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[continuation] 51 Sleepless Nights

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Maybe if I hadn‘t pushed him so hard. Or so soon. Maybe if I

hadn‘t allowed my own guilt and fear to make me hesitate

before I plunged into the ravine after him, then maybe I could

have saved him. It took a full ten seconds of listening to his

agonized groans before I could force myself to gaze down at

what used to be my son. He‘d landed directly on his head, but

the helmet did nothing to prevent his neck twisting halfway

around his body under the power of the impact. He‘d been

jarred so hard that part of his spine ruptured straight through

his skin to greet the air with a bloody shine.

Screw competing. If he even survived a trip to the hospital,

then I‘d still spend the rest of my life feeding him with a spoon.

But this was my fault and he was my son, so there could never

be a choice. I took the first step of the never ending journey

down the slope toward him.

―Let‘s go home, Dad.‖

The words should have been enough to bring tears to my

eyes, but instead I froze in the grip of absolute terror. It wasn‘t

my son who said it – I didn‘t even know if my son could talk

anymore. I turned slowly, careful not to lose my grip on the

pebbled earth and topple helplessly down the ravine.

―I‘m okay Dad. Let‘s go.‖

Andrew – or at least someone who looked exactly like my son,

all the way down to his freckles and the mustard stain on his

sleeve – was waiting for me on the top of the hill. Back down the

ravine, I still saw the twisted and broken version of the same

boy lying there.

―Come on,‖ the unharmed Andrew said. ―Race you back.‖

He hopped on his bike and skidded fearlessly along the

hillside. His speed and dexterity surpassed the old Andrew,

even on his best days. As beautiful as it was watching him fly

over the rocks, the sight was impossible to appreciate with the

wet gurgle of coughing blood sounding from further down.

I had to make a choice, and judging by the amount of blood

pooling on the rocks below, I had to make it fast. I could go

down the treacherous slope and lift my son into my arms. I

could drag him to the hospital, burning through my energy and

savings in the vain fight toward a subnormal life. I could explain

to Amy that I had lied to her, and that it was my fault that our

life would never be the same. And if after all that Andrew were

still to die, then I know she would leave me and I would have

nothing left.

―Don‘t worry Dad. We‘re going to win next time. I promise.‖

Or I could turn around and leave with … with what?

Watching him race up and down the hills, the answer was

obvious. I could turn around and leave with my son, and none

of this will have ever happened.

―I‘ll be right there,‖ I said. ―First one home gets ice cream for

dinner.‖

Climbing up the hill after Andrew – after my son – it wasn‘t

as hard as I thought it would be. It was abject relief to see his

beaming face waiting for me at the top. The only hard part was

when I had already lost sight of the ravine and was headed

home, only to hear a voice dissipating on the wind behind me.

―Please don‘t go. I need you Dad.‖

I gripped my son‘s hand – my new son – and held on tight all

the way home.

For the next few weeks, I wouldn‘t let Andrew out of my

sight. I drove him to school instead of letting him take the bus. I

picked him up for lunch, then again when school got out, taking

him to his favorite places and spending all of my time helping

him practice. I was trying my best to be a good father, and

trying even harder not to think about what that meant. I thought

about going back to the ravine to at least bury the body, but

every time I began to work up enough courage to face that

broken corpse, my new son seemed to appear wanting to spend

time with me.

By the end of the first month, life had gone back to normal

and it was like nothing ever happened. The new Andrew was

identical to the old, even sharing the same memories, and

habits, and everything. By the second month, I‘d even forgotten

that horrible day ever passed, although sometimes the echo of

those words being torn by the wind still slip into my brain as I

lay down to sleep at night.

I need you Dad.

But I was a good father. I did everything for my boy, and I

knew he was going to repay me by becoming the best biker the

world had ever seen.

It wasn‘t until Andrew was 12 years old when I began to

notice behavioral anomalies that I couldn‘t explain. But surely

the real Andrew – I mean the old Andrew – he would have had

his own changes by this age. I tried to tell myself that he was

just starting to go through puberty, but even Amy began to feel

that something wasn‘t right.

―Do you know what I caught Andrew doing last night?‖ she

told me one morning over breakfast.

―He‘s going to be a teenager soon. I‘m sure I don‘t want to know.‖

―He was eating a bug!‖ she declared. ―A big shiny cockroach.

Just munching it right up, looking as proud as a kitty cat who

caught his first mouse.‖

Then there was the rustling outside our window late at night.

A dozen separate occasions I must have heard it – like someone

was in the bushes watching us. Amy wanted me to check it out,

but I just kept imagining Andrew running through the field like

a wild creature, biting the heads off animals or digging up

worms. I think I was happier not knowing.

It wasn‘t just that either. Some nights we‘d catch him awake

at four in the morning, face an inch from the mirror, just staring

at himself and giggling. Another time he had a butterfly knife –

God knows where he got it – and was peeling away the skin on

the back of his hand. He‘d exposed a strip of bloody muscle and

tendons running all the way from the tip of his finger running

halfway up his forearm. I took the knife away and demanded

what he was doing, but all he said was:

―Just curious what goes on under there, Dad.‖

He grinned when he said Dad, stressing the word like it was

our shared secret. Neither of us had ever mentioned that day on

the hillside, but it felt like he not only remembered, but was

actively using it to blackmail me.

The worst was when he was trying to get something out of

me, like when he decided he needed a laptop. I told him to wait

for his birthday and turned to leave, but then he replied with:

―Please don‘t go. I need you Dad.‖

Those words were burned into my subconscious like a trigger.

 

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[Album] Feels Like Home – Israel and New Breed

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Dove and GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter, producer and worship leader, Israel Houghton and New Breed bring the release of a new album titled “Feels Like Home: The Quarantine Worship Experience.”

 

The 14-track album is a compilation of Isreal and the new breed’s at-home intimacy of Worship Wednesday sessions recorded live from Houghton’s sister-in-law’s New York, USA.

 

The Feels Like Home project blossomed out of Houghton’s idea in early 2020 to remotely stream worship services, the impetus behind what would become his “Worship Wednesdays,” after seeing an opportunity to explore and reinvent group worship dynamics online throughout the pandemic.

 

“New Breed celebrated our 20th year together in 2020,” says Houghton. “And although the entire landscape changed with how we do concerts and touring, we knew it was still important to come together. I’m grateful for the sacrifices made by everyone on our team to carefully gather and participate in this offering. Truth be told, it’s one of the most rewarding worship experiences I’ve ever been a part of.”

 

The album includes a new song; “Hymn of Breakthrough,” a brightly burning, slow-building epiphany of the “sound of breakthrough” as it echoes throughout the ensemble.

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[Music + Video] Live For You – Adegail

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Gospel performing and recording artiste, Adegail shows up with another enthralling song and video titled “Live For You.”

 

The message of “Live For You” spreads hope amidst the current pandemic & encourages others to worship/live out their purpose boldly, like she has been doing unashamedly for the last few years. This debut took 3 years to make and was initially live recorded during Adegail’s 2019 headline iRadiate Event.

 

The song captures the heart of serving God no matter what the circumstances look like and will encourage any purpose-driven believer through the changing seasons of life. The song has been described as ‘perfect’ for this pandemic season and is inspiring hundreds of people to live a purpose-driven life. The live recorded video is now out and the song has featured on the UK and international platforms and radio stations.

 

Adegail demonstrates to her supporters what it looks like to live out their purpose boldly via her social media platforms, her iRadiate, Astepfwd and church roles. Since June 2019 she has helped to either equip, encourage, educate and empower close to 200 of her fellow community members/independent artists via her 2019 founded iRadiate events.

 

As a strong advocate for using your God-given gifts and talents, she is now choosing to use her original music/live recorded music videos to get this message across. Some of her greatest musical influences are Tori Kelly, Mali Music, Jonathan McReynolds and in recent years the penmanship of Todd Galberth and Todd Dulaney.

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Open Heaven Monday 22nd February 2021 – The Power In A Name

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Open Heaven Monday 22nd February 2021 Daily Devotional Guide By Pastor E.A Adeboye

TOPIC: The Power In A Name

 

MEMORISE:

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;” – (Philippians 2:10)

 

READ: Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV)

9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name;

 

10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

 

11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Open Heaven Monday 22nd February 2021 Devotional Guide By Pastor E.A Adeboye:

Many people wonder why names are important. Well, to start with, a name says a lot about the bearer. The Bible says that whatever Adam named the animals, that is what they were called (Genesis 2:19). What you are called has serious consequences on what you become.

 

When I was a lecturer at the University of Lagos, there was a Professor’s typist who everyone jokingly called Prof. Whenever they called him Prof, he would smile and reply, “Yes, yes”. Then one day, he made a life changing decision. “I am a typist, but everybody calls me Professor. Then Professor I will become”. He then began to attend evening classes and little by little, he passed his exams and gained admission into the University. Before I left the University of Lagos, the typist was already studying for his Ph.D. All these came about because a typist was called a Professor.

 

God takes names very seriously. In Genesis 17:5 He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, then in Genesis 17:15 He changed Sarai’s name to Sarah.

 

God also changed Jacob’s name as well in Genesis 32:28:

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel…

 

God changed their names when He wanted to promote them. He gave them new names that reflected what He wanted to make out of them. This teaches us that if we want to go to a new level, we should begin to bear the name for that level.

 

Just as we see in our Bible reading for today, God exalted Jesus by giving Him a name that is above every other.

 

What is the next level that you want to attain? Start bearing the name that reflects that new level from now. However, if you think that you might get into trouble by asking people to call you that name, stand in front of your mirror and begin to call yourself that name as often as you can.

 

Some believers answer to funny nicknames that are not a reflection of who they want to be; worse still, some even call themselves such names in a bid to appear modest. Don’t answer to such nicknames anymore.

 

The name you answer to is what you will become.

 

REFLECTION:

What is the name that you are called? Is it a reflection of what you want to become? If not, change that name immediately.

 

BIBLE IN ONE YEAR:

Exodus 2-4

 

HYMNAL:

HYMN 1 – ALL HAIL THE POWER OF JESUS’ NAME!

 

1. All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!

Let angels prostrate fall;

Bring forth the royal diadem,

and crown Him Lord of all.

Bring forth the royal diadem,

and crown Him Lord of all.

 

2. Let highborn seraphs tune the lyre,

and as they tune it, fall

Before His face Who tunes their choir,

and crown Him Lord of all.

Before His face Who tunes their choir,

and crown Him Lord of all.

 

3. Crown Him, ye morning stars of light,

Who fixed this floating ball;

Now hail the strength of Israel’s might,

and crown Him Lord of all.

Now hail the strength of Israel’s might,

and crown Him Lord of all.

 

4. Crown Him, ye martyrs of our God,

who from His altar call;

Extol the Stem of Jesse’s rod,

and crown Him Lord of all.

Extol the Stem of Jesse’s rod,

and crown Him Lord of all.

 

5. Ye seed of Israel’s chosen race,

ye ransomed from the fall,

Hail Him Who saves you by His grace,

and crown Him Lord of all.

Hail Him Who saves you by His grace,

and crown Him Lord of all.

 

6. Hail Him, ye heirs of David’s line,

Whom David Lord did call,

The God incarnate, Man divine,

and crown Him Lord of all,

The God incarnate, Man divine,

and crown Him Lord of all.

 

7. Sinners, whose love can ne’er forget

the wormwood and the gall,

Go spread your trophies at His feet,

and crown Him Lord of all.

Go spread your trophies at His feet,

and crown Him Lord of all.

 

Open Heaven Monday 22nd February 2021 Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries

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