Understanding and Fitting Into The Post-Trump-Election World

Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
bsaint3@outlook.com; http://www.freesayer.wordpress.com

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Americans elected Mr. Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America. The presidency of the United States is the most important job in the world, due to America’s global dominance in virtually all spheres – economic, socio-cultural, military, political, etc. Mr. Trump was sworn in, and inaugurated as President, on 20 January 2017.

President Trump literally hit the road running, making bold and controversial decisions, and pronouncements. His most far-reaching, and widely reacted to decision is the Executive Order, slapping a three months suspension on movement into the United States of people from seven Muslim-majority countries namely, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. The President explained that this was to give US authorities ample time to tighten border control measures, so as to prevent dangerous people from entering the United States.

The decision, coming soon after Inauguration Day, was sudden, unexpected, shocking, and quite disruptive to many people. Several were detained at airports across the US, and many more around the world were either denied visas to the US, or simply had their American visas cancelled. But the Order was later nullified, and set aside by US courts, although President Trump has vowed to reinstate it, and have it prevail. We wait to see how he will do so.

President Trump’s Executive Order faced, and received widespread criticism, and condemnation from people, both within and outside America. I am more concerned with the reactions of non-Americans. Suffice to say that for most contemptuous Americans, their negative reaction is just an overflow of their anger, and hostility towards Mr. Trump, accumulated during the campaigns, and their eventual loss in the polls, since most of them supported Mrs. Hillary Clinton for president. For them, this is just another golden opportunity to publicly humiliate the man they hate with a passion.

For the rest of us, non-Americans, Mr. Trump’s nationalist, exclusionary, and somewhat isolationist policies and rhetoric, are a wake-up call; a notification – perhaps a reminder – that things cannot, and will not remain the same anymore. For so long, America has played a godfather role in the world, so much so that a sense of expectation has been created among people of other nations that the United States will always be there for them especially, during difficult times, no matter what. Today, any talk or act, contrary to this expectation, unnecessarily sends chills down people’s spines.

But it is important to understand that under President Trump’s administration (and I dare say henceforth after him), America will not be a guaranteed place of refuge anymore. Therefore, countries and their citizens are challenged to sort out their own issues and problems, instead of either running to, or surrendering them to America for resolving. Much as the United States is a migrant nation, it should be appreciated that it cannot, strictly speaking, continue being as such, compelled and obliged to accept foreigners as of right. Like everything else, this too must come to an end, so that the American society settles, with known membership, and well laid out procedures of acquiring citizenship. And concerning allegations that President Trump hates Muslims, I don’t think he does. Rather, his comments are a calling upon Muslims to revisit their religion, and eliminate merchants of evil, operating behind the banner of Islam. Of all religions in the world, why should it be Islam on the spot, for the wrong reasons? Something, somewhere, isn’t right, and should be rectified.


Traditional Leaders Are Lower Than And Subordinate To National Leaders

Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
bsaint3@outlook.com; http://www.freesayer.wordpress.com

In late January 2017, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, of the Republic of Uganda, appointed ambassadors, and heads of diplomatic missions, and forwarded the appointees’ names to Parliament for approval, in accordance with Article 122(1) of the Constitution.

Appointee No. 35 was His Highness Gabula William, appointed Ambassador, in charge of Special Duties, in the Office of the President. His Highness Gabula is a traditional leader in Uganda, serving as the King of Busoga Kingdom. His official title, among the Basoga, is Kyabazinga. His appointment was controversial, with some people supporting, and others opposing it. Those against seem to have been the majority or most vocal; because I am reliably informed that he later rejected the appointment.

The reasons, and merits or demerits of the Kyabazinga’s appointment as ambassador, are not my concern, and point of discussion here. Those are largely speculative, and I wouldn’t like to engage in speculation. Rather, my points of interest are legal matters that came up in the debate.

The first, and most important, was a quasi-legal issue on the appointment’s social implication on the status of the Kyabazinga, and pride of Busoga kingdom in general. As required by Article 122(1) of the Constitution, such appointments must be approved by Parliament, which is headed by a Speaker. There is a specific committee of Parliament that vets and approves (or disapproves) presidential appointments. It is called the Appointments Committee, and according to the Rules of Procedure of Parliament, it is chaired by the Speaker of Parliament. In Uganda’s case today, the Speaker is a Musoga lady, Right Honorable Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga. She is a no nonsense, and very independent minded legislator. As far as Busoga society, and kingdom affairs are concerned, culturally speaking, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, is a subject of the Kyabazinga, and therefore subordinate to him. Those opposed to the appointment partly based their objection on this, saying that the King cannot appear before his subject, to justify himself, for whatever reason. They even issued threats of a constitutional petition challenging the appointment in courts of law.

Yet Rt. Hon. Kadaga, as Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, is a national leader who therefore, necessarily is superior to cultural leaders, because Uganda is a republic, not a monarchy. Therefore, national leaders take precedence over traditional or cultural leaders. Indeed, Article 98(2) of our Constitution states that, ‘The President shall take precedence over all persons in Uganda, and in descending order, the Vice President, the Speaker and the Chief Justice shall take precedence over all other persons in Uganda.’ Please note that the Constitution says ALL PERSONS, which means that there are no exceptions envisaged here. Therefore, Speaker Kadaga takes precedence over, and is therefore, superior to her traditional leader, His Highness Gabula William. If the Kyabazinga does anything (like accepting a presidential appointment) that requires him to appear before his otherwise cultural subject, he must comply. One cannot eat his cake, and also have it. The law must be followed.

The second issue was on the legality of the appointment. The argument was that according to Article 246(3)(f) of the Constitution, traditional or cultural leaders, like the Kyabazinga, are prohibited from having or exercising ‘… any administrative, legislative or executive powers of Government or local government.’ This argument is correct, because being an ambassador, necessarily entails having or exercising administrative powers of government. I contend that those without any administrative, legislative or executive powers are lower than, and subordinate to, those with them.

The Meaning and Significance of God’s Coming on Earth

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma

http://www.freesayer.wordpress.com; bbbakampa@gmail.com; @BBBakampa

This is the meaning, and significance of God’s coming on earth, for mankind, as seen through the festivities of Christmas 🎄, Good Friday, and Easter.

The birth of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate as Christmas, marks the beginning of God’s direct and personal intervention to finally redeem mankind from the jaws and strangulation of Satan, using his device of death 💀, in the grave.

Through sheer deception and outright malice, in the tranquil and plentiful garden of Eden, Satan misled innocent 😇 humanity, into denouncing our divine favor before God, and inheritance in His glory. By causing man 👨 to sin, Satan deprived us of our share and entitlement to partake in God’s righteousness and splendor.

Instead of being benefactors of God’s realm, henceforth we became active participants in Satan’s rebellion against divine authority, sharing, and partaking of his fate and curse of eternal doom, and eventual destruction, at the end of his numbered days of terror and mayhem.

The birth and life of Jesus Christ marks the eventual restoration of our lost rights before, in, and with God, and therefore, our release from the bondage of Satan. Jesus Christ is truly God, descended from His glory in heaven, to live humbly among people – dining, merrymaking, guiding, and grieving with us.

Thus it is said in Isaiah 9:6 that, ‘A child is born to us! A Son is given to us! And He will be our ruler.’ He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.” Wow 😲! This is incredibly wonderful.

The coming of Christ was an act of grace (undeserved mercy) that we may once again have peace ✌, and life in our supreme Father, God: and that we may have them to the fullest. It’s the eventual restoration of our position before, in, and with God. Once again, we are heirs in divine authority and glory. We are delivered from bondage and destruction. We are literally born anew, with greater vigor, and radiance.

However, there is one condition: we must willfully and voluntarily accept this offer of divine grace, by repenting our sins with, and by Satan. God doesn’t impose it on us. This is because Eve’s and Adam’s decision to sin in the garden of Eden was also voluntary and willful. Satan didn’t impose it on them. And so, we must equally willfully and voluntarily recant, and reject that earlier commitment with Satan, before receiving God’s restoration of our rights. We do this by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

God’s mission is cemented on what is called Good Friday, after Jesus’ arrest, mistreatment, and death 💀 on the cross; where God pays the price for our sins, and so absolves us of any wrongdoing, saves us from suffering any penalty, and by this, we are fully healed and cleansed of all sins.

Hence, the Lord declares by the Prophet Isaiah that, ‘But because of our sins He was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment He suffered, made whole by the blows He received.’ See, Isaiah 53:5. What an amazing and awesome God we love ❤ and serve!

The divine mission is completed by Jesus’ resurrection from death 💀 on the third day, which we call Easter. Jesus triumphed over Satan’s symbol of eternal damnation – death 💀 in the grave. His triumph 😤 is ours too, because being His diligent followers, loved and taken care of by Him, we share in His victory ✌. We are in Him, and Him in us. Jesus liberated us from death 💀. Like the Apostle Paul said, we were dead in Adam, but now alive in Jesus.

So, we who live in Christ Jesus are not afraid of death 💀 anymore, because our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, conquered it on the cross, and with His resurrection from the grave. We bravely, and gladly receive death 💀, as and when it comes. The grave doesn’t frighten us, because it’s just a transition to eternal glory in heaven, upon Jesus’ second coming, on Judgment Day. We live our restored life in peace ✌, to the fullest extent permissible.

That, dear reader, is the importance of God’s coming here on earth. He came to renew His promises to us, to restore our lost position in divine dominion, and defeat Satan’s wave of terror among God’s beloved people.

If you would like to call upon Jesus Christ in your life, and thereby safeguard your entitlement in God’s divine authority, and glory, please, say the following prayer 🙏, in faith and submission to God:

‘Lord God, I worship, and praise You. I honor and glorify Your mighty name. Thank you 😊, for the gift 🎁 of life. Forgive me for all my sins. I denounce Satan, and declare that from now on-wards, I commit to serve You, and all humanity, in accordance with Your will and direction. I pray for everlasting life, peace ✌, prosperity, and protection, in all affairs of my life. I thank You 😊, for I consider it done, in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.’

If you have said this prayer 🙏 with utmost faith in, and submission to God, rest assured that God is with you, guiding you in everything you do. He will heal all your ailments – physical, emotional, or otherwise. He will supply all your just needs. And He will watch over you jealously, like a shepherd tending to his flocks. But remember to keep praying 🙏, believing, and trusting Him unceasingly. He is ever present, even in the worst of situations. Call upon Him, and He will surely answer, and be there for you.

God bless 😊 you, dear reader. Thank you 😊, for being my friend, and most importantly, for being God’s friend. Cheers 🍻!

God Doesn’t Love Sinners

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma

www.freesayer.wordpress.com; bsaint3@outlook.com; @BBBakampa

There is a common misconception among people that God loves sinners; moreover unconditionally. This is a fallacious argument. The justification given for this mundane claim is the statement by the apostle Paul, in Romans 5:8, ‘But God has shown us how much he loves us – it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!’ There are other related scriptures that are relied upon in this claim, but this is the most prominently quoted and relied upon verse.

On the contrary, I submit that actually God doesn’t love sinners. He dislikes them. And that is why He executes justice against them. This justice is not pleasant and desired by sinners, because it is not a pat on the back, or a flying kiss, or a friendly smile, or a bouquet of flowers, and so on. It is punishment, which, as defined by A.S. Hornby, A.P. Cowie, and A.C. Gimson, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, at page 690, is a, ‘penalty inflicted for wrongdoing.’ In this case, wrongdoing is sinning against God.

What happens in truth is that God is only patient with, merciful to, or tolerant of sinners, in spite of their sins. It is this patience, mercy, and tolerance that many mistake for being love of sinners. God is patient with, merciful to, and tolerant of sinners, so as to give them an opportunity to repent their sins, turn away from Satan and his evil ways that lead to desolation, and instead embrace their creator, God, who has plans of prosperity and a good future for them (see, Jeremiah 29:11), but not disaster, as does Satan.

God wonderfully and fearfully created mankind (see, Psalms 139:14) in His own image (see, Genesis 1:27). That’s why a person’s body is God’s temple (see, 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17). Now, when the person sins, his or her body (and consequently God’s temple) is polluted by that sin, and that draws away God’s spirit from him or her. The person loses holiness that is characteristic of God and His dwelling places. Yet God abhors sin, because it is contrary to His nature. So, He distances Himself from the unholy sinner, since like light and darkness, God and the sinner are incompatible, and cannot co-exist; so much so that God also forsook or separated Himself from Jesus while on the cross, (see, Matthew 27:46) when all the sins of the world were finally heaped on Him who was otherwise sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Dear reader, at this stage, the person is two-in-one – original good person, and now bad, sinful and unholy being. God always loves the first person – that wonderfully and fearfully created original person (for that bond is unbreakable, since even those condemned to hell, will always be God’s creatures); and that’s why He sent Jesus to salvage man’s sin-tainted soul by dying on the cross, as stated in John 3:16, ‘For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.’ It is in this line of thought that the apostle Paul wrote those famous and popular words, in Romans 5:8, ‘But God has shown us how much he loves us – it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!’ By these words, Paul meant God’s love for the original good person, now turned sinful, whom God is only patient with, merciful to, and tolerant of, desiring for him another chance at redemption. A selfish and diluted interpretation of Romans 5:8 will give it an utterly absurd meaning.

But God doesn’t love the second person – the sinner. That’s for sure, without doubt. The sinner who doesn’t make use of God’s grace period of patience, mercy, and tolerance, he or she must await God’s justice, which is his or her lot, as stated by the apostle Paul in Romans 6:23, ‘The wages of sin is death.’ The unrepentant sinner rejects God, thereby leaving God with no choice, but to turn away from him or her, because, as stated by Grace to You, God cannot look upon sin (see, Grace to You, ‘Why Did Jesus Cry, “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?”’ www.gty.org/resources/bible-qna/BQ032913). When God does this, He no longer loves that sinful person. Lest it be said that God and Satan are in alliance! This leaves the sinner to his or her chosen master, Satan.

Yet the two-in-one person must be judged as one entity by God. It is at this point that sinners get in a hopeless state, because God will either command or permit punishment upon them, since, as well stated and illustrated by Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, at page 230:

Men cannot with impunity reject the warning which God in mercy sends them. A message was sent from heaven to the world in Noah’s day, and their salvation depended upon the manner in which they treated that message. Because they rejected the warning, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from the sinful race, and they perished in the waters of the Flood. In the time of Abraham, mercy ceased to plead with the guilty inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot with his wife and two daughters were consumed by fire sent down from heaven. So in the days of Christ. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation: “Your house is left unto you desolate.” Matthew 23:38. Looking down to the last days, the same Infinite Power declares, concerning those who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved”: “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. As they reject the teachings of His word, God withdraws His Spirit and leaves them to the deceptions which they love.

Misinterpretation of the scriptures has led to so much licentiousness (total immoral freedom to do as one pleases) among God’s people, vainly believing that they can sin and offend God, and get away with it; after all, they have His assumed divine promise of unconditional eternal love. This is regrettable ignorance of God and His nature; and Satan, in his characteristically cunning and deceptive manner, exploits this ignorance among God’s people, to his destructive advantage.

For, again as stated by Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, at page 331, ‘Satan leads many to believe that God will overlook their unfaithfulness in the minor affairs of life; but the Lord … will in no way sanction or tolerate evil. All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. … The case of all such is hopeless.’ Their cases are hopeless because Habakkuk 1:13 has declared of God, ‘Your eyes are too holy to look at evil, and you cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong.’ And God Himself has declared, in Habakkuk 2:4, that, ‘Those who are evil will not survive, but those who are righteous will live because they are faithful to God.’ (Emphasis added.)

So, I assert that the evil ones – the sinners – will not survive, because God does not love them, while the righteous ones will survive, because God loves them. The statement by the apostle Paul, in Romans 5:8 should be put in its proper context. I hope this opinion goes far enough to make it better understood. Dear reader, may God bless you abundantly.

Donald Trump Is Better For American President Than Hillary Clinton

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
bsaint3@outlook.com; http://www.freesayer.wordpress.com; @BBBakampa

I have been following the US presidential election, listening to Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s and Mr. Donald Trump’s comments, and promises of the things they intend to do for Americans and the rest of the world. I also watched and listened to the first televised debate between them yesterday.

My assessment, so far, is that Mr. Trump sounds more genuine, and would make a better president for Americans, and leader of the rest of the world, than Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Trump has come off as an anti-status quo candidate, while Mrs. Clinton has come off as a pro-status quo candidate.

So, what is the status quo, you may ask?

It’s no doubt that we live in a world dominated by America, in virtually all respects – political, trade, diplomatic, military, etc. With this dominance, America enjoys the privilege of determining, setting, and often dictating the global agenda. Indeed, America first, and then follows the rest of the world. Consequently, America enjoys great prestige from this dominance of international affairs. In fact, it is said to be “the world’s policeman.” And true to that reputation, the United States has a record of bullying, deposing and imposing leaders in other countries especially, using its all-powerful intelligence organ, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the military. Therefore, under the era of American dominance, the world is largely fashioned in the format of a master-servant relationship. Even regions like Europe and parts of Asia (like Japan, South Korea, and lately China), which enjoy a semi-autonomous status, these can be said to be subjects (as distinguished from servants or slaves) of American dominance.

But this privilege comes at a price: America virtually buys or pays for it, through such things as paying states’ membership fees at many international bodies like the United Nations, World Bank, NATO, etc. The United States also carries the responsibility of protecting and ensuring the security of many of its allied states around the world, mainly through military deployments and installation of military defense systems, like missile shields in Europe, Middle East (particularly Israel), and the Asian axis (notably Japan and South Korea). The challenge is that these costly obligations are met at (I think) little or no profit for the American people. Moreover, apart from the economic cost, this privilege also comes at a huge social cost, whereby, as lamented by President Barack Obama, America is blamed for almost everything and anything: when it acts in an attempt to remedy a given situation, it is blamed for either acting too fast, or acting inappropriately; and when it doesn’t, it’s blamed for inaction or delayed action.

So, this status quo is both advantageous, and disadvantageous for the United States; and I submit that due to its monetary and social cost implications, it is increasingly becoming more disadvantageous for it, largely due to the fact that with the emergence of other powerful states, having ability to serve as regional power centers, able to counter American dominance (like Brazil in South America, China in Asia, Iran in the Middle East, a number of European states under the European Union, and, of course, Russia), the world is fast becoming a partnership of equals, as opposed to a cartel of domineering and subjective interests.

It is this American domineering outlook that has largely defined, shaped and driven globalization, and it has had a profound influence on the global arena, leading to stability and progress in many areas, but also causing havoc and stagnation in others. It is this status quo that Hillary Clinton aspires to maintain, and Donald Trump aspires to change.

It is evident that while Mr. Trump is a dedicated American nationalist, standing for and championing the concerns of ordinary Americans, Mrs. Clinton is a consummate internationalist, clearly defending and promoting elite group interests of international actors, both in America and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the brand and style of globalization today doesn’t work for ordinary people, who are the majority anywhere on the globe, and that’s mainly why there is growing global inequality, with resources concentrated in the hands of a paltry few rich and powerful people. In fact, this inequality is more apparent and obscene in America than anywhere else in the world.

Among others, Mr. Trump advocates balanced trade deals between America and other nations; calls for economic fairness, and job retention for Americans, by for instance, castigating ongoing shifting and relocation of American companies to other countries; and, as a typical businessman, demands value for money of heavy American security investments overseas. It is these policies that counter the disastrous effects of globalization today that selectively distributes resources to the minority business and political elite, who are the patrons of Mrs. Clinton, and whom she represents. Mr. Trump’s approach translates into meaningful prosperity for ordinary, majority Americans. He has their best interests at heart.

At the global level, Mr. Trump’s quid pro quo approach will neutralize America’s spirited and largely unnecessary dominance over other states, thus eliminating the servitude and slavish nature of globalization today. Mr. Trump views other nations and peoples as partners in building a shared world of opportunities and responsibilities. I doubt Mrs. Clinton does.

The future of globalization is a merger of mutually beneficial interests and opportunities, as opposed to just shared threats, whether actual or merely perceived. Our common destiny will be fully harnessed in bonds of equality, not subservient relationships.

Donald Trump understands that, but I don’t think Hillary Clinton does. Mr. Trump’s nationalist ideals won’t impede globalization. Rather, they will modify it. He deserves the support of all Americans.

Jesus Didn’t Insult Non-Israelites

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
http://www.freesayer.wordpress.com; bsaint3@outlook.com; @BBBakampa

I have many good friends. They are really good people. My friends come from all sectors of society, because I believe diversity is beautiful. They include Muslims.

My friends and I often engage in intellectual discussions, on various issues. Quite unsurprisingly, religious affairs are among our favorite topics of discussion, because they are always interesting. Recently, I had a discussion with some of my Muslim friends on who Jesus really came for – that is, whose savior was (or is) He?

I said Jesus was sent to all people, from all corners of the world. They said Jesus was sent to only the people of Israel (the Jews), arguing and insisting that it is Mohammad who was sent to all mankind. In order to buttress their views, they referred to a scripture in the Bible where Jesus supposedly said non-Israelites are dogs. They wondered whether it can be reasonably said that somebody came to bring salvation to dogs.

The scripture in question is Matthew 15:26. This scripture is part of an encounter Jesus had with a Canaanite woman of great faith. Let me reproduce the whole passage so that the context of Jesus’ words can be fully noted. I quote from the Good News Bible, Matthew 15:21-28 (see also, Mark 7:24-30).

21. Jesus left that place and went off to the territory near the cities of Tyre and Sidon. 22. A Canaanite woman who lived in that region came to him. “Son of David!” she cried out. “Have mercy on me! My daughter has a demon and is in a terrible condition.”

23. But Jesus did not say a word to her. His disciples came to him and begged him, “Send her away! She is following us and making all this noise!”

24. Then Jesus replied, “I have been sent only to those lost sheep, the people of Israel.”

25. At this the woman came and fell at his feet. “Help me, sir!” she said.

26. Jesus answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

27. “That’s true, sir,” she answered; “but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their masters’ table.”

28. So Jesus answered her, “You are a woman of great faith! What you want will be done for you.” And at that very moment her daughter was healed.

Taken at face value, or literally, it can indeed be said that Jesus said non-Israelites are dogs, in 15:26, especially considering that He had already clearly said, in 15:24, that He was sent only to the people of Israel (this is the scripture on which Mohammed and Muslims base themselves to say that he was sent to all mankind, unlike Jesus who they insist was sent to the Jews only).

But looked at more analytically, one finds that Jesus didn’t speak derogatorily of non-Israelites, supposedly calling them dogs. Rather, in speaking the way He did to the Canaanite woman, Jesus was only testing her faith, by kind of teasing her, and stretching her patience a little; but not intentionally frustrating her, to deny her request to relieve her daughter of the demon that was terrorizing her. This, to my mind, is the only logical explanation for Jesus’ speech. And that is precisely why Jesus finally told her that, ‘You are a woman of great faith! What you want will be done for you.’ Then we are told that, ‘And at that very moment her daughter was healed.’

In Romans 4:13 the apostle Paul says that, ‘God’s promises will come by faith.’ But God tests or allows our faith to be tested for authenticity or genuineness. God tested Abraham by requiring him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, whom he loved very much (see, Genesis chapter 22). God allowed Satan to test Job’s faith, by permitting Satan to strike Job with a dreadful skin disease, death of his children, and destruction of his property (see, Job chapters 1 and 2). Even Jesus Himself was tested by Satan in the desert (see, Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; and Luke 4:1-13). The apostles of Jesus were tested by subjection to cruel punishments, including death (see, Acts 12:1-5). But at the end of the day, these great men emerged triumphant. So it was, with the Canaanite woman. Hers was a test of her pride, by being seemingly compared or equated to a dog. She swallowed her pride, submitted to God’s authority, and like the others before her, emerged victorious. The nature and kind of God’s tests keep changing because He is too original to duplicate Himself.

So, we learn that God’s tests are not insults at all. Rather, they are just that – tests; which A.S. Hornby, A.P. Cowie, and A.C. Gimson, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English (1983), at page 909, define as a trial or examination of somebody’s powers, knowledge, skill, etc. God’s tests are innocent and harmless. Certainly, they are far from being insults. Tests are God’s techniques of judging our belief and trust in Him.

When we remain steadfast in our faith in God, with and/or in spite of our powers, knowledge and skill, we give meaning to the principal commandment that, ‘Worship no god but me’ (see, Exodus 20:3; and Deuteronomy 5:7), which Jesus stated is the greatest and most important commandment, clarifying it as, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’ (see, Matthew 22:36-38). We can only prove this love for God, by successfully passing His tests of our faith in Him, however burdensome or strenuous they may be. But one thing is for sure: God cannot test us beyond our ability to handle or cope with. Therefore, Jesus didn’t insult non-Israelites in His address to the Canaanite woman.

How We Use The Internet Will Determine Our Pace Of Development

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma

http://www.freesayer.wordpress.com; bsaint3@outlook.com; @BBBakampa

The United Nations recognized the internet as a human right in 2010. This recognition was prompted by the vital role the internet plays in human development especially, in today’s highly globalized world. The importance of the internet cannot be overemphasized. It is a plethora of opportunities in virtually all areas of human life. Generally speaking, the internet is useful for intellectual growth, business development, and social interactions. All these are key aspects of human development.

The World Bank anticipates that the internet will play an increasingly important role in bridging the North-South divide (a term used to describe the economic disparity between the rich countries of Europe and North America vis-à-vis their poor counterparts, mainly in Africa and South America) by effectively facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology to these under-developed societies, thereby accelerating economic development there.

A remarkable feature of the internet is the emergence of social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and several e-mail service providers. Social media has had a profound influence on communication globally, by enabling person-to-person exchanges on an unprecedented scale in human history. Today, people from across the globe, most of who don’t even know each other personally, are able to communicate with one another instantly, and with much ease. Interesting! Isn’t it?

A notable aspect of social media is the existence of “virtual communities,” which are groups of people coming together, under a common affiliation or agenda. For example, old boys and girls of academic institutions re-uniting under the institution’s banner, or like-minded people coming together to champion causes of common concern like charity, and addressing other social issues. They are “virtual communities” because they exist in space, since their members are actually long distances apart from each other in the real world (this explains their virtual nature); yet are seemingly close to one another on the internet, able to interact and share information, just like other people who are together physically on ground (this defines their community status).

But like all other things, the internet is susceptible to being under-utilized, or outright abuse, and misuse. My concern today is under-utilization of the internet, although I must say that internet abuse and misuse are important areas of concern too. Should we under-utilize the internet, we risk losing a chance to tap into its full potential to accelerate our development process.

Ugandans are not using the internet meaningfully. The majority of us just use it for gossiping, and doing other petty things. I see this happen so much on Facebook and WhatsApp, which are the most popular social media platforms. Others simply use it to quarrel with and vent their anger at people, or trends they don’t like, usually of the government and particular public figures. This would be fine, only if these angry people went ahead to suggest workable solutions or plausible alternatives to the matters they complain about. Unfortunately, this is not done. Mere shouting and hurling insults isn’t developmental.

The internet has revolutionized communication in terms of speed, cost, and accuracy. This is way too valuable to ignore or squander. We should use it more productively to accelerate our development aspirations. It should be used it to exploit the available opportunities in knowledge acquisition and creation, thus harnessing our intellectual prowess. It is a vital resource for exploring and harnessing useful business contacts, markets and trade networks, consequently enabling technology transfer.