Archives

Meeting the Proof of Grace


In 1999, I was in university and at a bad place that year because choices I had made to save my life and future but the fall out was so major I left the circles I used to run with…the ‘Christian’ circles. Most people were certain that I did the wrong thing but thank God life has proven that I was right. However, this was all part of God’s plan. The people who stood by me were seemingly usual people and this made most of the Christians in my circle think I had walked away from the faith. To be honest, I almost did…but grace…

grace 2During this time, I met a guy; tall, goofy and totally off the charts. He could laugh at anything and make fun of anything but my God, he could drink. In fact, if you could drink more than him you were an off the charts drunk. It was different to knew someone so real as all my life these were the people I avoided because, ‘bad company corrupts good morals,’ and I wanted to remain ‘pure.’ He was a good friend and I needed to laugh and be happy in life so he became one of the guys I hang with.

I never know how he got into our college and how he lasted as long as he did. I didn’t even realise how far he was behind me as he was in so many of our outings when I was in fourth year I assumed he was a third year student. He was one of those people you just love to be around because they are real, are unashamed of their baggage or their weaknesses, and are totally content to be their real selves. The carefree and joyful way he lived his life was a direct contrast to how I lived mine yet Christ had come to give me freedom.

Fast forward to 2015; I walk into fellowship and there is a familiar guy standing by the tree but I don’t know from where. I go by two more times and it is comical. He says hi and identifies himself and I screamed (*hides*). Just imagine the sedate me, jumping around and screaming. Was this for real? I kept looking at him and looking away just to make sure I hadn’t lost my mind.

Over the months, he shared a story of God’s grace and intervention. He drank, his mother prayed, he drank and got in trouble, she prayed harder and he drank again. His friends panicked and he drank more, he lost work and he drank more, he flourished at work he drank, he woke up in strange places he still went back and drank. His mother prayed harder and he drank more. It was as if he had a death wish as big as his mother’s desire to see her son come to salvation.

IMG_20170908_150336.jpgOne day, tired and desperate his mother asked God what was wrong with her son. The response was mind blowing. This was the fight of his life and destiny! The fight for his destiny you ask? Yes! There was something about this man. What was so important about this life that darkness would do everything in its power to stop it? Who is this man and what is he capable of once connected to God? Despite days when she wanted to give up, his mother now knew that had to keep on praying for her son as his life depended on it and she shared this info with him hoping that the knowledge would help him want change in his life.

The short version is that after several near misses including cooling time in a police cell, God got a lasting hold of him and his life changed. Oh the change was on different scales. Some areas were instant but other weren’t. Some changes were lasting while others were full of battle and falling. Some were instant others were hard fought for.

timothy rebornThere were many challenges but it was clear that once God had a hold on him, He didn’t let go and once Reborn understood this he kept fighting to stand on the promises of God. He held on for dear life even as many times he fell flat on his face in the effort. This paid off and he remains a refreshing personality who listens intently, laughs easily, speaks from the heart and cares deeply. At the same time, he’s diametrically different in the ways that matter because the foundation, direction, driving force and purpose of his life have changed. Oh he is such a joy to watch. He is Timothy Reborn formally known as Stima.

timothy rebornHe is far from perfect but the very fact that he is in process is exciting. He is walking with God daily, sharing life with others, giving strength to others, defending those he is assigned to and opening opportunities for others to meet God and see what a full transformation looks like. His life is a reminder of several things:

  • God has a plan for each of us and it will not be thwarted no matter what.
  • God is determined that the plan with work and He will use us for He will.
  • No one is a write off where God is concerned He will move to ensure our salvation
  • Grace…oh grace…unmerited favour is real
  • No one is too far gone for God to reach
  • The plans of God can never be thwarted by darkness

I have better understanding that we are all here for a reason and the aggregate of our life experiences are to bring us to the place that we can produce a true expression of who God created us to be. We must not give up just because there are big challenges in and around our lives, rather we must determine to hold onto to the word of God over our lives. Let us hold on because there is proof of grace all around and in us.

Never give up on the grace of God…He is present for all around us.

Goliath Must Die


IMG_20170910_082514.jpgOften the story of David and Goliath ends when the giant is dead. That’s Goliath’s end but David’s beginning of more responsibility, more challenges and opportunity to grow into the man God Himself defined as a man after His own heart.

I can no longer just ask God to deal with the giants I face. I must ask Him to prepare me for the growth that’s coming because trouble is training and battles are blessings. After all, sonship requires responsibility!!!

#RedefineMe #KingsVision

By Tibaga Talitwala Gacheru

********************************

The end of Goliath was the beginning of more for David…Wow!

I had never really thought about it that way. We read the story and skip on to the victories never once thinking deeply about some things. (Dear Lord, I really need to see as you see.) In this season when we are talking about change coming and taking our position to be of an influence it is so easy to focus on the change and be unprepared for the responsibility that comes with that change. It is easier to desire the victory and ask for God to speed up the ‘trouble’ and ‘battle’ yet that is the heart of the preparation ground for the next level.

One scenario I can imagine of David in the fields is looking after the sheep and loving the freedom it gives him to be away from his older brothers. This was time out from being sent all over the place and peace of mind from being alone. In time I see him wondering about the future and where he would end up. In time he would think of his brothers who were able to go and fight for the nation because he was there to take care of the sheep.

I can imagine him unsure if his father would allow him to get out of the fields one day and if he did when would that happen. How would it happen? Would a servant be appointed to replace him? If a servant was appointed would he take as good care of the sheep as he (David) did? Would the servant be content? So many questions…no answers

IMG_20170910_082431.jpgThe second scenario that comes to mind is; was he antsy about being in the background? Did he have a sense in that he was created for more than taking care of sheep? Was he bored of being out in the fields alone with animals? Did he want so desperately that he was actively looking for people to take over?

I guess we will never know.

The thing I see more clearly is that God had a plan and was at work in David. He knew the skills David would need for the next phase. He knew the grace, patience and resilience he needed. God knew that the main thing that could keep David grounded was a deep relationship with Him so He created an opportunity for David to do just that. He honed David’s love for Him and the gift of song as a place of deep communion and strength. He taught him love and compassion, honesty and dedication as well as precision skills. He honed skills in the desert, built his faith, and built depth of relationship with God.

David wasn’t lost out there rather; he was in a protected place and on a divine path. In the fields he learnt to deal with creatures larger than him so that Goliath wouldn’t be a challenge rather Goliath’s words would trigger his memory of God. He learnt obedience to authority. He knew what he could wear to be agile and what weapons he could use with ease. He discovered his reason for living…to honour God. he met and loved God, who gave him insight and success.

In short, David discovered all the skills he needed for his next level of assignment and laid a solid foundation for leadership in the hidden place.

  • What does God know about my path that he has allowed me to take a certain path?
  • What skills did I need that could only be birthed in the times of seclusion and on hard paths?
  • What level of faith and trust had to become an unshakable part of me so that the giants ahead would not shift me?
  • Have I cooperated or contended with God about the process? Am I cooperating or contending now?

Dear father, help me! Prepare me for the next leg of this journey. I have sought you for many things but not as deeply as I should for preparation for the next level. I choose today to connect and align with you that I may bring glory to your name. After all, it is all about, for and with you that I live my life. Amen.

IMG_20170910_081855.jpg

Still Small


I read a devotional by Father’s Heart Ministry on August 27th 2017 that got me thinking.

The Father says today; listen to My still, small voice. Your answers do not come from man. Seek the Spirit of Counsel that flows from My throne. My voice speaks constantly in the inner recesses of your spirit. My voice speaks constantly and never stops. As the light of the sun goes forth in every direction at once throughout ages and eons of time, it is My light that is shining down and bringing every good gift in your life.

IMG_20170810_181351I have been asking myself what that means and how do I apply it. In the last few weeks I have found it increasingly difficult to do things the usual way because I want more. I want deeper! I want clearer! You know that niggling desire for something different from the norm? That one! So I began asking myself, how does one REALLY know the voice of God?

Scripture is interesting because I find that God doesn’t have a standard way of speaking to people. He doesn’t have a standard operating procedure, a modus operandi and even speaks to the same person in different ways. When I look around me, the same is true; God speaks to each one differently in ways that are relatable to each.

Moses was born Israelite but raised in Pharaohs palace as the son of the princess, exposed to Egyptian culture and wisdom until one day he learnt about his true heritage. He tried to connect with his people but they didn’t recognise him and he ended up in the back side of the desert. This was all part of God’s plan.

Moses encountered God at the burning bush; can you imagine a bush on fire that is not consumed? Can you imagine hearing a voice out of the fire say, ‘Take off your sandals for you are standing on holy ground?’ This encounter led to a life lived following the voice of God and producing the fulfilment of the word of God.

Joseph connected with God through a series of dreams to start followed by favour then interpretations for other’s dreams that came true. The instructions He received and lived out led to the salvation of Egypt and Israel according to God’s plan.

Ruth the Moabitess, had a witness in her spirit that she needed to remain with Naomi no matter what and she followed it. Her obedience led to her being a model of obedience, favour and salvation and a place in the genealogy of Christ.

Saul later Paul was going about his business heading to arrest some followers of Christ when he saw  and was blinded by a bright light. He had a life changing conversation with God that shifted him from persecutor to apostle to the gentiles; a total change of direction.

Ananias was doing his thing when he had a dream and contended with God about the cleanliness of food before God explained that he needed to go and meet the man who was the greatest threat to his survival; Saul. Once he understood God’s perspective, he obeyed unconditionally.

The beauty of these encounters is that each person continued walking with God into a deeper relationship afterwards. They didn’t have one time conversations and success, rather they had life changing encounters.

IMG_20170804_164720I am a little fascinated by Ruth. Her story is full of surprises and blessings but Naomi is a consistent source of teaching and understanding. Yet beyond that, I believe she wasn’t just an obedient young lady who followed instruction. She developed a relationship with this God of Israel who chose her and it gave her balance and strength.

Even though there is no record of her personal conversations with God, I believe that she had a deep relationship with Him. I think of the hours she spent gleaning silently in the fields; could she have spent the time in deep contemplation asking God questions about her life and the teachings received from Naomi that eventually drew her into a deeper understanding of Him? I think so.

In several conversations in the past few weeks, people asked how to know the voice of God and I realised, indeed His voice remains ‘the still small voice.’ He doesn’t always shout, though he can if He chooses. Yet I have found that one doesn’t automatically hear His voice; that’s a fact. If we all heard Him clearly like the people mentioned above our lives would be different; more productive and a greater honour to Him and therefore the world would be different.

  • Hearing God is learned. Hearing Him takes time.
  • Hearing God is a combination of being still in his presence, reading scripture, listening to exposition of His word, worship and conversations with His people.
  • Hearing God comes with practise and consistency.
  • Hearing God comes with a deep desire for Him that translates into a deeper relationship with Him.
  • Hearing God comes at a price; there are things we will have to give up to know Him more

I am willing to pay the price of drawing closer to Him that I may understand Him deeper; are you?

 

That place…


IMG_20170810_181058

Have you come up against obstacles and walls and don’t know how to overcome them? Have you felt stuck in dark alleys, in the sunshine, in the rain, in the mud and don’t how to get out of there? What was your default response? What were you greatest fears? What was your source of help? Where did you reach out for help?

I have been in all these places. I have been stuck on the same plateaus for a long time, wanting more not always knowing how to get to the next point. It got me thinking about Christ; fully God and fully man all in one. Yet he remained steadfast in his assignment…he never shifted no matter what. It got me wondering…

IMG_20170810_164450Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming to the likeness of man. And…He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him… Phillipians 2:5-11

He remained steadfast, unmoved, committed to God no matter what and in the end conquered His path. Then I wondered if there were others who were unmovable in their pursuit of God relentlessly.

Esther! Esther stands out. Life had suddenly changed from easy and comfortable with the order to put her people to death and Mordecai telling her that God could raise a saviour for his people from elsewhere if she didn’t set up. Where did the comfort go? Why the sudden change of affairs? Hadn’t she already been through too much?

I imagine her sitting in her chambers wondering what to do. How could she make a difference for her people? How could she fulfil her destiny without losing a grip on her life and the comforts she had? Would the revelation of her identity compromise her position as queen? Until that moment, very few people knew she was Hebrew but now she had a choice; to stand for God and her people or let her people die.

IMG_20170810_181036I like her response. Once she realised she couldn’t do this alone, she called three days of prayer and fasting to really hear the heart and mind of God. This happened when she realised that in her current state she couldn’t do anything; she had to go deeper; her inner place, the secret place. I believe she knew this place from before and sought the face of God before.

I see her asking God, how do I honour you? How do I showcase your life? How do I remain true to your calling for me? How do I stand for my people; your people? Please show me how to do this.

This focus on the secret place bore great fruit…it brought face to face with God, His goodness, His mind. She received clear direction on how to bring His plan to pass; she understood that only He could make it all work out and it did.

Daniel was known for seeking God regardless of the possible consequences. He faced death because he determined to walk with God as His permanent anchor. He was so set on knowing the heart and mind of God that nothing could stop him, not even the threat of death. He was the wisest, most respected man in the kingdom and in the end, his God was declared the One True God. Daniel daily, multiple times a day, spent time with God in his secret place.

The secret place is all about God; finding Him, His heart and mind, going deeper, getting closer, being changed every moment. It is about continuously calibrating one’s life to God’s plan and purpose. It is all about God and God alone. As we spend time with Him we lose the attachment to all things that fail or are perishing and want more and more of Him.

We receive instruction, confidence and strength to be all He has revealed about us then are enabled to live fully for Him. All this happens in the secret place of intimacy with Him.

  • Intimacy with God is in the secret place, the inner chamber.
  • Intimacy with God opens the door to the Impossible.
  • Intimacy with God is the only way to do this life.

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is righteous because I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent. John 5:30

No More Distractions


In my last post ‘Different With Reason’ I shared about my left ring finger and how it was a real sore spot for me. I initially thought it was ugly until by God’s grace and mercy, I learned to love it as a sign of how special I was and still am.

Something has since come to me; had I been focusing on the wrong thing all along? Did others really think the things I thought about my finger? Should I have been so focused on this one thing? So I waited for responses to the post wondering what they would be like. Would they confirm that people thought it hideous or that no one ever noticed it? well, no one thought it was ugly (at least those who have commented) instead, most had never seen it and the one who had knew it was a result of injury.

IMG_20170819_114403As I thought about it over and over I realised there was a lesson in the responses. One response really hit the spot and opened my eyes;

…thanks for sharing dearest friend. Can you imagine in all those years I never noticed or knew? Just goes to say that who you are, your personality, your traits and your inner self struck me a lot more…NK

This is from someone I have known since primary school. Here I was sweating how this finger looked yet it didn’t matter to people; in fact, they didn’t even notice or think about it. How crazy that this really big thing in my life was nothing to the rest of the world. How much time had I lost thinking about and hiding it from people who were totally unaware of it? Where else could I have focused my energy? My! I was floored.

img_20151231_162239.jpgAnother response that caught my attention said:

I never knew the story behind the curved nail; all I knew was you must have gotten injured…it’s beautiful and a part of what makes you, you…SW

How could it be? What else have I been stuck about in my life? What else has me grounded that should have just been a part of my day and life? How do I recognise the things that are really important and deal with them and work through the rest? What could I have done with all the energy spent on worrying what people thought about my finger and all the energy spent on insecurity?

It all came back to two things FOCUS and PROCESS.

What should I focus on? To start, there is good in every situation. Second, there are lessons to learn in every challenge that comes my way. Third, there is growth in every victory and celebration.

Then there is the process. How should I proceed? I must learn to tap into God all the time and understand things from His perspective. This means I have to ask God moment by moment what things mean never deciding in my head that something is good or bad.

It is by His plan that I have walked this road and come to this point at this point in time. I must be able to stop and learn a lesson and move on.

Today I decide that no matter what I trust His plan and will walk in His direction only. I will seek to know and understand His position about today and then bring Him praise now and forever more.

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. Rom 8:28

Different With Reason.


There was once a little girl just eighteen months old the youngest of three siblings. She loved following her brother because it was fun though she could hardly keep up with him yet that didn’t stop her and she did her best to keep up.

One day, as her siblings played outside, the neighbour’s dog crossed the fence and came chasing after them. As all children do, they took off as fast as their little feet could carry them towards the house. It wasn’t really that far but for these two little ones it seemed like miles. Two sets of feet slapping the ground, hearts in their throats and screaming in terror as this big, scary dog gained ground on them.

In the nick of time, they reached the door slid in and slammed it in the face of the dog to a yelp as the slid into the door unable to fully stop. They couldn’t catch their breath before a high pitched scream came from behind them followed by gut wrenching cries of pain. The nanny turned from the fridge…oh God! Sweetie’s finger was caught between the door and the frame on the hinge side and blood was pooling on the floor at the joint.

She quickly opened the door and freed the finger to find the bone was splintered and the top part of her finger was mostly severed. Nanny ran upstairs with sweetie in her arms to administer first aid and call for help. Sweetie cried her little heart out and only exhaustion stopped her incessant wailing as they waited for help to arrive.

Her finger healed over time but she was left with one strange looking finger for life.

************************

IMG_20151231_162122This is the story of my life and my ring finger is totally different from the rest and I kept it hidden for a long time. Many of my classmates and acquaintances when I was younger never saw it because I kept my fingers clasped or folded my arms folded to keep the ‘offending’ finger hidden.

It took a long time for me to accept this finger. The doctor who treated me didn’t even expect me to have a nail but a curved one grew. I had a thick scab on the palm side that started softening when I turned 13 and eventually faded when I was in high school. In the end my finger is a good centimetre shorter than its counterpart on the right hand.

When I was in campus, I found a solution; I bought a silver ring. Now instead of noticing my finger people saw the ring and I gained confidence. This uncertainty changed when a dear friend saw my finger and he couldn’t get over it. I tried to hide it but he held my hand and looked at it turning my hand over again and again; even he ring could not distract him. Each time I tried to hide it, he held my hand open. He would look at my finger often and when I asked what he saw he said beauty. This attention changed my perception of my finger; it was slowly becoming beautiful, a gift, an expression of love…God’s love.

IMG_20170819_114345I have learnt to love this strange finger and understand it is indeed beautiful. When I have a manicure done I have to give precise instructions on how to put the polish so that it doesn’t peel or look uneven. I couldn’t learn typing on the manual typewriters because of the shorter length but I have since found ways around this and a few other things.

This week I’ve looked at my left hand a lot and I have been struck once again by its beauty then realised…I am different. There is no one else in this world like me; my finger is living proof of this.  Nothing can make this finger ‘regular or normal’ but who says it has to  be? Nothing needs to be like the rest. It has value just as it is and so do I.

I am different from everyone around me BECAUSE God has a plan for me premised on all the ‘odd’ things He put into me. As I spend time with him and learn to see myself as He sees me, He will unlock the truth of all He sees in me and make Himself manifest on the face of the earth.

Acceptance of all that is in me is the door to freedom and real impact for God.

1 Oh Lord, you have searched me and know me; 2b You understand my thought afar off; 3 You comprehend my path…and are acquainted with all my ways; 11 For you formed my inward parts, You covered me in my mother’s womb;  17 How precious are your thoughts to me o God! how great the sum of them Ps 139

Perfecting My Faith


My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

God is perfecting my faith through opportunities that come with challenges. I used to think that was strange until I realise that challenges are often the best way to learn things. I found that when I got something easily I often forgot all the lessons shortly thereafter or it took a challenge to remember and actively live out the lesson. However, when the lesson was learnt in the midst of a challenge it remained front and centre and that made me a better person at the end of things.

IMG_20170810_181319Now, my responses to these challenges define the level and strength of my trust in God and His capacity to perfect those things that concern me. The things that concern Him about me are the things He has in His heart for me; the things He created me to do from before the foundations of the earth; His hopes and dreams for me. It is one thing to say that I trust Him but the truth of this trust is shown to me by my responses to His instructions.

In the beginning it was so hard; hard to understand that the challenges around me would really produce good in me; hard to understand how the pain could be helpful; hard to understand because I had these preconceived ideas what it meant to trust God and how He should work for me to prove His love. It was as if a part of me was being cut out without anaesthesia and if I was honest with myself, that part needed to go but it was all I knew.

I had to understand that I needed to persevere and move through the process with faith and grace, to be strong and courageous. This process must be anticipated and enjoyed because it would become part of my life for life. Let me explain. Each day is spent in close communication with God and is full of instructions and insights that I must live out. this means that each day has the capacity to be challenging if I try to bargain with and beg God to give me the breakthrough the way I want it.

I realised that I need to keep going, learn to hear His voice, trust the instruction and be faithful no matter what. I learnt that the breakthroughs wouldn’t come before my faith in Him was at the right place. I also found that that outcome was according to His plan and purpose and not my preconceived ideas. This is where it all became real. For so long I had this list of things I did to get His attention and blessing and even though many of these things were good, they soon became routine and removed the element of actively seeking God and relating with Him.

IMG_20170810_181036I found that my real intention was the things He would give me for keeping the rules and living right. I came to understand that I wouldn’t get very far if I didn’t find another way. So I asked for His help to shift my focus from His works to His heart and mind. I asked that my greater desire would be to know His mind about me and walk in it with confidence no matter what. Here is where school began.

I had to understand that I could never ever expect Him to work identically or give the same instruction and the only way to get here was to learn to fully #Trust God.

  • To Trust God is to rest totally in Him as He is our shelter and reliable help.
  • To trust God is to focus on His word and live it out no matter what.

This was the most interesting part to learn. You see, I had always thought I trusted Him but as we walked this new path, I realised my trust was in His hand. He was good as long as HE gave me certain things or when things worked in my favour  but when things didn’t workout as expected I would get flustered and worked up.

  • Could it be that this process was indeed the path to trust?
  • Could it be that if I just laid hold of the truth of God’s love and presence it would be well?
  • Could it be that trust was found in the process and on the other side of the process?
  • Could it be that there was a way I needed to think and thought patterns I needed to let go of?

So I begun the pursuit of understanding, looking for examples of people who lived their lives through challenges and found depth in God.

IMG_20160716_072642