This is why we pray


fun prayer closet

This is why we pray:

It is impossible for nothing to happen when we pray!

Psalm 37:4 ‘Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.’

It is the Father’s heart to love. As we pray, He delights in our relationship and takes care to cater for our needs.

Do you know Him? He sent His one, and only Son, Jesus to die for us on the Cross. He died willingly, sacrificially and with great love for us.  Give your heart to Him and He will give what is good and perfect!

 

Captive


The air tasted thick with moisture.  Abra clung to her mother’s lifeless body in the forest. Eyes searching the early morning mist. Her chains clattered in the darkness, she cried softly, so as not to bring any attention to herself. As the day dawned, she realized they were quite alone.  The slavers seem to have abandoned them overnight.

An owl’s call in the distance wakened her. Startled, her eyes searching in the early morning shadows. No one came. She called out, softly at first, a little less fearful, with each passing minute. Finally she screamed, as her mother’s lifeless face lolled over.

‘Afande!’  It was the only word she could remember.  The kidnapping of random family members in their Mozambique village had alarmed her.  Their long march to the land of sea lasting days. Hunger, thirst and disease claimed its first victims on their long march. All the while, her mother gently reassuring her that her father and brothers would come searching for them. How, she wondered.  Her mother had eventually lost hope, as they marched north up the coast, with its warm sticky breezes. She recalled the clear skies and beauty of the waves, the beautiful white sand and the striking colours of the sea.

‘Afande!’ Desperate and breathless, she began to cry. Hot tears streamed her cheeks as she placed leaves over her mother’s face, chest and arms. ‘I am sorry, Mama. If only we let them separate us, you would be here to speak to me today.  I am sorry!’ She cried, screaming as she released her  frustration.

The man leapt out beside her, startling her as he landed.  His white head-dress clearly visible. He bent down, felt Abra’s mother’s pulse and turned to inspect her. She shivered, fearful of a beating.  He lifted her chin with a short cane, forcing her to her feet. She held her breath, eyes wild, afraid to look into his murderous eyes. He muttered some words in Arabic.  Abra stood motionless, with her chains clanging in the morning stillness. He picked the keys off his belt and unlocked the shackles around her mother’s wrists, freeing her dead body. He threw a large palm over her and grabbed Abra’s neck, leading  her out of the forest and onto some sand dunes. The dense bush was left far behind and a line of chained slaves came into full view, their heads and eyes looking ahead of them, fearful, tired, anxious and in coerced obedience.  Her wrists tethered and chained to the others and the chief slave raised a chant, to which they marched in solitary silence.  The slavers were few but heavily armed with whips and swords.  The men led the group followed by women and children in another chain gang.  Some teared up when they saw her. Others cursed the day they were born, each wondering when this endless march would come to an end.  They marched across the scorching dunes and back into the scrub land and into a long, damp endless forest. 

Captive

They foraged for food at nightfall.  Their captors ordered their personal slaves to prepare their tents and food for the night.  They ate to their fill, laughing and celebrating their catch from the hinterland. The slaves shivered with starvation, crouching on the forest floor, scooping out every drop of water from the large leaves that covered the ground.  A solitary bowl of food shoved to the male slaves, later in the evening.  Men and women scavenged for its contents.  Pasty, strange flavours, flat and slightly sour.  This was the last of the food seized during one of the village raids, stale and rotting.
They huddled in groups, women clinging to children, some of whom they did not know, gently singing lullabies to ease them to sleep.  The men crouched, some lay in foetal positions at a loss at how and why they were. They each settled into an uneasy sleep, occasionally stirring, chains restraining their movement.  They heaved in their deep and fitful sleep. Abra slept for the first time in many nights.

A Heart of Gratitude


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‘Joy is a grateful spirit, an optimistic attitude and a heart full of love.’ – author unknown.

It is so refreshing to read other people’s messages of gratitude, as they share them on Facebook.  The first ones I cared to read came as I checked into hospital and steeled myself against television and the perpetual noise some channels invade your life with.  What a relief it was, to have limited internet access and to share precious moments reading personal testimonies and heartfelt gratitude of believers in Christ.  Every chance I get, I scour their stories and learned what wonderful things God began and continued to do in their lives. This was a source of great encouragement, relating and commiserating for their audience.  What a time of great learning too!

I really thank God for expounding my boundaries last weekend and into this week. For sending me on assignment to a group of women with troubled backgrounds, from frustrating ailments and an overwhelming sense of loneliness.

The first neighbour in the ward was an elderly woman, who looked eighty years old but was in fact in her sixties.  She was flown into Nairobi for further treatment from Comoros. She coughed and wheezed behind her curtain walls, surrounded by her two anxious and fidgeting sons, one in their twenties and the other in their thirties. Her daughter sat upright next to her mother’s bed silent and resolute as a bevy of nurses and a flock of doctors attended to her. Her head and clothing covered in a ‘buibui’ in accordance to their faith. Then once the labs tests, scans and regular examinations done for the day, then would pull the curtains around her bed and launch into Muslim prayers in Arabic.

I sat in the next cubicle listening as they whispered prayers in turn, shuffling chairs that poked the curtain into my cubicle. A few hours later, over dinner, their mother unable or unwilling to eat, kept saying, ‘La, la’, (no, no) to everything they offered her. Finally, a nurse came and she ate a little, then promptly went to sleep.

I ate in silence, huddling my hospital gown wrapped tightly around me, as her sons strode in and out of her cubicle. Eventually, I woke up at 1 in the morning to a nurse’s voice, checking on my blood pressure and heart rate. I motioned to him about the commotion in the next cubicle, as her sons argued over some unknown issue, intermittently rousing their mother for comment.  The nurse smiled and mouthed ordered them to leave immediately. I sank back into bed and into a dreamless but fulfilling slumber.

The next day, as the nurses prepped me for a blood transfusion, I heard more doctors and nurses check on my dear neighbour. She wheezed out her responses to them and groaned as they sponge-bathed her and put her into new pyjamas and bedding.  She soon dozed off, snoring in a rather obvious peaceful contentment. Peace for another few hours before her rather noisy and communication-challenged offspring arrived.

I soon found myself with an urge to pray for her. The only problem with that is, she neither spoke English nor Kiswahili. My French is good but she had not spoken a word of it to her children or the doctors. So I prayed and asked God to guide me, which He did.

By lunch time, the old Comoran lady had lost her voice and appetite. Her convulsions worsened.  Her Parkinson’s flared up. By early afternoon, after extra blood tests, the doctors were able to decide that dome medication other than their own issued by her children.  They admitted to it, rather reluctantly and hesitated before handing over the offending medications. It turned out, they presumed the particular drug, prescribed at home to manage her blood pressure.  Sadly, it did nothing of the sort and only led to weakened kidneys and her poorly state. Within minutes they were defending themselves, in frayed tempers, demanding the doctor give them something else to manage her blood pressure. Sadly for them, as they hospital conducts blood pressure, temperature and heart rate tests every 2 hours, on every patient, the evidence worked against their demands. An argument ensued and nurses rushed in to contain a rather pathetic confrontation. I later learned that they had all neglected their mother’s health back in Comoros, abandoning her care to neighbours as they lived their detached city lives. Then their mother’s neighbours would call on various health issues, which they chose to ignore, until finally they called to say the old lady had not left her house for a number of days and did not answer her door.

That afternoon, I prayed a lot more for her, asking for her safety and healing.  By four o’clock that afternoon, she sat up and asked for milk, drank the whole glass and had two more. Then she rolled off to sleep. By morning, as I marched back from my shower, I caught a glimpse of her face, eyes bright, skin fresh and complexion a good healthy colour. She looked sixty that Sunday morning.  The nurses offered her breakfast. She ate heartily and slept once more. By early afternoon, the doctors were ready to discharge her. She spoke in a strong voice, confident a sounding surprisingly clear-headed. A doctor who spoke Comoran attended to her.  She sounded do positive and repeated ly expressed her gratitude.  I realised at that moment, that God came in, healed her and she was ready to leave. At around,  six that evening, she left with her daughter, safely and with a smile on her face. My husband met the merry family at the lift and confirmed their departure.

I thank God for allowing me to witness that healing and the opportunity to pray for her. I pray that she gets to know and put her faith in Jesus. I pray for continued peace in her life and a new beginning for her. One of reconciliation and joy. Lord, thank you for this opportunity!

The man she never knew


Ada married young. Her husband, seven years her senior treated her like a child. She loved him at any rate and set about building a family with Davis.  The fifth in a family of eight, Ada relived her middle child experiences and vowed to make her voice heard and eventually make something of herself. In contrast, her husband, Davis, a bright, young doctor relished the prospects of his career and worked long hours to secure his future. He was a third-born, who usurped the place of his elder twin siblings. There was never a moment to lose in his life.

Ada trained as a teacher and loved her training of future teachers.  She rose bright and early, spoiling her husband daiky, with a western diet of bacon, sausage and eggs.  Life in their newly independent nation offered choice, right down to diet and Ada made sure they could keep up with new trends.  She stitched her own clothes, while encouraging him to buy the best in the shops.  He dressed like a dandy on weekends,  looking more like a narcissistic model.  Not to be left behind, Ada took the trouble to hot-comb her hair every Friday afternoon and press her best dresses for the weekend.

Within their first giddy year of marriage, they became pregnant.  Davis was none too impressed but suppressed his angst, while he kissed and hugged his bubbly wife.  His concern  for his work hours and the time commitment a child would need. Ada, oblivious to his true feelings, planned, chatted animatedly and prepared for the baby.  Davis eventually cooled to the idea and hoped for a boy.  Ada secretly hoped for a girl.

Soon, his long hours and the strain of waiting up for Davis began to show.  He had never carried keys and believed it to be a wife’s duty to welcome him home all hours, then warm up his supper, serving him and waiting on him as he ate.  She smiled her way through it the first few times, eager to please but teetering on the brink of serious concern.  Her own father and his, had cared enough to keep and carry house keys in their time, in spite of the cultural practices of the day.  She fretted over this, unwilling to hold a frank discussion about their marriage, to keep the peace. Davis revelled in her over-submissive attitude and gradually shifted to a more conservative position in their marriage.  He loved the power to do so and worked harder to maintain his dominance at home.

As the months went by, Ada saw less of her friends, choosing to handle her worries alone. She withdrew from her vivacious, bright and cheerful co-trainers, eating her cares away.  Her slender figure, now much enlarged, shocked her husband, who chose to keep away from her in silent disgust.  She began to cry herself to sleep. Davis spoke to her, reassuring her daily, that all new mothers dealth with frequent worry and anxiety.  The more he spoke, the greater her fears became.

When her water broke, one Saturday afternoon, Ada found herself alone at home, with Davis unreachable at the hospital. She calmly called a taxi and asked her neighbour to accompany her. Davis failed her calls and Ada busied herself with getting to the hospital, assuming he had a medical emergency. Martha, her neighbour soothed and encouraged Ada to remain calm and soon arrived at the hospital, closest to home, a good thirty kilometres away.   She had the baby within the hour, with Martha at her side.

Davis had taken the day off, to watch a football match on the other side of town and had neglected to tell Ada.  He sensed something had happened but eased back into the gregarious company of his friends he rarely saw. After the match, they went out for roast meat and some beers. Davis unwound in the camaraderie and arrived home late into the night.  Martha, the neighbour, heard him knock at his own door, and rushed out to hand him his house keys. He took them without so much as a thank you, lumbered in and promptly passed out on the bed.

He woke up at 10 in the morning, just as Martha knocked on their door, informing him that his wife had their baby and she herself was on her way to visit. He raised one hand to his throbbing head, slurred his thanks, rubbed his eyes and rolled back into bed, falling asleep once more.

Davis woke up with a start, just after 2 in the afternoon, after a vivid dream about his wife and baby. He rolled out of bed, unsteady on his feet, as he hunted for the telephone. He called a friend, unsure of hjs sobriety, pleading anxiously for a lift to the hospital. He cried as he tried to make sense of how callous his actions were, fearing the hurt he would cause his wife.

Ada heard the nurses whispering and wondering where her doctor-husband could be, after placing calls to his place of work and their home half the night. She cooed over her very sleepy baby, kissing her at every turn, willing herself to ignore the gossip. The nurses in turn, treated her with pity, now certain this young mother and child had been abandoned.

Davis arrived at the maternity ward flustered,  half running and half walking in. His friend cackled all the way to the door of the ward, at his expense, when finally, Davis hissed at him, ordering to him stop and wait outside. The nurses at the station, appalled at the sight, exchanged glances and watched the scene unfold. Davis paused at the door, recollected himself, then strode in, head held up, flowers wilting in his hand.

Ada looked up from the baby and teared. Davis leaned forward to kiss her head,  his arms around her, shoulders slumped as he teared up as well.  They cried for a few minutes and the baby girl moved, seeking to feed. Ada raised her, to meet her father.  Davis’s eyes widened in wonder and amazement, as he picked up the precious bundle of love.  Ada began to cry.  Davis kissed their daughter, speaking gently to welcome her into the world. She cried because of the questions she silently raised these last few months.  She cried in anger at the stranger she married. She cried for their baby, their future uncertain. Davis broke down, telling Ada wahat had transpired. She, in turn listened, forgiving all, willing herself to re-build their connection.  Tensions cast aside, they chatted amicably for the next hour, resolute about their future, silently differing questioning and wondering what the next phase will bring.

Remembering Nelson Mandela – Africa’s finest hero!


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As a student in the United Kingdom during the 1980s, the “Free Nelson Mandela” song  inspired hope for Africans and the world, still wrestling with racism, segregation and its the despair it breeds on all who partake of it.  We boycotted Barclays Bank, Reebok and South African fruit exports across Africa and the momentum picked up among high schools, colleges and universities in the United Kingdom.  Africa’s star was rising; as was a pride of being black and African.

We are a continent dogged with war and woes, rarely instigated from within but as dominions of European nations, aligning ourselves to their interests with apparent abandon.  Nelson Mandela’s quiet, dignified demeanor to apartheid’s oppression showed the world that Africans had turned the corner.  Black consciousness without violence aroused a renaissance that rippled and tide to the present day.  We can thank Mandela for his incredibly powerful humility in leadership, without greed and a paranoid need for self-preservation!

The South African product boycotts came to an end and a new South Africa was born in 1994. Nelson Mandela became the country’s first black president, ushering in a dignified and visionary leadership that changed the world. In March 1994, as I boarded a flight to South Africa to attend a work conference. I fought the nerves and anxiety of visiting a nation with the very oppression I campaigned against as a student in England.  My boss, a white Kenyan, reassured me with kind but firm words, ‘Not to worry, once we get there, we will stick together!”  I smiled and picked up my hand luggage and strode onto the plane with a smile and a lion’s heart beating in my chest, in sheer anticipation.  Our visit was a huge success, with ample time for personal visits to family friends and shopping.  We returned to Kenya, assured of South Africa’s new Rainbow status, encouraged and inspired!

Nelson Mandela gave us lessons in leadership, in times of change and turmoil, which resonate with the whole world at a time when economies and political systems fall far short of expectations. Change is inevitable and for the most part, beyond our control.  Like Mandela, Africa need to sight the wave, catch and surf as best we can!  Madiba, Tata!  You inspire us to be better people.  If only we would live simply and aspire for the greater good, without personal agendas as our first priority.  We have a library of great lessons from Nelson Mandela.   We have a great future if we learn from our past.  We have an even greater future, if we learn from great leaders.  We thank God for Mandela’s life lessons!  Fare thee well, Madiba!

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Saluting Madiba


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The true greatness of a man shines through his humility, commitment and sense of purpose.  We live in a world where glamour and riches are the main aspirations of younger generation; the glimmer of recognition and the apparent reward that brings are presumed to be true happiness. So what happens when a man, who simply chose non-violence and strategic leadership comes along and changes our perception?  The world stops, we stare, quietly question and admire this new line of humanity, bowled over by his appeal.Image

Mr. Nelson Mandela, you inspired a nation and a continent, to turn us all into a rainbow nation, after years of racial stuggles across every nation.  We thank God for you.  Your simple statements opened our eyes and hearts to simple truths of our existence – poverty, HIV/AIDS and racial divides as some our real enemies. 

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It is a great honour to have heard you speaj, visit your nation and rejoice with your people at the birth of the Rainbow Nation.  We thank God for you and pray for your nation’s continued strong path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will I know?


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Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ.

Making life decisions can drive us to anxiety, fear and nerves. The end of the year is a time many of us reflect on our year and a time for making life decisions and  new year resolutions. God’s Word asks us to ‘be anxious for nothing’. Easier said than done! It is a good thing that we can take God at His word.

A friend ssked me, ‘how do I know God’plan for me?’ A good question. We shared and another friend led us to Romans 8:28: ‘And wd know that in all things God eorks for the good  of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. ‘

We can put our minds at peace, as the Great Creator of all life holds us in the palm of His hands, guiding our steps, moulding our characters,  ministering to our spirits, growing us in strength, wisdom and courage. Astounded by God’s love, we fall and rise up throuvh life’s curveballs.  You are loved more than you know, by God, who will never let your foot slip!

Psalm 55: 22
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you, He will never let the righteous fall.

Better now? Continue reading

Keep them close!


old couple smack on the cheekFamily can be exasperating.  No matter, we love them anyway and endure life’s journey with their support.  Family.  God’s gift to us: just because He loves us so much.  Family – you are loved!

pope francis kisses babyPope Francis really kisses the babies on his walkabouts in the crowds.  He kisses the infirm and hugs those in need of a hug.  What a change to the papacy and the face of the Roman Catholic Church.  As an Evangelical, this is something I never expected in my lifetime.  Too cynical for my own good, after years of studying Church history through the ages. God is clearly at work here and the world is stunned but blessed.

love on youOh to be love and love right back!  Incomparable joy!  We need to keep family and friends close – loving them as we expect to be love, exceeding expectations where we can.  Why?  It is God’s idea and the best script to follow!  He loved us first before we could understand His love – indescribable, unfailing, unfathomable, unwavering and all-conquering, every day!

sunset kissThis Thanksgiving weekend, remember to love.  Keep them close and they will keep coming back to love you!

Thanksgiving

Keep them close.

 

What is your mirror telling you?


What’s your mirror telling you?

The Bible speaks to us God’s Words, reflecting our true selves right back at us.  And that is the best part!  God is no gossip and His approval or love for His people is not dependent on our own thoughts or emotions.  What a relief!  For many of us, it is that aging face and body staring back at us, after days and weeks at the gym, walking or running and wondering when the change is ever going to come!  God wants you loving yourself like the toddler kissing his reflection in the mirror, because all you can see is His reflection.  So go on, pucker-up and kiss away!  If you cannot love yourself then how on earth do you plan to share the love-bank deficit?

heart mirror

As we read our Bibles, the Holy Spirit reflects our spirit-man right back at us, engaging us to permit the character-building He invest in us, bringing us to our best!  As we flow in obedience and His transformation, He births our gifting, to reveal the best you supernaturally possible.  As a follower of Christ, we can strive for change of heart, body, mind and spirit.  Lasting change (and improvement) only comes from God.  So cease the striving – that is for those who wish to live in the busy-ness of the rat race.  You, dear child of God are called to greater things – Holy Spirit transformation!

turtle in the mirrorGo with God’s flow and enjoy the Holy Spirit adventure of pure fulfillment, security, grace, immense, redeeming and unending love!  You are in the safest company with God, so love Him with wild abandon!

Thankful in praise


Thankful in praise

How can I ever thank you, Lord? What a wonderful and awesome sacrifice you paid on the Cross. So I will lift my voice in praise and song; all day long. As night draws near, fill my heart with prayer. As I arise the next day, help my spirit greet Yours in praise and prayer. May my days bless you from minute to minute as I think on the love you give so freely to each and every one of us. Help me Lord to remember You are there and worthy of my eternal praise!

Remembering JFK


JFKRemember John Fitzgerald Kennedy as a hero of his and future generations.  A man in his prime, who offered hope, served his country and impassioned others to change the world for the better, as far away as Kenya and across Africa.  We honour his memory and thank God for sending us a man who lived to change the world.

As a teen, I watched countless documentaries on the JFK conspiracy and recall asking my mother what it was like when they learned of his election to the White House.  ‘Ecstatic, hopeful, young, energetic and inspiring,’ were some of the words my parents used.  They spoke of him as if they knew him, which both touched and alarmed me.  Not many world leaders are remembered with either tenderness or respect and this moved me deeply.

The United States was forever changed by his election and later by his death.  America led and changed the world, with the hopes and dreams of Camelot. Today, I remember a hero, beloved and dearly missed by his family and the world!

500px-John_F._Kennedy,_White_House_color_photo_portrait

 

 

One Battle At a Time To Win the War!


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Isaiah 54:17

“no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,

and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord

cand their vindication5 from me, declares the Lord.”

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You may be in a time of spiritual battle, struggling from one thing to the next.  Allow me to comfort you and tell you, you are not alone and in fact, you are in good company!  There is so much shifting in the spirit realm that one feels isolated in their troubles.  Have no fear because the Holy Spirit is here!  Jesus Christ by His death, giving us full authority.  The Word reminds us that He left us a Comforter and Enabler, the Holy Spirit.

Last night, two friends and I attended the launch of ’emPowered Woman’ magazine, the brain-child of a friend and member of our Church.  The event although small, warm and so inspiring, gave testament to a very big dream that the Lord laid on the heart of Edith Kareko-Munene. One of the Pastors present noted that women in Kenyan society are expected to walk in their husband’s footsteps, but that God is indeed doing a new thing, breaking societal moulds and expectations.  There is no woman happier than I am!  I studied abroad and struggle with attitudes, perceptions and beliefs of a woman’s place in society.  I had two strong grandmothers, both bold, daring and commercially independent coffee farmers, well into the end of their days.  So  the idea that all my plans and activities are enirely dependent on the men in my life just saddens me beyond comprehension.

The good news?  It’s a new day dawning for the women of my nation and our God is in charge of this transition.  Nothing can stop God and thank God for that!  Pray with me that this battle will be won one battle at a time, as we take up our mantle and fight for what is Godly and right!

Ephesians 6:10-18

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in fthe strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints”

There are no chinks in this armour!  Victory is assured – press on, pray on, praise on!

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Extra work needed!


Just going to ChurchExtra work in our faith building starts with prayer, reading God’s Word, receiving  the Holy Spirit and living in obedience.  Listen to God and He will lead, guiding your steps and stretching your faith.  The trip is long and can be arduous but the rewards are beyond anyone’s hope or imagination!

 

 

Joshua 1:9


 

be strong and courageous

Joshua 1:9

New International Version (NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

It takes courage to trust and obey God.  It takes time and practice.  The best part of the journey is that He does no abandon us to our own devices.  He sends us His Holy Spirit to build us up in truth and love, with courage and strength that surpass all understanding, giving us wisdom, joy and peace!  Happy to take up God’s offer and walk as He commands – a new dignity and joy – I am home with God in my heart, at last!

 

True Love, indeed!


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“Love is not a selfish need.  It is not a hunger we feed.  What kind of love pushes away those around us?  What kind of love is it to be alone?”, -Dorcas Lane, Lark Rise to Candleford – BBC One costume drama.

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As a costume drama buff, I hope you will forgive me for ‘this one weakness!’

If God loves us unconditionally and seemingly unredeemable as we are, then why do we as humans find it so difficult to love others for who they are? We attended a ‘Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage’ session today and I cannot remember when I last laughed so hard at a subject that generally fails to elicit a giggle, unless discussed in private.  Mark Gungor expounded on how the world is loving and it was alarming to learn about the increase in pornography, especially among women; not that the figures among men decline.  This world is so lost and cruel, we promote porn and self-love to teens and expect they should mature into loving people, and eventually produce loving children.

The rise of individualism, coupled with globalism perpetuate these myths.  The problem with a lie is that you can say over and over again, but no truth is ever established.  And I thank God the same applies to gossip!  Worth a giggle, I think.  The Bible, our eternal road map advises us thus:

Proverbs 4:23 ESVKeep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Do we have hope – yes!  Lots of it!  We have God who is all love, the source and giver of love.  If we would only take time to visit His word and review what He created us for – to love and be loved – then take a deep interest in how that love is to be expressed, then half the man-woman troubles we dread would be gone in days – banished!  Have we lost our way, well yes, when we invite novels that over-romanticize relationships and give women a false self image and hazy picture on men.  Tele-novellas perpetuate the same thing and we do need to pray and ask God what He would have us read and watch. One of my Bible-teachers told us she sought God’s opinion on her daily choice of clothes.  If appearance matters to God, then why not our reading and viewing?

The trouble is that the flesh-man resists, to the point of rebellion, warring with the spirit-man about obedience.

1 Samuel 15:22

New International Version (NIV)

22 But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

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If my obedience is about loving God and demonstrating it daily, then I  can make my choice – to love and obey.  I really see that love is all I need if I want to love, serve and honour God.  I can further bless Him by loving those He has placed in my life and spend my life unravelling the wonderful and colourful mysteries of love!

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Bathed in praise?


Bath of praise

Life brings tough times and good times.  The Bible reminds us to praise God at all times.  Through praise and worship, we are ushered into God’s presence and receive His Holy Spirit to empower us for the day’s events.  We need daily praise.

Psalm 8:2 ESV

Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

 

Psalm 30:11 ESV

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

 

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

God’s grace be with you


God's grace be with you

We are not alone! An aunt of mine arrived back from surgery abroad and when asked by my mother how she dared go alone, she said, “there were four of us – God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and I!”

Well said and may the same apply to you!

Who are you in the Bible?


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There is no condemnation for us (Romans 8:1)

We can never be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:39)

We who are many form one body (Romans 12:5)

We have wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30)

Our labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58)

We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We become God’s children (Galatians 3:26)

We have every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)

We have the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7)

We were also chosen (Ephesians 1:11)

We are for the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:12)

We have been seated in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6)

We’ve been given the incomparable riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:7)

We who were once far away have been brought near (Ephesians 2:13)

We are built together as a holy building (Ephesians 2:22)

We may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12)

We are light (Ephesians 5:8)

Our joy overflows (Philippians 1:26)

All our needs are met according to his glorious riches (Philippians 4:19)

We are holy and faithful (Colossians 1:2)

All things hold together (Colossians 1:17)

We have our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)

We become fully mature (Colossians 1:28)

Are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge for us (Colossians 2:3)

We are rooted and built up (Colossians 2:7)

We have been given the fullness of the deity (Colossians 2:9-10)

We come into reality (Colossians 2:17)

Our life is now hidden (Colossians 3:3)

We will rise from the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

We can give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

We have faith, hope, and love (1Timothy 1:1, 14)

We can gain an excellent standing and great assurance (1 Timothy 3:13)

We have the promise of life (2 Timothy 1:1)

Shared Values and other misnomers


 

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Back to writing after a seven week hiatus!  Sweet relief and glad to be back!  Events like the Westgate attack will do that to you, especially when children show sign of post traumatic stress.  I cry for Kenya and the world.  Terrorism truly is an act of cowardice, dressed as courage.  That is a meal served cold, no matter how many times it is subject to heat!

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The Westgate event turned our sense of security and assurance to a very public spectacle and fallacy.  I am Kenyan and I love my country dearly.  I have lived abroad for a number of years and believed coming back to build our nation to be the ideal, so this post is by no means about casting stones, rather I write about gaining the right perspective of where we are and what we can do about it.  The whole saga left us in an information deficit, as the main characters seeking to calm  the public fears appear to have presented puzzles in place of solutions and answers.

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What now Kenya?! is the most pertinent question of the day!  What way?  How now? And with whom?

Shared Values as my dear husband put it.  Allow me to explain.  Last January, I travelled to the United Kingdom on a fundraising drive with a wildlife charity I worked for.  One of the many questions raised during my short stay – why Kenyans continue to choose corrupt politicians to run the country!  They pertinently pose the question – why send you money if nothing really changes after 50 years of independence.  Difficult to answer, as I do believe not all 43 million Kenyans are corrupt – at least I pray not!

The trouble is the apparent lack of shared values.  The lowest income groups in urban areas want a particular type of leader and are further divided on which community he or she should ideally belong to.  The middle class want peace at all costs, tribe is not such a strong reason unless you are over 50 years of age and/ or brought up within your own ethnic grouping.  The well-to-do want peace, a chance to continue churning over money and in most cases a status-quo!  This is a very simple picture of what we want for our country.   You will note, we have not tackled the question of ethnic grouping ideals, plans and or sought out the thoughts of more marginalized communities.  One thing that is common to urbanites and rural folk across income and ethnic groups – the shortest route to riches!

The curtain opens on corruption!  We could never imagine it would cost us our freedom, dignity, security and everything we hold dear.  I loathe it and suffer for working against it, to the point of facing regular retribution from well-to-do acquaintances of all ages, about disengaging from the done-thing.  So here I am, late forties and driving a car that has seen better days and delighting in what God is doing.  I relish a clean conscience and often face further telling-tos about not standing up for the ‘right’ tribe or supporting their values.  God has set  me on a different path and no amount of ethnic tradition, ostracizing tactics or disapproval will move me!   Finally, after 24 years of hearing the same thing – I can speak my mind and live in peace in God.  Love it!

Shared Values.  Sounds like training I would like to offer prospecting leaders in our dear nation.  Trouble is, regardless of who won which political seat, if they are not on the same bus with you, then there will be separate and shifting values.  The way I see it is a government is like a bus.  One driver and one   conductor.  The rest are passengers who are assigned seats at the pleasure of the conductor.  Bottom line, the bus has a route map that is neatly spelled out, with pre-arranged pick-up and drop off points and times (read memorandums-of-understanding!)  The key thing to remember, there is only one route and one destination and much like football, goalposts cannot be moved in the course of the game!

Disgruntled passengers are to be dropped off at the next stop to keep up the bus route, plan, dignity and experience of the ride.  If the passengers board the bus assuming a right of free passage, then, “Houston, we have a problem!”  One such problem is competencies – something we would prefer not to tackle, lest we make the offending party feel any less adequate.  Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room!  Laughable at least.

Shared values come with shared principles, competencies and passion.  If the passengers are to push the bus out of the ditch, we cannot rely on two well-meaning ones and let the remaining ones loiter about.  We all work or nothing works.  Passengers must be dealt with appropriately, to keep up sanity and service!  Why are we still discussing this?

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If we fail to pray, we will fail to act and follow Jesus Christ on this incredible journey He has for this nation and her people.  Pray with me for Kenya and our home countries, that we would hear from God and that our hearts would break for what breaks His.  Let us go forward in prayer and trust Jesus Christ with our nation, our people, ourselves and our future.

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Amen!

 

Kenya undeterred!


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We stand strong, undeterred and unmoved by the demands of terrorism.  Praying with the Westgate Mall hostages, their families and for all those who lost loved ones.  We will remain a bastion of progressive peace and will not renege!  God is our defender, our strong tower and shield of faith.  Proverbs 18:10.

 

50-year Jubilee!


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Leviticus 25:8-12

New International Version

The Year of Jubilee

8 ‘“Count seven sabbath years – seven times seven years – so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then sound the trumpet everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.

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Kenya’s 50 year Jubilee starts now and the Kenya House of Prayer reminds us that we should bring out our shofar, blow them and celebrate until end of day Saturday 14th September.  Kenya is turning a corner into God’s prosperity and abundance.  Join me in prayer for this great nation and her people!

You may ask, what? with all that is going on in Kenya?!  Truth be told, God’s time-lines and is judgement are His alone.  He is not governed by the news, opinions or viewpoints – fortunately.  Anything that happens anywhere on God’s green earth starts in the spirit realm and manifests in the physical.  So things are not what they seem.  Arise beloved of God and walk into your long-awaited freedom!

Celebrate and commemorate this nation and her people in prayer.  Praise, worship and dance to the Lord as never before!  This is a time of restoration, healing, recovery, rest, new beginnings, reconciliation and harvest that none witnessed before.  Like David, I will hitch up my skirts until the dance ends with those who love the Lord.  He deserves our worship and thanksgiving.  I pray this is only the beginning.

Happy Jubilee! Kenya is now switched on!

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Father God, I thank you for raising up your nation and delivering us from all shackles and bondage.  We commit ourselves to you, afresh, humbly asking for your forgiveness for all our sin.  Cleanse us as only you can.  Allow us to approach your throne in reverence, in readiness for this celebration.  We lift up your name on high and honour you with every word we can muster.  May your name be praised throughout this land forever!  Amen.

Sweet Spot!


ladybugIt has been a while since my last posting.  Blame it on life’s curve balls – our parents fell ill, one went into surgery and another is due for a different surgery; our child is back to school and so we took time to settle after a few close-calls.  In all of this and a year of turmoil later and the sweet spot happened.  Nothing to do with pastry, soft fizzy drinks or anything conventional.

God took me into a hiding place that brings with it a new and very real level of peace that is completely beyond my own understanding.  I relish my time with Him and the best part is when He speaks to me.  God cares and loves each one of us and He chooses to speak to us in and about our very own circumstances.  He blesses us with healing, dreams, visions and promises about our future, as He shows us how much He loves us every day.

The Sweet Spot is reading God’s Word every day and letting His love speak wisdom. discernment, understanding peace and joy into your life,  This is the ultimate hiding place – right there in your heart.  He speaks to you as you worship and praise/ drinking in all His loving goodness.    I found my sweet spot!  Have you?

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Psalm 67[a]

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us—[b]
2 so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

3 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.

6 The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
7 May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Big blue, something new!


When change comes, the urge to hold onto all we know can be overwhelming. Your heart finds its voice, drowning out all your reasoning, causing you to doubt. Then your mind claims centre stage, declaring things can no longer stay the same. No more dread and drudgery in the life we know. The heart sings out for adventure, convinced change is as fresh as a cool morning breeze. The body responds in a clam acceptance. Sleep returns. Taste for good food is the new normal.


In quiet acceptance and in clear anticipation, the near 50-year old Kenyan lady packs up their house and home, gifting out many of their personal belongings. Urging her children in their late teen that this change brings so many fresh and exciting opportunities. Her husband smiles.  They all know that God is up to something new and beautiful.  

Friends and family expressed shock and disbelief. How and why would a family move to another country to make a new start? They can see the light steps, bursting energy and humble joy their friends share. Still they wonder, why now? How did they come to this decision?
The family are quietly overjoyed. A life under curses and unhealthy bondage to people, systems and expectations slowly eeking out their hope, dreams and life over a number of years. Husband and wife met at work, late in life, after an age of workaholic living. Healthy incomes, good prospects and an admirable standard of living quickly dwindling, once they re-committed their lives to Jesus Christ. Both their families stepping away; disappointed and ashamed at their obvious loss. She had a child and pursued this second marriage without a care for public ‘respectability’. Her new husband loved her dearly and stood firm in his decision, devoted and doting. Mother and child blossomed in the new height of love. God had spoken and walking in his promise, they bonded, growing daily in love for God and hope in the new life He so graciously gifted them. Friends falling away, with each new blow to their social status, allowing each one to focus on those to whom they are called, serving with delight.

Every new chapter brings change. Transition brings some pain, some falling away and some departing. At the end of the long tunnel called transition, comes a lightness in life; an unburdening. A new day, worth a thousand dawns, begins anew. Body, soul and mind enjoy the weightless dance into a new formation. A beautiful dance, starting slow and gathering momentum, filled with colour, laughter, life and a deeper peace.

The little family of nobodies packs up and heads out the door, clinging to paltry belongings. The little dog in her cage, at ease, lovingly watching her family take her to a new land and a new adventure. Where God sends us, there is peace, provision, guidance and a depth of His love, knowledge of Him and pure joy. Are your feet washed in preparation for your new adventure?  It is a journey of thousands of steps but He promises to carry you through, rebuilding your life and repaying every single loss or frustration, down to the smallest and most personal detail.  The adventure is near. Are you ready? Are you ready to dive in? Some of us are jumping in. Get ready, the divine adventure is coming!

Setting the tone for Christmas 


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Christmas 2015 is seven days away!  Another year draws to its end very quickly.  For many of us, we ponder how Christmas will turn out this year. We spend time planning for gifts for family and friends. Then there is all the food to plan, cook and serve up. Christmas is now one of our most anxious times, when we really should be spending more time assessing its meaning, how we have grown and blessed other for God, in the process.

The reality is that for many of us, we are thinking about family and our relationships. Each one of us sp nods th year chasing after work, to earn, eat and provide for various needs. Once Thanksgiving and Christmas come around, our thoughts are increasingly preoccupied with family. We wonder how we left off Christmas with each family member and plan where to begin this Christmas. Should I apologize with a gift? Should my card to them bear an apology? Oh no! That would be putting myself down for all to see….what if? What if? Or, what else?

As we shop, plan, get home more tired every day, we wrap ourselves in a cloak of anxiety. The weight of this cloak growing daily. Sleep is lost, diets and other patterns begin to go awry. Fear creeps in and more anxiety frazzled each day. Sleep is no longer a comfort but a dread, as we battle our thoughts late into the night. Irritated, we worry about the worst possible scenarios. In the midst of this, faith, hope, love and charity appear foolish, even hopeless.

We look forward the next best thing(s) – the office party, time out in the malls, catching up with friends and even solace in a bottle. Things turn murky. Prayer and quiet time become the briefest possible ritual. We ar critical of everything that moves and the things that do not! Food and drink have lost their colour and now they seem to lose their taste. Tempers frayed, rest forgotten and fear gnawing our insides, we dread the thought of family who do not live close by.
The familiar becomes the stranger. Even our neighbours irritate and frustrate us. Work is a drag. Traffic is a mess. Colour lose their meaning. A few more days to go. More dread.

What if I make the effort and pray blessings over family, before we meet with them? It is impossible for prayer to accomplish nothing. Prayer is our conversation with God.  He responds every time, even if the answer is ‘not now’, ‘no’ or wait’. His heart is to live, bless, heal and restore. So if this is God’s heart, can we not trust Him with family and the most sensitive issues we face?

Leading in Fear


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“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

A friend served as a Pastor’s Assistant for a number of years, at a local Church in Nairobi.  He spent years running; waking in the dark, rushing early to work, leaving work and off to the Church every week day evening. Andy barely had time to spend time with his wife. Bella spent her evenings with her sister or a friend, staving off the loneliness of a young and busy marriage.  The couple believed that a super-busy marriage would bring them the income and fulfillment they longed for.

The senior Pastor and her husband met Andy and Bella through friends, one fine Sunday, as they visited the fairly small Church in a quiet suburb of the city. They made a choice to continue attending services there, as the Pastor took a keen interest in Andy’s gifts in shepherding, leading and helps.  Shortly after their wedding, Bella noticed that the senior Pastor required more of her husband’s time at the Church, inviting all her staff for training and meetings every Saturday, public holiday and any spare time they had.  Bella thought this odd but decided not to question Andy too much about it. Within a year, Bella began to feel neglected and abandoned.

The senior Pastor on her part noticed this in Bella and the other wives.  She set about busying the Church wives to go shopping and visit one another.  Awkward, lonely and a little frustrated, Bella went along, offering her skills in fashion and shopping, as none of the other wives were medics, as she was.  She smiled at the right moment, invited the other Church staff wives to lunch and tea, at their home.  She tried to make friends but came to realize, she had little or no value to them.

Andy got home later and later each night. Finally, one night, as he walked in, dropped his jacket and brief case, Bella noticed how tired and harassed he looked. She asked how things were, assuming work was the issue. He spoke very little, and then finally, as they got into bed, he spoke.

‘Bella, there is something terribly wrong! Would you believe that all the plans we have worked on, for so long and so hard have been laid to waste!’

‘What has?’ asked Bella, curious to understand what was happening to him.

Andy went on to relate his impression of the lady Pastor, quite contrary to everything they had expected. She had propelled herself to a place of prominence and importance, over God. He sounded so weary, so much that Bella became anxious. She asked if they could pray and they soon settled down, as she comforted him and assured him that all would work out well, now that the Church elders had confronted the Pastor.

As the weeks wore on, they came to understand that the Pastor was struggling with her own loneliness, as her husband was a public figure. Although she wanted to love and serve God, her fears have fed into her insecurities, leading her to spout every negative emotion onto her staff. In abject frustration, her staff began to leave. Families he Church fell away and others moved. The Pastor’s husband was later caught up in an affair, reported across the national dailies. Her heart was broken for all to see, but her core team of good friends had long left her, isolating herself in work and home. Her family life must have suffered. We do not know what happened to her in the end, sadly.  Only when we talked with our friends a good five years later,  did we learn of the anguish they had endured. During that time, their marriage was tested, as they spent more time alone at home as a family, learning to enjoy their young daughter, as Bella enjoyed her second pregnancy.

The healing did come, and the learning turned into a treasure.  God sought them out, healed, delivered and save the whole family.  They can laugh about this experience now and are thankful that they can talk about  spiritual abuse, abuse of authority and how it impacts people.  Jesus Christ gave them an amazing testimony that will serve as a source of learning, comfort and encouragement to so many.