Per·se·ve·re


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I attended primary school at Kitale Academy in Trans Nzoia.  Our school motto was ‘Persevere’.  For the better part of lower primary I would pronounce it just as it is written: per·se·ve·re.  It did not mean much either, my friends and I simply enjoyed repeating the word.  Over and over per·se·ve·re.  

It came to bear more meaning as I went along in life.  There have been very long ‘waits’, moments of complete despair and times of intense grief.  There have also been exhilarating climbs and peaks.  The thread that joins the seasons of my life can be found in my primary school motto: per·se·ve·re.

It is by no way easy to embrace the virtue of perseverance, in fact most of the times we endure because there is no easy way out.  The truth however, is that at the end of it lies fulfillment and accomplishment.  We have all [at some point in our lives] waited, endured and accomplished in the end.  Therefore there is proof that perseverance bears fruit.  How can we know [for sure] that the end will be sweet?  We can because, God gives us that assurance. 

Romans 5:3-4 (NLT), “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”

So it goes something like this… problems and trials beget endurance (perseverance) which in turn develops strength of character; this births our confident hope [of salvation].  Simply put, at the end we will have strong character and confident hope.  It cannot get better than this!

Stick it out.  Better times lie ahead 🙂

“The Miracle Moment” 20 Years Later


He redeems me from the pit, He crowns me, He restores me, He fills me….

Miller Theology

January 17, 1993

William Jefferson Clinton was preparing for his inaugural, the Cowboys beat the 49ers, and God showed Himself powerful and contemporary in a Sunday School class at Houston’s First Baptist Church in Houston, Texas.

The lesson that morning was from Psalm 103, primarily verses 1-5.  David is talking to himself and instructs himself to “Bless the Lord” which means give praise or thanks to God.  He then lists some reasons for himself to do so.

He (God) forgives all my sin; He heals all my disease; He redeems my life from the grave, the pit, destruction; He crowns me with love and compassion, loving kindness; and He restores my youth like the eagle.

I stood to teach the class of 150 or more on that morning.  I had never been more emotionally drained than I was that morning.  I had never had less faith than I did that…

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Longing


A longing is a strong feeling of need or desire for someone or something (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/longing).
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On a recent road trip with two friends, I made a discovery.  I kept looking out of the window, out to the horizon.  I stared hard and long at the hills in the distance, and the trees that stood majestically atop these hills.  Most times all I could see was silhouettes. The green, blue and grey kind of blended into one colour. 
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At some points it rained, and those trees, the hills and valleys just stood there.  I felt a bit terrified.  I wondered what it must be like being that tree amongst many trees.  Or that solitary hill.  Alone for years.  What stories did it have to tell?  What would happen if I was alone with on that hill, under a tree.  Just still.  Would I feel fear?  Would I be awed by the majesty of nature?  Would I feel closer to God?
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Then there were the clouds.  Gathering and dispersing.  Condensing and turning a sour grey.  What would it be like to be in that place where all that mattered was these elements?  My thoughts opened up a hole in me.  I felt this great emptiness and littleness.  Does the universe care that I am here?  That I live my little life, doing my little thing in my little corner of the world?  Do I count for something?
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My thoughts energized me.  Made me want to scream at nature to notice me.  To embrace me.  To love me.  To urge me on.  But trees and hills and clouds are just nature.  They are part of the whole; like me.  We each live out our purpose and then move on to something else.  Our purpose is to live for The One who put us on this earth. 
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My thoughts left me with a longing I could not explain.  A longing for more of life.  To be more authentic.  To love more.  To explore more.  The more I longed, the more my heart ached.  I cringed at my thoughts and as I shut my eyes the answer to my longing waited for me.  This ache, this desire, this yearning was for the creator of all the majesties that nature has to offer.
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It is in the beauty of nature, the wonder of life, the beauty of poetry and music.  The beauty in a great paintings, sculptures and all pieces of art.  It is in this beauty that I realize how amazing God is.  All this beauty is tuned to worship Him.  And so every-single-time that I will feel overwhelmed, beat by life or dry; every-single-time I will turn to God’s creation and reconnect with Him.
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What creates that longing in you?
The image used above is from http://www.google.com

Stuck


 

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I know that, at some point in your life, you have felt stuck, unproductive, not needed, sick and tired of being sick and  tired and (insert many more adjectives).  Having been there many, many times in my life I have oscillated between complete despair and moments of extreme hope.  I have been at places where the light at the end of the tunnel makes all the difference.  At other times, it got pitch dark after the dark spell.

It could be in any area of your life, maybe even all areas of your life.  I know that I have been in ‘places’ where I would feel completely immobile.  Paralysed by fear, unmet expectations, people’s expectations of me, my perceived failures, uncertainty of what God thought of me…. The list could go on and on.

So, how do we get ourselves out of these unhealthy spaces?  How do we get back onto the hopeful side of life?  People, as much as they can be annoying and overbearing, are our main ticket out of the hole of despair.  To begin with, God works through people; so even spiritually we are covered.

I had dug myself into a pit of sorts.  It kept getting deeper.  The further in I went, the worse it got for me.  I was mad at myself and at God.  The only way into my heart and mind was through people.  It took four types of people for me to stop drowning: a friend, a mentor, a counsellor and a coach.  You may need to look out for these people in your life, where you are.

I learnt a few things from my ‘state of being lost’ to the state of finding me:

  1. Take Time Out: It really does help to have a certain amount of positive human contact in our days.  Irrespective of whom you are and where you are, there are people that could benefit from you.  Your story, your skills, your life counts.  Take time and change a life.  Even if all it takes is a smile.
  2. There’s a Bigger Picture: Your life counts for more than the here and now.  If you are tired of what you are currently doing, or of your marriage, maybe even your career, you need to remember the number of people that look forward to the little you do everyday.  If all you do is make tea for a hundred people everyday, think of the satisfied sighs and smiles they get from every cup of tea.
  3. God’s Approval Counts: Yes, God.  My journey in life has taught me that there is a higher power around Whom, everything revolves.  I call Him God.  Since I am because HE IS, the first approval I must get is from Him.  How do I get that approval?  I have cultivated a relationship with Him.  Not based on religion or the world’s expectations of me as a Christian.  Everything I do must first auger well with Him.  Ps.  God is not policing you with a big stick.  He loves us 100% irrespective of where we are, or what we have done.
  4. Life is a Learning Curve:  Try not to look at life as if it were a cage or a fixed form in which we must fit.  Feel free to fly from where you are.  Do not look at life as a restriction, but as an opportunity to learn at all levels.  Before you get to the top, you may need to learn from the bottom.
  5. Change Your Perspective: Look for creative, fresher ways of doing the things that seem so drab.  If a responsibility has got to the point where it drains you, then look for exciting ways of doing it.  Your perspective will either limit or grow you.
  6. Sink Your Roots Deeper: Difficult situations help us to sink our roots deeper, thereby making us healthier, more stable and fruitful.  Think of your difficult season as an opportunity to grow.

Mostly remember that life consists of seasons.  No situation is permanent.  Look up, look forward to change.  Better days are coming.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Reboot


Many jokes have been told about IT Departments’ solutions to common problem.  Many times the solution given is to, “reboot your computer”.  As annoying as this may sound, rebooting works to end the many commands we may have sent to our computers.

 

I have been trying to relate this to my life.  The importance of rebooting.  Frequently.

Our lives get filled with a lot of chaff, which then drains our energies and leaves us in limbo.  We go through difficult seasons, challenges at work and in relationships.  Sometimes we have many unfinished tasks and go through extremely low moments.  A reboot would leave us energized and clean out the chaff.

Jesus Christ was no exception to this rule.  In Matthew 14:22-23, He took time to be alone.  The same is recorded in Luke 6:12-13.

Rebooting gives us time to reflect on our lives.  It gives us time to purpose to better ourselves.  It allows us to connect to our Maker.  It allows us time to restrategize and prioritize.  We all need to reboot.

So whether it is to plan for the daunting task ahead of us, to clear our minds off workload, or to just rest, we all most definitely need to reboot every-so-often.

 

Your Presence


Image From: Google.com

Today I have this overwhelming need to hear God’s booming voice.  I’m seated at my desk, thinking of all the tasks He has given me and of the expectations and the potential it has to turn lives around.  I am also getting flashbacks from my life.  Of when He saved me, when He filled me with the Holy Spirit, when He walked me through the wilderness.
 
I am seated here, trying to align my darts.  Trying to make sense of what it took for me to get where I am.  I might as well look for the meaning of life, right?  I just want to feel and see His approval.  I may not be GREAT enough to leave my home for a land unknown (Abraham), or to lead a whole [ungrateful] nation across the wilderness [Moses].
 
I guess that is why I am puzzled by what God is trusting me with.  I am humbled.  I am expectant.  I am excited.  I am on the track already, taking my race, drawing lessons and surging on.  I am in a good place.
 
So, the thought that this is not about me.  It is God’s mission.  The lives that will change are not about me, but for God’s glory.  Reception of the truth is not about me, it is The Holy Spirit that convicts.
 
Thank You Jesus.
 
Exodus 33:15-17: “15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” 17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked,because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

I Kent – #SiwesMake


Help!

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I woke up today with a nasty allergy.  My whole right jaw and lower lip is swollen.  Yesterday, in the morning, I writhed in pain as hyperacidity got the best of me.  So I spent the day eating in bits, taking medicine and drinking lots of warm water.  I am tired.  I watched my husband pray over my health and appeal to God and all I could ask him was, “What does God want me to do?”  To which he looked at me helplessly.

So, I am on some diet.  Very low proteins, low fat, no acid.  It is a tiring process.  The other day I was leading a prayer service and God asked me to pray for the healing of specific people, which I did.  And people got healed.  I like it when God uses me like that, to give hope to people.  The thing is that I need some of that hope right now.

I don’t expect anyone to do anything about my situation, I just want to know that it’s going to be okay.  It is just a ‘me’ thing.  The kind of thing that is just about God and me.  So, I’ll crawl into my little space and hear from Him, worship Him in my spirit.  Feed off His goodness and make sense of everything that’s going on in my life right now.

Darkness


I am loving the black and white trend that’s going on.  The blends in different shapes and patterns look so chic.  When I think black and white, I think “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”; the blend of black, white and blue and then Audrey Hepburn’s black, white and red….

I guess the colours black and white intrigue me.

There’s another kind of black and white that intrigues me.

The darkness and light that is human life.  How we all get to moments of extreme darkness and pain and uncertainty.  How those moments can last one’s lifetime or a fleeting moment.  How those moments can define us-our personalities, associations, interests, spirituality.  How some have spiraled so deep into that darkness that they seek to end it all or remain numb for life.

Can we camouflage darkness?  Hide it under a sheet or sweep it under the rag?  Can darkness be confined to spaces and times?  Can this darkness be controlled?  Is it a safety blanket for when we want to do things we wouldn’t normally do in the light?

Then there’s the white; the light that dispels darkness.  Can this light last… forever?  The sun sets at some point and we are left in the dark, isn’t that the pattern of life?  That we will bathe in light but still encounter the dark?  How can we summon the strength to invite the light, to dispel the dark?

Life’s questions.

I found the answer to these.  I found the light that cannot be dispelled.  The light that always hovers near, that lives in me.  The light that cleans the dirtiest, darkest secret and does not judge.  This light is love, this light is peace, this light is Christ.  All it takes is a moment to request His presence in our lives.  The terror may come, but He has my back.  That’s all the peace I need.

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John 1:1-5 (NLT),

“In the beginning the Word already existed.  The Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He existed in the beginning with God.  God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him.  The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

 

Pastor Who?


Pastor / Shepherd

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My head is pounding and my heart is heavy.  I cannot avoid this feeling.  I chose this life.

There is so much that goes on in your pastor’s life that you will never know and you will never get to appreciate.  I won’t blame you either, there are many rogue pastors out there.  Swindling congregations, bewitching them, preaching and living a lie.  In the same breath, there are pastors that are living an honest life.  Loving their congregations, praying over them, visiting the sick, praying for their healing.  Casting out demons and teaching The Word as it should be taught.

Everyday, your pastor gets countless phone calls and visits: people needing prayer, encouragement, counseling, dedication and countless other needs.  S/he will do all this without complaining or even expressing fatigue in your presence.  Your pastor will draw strength from God and do what needs to be done.

Every Sunday there will be someone preaching at your church.  It takes countless hours and even days to prepare a sermon.  It takes sitting in God’s presence, listening to The Holy Spirit, combing through scripture….  It takes hours and even days to correctly interpret that scripture and make it a relevant message that each unique congregation will benefit from.

So, I am seated here, having had a glimpse of this life.  Having lived it a short while and I am ready to do this for life.  Because people matter, because people are God’s business, because people need hope.

Having said all this, remember that your pastor cannot save you.  Your pastor will do what he can to get you plugged to the source of life, healing and restoration-Jesus Christ; but you must do your part.  You cannot keep coming back every time your cup runs dry.  You must learn to pick yourself up and try again, then become a blessing to other people in need.

Today is one of those days that I have inhaled pain, and I feel hurt because someone else’s hurting.  So I can only turn to God for strength and help and guide him / her to receive help.

Please pray for your pastor.  Please pray over your church.  Please pray for the congregation that you belong to.  Please pray for the body of Christ around the world.

AA