THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Lip Service? No Thanks


This week’s conversations have stopped me in my tracks because of the life’s reality.

First an acquaintance shared how they have not been paid for over six months and the approved budget from head office has an allocation for the coming months but nothing for the past ones. How now? Chatting with one of my young people I learnt that their parents have been downsized or have reduced hours and the family of five is trying to live less than I spend of vegetables. The final conversation was with someone who still has regular hours but has had a thirty five percent cut in their regular pay.

Question: how do these families afford to live? I do not know!!

Our current interventions are focused more on the adults, but the youth and children are in the middle of the fight of their life. Many of our younger folk have fewer skills for this season than the adults. Many adults have had to change direction and adjust but most of the young ones have never had to. We have trained them to expect a set action produces set outcomes from life, specific responses to set actions, yet now that isn’t working.

I finally paid attention when I heard one of my young ones ask how they would get something to eat every day. He was asking about the whole family, not just himself. He also mentioned seeing many of his peers become atheists because God has ‘failed’ them.

There was young girl on BBC the other day, talking about how life has changed. They still try to study together to keep on track but it is hard without the input of teachers and access to enough books. It is also hard to study because of the amount of housework they need to do every day. Another one said the pressure to keep reading at full steam even though their exams are moved to next year is tiring.

It is harder for the young ones than we think.

Could we do better to help them deal with the current situation and life in general? Have we sat together to talk about life in true colour? Have we shared the challenges we go through daily? Have we shown them how to adjust to the unexpected or to deepen their walk using meditation and processing? Have we taught them to think deeply and find solutions or are they waiting for directions from us?

On the other hand, could it be that many adults don’t even know how to adjust for changes or even prepare for the unexpected? Maybe we are the ones who need to re-calibrate first before our children and young people can learn to re-calibrate. I challenge you to dig deep and ask questions like, What is your strategy? What is your pattern of responding to life? Do you panic and pretend to be more than you are? Are you able to honestly say what is going on? Are you driven to hide the struggle by shame? Are you confident in God to make a way or are you doing it on your own?

The starting point is provided for us in Deuteronomy 11:18-20 

18 “Therefore you shall [a]lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,

This is an echo of Joshua 1:8-9…

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you[a] shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

We cannot teach something we are not.

God calls us to trust Him no matter the circumstance and to believe that everything will work out no matter what. Indeed, it was easier before, but God still remains the only hope and He will get us all through no matter how it looks.

If we haven’t learnt to lean into God, how do we teach our children to do the same? If I don’t believe He can move the mountain and walk with us, can I teach the children? How do I expect them to believe if my life is not proof of my walk with God? The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding in this case is the reality of walking with God in my life. It is in a shift in my behaviour, attitude, beliefs, responses. It is the clarity of how I deal with them and lead them into deep relationship with God as I make a difference in the marketplace where I am positioned.

Unless they see me live out the word with confidence, they won’t believe it is possible or even possible. If I do not teach and showcase meditation on the word and application, I cannot expect them to do the same. If we do not meditate and keep the word in sight, how can we be strong and of good courage? How are we unafraid or not dismayed if our hope is not grounded in God?

Lip service does not work with our children.

It is no longer enough to say you love God and follow Him. It is no longer enough to live a wishy-washy life. It is no longer possible to fake your faith as you stay with your children in close quarters. They see your reality. They see your faith or lack thereof. They understand the truth of who you are and will question it. They will see how you deal with people and follow suit. They will understand the truth of your life and work or the lack thereof.

This season is about deliberate action, deliberate connection, deliberate devotion and commitment. It is about living out our beliefs and values. It is about honest conversations and examples. Stop and have that conversation with the children and young people in your home and around you. Take time to share your life’s truth and the things that keep you on track.

It is time to be bare and brutal with the truth of life, that will allow them to thrive from today onwards.

Shalom.

Photo by 4TH FINGERSTUDIO on Pexels.com
The Simple Life

My One True Help


Do you understand?

Do you really understand?

Do you see me?

Do you hear what I am saying?

===================

Do you even know what my life is about?

Do you understand the call on my life?

Do you have an idea of the path?

Do you know how lonely it is?

===================

I thought walking with God is easy.

I thought it would be seamless

I assumed He would smooth it all

I expected it to be simple

===================

Oh, it is so hard

Oh it is so different

Only God has given me strength

Only He has opened the pathways

===================

I know I am different

I know I am peculiar

I know I am clearly out there

I know not the way

===================

My reality is God is in control

My confidence is in His word

My reliance is on His grace

My connection is to His power

===================

The loneliness and fear are fading

The sadness is raised into strength

The fatigue has built strength

The peace has come from hope

===================

I now know God is everything

I know there is a plan

I know nothing can stop me

I know I am covered

===================

I walk with hope in God

I sit with confidence in Him

I lay down in confidence

I rise with assurance

===================

Nothing will draw me from you

No one will make me doubt you

No drama will change my course

Nothing will stand in the way

===================

I fit my eyes on You Lord

The author and prefector of my faith

My hope and desire

My one true help and strength

===================

The Simple Life, Walking with God

Give Me Some Time


In my reading this week, I came across the children of Israel in the desert preparing for the Passover. God gave Moses the instructions involving cleansing and so he told the people the rules. Some of them were unclean because of handling a corpse but they wanted to participate so they went to Moses and asked him what they could do. They said to him. “We have become ritually unclean because of a corpse, but why should we be barred from bringing God’s offering along with other Israelites on the day set for Passover?”

I love this because they knew where they were, what they wanted and who to ask all the questions. They went to the only person they knew could sort things out with finality, Moses. One would expect that Moses with all the he knew about God would simply give opinions, but he did not do that. H simply said, “Give me some time; I’ll find out what God says in your circumstances.” Ex 9:8 (MSG).

I like the way the Message puts it…give me some time.

Moses did not even miss a beat, he did not try to appear to know more than he did, he simply went back to his pattern of talking to God. He knew that he could not answer anything he didn’t know, and he needed to consult with the One who knew all answers.

How many times do we wing it and say things that do not make sense just to sound knowledgeable? How often do we try to convince people we are good when we are not? How often do we give our children or the other young ones in our lives answers that aren’t truthful just because we are too scared to say we do not know?

There is no glory in faking it my friends and there is no shame in not knowing things.

I remember when we were growing up, we learnt by watching the adults around us that not knowing something was almost criminal so we could not ever say we did not know. The adults never admitted they didn’t know something rather they would change the topic or give some simple answer that didn’t really meet the need at hand. We learnt that they would not admit to not knowing and so many of us adopted the same modus operandi.

I always wondered about this behaviour because I had been taught to ask questions about everything. My grandfather was great at answering questions and I realised that he thought through his answers and that became my new mode of operation. However, as I grew up and found challenges in the working world, I subconsciously shifted to brushing aside the questions I didn’t know’ until I had offspring and it no longer worked.

It is so easy to adopt the patterns of others when we need to follow our own path.

When Moses went to rescue the children of Israel, he was of different stock from them. His years in the palace, on the run, in back side of the desert, and encounter with God had changed him. He had been separated from his people and built into someone who would stand in faith no matter what. The people he led were broken by their years in captivity and disconnection from the word of God and they were Egyptians at heart.

Moses wasn’t looking for easy solutions like the children of Israel because his life had proven that easy was never easy in real life. He had spent time alone with the sheep which gave him time to really slow down and think. His encounter with God confirmed that he could lean on God no matter what as is seen in Egypt and along the way to the Promised Land.  

He had a relationship with God that would be give him the strength to stand steady and go slow. Remember he is the same one who said to God, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?” Ex 33:15.

So in the time of distress he could confidently say, “Give me some time…”

Can you say the same with confidence? Can you enter a situation without an answer and ask for time to find an answer? Can you be like Daniel who said to a king, give me time to pray and get back to you? Or is your default to posture like you know what you are doing even if you don’t know.

  • I say today, it is ok not to know as long as you know the one who does.
  • It is ok not to know, as long as you are looking to Him who does.
  • It is ok not to know, if your hand is in the hand of Him who does
  • It is ok not to know, if every step you take leads to the cross.
  • It is ok not to know because Jehovah God is in control.

Shalom!!

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, Walking with God

Always With Me


The sun warms me

The wind refreshes me

The stars fascinate me

The night sounds revive me

===============

The grass delights me

The flowers light the day

The rain renews life

The clouds travel

===============

The children’s laughter tickles

Their joy is infectious

Their innocence enlightens

They give new life

===============

They are curious

They are cheeky

They are relentless

They never tire

===============

You Papa are like them

You never tire of me

You never give up

You never leave me

===============

You hold my hand

You hold me close

You lift me up

You are always there

===============

You are the only faithful one

You are the only reliable one

You are the closest companion

You are the greatest support

===============

The Simple Life, Walking with God

Opportunities To Listen


Every day provides an opportunity to do something new and different.

I was listening to the Word recently and it struck me that all through the story of the scriptures, no one really knew the whole picture of what would happen except God. Think of Abraham when he was told to tell Lot to choose where he was going. I think he expected his nephew to pick some of the good country and not all of it but Lot did just that…he took all the choice land and forgot about his Uncle. This in essence could have disqualified him from the running.

Now the land was not able to [b]support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.

So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”

11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east.

14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your [c]descendants forever. 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. 17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”

Now it was time to separate the true son of God.

Each day provides a chance to know God deeper and move into the plan He has for you.

Lot thought he had chosen the best of the land yet, it had already been given irreversibly to Abraham. It wasn’t given to Abraham because he was a good man and deserved a good life, rather it was given to demonstrate the goodness of God in our lives regardless of what people do to us. Lot took the best the eye to see but God gave the true inheritance to the obedient one.

This is shown again in the story of David. He was anointed and then went back to keeping sheep and not lead the country. Can you imagine being ruled by a young boy with no experience? Well, there was already a plan in place for this. David went back to keeping sheep with his harp and singing until the day God decided to unveil him. He was persecuted and chased around the country by a man who knew he was the next promise and King. Saul wanted to preserve the legacy of his family as leaders, but God had already judged him and found him unworthy.

The story is told in 1 Sam 14-16, where Saul was deemed unworthy because he took things into his own hands, he didn’t do everything God had instructed and finally his days were done and the time for change had come. God didn’t finish him off all at once like He could but allowed Saul opportunities to listen to the ways of Israel and the realities that come with that.

Could it be the same for us?

Are we missing out on opportunities, mindsets, lifestyles that really interrogate God’s word then translates backwards into the path for man to find God?

Could it be that we are so caught up in tradition that we don’t see or hear God? First of all, before some of you shoot me, understand that no matter how much you take your children to church and hammer all the gospel music you can play, their lives are useless and will not amount to much if there isn’t an integration of life and love for God.

Seeing that God keeps his word, everything that is yours will come to you. Do the inner work and let the outward expression be the product of your faithfulness. We must understand that God gives us what we need and no more, so if the supply comes, spend it on the good and dispel whatever you cannot deal with.

If God is faithful, why don’t things always work?

It is evident all around us that Jehovah God is real. He is our banner and provider of everything we need, yet He doesn’t do wants. The big question is how we reach the people assigned to us.  We must pray that each finds the thing we are supposed to be doing and finalise that before God gives us the next step.

If we are looking to succeed by our definition and not God’s unique definition for each person then we will be mad at God for ‘not’ coming through. If we shift our understanding to the knowledge that each one has a distinct path to bring God extreme glory then we will never go around feeling like failures no matter how hard things get. There is a master plan for each life and a way out for each challenge to bring God the maximum glory and establish His word over us as eternal.

What do you need to do?

Each one must hear the voice of God about their life goals, patterns and outlooks that will give him the kind of room he desires to make the fullness of his desires for us. The key is to listen, accept, learn and live out. Can you do that one thing?

Shalom.

The Simple Life

Never As It Seems


We sat watching them

Laughing together

Entertaining the little ones

What a beautiful family

========

What a joy for engaged parents

What a beauty of happy children

Out in the world have a blast

Making all of us watch

========

She walked up to them smiling

Joining in the laughing and playing

Dusting off the children

And walked off smiling

========

Bye bye uncle

Bye bye auntie

See you lovelies

Love you

========

Wait a minute…

That wasn’t a family?

Those weren’t their children?

Oh Wow!!!

=======

It is never as it seems

========

How many other things had we assumed?

How many others had we judged?

How many hasty judgments have we made?

It is never as it seems

========

The outward appearance is unreal

The gloss can deceive

The fascade breaks eventually

It is never as it seems

========

How do we know the truth?

How do we understand the realities?

How do we know what holds?

It is never as it seems

========

We pursue the heart of God

We pursue the clarity  of the Spirit

We pursue the depth of Christ

It becomes as it seems

========

Shalom

Photo by Sofia Garza on Pexels.com
The Simple Life

Arise With Alternative Thinking


For many the panic of the current pandemic isn’t dissipating. The longer we are at home, the deeper the panic sets in and the further down we hide our thoughts and realities. This hit home last week in a conversation with a friend about a robbery that happened in her village. She was talking to a relative long after curfew started and her relative suddenly said there were people trying to get into the animal shed. Thankfully they raised an alarm and the thieves took off so no animals were lost.

I knew it had to be more than that.

I sat wondering, asking questions like who are these people confident enough to flout the curfew directives? Why did they choose this particular homestead? Was it because they knew it was older folks living there who couldn’t do much? Were they hungry or just greedy? Couldn’t they do something different or find another way to meet their needs? Couldn’t they just start a small business to get by? Are they just lazy?

I thought of the news stories of more developed economies than ours, where there rate of job losses is higher than ours. People used to a better life than ours, now out of work in places without social support structures. I thought about families in urban areas built around working every day and suddenly those daily jobs are gone and there is nothing on the table. Finally my mind came back to the casual labourers in the factories or construction sites who no longer have a source of livelihood but still have people with expectations for at least food, shelter and water.

Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

Did you know muggings and petty theft are up? Do you know in certain places you can no longer jog freely any time of the day? Why the rise, you ask? It can’t be easy to provide food for your family when you have nothing. Let’s step outside our comfort zones for a little bit so we can understand these trends.

If you have enough food and can top up whenever supplies run low without major calculations you are in good shape. If your job is still intact and secure, if your children are in online classes, if your rent is paid, if your drivers, gardeners, housekeepers and nannies are paid, if your parents are well catered for, if your siblings aren’t camped at your doorstep or calling you all the time, if you can still choose what mode of transport to go out, if you are able to buy whatever medication you need…you are a have and it is indeed ok with you for now. That is my new definition of a ‘have’ mentioned a few posts ago.

The panic and desperation are super real for the rest.

What happens to those who had gone home for the weekend or on leave and were caught there by the cessation order? What happened to the security guard who was on his 4 days off only to hear that the firm has lost half its business so those at home cannot be reabsorbed? What happened to that housekeeper or nanny who can no longer go in because of lock down measures and her boss has had to find alternatives. What happened to the gardener whose boss has taken a pay cut and can’t afford him and cannot go home. What happens to the long distance bus driver and conductor who cannot work because the two largest cities and transit points are locked down?

What happens to the local kinyozi aka barbers and hairdressers who are paid based on work done, now that we are all opting for natural styles and home haircuts? What happens to the shoe sales man who can’t move his products because incomes are decreased and people are focusing on food stuff and household need? How many orders has the baker lost with all of us now baking cakes, cookies and bread? We could go on and on without limit but I won’t.

We need a longer term perspective when we look at the realities of the times. There are millions whose lives have been disrupted and need to pivot but cannot. There are many who will and have turned their high end cars into markets and meet needs at home but what about the millions whose only treasure was the menial skill they had and now that is in low demand or totally gone?

It is time to arise with alternative thinking.

We, me included, must look inward and really see the truth of our world. We bought the narrative that education is the key to success but what kind of education is that? If our past and current education systems were as good as purported how come we haven’t become a super power? If the education styles were so good, how come the US has so many struggling citizens and residents? If education really eradicated poverty, why is Afrika still so poor and allegedly backward? I dare say we were lied to and we bought the lie hook, line and sinker.

If education opens doors, why do we have so many unemployed graduates? If education really teaches us to think why are still grappling with the same issues our forefathers grappled with 60+ years later? Why are we creating workers not thinkers, complainers not problem solvers, followers not leaders?

Could it be that our education systems aren’t the right ones for us?

In Daniel 1, after the capture of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar asked for the finest of the captives of noble birth and education to be brought into his palace and taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans. The lived close to him, had a ration of the finest foods and drinks and access to the most brilliant teachers in the land to shape and shift them to be useful in his kingdom. He knew that if he wanted them to be useful for his kingdom, he had to change the way their minds worked and their belief systems.

Every time a shift happens for a people it starts with a drastic change in their education and a challenging of everything they knew before to upgrade what can be changed and discard the rest. Daniel and his three friends went into the training knowing who they were and their foundation well. They were able to determine what they would accept and what they wouldn’t. Their reliance on their God and their faith would always be the rudder of their choices and they would not back down if the thing requested would take them off track. Was it easy? Not likely! Were they targeted? Absolutely! Did it stop them? Nope! Did they get to their goal? Most definitely!!

Now I have a list of questions about us:

  • How can we do the same for our people?
  • How do we raise our community’s ability to think and solve?
  • How do we ensure the right education that will change minds and attitudes long term?
  • How do we connect to realities that will bring hope and resolution?
  • How do we change our common ability to thrive and support our brothers, sisters, neighbours, fellow citizens?
  • How do we build for all and not just for our bellies?

The reality is, that if we do nothing to help change the fortunes of those in greater need than us, our generations will not rise out of the bondage that is the current society and we will be held responsible by God and history for doing nothing in our days to help others rise into places of true strength, wisdom and knowledge.

Shalom.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com
THE CHRISTIAN WALK, Walking with God

But For Your Grace


I am broken

But for Your grace

I am lost

But for Your grace

I am fallen

But for Your grace

=========

I am shaken

But for Your grace

I am destroyed

But for Your grace

I am weak

But for Your grace

=========

I am nothing

But for Your grace

I would be done

But for Your grace

I do not know

But for Your grace

=========

I do not understand

But for Your grace

I do not get it

But for Your grace

I do not have strength

But for Your grace

=========

I am nobody

But for Your grace

=========

Father You are God

You are God

You are God

You ARE God

I declare You are God

=========

Emmanuel God with me

Emmanuel all loving

Emmanuel all powerful

Emmanuel gracious and kind

=========

Emmanuel glorious deliverer

Emmanuel all wise

Emmanuel all powerful

Emmanuel, You are God

=========

Father your name be praised

Your plan is secure

You are my source of hope

You are my redeemer & keeper

=========

Shalom

The Simple Life

Delightful


There’s a word I have known all my life but it has taken on a new meaning off late. What word? Delightful.

Have you known a word before then someone says it and a new perspective bursts forth? If so, you will understand what I am saying but let me not assume you do.

In a couple of conversations with friends, one of us was describing the joy of deep honest friendship and conversation over a long period of time and he said it is so delightful. That word caught my attention because it is a little rare in my circle for a guy to use it.

There was something in the way he said it, soft and light, the expression on his face and the smile in his voice. If you weren’t watching him, you would have heard the deep joy the person he was talking about brings to him. It was clear that they have such a deep connection that helps both of them adjust to one another even when they are fighting. You could only watch them together as they bicker and tease each other to see and feel the depth, warmth and honesty of the relationship within.

In a subsequent conversation with him, he used delightful again in reference to her in a way that showed me more about him as a person than I could ever have understood any other way.

Delightful from his perspective was such an intense definition.

  • Delightful is a place of pure enjoyment of the other person because you realise they are special and appointed by God to interact with you in this season and help you come to the full reality of who you are.
  • Delightful is the warmth and comfort of knowing you are in this together and will push each other to bring forth the beauty of the relationship no matter the fights and challenges around.
  • Delightful is honest conversations about failings and winnings, knowing you will not be judged or put aside only pushed deeper into purpose.
  • Delightful is knowing you are in this together to know God deeper and rise to the fullness of His plan no matter what.
  • Delightful is the commitment to be friends always, honest every day, concerned in every breath, connected at the spirit level and diligent no matter what.

When he said the word delightful in reference to her, you knew they had tapped into something many of us don’t know but long to understand and only God could have opened that level of connection.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
THE CHRISTIAN WALK, Walking with God

I am struggling:


Coloured wave on the sea
Photo by George Keating on Pexels.com

I see reading all around me

I see people growing

I see lives shifting

But I am struggling

=========

I hear the word of grace

I hear words of hope

I hear talk of growth

But I am struggling

=========

I see words of prophecy

I read words from God

I hear people pray

Yet I am struggling

=========

Father help me

Spirit strengthen me

Jesus hold me

I am struggling

=========

My heart breaks every day

My spirit is weak

My soul yearns for connection

I am struggling

=========

I can’t take another step

I can’t even get up

I can’t pray at all

I am struggling

=========

I am tired & worn out

I am sad

I am lonely

I am struggling

=========

How do I walk on?

How do I thrive?

How do I rise?

I am struggling

=========

How do I find hope?

How do I connect to strength?

How do I find peace?

I am struggling

=========

Cover me please

Hold me up please

Strengthen my walk

For I am struggling

=========

I cannot rise alone

I cannot believe alone

I cannot walk alone

I am struggling

=========

Dear God

If you don’t come through

If I can’t rise

I will keep struggling

=========

I don’t want to stagnate

I don’t want to die

I don’t want to get stuck

I don’t want to keep struggling

=========