THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Step Out & Do Something


I grew up with no TV during the week like many of my peers but in this day and age it is different. The thing is about balance and how long not none at all. The last couple of weeks have been a lot of fun with time to connect with my lil man. We have been watching movies together every evening and it has been amazing. I think I need to do this for a while to come. Lol…we watch reruns a lot because we are done with the collection but there is something new in each episode. The best part at times is when one of us (more often him) talks along with the script. When you can do that know that you have spent a lot of time watching that particular movie.

The other day we are watching Happy Feet. Happy Feet is the story of young Emperor Penguin who is absolutely different from all the other penguins of his

Emperor penguins
Emperor penguins

kind. He was dropped by his father before he was born. He came out of the shell feet first. He danced instead of sung. He left home and joined a posse of Isabeline Penguins because no one else accepts him as he is. In the movie this one penguin misfit goes on and saves the day for the whole population from starvation. However, there is also the deeper reality that there is a big fight between the old way of doing things and the new way Mumble presents. The elders have a certain view of life and the way they have lived it and so they want the community to hold onto these ways as they are benchmark of their long existence. Then enter the young Mumble

Isabeline penguins
Isabeline penguins

who is totally different and is only trying to be himself and find out what is causing all their problems. Mumble sees things differently because the reality of his life and the challenges he has faced since he was born have changed his perspective. It has caused him to ask questions and not just accept things as this is the way we do it.

Mumble comes back home to win Gloria’s heart with the help of his posse of Isabeline penguins. These little guys are hilarious and seemingly mad but they accept Mumble as he is and do everything in their power to help each other. However, Mumble is not successful and is thrown out of home for encouraging other to challenge the status quo and try nothing new i.e. dancing. His pursuit for the truth leads him to go to see Lovelace for answers. Lovelace is an Isabeline penguin with a special lace around his neck bestowed on him by the ‘gods’ in truth it is an engine gasket. Lovelace leads them to the place he got this lace and they find that it is the place where man has left a lot of waste from expeditions into the Antarctica and this waste is polluting the environment. They encounter a lot of danger the greatest being a large fishing trawler. Now Mumble sees what is taking their food and decides to do all he can to stop the ‘aliens’ aka man from killing them. He asks the posse to take care of Gloria and he dives off a very tall ice cliff to follow the trawler and try to talk to the ‘aliens’ (aka humans) to leave their food supply alone.

The movie goes on beyond here but this part struck me and struck me hard. It is interesting when I look critically at Mumble. There are things I see that stand out and take my breath away. You see, he:

  • Thought little of his personal needs and was driven by the need to solve the big problem of food for his kind

    Mumble in Happy Feet
    Mumble in Happy Feet
  • Figured that no price was too high for him to pay for a lasting solution
  • Took the risk to jump off the top of a mighty iceberg into the water below to follow a trawler to places unknown
  • Swam for all he was worth and ended up stranded on a beach tired and almost dead
  • Never lost hope even when he was in captivity
  • Came back to save his kind

Slowly I begun to think about my life and the way it was rolling out. Questions run through my mind demanding to be answered.

  • Have I found my true purpose i.e. the reason I was created and placed on this earth?
  • Do I live my life with complete dedication to the solution I was put here to provide?
  • Have I got discouraged by the challenges of life and so I have given up my hopes and dreams?
  • Do I have a posse who keep me going when things are bad, who laugh with me, cry with me, walk with me, believe in and with me?
  • Will I one day reach the goal that was set out for me?
  • Do I even desire to reach the dream that God has for me?

    Mumble
    Mumble

The easy thing to do is to say yes to all the questions above but is that yes really true? Indeed there have been days when I have wanted to throw in the towel because life hasn’t panned out as I had planned and I am tired of toiling? Yet it is in those moments when I need to dig deep and find the connection with God and remember that HE is indeed on my side and is interested in me and the things I am going through. I must remember that the road I walk is as much for me as it is for others I need to touch so that I can help them grow. The good times and the hard times are to be celebrated and shared so that everyone can understand that there are lessons in everything.

I therefore choose to be energised to realise that there are things that await my touch so that God can resolve them. There are lives I am sent here to touch and be touched by. I find that I owe it to God to get up off of my back side and stop complaining about what I don’t have and instead focus on what HE has given me to give to others then all other things will begin to fall into place. I must live my life for more than just the money I can make tthe needs I can provide for my family. I must live for bigger better and greater things and these smaller ones will indeed be covered. I must share about my good and hard days because someone somewhere will be encouraged. I also realise that I am the sum total of everywhere I have been and every challenge and victory I have faced and my life is a book that someone else needs to read to provide the roadmap for them.

I choose this day to pursue the invisible, seemingly impossible great things that God has laid in my heart to do for HIM and I believe that as I do them HE will come through and sort out the little things that HE has promised for my life.

I stretch out my hand to you, take it and let us walk together into the things God has laid out for us to for His honour ad His Glory. Amen

father10

The Simple Life

My Unexpected Teacher


On one of my many public commuter journeys I met an amazing and unexpected teacher. I had a brief encounter but it was a Masters class. It was at about 6pm and I was on my way home at the Railways bus station. It had rained and so as it typical in Kenya, the public commuter vehicles had hiked the fare by at least 50% while on some routes fare had gone up 100%. Added to this fact was the reality that many of the vehicles were trapped in traffic on the way to town so there were few to no vehicles at that normally bustling bus Amazing Rock-splashes-at-sunset-resizecrop--station. This day the place was thick with people and thin with vehicles.

At about 6.30pm, vehicles started coming but none of them were willing to get onto our route. You see, only part of the road is tarmac and the rest is all weather but it is rough and it goes on for about 10km. There was no other option so we stood for quite a while and waited. Ok…it is be a stretch to say we waited patiently because we were antsy, fidgety, tired and many were complaining. Finally, one bus came and they said they would go as far as the end of the tarmac and many of us quickly got on. I like seats near the front, so I got to sit in the seat next to the conductor a young man I will call Karis. He is a very polite young man who intrigued me from the start. Those who know me well know that when I am intrigued I want to know more and understand the person on the other end.

We started talking when I gave him a crisp Kshs 200 note and told him I don’t want dirty money for change. He smiled and said that he has learnt to be fair and give people what they give him. If you give him old notes you get your change in old notes; if you give him clean notes you get your change in clean notes. Hahaha! That was the funniest thing I had heard all day. I got my crisp Kshs 100 shilling note back and off he went to collect money from the rest of the commuters. Once done, he came back, sat down and we began chatting. I learnt so much from him I couldn’t believe it.

This young man is 26, he has four other siblings and they are orphans. Their parents died when they were teenagers and they were raised by their aunts and uncles. He was raised in the church but because of lack of fees he never went far in his education. However, he said something so profound I was reminded of it this week. He said, “In life there those who are educated and those who are wise. The people who are successful are the wise and not necessarily the educated because wisdom helps you make good choices.” This was the start of an hour long conversation because that day there was traffic.

Amazing Two-lovable-babies-resizecrop--The highlights for me were several:

  • Your start doesn’t matter: where you were born doesn’t determine where you will end up. He was not born rich but he lives well and has found joy. He worked for a garbage collection firm and arrived at work at 4am and left at 10pm so he had no time to waste. All he did was eat and sleep in the evening and then get back to work in the morning.
  • A good upbringing makes a difference: he was raised in the church and taught to love God, focus on life and avoid a loose wasteful life. He was also taught to work hard and dream about the future. He also saw what alcohol, smoking and living loosely did to his colleagues and opted not to get involved.
  • Saving: it is important to put money aside and invest it. He saves at least Kshs 4000 a week. He learnt that as long as he is able to eat and sleep every day he can put aside all that he didn’t use. You see, most conductors earn at least Kshs 1000 daily. If he spends less than Kshs 300 daily it leaves him to save Kshs 700 a day which translates to Kshs 4900 a week. there are days when it’s more.
  • Never give up: a few years ago he was dating this girl and he was really serious about and he gave it his all. In the scheme of things the relationship ended after about a year and she left him high, dry and broke. He had to find the strength to go on and start again. He moved out and away to start away
  • Always look for quality at a good price: it was interesting when he said that he was looking for leads on expatriate sales so that he could get good deals on quality furniture.
  • Have a plan: know where you want to be in a set number of years. Clear goals. Set timelines. Clear action plan.
  • Never give up: life will send things your way that may be huge to get over or through. Don’t let the obstacles keep you from getting what you want to. The important thing is to keep moving and life will work out.
  • Appreciate the people around you who care about you: Karis owes a lot in his life to his uncle who gave him opportunities to grown and encouraged him when things were thick. He also let him know when it was time for him to stand on his own and be a man. He also has an older sister who took care of them when they were younger until they could stand on their own. It was never easy but they stood together.
  • The importance of salvation: In his words, ‘Imani yangu ndio imeniweka kwa yote imehappen…Kama sio Mungu…’ (‘My faith is the only thing that has kept me through all that I have been through. If it wasn’t for God…). Enough said.
  • Seek to be wise over and above schooling: Schooling without wisdom gets you nowhere…seek both and reach higher in life. In his definition, schooling happens when someone just goes through school and comes out with papers while wisdom is the ability to assess situations and survive because of street smarts. I use schooling because I believe the education is what is left when all else is forgotten, so it is beyond schooling. I am still unpacking this one lesson and when I am done you know what will happen around here.

Suddenly I was at the end of my journey and had to get off the bus but there was so much to think about as I walked the last distance to the house. We were all dropped at the start of the dirt road to proceed to our respective homes as the driver and Karis turned around to head back into town for a few more trips to the nearby areas. In that instant I realised that his shift was far from over but he hadAmazing-tornado-over-water-resizecrop-- taken time to talk to and inspire another person.

I am totally inspired every time I think of Karis because when I am honest with myself, he is doing so much better than I am with so much less than I have. My decision from that day has been to be grateful for what I have and use it to make life better for me and those around me. I also decided that my life has to have value and be shared with others so that I can make the kind of difference in their lives like Karis made in mine.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

#Renewed by Nature


I am continually struck by the beauty of creation and the glory of the fullness of God. As I sit at my desk and I need inspiration, I find myself looking at beautiful pictures, lively colours, simple things and quotes. I have begun to find deep peace and inspiration in the simple things that God created and the lovely people that He has given us to live with. I am astounded every day at how small things can inspire. There are scriptures that inspire me too and below is one of the greatest ones.

Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura
Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura

Psalm 24 (KJV)

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, theLord mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.

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I walk more these days and the experience of the outdoors has opened up doors and ideas of things that I may never have found. In the outdoors I have experienced greater peace and calmness yet at the same time, the serenity has opened my heart and mind to face some deeply hidden parts of me. The parts and levels that I may never have reached because of the pressures of my life. In this place I came to realise that there is order and sense we need to make about this life that cannot be done if we are not truthful to ourselves and find places of stillness and peace.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein.” V1

Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura
Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura

This resonates with me because I realise that I am here on a very set and established timeline and for a set and established purpose. The purpose question stayed with me a lot. I realised that I could be looking for my purpose in big things and deep connections yet it was in small and seemingly insignificant things. Simple things came to me in different and amazing places. I realised that walking along the roadside and driving along in a car provides very different perspectives. Travelling in a public transport vehicle and riding on the back of a public service motorbike also gives astoundingly different perspectives.

The bigger question is how these perspectives affect how I live out my God given purpose.

I decided to let go of my previous perceptions and learn to seek new explanations and opportunities where I am. That is when I realised that I have met amazing people as I have walked some really long distances. The biting cold wind on the back of a motorbike gave me incredibly fresh thoughts (no pun intended). I discovered many things about me as I was sitting in the traffic listening to a radio station I naturally wouldn’t pick just because I was in a public vehicle. I have had personal and social conversations with travellers are we drove together in personal vehicles from A to B. I have walked along newly paved and lit roads at night that in the past were no go zones. The variety of these experiences has inspired me and created valuable and life changing experiences. I discovered things I didn’t know about myself that I now love.

Recently I took a motor bike to get to a meeting and I found myself leaning into the direction of the turn as the driver took corners and sitting upright behind the driver to avoid excess wind. I was suddenly aware that I had become comfortable with bikes (as long as they aren’t being driven at high speeds). My heart was no longer in my throat as we drove along. A few weeks before the motor bike experience, I was walking from one side of a suburb to another and the pace I was keeping caught the attention of a fellow walker. He was an older gentleman and we walked together for a long distance. He shared lots of insights and laughs that made the distance much shorter than it would have been if I was alone. I learnt so much from him and my spirits lifted. As we parted, a friend I needed to speak with called me and he was across the road from where I was and was headed in the direction I was heading. You can imagine my excitement when the day ended and I sat to think it through.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness there of… This fullness means that my life has meaning and purpose and every day has a purpose that must be fulfilled. I must therefore live in an ever present state of awareness that there are things to do, words to say, prayers to make and places to visit that will help me fulfil my purpose as well as help others fulfil theirs. In the book, Divine Inspiration; the key to extraordinary living; Dr. Albert Odulele says something I find totally profound…he says:

“There is ‘substantial creativity’ in you and many await it for the alleviation of their sufferings. When the things locked in you are

Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura
Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura

unveiled, joy, peace and an improved quality of life will be the direct by-product for all those who benefit from it.”

So the questions I ask myself every night…

  • Am I living the life I was sent here to live?
  • Am I having the impact that was designed for me?
  • Am I concerned about the insignificant or significant?
  • Has my day lived up to its full potential and impact?

Wow…let’s keep walking this faith walk

 

 

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 Route


The Route

In this day and age of super highways and by passes it is important to chart the route you will follow to anywhere. If you miss your exit on the super highway it will take you like ten to fifteen minutes to get back to the right place in the event there is no traffic on the side roads and you know where you are going. At times the easiest thing to do is ask for directions and work from there.

So is the same in life…look ahead and realise that you can only see as far as the next corner and you need to have as strong support system to make it through. What better support system than a relationship with God and a place in a community. Stop take stock, hear the instruction, formulate the plan, chart the route and start off. Walk by faith and in community and life will indeed be better than you expected.

Photo used is courtesy of Judy Niemeyer

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

On the mountain


On the mountain

So was in beautiful Sondu last weekend. We travelled from the lowlands of the Kano plains to the top of the Nyabondo Plateau in Sondu South Nyanza. The view was breathtaking and the people gracious as ever. To get to the homestead, we walked down the other side of the plateau along the path in this picture. It was wet, rocky, steep , treacherous in some places and scary to say the least, but we had to make it to the bottom. We were on assignment and nothing would stand in the way of our assignment. We were determined to reach the goal set before us.

On the way down the pressure was on our knees and at the bottom we felt like out legs would give out under us. On the way back up, the pressure was in the muscles on the back of our thighs. We even stopped halfway up to catch our breath, rest our muscles, enjoy the view and take pictures.

Once on top we cleaned our shoes and boots, washed our hands, sat and had tea and snacks. We were recharged and ready for the next phase of the journey that was the trip back to Nairobi that would take the whole night.

As I looked at this picture again I realised that the mountain top experience is amazing, exhilarating, breathtaking and full of relief joy and rest but remember there was a hard climb to get up there and there is a hard climb awaiting us on the way down. The exhilaration is the reward of the long arduous climb.

The parallel I could see was the move from one dispensation to another. When we are moving to a new dispensation and are walking in a new understanding of our destiny there will definitely be mountain top experiences. However, there will have been a steep climb to get there.

May the mountain top experience and the expectation of another experience in the near future be the energy we need to keep walking.

There are many parallels to this walk in my life right now and in the past and there will be more in the future. I pray that I will always remember the experience at the top and hold on to Papa’s hand because even as I walk up or down the mountain or as I enjoy the vista at the top….He will never leave my side and I am certain He is true and He will always be beside me.

Keep walking.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

God’s Way


Proverbs 20:24

24 A person’s steps are directed by the LORD.  How then can anyone understand their own way?

Proverbs 16:9

9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

 

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It is interesting that we all seem to think that we are in charge of our lives when in actual fact we are not. Oh, I thought you knew that. Anyway, I discovered this truth in greater depth this week so I don’t blame you. I was reading the Proverbs this week and it is amazing how this fact is repeated periodically and in different ways all through the book. I learned from one of my teachers that repetition is for emphasis and emphasis alone; it is not a stammer.

 

So it got me thinking of Jonah. He was sent to warn a city of impending destruction and he opted to go his own way. He was in a boat going the opposite direction when a storm brewed and almost overcame the boat till they threw him overboard at his own request. He did not drown even in the deepest part of the sea rather he was swallowed by a big fish and spat out on the beach near his original destination. I must say it must have been icky to be in the belly of a large fish will all the bodily fluids and all. Anyway, he eventually arrived at the spot he was sent to and spoke the word of God. When the people came to repentance and he was stark raving mad. What he didn’t realise was that God is not bent on destruction rather he wants all men to come to him and love him and make his name known.

 

The thing I find most interesting is that even in his deliberate and great efforts to elude God he was brought back again and again to the place he had to be and the path that had been set up for him to walk and accomplish. I find this utterly remarkable. Even more awesome is the fact that God was so patient and gentle with him in an effort to bring him to the light. I realised that even today, He is as patient and gentle with me and will move to ensure that I accomplish the reason he has put me on this earth. I like Proverbs 19:21 which says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

 

I need to align with the PURPOSE that God intended me to achieve or else my life be of lesser value than He intended. The thing that remains with me daily is that the purpose of the Lord prevails. Regardless of how much I resist it and try to walk in my own ways His plan for me will not change to suit me and what I want to do. It is therefore in my best interests to be still before Him and listen and meditate on Him all the time then I can be all He wants me to be and more. When I am all He wants me to be I am effective and a blessing to all.

 

Are you like me? Does it overwhelm you sometimes to keep on the path He has selected for you? Do you wonder why things are not going the way you want them to? I urge you to find your peace and rest in Him and discover His purpose for you then you will thrive. When you are sure He is the one who has said you will stand regardless of the circumstances surrounding you. I know without a doubt that being comfortable and content in Him is worth every moment and I seek to be found there daily.

 

Connect to Jehovah and walk with Him no matter what and the rest of your life will make sense. I did not say be easy, I said, will make sense…sense because you will be assured of the hand of God in all you do and that will ensure success by His standards that is better than success by our standards. Walk in His purpose for you. You are blessed.