To Climb a Tree

WHAT MADE A RICH AND POWERFUL MAN CLIMB A TREE:
I got thinking today, seeing in my mind the rich and powerful people I know, have heard of or seen from a distance, and imagined them, one by one, hoisting themselves up a tree for a better few of…okay, think of the ones you know, unless they are actors or environmentalists, what would they be doing up there? It would be more plausible for them to shove their way to the front, or get their security to do it for them so that they would get a better view. And then I thought of a group of rich and/or powerful men all trying to get a glimpse of the same thing, live. That would be even worse…a cloud of security would probably make it impossible for their bosses to get a glimpse.
Short Zacchaeus was in such a situation. He was rich, he was powerful, but the pharisees and the disciples seemed more fitted for a close up with Jesus Christ. This was not his crowd, and it was likely that they would not hesitate to remind him of the fact. Among this sort, his position was despicable…because you see, they thought they knew him well. The source of his wealth was, fishy, so they felt it was their duty to protect God and heaven from the likes of him. Even without knowing they were doing it. But this did not numb his keen hunger, to see Christ, and say to Him what only He could hear, understand, appreciate and mitigate.
So he did something that could mostly be associated with a child, or someone who life had drained of anything they could loose. He was both. And because the Kingdom of Heaven belonged to such as he, The LORD of Heaven, ‘heard’ his faith, his hunger, and saw him shed all, that he might have a glimpse of Him. And Jesus, spoke above the cloud that hindered Him from getting to Him, and then drew Him forth that they might fellowship together.
BELOVED, SO ‘THEY’ ARE IN THE WAY, BLOCKING YOU FROM SEEING THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE – THE LOVE OF ALL AGES. DO SOMETHING THEIR POMP AND POWER WOULD KEEP THEM FROM DOING, SOMETHING POWERFULLY CHILDLIKE, ENOUGH TO GIVE YOU A VIEW OF HIM. ‘THEY’ MAY DESPISE YOUR FAITH IN ACTION, BUT THAT HAS NEVER MATTERED, WHAT MATTERS IS THAT YOU DRAW THE APPROVAL OF THE ONE WHO MADE THEM AND YOU. [thoughts on Luke 19:1-10]
“let the LITTLE children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, ANYONE who WILL NOT receive The Kingdom of God like a LITTLE CHILD will NEVER enter it.” Luke 18:15-17
vipslit@yahoo.ca

Yet Again

So there I was, feeling sorry for myself, yet again. Thinking I deserve much better, yet again. Unwilling to intercede even as I found myself on my knees, yet again. So I opened my Bible yet again, and once more, hoped that God would not rebuke me for my wicked stance, yet again. He reminded me, yet again, that I was His bride eternally. And as He did, it dawned on me, that He, has called me to find my life, strength, sense of worth, contentment in Him, that He lives to intercede for me all the time despite my penchant for murky waters, that He loves me perennially, defends me with all He is and has against all who perpetually accuse me, and that He, not I, not by a long shot, deserves better. And once again, I find myself where I truly am made by Him, made ready by Him, made more than I deserve by Grace in Him.

“For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.
For the Lord has called you
Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
Says your God.
“For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you…“O you afflicted one,
Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
And lay your foundations with sapphires.

…All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established;
You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me.
Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.
“Behold, I have created the blacksmith
Who blows the coals in the fire,
Who brings forth an instrument for his work;
And I have created the spoiler to destroy.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.” Isaiah 54:5 NKJV

vipslit@yahoo.ca

 

Water to be Bought

Notes to Self a.k.a. Therapeutic Venting:
Eagle on edge of cliffSomehow, there was always water to be bought, but in the five years I have been here, and four houses that I have lived in here, none from the taps. I have loved this beautiful wilderness in which God has planted me – mainly because He did not dump me here and take off, but He stayed. He has gently guided me, from the humblest of new beginnings, to a spacious place while retaining some thorns in my flesh, probably to keep me from thinking I did and have it all together. That’s Merciful – because am not leaving this place to go to hell for having a big head – not for any reason.
One thing that has been common in all the places He has allowed me to stay, is that I have had to buy water. At 20/ per 20 liter Jerrican(Mitungi or container). And its water for everything – washing, flushing, cooking. Now that there is a baby in the house, lets just say…that we have been blessed with the challenge of not being able to plan our usage as we did when it was just us, adults. Gory tales are rife in these parts about why there is no water…I have been asking my landlord to look into this for the past 16 months. Recently he asked me to check if my neighbors have water before calling him again…it is well. I love my house. I hate moving, for one, it is too expensive.
 
Now there is a new hurdle. There seems to be no fresh water. My neighbor told me yesterday, that somehow the sewage got mixed up with the fresh water, where the vendors get it. Another story is that there will be no fresh water in Tassia for the next two weeks, just borehole water, which is salty… Hmmm, imagine salty tea, salty ugali…especially for me who is fighting a health situation that is hostile to salt. I asked the ladies during today’s lunch hour Bible-Study if they had any ideas…there is a place, but I would need a truck, lots of muscle, fuel, containers, the time, not to mention the money to buy it. Then I called Nairobi Water…they require an account number, which we do not have. With that I can go to Kayole, and get them to send me a tanker full of what I need, but I would need a huge tank or two with taps to store this precious commodity, or help sealing and disinfecting the ones that come with my house due to a leakage issue that…well…that happened. Besides…whenever I look at those tanks…they ‘smell’ costly even without the water we need. Somehow, there is always water to be bought.
 
Aaahhh…so my name is Vip Ogola, and I love living in Tassia where God in His Wisdom and Love, and fore-thought (this is not an accident…five years is a looong time for an accident to just be happppenningggggg) placed me to learn more about Him, and allow Him to deal with the things about me that are unlike Him. Which leads me to why I even have words to vent…I thank God for the internet…and for Dr. Google. I blogged “no water, verse’ and came to find a treasury of beautiful verses that on the most part humbled me with the information that am not the first person to be in this situation, ever, and that God does answer prayers like mine, and has:). Somehow that comforts me.
 
Thanks for reading through, now you know a little bit more about my lovely Tassia – beautiful homes…where God answers prayers, by the second. Am waiting for mine before The Rock of my salvation.
 
vipslit@yahoo.ca

Humbled to Pray

May MARCH be truly Special for you in The Lord:

I started March, as a continuation of February. A dear friend of mine had really upset me, really, really upset me, and one of the last things I did was ‘decree and declare’ – “It’s over and never again!”. So feeling justified, and still really really really upset, I went on my knees seeking God’s Grace for me, while resolutely pouring cold water on the soft call to pray for the one who had offended me. (Remember, I am that friend of God that really, really, realllllly annoys Him a lot of the time). He did not pound me with “unless I forgive I would not be forgiven, not this time at least, which is Truth by the way…He took me to 2 Chronicles 7..’If My People, Called by My Name, would HUMBLE themselves and pray…” Hey…God was not playing ball with me!

I had never really thought about that word ‘HUMBLE’ right in there…but this time, my Delightful, Almighty, Loving and Gracious…and Disciplinarian Father made sure I could not go past that word. I ‘heard’ “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. …and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

It takes humility to pray for someone who has hurt you…am not talking about getting on our knees and telling on them to God, or calling all Elijah’s fires down on their heads…but seeking God for their well being…that they may be blessed, grounded in God, provided for and encouraged to live His purpose in them and unhindered…that He would remove any stumbling blocks on their way. It feels like …what I imagine swallowing hot granite would feel like…God opposes the proud, and am at a time in my life, where I need Him on my side in a way that never ends. So I prayed, and journalled, and the dawn banished the night and viola…I love my friend again. I have decreed and declared that God will enable me to bring to Him from His gift of this friendship, more fruit than we could count…fruit that God Himself would delight in.

Oh, and I almost forgot, He let two ladies drop in, who needed to hear what I had learnt…so I would not forget…and they would be watching to make sure I don’t.

Go ahead…swallow the hot granite…its good medicine. Have an Awesome March 2016.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Merry Seasonal Divorces

The ‘season to be merry’ can sometimes be the season where ‘Joseph is quietly planning to put Mary away’. Not kill her, although it feels like it, but to divorce her or act like he is not married or in a relationship with her. And the pendulum swings the other way too. Mary may have found a good reason to leave Joseph as well. It looks sometimes like ‘merry’ can be with someone else, and impossible with ‘your regular’. Your heart, your esteem gets tired of being thrown around…or of being associated with someone who does not seem to look like ‘Christmas Lights’ no matter what angle you dim your eyes, your perspective to view them with… God knows you have tried. So does the devil, and he in particular has this particular knack of sliding someone ‘better’ between the cracks of your disillusionment and heartbreak. Greener grass so to speak…That total male or female that always made your nerve endings go ‘giddiyup’ is suddenly looking your way, and looking really, totally, delicious in the oasis kind of way…hmmm.
 
Hmm, a lot of my friends are celebrating marriage anniversaries this month and in the next. And sometimes when they drop the numbers…I look at them with new respect… “How did you do it?” No matter how cosy a couple look together, especially when they look cosy and have been married or together a while…they have been tested…severely so. They deserve a trophy for keeping on, a badge…am humbled by them. They stood. Ok, some are perpetual strays but they have a life-mate who is sturdy, home – stays put…and to these warriors, I want to be around, a witness when God makes His pronouncement about your life and faithfulness to your post – it will be worth it.
 
So if the devil is trying to teach your sturdy heart a lesson or two on being a stray…[truth is, with the spouse you have now, no one who knows the ‘whole story’ would blame you for taking a short stroll in the park] I wont tell you not to follow your heart or your nerve tips…I will just share a word that my great friend shared with me this morning that got me rushing back to post…
 
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10
 
and this one is from me to you
 
“You who are young, make the most of your youth. Relish your youthful vigor. Follow the impulses of your heart. If something looks good to you, pursue it. But know also that not just anything goes; You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.” Ecclesiastes 11:9
vipslit@yahoo.ca

So…Are You Married? Really?

What unmake’s/invalidates a marriage? What is marriage? What is it that defines it in such a way that it does not matter what or where you come from, makes it still true? If the nation in which you live in, God forbid, was declared a non-state by those who claim the rights and ability to do so; if the policy context under which you married was drastically changed; if the religious institution which declared you married was in some way nullified or if it no longer held true for you; if the symbols of the legality of your union according to the culture by which you live were lost or destroyed in some way; if the authorities and witnesses – all of them – that authenticated your marriage were declared of unsound mind or lost their lives or were no longer relevant to you- or changed their minds/testimony about the validity of your union; what if one or both of you felt they made a mistake and no longer believed and lived in the honor of that union? Would you still be married? Is it possible for one to be married legally in one context and yet be illegal in another? What if you do not have any of the above in the first place? What/Who makes or unmakes a marriage?

BACK TO THE FIRST MARRIAGE RECORDED IN THE BIBLE – BACK TO EDEN: “Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.” Genesis 2

My Crush on Andrew

Andrew, he makes me smile! I think I have a crush on him…no…I KNOW I love him! Totally so. I hope that when I get to heaven, after Jesus Christ, he would be one of the first I see.

Andrew, the Apostle, often goes unnoticed, and yet he did profound things. He was a God-chaser and a room maker. He first followed John the Baptizer, and when John the Way maker and room maker pointed out The Messiah to him, he believed John. His faith followed action – he honored his former mentor by stepping into The Way he was shown. And no…he was not going to leave his brother behind. He went home and told him that he had seen the Messiah and urged him to come step in His Footsteps. His brother, Simon Peter, was the one to whom Christ handed the Church. A ‘little’ act of networking by…sigh…Andrew…hooked God up with ministry predecessor.

Andrew did not stop at his brother, one time, Greeks came to see Jesus…and it was he and Philip that brought these…Gentiles…before the King of kings. Gentiles…like most of you are, like I am. I am amazed at his foresight. It took his brother Peter, rebuke from his brethren, after Christ’s Ascension to even accept that Christ Jesus was relevant to Gentiles…and yet here….I love Andrew.

But for me, the most profound of his evident understanding of his Messiah was, when they stood in ministry before 5000+ hungry men, and Christ asked them what to do about their hunger. Phillip…was overwhelmed, as you and I often are, by the size of the challenge. “Where will we get the resources in time to satiate their immediate hunger! We don’t have the money!” Andrew, sigh, he pointed to a ‘little matter’ that meant that their situation was not as desperate as Phillip made it out to be. “There is a little boy here, with a little food – it is not right to say that we don’t have anything. We have a little.” And The LORD of all creation, who made everything by just His Word, the Word of God, spoke. And 5000+ hungry people ate to their fill, and there was substantial left over, so that each one of the disciples could ‘take home’ a considerable ‘doggie bag’.

I am a lot like Philip…a lot. We think that by always taking note of what is not working, we are made heroes…but I learnt more than once, that focusing on that angle too much can cost you your health, your money, your relationships, your very life… Andrews on the other hand do not ignore the crisis, but they also never forget the ‘little things’, the single things…the tiny pivot points. And God honors their faith, and gives them so much, much more than they would dare believe He could. Little is MUCH when God is in it. May God give me eyes and faith, like that of Andrew…and even more.

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” Jesus Christ in Luke 16:10

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