A WORD FOR US WHO FEEL THE KEEN POINT OF THE SWORD DEEP IN OUR HEARTS

sword-of-the-spiritI am watching a Soap Opera [yes I do that sometimes], and wishing I could tweak the script a tiny little bit, to make the lives and paths of the characters ‘more blessed’. It get’s me thinking about the promises of God, The Blessings of God upon the lives of man, as He, God, defines ‘blessing’. He can give you that which everyone else covets, and you are blessed – but that which is most glorious, most coveted, often comes with great responsibility – great sacrifice sometimes…and a perpetual sword in your heart. Mary mother of Jesus Christ, lived through that. How many of Israel’s virgins would have traded places with her, in a heartbeat, for the privilege of becoming the mother of the long awaited Messiah!!!

As parents to children, we too live through the sword – the extreme joys and pains of that privilege; it is the same in our workplace and in our marriages -many secretly doubt their sanity when looking back to the point of displaying themselves as best candidate for that job, or that wo/man when you wake up to mornings where the temptation to go back to bed, is greater than anything that job or relationship offers – the sword is faithfully lifted. Depending on our posture, that sword can perform clean surgery when we submit to it: it will remove that which is harmful from our lives leaving room for the healthy to grow and thrive. But the opposite is also true, and that is what the sword is best known for – reminding us of our mortality. It fights back our rebellion. Keeps us pinioned to that which we, ‘romantically’ signed up for. It all depends on our posture. Either way, the pain, is real. Keen. Moreover, we cannot remove the sword from The Hand of God, that bears it. He is Good, He is Great, in His Hands, through it all, He holds the sword to our safety, and if we choose Him, no matter the true path of our life plot, our story is one of great beauty and triumph.

” And Simeon BLESSED them and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this Child is APPOINTED and DESTINED for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and FOR A SIGN THAT IS SPOKEN AGAINST—AND A SWORD WILL PIERCE THROUGH YOUR OWN SOUL ALSO—that the secret thoughts and purposes of many hearts may be brought out and disclosed.”
Luke 2:34-35 AMP

vipslit@yahoo.ca

The Blessing of the Hollering Church Next Door

The angel of the Lord came the second time and touched him and said, Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you. So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and nights to Horeb, the mount of God.” 1 Kings 19

Moses told the people, Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of The LORD which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.” Exodus 14 AMP

538719997_0e94c9b29aThere are days that it seems like both Pharaoh and Jezebel are in hot pursuit of you, negating the work, Word and Might of God Almighty in your life: those closest to you as well as those who don’t really like you, have become pall bearers helping you carry your dream to the grave-yard, confirming that it is useless to believe anymore. “Accept the dream is dead…and bury it already before it begins to stink and becomes a health hazard to everyone around”, they seem to say. We’ve all been there sometime or other, with different conclusions to our individual stories. I am there this week. God seems late, again. I need your prayers.

Still, that’s not my story today – it’s about the church across my living room, kitchen and bedroom window: remember that one? The one that ‘humos‘ (Luo word for holler’s, yell’s, wail’s, etc) the Word and Worship day and night. I had a hard night yesterday, and hardly had the energy to get up. But I did, and was making my bed, seeking solace in the soft gentle worship on the radio – Hope fm – when they began the ‘DU-DU-UDU!’ of their keyboard and a sole worshiper began to thrill heaven and irritate the earth by hollering into the mic attached to heavy speakers that should be used in a Stadium not in a residential estate…and am standing there, raw, beaten, no energy to even get a little irritated…got a mop and began to clean the house using it partly as a crutch.

Anyway, God heard me and the lights in the estate went off…glorious silence for about 45 minutes then to my joy and elation, they came back. And then, DU-DU-DUUUUUUU….DU -DU-DUUUUU the singing continued. I continued moving around the house with the mop – and it was getting clean somehow. After a while, the singing let up and the preaching began…The words sifted through my troubled thoughts and began to fight them, and somehow I was not actually mopping the house, then did the dishes, then just tamed my house. I thank God for His word through the hollering church today. Pharaoh, Jezebel and the pall bearers will be sending out their cvs today-if they can survive the battle heaven has waged against them, as they are now jobless with regard to my life. Let me not lie, I am still reeling from their wounds…but I heard The Truth, and I have hauled my cross on my shoulders, joyfully, even though am slowed by the journey to the cross, grave…but am headed towards a resurrection, an ascension and towards watching earth from the view point of Heaven. I am, after all, more than a Conqueror in Christ Jesus! Thanking God for DU-DU-DUUUUU!!!! :D.SONY DSC

vipslit@yahoo.ca

THE IDEAL FIRSTBORN

He is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation.” Colossians 1:15Image

Colossians 1:15

My first born son Leroy and my niece Tracey are such joys to watch when in action. Let’s talk about Leroy, [I will tell you about Tracey when I get parental consent from my siblings], a few weeks ago he put up a post on his wall about it being Valentine’s Day, him being in red and really wishing he could buy his girlfriend chocolate, a white teddy bear with a red something or other, and etc…well one of his Aunties heard him and sent help to finance this quest. Turns out that the girl he was talking about was last seen or heard of about three years ago. We came up with this idea of a savings account for him, towards, well, giving a token to his future parents in law – if that is God’s plan for him. His Aunt also said he should spend some of the money on himself.

So last night he comes and ‘withdraws‘ a certain amount of cash mysteriously from Mami’s custody, and then this afternoon, I receive the most awesome text message in the world;

“I’m coming home from school. I have bought for you chocolate. I’m also coming with it…You are also the best Mami in the world and I love you…”

Am out hunting for colleges with his little sister and my niece. Oh, and we were a biggish group – we end up in hospital as my little nephew takes a dive for the ground at some point at the end of our errands and ends up with a huge bandana like bandage on his head – functional and non-cosmetic. We get home tired and traumatized, and Leroy who has been waiting there for us does something that helps me understand Colossians 1:15 in a new way. He has his hand behind his back and goes up to his little sister – and once he has her full attention [difficult job I tell you] he pulls out these set of brand new headphones and hands them over to her “This is for passing your exams. Congratulations Shuku”

I love the young man he has become!!! I jokingly commented to Shukri that I wish I had a brother like she does, who sometimes just lovingly figures out my need – and does something about it…but then again, I DO! And if Christ Jesus, The Firstborn over all Creation loves me even a bit like Leroy loves his little sister…Am safe, am loved more than I could ever require…turns out…that just like the chocolates were for me, it was the one thing she needed to make her day…seems I need to make another ‘withdrawal’ with instructions that it’s okay for him to get something for himself, every once in a while.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Something New, is Sometimes, Something God

Image

The setting, The Royal Palace Hotel, in Bujumbura, Burundi. It was the last of about ten nights recently spent there working. I decided to join two new friends for dinner, as opposed to my usual lone room service. I had been feeling unwell, since before I traveled, and this night, I did not really feel up for a heavy meal, though I knew I would benefit from gentle but great company.

The waiters to come for our orders… I wanted a fruit salad with ice cream with a Smoothie comprising mostly avocado, with mango, pineapple and tree tomato. The waiter looked at me incredulously, then burst into laughter and told me, “Madam, we don’t have that here. It is not done.” It was my turn to be surprised. What did he mean? I had had the same or similar many, many, times before, at home in Nairobi. I barely stopped myself from losing my temper. The one thing about the hospitality in this place was that they were determined to make their clients at home. I also had developed a good relationship, based on honesty, with the staff particularly at the restaurant. So I knew he was not trying to ‘blow me off’ but was sharing his truth. The just did not… here.

So I patiently explained it to him, my two Australian dinner companions also stared at me, and one asked if I was serious about the order. I said that I was, and with my eefffy appetite, that is what my palate was able to take. It was not that time when the scripture demands that I eat for the comfort of my brethren, because I was certain that changing my order would have the effect in me, and all the staff and diners in that beautiful restaurant, of being the least loving thing I could do. I was really sick, and pushing down nausea.

Finally he left…and came back about 20 minutes later, after a lot of activity in the kitchen, some of which involved people peeping round the door and then rushing back in to try hide their mirth. He came bearing two glasses…one with Avocado Juice and the other, with the rest of the fruit I had asked for. I took it in my stride. I smilingly thanked him and asked him to bring me a third glass. BEAUTIFUL!

IMG_0979Life is like that, perhaps because God is like that. Difficult to predict, difficult to figure out…and sometimes the healing balm comes from being true to yourself – living truly for God – no matter who doesn’t believe what you are doing makes sense. I live for God – strongly – because He has taught my heart to fear missing out on every truly ‘God’ experience, by failing to fear and trust Him,  and living and being authentically what He bids me to be.

Just thought I should share…Have a glass of God – Life on Him :)

Let God set the itinerary and pace for your journey…you WILL NOT miss out!

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
Galatians 1:10

Vipslit@yahoo.ca

When You Smile Down on Me, You lift my Smile up to Yours

“When You smile down on me, You Always cause my smile to rise up to You.

Your Smile breaks the walls I have placed around my heart, scars built up to remind me, that the world and I, we are not perfect, just excellent when You say we are…

Your smiles says to me, that even when the way seems impossible, You never once stray Your gaze nor Your Presence, I am not alone,
Your smiles says to me, that although I often doubt that I am pleasing you…and not just me…Your have all that covered and atoned for in Your Loving and scandalously Gracious acceptance of me…just as I am…

Your smile says to me, that I will not fail, because true victory as You define it, is something Your have worked for and have given to me, to walk into, even when it seems that I am constantly embattled,
That Your promise still stands even when I am not worthy.

Smile down on me Father, You know the deepest cry that Your smile will answer for me this day…
For Your smile…breaks down walls, makes ways where there are factually none, hides me from the storm ragging around me..

Makes me beautiful in Your Eyes.”
Vip, to my Love Eternal – The Darling of Heaven

Thankfully Looking Back 18 Years to the Journey to and after the Birth of my Current Last Born

On a morning like this, 18 years ago, I woke up to keep an appointment with the staff at the Aga Khan Hospital, for my weekly clinic. It had been a difficult nine months. I had been on bed-rest, unable to move without great pain since the fourth month after fainting at the CBD one Wednesday afternoon. I carried with me, the 35kilograms of extra weight, evidence of five months of either sitting or lying around and satisfying my craving for Lasagne and passion fruit juice, along with fries, kebabs and lots of chilly. I had a low blood count and the hospital had asked me to prepare for a transfusion during delivery, which could only be via Caesarian Section.

 

I had no job, having been fired from the one I had, because my boss was also my mentor and was disappointed in the evidence of my fallen state – as this was my second pregnancy as an un-wed mother. He believed my medical appointments with my counsellor, Dr. Paul Wangai, were clandestine attempts to procure an abortion. Besides, being already a young woman in Christian ministry, and he being a mentor of mine in at least one of those ministries in which I served, I could not blame him. He was reacting possibly as a loving father would, on being suddenly confronted with evidence of his daughter’s misadventures. Sins.

 

I almost got another job, but was disqualified before I took on my appointment letter due to the politics of my country, back then. I came from ‘the wrong tribe’, my interviewer told me in great sorrow. He was not from my tribe, and neither was my intended supervisor, but he said that the state had called to request that they don’t hire any more people from my tribe just that morning. I don’t think he was lying, but I have no way of proving this. Anyway, all this, would work for me. I was not going to be able to work for anyone for most of my pregnancy. On my fourth month, as I waited for a bus to take me home from my monthly clinic, I was to faint, and ‘twist something’ as I rolled unconscious towards the road. I was saved by business people, who sold their wares here; most of whom happened to be people living with disabilities. God bless them. It was too painful to move after that…to get up and walk.

 

Still, it was a pregnancy of miracles. It was long before the time of mobile phones. Our house phone rang and on the other end, was my friend. We had not really been in touch for a while and she sounded…exasperated on the other end of the line. She had gone to a phone booth, on God’s instructions, looked through the list of ‘Ogolas’ in the phone book and called each till she got through to me. She said none of the other lines had been picked. She had an urgent issue – ‘I don’t know what this thing is between you and God, He seems to favor you. He asked me to call you, to tell you to bring the list for your baby’s things. Which hospital do you want to have a baby in?” I was shocked. I told her it was okay. I was going to a public hospital because that is what I could afford. She said, ‘no! Tell me which hospital you want to go to, even if its Nairobi. God said it was up to us to cover you.” I again said, am okay where I am. She insisted and I told her that I preferred Aga Khan…she asked how much the clinic money was, and told me to pass by her office the next day. It was her first job after university I think, and it must have been her first month working there. Someday, I will find out the details from her. So that is how an unemployed lady got to attend clinic and finally have her baby in a ‘nice hospital’.

 

The miracles were many: Dr. Wangai attended to me pro borno throughout my pregnancy – he was an expensive and much sought after Counsellor, and doctor and I was humbled by his gesture. God led me to a new church, Glory Tabernacle, led then by Pastor Wale Akinyemi. They taught me to trust God for my needs. They were there for me. Once all the ladies in ministry came home to see me, a baby shower of sorts. One of the Pastors passed by our family house to check on me almost daily, especially when I was not able to attend services. Because of the tension at home, Pastor Wale had offered to pay my rent for the first few months for my children and I. I was not able to take him up on this, due to the complexity of this pregnancy; I needed to be around people. God bless him. I had a list, and each item on that list was miraculously provided for throughout my nine months.

 

Come October 31, 1995. I had been having contractions for most of October. I just wanted to have this baby and rest. My due date was November 2, but I had clinic on November 1. My dear dear Daddy, would take me all the way to Aga Khan every Wednesday morning for my now, weekly clinics. Leave me there to rush and report to work, and then come back and take me back home, before settling in for his Wednesday. This was to be no different. I had not packed my bag because I was tired of asking God to cause the baby to come, every day for the past month or so. So I thought He was planning to let me down again. I painfully got into Daddy’s Peugeot, and we went to Parklands. I enjoyed clinic days. I had made many ‘friends’ there, none of whom I can now recall. But I got in and it became really noisy in a happy way as the chatting began. Daddy left promising to be back for me. The doctor looked and me and said ‘No need to examine you chatter-box, you look and sound fine.” I said to him, “you must since its’ my due date today.” He looked at the card and said, “Yes” as he ushered me in. He examined me and sent me across the road…”You are in labour.” O-o!

 

I ambled like a bear across the road, and went to the reception. I was booked but not paid up for Delivery. But they graciously allowed me through. I took the ramp. Daddy apparently came back for me and was told to look for me across the road. He took the lift and we met as I took my last few steps to the door of the Maternity Ward. He told me I was a strong girl, that it was going to be alright, and that he would come with Mama later to see me. I can’t remember much about the rest of that day, except the pain, the drama, and the fact that I actually really only had intense labour for three hours then they wheeled me to the delivery room. I thought they were making fun of me as I had labored for 16 hours with Leroy. But no, a few minutes, kicks and yells later, at exactly 5:45 pm, Baby Shukurani Aoko was born. O wasn’t she a feisty baby. She had fully developed lungs it seemed and cried and cried for about half an hour, despite my rocking her, until she was humoured [read bribed] with formula. Her name ‘Shukurani’ was an exclamation of my gratitude to God, Who had stood by me as a Faithful God, Father, Friend, Husband, Provider, Comforter….He was Everything I needed Him to be, every step of the journey.

 

He did not stop. Daddy went to pay the bill and had to go back thrice as the accounts department told him I was fully paid up for my three days there. He still paid. I went home and the favor was such that for Shukurani’s first four years, I was busy trying to find people to give cloths, cots, baby stuff. I first bought her a dress at the age of four, and it did not fit. God knew her exact size, and the clothes He sent, always fitted. One day, she and I will write a book on the journey that has been being and mothering Shukurani. But suffice it to say, we have had, daily, many, many more reasons to give thanks, to God and His wonderful people.

 

As she turns 18 today, I have an appointment to keep at her school. She has sent messages that I cannot ignore. I am going. I discovered that God sets the times, and He calls us forward to our appointments, whether or not we are ready. The idea is to believe Him, and show up for the appointment. When we do, we find, He has been waiting for us. Someone needs to hear this today…take the journey, it is not without its complex challenges; but it’s also one you will be glad you did not opt out of. I am.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHUKURANI

 

Un-Forgotten

Darkness has prevailed, the storm has not abated, and yet, God is with me in this boat. I can feel Him. I feel Him in the solid calm even when I sometimes have to raise up the sword He has placed in my hand. This morning, I got up, hearing Him asking me to make my bed and get into His Presence. He wanted me to read through the life of Joseph. My initial [and secret] response was a frustrated boredom. “What more could there be in that story for me? I am tired of believing.”

ImageSome background. The devil has been on my doorstep a lot lately. In the form of hostile people who think that I am not good enough to have what God has blessed me with. He, the devil, has felt free to take from me using the excuse of what is traditionally acceptable, what his agents think should be in and outside my house (this one is due to my pair of shoes that have mysteriously gone missing) and what he deems is within my limits of well-being  So he takes away and gives me illness, my household and I. He gives me heartbreak, loneliness, rejection, and try as I may to reject his sordid gift, it sits there on my doorstep and in my chamber, proudly festering, bringing in the exceedingly putrid. I feel homeless, like I have moved but still have no clue to my address. I feel imprisoned  forgotten, unlovable ..and when I cry out and expect this expression of pain to expel the agony that is my life and soul, I lack relief. There is no catharsis. I must sit silently…and wait for God. That is the background of this state in which I tried not to get out of bed this morning.

So I tidy up as much as my strength can allow. In the last two weeks, I have survived the onslaught of pneumonia, gas poisoning and malaria. Not to mention the heart issues…and then I sit. “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that You are God and that I Your servant, have done all these things at Your command.” I pray along with Elijah of old. But am mocked by the ‘immediately the fire of God fell from heaven‘ and I sit deflated wondering if I should also now raise up the prayer of Jabez. I remember ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’, I go online and begin reading the story of Joseph. From Genesis 37.

My response; initially, that his story is eerily familiar. I feel like I have re-lived Joseph…ahem, at least some of his major seasons…especially the tail end of his story before his glorification. I feel like I have sat marinating in it for too long. Its time to move out…then I get to the part where God makes other people’s dreams come true through him, and how he remains forgotten. I have come to terms with that part. God taught me a long time ago that He rarely works out His breakthroughs through people He has blessed through our lives…and to give without expecting to be paid back. But it is a lesson I learn daily still. Especially when you love deeply…you learn to open your hands and heart fully as you give…and not to be surprised by the biting and breaking thrown back at you in response…and to again open your hands and heart at the very next opportunity :).

Then God takes a hold of my spirit, my soul, my attention…and this is the word He causes me to declare over my life, and which you can also take upon yours if you like :).

“PLEASE REMEMBER ME TO THE FATHER. BUT EVEN IF YOU DON’T, GOD’S SET TIME FOR ME WILL COME, UNEXPECTEDLY, AND HE WILL RAISE ME UP INTO THAT WHICH HE HAS FOR ME. HE WHO PROMISES IS FAITHFUL. HE WHO GIVES ME THE DREAM, IS THE KEEPER OF DREAMS. I WILL NOT STAND IN OFFENCE AGAINST HIM BY DOUBTING WHAT HE HAS SAID TO ME, BECAUSE THOSE WHO KNOW ME WELL DO NOT SEE IT IN ME, MY SET TIME WILL COME, EVEN THOUGH MY DAYS IN THE BOTTOM OF THE BOTTOMLESS DUNGEON PREVAIL…GOD STILL SEES ME. HE WILL BRING MY CASE BEFORE THE ONE HE HAS PREPARED TO PROMOTE ME. ALSO LEARNING THAT I MAY HAVE A REVELATION OF EXACTLY WHO HAS BEEN SENT TO BE PARTY TO MY PROMOTION…BUT I CANNOT MANIPULATE THE TIMES NO MATTER HOW DEEPLY UNCOMFORTABLE I AM WITH MY CURRENT SITUATION; I MAY HAVE TO REMAIN HERE FORGOTTEN A WHILE LONGER, BUT WHEN GOD’S SET TIME COMES, HE MAKES SUCH AN APPEAL OVER MY DELIVERANCE THAT NO ONE CAN SIT STILL UNTIL I AM WHERE HE WANTS AND HAS DECREED I SHOULD BE!”

Suddenly, everything changes. It is like God Almighty has risen in my boat, and has spoken to the winds, the storms, to the biting and the breaking…and though the night still prevails, morning has broken. I can almost hear the feet of the soldiers headed my way, the keys to my deliverance clanging in their hands, and though my heart still hopes and prays that they will not walk past the door of my dungeon, it is no longer a distraction. I will represent God, one more day, one more time, in this place where He has chosen for me to do so, until He decides to raise me up from among the dead and forgotten, to His chosen heights, among the living. I am convinced, that I am unforgotten.Image

vipslit@yahoo.ca

But remember me when it goes well with you; and show me kindness, please; and mention me to Pharaoh, so that he will release me from this prison…Nevertheless, the chief cupbearer didn’t remember Yosef, but forgot him…At the end of two years, Pharaoh had a dream…In the morning he found himself so upset that he summoned all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one there could interpret them for him. Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today reminds me of something wherein I am at fault: Pharaoh was angry with his officials and put me in the prison of the house of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker. One night both I and he had dreams, and each man’s dream had its own meaning. There was with us a young man, a Hebrew, a servant of the captain of the guard; and we told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us — he interpreted each man’s dream individually. And it came about as he interpreted to us — I was restored to my office, and he was hanged.Then Pharaoh summoned Yosef, and they brought him QUICKLY out of the dungeon. He shaved himself, changed his clothes, and came in to Pharaoh. ”…The proposal seemed good both to Pharaoh and to all his officials. Pharaoh said to his officials, “Can we find anyone else like him? The Spirit of God lives in him!”

So Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Since God has shown you all this — there is no one as discerning and wise as you — you will be in charge of my household; all my people will be ruled by what you say. Only when I rule from my throne will I be greater than you.” Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Here, I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Yosef’s hand, had him clothed in fine linen with a gold chain around his neck and had him ride in his second best chariot; and they cried before him, “Bow down!” Thus he placed him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Pharaoh said to Yosef, “I, Pharaoh, decree that without your approval no one is to raise his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.” Pharaoh called Yosef by the name Tzafnat-Pa‘neach and gave him as his wife Osnat the daughter of Poti-Fera priest of On. Then Yosef went out through all the land of Egypt.

Yosef WAS THIRTY YEARS OLD WHEN HE STOOD BEFORE PHARAOH king of Egypt…But Yosef said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Am I in the place of God? You meant to do me harm, but God meant it for good — so that it would come about as it is today, with many people’s lives being saved. So don’t be afraid — I will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he comforted them, speaking kindly to them.

Yosef continued living in Egypt, he and his father’s household. Yosef LIVED 110 YEARS. (Maftir). Yosef lived to see Efrayim’s great-grandchildren, and the children of M’nasheh’s son Makhir were born on Yosef’s knees.”

Genesis 37-50

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