Why Even Pray for Them?

There are many reasons to STOP PRAYING for them, genuine, just reasons. Ones that anyone would understand. Primarily, they don’t really think that its useful…and besides, why would Almighty God even stop to listen to someone of whom they think so little, as they do you? I mean, they have it more together. What could you possibly have to tell God on their behalf, that they would not do better on their own – or at least someone else they think is more suitable? They may cause you great harm even to stop you from praying…and gather enough around them to make them feel right about doing so.

God has given me many reasons why I should CONTINUE PRAYING for them. Its not for their applause really…never has been about that. But more about His intent…His True Heart…”For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17 NKJV and “The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 2:9 AMP. It got me thinking, that when I want anything else for someone God created, am desiring contrary to Him…and what does that make me if not an anti-Christ? Hmmm

So this morning He gave me, reminded me, of one more reason to pray for…my family, my friends,, my neighbors, my country, my world, my employer, my colleagues, and yes, even the ones who hate me so much, they would not want me mentioning their names lovingly before God. If I don’t, if I am the only one able to, or even willing to and I don’t, and anything happens to them that could have been prevented by my praying…heavy responsibility…but in His own words…” “I looked for someone to stand up for Me against all this, to repair the defenses of the city, to take a stand for Me and stand in the gap to protect this land so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. I couldn’t find anyone. Not one. So I’ll empty out My wrath on them, burn them to a crisp with My hot anger, serve them with the consequences of all they’ve done. Decree of God, the Master.”
Ezekiel 22:31-32 The Message (MSG)

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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LESSONS FROM THE LABOR WARD

I spent last night and early this morning at a labor ward with a close friend whose husband was away on a trip. The labor ward has a lot of lessons for those who wait in prayer in The LORD.

I learnt that because you get in first, does not mean that you get out first or at all, or even get blessed first. Sometimes, one looses their expectation at this crucial time.

I learnt that, in the labor ward, modesty of dress and manner is really not priority. The less you have on, the easier it is to remove, the better you will be attended to. Ignore those that mock you in your birthing hour…they are the ones who are inappropriate.

I learnt that when you pray for release, and the pain seems to increase, and your groans seem to choke up your prayers, God is still in charge, and at His exact timing, He answers your prayer according to His Will.

I learnt that sometimes the more human assistance you require and receive at this crucial place of birthing, the longer it takes you to heal from the trauma of it all.

I learnt that when you hold the answer to your prayers in your arms, it is often very difficult to remember what you just went through, and if you focus on the past, it keeps you from enjoying and worshiping God for the breakthrough you have received.

I learnt that something you go through may be potentially fatal, but does no harm to you or your blessing – but one may be harmed in seeming safety.

I learnt that you may be in the same situation with another in the ward, even groan at the very same time, but that even when someone is there to hold you, the pain still is very personal…and cannot be numbed simply by being in like company.

I learnt, that God raises who He Wills to intercede for your birthing experience, that others may want to be there for you, but are kept out because He is The Writer of your story.

I learnt that the intercessor will notice others that suffer like you, but because they are called to stand with you, they can not stand with the others there too. Not in the way they are with you anyway.

I learnt that you may know its time, the intercessor may know its time, but it is God who moves the mountains to work in agreement with His timing for you. You cannot make it happen, because though there for you, there are not really there for you…but for themselves.

I learnt that in labor ward, it helps to focus on the task of birthing. Just that.

I am grateful that God raised me, and strengthened me and moved me to be in a place of His revelation, then rested me afterwards.

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

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

When its cool to speak negativity into your homes and nations…

I have noticed to my dismay and heartbreak that many of us take delight in speaking negative remarks, sometimes factual but not necessarily so, about our nations and our relationships. Tongue in cheek wicked [yes I used that word] statements about that which we love and trully want the best for have become interpreted as humour, or as Truth even. In a way it makes us feel like we are freed from the inhibitions and are part of an in-crowd. What we may know and choose to ignore is that our words are life and death. And when two agree over ANYTHING on earth it is santioned in Heaven. AND IT IS DONE FOR US.

So when we agree that our spouses and our leaders are irredeemable and get just one other person to agree with us, it simply becomes fact. More so when we say it to them. When we state that our countries, regions, continents, families, races are a certain way and agree with that notion with finality and get just one other person to agree with us, it becomes fact.

Perhaps your home and your nation are not changing and becoming the best that God created them to be because of your words. Dont look anywhere else, I am addressing YOU. Perhaps…Perhaps your work situation remains as it is because you have spoken life into a decayed situation in order to perpetuate it. We are called to extend God’s Excellence, Purity and shalom in every aspect of our world; to plead His Kingdom to come. If only two of us can agree that it is Truth – then Africa, Asia, Australia, The Islands, The Americas, Europe, every land will reflect God’s Kindgom. Your home will reflect God’s Kingdom. We of cause like Abraham acknowledge that which is against us but dont stop there…we then declare that God Can. After all as Hebrews 11:3 says “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.”. He made everything we see now, from what cannot be seen.

Lets do something True for our nations and our homes. Lets speak Light into every dark situation. If this month and the next we get into the moment by moment habit of saying in God’s Spirit to every dark situation “Let there be Light’ we will testify to the Light in our lifetimes….and we will make it difficult for the darkness within and around us to remain. Let there be Light in Jesus’ Name in my country Kenya, my continent Africa, in my relationships and in my home and situation. Go on declare light over your region…

AND REPENT for your words in the past that have perpetuated the situation you think yourself above. For God’s Word says in Mathew 112:36 “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” A Word to the wise….

vipslit@yahoo.ca

The Dilemma of Interpreting Human Rights Ideals into our Romantic Relationshipss

I met an old friend recently and on finding out that this handsome specimen was still single I offered to take a look at his ‘resume’ and introduce him to someone. Or better still see if his qualifications fitted into my list of requirements for the still vacant position of ‘Vip’s Husband’. He laughed and told me in so many words that he was basically terrified of my ‘Beijing ideals’ finding their way into and corrupting his comfortable existence. It made me wonder, not for the first time, why many men an some women fear and distrust the notion of human rights for women. Not only that but why belief in these disqualifies almost automatically its adherents from any hope of a permanent, blissful, committed relationship.

Poor understanding of the concept leading to poor translation into real life.

Many of us who have been involved in the advancement of the human rights of women seem to make men generally uncomfortable. Especially with regard to the possibility of building long term relationships. The media depictions that remain engrained in their minds are unfortunate – we have those of women tugging their skirts over their heads reminding the world that bloomers still exist in order to express their displeasure over some serious issue. Then there are those that will chop of a crucial male muscle as punishment for real or suspected infidelity. What I think scares them the most is the template answers we have for every situation we face – ambiguous, puzzling clichés that we learnt at the last workshop and we are still to be sure what they mean, but said with such vehemence that our hearer will be sure that they have been insulted, but not of how.

There needs to be much more depth in teaching on transforming international conventions into usable life skills. Where a woman is allowed to work on knowing intimately both these conventions, as well as her own character, personality and dreams and interpreting the former into the latter. As vocational, purpose driven home-maker – can you still claim your rank among the empowered? Does being empowered mean that you place less value on the man you love; and the live you dreamed of building together, to become  a human rights advocate when this does not fulfill you?

Neo-colonialism

Most read empowerment of women to mean the transference of power from men to women. Granted, in some cases, this needs to be the case. But just as being a man should never be the prerequisite for a job, the same applies for being a woman. We need to realize that although things have changed considerably, and we are more independent of men than we used to be, we still have use for them, and that the world can only function well if each takes their roles seriously. And by this I am not saying we go back to the idea that “women can only do —– and men must be —–“ Each person has strengths. When we come together as a team, as in a marriage each one should use their strength for the betterment of that institution.

Adapting bad manners

We realized a long time ago that men’s weaknesses were a sign that they had lost control of their lives and could not be trusted with those of others. Why we should think it is a sign of empowerment to repeat their self abasing patterns of serial monogamy/dating/one night stand puzzles me. A truly empowered woman will price her dignity and integrity both in public and in private. Those who have not really grasped the concept of gender equity may interpret true power as the opportunity to seek revenge in ways that ultimately cause her more pain than any relief. Others will not go this far but will adapt the arrogant manner and speech that still reflect more on her than on the person who hurt her. Let us take a little more time to think before we act.

A realization of the cosmetic nature of out commitment to empowering women.

Some of us have been known to say of the endeavor “That is work; and this is real life.” No wonder therefore that the argument is not making any difference in the life of the real woman. She keeps going back to the man who beats’, rapes, and emotionally abuses both her and her children. She is perplexed by the gravity/ the weight of the knowledge she has received in theory, but has given her no real power to change her personal circumstances. A truly empowered woman will realize that discipline is a loving and important part of the growth of every human relationship and will use it to build her love affair with the man in her life.

A realization of the sanctity of our rights as human being needs to be combined with innate wisdom to know when to enforce them and when to exercise patience. On the other hand, all disagreements should not be cause for divorce, separation or result in some legal tussle. We need to demonstrate our prowess in communication and in truly loving ourselves by being able to discern which relationships are worth keeping, to realize that even in the right circumstances relationships demand work, and use her intelligence and grace to fight for these.

 

The ‘Wife’ Dilemma

We spend so much time developing ourselves in our unique disciplines but when it comes to relationships, we are expected to dismiss these as unworkable theories. We shed off our ideals as soon as the opportunity is extended. We are then so uncomfortable with who we have become, because we ourselves are not convinced enough. We go back to being ‘traditional wives’ which translated means lacking in esteem, opinion, passion, personality, character except as an echo to this man we are so afraid of loosing because we feel he is what defines us. And many of us have fallen into that trap only to have the men we have slip through our fingers and into the claws of a woman who reminds us so much of who we used to be. As an empowered woman you are a pearl that can only get better. If someone loves you for who you are,  then that is who he wants.

Creation of Empowered men for the empowered woman

In some communities, opportunities for women to be educated came about in response to the need for educated men to find like companions in their marriages. The truth is that for these ideals to work for your relationship, you may need to clue your man in on them. Your man is exposed to rumors at work and as his socializes, that may affect the way he responds to your endeavors. He needs to recognize and be re-attracted to the empowered woman that you have become. If you have always been aggressive be so – in an empowered way. But even to the gentle, soft-spoken, maybe he just needs to hear it in your voice as you lull him to sleep and see it as you sew on his buttons on your way to yet another convention. He probably needs to see you leading a convention and nursing his 10th baby – unabashedly. When you fall asleep after work for two straight years and deny him his conjugal rights because your passion has been spent empowering other women, and then are perplexed your house help has seen to it that her duties include expanding your family, you are not being fair to him or honest to yourself.

It is true that sometimes men need to be shaken into realizing that their women folk are human beings demanding of equal, sometimes more, regard than them. Especially those abusive ones. And that mystery does wonders for a woman. Beyond this though, you need to be able to communicate with the man you love. Ask him to help you understand some of those concepts you still have difficulty with. Find out what he thinks about the ones you do understand and how these can improve the way you relate to one another. This way you will be enlightening him and helping him realize that Beijing was not another word for ‘Home-wreckers Convention’. It will also build him up because he needs to model true masculinity to your sons, and relevant males in his sphere of influence. Even if he is negative, initially and in the long term, you will still have passed on a message. You would be surprised to find that he defends your course to his friends using your exact argument. Being an empowered woman does not contradict your being feminine. It should be the amour that guards your womanhood from injury from critics of both sexes. It should not stop you from doing things for the man you love because you love to do it.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

First Published in Oakland Media’s Eve Magazine in 2004

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