Archive for April, 2010


Finding that place of rest

…By Wambui

It was all about targets, efficiency, effectiveness, deadlines and progress, until I heard that in God there is rest. It was in a sermon in church, and I must admit I didn’t quite understand how that could work. Didn’t Paul say that we shouldn’t work if we don’t eat? Hadn’t I been taught that laziness is a sin? How then could I expect to just sit back, trust that everything would work out, and get good results? How would I meet my targets if I did not push, pull, lift, drop and drive myself to utter exhaustion?

Then one day I understood. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
“Which things?” I asked.
“All good things that only God can give,” came the answer.
Joy, peace, patience, gentleness … and rest. Not inactivity, not laziness, not boredom, but a deep confidence that it is well.

When a loved one passes, away it is well.
When wordly possessions are destroyed in a house fire, it is well.
When a friend’s betrayal leaves a deep, bleeding wound, it is well.
When a searching soul finds that place of rest, it is well.

…By Neemo

I watched this stand up comedy show the other day. This short black guy. Don’t know his name. For those of you who have watched the Denzel movie John Q he is in it as the guy with a broken arm.

 In the show he said he doesn’t understand what all the conflict about religion is. Christ said this, Mohammed said that. I’m right, you’re wrong. To him: “You are arguing about the messengers, but did you get the message?” For a guy who uses the F word like in every other sentence he made a solid point. Do we really get the message? It has always been the same message. From Abraham to whoever is the latest messenger from God. Love. Unity and Love. Simple. We are all one ethnic group. One tribe. The human tribe. In order to move civilization to the next stage, we all need to realize this.

"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens”… Bahaullah.

…By Mwandi

Romans 7:14 – 20 (NIV); 14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

I struggle with sin.  I’m happy to read in the bible that I’m not the only person.  And I’m even happier knowing that the Lord is gracious and provides His strength and His love to help us become more spiritual and more like Him.  And even more heartening to realize that even with the problems in our life that are caused by our own sin, God can still use us to do great things. 

We sometimes stray down the wrong path....

 I’m guilty of many offences towards mankind and towards myself.  Each time my tongue lashes out at one, I berate myself…for what I just did was not Godly.  And then I suffer from endless guilt, which is a sin in itself as it inhibits you from moving forward. 

By this I am reminded that being a Christian does not make me “holier than thou.”  It’s not something I should be proud of, in the sense that I am human being above reproach.  It’s an admission to be thoroughly humbled by.  I am incapable of living a pure life without the constant guidance and assistance of the Lord.  I need Him to be a decent human being and because of Him in my life, I am a better person.   

..but the Lord guides us toward the road to redemption...

Romans 7:21 – 25 (NIV); 21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
      So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

…By Mandii

Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet
toward home, a land that I’ve never seen
I am changing: less and less asleep…
made of different stuff than when I began…

Shadowfeet – Brooke Fraser

There was a time that I trusted in my own strength; I was confident that I needed no one to guide or protect me; I was certain that I had overcome so many trials because of my OWN power.

The story of my life so far does include some amazing triumphs, but I had to wake up to the fact that divine providence had quite a role to play in this. Until the point of my spiritual epiphany, I realized that the journey I was taking, which seemed to have some direction, was actually a deviation from the path that was really meant for me.

I had always known that something was very wrong with the world, a rot that radiated from the core of humanity. In the darkness, there seemed to be very little light. Almost everything was blatantly sacrilegious, shady and sinful, and I had no way of putting things right – that gave me a sense of complete powerlessness. In despair something inside me decided that I would brace the storm alone. After all, indications of the absence of a benevolent God were all around me. So I thought.

My spiritual enlightenment came in phases. The truth first manifested as a whisper, adamant to be heard. As cliché as it sounds, a voice inside was telling me that there had to be something beyond this life. I did hear it, all attempts to ignore it failed. I decided to seek the voice out, and naturally I turned to the church.

Sitting comfortably on my self-righteous pedestal, I observed and silently judged all who I met on my numerous church visits. I collected empirical evidence of hypocrisy and sanctimonious back talk. I figured that they had no right to tell me how to live, when their own lives were not consistently echoing what they ardently preached from the pulpit.

Despite these thoughts, I stayed, and I heard all that was said. The whisper in my heart became louder. I HEARD the declarations and testimonies, but in retrospect, I was not LISTENING. There is an enormous difference.

I first started listening through song. I have always had an affinity for music, and particularly enjoy singing. Joining the choir was a logical choice. The gruelling practices forced me to begin to listen to the words I was singing, and I began to reflect on them. I began to refer to the Bible, to track down the foundation of the lyrics. The voice inside me became louder still.

The pastor at my church who regularly held bonding sessions for choir members encouraged me to start journaling, and to truly immerse myself in a spiritual environment; to use the spiritual appliances that most captivated me to trigger my awakening and coax the ‘real me’ out.

I researched my stance on hypocrisy, which I felt held me back from embracing Christianity. I acknowledged not realizing that genuine Christians have such a low view of their own morality, I attacked them. What drove me to despise Christians was not unkindness so much as a desperate attempt to drown the shrieks of my own conscience. A favourite, rarely conscious, technique to silence a suppressed but nagging conscience is to muddy the name of anyone who might give the appearance of being morally better than me.

Slowly, I came to recognize that my thoughts on Christian hypocrisy were merely the rejection of aspects of ‘Churchianity’ that Jesus himself would reject. Jesus denounced religious hypocrites- I realized that we had that in common. If I wanted to really be more Christ-like, I would have to adapt more of His outlooks, in this case, Jesus’ attitude towards hypocrites: He forgave them.

We have free will. A human being has to choose. This is where our strength lies: in the power of our decisions. Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.

The day I chose to forgive, my soul opened to the lights of heaven...

The day I chose to forgive was the day my soul opened and heaven’s light came in. I cried for hours- tears of sadness for all the years I had wasted inside my hardened shell, tears of relief for the peace I now enjoyed and tears of joy for my heart that was no longer stone.

I came to realize that I am responsible for my own salvation, I am accountable for the lifestyle I live, and I am a representative of God here on earth. For these reasons I must make a genuine effort to reflect the best image in my choices, so that through me others may see the greatness of God and how his love and grace can transform any seemingly ordinary human being. A relationship with God unlocked the greatness within me, and I found that I wanted to share this joy I had found with others.

I WAS AWAKE!!!

….By Lee

Let my life song sing to you Lord. This ought to be the daily anthem of all Christians. The lyrics of this song are heartfelt and hold deep meaning; our life song does not only refer to prayer life and attending church, our life song is the drive behind all that we do. Be it at work, at home, in the presence of our friends, wherever we are, our words, actions and motivation in all we do should give praise to our awesome God. I love the way this song points out that we can never repay God for all he has done, the most we can do, is live a lifestyle that brings glory and honor to His name. We do not receive His mercy because of our efforts but we receive it because of his overwhelming grace. I pray that you may comprehend the meaning behind this amazing song and hopefully it may transform your perspective of your daily business….

Casting crowns – Lifesong

…By Lee

Jesus said and says he is always with us. No matter where you are or what you do and regardless of whether you are a Christian or not, Jesus is always with you. Now, my question is, do you believe in the depths of your heart that Jesus is with you at all times?

Before you quickly jump to an answer, I invite you to let the thought ponder in your mind for awhile. Reflect upon it! In times of trouble and despair, do you focus on the strength of the Almighty Father and remember that he is our true deliverer or do you allow your tribulations get the best of you, leaving behind a restless heart and troubled mind? In times of joy, do you express gratitude to the Lord for his never-ending grace or do you recline and enjoy the moment while it lasts?

God is always with us, watching over us...

This leads me back to my first question; do you believe deep in your heart that at all times that Jesus is with you? I realized it is easy to proclaim that you believe, while in reality, you may be saying the words without genuinely having faith in them. Thus a different picture is painted, as these words do not translate into practice.

If one believes that Jesus is with him/her at all times, it will reflect in their actions, it will reflect in their spoken words. But i must sadly admit, in my spiritual journey, somehow when the going gets tough, I tend to focus my magnifying glass on my collection of problems and over look the power my savior has over everything. I dive deep into strategic planing on how I can maintain everything under my control, instead of surrendering it all to my faithful Jesus. Just a side note: the kind of problems I am referring to are those we do not have control over, or rather the problems that demand us to display our faith in God. I do NOT mean that we should resolve to being lazy or laid-back and leaving it all to God. We must always be aware that God is there to bridge the gap between impossible and possible. God is always going to present us with situations where our faith as Christians will be tested.

Let’s look at one of my favourite scriptures, Jesus tells us in John 14.6:

I am the way, the truth and the life.

Jesus assures us that he is literally the way, and this way is the truth and life! No matter where we fear our problems might lead us, as long as we acknowledge and believe that Jesus is the way, our hearts will dwell in peace. Despite the challenges we face, our Lord is faithful and ready to deliver us from our persecutions. Therefore, professing and trusting that Jesus is with you and is leading you down his path, will change your entire perspective of life. It will transform how you react during times or trials, it will instill confidence and courage in you, while relinquish any traces of fear planted in you. Moreover, it will lead you closer to the Lord.

The closer you get to Jesus, the more you adopt his character. When reading the book of Acts, I am amazed by how the disciples walked in Jesus’s authority, they believed and knew that they were invincible. They knew that Jesus was present with them at all times, so they had no reason compelling them to surrender to fear. They knew the path God had set for them; they had their perspectives tuned to Jesus. Hence fear was none issue to them. I truly believe the disciples portray the traits, we, the children of God should reflect in our lives.

Jesus constantly reminds us that we should walk in his authority, without fear, without doubts but with faith, following in his light. Honestly, that is a fact I often forget. I am currently a university student, sometimes the fear of failing shakes me deep in my core, but at the same time God reminds me of how far he has brought me. He also reminds me that Jesus is with me, and whatever challenge I may face, Jesus stands beside me, and he can overcome any obstacle that can dare face me. So I challenge anyone who reads this article, to walk each day, aware and believing that Jesus is with you.

…By Mwandi

2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful”.

Romans 8:15
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Most people’s stories of giving their life to Christ are a bit more dramatic than mine.  Some people heard a sermon that spoke to their hearts and resonated deep within their souls.  Crying barefaced they lumbered to the front of the church in front of everyone where the pastor vehemently prayed for them.  From that point, that epiphany their life was changed and it was fairy tale beautiful there after.

Not for me.  The day I gave my life to Christ it was a Saturday morning in sunny April of 2009. I was on my way to the city center.  I was riding in a matatu along Mombasa road and as Mombasa road would have it, there was truck loads of traffic.  The joys of Nairobi.  I digress.

I wasn’t thinking of anything world changing.  Nor was I having a spiritual battle within me, so to speak.  I was listening to my music off my phone as I usually do when I’m stuck in traffic. The matatu tout started making his rounds in the vehicle to collect the relevant fare.  I didn’t know how much it cost but I began scrimmaging in my bag for some coins.  My mind told me it should be 20 bob but it could have been 30 bob at that time of day.  And if he was a crazy tout, if I gave him 50 bob he’d completely refuse to give me back my change.  But if I gave him less then I was afraid he’d cause a scene.  I went into a near panic attack trying to figure out what I was going to do about whether to give 30 bob, 40 bob or 50 bob to a tout.

And as the tout approached the more panicky I became.  I could hear warning bells in my head because I felt that danger was approaching me and I didn’t know what I would do about it.  Then I became afraid that my petrified expression would be evident on my face and they would be able to hear my thoughts and begin laughing at me.  And that I’d be completely mortified if the tout began to start arguing with me about less money (if I opted for one 20 shilling coin) and the madness ensued.

And in that madness, I thought, hang on, what on earth is going on here?  Why, am I so petrified of someone I don’t know, and someone I’m unlikely to meet ever again?  Why am I so petrified of everything? And in my head I began to list all the small things in life that turned me from a young confident woman into a cowering, shivering wreck.  And I thought, “How could this be”?  Why am I so afraid of everything?

Why was I so afraid of everything?  Because I didn’t feel I had any support in life or any control.  And that the world was cruel and would overpower me.  And that I had to spend the rest of my life on a tight rope rather than make a ripple.  And it was maddening.  Because I knew I was destined for something greater than “not making a ripple” and I knew that there were forces in this world that were in control, and if on my side, life would be worth living.

I surrendered my life; plans, fears, hopes and aspirations...

So right there, as the tout asked for my fare, I prayed to God to take control.   I surrendered my life; plans, fears, hopes and aspirations.  I said that I am aware that I am not in control and never will be.  But I do not want to live my life in fear because of this that I know.  So you take control.  You tell me where to go.  Tell me what to do.  And because I know you’re on my side, I’ll do it.

I got off the matatu a different woman.  The sun was a little bit brighter and the world was a lot less frightening.  And so began my relationship with God…

The Lord says I am beautiful...

…By Mwandi

This is one of the many ways in which the Lord loves me… He sees me and says I am beautiful.

I do not believe Him though… my years of persecution of not being pretty enough haunt the crevices of my wounded soul. But still, the Lord insists, “You are beautiful!”.

I relent, smile and say, “Thanks, that makes one (person).”

“No,” he responds, “That makes ALL.”

…By Mandii

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

–Marianne Williamson

A.U.R.A. has an interlinked dual meaning, firstly, as the acronym of ‘Are U Really Awake?’ which challenges us to ask ourselves whether we are in truth, conscious beings, sentient of our identity and potential; or living our lives in a state of oblivion, unwittingly, almost mechanically, going through the motions. Are we aware of the brilliance that lies within each of us? Do we slumber as our astounding promise lies dormant?

With time I have learned the most significant lesson in my life- there is greatness inside of every one of us. In the words of Juan Arias: the extraordinary is not the birthright of a chosen and privileged few, but of all people, even the humblest. That is my one certainty: we are all the manifestation of the divinity of God.

This ties in with the second meaning of A.U.R.A. – an aura being the subtly pervasive quality emanating from a person; in this context, emanating from their core, their spirit, their true aura of greatness. People make a lot of effort not to acknowledge this, not to accept their colossal magical potential. The world may have told us in one way or another that we are weak, ugly and incapable. Many have been led to believe this is true. We need to forget what we think we are, so that we can really become what we are. This journey of actualizing one’s potential, of awakening one’s magnificence and unearthing one’s true aura is one that requires strength, bravery and faith. Along this journey we sometimes experience disappointment, defeat, and despair. But we must realise that God uses these trials to show us the way and to encourage us to have the courage to make mistakes, to risk failure and disillusion, prompting us to keep searching, keep looking for our aura.

This journey of unearthing one’s true aura is one that requires strength, bravery and faith.

Through this blog we hope to gently shake some awake and help others who are already on their voyage of discovery, by sharing our experiences and insights.