Talking to God

Let me just begin my saying that these are thoughts which I share with great humility and in the knowledge that while I have repented and whenever possible tried to make restitution for the same, I still have a lot to verbally apologize for over this issue. I therefore think and share as one who is a learner not an expert…honestly, ONLY GOD is Expert over this one.
Its respectful to think through what we want to say holistically before we speak. What are the various meanings that can be deduced from the things we say? How would I receive the message if I were the intended audience of my words – knowing what I know about where they come from. I have never known which words wound more grievously, between words we speak deliberately or those without any thought but with a lot of vehemence, pride and self righteousness intended to mute out any value our hearers have in order to win a debate. “You cannot actually think you have anything to say when I/we feel so strongly about this.” kinda statements.
God is The Person in Whose Image we are created. Yet He is incomparably higher. As we speak, He receives the entire message – knowing our intentions, expectations, attitudes etc accurately. He understands totally our message and yet He warns us not to go to Him carelessly, with many words (which Proverbs says are rarely without sin), making promises intended to evoke action from Him without any intentions on our part of making good on the same – basically – in His words – to offer the sacrifice of fools. He asks that we go to Him in full consciousness of Who He is, and yet in the confidence He provides in His Spirit that He deeply desires to hear from us and to be The Answer we seek in every way.
It with this in my Learner mind that I was looking at some Prayer Points lovingly sent my way, asking God if these are the words He would be pleased to hear from me over the situation at hand. My attention was netted/trapped by the word ‘vomit’ in reference to an action I would want God to induce over my enemy – spirit and human – over virtues stolen from my life. This was immediately followed by the question from the very depth of me “Eueeeewwwww….So I can then do what with them?”I know this probably means ‘they’ (enemy forces) are relieved of these so that they are no longer satisfied by what was intended to be mine – and in this way I will pray it (along with gag them, constipate them, drown them, but mainly have mercy on them as you have had over me, but NEVER so that I then ingest it. I KNOW that God is ABLE to recreate my virtues from and by His words and Hands without me scouring through human on spiritual digestive produces in order to heal, restore or satisfy my thirsts and hungers.
I am forgiven for every time I thoughtlessly threw these words at God hoping for a positive response without true thought. I asked Him and He promises in His word to forgive when I repent. And I KNOW God has not run out of mercy for the rest of us. Lets remember the truly privileged (this isn’t even the right word to cover the true worth – there are none) place God has proffered us in coming to Him with words that are directed at Him. Shalom.
vipslit@yahoo.ca

“But I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Jesus Christ in Mathew 12:36-37

“Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool’s voice is known by his many words.
When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed—Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.” Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

Deciding Tears

Was reading Judges 19-21 wishing I wasn’t all the while that I was. For me, its hands down, the most terrible story in the Bible. Remember the one about the Levite and his concubine? Always leaves me…in another not so good place… for days after I read it.
Anyway, I learnt from it how a single decision, a deeply personal decision, can affect a nation – in devastating ways. Without giving all the details, so the story goes, a woman decides her lover is not enough for her, finds another then takes off home to her Daddy. Her lover, a priest decides that he cannot live without her, leaves his duty post and goes off to woe her. The woman softens her stance and decides to take the priest – her lover – to meet her daddy. Her daddy decides he really likes this one…and decides to keep him for a few days – longer than the priest planned to stay, since he has a job to return to. On the fifth day, the priest decides to break free from his darling’s daddy’s manipulation and return home late in the afternoon. Home is not close by, so the priest decides to take refuge among those like himself – it would be too dangerous to find lodging among those unlike himself. After hanging out in the Quad for some time, an old man takes pity on him especially upon learning that the priest is from his original home, and decides to take the priest, his wife, his servant and two donkeys home with him.
Some time in the night, some young men decide the priest is too irresistible a guest not to be intimately partaken of – in a sexual way. They howl at the old man’s door and finally the priest’s resolve breaks…and he…throws out the woman he has gone through extended leave to bring back home. He decides it is better her than him…and the men glut on her…internally break her to pieces. She decides to crawl back to the old man’s house and dies face down with one arm penitently stretched into the threshold of the house. Her lover, the priest, decides to take off from this place as early as he can, but has to step over her to get onto his donkey – he decides to finish the journey with her body. Back home, not at work, he decides to break her remains into twelve parts and send this to the twelve tribes of Israel. Israel decides to come to him, to find out why. The priest tweaks his story a little, he decides to, so that the villains do not include him, but are those lustful sons of Benjamin…. Benjamin decides not to release the criminals…after all they are a super power unto themselves and can take on the nations of Israel single-handedly. They after all posses the war personnel to shame all warriors, and it was possibly against their national policy to surrender their nationals to those who are not Benjamin…even when they had committed crimes against humanity.
Well – God saw one of His little girls die…took into account her last moments and decides to arise – The Avenger, the Man of War…God The Just Judge…nothing escapes Him. Before the week is over, about 90,000 of a nation’s best warriors are in eternity. And they are not just from the offending tribe’s side. A daughter of Israel died. More than this, an entire tribe is wiped out leaving just 600 hiding behind a rock. Israel mourns one of their own…and decide to rebuild that tribe. 600 young women are not asked whether they would choose to participate in this ‘noble’ endeavor…a town is wiped out of all its inhabitants save 400 ‘useful’ virgins. 200 hundred others are basically kidnapped as they dance at a religious festival. Decisions were made by their kinsmen…and they are the ‘clean-up team’. For life. They did well…Israel’s first king came from these chaos and ashes. Because in their day, Israel had no king, and everyone did as they chose to.
May my one decision, a breath at a time, always Lord, be an echo of Your Wisdom, and birth Healing, Life, Resurrection, Order, Peace…produce what is like You. Shalom.
vipslit@yahoo.ca

My One Time at a Time

Many times, you cannot imagine it getting to where you hope it will not: then it does, and God Alone holds you as you take a step at a time. A breath at a time. A word at a time. A tear at a time. A smile at a time. An ache at a time. A lifetime at a time. Sometimes a kick at a time, a setback at a time, an insult at a time, then back to a breath at a time, and His Embraces – one at a time.
Hope has endured. I look at another sunset, and the horrors of the night it heralds, but also the amazing view of what God’s words alone can create and sustain as I look at the moon, the stars, the clouds and sometimes encounter creatures that He made to conquer the nights.
So its gotten here, excruciatingly so, but how else would I have known His enduring Love, Might and Friendship here, if I hadn’t walked this night with Him? So I take another step, another breath, take in another bout of pain, block another onslaught of fear in His Might and allow His Word to take me in and hold me and mine within His Promise, Himself. I rest. I rest. In His Everlasting Arms. I rest.
vipslit@yahoo.ca

Redemption

Walk Carefully and Deliberately With God” Let Your Life be an Image and Resounding Echo of His Commands. 
Blessed day beloved of God.
Many times, lack, extreme lack, is used as a valid excuse to disobey God’s direct commands over how our time and consequently our lives are to be spent. We become such an offence to those around us that we are tempted to offend God in the intimacy of our individual relationships with Him. Those that claim to still love us as well as those who hate us push us strongly towards specific paths of direct disobedience because they imagine our situation is because we didn’t make the choices they did, either with or independently of God. They surround themselves and give audience to those that slander our lives and callings in God. Their stance is “you either do what I want you to or think you should do and ignore what you believe God to be saying to you, or I will pull my love and help from you.
I am reminded in my own case of Who truly has been Jireh, Healer, Master, Friend, Deliverer… Who has led me into battle and with each breath, into His victory – and though God may have spoken once or twice through the giving, the love, the counsel of those that now stand strongly to sway you or I from what they define as blind or even foolish dedication to Him; He Alone is, remains and will ALWAYS be God – my God.
It is hard right now, but this is what the choice to lay down my life and follow Jesus, Christ was about. Above the din of these extremely perplexing times I will listen to what The Lord will say to me, for His promises are Yes and Amen.
As the song writer wrote and is my theme: “I have decided, to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.” I have already gone too far with Him to look or turn back, for me now to live or die, is Christ and Christ Alone.
“I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to folly.’ Psalm 85:5
Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”  But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:38-39
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

They Return

They Return.
They rebel in the dark. Enjoying the companionship, laughing loudly into the night…they think themselves clothed, and luxuriously so…not tattered like those with whom they come into contact and discard as inferior. Those whom God Himself had stripped and caused to fall flat at their onslaught. They capture cities, in the dark. They are well fed, seemingly orderly, considered wealthy by the nations that watch them march past…predictably. They pass by seasonally, and at the sound of their approach the nations flee to hide, for a season. In the dark. They are terrible and fearsome…yet almost frantically, they carry the worship of the conquered and vanquished as cherished and practiced souvenirs. In the dark. Oh, they are mighty, impervious, in the dark. Round and round they march, dying off yet rejoicing at the new births – the greatness of their numbers, in the dark. They are a coveted and covetous army, Laughing loudly, they articulate in their criticism of their God and His chosen leaders, in the dark, they march round and round.
 
Then…The Light dawned on them…and they realized that it had been long since they marched. The ancient chains that had anchored them to a mountain, had reached its limit. That they were hungry, wretched, that their decaying and shredding cloths covered patches of their bodies – just enough to keep them sufficiently deceived that they were luxuriously covered, in the dark. At the full stretch of their chains their left feet were captured tenaciously by concrete pits that produced maggots which crept up their legs, eating through their mobility rendering them dead even as they lived: laughing loudly, raining criticisms on those they could make out in the dark, believing themselves covered, fed,marching as they slowly died.
 
And The Light came and beckoned them, He broke them, crushed some, and then deliberately mended their hearts, their lives. The Light opened their eyes so that they could take Him in. He soaked into Himself the stench of the rot they had become in the dark; took over the dust that had imprisoned them causing them to tug their left feet free of it and take a step forward. Then another. They walked away from the stench of their own graves, God Himself stripping them of their grave-cloths; He embraced them, washed, refreshed, fed…then dressed them in true luxury…cloths that could not wear out, could not be stripped off them, did not attract decay, armors made to fit – that could not be stolen from them.
 
Now an army marches into the Dawn, limping as they re-learn to walk. They laugh deeply, cry deeper still, speak healing gently into wounds – their own and those of others. They speak and their hearers are no longer condemned but strengthened…they march away from their ancient path, forsaking ancient, rusty chains their heads raised and focused towards The Light. As they come…their true majesty is visible, strong, healed, prosperous, loving, kind, invincible…a people come destroying the feigned valiant, an army that heals the land they march through. Home is beckoning. They Return.
vipslit@yahoo.ca

The Child Would Not Die or Be Silent

How long does it take for one to forgive their mother or father for what they did to them?” the little girl asked me. I smiled, but not from amusement. I was trying not to cry. Which was impossible anyway…because ever since I had walked into this children’s home and rescue center in Nairobi my whole system had frozen. God had taken over…I had known to be in prayer about this particular assignment the whole week. I had been invited to replace Pastor Terry Gobanga who was away – and it was not really about filling her really large and excellent shoes. It was about being asked to share wisdom with about 67 children…who were there not because their parents were no longer alive, but had allegedly become predators that orphaned the children they had borne.

This was the second rescue center, mostly inhabited by children who were healing from sexual violence, that I had been asked to speak at in a month. I wondered about that. But as I held a five week old baby girl in my arms, then later looked around the circle of about 30 eyes (the rest had been excused from my session for a play session with other members of the group we had gone with), I wondered how I could answer that question. Most of us, resent those that call us to account for the way we raise our own children: Mostly because they catch us at a moment, and make it about our entire parenting. But these were not ordinary parenting moments…although it seemed that it was becoming more normalized, this was a crisis.

In this particular home, all ‘except one’ (and I shudder at the use of those two words – because it was still one too many) had been assaulted by a mother, father or uncle – biological. Most of these children were in delicate security situations since their parents’ cases were still ongoing, and there was need by some clans to either “mute or get rid of the evidence.” Most of them were girls…but there were boys too…one too many. There were others who were or had been admitted in hospital, to undergo multiple reconstructive surgeries to lend their lives some semblance of normality. Most of the girls were first borns of at least one of their parents, or their only female child. I looked at their Mum1 – the founder of this home…fourteen (14) years of mothering other people’s children in their worst states had not dimmed her life Light.

How could I answer the children? What would forgiveness look like for them? How do you answer a child who in one moment, or a hundred, had endured war in their genitals to satisfy the hungers of a parent who temporarily forgot that they were supposed to protect not prey on them? Does forgiveness mean that what happened to them was ok? That it should be forgotten? That the children should repent of these (Because they were so often stigmatized – Mum1 shared for instant how one ‘church’ had denied them baptism after going through the classes under the excuse of not being able to afford T-shirts.) Many of these children bore the brunt of these shameful acts against them again and again as they lived each breath with the rejection of the extended families to which they had once belonged – who had perhaps initially celebrated their births and birthdays – who now wanted to forget them for the shame they are accused of bringing home. “For why hadn’t they just died instead of crying out, or getting pregnant, getting an important benefactor and family member whose quaint habits could be ignored into ‘disrepute’ or incarceration for ‘just’ a moment? Why wouldn’t they just let this go and keep up the facade?” This seemed to be the attitude their families had towards them.  What exactly would forgiveness mean for these?

The nightmares needed to end, the healing to come. Forgiveness may be about the offender (e.g. When God forgives our sins it puts us in the best place with Him), but it’s more about the offended (Humanly speaking). You forgive even when the fault is not confessed or admitted to because if allowed to – one offense can define the rest of your life in the worst ways possible. Unforgiveness often translates to meditating on an offence and giving it the power to shut down the functioning of what is still functional in us to hit back at the offender and survive the offense. Meditating constantly on what was done to you gives a grievous injury even more power over you than  it had initially. It can colour, darken everything…take away your smile…your life. I cannot remember what I said to them, because I was praying a lot, and asking God to speak to His little ones.  But they smiled…and they spoke…and they gave me strength as well. There was nothing God could not heal. It was hard leaving the home, leaving them behind to go be with my own household…I had intended to leave by 2pm. I was there till 6:30pm. It was hard to leave these little ones that because they still suffered from parenting wounds had become part of my own story. Their hugs, the whispered stories after the main session, the tears they allowed me to see, and the feel of them as they held onto me while I prayed for them – made them mine – indelibly. As I left though, I realized that they were indeed in the best place they could be for now, having been rescued and that for this moment were truly safer because they cried out and refused to die.

But somewhere in this same neighborhood, in this country, in this globe, other children were unfortunately starting the journey they were walking. I prayed that their parents would be hit by Heaven’s Might, that they would not put their babies through this, and that the babies who had gone through this, would find Hope again, find God, in parental touches by those in whose hands God would place them in. I don’t know…

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Strike Your Shepherd Scatter Your Brethren

The LORD IS my Shepherd.
Recently, Leroy (my son) and I were standing side by side early morning on our balcony, looking out mostly quietly at…just about anything that passed. Its where and how we bond many times. Suddenly a flock of sheep bust into our view (yes we live in Nairobi city) running in one direction in a way that reminded me somewhat of a waterfall. We watched, partly because there was nothing else to see at that time, but for me, because I sensed deeply that God was speaking to us about something.
 
Leroy remarked on the beauty of the flock, I agreed saying that God often spoke of us as Sheep. We noticed that a few of the sheep broke off in two groups, running in different directions from the rest. Suddenly the shepherd rushed into our view as well. He was a short, slightly built man wearing tan trousers, a luminous green shirt and a pink cap. I smiled. He had this long cane, that I believed could reach the from one end of the flock to another [his rod and staff – they comfort me].
 
Apparently the entire flock had herded and were eating from a place he did not want them to be. He rushed first at the majority of them. I marveled at his agility…knowing that this was a daily and day-long activity for him. He rounded the sheep…in my mind it seemed he chased them, rod in hand to the direction he wanted them to be facing, before running after the other five that we probably eating somebody’s house plants some way up our street, before finally coming for the two standing before our house.
 
Somehow, his activities made me think of leadership… of church leadership, and my spirit was humbled within me. Each one of those sheep had a mind of their own…but most tended to head towards the direction that the ones in the front row were headed. Some more independent ones got up to their own devices, in their own directions. Two things stood out for me from this morning scene – the passionate resilience of the shepherd in re-channeling the flow of the sheep to his way, and also, that as long as they were not following the way he wanted them to be on, despite their independence, the greenness of the meadows they ended up at, they were ALL wrong. And then my friend sends me this sadly hilarious video clip :). It reminds me of the biblical proverb – strike the shepherd and scatter the sheep. And that its not always an exterior enemy that brings down the shepherd, but a sheep in his or her care. Thanks Nyar Ruoth.
 
 
#HeWhoHasEars
vipslit@yahoo.ca
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