vote the candidates you believe should be a blessing to our country.
On another note, let not the result of the election upset you, because the result cannot stop God from doing what he wants to do. If the INEC announces the results according to people’s majority vote OK! If they rig the election in favor of any party, do not also worry, let us just keep praying that the good God may correct all the mistakes of this nation.
*NOTHING CAN STOP US*
Let every creature know this : The word of God can never be broken (Jn 10:34). The word of God stands forever (Is 40:8). Heaven and earth may pass away but the word of God can never pass away (Mt 5:18). No one can change what the Lord has made or snatch anything from his hands (Is 43:13).
Counting on the above statements from the Most High and the only reliable God, we hold firm to his promise of his abiding presence and his constant support and protection (Is 43:1-6, Mt 28:20, Is 41:10-12, Josh 1:5, Lk 10:19, Ps 91:1-16).
Over and above all these, God himself has guaranteed our protection and success when he declared _*”NOTHING CAN STOP YOU” (Deut 11:25)*_. In deed nothing can stop us. Nothing and bsolutely nothing can stop the Church. This is because: *The Church is not alone!* Jesus is with and within the Church!! Jesus moves ahead of the Church!!!
Congratulations for the victory over the enemies of the Church!
Congratulations for the triumph of truth!!
Congratulations for the reign of King Jesus Christ over Nigeria!!!
Rev Fr Dennis John Chukwubuzor Attah,
Catholic Diocese of Nsukka. (Living for Truth).
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