Zoar and Ishmael

Its been a year and more since God started speaking to me about this move. I believe Him, just that I keep looking, like all those that God has ever spoken to about a move…I have looked at myself and seen all the ways in which I am flawed, I fall short and wondered…

So I did what I could, and then waited. Heart beating so fast, it wore me out. So I settled back into the status quo. Into the shame of stagnation. Choosing to the endure the scorn from those who knew…who had heard from me what God said He would do for me and mine, rather than risk being disappointed by God. I add this latest one, to all the rest I have heaped in a treasure box…knowing that God speaks to me…but wondering if the characteristic of His Words, that they never go back to Him void, applies to the ones He speaks to me. But then, that would make God – The Truth a liar wouldn’t it? And that is an impossibility if ever there was one.

So then God begins to gently lead me through Genesis – from chapter 1, and Deuteronomy 1-2. I am now on Chapter 19 and am so trembling at His Word and His Mind. He is tough about the things He says. When we think we can advice Him better on how to navigate through a seemingly complex plan of His, He demonstrates otherwise. And don’t I know it…this laps around this stagnant mount have worn me and mine out.

Its true, I haven’t heard from Him the ‘where’ of the move. But I have heard the urgency of His call to get up and get going. I don’t yet know the ‘how’, and yet I know its urgent. So this morning again, this early afternoon, His words break me again. I hunger for His direction. I feel guilty, condemned, that I have failed Him. That I am still here, when He wills for me to me to be elsewhere. Then just like that, He sends two words “No Condemnation.”

I realize that its no longer up to me. This is His thing…it has to be. He has put me to sleep, so to speak, as He did Abraham – made me incapable of doing anything about this lest I taint it with flesh. He reminds me of Ishmael – Abraham’s work. He reminds me of Zoar – Lot’s work. The choices they made, that am not immune to making over my own navigation to perfect faith in Him. Choices that frustrate us, that complicate what is already beyond human abilities. Let this not be my story again – for it has been in other areas of my life.

‘No Condemnation.’ Amazing Grace. He has made and effected His covenant all by Himself. All He needed from me, was my willingness. I can trust Him with this. When its time, He will override all my hesitations and lead me to His chosen sanctuary for me and mine. A sanctuary where His Will is effected on earth as it is in Heaven. A copy of Heaven. And I cannot wait to finally enter into all that He has for me, everything, but especially – an walk and fellowship with God Almighty that is uninterrupted by bouts of doubt and resistance from my end, accompanied by a cheap, weak patchwork of human activity hanging grotesquely against the excellence of His priceless work; because His Mind, Heart and Words are as He says them, beyond my wildest imaginings and greatest wisdom…as they should be.

Shalom.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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Walking Naked: Blessed to Be Challenged

Today, while washing my face in the morning, I was tempted to rage at God for taking His time in keeping His promises to me. After all, doesn’t God’s Word in Proverbs 13:12 say “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.”amp. But in that instance, God took over my spirit, and a thought arose above that which had preceded it “Even if it takes 400+, 70 or 22 years, I will keep packing, keep waiting for Your deliverance for YOU WILL COME.”

I realised this: It does not dishonor God to acknowledge one’s challenge, pain [[i]Romans 4:18-22, [ii]Hebrews 11:11-12] – what dishonor’s Him is to raise whatever it is above Him. To say in essence that He brought me to this trouble, and then left me. He is not a mere man to resort to such – After all isn’t He The One Who became and then overcame manhood to retain His Divinity? And isn’t it what I am called to?

So, in the last weeks my family has gone through an intense increase of occurrences on attacks on our health, seeming brazen heavens regarding our finances, deep debt and are currently walking through a season of eviction and are at limbo over exactly where home is. Loneliness bites, as associations stream out faster than you could take your next breath. I have known deep despair to the point of seriously considering taking my own life. Worse for me, is seeing those we love go through similar and sometimes even worse situations, and finding ourselves in conditions where we could be counted as absent to them in their time of need, because we could neither go to them or be of any assistance.

Key for me, has been my parents. This week for instance, things have been so hard for me that most of the monies received has gone directly to the hands of my landlord leaving me with nothing left by way of transport to go to them. The cabbie who normally extends affordable credit to us was arrested earlier on in the week for obstruction, and being unable to raise the fee stipulated by the courts, finds himself in a remand prison out of town. This, aside from the fact that I already owe him too much to even ask him for assistance if he was available. This was the week in which I desired mostly to stand with my parents as Daddy went through his clinics to receive an update on his health status. But I have not been able to.

Yesterday, I was reading through the chapter in the book of Isaiah [[iii]Isaiah 20], where God commanded him to take of his shoes and be naked before Israel as a symbol of God’s intention for His chosen nation. As I read that, I too felt naked, and empathised with Isaiah – THREE YEARS OF NAKEDNESS! Each day he lived through that must have felt like a year in itself. People looking and not looking, while seeing and not seeing, and making often unkind judgements about where you are at. About how you are. About how it should be worse for you…

And yet, God is bigger than all these. A week later, although we are no longer thought of as tenants in this house, we remain in it. Packed, but yet undisturbed aside from the constant visits by the agent demanding what we owe. God has also directed my focus on Him as my true Home. He also led seven prayer warriors and three old friends to give towards reducing the gap on what I owe the landlord. I am humbled, we are grateful for their initiative. We still owe, and we still have no idea where we are going. God has been Good to us, His Grace constant.

In this time, members of my household have received one attack on their health after another. Each time, without fail, there has been someone standing with us, who obviously would rather be elsewhere or spending their resources on what would benefit them and theirs. God placed them by our sides to bless them, to bless us and bring Glory back to Him. It has been for me extremely humbling – so much that there is no sense of relief for having received for the perceived deep wounds by those who have given. Still, we have slept and connected with God in our sleeping and waking hours. This too is God and His Grace. Oh, and in each of these cases we have received courage, God’s promise and healing. My daughter who emits chaos and mayhem at the mere sight of an injection told me last night that she had by herself taken off the stitches she received on her forehead two weeks ago after a fall, because we could not raise the money for her to go back to hospital for their removal.

Shame is a luxury we can no longer afford. A close friend of mine who faces an eviction from her servants quarter house, who had for years received a salary of approximately U$5,000 told me the same. Her seeming downfall has been so public that she stands poised, enraptured, expectant of her breakthrough from God. She too has been an invaluable treasure to me in this season; You see, when the world seems to fall on you, we are tempted to think that God is picking on us and giving everyone else a vacation. It helps our sanity to have someone to converse it who is both compassionate and empathetic, because they are either walking or have walked that path. There are many others, who have passed through this while I was still in it, overcome and turned back to judge me for not getting out as fast as they have – that was our mutual story. I laughed all through our phone conversation this week – of cause interspersing each spasm of humour with a sincere ‘HalleluJah’.

So, today I hurt. I have no idea when God has scheduled my healing and breakthrough for, but I am not alone. The One in Whose Hands I have trusted my life, assures me that in a place above and beyond time – I have made it through. I have not failed Him. By His Grace, I do not have the timings and the details of how this will unfold, but He has already convinced me that I am blessed of Him to be this way challenged.

Shalom.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

[i] Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he acknowledged the decrepitness of his body (since he was about a hundred years old) and the lifelessness of Sarah’s womb.

Yet he did not waver through disbelief in the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God was able to do what He had promised. That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:18-22

 

[ii] “By faith even Sarah herself received the ability to conceive [a child], even [when she was long] past the normal age for it, because she considered Him who had given her the promise to be reliable and true [to His word]. So from one man, though he was [physically] as good as dead, were born as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand on the seashore.” Hebrews 11:11-12 amp.

[iii] “at that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, untie the [a]sackcloth from your hips and take your sandals off your feet.” And he did so, walking around [b]stripped [to his loincloth] and barefoot. And the Lord said, “Even as My servant Isaiah has walked [c]stripped and barefoot for three years as a sign and forewarning concerning Egypt and Cush (Ethiopia),” Isaiah 20:2-3 amp

33 and 77

The numbers 33 and 77 have been appearing enough times in my life, since perhaps April for me to notice them.

77 was particularly special for me when Daddy was at his worst in ICU. I would come in early, and sit in with him while waiting for the rest of the family to come. I would listen to the different sounds, Daddy’s breathing, the different beeps of the machines he was connected to, then inevitably God would cause my eyes to turn to the numbers on the monitor. EVERY time I saw the number 77, I knew God was in control. He would whisper to me “My Heart is Perfect towards you Vip.” I would relax…and journal my thoughts. Its been the same since…no matter how rough things got, God would somehow find a way of sending 77 my way – “My Heart is Perfect towards you, Vip.

This morning, I turn on my laptop. 33 shouts at me. Its been a challenging weekend for my family health-wise, but also, mainly victorious in Christ. First, my grandson Gio woke up from his nap on Saturday evening and drank a quarter of a bottle of Dettol Antiseptic. As we were handling this, I get a call from a number I did not know, “Are you Shukurani’s mother?” Those calls…

Apparently, my baby had fainted at her place of work. I got money from my hairdresser friend in order to take a motorbike (bodaboda) to meet the caller, a lady called Eunice (God bless her). When I got to the Health Center at Nyayo Estate where she was, I was met by a lady called Juliet, who hugged me though I did not immediately recognize her. I penned her down for hospital staff, and thought the worst. But I could hear Shukri’s voice shouting “No, No!” and the doctor and nurses around her trying to calm her down.The receptionist was asking me for the consultation fee and I just looked at her and said, I didn’t have it but wanted to see my daughter. I was met by the sight of her bleeding face, and noted also she had thrown up. Well lets just say several stitches, tests, injections, scans later we were finally home at 11:45pm. Hypertension kicked in on me…Sunday morning we were again first in the clinic. For Shukri not me. She was fine. Doing a lot better. Gio was fine, playing. Then yesterday there was me – Fatigue, Hypertension and two teeth aching. Finally in the evening, Dr. Simon calls me in for an injection to help me go through the night. Thank God for friendships.

So back to 33…I put my laptop on this morning and my yahoo and facebook are both reading 33. I wonder what that means for me today…and I Google this even as I ask God to speak to me. “Vip it is accomplished. It is finished.” I rest…

Eunice means ‘Good Victory’, Juliet means ‘Youthful’ and Simon means ‘hear, listen.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Loving Perennially

Its been happening a lot to me lately; how certain relationships that are special to me, are defined totally differently by those I behold as dear in them. Honestly…heartrending to say the least. Every time. I woke up this morning full of joy at the prospect of seeing God – then between two teeth aching simultaneously and another reminder that a beloved one does not think lovingly of me i.e. that we are not in the same relationship, storm clouds descended on my brow.
I sat heavily meditating of these for about two hours. I wondered which one hurt more…then God reminded me that He is Healer. He reminded me that I love Him far less than He loves me and yet, He never gives up on me, and stops being Who He Sees Himself as to me. He reminded me of my priesthood, and His expectation of the same from me – that I keep holding on to the Truth He has laid in me about these associations, and living my walk as He gives me Strength to. He promises me His Strength to be as He is.
He comes as He wills doesn’t He…even in a cloud.
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” Revelations 1:7
#CastingCrowns #EvenSoComeLordJesusCome #EternallyBelovedOfGod #GodIsRoomMaker

Stories That Never End

I was in prayer on Wednesday morning and was led to read Genesis 19 – the story about the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah. I was left  with a bad feeling in my spirit as I wondered at God’s message in this.
 
This thing about town’s men gathering at one’s door to try and rape your visitors (who unknown to them are angels); a father so appalled at this show that he offers them his two virgin daughters instead (thank God they declined); the exodus of a family comprising individuals who had the previous day probably dreamt of stability in marriage but ended up as singles because their intended spouses would not believe the urgent warning about the impending doom and got caught up in it, and a wife who just had to have a last look; a righteous man who took to the bottle and ended up being the victim of rape by his virgin daughters so that they could raise for him descendants, descendants who end up as enemies of God’s people… Honestly, this story of God’s triumphant deliverance of Lot’s family read more like a tragedy.
 
Until God reminded me of something – nothing in life is linear…not really, not permanently. Something can be terrible, tragic, catastrophic – but ultimately God turns it around for good. Lot sired a son by his daughter called Moab…he became a nation, and from this nation returned Ruth the Moabites, to Israel as the virtuous wife of Boaz. She became mother of Obed, who was David’s grandfather…and the line of David is that through which Christ Jesus was reckoned. An eternal Kingdom line.
 
First, from the attack on the angels by the townsmen, I learn that God is able to defend His messengers. It doesn’t matter how many attack them, how close they are to accomplishing their evil mission, God remains in control. I never cease to be amazed by God’s ability to turn a messy beginning, or messy process, into something beautiful…something eternal, something Him. That when He defines someone a certain way – even when it doesn’t remotely resemble the current issue, He to Whom all wisdom belongs knows what He is talking about.
Our stories, have other chapters…
vipslit@yahoo.ca

Races Lost

Calla Lily - Series 2 - 01“Mami, have you seen the body the neighbors have been staring out since morning?” Shukri greeted me one afternoon in March. “People are saying he committed suicide, but others think he was killed.” I was tired. It was 4 pm in the afternoon. We had just gotten home after a shoot and several interviews, and I just wanted something to eat and a place to retire and worry about whether or not this article would be published, how I would manage food and rent and how to keep the landlord and his caretaker from calling me – without sinning. But I put on my sandals and went back out. I walked the about 100 meters to where a police truck was now parked, and several uniformed and un-uniformed officers were milling about. One of them, a lady greeted me, with a hug. I remembered her from a child’s right issue that had taken us to the Post recently. She, her colleague and I had accompanied the minor to hospital in the dead of the night, for first aid before we surrendered her to their care.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

Ina kaa huyu muyu amejinyonga.” She said pointing towards the unfinished tinned accommodation a few feet from where I was. “Si ukuje uone kama ni mutu unajua?” She wanted me to go see if was someone I knew. Sleep had been difficult in coming so I declined her offer thankfully when her colleague asked if I had a bed-sheet I no longer needed in my house. They needed it to carry the body into the waiting car. I scooted as fast as my 100 kgs could carry me back to my house and came back about five minutes later. By this time, curious neighbors were gathering around the scene but the officers kept them away but insisted I go see the man. “You never know.” Said one.

He was unknown to me, and from the identity card found in his back pocket, just a few months older than my son. My heart broke as I looked at his peaceful, oddly frozen face, with a neat cut – presumably from a rope, across his adam’s apple. The brain is merciful, because I cannot remember much more, except that his body sounded embalmed as it hit the back of the police car. One other item was found on his person – a medical card indicating that he had just had his first doze of ARVs. I went home and prayed for those he loved, and those that loved him…and for those I love, and those that love me…that none would ever feel so alone that they would choose to end their lives. That there would always be someone that cared.

So today afternoon, Leroy rushes into my bedroom just as am about to get into prayer and bible study. Our neighbor needed us urgently. Either a thief or a snake. I again left the house wondering how I was going to be useful in either situation. But again, it seemed as though my feet had two brains of their own. I found my neighbor handling the issue of the snake – I didn’t even want to see it. She insisted I go check on the thief. He husband was already there, with one other man. I went hoping to convince them to take the alleged thief to the police post, as opposed to killing him in my other neighbors’ plot. The young man had stolen some metal building materials, some things that looked like old chimneys, and a set of nearly rusty sufurias. Ok, this was going to be serious since my neighbors had had their water piping materials stolen and another apparently a gate or something. I asked God again, what my role was there. I noticed that the men were uncomfortable talking to the young man in my presence and at one point my neighbor’s husband closed the gate between me and them and then descended on the young man with slaps. I called him out and talked to him calmly, about what would be the right thing to do. He went back in, and came out shortly after and went back to his plot, to deal with the snake issue.

Before he left, he had called the owner of the paraphernalia, and continued to interrogate the man loudly. Another man had joined them. He knew the young man, in fact, he described him as a hard working builder that he had hired from time to time. The young man changed his initial story that he had been hired to pick the wares up, to the truth, that he was hungry, that his house in the Soweto Slums had been locked and that he had not been able to find any work to do in the past week. He said he had never stolen before and loudly begged for mercy. My heart broke.

Then came the owner of the paraphernalia with a friend and a rock. I asked him not to kill the man. He ignored me and rushed in. He came up about three minutes later, sweating, and shared his frustration. He had been robbed too many times, he lost his gate, all his clothes from the line, he was tired and this guy would pay for it. Other men came to see what was going on, and the interesting thing is that they stood afar, not willing to get involved. They commented on the affair, “that is hunger, that is hunger.” They should not kill him, they should discipline him and then let him go. I prayed, God why are you allowing me here? I do not want to witness this man dying. I called the owner of the paraphernalia, he was my neighbor. I asked him to just check, the man may be innocent…to take him to the post and check out the story about someone else sending the man for this things. He said it was alright. He went in and then asked the man to carry the things he had stolen back into his compound. He had by this time, confiscated the man’s identity card. The man carried the things into the compound and then dashed out. He ran, he ran, he ran…he run into two women, and told them he was running from a mob that wanted to kill him. I don’t think anyone, not even the one who he had robbed was sad he got away. In fact they locked up and went back to their days as though nothing had happened.

I looked around at the men and women as they dispersed…I saw their pain, and their perspective of this particular situation. It spoke of things that united us all – the hunger, homelessness, the pain, the fatigue…the despair. We go through the motions of living, hoping that someone, God mainly, would decode the language of the stream of our unshed tears, and free us. If we could all run…run, run away…it would be understood. God was in that place. He is everywhere, but in this place…about 75 meters from where the body had been found a few weeks ago, God had come and dispensed His Justice.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

“Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against Jehovah in ceasing to pray for you” 1 Samuel 12:23

Behold The Man

The Man is betrayed by his friend in the inner circle; and his friends scatter because of the menacing cloud of enemies that surround Him; one of His friends stands his ground a while, and takes out his sword to inflict injury on one of His enemies, but The Man, stays his hand, and performs First-Aid on His enemy, in a way that would be envy of the best cosmetic/reconstructive/plastic surgeons of this century.
The friend who stood up for him, who follows stealthily somewhere within his crowd of enemies, will a few hours later deny ever knowing him. The accusations against The Man are flimsy at best, ridiculous, false, but not one of the ones He so powerfully blessed is brave enough to stand up for Him. So they take away His name, tarnish His reputation, and He will not defend Himself. The slander against Him, kills Him literally. And yet His enemy is given no reprieve, for God rises to now cloud and shake the world, to open and spill out the contents of graves, and to tear at religious barriers that kept His people estranged from Him. Three days later, The Man walks – no longer dead. And God lifts Him up, and seats Him on a Throne before which both His friends and enemies must stand at some point in eternity. For The Man, on earth robbed of His Name, Heaven bestows A Name, The Name at which all knees buckle either in Loving Faith or in Terror.
 
Let Heaven name you for the name the earth has taken from you for your loving service for God. God is Worthy!
 
“Kite ne kit Nyasaye nyaka e chakruok,
to ne ok otuere ni nyaka osik marom gi Nyasaye,
to notimore gima nono,
Nokawo kit misumba,
mi odok dhano mana ka wan,
kendo konenore ka dhano kamano,
to nobolore, kendo no winjo wach nyaka tho,
mana tho mar msalaba!
 
Mano eomiyo Nyasaye ne Omiye duong’ ahinya e polo,
kendo Omiye Nying’ moloyo nying’ duto.
Kamano gik moko duto manie polo
gi manie piny kon manie bwo piny,
Omi Nying Yesu duong’,
kendo ji duto mondo ohul ni
Yesu Kristo e Ruoth,
Mondo Nyasaye Wuoro Bende Oyud Duong’.”
Jo-Filipi 2:6-11 (Philippians 2:6-11)
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