Monthly Archives: September 2013

Words that have changed my life


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Ps 52:8-9

 

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;

I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
I will praise You forever,
Because You have done it;
And in the presence of Your saints
I will wait on Your name, for it is good.

 

 

 

Ps 53:6

 

Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When God brings back the captivity of His people,
Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

 

 

 

Ps 54:4-7

Behold, God is my helper;

The Lord is with those who uphold my life.
He will repay my enemies for their evil.
Cut them off in Your truth.

 

I will freely sacrifice to You;
I will praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For He has delivered me out of all trouble;
And my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies.

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Life has changed me…


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The focus in Nairobi off late has been all about #Westgate and it has been so hard to get through every day. I have been glued to my sources of media and this is a new one for me. If I wasn’t on TV I was on Twitter, or Facebook or email. I have sat in many conversations and heard many things and there has been a distinct sense of loss and desperation in all of us regardless of where the person is or where they come from. Any past divisions I know about were discarded in a split second and replaced by concern, fear, terror, prayer and then patriotism. Yes, patriotism. As a nation we have grown in leaps and bounds since Saturday when it all. This afternoon when it all ended there was an almost palpable sigh of relief. I caught up with the story much later but somehow as the day had progressed I had innately sensed a change in the atmosphere as if the cloud had lifted. Indeed the cloud over the nation had lifted and our beloved nation was free again.

I am introspective and like to think deeply. Off late I have been challenged to learn from every situation so of course I have been reflecting on the things I have heard said and thought. There are indeed lessons I have gleaned from the happenings of the last few days. I have drawn key lessons for myself from discussions around me as follows:

  1. We choose our attitude. One profound statement I heard recently…”They sowed hate but love has conquered all.” We all had a choice to hate or love each other based on the happenings. In our case, we chose to love, share our blood, give life and money for the good of our beloved nation.
  2. We must have courage. “Do not faint for fear of what man can do.” This stood out for me. In my humble assessment Courage is the only way out. We cannot move forward or make progress without courage. Courage will give us the ability, interest and desire to move on and make life work for us.
  3. Faith is our anchor. Faith provides the basis for growth, stability and a strong future. My new reality is that we are nothing without Papa. Yes, I know, there are times when it seems like nothing will work. So I have learnt that even when things are hard and seemingly out of control faith has to be the basis of my strength and ability to walk. “Even in hard times God stands.”
  4. Keep walking. There’s no retreat, there’s no surrender. We cannot make it to the end by giving up and looking back. We must keep walking tall and with confidence even when the path is not as clear as we would like. We must walk in trust based on our anchor of faith.
  5. Strategic preparation. We cannot keep our eyes on today and now. We cannot be reactive, we must be proactive. We must look ahead, focus on the future and all the possibilities of the same. Strategic thinking means that we must:
    1. Work through the issues of the past
    2. Focus on the future
    3. Be alert and walk with our eyes open
    4. Keep to our plans and agendas
    5. Avoid distractions and confusion
    6. Seek wisdom and clarity for implementation
    7. Seek out people who push us to the next level
    8. Build bridges
    9. Explore all options
    10. Never stop looking

purple flowers 9Simple things yet today they are as profound to me as if I never heard or thought them before. I have learnt a few things about myself. I learnt that I love my homeland, I love my people, I love the passion and heart of my people but most of all I love my God

Choices Challenged


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#Sunsetonmystoop

The last few weeks have forced me to be home each day by 445pm latest to meet my son after school. A couple of times I have literally made it by the skin of my teeth. There have been times when I wished I didn’t have all this responsibility and could just stay late in town and then come and sleep instead of have to get home early, cook clean and everything that goes with mother and wife hood.

This week has been close to brutal because of work but I have had to find strength in being me and doing things how I like them. A few things have made it worthwhile:
1. The little man now walks home from school on his own so no stress
2. The little man makes decisions with me on what to cook for dinner
3. Once in a while I get treated to ‘Rest a bit mama before you get up to cook’
4. The stillness and beauty of watching the sunset and taking photos

In all of this I do realise the fact that in life we have decisions to make and no situation is too hard to manage. I would never have believed that I would live without a nanny but this is now more than 30 days and I haven’t died or lost my mind (come close to it a couple of times but I have survived). I read a tweet that led me to a blog that I must share. The article is a Harvard Business Review Blog by Meredith Fineman called “Stop Complaining About How Busy You Are..

The basic synopsis is as follows:
1. Don’t use your level of involvement to appear better than the less busy people
2. Your level of importance doesn’t rise just because you’re always busy
3. Don’t forget that relationships are important and help ground us as humans
4. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
5. There’s nothing macho about long hours
6. Select work,assignments, commitments strategically

This got me thinking of how I will evaluate my life and gain increased perspective. After a lot of thought and introspection, I settled on several questions that I will call my ‘Choice Matrix’. I will ask the all the time to ensure my choices are adequate for me and those around me:
1. What is my life’s purpose?
2. What is of eternal value?
3. Where will I have the greatest impact?
4. How does this fit into the above?

The questions are a daily on going thing and I am determined not to do things just because people are doing them. I must be certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is what I must do even if I walk alone. Thankfully I have found that as I pursue this direction my life is realigning and people who can challenge me are locating me and walking with me.

What a lovely walk in life.

Amazed & Freed


These days music seems to be the greatest way for me to understand the goodness of God and express it too. I have found profound value in listening to Sinach and William McDowell. At times I wonder what they were going through when they wrote arranged and first presented these songs. I often wonder what each song really means to the writers, producers and ministers. You cannot be left the same when exposed to the depth of the songs and the clarity of expression…yawa…I stand in amazement and wonderment.

For a couple of posts I will look at different songs and just the thoughts they stir within me and the challenge the pose to me.

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I stand amazed: Sinach 

 

I stand amazed in your presence, There is nothing you cannot do

I stand amazed in your presence, There is joy peace and hope

 

There’s no one like you, Jesus. There’s no one like you, in all the earth

There’s no one like You, Jesus, There’s no one like you

 

You do mighty things, You do glorious things

You’re a faithful God, Awesome is your name

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I wonder what was going on in the heart of the songwriter when this song was written…was it the aftermath of a great loss? A miracle? Great success or just the realisation that in spite of and despite the things happening in life, God doesn’t change at all. It is a miracle. It brings things to mind that I never really thought about in the past. I understand in part the sense David had that Papa is bigger, stronger and greater than anything or anyone else. There is a very simple declaration “there is no one like You in all the earth.” I asked myself many questions:

1. Do I really believe that there indeed is no one like Jesus?

2. If I do believe the above then how has it changed my life?

3. Am I the best representation of Papa that I can be or do people wonder what kind of God is He if I am His child?

4. Do I believe He is Mighty, Faithful, Glorious, Awesome? How has this affected my belief system?

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Dear Papa. Draw me to you and show me how to connect to you for real and for life. I have days when the challenges of life become temporarily bigger than You and the clarity you have given me. In moments like these please hold my hand and draw me nearer to you and the clarity that you are God and you are the only one who can give me balance. You have a place in my life. I stand amazed.

Strength for each day


Every day I get up and decide to live the day in extreme confidence and faith in God.
Every day I get to the end of the day and look back to see the evidence of His hand.
This doesn’t mean that my day is easy or free of challenges.
It doesn’t mean that I never face doubt and fear.

It simply means that in the midst of all these situations I have found a place to lay my hand, head and heart. It’s a safe place, a warm place, a hard place. It is hard because I must lay aside my personal drama and focus on what is His word and not common practice.

Yet despite it all “I know in whom I have believed and M persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”

It is well and will remain well because I am connected to the light
I walk with confidence because I see through His eyes

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Possibilities Only Please


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We are in the midst of some really challenging projects that are taking a lot out of us. This week I was reminded afresh that I can decide how things around me go. I affect and accept what happens in my life and the lives of those around me.

Ok, let me explain. Have you ever realised that some people are perpetually up and others perpetually down? Ok, now think deeply of those two categories of people and ponder on how they speak and what they focus on. Think of how each person relates to life. Those who are up speak up and are positive and those who are down speak down and are negative.

So maybe you consider yourself positive, let’s test that:
– When you find traffic do you look at the traffic and say, we’ll be here for long or it will move soon?
– When you forget something do you say, I always forget stuff or goodness what happened today?
– When you find your self in a difficult spot, do you say, why me or what can I learn from this?
– Do you see problems or challenges?
What is your perspective on life?

Proverbs 23:7
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you,But his heart is not with you.”

This is scripture, has been cliche for me for so long but it has come full circle and now it means so much more to me. There are statements I have heard over the years that never made a true connection to my heart. Things like, ‘Your picture is your future’ – AWG

My thoughts, tongue and heart are very tightly interconnected…so deeply connected I have barely scratched the surface. Check thes out…….
Proverbs 18:21, Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Luke 6:45, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

These are simple, common verses that we know every day but how well do they resonate in our hearts. Maybe we just need reminders often, maybe we just forget. So I stopped to ponder and asked a few hard questions…..What is the state of my heart that drives my thoughts that comes out of my mouth? What do I need to deal with and watch out for that can change the course of my life?

This dealing has been hard at times but it has worked to make a better person out of me. So I am aligning my heart, thoughts and words. I have set up a mental police post that stands guard before words leave my mouth. It also constantly judges the thoughts in my head. I have set up a heart monitor to regulate the feelings, motives and intentions. I have asked the Creator of all to come and stand guard and deal with my inner being.

I am not perfect, I am not blameless. However I have made progress and moved closer to the prize set out for me. I found grace, peace and hope. I have found family to walk with. I have found relief from extreme expectations. I have found deep gut wrenching honesty with myself.

One thing I know for sure now……that which was impossible is now possible. Possibilities are limitless. Possibility and productivity are now guaranteed. I will make it and bring glory to Papa. That is the reason I live…to bring Him glory.

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The Real Deal & Not a Loyalty Card


Loyalty cards have become an important part of shopping these days because they accrue benefits. The common system here is that for every Kshs 100 you get a point that you can redeem for shopping at a later date. I know people who have cards for every supermarket possible just in case they need to shop. In some respects it has become a must have for many of us and hence we become dedicated to these outlets.

Our loyalty is driven by the expected reward for special offers and the opportunity to redeem the points earned for cash or even school fees later. I realised that this developed an elevated sense of expectation and sense of entitlement with it. So I began looking for other areas in my life that I had developed the same attitude. You can imagine my shock when I found that attitude in my walk with Papa.

When I looked around I found so many interesting thought processes. I found that in some ways my faith was defined by what I didn’t do, say or go and another set of things I did, said and went. I had reduced being a follower of Christ to actions and avoidance. Surely, if that is the extent of my faith it was simple legalism. Ouch!!!! It was clear that over the years I associated the provision of God to an action or behaviour. If that was true then why had my peers made better progress than me and moved ahead? This led to questions like what is wrong with me? What haven’t I done? What did they do? Where did they go right and I go wrong?

This was my subconscious mindset. And it took so long for me to realise this error in my thinking. Suddenly I understood the discontent I had been feeling and could begin to deal with it. In the process, Papa slowly unwrapped some key things for me as follows:

  1. True salvation is not a smart card or loyalty card system. I don’t earn points or bonuses for good behaviour or deeds
  2. No one is inherently good only Papa can make us good
  3. Papa responds several things:
    1. My lifestyle – this is the real me, the me in private not public
    2. A deep desire and pursuit of His face, heart and will
    3. Papa wants us to pour ourselves out for Him and His presence and that alone

Walking with God is so much more than going to church or fellowship; it is more than giving and evangelism even as these are important. I realised that doing all these doesn’t mean I have a real, true and deep relationship with Him. An outward display is totally useless if my heart is lost or disconnected.

I have learnt a few key things:

  • It’s a daily walk, constant communication and learning.
  • True salvation is a relationship with Papa that is fresh and daily and intense.
  • My faith is confirmed by close association with the brethren and great impact in the community.

Walk with me in intense fellowship with Papa.

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