THE CHRISTIAN WALK

There Is Indeed Time


This year has been and continues to be amazing and awe inspiring all rolled in one. Recently I learnt something from a friend and I sense the need to share it as a story.

Over the years, Chi has been a great source of encouragement to many. She has sent out messages and devotionals as instructed and many have been blessed including me. God has used her in ways that even she could never know because not everyone shares what they have learnt and how this connection to the Word has helped them grow. However, through the years there have been seasons when the list is totally stopped and a new one started. This hasn’t happened a few times, rather it has happened over and over and she has learnt to follow instruction. Often the recipients don’t realise there has been a shift until she stops sending the messages. Additionally, few ask what has happened or why the shift. Lol!!! It just struck me that you cannot ask why a shift has happened if you aren’t even aware it has happened.

I found this puzzling because of several things:

  1. She shared the word of God
  2. People were blessed and encouraged
  3. There is need for such circulation

However, understanding came slowly and deeply. I remembered the words of Solomon in Ecc 3:1-8 that say:

1To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.

We are custodians of the gifts God has given us that include life. So we must learn to live as such.

In this walk we call life we have all made choices to be busy and unavailable or flexible and able to make time. We find time to do many things from working (which is mandatory) to hanging out to reading, watching TV and many other things but we often say we don’t have enough time to spend searching out the Word and other writings or even listening to life changing messages. So we get used to receiving from others and the word of encouragement they have to send out. Sending out encouraging words isn’t bad in any way but let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that at times we get too lazy to seek out personal revelation because we have options to get it from somewhere else. We begin to rely on these other sources more and more and get less and less directly from the loving heart and arms of Papa himself.

Another angle struck me…how many of us have subscribed to one devotional or daily reading site? How many of us actually read the full content as it is sent and really interact with it and then compare it with the Word? Or do we just feel good to receive it, speed read it in the notion that at least there is some word getting into our souls and then rush out to the busyness that we call life? Is what we are receiving in the way of encouragement actually beneficial to us or are we just placating our consciences? (this also applies to all the other sites we have subscribe to for personal and professional growth…how many can you really need to read in a day?)

A few things struck me and stayed with me after that conversation and I am still mulling over them today:

  • Could it be that I am lying to myself about the amount of time have in a day when I say I don’t have time to delve deep into the Word of God yet I have time to watch different series and reality shows on telly, news, read papers and have extended coffee dates?
  • Could it be that I am abdicating my personal responsibility to dig deep into the Word and presence of God and seek understanding?
  • How many devotionals to I really need to subscribe to so that I will be able to read, interrogate, cross check and really apply in my life?
  • How can I create time in my day to get closer and deeper into the Word of God and the realities of the world He has created?
  • Am I relying on people so much that if they received an instruction from Papa to quit sending the information to me I would be unable to find it?

 

So I decided to take clear action and make personal progress every day. I chose baby steps daily, but steps all the same. My choices have majorly addressed the need to create time to listen to, read and connect to the word of God and messages from his servants. It involved:

  • Changing what I do in the car meaning what stations or messages I listen to and for how long.
  • Going through my online subscriptions and determining what adds value now with the knowledge I can change preferences later.
  • Assessing what I watch on TV and how much and making the needed adjustments.
  • Monitoring the amount of time spent on social media and the value I give while on and derive from others.

Every area of my life has had to come into sharp focus and changes been instituted. I have realised that it is a daily realignment of my actions to stay true to what in my new normal. Every day I am more aware of the hand of God at work in me and those around me and I am more fulfilled.

What do you have to do to move from where you are to where you know God wants you to be? Take just one step every day and life will never be the same.

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Acts 2:42

The Fellowship of the Believers ] They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

 

Photo courtesy of Umani Springs

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

#LessonsFrom….


I love reading, watching documentaries and listening to messages or talks. I have found that doing more of these things has increased my awareness and ability to learn, perceive and understand. Some lessons are three, others are twenty. The reason for this is really in the complexity, length and intensity of the article, documentary or message.

As a result of this, I will periodically put up posts called #LessonsFrom… If there’s something you’d like me to read and share….let me know.

😃….

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Photo from the web

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

A Different Walk….Part 2


So let’s recall the generation of people in Genesis 11. They were so self-serving that they wanted to be seen as the biggest, the best and the baddest…they sought recognition at all costs. Yet in the middle of this generation was a man who was separated and able to seek after God’s own heart. There was a remnant!! A person who would do what God says and so He begun to prepare for the next step that would save the generations.

Genesis 12 introduces us to Abram later called Abraham. He was one of the people in the generation of the Tower of Babel. He wasn’t an outsider or looking in…he was born into this family yet his heart heard God when He spoke to Him….

1Now the Lord said[a] to Abram, “Go from your country[b] and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Imagine what that meant to Abram…a God he didn’t know asked him to leave everything he knew for a place that he didn’t even know. Would you do that today? Imagine the level of madness that was attributed to him by all those around him. He was now the epitome of madness and strange behaviour. I can imagine the response of Sarai as she considered what he had said he heard and what that would mean for their lives. They would move about in tents, eat off the land and hopefully make a living…would they survive? Would they die? Would they find a place to live? Was this for rea? I can imagine the questions and uncertainty.

Yet Abram packed and left. Yes, he packed and left to follow that still small voice he heard in his heart. This was inspite and despite of the challenges. As I read and listened to the message I saw why he moved on despite the state of affairs. Abram understood that God had made a series of promises that would be the trigger for his new found faith and ability to keep moving.

  • And I will make of you a great nation,
  • I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
  •  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you
  • I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”[c]

 

Can you imagine this? He had a guarantee of blessings, greatness and influence as a result of the hand of God on his life. Isn’t that great? Abram was blessed and became Abraham and his walk with God did not end. It started when he was 70 and he was over ninety when God visited him again and again and gave him victory again and again. Genesis 17 outlines even greater dimensions of his relationship with God

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him,

  • “I am God Almighty;[a] walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 
  • “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
  • No longer shall your name be called Abram,[b] but your name shall be Abraham,[c] 
  • I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
  • I will make you exceedingly fruitful,
  • I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 
  • I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
  •  I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession,
  • I will be their God.”

Abraham lived and walked in faith with God. He had a deep, comfortable relationship that allowed him to ask questions, deal with his doubts and fears and still remain a man after God’s heart. Abraham had never known God before the day he was told to leave and go to a land that he would tell him. He didn’t have a Bible to read to tell him about this God. He didn’t attend church or Sunday school. He didn’t have message tapes to listen to or even a congregation to support him…all he had was God. All he knew was his conversations with God.

So this got me thinking about how we struggle with doing exactly what God has said even when we have the bible to tell us the stories of the lives of people who have walked with God and all the things He has done in, with, through and for them. His life radically changed and his blessings radically grew yet he sought the heart of God more than he sought the hand of God. I begun to ask questions of my life:

  • Do I plan my life myself or do I seek direction from God?
  • Do I credit my growth to me or God’s leading?
  • What do I focus? What drives me?
  • What do I hold onto? What is my anchor?

In that moment I realised that I have no excuse for walking in fear or doubt. No excuse!! The only way to finding greater and greater depth in life is by listening closer to the voice of God and spending time in the word.

What have you learnt in your walk? Where are you going in this life?

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

A Different Walk…Part 1


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This week I have been listening to messages about the life we are called to as Christians. The messages have triggered many thoughts in my mind and I will indeed share them in bits so that we will make great assessments of the texts and lessons to be learnt…

The first thoughts I will share are based on reading Genesis. In Genesis I found an example of faith that I had never really seen. I have read this scripture over and over but I have never seen the things I was seeing now. In Genesis chapter 11, the record of the tower babel is told.
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward,[a] they found a plain in Shinar[b]and settled there.
3 They said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They used brick instead of stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’

Key things:
• Used different materials from the norm – brick not stone; bitumen for mortar
• Put in greater longer effort – baked the bricks thoroughly
• United in purpose – build a city & a tower to the heavens
• Had a clear goal – to make a name for themselves, to stay together
• Unique characteristics – all spoke the same language

In the divine scheme of things the behaviour of this generation caused God grave concern. God in His wisdom knew what life would be out of hand if this people were left to remain one. They would work to become gods and He wouldn’t allow that. The thing I see too is that they pursued the things of this world and not the eternal. God in His mercy knew that this was not going to help the world as a whole so he dealt with it.
5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The LORD said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.’ 8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth,

Don’t mistake God’s actions for failure and inability. It can imagine what the world today would be like if we all thought alike and spoke the same language. Indeed there is a case for the thought that it would be a greater more connected world, yet it would be easy to be destructive and lead to great levels of manipulation. The differences put in by God was for the good of the people as they had to learn to understand each other and they could spread out so that the world would not be depleted.

I am beginning to understand that God is indeed in control and will do what He deems as necessary to get us to focus on him and to understand that He is in control whether we understand it all or not. As I sit here writing I realise a fresh that nothing will derail His plan for our lives except us. God has a plan but we are responsible for our response to Him and His plans for us. We can either do it His way or our way and each of them have consequences.

What are you doing today that will directly affect your life tomorrow?

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THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

It’s Inevitable…Adapt


I saw this devotional this morning and it blew me away and I needed to share it
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SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by MARSHA BURNS: 11.02.2014

Accept and embrace change as you do the seasons. The changes you face are inevitable whether you receive them with joy and expectation or with resistance and dread. Make it easy on yourself and be willing to move with My Spirit in freedom and fluidity. You can trust Me to cause everything to work together for your good. Let My glory be known in all you do, says the Lord.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose

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This was the devotional today and indeed it struck a raw nerve. There has been so much adjustments going on this year that at times it feels like it is June yet is only the 42nd day of the year. When we think of adjustments we often feel that because they are needed they are at times easy to achieve. The adjustments I have faced this year have all been good in the long run yet very hard to do. The thing I never really thought about or realised is that good adjustment can be painful.

When I was 3 years old I was swinging on the climbing frame (I hear these days it is called monkey bars in some places) and fell head first to the ground 3 feet away. In our kindergarten, the ground was tarmacked for ease of keeping the kids clean I think, you can now guess what side of Nairobi I grew up in :-). Anyway, the only visible injury was a cut on my third left finger.

Fast forward 9 years later and I was in all sorts of seemingly inexplicable back pain. I could hardly sit, stand, run or walk for long periods yet just a year before that I was an upcoming athlete. About the same time my mum injured her back and went to see a chiropractor for rehab. One day after I had had a particularly bad week, she spoke to her doctor and explained what I was going through. Bless her heart, the doctor asked to see me and see how she could be of assistance.

Lo and behold, when I was examined I had an unnatural curve in my spine just under my shoulder blades. This seemed to have been there for a while and we couldn’t immediately figure out the cause. About two weeks later I remembered the fall when I was 3 years old and mentioned it to mum who spoke immediately with the doctor. After much consultation it was determined that indeed the fall was the cause of this injury. Remember on the outside there was no visible sign of injury but on the inside it was different. My doctor explained that I was a child when I feel, my spine was flexible and it absorbed impact by curving. Had I been older, the fall would have resulted in spinal injury.

I was immediately started on treatment and it took 4 years of regular chiropractic treatment to get my back restored into normal alignment. Yes, four years of excruciating pain, pain killers, hot water bottles, high density foam mattresses, strange pillows or cushions, flat shoes, doctor’s appointments, limited travel, etc. I even had to figure how to reduce the load of books I carried. Anyone who went through the 8-4-4 system of education then understands how hard this was because we carried loads of books from a very broad syllabus.

The adjustment though painful was good for me in the end as I was able to lead a more normal life after that. I quickly learnt what would aggravate the situation and what would reduce the pain. I adapted my life and make the best of it and later all was well. The main source of the pain and discomfort was that the orientation of muscles had to be changed. The curve in my spine meant that some muscles were in over extended positions while others where in shortened positions. As the adjustments were made, the shorter ones had to stretch to their right position and boy wasn’t it painful. Whole muscle groups had to adjust and then be eased into permanent position by exercise and rest.

Yet despite all the pain there were significant benefits. I could now attend to my studies without much pain or discomfort, I was no longer flat footed, buying shoes was easier, my posture was fantastic so my vocal range improved, oh and the pain was gone. It was amazing when finally after four years of treatment my doctor said I was good only needed to come in once a year for review. I haven’t had to have a review in over 10 years now.

Today I realise that this isn’t very different from life. In this season God will call us to move up, out and over into places that are good for us and out of places that are detrimental to us. The movement will mean leaving things that were previously important behind and moving into new levels of understanding and importance. In order to be in the right place we must:
1. Accept and embrace change: be at peace with it.
2. Realise that the changes are inevitable: it will happen whether we like it or not
3. Relax and be easy on ourselves: allow the Holy Spirit to make us fluid
4. Trust God: HE has our best interests at heart

This is indeed a walk of faith for me because there are necessary changes going on that I must make and I have indeed been struggling with some of them. I am now more determined to stand aside and allow Papa to do His thing and make all things work together for my good.

Have a wonderful, logic defying season with Papa.