The Simple Life, Walking with God

Listening & Shifting


Earlier this year I wrote a post called ‘Unsettled’ that has come back to me so heavily today that I went back to read it. The crux of the post is that God messed with my life and took out everything I had allowed to take greater importance than Him.

I now know it was highlighted today because my heart is once again unsettled. In the midst of the current state of affairs, it is easy to be shifted into panic mode or extreme busyness or deep stillness and each on must choose. Up until today, I thought my choices were balanced but now it is clear they were slowly getting out of whack.

I needed to rethink it all

My work has increased since life changed because my people have time to write and think and develop and I am a supporting piece to their growth. It has also increased because doors that were slightly ajar have swung open and the foundations of these collaborations need to be laid and laid well. I have also been grappling with the fact that I need to hear before I move but the pressure to keep running has been steadily rising until today when like a police man at the traffic lights, Papa said, ‘STOP!’

This afternoon, after a marathon morning of meetings, webinars, online posts and pending work, I asked myself, ‘Will any of these things die or self-destruct if I put them down for a bit?’ The answer was no, so I put it all away. I placed my phone down, put my work on hold and took a two hour timeout. Yes, two hours. I just needed to recalibrate urgently because internally I was churning and unsettled.

You see, every time I am unsettled it means several things:

Papa needs to say something or clarify something

A change is afoot

I am off track and running the race on my own.

The one that scares me the most is the last one because I never want to be caught running the race myself. Why? I have done it before and it is never pretty. So I needed to grind life to a stop for a bit. I stretched out on my bed in the middle of the afternoon listening to music and trying to be still but my mind wouldn’t stop racing for a while. It took a little time, but eventually it all slowed to a stop.

All the things I was doing and working on were adding value to others and meeting my assigned role but the intensity they generated was throwing me off guard and balance. If I had been paying more careful attention, I would have noticed earlier how things were being reassigned and realigned because a change needed to be made. My mind needed to shift.

Those moments of stillness changed something in me.

These are the days of shifting and the adjustments will keep being made until I am running efficiently by God’s plan and standard not mine. I rest assured that I am not yet at peak and so I must recalibrate more often. So I have settled it in my heart that adjustment is part of my new normal. Moments to stop, breathe deeply, listen and change direction will be many more. I must keep on this track and run this race well.

What is making your mind race at this time? What is making your anxious? Do you realise nothing is ever going to be like it was before? Nothing will ever be the same so we must discover our new normal and hold onto that. Yet even though that discovery is harder than most of us thought possible it is possible and must be pursued.

So off I go to keep listening and shifting. You are free to join me.

Shalom

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THE CHRISTIAN WALK, Walking with God

Contend For The WORD


What is your environment like? Is there pressure and fear? Do you have enough food to eat or are you worried? Is it hard to have your children home all the time and not be able to work as much? Are you uncertain of the days ahead? Do you have a mask? Do you have running water? Are the guards well? Are your children getting mad with being cooped up? The possible list of questions is endless for sure.

The last week has been full of conversations about coping and adjusting. They have been about what we are losing, what is changing, what we can control, what is out of control, what we fear most and how we could change things. The conversations often end hanging because there are no guaranteed answers or known outcomes.

Let me set the context first.

When we look at life today, it is nothing like the life we knew before March 3rd 2020. In Kenya, we have a dusk to dawn curfew that many have ridiculed and containment measures on four major counties. One commentator in Europe asked if it spreads at night and many laughed it off. What many didn’t know was that there are too many people who cannot be catered for if we do a total lockdown. I don’t have the economic facts or actual numbers but I know what I see on the streets.

In my daily life, I am on the move in public vehicles like many Kenyans. I walk the streets and I listen to conversations (maybe I eavesdrop a little). I see the people walking past my home in the morning and evening looking for work. I hear the boda guys talking about how work has changed. If my estimates are right, more than 60% of Kenyans live in the informal settlements or are poor in the rural areas. That is approximately thirty million people. Can you imagine trying to feed all those people daily? Thirty million mouths every day for the duration of the pandemic. It isn’t sustainable!!

Staggering perspective I know, it floored me.

I was staggered too. It made me look at the matatu conductor, the boda guy, the mama mboga on the street, the maize guy on the corner, the watchman, the gardener or house keeper. Most of them earn less than Kshs 10,000 a month and they literally live from hand to mouth in small houses without the capacity to stock food or even social distance. Many believe that this pandemic is the makings of the rich and don’t take the government measures seriously. But it gets worse.

There are children sitting at home without access to WiFi or steady internet who cannot continue with school. Their parents don’t have the ability to access any the online learning platforms and they probably don’t have enough homework and assignments to keep them going or on track until schools resume. What happens when they get back to school and are behind but have to catch up before the November exams? What happens to this part of the community? Who will stand for them?

I am asking myself, if there is a word God has spoken over this nation that we can stand on? Is there a promise that we can build our lives about? Is there a way of escape into the arms of God that we will find is we connect to His truth? Is there a way out of here?

There is always an option…Contend for the WORD.

A call has gone out over and over for repentance and recommitment to God for real. It has been a call to RETURN. What do we return to?

‘Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.’ Jude 3.

The above verse talks about contending for the faith but it struck me a little differently. It came to me as contend for the word.

What word has God spoken to you or I that we can hold onto? Do you know it by heart? Do you have the scripture to stand on? Do you understand the fullness that your life must produce based on the word over you and your nation? Oh that we would know the word and live it out. Oh that we would be committed and true to that word?

The word of God is our roots, our anchor, and our strong tower.

Child of God, take a deep breath and be still. Be still because it is only in the stillness that you will hear the voice of God. He is waiting for you to turn your ear to Him and listen. Listen to hear, really hear, and then take the time to understand. Understand what? Understand the word, the call, the assignment, the position, the posture, the process. The word of God isn’t just to be heard; it is to be taken to heart and lived out.

The word of God is transformational because it changes our minds, it shifts our hearts, it gives us strength to go on yet it should never be taken lightly. I had said contend for the word earlier because receiving the word is only the first level. The contention will come when we stand to ensure the word comes to pass. Things in life will come together to stop the word hence the contention. People will stand in our way and ridicule the word hence the contention. You might doubt the word, hence the contention.

There will be a day when the very word God spoke isn’t coming forth and the onslaught around you seems more than you can bear, that is the day to contend for the word. When you can’t see the end of the tunnel and your heart, mind and body are weary, that is the day to contend for the world.

Know the Word God gave you; BELIEVE; Speak that word every day; Pray the word; Depend on the word; Defend the word. To contend for the word, let it be that you are the one who stands their ground until the word comes to pass. Do not be deceived it will be easy yet it is simple; just STAND. Stand and don’t cede ground.

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The Simple Life

Alone


The crowds are large

The people many

The needs great

The conversation lively

But my heart is lonely

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The sky is blue

The wind is cool

The sun is just right

The birds are singing

But my heart is lonely

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The rain has fallen

The seeds have sprouted

The plants have grown

The fruit is harvested

Yet my heart is lonely

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I’m laughing in public

I’m chatting with people

I’m making progress at work

I’m teaching the wore

Yet my heart is lonely

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My heart isn’t just lonely

It’s broken, scattered

It’s blown to smithereens

Its pulzerised

There’s nothing there

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You have forsaken me

I am adrift at sea

There’s no land around me

No sight of a tree

Just water everywhere

I am alone

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You have deserted me

I am in the desert

In the scorching sun

Low on water

With mirages all around

I am alone

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You have abandoned me

I am by the roadside

Not a vehicle in sight

Those that pass speed by

Not a glance my way

I am alone

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I have no food

I have no water

I have no shelter

I have no family

I have no work

I am alone

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I have nowhere to go

I have nothing to do

I have no one to talk to

I have no hope to hold on to

I have no reason to believe

I am alone

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Then I hear it

A rustle in the air

A shift in the atmosphere

A stillness in the silence

Like a warm wind blew through

I am no longer alone

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I was no longer alone

There in the room it all changed

Peace descended like a warm rain

Calm wrapped me like a blanket

My heart began to settle

I am no longer alone

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I am still at the bottom

And the only way is up

I am still unsure how to move

But strength is coming soon

Though I am still grasping

I am no longer alone

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I am learning my Father cares

I am learning He has a plan

I am learning nothing is wasted

I am learning it all works

I am learning He is enough

I am no longer alone

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I am not alone

God is with me

I am not alone

Grace is abundant

I am not alone

Strength is rising

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I am not alone

My Father is watching

I am not alone

Jesus is with me

I am not alone

The Spirit is teaching

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I am not alone

I will never be alone

I am learning to press in

I am growing in faith

I am no longer alone

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The Simple Life

Flat Footed & Unaware


The last few weeks have been critical for everyone one of us. Do you remember when you first heard about it? When did you first really pay attention to it? Did you think it would get to you? Did you ever think things would get this bad? You know what? Most of us ignored Covid19 until it was on our doorsteps. For many of us, it was just another thing out there.

This is bigger than many of us realise.

We are either in lock down, quarantine or under curfew depending on where you are in the world and your state of health. Nothing could have prepared most of us for this. When it was in a country across the world in some remote part, most of us didn’t even pay attention to it. It is only when it got to Europe  and begun spreading across the world that we paid attention. Isn’t that ironic?

When the impact was seen on the ‘first world’ nations the world took notice. When nations instituted lock downs, shut downs, quarantines, the world took notice. When the numbers of the dead blew through the roof, the world took notice. When economic stimulus programs begun being crafted in wealthy nations, the world took notice. Why is that?

The seemingly invincible have been touched and affected.

Many people still haven’t even realised the truth or gravity of the situation. On a local level the reality of the possible economic impact is now beginning to bite. We have almost sixty percent of our nation informally employed and living on a knife edge of poverty. Expand your mind beyond those in the informal settlements; there are many, many more people at stake.

Think of the Uber driver living in Umoja, the young professional in her first job, the young associate in your company, the man in an junior position in your company, the manager daily grinding to meet social expectations, the middle manager addicted to shopping and high life. The young person caught up in the glitz and glam that is the social media culture. The child accustomed to asking for anything and getting it. Now all their lives and lifestyles are at risk or crumbled.

There are still more things to think about.

Many years ago, being wealthy was defined to me as, ‘how long I can live my life at the same quality of life after I lose my ability to earn income.’ Think about it! Am I able to still feed myself and family, pay school fees, cover utilities, get to work and home daily etc? How long can I do so; a day, month, 6 months, 12 months, a few years? If I can only live a few months, I am effectively poor regardless of where I stay, how I dress, what I drive etc.

Many of us are so caught up in looking like we are successful that we don’t really interrogate our lives and set the right structures in place. I am not even going to go the economics way because there are may people talking about that and it doesn’t interest me at all. I want us to look at the personal level.

In reality, we live according to the patterns of our past.

The things we went through in the past shape our belief systems and actions in ways we don’t always think about. As a child, I always wondered about my mother’s behaviour. She worked hard and made us work too even though we didn’t really want to or like it. I loved going shopping with her because I am a curious mind and liked to see places so I was in the local market from a tender age.

I learnt to haggle, find good produce, carry heavy baskets and work among people of all walks of life. I also loved the quarterly trips to wholesale shops and supermarkets that took most of the Saturday followed by the cleaning and reorganising of the store. What I didn’t know at the time was that this was so because Mzee’s pay was sporadic but at least something came in at the end of every quarter.

Later it was easy for me to live out the pattern she set because it was well rehearsed.

As I grew older and took on more responsibility in the house, I assumed it was normal for everyone around to be taught these things but alas. By the age of 12 I was running the house because she was off sick and Mzee was working. I remember the shock on the faces of the market ladies the first day this little one went to the market alone followed by their protectiveness over me every time I went. It honed my bargain hunting skills that would server me in campus where I lived fabulously on very little. To be honest, I have carried on those habits to date.

Why is this important? The hard times we lived in taught me skills I could use later in life when things got tight. They came back to me when I got married and we had to figure things out on small incomes. They helped when my husband was retrenched and my income was low. They helped when the business was struggling and cashflow was low or non-existent. In all the challenging times, I had a point of reference, a playbook to adapt from, a set of skills I could pivot with.

The lessons taught me to keep my eyes open and never assume anything.

When Covid19 showed up in China, I was initially disinterested but it caught my attention as the numbers rose. As I watched, it became clear this wasn’t something we had known before and it was on an unprecedented scale. It was as if something other worldly was afoot and most people were looking the other way. Of particular interest was how unaware the body of believers was. Were there signs before this happened? Were there things the body of believers should have seen?  What should we have been looking at? How should we have adjusted our lives?

The reality is that, the solutions are not what we think or where we think they are. This was a call to be like Joseph and Daniel. A call to be so immersed in our relationship with God that He would whisper the truth of the days to come into our ears and we would respond and prepare as He instructed. That our sleep would be pebbled with dreams and visions and we would arise and implement them. That a way of escape would be provided.

Let us understand that there is always a way of escape with God.

To clarify, the way of escape isn’t that we will never have trouble, rather that He would give advance warning with an instruction to prepare and we would be diligent to follow the instruction. Obedience to those instructions would breed the grace to thrive and survive the days that are now here.

When Pharaoh had the dream and couldn’t find an interpreter, the cup bearer remembered the man who accurately interpreted his dream and spoke up for Joseph to his master even though it was many years later. In a matter of hours, Joseph left prison, showered, appeared before Pharaoh, interpreted the dream and begun working in preparation for its realisation. His years in the pits, fields, homes and prison had prepared him for the time and season he found himself in.

Joseph became the answer to the questions the nations were asking through God.

So I ask myself, if so many were unaware, what have they been doing? Now that things have changed, how are we preparing for life after Covid19? Please understand that this is a game changer; life has changed and nothing will ever be the same again. We will come out, yet not all of us. We will arise, yet not all of us. We will learn lessons, yet not all of us. A line has been drawn, each one must choose a path and walk in it. I have purposed to do and become whatever my Father says to me in this season because it is by obedience that the next instruction will come and I will rise into the fullness He has set out for me.

Understand that, this is business unusual and only those with a clear word, instruction or assignment will come out on top. There is a shift in the way the world functions and an even bigger shift in the way the kingdom functions. We cannot afford to be caught flat footed and unaware.

Press in, be still, listen, learn, understand and then go and ONLY what your Father says.

Shalom

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THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life, Walking with God

Helpless


I feel helpless

Broken

Lost

Uncertain

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It feels helpless

When people have no food

It feels helpless

When people have no transportation

It feels helpless

When people don’t understand

It feels helpless

That curfew is the only way to reduce interaction

It feels helpless

When law enforcement uses brute force

It feels helpless

When employers keep employees late

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It feels helpless

When the voice of God is unknown

It feels helpless

When His path is unclear

It feels helpless

When the people of God scatter

It feels helpless

When families have nothing to say to each other

It feels helpless

When people can’t live together

It feels helpless

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It feels helpless

When people are favoured at the expense of others

It feels helpless

When evil is celebrated

It feels helpless

When bad behaviour is rewarded

It feels helpless

When the needy are mistreated

It feels helpless

When the voice of the people is quashed

It feels helpless

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You say come to me all who are weary

You say there is hope for all

You say you see the hearts of men

You say you protect the needy

You say you are our hope

You say you are our reward

Right now…it all just feels helpless

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I know you are our true Father

I know you are the Righteous Judge

I know you are our Defence

I know you are our Strong Tower

I know you are our Protector

I know you are our Redeemer

Right now…it all just feels helpless

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I know you are the Plan

I know you are Yea and Amen

I know you are Everlasting

I know you are Immutable

I know you are Indefatigable

I know you are Ever-present

Right now…it all just feels helpless

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I still the fear and say…leave

I still the worry and say…leave

I still the atmosphere and say…calm

I still my heart and say…wait

I still my mind and say…wait

Helplessness you cannot stay

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I lift my eyes to the hills

My help is on its way

My hope is in the Lord

Maker of heaven and earth

He holds my foot steady

He keeps even as he doesn’t sleep

So helplessness your day is over

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My Father never sleeps

My Father never looks away

My Father doesn’t drop the ball

My Father never lets me fall

My father never walks away

My Father never changes His mind

Helplessness your day is over

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He keeps me

He covers me

He protects me

He preserves me

He restores me

He carries me

Helplessness your day is over

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From this day on and forever

Helplessness you have no place

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The Simple Life

Don’t Waste A Crisis.


Recently I was part of a webinar on crisis communication and it was totally intriguing. Why that webinar? I have decided to expand my range of knowledge and challenge myself to understand different aspects of work deeper. This ensures that once a week I do a webinar in a topic that interests me. So last week I did one in human resources and the one in crisis communication I mentioned earlier. In the crisis communications one, I heard a statement that shifted my axis and settled deep within me;

Don’t waste a crisis.

Stella Kiguta Nganga

A crisis is defined as a season of deep or intense difficulty and danger and the current covid19 pandemic fits that definition. We are facing uncertain times ahead with lockdowns taking effect across the world, overdoses from proposed medications, fear and terror about infection rates and tracing challenges, seemingly looming shortages and outages and the general uncertainty of the unknown. There have been and likely will be more job losses as companies grapple to find ways to keep alive and in reality, there are companies that will be brought to their knees and never recover.

Don’t waste a crisis is such a loaded statement because many of us waste crises.

How do we waste crises? Crises have the ability to strike us deaf and dumb, catch us in sticky mud like back cotton and keep us stranded. Crises shake our beliefs and desires as they strip away our sources of strength thus hinder our ability to walk forward and deal with life. I know it sounds odd to say that we can waste a crisis but think about it for a bit. Did others find themselves in crisis before us? Yes! Did they ALL survive? No! Who did? The ones who took a different look at life!

For many of us, our default setting when trouble or challenges come our way is to ask why or why me. How about changing the questions to why not me or who else should go through this? I know it sounds like madness but that small shift changes perspectives completely. It is a lot like the half full half empty perspective of the glass and that is what I want us to think about.

Every crisis has a lesson for each one who goes through so why not focus on that.

If there is a lesson in every crisis then can there be another way of dealing with it? Most certainly. When we say don’t waste a crisis we mean, learn all you can from every crisis that you may have the right tools for the path ahead. Why? Life beyond the crisis is never the same as life before it thus a new set of skills are needed to navigate this life. How do you navigate a path you have never been down if you haven’t developed a new set of skills to deal? You can’t.

How do we harness a crisis?

  • Shift Perspective: Challenges come to make us strong and the acceptance that there is something to learn shifts our ability to overcome and accomplish more.
  • Ask Questions: Questions are the best learning tools you have in your arsenal. Ask about root causes, trends, rising numbers, locations, patterns of communication, failures, successes and anything else you may be curious about. If you cant find answers from your questions, change the set of questions and keep asking no matter what.
  • Be keen: Keep your eyes peeled or open to see. What is there to see? Reasons for the situation, answers to questions, new phenomena, causes, challenges…anything that helped contribute to the situation, provided solutions and possible lessons.
  • Right Conversations: You will find that not many people see things the way you do and will either think you are mad or discourage you from this new perspective. When your mind shifts or begins to shift, find people who will challenge the thought process without demeaning your position. If you get dismissed, review the response and assess its validity but keep your ground on your thoughts, they will make sense
  • Reflect & Review: Take notes of key lessons, capture your key thoughts and assess them. Take time to think through it over and over until you see the realities coming to mind. Read others comments and ideas to grow your own but capture your thoughts that you can review and deepen them for growth.
  • Stop and Listen To God: Our sure radar is God for he never sleeps or slumbers nor forsakes us. His answers are sure and His word is reliable. His ways lead to life and His love is eternal. He is the answer to all our questions and His thoughts are so much higher than ours that we will understand more as He brings us clarity.

Remember, that every crisis make us bigger, better and badder. Remember that no matter where it comes from, we will come out better because we will never again waste any event in our lives. Remember that God has allowed this situation to build us up and make us stronger and He has the solution.

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The Simple Life

Lord Have Mercy On Us


Today is a designated day of prayer in Kenya, from wherever we are. Take time to really reflect on the realities of this nation and lay your heart bare before the Father that He may hear from heaven and heal our land for our destiny is tied to the destiny of Afrika and we must there RISE to the fullness of God and His Word

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Let’s raise our voices in thanks and praise for He

Is good & His love endures forever

Has given us life

Has a plan for the season

Has absolute understanding and awareness

Has preserved us this far and continues to watch over us

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Let’s raise our voices in thanks and praise for He

Is the shield around us; our shield and buckler

Is our glory and He lifts our heads

Has delivered and kept us alive through the generations

Is true to His word and watches over us

Is our refuge, our strengthen, our deliverer, our life & our salvation

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Let us raise our hearts in REPENTANCE for we have

Been unfaithful in our first love

Been unjust to our brothers and sisters

Ignored the widow, orphan & fatherless

Greedily looked after ourselves

Despised those of lower station than us

Cursed those with more than us

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Let us raise our hearts in REPENTANCE for we have

Stolen from our community

Ignored His ways and statutes

Loved & served other gods before Him

Lied that we love Him yet we love money more

Been driven by greed to doubt Him

Forsaken the call to share love

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Let us raise our hearts in REPENTANCE

Father look upon us in mercy

Have mercy oh Lord, Have mercy

Father look upon us in mercy

Have mercy oh Lord, Have mercy

Father look upon us in mercy

Have mercy oh Lord, Have mercy

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Father your word says if we confess our sins

Repent from the same

And turn from our wicked ways

You will hear from heaven

And heal our land

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Father look upon us in mercy

Have mercy oh Lord, Have mercy

For we are nothing without you

We will go nowhere without you

We are destined to fail without you

Father look upon us in mercy

Have mercy oh Lord, Have mercy

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For our greed and sin

WE ARE SORRY

For our selfishness

WE ARE SORRY

For our fear and doubt

WE ARE SORRY

For walking away from You

WE ARE SORRY

For our loose tongues

WE ARE SORRY

For our slanderous words

WE ARE SORRY

For our arrogance and ignorance

WE ARE SORRY

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Create in us a clean heart that desires only you

Renew a right spirit in us that will follow you

Renew our minds to Your word that is truth

Align our desires to yours that we would honour you

Where we thought we knew; teach us your way

Where we thought we were right; realign our thoughts

Where we felt we understood; restore our focus on you

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Father, have mercy on us as your people

Raise among us your remnant who will never leave your way

Raise among us a people in your image and likeness

Raise among us a people devoted to your word

Raise among us a people committed to you

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Father, have mercy on us as your people

For we do not know what to do

We do not know how to respond

We are broken vessels uncertain of the path

We are rudderless because nothing is working

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Father, have mercy on us as your people

For if you do not, who will be our guide?

If you do not how will we live from here?

If you do not, where will we go for help?

If you do not, how do we function?

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Father, have mercy on us as your people

Father, have mercy on us as your people

Father, have mercy on us as your people

Father, have mercy on us as your people

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Father, have mercy on us as your people

FORGIVE us for being arrogant and proud

FORGIVE us for anger and hate

FORGIVE us for lust and envy

FORGIVE us for ignoring the plight of others

FORGIVE us for bloodshed and destruction

FORGIVE us oh Lord FORGIVE us

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FORGIVE us for we have ignored our brethren

FORGIVE us for destroying your land

FORGIVE us for hoarding property and supplies

FORGIVE us for exalting ourselves

FORGIVE us for corruption and lies

FORGIVE us oh Lord FORGIVE us

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Have mercy on us oh Lord

Have mercy on us oh Lord

Have mercy on us oh Lord

Have mercy on us oh Lord

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Have mercy on us oh Lord

And heal our hearts

Have mercy on us oh Lord

And heal our minds

Have mercy on us oh Lord

And restore our souls

Have mercy on us oh Lord, Have mercy

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Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

For we are a sinful people

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

For we are broken and shattered

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

For we are weak and easy shaken

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

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Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

For we are nothing before you

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

For we have been unfaithful

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

For we have lusted after the things of the world

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

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Have mercy on us oh Lord

That we may correct our lives

Have mercy on us oh Lord

That we may walk in your ways

Have mercy on us oh Lord

And heal our land

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

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Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

For without you we are nothing

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

For without your wisdom we are foolish

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

For you are our ONLY HOPE

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

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Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy

Have mercy on us oh Lord, have mercy