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 CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Holding on Loosely


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Kenya, Courtesy of @Kyesubire

Remember the comment earlier that as long as one of us has we all have?

Yes…

Do you agree with that?

It’s a new concept I’m still adjusting to it but yes I kinda agree.

So you buy a car and then he asked you to give it to Jessica, would you?

And why would I do that?

Because God said.

Did He write it one the wall?

No, He told you in your heart

Well, my head thinks it is madness so it’s unlikely I’d give it

Why?

How do I get around? What would people think of me? What do I do when it rains? I can’t even go for the networking meetings I go for…

Is that really what God is concerned about?

Me looking good? Of course

Could that car be a hindrance to you hearing His voice and following His instruction?

How and it is a gift that He gave me?

A gift can become a curse if it is not used properly or if it turns our eyes from Him. Another question for you…

Shoot…

What if He allows you to keep the car but asks you to use it for His missions in remote places?

Who is going to pay for the maintenance? If the mission team can cover those needs they can have it

Can you see what you are doing?

What?

You are holding on to the very things God has blessed you with and refusing to be a blessing

Not really…I’m being a good steward of the things He has given me

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Kenya, Courtesy of @Kyesubire

Matt 6:33…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you…

What does that have to do with anything?

You are holding so tightly on the all these things and focusing on maintaining them when they were a gift in the first place.

So, what should I be doing?

Seeking first….

Which means?

Asking Him where you need to go, whose life needs His comfort, how you can be of assistance to others, then following the instructions to the letter and being all you can be in Him.

Explain!

Remember when God stopped Saul on the road to Damascus?

Sure

What did he, Paul do after the encounter with God?

He spent time in prayer and fasting

And….

God sent Ananias to touch him and teach him the faith

Then…

He became a travelling preacher

He was already a traveller…going from city to city looking for Christians and getting them locked up but he became an evangelist to the Gentiles and that is how we got to hear the gospel of Jesus. Imagine with me for a moment of Paul had chosen to build a tent business and become rich…would we know Christ today?

Of course, God would have raised someone else.

Precisely, God would have raised someone else and Paul would have been passed over and left to just live a life of little consequence

But you can serve God with wealth can’t you?

Absolutely but God has to be the one in the driving seat directing what goes where, when, how much, not you.

But it is mine….

Really?

Of course…He gave it to me.

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Kenya, Courtesy of @Kyesubire

Why does the word say that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, all the world and they that dwell in it, if what you have is yours

Uuurrrrgghhh…you’re making my life hard…too hard

You’re the one who asked the question and clearly you don’t like the answers

Surely there is an easier way?

God doesn’t do easier way…He does the best way

So the best way is to surrender it all and allow Him to direct how I use it?

Yup

That’s a hard one

Only if you are still holding onto things too tight

Oh my, now I have a headache…Why do you make things so hard?

I don’t, I just want to share what God has been teaching me

Which is?

The reality that when I hold on to things loosely I get further with Him and reach more people for Him?

Hold on loosely? Now that is a real paradox. How does it work?

Well, He is the giver of all things good and bad and if I just listen to His instruction and follow them to the letter there is less drama and frustration.

So if He wants us to hold on loosely why does He give us good things?

He is a loving father and He knows what His children need and what they will enjoy, so He gives these things to them. Think about your younger cousins or nieces and nephews…don’t you correct them and give them things because you love them and you want them to understand the process of getting this but also understand the pleasures of life?

Absolutely!

So what do you do?

I give good measures of both so they grow up balanced

So why do you want God to deal differently with you?

What do you mean?

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Kenya, Courtesy of @Kyesubire

Why do you want God to give you only the things you want and not have to take them to help others when that is exactly what you do for the little ones around you?

Oh my!

Yes, oh my! It took me a while to understand that He deals with me as HE created me so the things He gives to me or holds back from me are unique to me. Some of the things that trigger you have no effect on me so He won’t give those to me. Some of the things that you are holding on to He has already denied me or taken them away so He won’t use those on me anymore. Yet there are still things that I have to deal with because they are now the things that affect me and direct my focus and those are the ones He is giving, withholding or removing.

Do you ever get mad with Him when He takes them away?

Not anymore because I understand there is a lesson but I used to get so mad I would throw tantrums.

And then…

Nothing…God doesn’t respond to tantrums, nagging and sulking from me so I had to grow up

What does growing up look like?

TRUST

What do you mean?

Growing up means that I believe that nothing God puts in my path will harm me so I accept and ask Him how to deal with it and keep walking.

What if it is life threatening?

I haven’t been there yet but I am trusting God that in case one of those ones happens I will be able to honestly let go and walk with Him in faith that He knows and will do it all for my good and that alone.

Does it always come easy?

These days yes but not in the beginning.

What changed?

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Kenya, Courtesy of @Kyesubire

I discovered that I could indeed trust God to stand on His word and be true to His name. He is not a man that He should lie or the son of man that HE should change His mind

I wish I could get there

All in good time

What do I need to get there?

Faith, trust, obedience and commitment to Him only

Eish…this is too hard

Do you want to take a break and order lunch?

Definitely…why did God send you to give me a headache?

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What is it about this walk that bothers you or you don’t understand? Ask God to clarify the answer for you and it will amaze you

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

It’s Inevitable…Adapt


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful, logic defying season with Papa.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Fully Reliant


Faith Tabernacle

October 18, 2013

SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by MARSHA BURNS:

Rely on Me, says the Lord, for I am your strength when you feel weak and unable to rise to the occasion.  When you cannot raise yourself up, let Me lift you up.  Nothing is too difficult for Me.  Believe that I will intervene on your behalf and do that which is beyond your human energy or ability to achieve.  Your faith will make it possible.

Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.”

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I borrowed this from a post by Ms. Gloria Muthoka…a great artist and writer 20.10.13

Two days ago, 7 o’clock found me on the road having woken up early to get home to catch up with a cousin who was to be travelling out of Nairobi. Well, of course at that hour, all the busy people seem to be on the road – dropping kids at school, getting to work and everything these busy people do at that hour of the morning every day of the week. As I sat in the car, I was getting comfortable with the debate in my mind about whether I missed this kind of ‘busyness’ or not, when I realized that there was an infusion of red everywhere.

Little pudgy red, skinny red, slow moving red, red skipping all over the place, some red tugging at a bigger hazier pale colour and then some grey and white. As I zoned back in it all quickly came into focus, children being walked to school. Children of all shapes and sizes in these BRIGHT red cardigans. I smiled at the boy with the big shorts that seemed to wear him, at the little girl with a skirt all the way to her little feet, at the children that happily tried to race their mother to school, at the calm girl as walked quietly with her help, at the boy whose mother was shouting as he recklessly crossed the street and at the boy that gestured wildly as he spun his tale.

As I continued to watch these children and adults around me, I noticed that there was one common thing – most of the adults held the tiny hands firmly and guided them along (ok, at times it looked like dragging). I couldn’t help but think about how God holds each of our hands and guides us along the school of life. The best thing about Him is that he doesn’t leave us at the massive daunting gate; He comes to class with us.

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Truly we can rely on Papa because He never leaves us alone