Sneaking in a Covenant

#Covenant #Gibeonites #GodofCovenant #CovenantKeepingGod

“Even though God had not desired of Israel to make a covenant with the Gibeonites, He held Israel responsible to be faithful to it.” Norbert Link and Bill Grams

I am learning a tough class in this season – the kind that puts the fear of God in you, wounds and then heals you. I am learning that God is not really flexible about covenant. No not really. He takes His words serious and expects of us – has indeed loaned us of His Strength – His Might to do the same. We are expected to be on guard over our mouths and watch what we promise others – and even when we have been caught up by the rush of the moment, to release ourselves only by Way of The Redeeming Covenant.

There are these ancient people – and sometimes they are us now – called Gibeonites. They are very good at getting you to agree with them without your having all the facts. You are genuine, they are fearful of you (or the prospect of doing life etc. without you) so they figure out ways to get you to say things you should never say. e.g. ‘I Will…’. Have I said in this post that God is serious about Covenant? If I haven’t, let me just say it here again, for my own sake at least – “GOD IS SERIOUS ABOUT COVENANT”. When we enter into covenant rashly both sides suffer – and greatly so.

So once a king of Israel, their impressive very first king, allowed it to enter his mind that there was an exit clause in which he could do away with the other party – the sneaky Gibeonites – and it would be considered and excused as Kingly so it would not count as the breaking of covenants [and all the other excuses we have for sneaking in a covenant dissolution without consulting God and the other party…]. This king, allowed it to slip from his mind [as we often do] that he was ruler among his brethren, and that he was a parent and grandparent – and more so that God did not share the frailties of man’s ability not to remember the promises he has made, and that He [when referring to God the H is in Caps] – God – Out-began and will Out-end us. So it took three years of a nation’s severe hunger, and restitution which meant the routing out of seven of a dead kings’ flesh and blood to make things right for an entire nation.

Covenants – broken promises, have a way of sneaking in and holding entire nations, families in terrible places. So today – if it means putting on your mask and running very fast for thirty minutes away from the other party as you listen to God’s counsel about the bond you are about to enter into – that alliance – do what it takes. It is far better believe me to look ridiculous now than…yes it is far better. Don’t put yourself in a place where neither God nor yourself ever wanted you to be. Shalom.

Scripture Reference: Joshua 1:3-27, 2 Samuel 21, Isaiah 30:1

“if you have been trapped by the words of your lips, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, for you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go, humble yourself,a and press your plea with your neighbor. Allow no sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,like a bird from the snare of the fowler.” Proverbs 6:2-5

#OpenYourEyes #ThereisYetHope #WeHaveaRedeemer

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Christmas by a Child

…And a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6

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Never have the words of the above scripture verse been as true for my household as it has been this past few weeks. And such a true delight. But particularly in the last few days. Christmas this year has been difficult to celebrate – not because of the debates around its origins and the true dates of the birth of The LORD Jesus Christ ( I am one of those who are of the opinion that dates are details when it comes to this – the fact that He came, and the impact of His coming to me and mine, and indeed the larger Household of God are worth celebrating) but just how the year 2019 has been.

December came with many still reeling from the year’s devastating whirlwinds. Particularly with grief over loss of loved ones and property, and heavy questions about the morrows…what, where and when. God was not really silent for us, but seemed to be over the issues that stabbed continually at our open wounds. Fatigue came, with it a sense that we were walking through the surreal…indeed the unreal, because storms were not known to run this intense – this long. But it was in this month that each member of my household found themselves seeking God together in late night prayer meetings. The most awake, and the most active during these beautiful encounters with God has been our ‘little one’.

It was he that shouted out his prayers (I wonder why toddlers rarely speak in low tones) and decided the order of service – including who prayed when. His thoughts over the scriptures we have read as well as his prayers have been simple and profound. So much so that we would giggle as we ‘Amen’ed at his pure and selfless requests. He had heard that God had a birthday coming up so his daily prayer would be “Heavenly Father…Your Birthday. Give us a party.” The rest of us were concerned about rent, bills, food and fees – the usual culprits – BUT GG wanted a party – A Birthday Party for God. Ok…
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Christmas midnight found us in prayer, and led by him, we sung the birthday song for Dear Jesus and then went to sleep. I woke up a few hours later wondering what to do about God’s Birthday party. I was not really in a party mood. I had spent the last two days with my aunt and family over the loss of my cousin Sussy – whose funeral is this Friday. I was also thinking about those with no homes in Kisii, Tassia, Pokot, Nyando and the various places in Kenya for whom December had meant burials etc. I actually intended to engage in a fasting prayer for the nation but God spoke up and said ‘Not Today.’. There was not a drop of food in the house so I got up, bathed and went out to hunt. Driven by the Spirit inspired prayers of a little child. By the time he and his mum were up, breakfast was available. Leroy and I are early risers.
It was a slow day, but Gio was determined to jump-start it by dragging about the box that had the Christmas decorations from yester-years begging us to put up the lights and blow balloons until we gave in at around 4pm. And then he honors our efforts by drawing us all in to marvel at the lights as we sung again ‘Happy Birthday Dear Jesus’. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever lived through a more profoundly meaningful Christmas ‘party’ than this one.
God bless my little drummer boy. God bless the little child. God bless you for honoring God, with either a fast or a feast ton this day that is dedicated to Him. Amen.

#GodinTheDetails

vipslit@yahoo.ca

‘Nyasaye Ramafundu’

Am reading through Genesis 14 and the words that keep coming in my spirit – in worship – are ‘Nyasaye Ramafundu’. Not flattering on their own – and seemingly contradictory because how can The Almighty and Holy God be perplexingly uncouth at the same time? Actually the two words perplexingly uncouth do not adequately encapsulate the depth of the Luo word ‘ramafundu’ – but its a beginning.
 
Am looking at God in His identity as Commander of His hosts – The Living God. He has liberated His own and He is leading them home…but they keep camping within Egypt at His leading. To those watching them, they seem confused, undecided, as though they are flirting with the idea of going back into captivity…but they are truly led of God. He leads them to a point governed by a popular but offensive deity. Pharaoh is now probably laughing at them – believing them to be lost and easy prey. he probably thinks that they are like him, quick to forget the searing punishment that Egypt has suffered for trying to retain this very same people…but Egypt will remember. Very soon.
 
On Israel’s part- they are actually thinking of going back, believing themselves to have been duped by God; drawn out to die in the wilderness. They follow God and His servant, mostly with barely concealed hostile mistrust of His intentions. They do not see His battle plan – that He is fighting for them and that they are on the verge of one of the most memorable breakthroughs of all time.
 
Anyway – ‘Nyasaye Ramafundu’ – God is perplexingly uncouth: He allows Egypt to pursue Israel on their fastest and best vehicles…and then begins to cause mayhem right in the middle of Israel’s breakthrough. He throws off Pharaoh and his army’s wheels as they ride along. God does not have to fight conventionally…truth is, there is no set pattern by which He fights. The Creator is creative even in battle. Egypt finally gets its but its too late…“Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”vs 25. Be wary of the seeming or sometimes actual confusion of those being led by God on a way that you have never been. it may just save you life to hesitate before you pursue them with words and actions that you are sure would destroy them…confidence that is not backed by God is just that – unbacked by God.
#TheLivingGod #GodofWar #AlmightyandTerrible #NyasayeRamafundu
vipslit@yahoo.ca

Harvest Pursuit

What did you do with your elevation – your promotion? Did you use it to build or destroy lives? When we are or seem to be at an advantage, what we choose to embrace to the harm of another has the tendency of ‘imagining’ that we desire it for ourselves: it then begins its pursuit to be established in our lives – pressed down, shaken together and to the overflow. It’s not therefore always the system, witch or satanic agent pursuing you – but your own harvest. I implore us, to be careful how and what we are tempted to sow into the lives of others especially those we have judged adversely (as forsaken, powerless or wanting in some way)…because Life ensures that we reap…unless of cause, genuine repentance is met by God’s Amazing Grace. Shalom.
 
““Because you have had an ancient hatred, and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, when their iniquity came to an end, therefore, as I live,” says the Lord God, “I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you.
 
“I will do according to your anger and according to the envy which you showed in your hatred against them; and I will make Myself known among them when I judge you. Then you shall know that I Am The LORD. I have heard all your blasphemies which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, ‘They are desolate; they are given to us to consume.’ Thus with your mouth you have boasted against Me and multiplied your words against Me; I have heard them.”
 
‘Thus says The LORD God: “The whole earth will rejoice when I make you desolate. As you rejoiced because the inheritance of the house of Israel was desolate, so I will do to you; you shall be desolate, O Mount Seir, as well as all of Edom—all of it! Then they shall know that I Am The LORD.” “
Ezekiel 35:5-6, 11-15

General Legacy

Some of the time we hold that the true power of someone’s legacy is only at the points easily recognizable as triumphant. Points passed on from person to person and generation to generation as indicators of greatness. We therefore wait to share our stories at their conclusions. That’s alright. But conclusions are not set on stone…how does one who still walk judge a story in their life to have ended…while they still walk?
I feel, humbly, that there is cause to celebrate too the journey, daily: that its a cause for High Praise and Thanksgiving. Like the lyrics of one of my favorite songs say “thank You LORD for the Strength You give, to simply carry on…”
When we hold of rejoicing because the outcome of the day was not what we anticipated or defined as triumphant, we miss out on the breath by breath triumphs, delights, yes even failures overcome or simply lived through, priceless treasures of life in its pulsating detail. There is as much weight in sharing the victory of the first step, the enduring scenes of the journey as there is in the end. Besides…we may not be alive long enough to truly appreciate the impact of our lives in their entirety. That’s usually the privilege of your survivors and future generations. Celebrate the breath you have just taken…you KNOW, you understand what you just survived. Shalom.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
Hebrews 11:13-16
vipslit@yahoo.ca
+254722755485

Failing Forward on La Via Dolorosa (the way of Grief/Suffering)

‘If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.’ Luke 6:29-30, Matt 5:39-40

 

If the passage above has made you flinch, you are in good company. Forgiveness and Humility are nice enough words until God gives you His definition, His concept – then like Jesus’ disciples we worry with perplexed, wide open mouths–‘who then can be saved?’ This week in particular, it’s been hard. Especially since I know that my friendship with God has gotten deeper. You see, I am walking differently, accepting as commonplace, the human disdain when acts of obedience to Him, mean that I walk apart from what is considered the norm. I had imagined that because He, God was happy, approving even or my willingness to submit more readily, that everyone else would understand. That there would be a lot more cheering. But watching the life of the One on whose Footsteps I must walk, I realize that the popularity of three years of caring, feeding, healing, justifying, raising the dead, also meant that the cloud of enemies that hated what He stood for – still stands for – had reviewed their options and were desperate. Love that is merely human, is frightened easily, and dies easy…because it depends on perceived benefits – selfish benefits. And when those no longer seem forthcoming, the fear is overwhelming, causing us to retreat to the shadows, or…flee. Just like Jesus disciples did, just like many of those for whom He had been a blessing to during His ministry years, did. It is no wonder that knowing the next phase of His ministry as being most crucial, He cried out deeply with all He was, bloodied sweat trickling down His Face ‘Father if it be Thy Will, take this cup away from me…’ Let me not drink of it unless there is no other way…but then in Being and knowing The Truth, He conceded ‘not My Will but Thine be done…’

 

I am learning that God is not just about interested in bringing breakthroughs in the way we have been trained to understand breakthroughs: the healing, the wealth, the finances, the car, the spouse, the job, the promotion…all these are well enough, within His Will, but there is a bigger purpose for which we follow Him. We follow Him so that the world may experience the sons of God [Romans 8:19]. The ones that truly walk the narrow road. A few weeks ago, God led me to contemplate the ministry and death of Stephen the Martyr. I was amazed. As they stoned him, he spoke of a sight beyond imagining: The risen and Glorified Jesus standing above before His Throne. The crowd grew incensed, dragging him, stoning him for even this utterance, and as they did, he continued to focus – and the miracle happened. There was no chariot of flaming horses, no heavenly army, no ascension, no ground opening up to swallow his murderers. The miracle here was much greater. It was that in death, his words mirrored those of the One Who held his gaze. The miracle here was a prayer – Forgiveness…even while the offense was still taking place. Stephen’s cross had stayed put on his shoulder so to speak, and his gaze had been set like flint, and his feet, they fit onto those of The One on Whom he laid down his life. And lay down his life he did. The answer to this prayer was powerfully demonstrated in the conversion of the one who had stood back watching approvingly and treated his murderers with dignity and respect: Saul of Tarsus. Saul became Paul when he came face to face with Stephen’s Lord and Saviour, while riding a murderous rage against Stephen’s spiritual brethren. He turned from being Challenger, to being their Champion. In a few minutes.

 

Last year was about Romans 12:2 – God transforming my thinking to His way of thinking. The Alabastron program had a lot to do with this.  From the program I learnt to dump my baggage and change my way of thinking to be more Truth based. But God took over, I didn’t realize the disparities in the way we think – particularly about what I call good or miraculous or even breakthroughs until I learnt to daily surrender to His way of thinking.

So now back to the via Dolorosa, following Jesus with my own cross squarely on my shoulder, much of the time anyway. I realize how often I shout for Him to hold on while I put down my cross, and trade insult for insult; blow for blow with the jearing, mocking crowd and the brutal soldiers. I know who I am in Christ after all. I shake my shoulders (difficult to do with a cross on) and do a David ‘I killed the lion and the bear…’ statement, not realizing that I must take this test fully to the triumph. It involves a court of false accusation, the stripping down do reveal and parade your nakedness, the sharing of your clothes among those who loath you, whipping, spitting, more false testimonies, people who suspect your goodness and true identity washing their hands off you, denying you or melting in the darkness or watching from afar; it involves you carrying your cross and because you must finish the journey, exchanging close friends for enemies whose only reason for walking beside you is to eventually nail you on a cross, and beyond them, others yelling profanities at you. Once in a while you run into someone, a small group whose hearts break for you, and then eventually they pin you onto that cross strap you so you don’t fall off the nails and put you up, naked, battered, just for the sport of it. And then you die. But there is a miracle in this, before the resurrection, and glorification, the acceptance of this – all of it as part of the cup of which you must drink, and the strength, the might, to resist fighting back, verbally, emotionally, psychologically, physically even though you know you are right, and even, stronger than all your enemy put together. Or what do you think Jesus meant by ‘I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’ in John 13:12-17 and of cause Luke 9:23-25 ‘Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?’

 

Just a little light…

 

In learning these, I have had to repeat several lessons. I have shouted back, even gone to the police station to report an offence riding on perplexed offence. I am learning to pay what I don’t owe, not because I can’t defend myself, or my country has refused to defend me, but because during the lessons God has been teaching me lately, He is teaching me to understand the times, and the place that am on. The putting down of my cross and yelling my defences and declaring the offenses of others feels ‘powerful’ when am doing them, but when my eyes meet His again, and I see myself in His Eyes, I understand the feeling of nakedness that caused the disciples turned fishermen to jump into the lake when they saw their resurrected Lord standing at the shores. I want to do this… I want to hear Him say ‘Well done Vip!” and feel His Embrace when I get to heaven, even when there is mercy ahead. I am learning that He thinks pride is an awful thing, and seeing a little clearer with His eyes, I have learnt that it is the thing that causes me to go tell on someone who has wronged me…or simply show their nakedness too. I want to be in Christ’s Hands, in loving and joyful obedience to His Leadership, to be the miracle that causes someone to live so fully for Him, that their legacy cannot be erased from the main story of God’s Triumph. The miracle that causes hardened hearts to worship Him with hearts of flesh. I want to be a miracle, in the way God – The Father, Son and Holy Ghost – define ‘miracle’.

Shalom.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

 

Further readings: Luke 6: 27-36, Luke 22 -24, Luke 6:40, Proverbs 20:22, Romans 12: 1-2, Isaiah 55:8-9, Acts 6 – 8:1, Acts 9:1-31and I Corinthians 6:7 ‘’The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?’ Assessing the progress of the pilgrim – face down

 

Ministries of Francis Frangipane: ‘Let us remember that our goal is not only to speak the truth, but to actually communicate it. Christ wants us to reach people. Thus, He calls us to go extra miles, and to turn our cheek when struck. We are to genuinely love our enemies, not just try to correct them. You see, our truth is not just religious dogma; for us, Truth is a person the Lord Jesus Christ..& He seeks to save those who are His enemies’ Facebook Status update for January 14, 2011

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