THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Separating ourselves


I know I have been on about obedience and it only seems to get broader and broader in its reach. My walk has been increasingly excruciating because I am being forced to look at myself and deal with issues I would rather not have to face. We all know that change is not usually easy but the harder part is just getting on with things.

 So this weekend I had the greatest time of my life in a long time and I just cannot explain the refreshment and renewal I felt. I was with friends and loved ones and that was just a blast. However, it got me thinking about the path my life has taken and I realised that this path has taken me away from many people and into the lives of others.

 I was thinking about the friends I have lost touch with and wondered whose fault it was mine or theirs or it is just life. On the other hand I know the saying that to let something go is to keep it. So why does my heart feel so alone and lonely? Why do I long for certain relationships that may never be restored? How do I want to call some people so badly but I know I would not have anything to say? Did I just walk away out of personal choice or did I really need to walk away? Was the relationship real or did I imagine it all? These are some of the questions that are running through my mind.

 Ok, now I sound like I am pessimistic yet I am just reflective and wondering since I so often feel the sense of loss and wonder what happens. One of my friends mentioned that people are just like that and very busy so we all let things go and we never really look for each other hence we should just let them be and live life. If this is true, why do I feel the need to keep my relationships going and feel the loss when they don’t? With these feelings, I beg to differ as I now know that we look for the people who matter. This then means that if I have not looked for you for a while or you have not looked for me for a while than the level of importance on either end is not that high. Get it???? On the other hand there are people who are always there and always strong and stable so no one ever thinks they ever need support. These are the people who will eventually fall off the radar and when they surface the stuff that has happened seems impossible to have come from that person.

 Look around and notice who has been missing and consider them. I would not advocate for forced relationships. There are people who after a while we know are no longer of value or substance and are therefore going to be a bog down to have. Before you go about looking for people just because you have not seen them take time to talk to God about it and be sure that this is someone He desires you have a lasting relationship with. If God is silent maybe this is a person who needs more time before you reach out.

 When you think of someone or miss them, please call them, text them or inbox them. They could be in the midst of a very hard time in life and need some encouragement or they could have just the word you need to hear that would totally change the way you live today. You never know who needs you to reach out and there is great impact you can have. You are the angel or the warm person and heart that God can use to minister his grace and peace to others. Do not let the opportunity pass you by. Additionally, you never know who will change the course of your life with a simple word or contact so let you senses be alert and open to the people you need to connect with and make the difference.

 A great week of renewal and strengthening.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

PURPOSE


The last time I wrote I was talking about obedience and the impact it has. The more interesting one was the realisation that there is so much more that enhances obedience. Think of it this way, there has to be something that makes the demand for obedience worth the pursuit and allows you the time to keep everything on track. This is PURPOSE.

I am not talking about purpose in the usual sense it is used meaning the reason we are alive and the work we are called to do on this side of heaven. I am talking about purpose in the sense of taking a pre-determined position and sticking with it. This is even more interesting when we look at the place is stands out more in scripture.

We all know the story of Daniel and often we overlook the profound truths that lie in plain sight but we never truly see them. We all know the story…Nebuchadnezzar captured the nation of Israel and took them into captivity. He gave orders to have the young men of good looks and royal bearing be brought to him to be trained and fed well in preparation for his service. In the group was four Jewish young men namely Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. With Daniel in the lead they requested to be spared the goodies of the king’s table and given vegetables and water. This was because they had PURPOSED not to defile themselves with wine and food offered to other gods. They were tested and found to be superior in all ways to those who partook of the goodies. AMAZING……

There are many things to learn but I will only highlight the ones I found most profound.

They PURPOSED not to defile themselves. This was not a half-hearted easy decision to make. In the event they did not look better than the other young men the move could cost them and the head of the eunuch’s their lives. Yet despite all this they decided to do something different and nothing could dissuade them from the same. I said NOTHING could change their minds from the decision. They settled it in their hearts that this was a risk worth taking regardless of the consequences.

They REQUESTED to be excused. Even after deciding in their hearts they informed someone outside the circle who was unlikely to understand their stand. The head of the eunuch’s did not know better than to obey the orders of his mater. This coupled with the fact that there were such delicacies he could not wrap his mind around the fact that these young men did not want the goodies. The four men politely made their stand abundantly clear and were ready to stand up for what they believed.

The FOUND FAVOUR in the eyes of man. The head eunuch listened to them and considered his options. There was no natural reason for him to listen to the strange request from these four kids but he did and contemplated it and discussed scenarios with them…UNBELIEVABLE.

They were TESTED. The eunuch agreed to try this mad diet and see if they would actually survive and be what they believed they could be. Ten days…shorter than a diet to begin to take concrete effect and they had it all down and ready. They were more handsome, brighter, fatter and generally in better shape. They passed with distinctions and were then allowed to stay on their preferred diet.

They found FAVOUR with God. God honoured their faithfulness with knowledge, skill, wisdom, understanding and the gift of interpretation. He raised them to a place of prominence that would have been impossible to attain if they did not defer and focus on God and his will.

This got me thinking…if it was me in that scenario what would I do? I am wondering because God is working on me and pushing me to do things for him that I at times find ridiculous and not the way I want it to go. Then I am reminded of different things like:

It is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith

Without faith it is impossible to please God

I cannot achieve great things for God if I am not willing to do radical things and hold onto His word over me and my life. Purpose in this sense then is brought to pass when we have a clear vision on what we are called to be and achieve in this life and make the rest of our days meaningful. What is it that I must purpose to do that I may never be cast out of the presence of Jehovah? The task or act we are called to will vary from person to person depending on our destiny. Each of us has a task to accomplish and so we must buckle down and figure out the best way forward.

In this season of my life…I have purposed to follow Jehovah with all that is in me despite the surrounding situation and the slow pace that things may unfold. I have learned that disobedience is born of an over-active self that will eventually lead me down the wrong path. I wonder what your need to purpose in your to do that your destiny may be released upon you. I have purposed to:

Have a consistent time with my father and king on a daily basis regardless on the circumstance.

Die to self daily moment by moment that I may hear the voice of the Lord clearly

What do you need to do to make the changes in your life… Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Stand firm and do not waiver even when everyone is changing course. I am reminded of the words of a song by Cece Winans…alabaster box. She says “…you weren’t there the night that Jesus found me; you did not feel what I felt when he wrapped his arm around me…you don’t know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box.”

I believe that when we focus totally on God and his will for us, the world will stop and take notice and make room for us.

What do you need to purpose to do with his call on your life?

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

OBEDIENCE:


These last few weeks I have been working through the whole lesson of obedience. There are things in my life that I have needed to do but have not had the guts to do yet despite the fact that I know there are far-reaching effects of not doing them. I know you know what I am talking about when I say that often it is harder to do the things we know we should do. Even Paul said “The things I want to do, I do not but those I do not want to do, I do.”

You see, for as long as I know what I need to do and do not do it I live in disobedience to my Lord. However, being as human as I am and working with what I have, leaves me often sorely incompetent to achieve the desired goal and fearful to no end. I struggle with doing things that will alienate me from people more because I don’t want to carry the weight of a broken or bruised relationship. How ironic, because doing nothing hurts me and leaves me unable to be the kind of person I need to be. Catch 22 huh?

As I have thought through things I have realised that the greatest motivator not to do anything is FEAR. When we need to put in a resignation letter fear of the next step makes us sit on it. When we need to leave a relationship that is not working fear of rejection and/or loneliness keeps us in it. When we need to start a business fear of failure keeps us in employment. When we need to take the next step in our walk with Jehovah and it is a strange one fear of the loss of control makes us do nothing.

I had to overcome the fear of following Jehovah recently by doing his bidding unconditionally. The thing I could not explain is that I was petrified. The strangest thing was the desperate fear that letting go would make me fall flat on my face. Ok, I know God loves me and wants the best for me but at this point I could not bring myself to do what I needed to do. After a lot of soul-searching I realised that I had lost my faith and trust in God’s ability to sort me out and was depending on myself for solutions. So I asked myself, when did I lose this ability to trust? What happened to me and where did it happen?

I believe it all started I begun working with my hands and I learnt to provide for my needs. Isn’t it ironic that I say I was providing yet I wasn’t the one providing but it was Jehovah and I had just lost perspective? In the scheme of things opportunities opened up and after a while I lost the conscious remembrance that it is He who creates options then I find and fill. The loss of faith and trust begun with a subtle move from the extraordinary to the ordinary of just being able to put food on the table and make ends meet. In all honesty these provisions did not make up for the loss of a light and airy heart yet it never occurred to me that I had shifted my focus hence the stagnation. I had forgotten the freedom found in being in the centre of the will of Jehovah.

So, what did I do? I got to a place where my life wasn’t working as it needed to and I could only nothing on my own any more. In view of this I spent time sitting back and chilling learning to slow down and listen to the world around me. I found stillness in the quiet place and after I had sat still for a couple of days I begun to hear the birds chirping, the crickets creaking, the children laughing in school and many other things. It is strange…no surreal; to be in a place all by myself and be so at peace and in tune with nature…I must admit I am still developing that part. In the middle of this I turned back to Jehovah and asked him to speak to me and show me the way. His answer was strange ever so strange. He said, “You are standing in the way of your own destiny…you know what I have been asking you to do. Do it and then come back.” Only a father can say that to a child and it was the reality for me.

What I needed to do was hard and heartrending but seeing that I had no other way out I did what he had asked me to do and it was amazing. I can say that everyday from then a new step has been revealed and I am back to a place I cannot remember being for a while now. I love this place and realise that my destiny and peace in my life is pegged on my ability to listen and obey. I cannot say it is easy to follow everyday but the benefits and peace that comes with it makes I worth it. I love Jehovah and will do all I can to stay close to him

Just today I was reminded that the only way to be all I am called to be I must make obedience a lifestyle. So often we talk about the lifestyle of worship and never of obedience. My life has changed and I am free.

Obedience has set me free…how about you?

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How Well Do You Know Your Partner?


For many years, I have pondered on this question and heard it asked repeatedly by countless others. How well do we really know the people we are married or committed to?

 When we get married we have big dreams of how well we will be, how long we will be together and all the mountains we will move and the good we will do for the world. It is great for the first year or two, maybe less for some of us. We are so sure of these achievements in the near future then we face reality and we are shocked. We begin to fret about this and that. It could be the toilet seat left up, the way we squeeze the toothpaste, our levels of neatness or the lack thereof, or a plethora of other things.

 These days we choose our mates and there are many things we may not look at that our ancestors considered when they were selecting mates for their children.  It makes me wonder if there are things that we miss in this state.

 My suggestion is to solve these issues before they come. there are things I have found that would add to make life better and I have listed some.

 Spend time together. Time together in this instance is defined as undivided attention to each other. Put off the TV, get away from all distractions and just talk to each other. If this is not easy, start in small doses. Say 30 minutes a week. Talk about work, life, goals, ambitions, and anything else of interest. Keep a journal of your decisions that you can come back to them and hold each other accountable. It doesn’t have to be long prose but can just be bullet items on a page of an A5 notebook or whatever size you are comfortable with.

 Do something your partner loves. Find middle ground and try to understand the things they love. watch a game of football, watch a chic flick, go to the garage, help with dishes… being selfless will earn you respect and trust. When was the last time you did something that is your partner wanted to do with a clean open heart? Not grudgingly but joyfully. It doesn’t come in a day but acts like this will serve to bring you closer. Try it

 Be accountable. Join a community that you can trust, tell them about your agreements and goals and be held to task. There will be cloud of witnesses and this will make the difference. It will also allow for a safe place to talk about testy and touching issues. We achieve more when we are held to account and our progress is checked. This is not a school teacher approach rather it is a friendly honest watch like a cheering squad. They will celebrate with you when you win and comfort you when things don’t work out.

 Spend time with either family. How much time did you spend with your partner and their family before you committed to this relationship? Now most of us who are choosing our mates do not think this is important but I have learned that it is of the essence. Spend time with the family with and without your spouse. When you do this you will see how they as a family. How he treats and responds to his mother will reflect how he will treat his wife. How she treats and responds to her father will tell you how she will treat her husband. We do not have to be clones of where we are brought up but it has an effect on us. We are so much more like our families than we may  admit and often these similarities are hidden by the changes brought about  by education and urbanisation. We adopt behaviour and character traits from our families and may need to adjust and adopt new ones to make our family work.

 The gravity of marriage changes our reactions to things. If your wife was superwoman before and seems to crumble under the pressure of being a mother stop and ask her what has happened. If your husband has become distant after the birth of your child stop and ask him why.

 Guys, giving birth and being the source of nourishment for a child and on call 24 hours a day can make the most patient and strong woman unpredictable. Add the fact that her body is bent out of shape and her self-esteem is bruised by that. Then add the tonnes of visitors, the help, the first time experiences….it is a daunting task.

 Ladies, remember this guy had your undivided attention and he knew he was the center of your universe before baby comes Well, how do you think he feels when there is a little one who only has to whimper and anything you were doing stops and you go to the child. Couple all this with the pressures of life and if you had never truly bonded and discovered them earlier this will be crisis time.

 Whether you are in or out there is room for thought and the recognition that we are learning and growing daily and we will need to understand and be patient with each other to make our relationships work.

 Where are you today and how can you make your relationship better???

The Simple Life

A moment among the suffering


I have just visited a hospital. Strange to say but this is a very interesting place to be. Ok, it is sad that we are there because we are either sick or bringing someone sick. All the same it is interesting to watch people. The hospital I visited is a small one about 2km outside the central business district. It is in a well populated area south of Nairobi and is very pocket friendly. It is a forty-five bed hospital with excellent services. I know because I have actually been admitted here and spent almost a week with great care. Additionally, it is the recommended hospital for several insurance providers so there are many different people around.

I will call her Jane, is an elderly lady walking with a bit of a limp escorted by an elderly man I have decided is her husband and a younger lady who is her daughter by my assumption. She looks well for her age that I will guess is about seventy. There is nothing to tell me what she is going through but I know that there is something cooking since she is sent to have lab tests.

In the other corner is a lady of Semitic origin with her daughter. They are drinking pre-packed juice. I have always been mesmerised by their colourful long outfits that they so carefully match with their headgear. It is so interesting to be so colourful and beautiful at the same time. The doctor walks in and stares when he realises she is drinking juice and just laughs and walks away. My guess is that she is diabetic and they needed to do a blood sugar test and this will just blow it out of the roof.

There is also a gentleman from one of the local water supplies companies. He is impeccably dressed in a white branded shirt and a dark blue trouser. Coming to think of it he didn’t look sick then again, we do not wear sickness on our sleeves do we? He sits there and walks out often to go only God knows where so when his turn comes he is not there. Eventually he gets to tell of the nurse that he had been waiting and people who came after him have been seen and gone. How easily we forget that if we do not stay where we are supposed to stay our opportunities can pass us by.

Then there is…let’s call him John. He is a lab technician who has a seemingly know it all attitude. He determines that he needs to get another adult to hold my son down for the drawing of blood as though he is a maniac. It is interesting that everyone seems to find that they know the way children react. No one seems to expect children to be different. There is a general saying I am getting tired of hearing that goes like “That is normal with kids.” The funny thing is that I am on a very different plane. Everyone one seems to accept sickness and struggle as the norm but I refuse to do so. The more interesting part of this discussion came later in the day when I visited some friends and when they realised my son was sick they said this is normal. I remember one of my teachers saying that we need to dissociate with things out loud that the world would know where we stand. His actual words were “A silent Christian is a weak Christian.” It has taken me a while but I now am able to declare what I believe wherever I am and not bother what people say about it.

Sitting in hospital I realised just how much we have that can change the way our lives are going. It is so hard to be different yet when it starts coming to pass it is the best thing that can every happen to someone. It is the most liberating place I have ever been. The one thing I learnt from sitting in the hospital waiting room is that we go through life right next to each other and rarely learn much about each other. It is a lonely world out there and all we do is speculate on the things that make us who we are and often blame those that have gone wrong on others. For instance, if you had diabetes why would you drink a soda or juice just before a blood sugar test? If you really want to be seen by the doctor, shouldn’t you keep around the waiting room till your turn comes? When serving young patients shouldn’t one ask the parent or guardian in attendance how the child responds to these things rather than expect the usual reaction despite the 90% chance that the reaction will actually be the same….

My simple thoughts…