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

#Purpose Unveiled


There is a question I have asked myself many times this year and it has come up again… it is relatively simple yet not at all simple. The question is…Why Am I Here? I have been asking myself afresh because I have collided head on with some major shifts in life and they have shaken all the answers I had and was comfortable with. It is so easy to go through the paces in life on the regular road doing the regular things and yet never finding true meaning. I  have indeed found that it is hard to get up and walk a different road or take a turn in the road that leads down an unknown path.

I was born and raised in Nairobi but my grandparents lived in the rural areas. My maternal grandparents lived 45 minutes away while my paternal grandparents lived 12 hours away. Yes…I actually said 12 hours. My parents made sure that we spent time with both sides of the family as we grew up as well as with our other relatives. Of course you can tell by the distance that we went to see my maternal grandparents more often than we did the paternal ones. It was simply a function of time, cost and distance. However, despite this we had great relationships with both sets of grandparents and to date I miss all of them dearly.

One holiday we spent the day in the village with our maternal grandparents and our older cousins. In the family we have 3 generations of cousins based on the ages of the siblings. The gap between the first born and last born is over 25 years so you can imagine that each generation of cousins’ baby sat the subsequent generation so we always had someone older to lead the way. Anyway, grandma had a farm by the river where she grew my favourite foods of arrow roots and sugarcane among others. On this occasion we went to the river farm on the back of the cart drawn by the bulls to fetch water.

On the trip back we decided to take a ‘short cut’ through the farms as the bulls slowly took the road home under the weight of the water. There were clear paths through the farms of course but one wrong turn would have you going for a long distance in the wrong direction. Indeed this happened to us but since we were still walking up hill we did not realise we had taken a wrong turn. You can imagine our surprise when we reached the road and could not figure out where we were. Indeed we were on the right road but we were further from the homestead than we should have been. We spoke to the villagers to ascertain where we were and indeed we had come out almost a kilometre off course. Oh the despair when we realised that we still had more than 30 minutes’ walk to reach the homestead yet we had already walked 30 minutes. A step on the wrong direction can be extremely costly.

This got me thinking…isn’t this what many of us do? We have accepted life and acclimatised to the life that we found others living when we were born. We did not realise that we may be a different kind of peg. Life around us was going in a certain way with certain expectations and we simply joined the band wagon and went with everyone. We did not even realise that we could be different from the pack. We did not stop and ask where the cart was going let alone consider whether this was the road we should actually be walking on.

#Purpose is that one thing each of us was put on earth to do for the honour and glory of God. As I was thinking about that messed up walk from the farm to the homestead I realised that the thing that got us caught was the fact that we saw a road and took it assuming it was going in the direction we wanted to go. No one asked for directions as we passed through the farms because we assumed we were headed in the right direction. We felt we knew where we were going. But Alas, it was not so.

  • Am I living my life like that?
  • Am I walking in a maze without a clear direction?
  • Am I aware of where I am in my walk and where I need to go?
  • Do I have a map for where I am headed?
  • Am I equipped for the journey or at least preparing for the next phase?
  • Am I planted where I need to be to thrive?
  • Do I know what I should be doing to fulfil my mission on earth?

And the list can be endless…

These are some of the questions that I have been asking myself every day as I live life because my deepest desire is to get to heaven and hear my Father say, “Well done good and faithful daughter.” I would like to be able to say with Paul,

For as for me, I am already being poured out on the altar; yes, the time for my departure has arrived. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  All that awaits me now is the crown of righteousness which the Lord, “the Righteous Judge,” will award to me on that Day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for him to appear.” 2 Timothy 4:5-8 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

This is only possible when I find that which I was sent here to do and do it well. It may mean that I have to walk on the road less travelled or even walk though places that none has ever been to leave a trail for others. I am willing to do so. I have realised that when I understand that my core purpose will never change I am stable. However my new reality is that the way my purpose is expressed may change along the way and I must be ready to adapt the form of expression on short notice and keep going to fulfil the reason I am here.

What do you need to identify or do to keep walking in #Purpose? Let’s talk and share and walk together.

Shalom

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

A Different Walk….Part 2


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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