Category: So the Scriptures Say…


…By Lee

“And we know that in all things we are more than conquerors, through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

Once in a while people confide in me, pouring out their hearts on their many problems, and desperately hoping for God to provide a solution. Although I encourage them to have faith and stand strong in the Lord, I know that is far from easy to take that message to heart especially during times of turmoil.

I know for a fact that problems are created in the attempt to divert our attention from accepting God’s presence in our lives. God wants our focus to always be on Him, simply because, when we lose sight of God’s perspective, we blindly tumble towards our own destruction.

God knows how the ways of this world try to lure us into turning away from Him. When problems come our way, and we focus on them, they continue dragging us further and further away, until we are fully parted from our Godly mindset. The more we separate ourselves from focusing on God, the more we forget His word and the more vulnerable we are to adopting the earthly way of thinking; where we allow problems to drown us in a pool of worries, confusion and panic.

Through the apostle Paul, God assures us that we are more than conquerors in all we do. So in times of trouble, if those words can echo in our minds, and if we choose to have firm faith in them, knowing that God has declared us more than conquerors, more than champions, then we will be transformed in how we handle challenges. It’s like going to play a football match against a mediocre team. If you are intimidated by the team, you might end up losing, but if you face the team with the confidence of a winner, then you will play like a winner and triumph like a winner. It is all in the mindset. Therefore, when challenged with difficulties, recognise that you stand in God’s word and you have already been declared the victor in all you do.

So how can one be able to adopt a Godly mind set? The only way to adopt God’s way of thinking is to get deeper into His word. Develop your relationship with Him through prayer and daily devotion. Like any relationship, the one you have with God requires time, attention and commitment. As your relationship with God grows, He will gradually reveal Himself to you. The more you know God, the more you trust in Him. As your trust in Him grows, the stronger your faith will be.

In the book of Romans chapter 12, Paul also tells us that our minds should no longer be conformed to the motifs of this world, but instead be transformed in our way of thinking. We decide what manifests in our minds. If we allow our minds to be filled with fear and worries, it will reflect in the way we live. If we allow God’s words to take root in our minds, it will manifest in our lifestyle. We will begin to reflect His nature and being. The word says God made man in His image, so there is no reason for us to think that we can never reflect His nature.

So I urge you to fasten your minds on God and take hold of His word. Do not allow thoughts of fear and discomfort to dwell in your psyche, but allow the truth of God’s word to shape your mind. We

When facing problems, you should always remember that the God who breathed life into you has made you a conqueror of anything you will ever face. God will always provide a new perspective on your situation and he will empower you with the strength you require to get through it.

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…By Mwandi

1 Samuel 1:10-13a “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD……Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard.”

Today a person I care very deeply for wrote to me and said God does answer prayers.  Only that morning had she prayed earnestly for help…not knowing how, or where or whom; only knowing and believing that God would be able to deliver her out of her strife. 

I read her email and saw her pain, her anguish and her joy at salvation.  In her email I read all the emotions I had experienced when I was in desperate need for an answered prayer.  I knew how it felt to be praying for something so earnestly and deeply it brings you to your knees; you sob endlessly being unable to form the words in your mouth but your heart screaming out to be heard.  Not knowing how long you would have to endure turmoil until you were alleviated from your situation.  

And in those prayers I always remember wishing that God would send someone…anyone to help me.  That He would release an angel who would cradle me in their arms and let me know that everything would be ok.  And not only say it, but mean it and help me.  And then I wished I could be that person who was called upon to help another.  That without my knowing God would use me to answer another’s prayer.  And I prayed for the same.  Believing that God would deliver me, I believed in turn that I should be used to help another…even if I were in pain, I should help.     

Today a person I care very deeply for wrote to me and said God does answer prayers.  And I believe her.  God answered my prayers in a way I’ve not been able to stop thanking him for His intervention.  And simultaneously used me to answer somebody else’s prayer.  He knew that on Monday morning she would be praying to Him for help…so on Saturday delivered me from my pain, and on Sunday evening he placed it in my heart to be of that help and write to her what she needed the most.    

Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear”.

 

…By Mandii 

On the path to my spiritual awakening, when I still had my doubts about the existence of God as I know him today, I was often perplexed by the notion that God knows all. I followed the logic that if He did know all, then He knew what we were going to choose in the future, meaning we really had no real free will. 

An omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God...

I put these thoughts aside for awhile and established a relationship with God. Upon returning to my previous musings, I realised that this divine foreknowledge of our choices was not a problem for me. Keeping the concept of an all knowing God in mind when looking at the Christian definition of free will: the ability to make equal choices between options, regardless of a person’s sinful nature- how does God’s omniscience conflict with our free will? 

Let me use a simple analogy to elaborate on my point. The sun will rise and set tomorrow. I’m not causing it or preventing it from doing so by knowing that it shall happen. Similarly, if I ask my little sister to choose between a chocolate and a carrot, I know she will choose the chocolate. My knowledge of this does not restrict her from making her choice. Even if she was inclined to choose the carrot to please me, as it’s healthier, I have not forced her to make that choice. My sister is free to make the choice and my knowledge of her preference and in turn, her choice, has no effect upon her when she makes her choice. 

The red pill or the blue pill?

In short: God knowing what we are going to do does not mean that we can’t do something else. It means that God simply knows what we have chosen to do ahead of time. Our freedom is not restricted by God’s foreknowledge; our freedom is simply realized ahead of time by God. 

While God is omnipotent and knows the choices that individuals will make, He still gives individuals the power to ultimately choose (or reject) everything, regardless of any internal or external conditions relating to the choice. In a biblical illustration of free will, when Jesus was nailed on the cross, the two criminals, one on each side, were about to die. Only one asked Jesus for forgiveness while the other, even at the end of his life with nothing else to lose, disparaged Jesus. From a Christian perspective, this was a free and personal choice between everlasting death and everlasting life. 

An important issue to consider here is the concept of time. God’s concept of time differs greatly from ours. If the future exists for God even as the present does, then God is consistently in all places at all times and is not restricted by time. This would mean that God is not subject to our perception of the natural laws of time, subject, and that God is not a linear entity- to be precise, it would mean that God is not restricted to operating in our time realm and is not restricted to the present only. 

If the future exists for God even as the present does, then God is consistently in all places at all times and is not restricted by time.

Following this logic, if God is not restricted to existence in our version of the present, then the future is known by God because God dwells in the future, as well as the present (and the past). This would mean that our future choices, as free as they are, are simply known by God. Again, our ability to choose is not altered or lessened by God existing in the future and knowing what we freely choose. It just means that God can see what we will freely choose, because that is what we freely choose – and knows what it is. 

This concept is demonstrated in the scriptures, as spiritually God inhabits eternity. Psalm 90.2 says “Before the mountains were born, or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” These verses and others do not actually say that God exists inside or outside time, rather that He is eternal. A number of verses also state that God has no beginning or end. This is not definitive, but we may be able to conclude that since time is that non-spatial, continuous succession of events from the past, through the present, and into the future, and that since the word “beginning” denotes a relationship to and in time, and since God has no beginning, that time is not applicable to God’s nature. In other words, God has no beginning and since “beginning” deals with an event in time, God is outside of time. 

So, in relation to our free will and God’s predictive ability, there is no biblical reason to assert that God’s foreknowledge negates our freedom. There is no logical reason to claim that if God knows what choices we are going to make that it means we are not free. It still means that the free choices we will make are free — they are just known ahead of time by God. If we choose something different, then that choice will have been eternally known by God. What’s more, this knowledge by God does not alter our nature in that it does not change what we are — free to make choices. 

In light of this, He has eternally known what all our free choices will be, He has ordained history to come to the conclusion that He wishes including and incorporating our choices into His divine plan: 

For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur,” (Acts 4:27-28). Why?  Because God always knows all things: “…God is greater than our heart, and knows all things,” (1 John 3:20).

…By Lee

In society at large, there is a strong belief that being spiritual is all about sticking to laws and living a life confined within the high walls of these laws.

We are often led to believe that we live in the shadow of these laws, and are sometimes fugitives unable to abide by the law, fleeing God’s wrath, guiltily plodding on...

I guess by now you realize that I’m referring to the 10 commandments. One can just imagine, once they enter that prison, there stands a tall, mean looking guard bellowing these restrictive laws: “Thou shall not….” We are often led to believe that we live in the shadow of these laws, and are sometimes fugitives unable to abide by the law, fleeing God’s wrath, guiltily plodding on… but doesn’t this scenario make you wonder… Did God want us to live like that? Well, absolutely not!!

God did not give us the commandments so that we could live under repressive, back breaking pressure. God promised freedom to all who choose to accept Him. His laws were meant to portray the wickedness in man. They are like a brutally honest mirror, for us to see who we really are inside. The laws themselves cannot save man from his sinful nature; rather, they illustrate our weaknesses, prompting us to ask God for guidance, mercy and freedom from sin. It is only through His mercy and grace that we are saved; saved from greed, lust, anger, hatred and so on…

God knows that we cannot save ourselves from all the immorality that dwells in our hearts; we are almost held captive by it all… But Jesus made it clear that only God’s can free us from these vices. All He requires is that we accept his forgiveness and allow him to work in our lives, so that his love and mercy can flow in us.

...the spirit of God is gradually renewing our hearts and minds, helping us make wise decisions and walk on the right path.

In the book of Romans, Paul says that by accepting Christ in our lives, we are free from all laws. This means that the spirit of God is alive in us, guiding us and placing the right desires in our hearts. We should not feel  confined but rather liberated in the knowledge that the spirit of God is gradually renewing our hearts and minds, helping us make wise decisions and walk on the right path.

Often, I hear people blame certain behaviors on ‘human nature’, when this is actually not true. How many times do the majority of men say that it is ‘normal’ for a man to have an ‘inability’ to resist the temptation of woman’s body? This is simply society conventionalizing immorality, calling it all ‘normal’, as it takes genuine effort for one to harness God’s power and resist life’s wrongs. God created man for more than that, which means such behavior is far from ‘normal’. Giving in is the easy, and lazy way to deal with these challenges.  In reality, it is totally within any man’s (or woman’s) capability to resist temptation if he taps into the power of God. The spirit of God can show us how to love our wives/girlfriends (husbands/ boyfriends) with a love that comes only from the most high! It shows us how to appreciate someone for who they are and not just their physical appeal. Only God knows what true love is, and only he can give teach it to us. We see this love in what Jesus did for us.

The message I wanted to put across is that we should stop living under the law and start living in God’s grace. You should all know in the depths of your hearts that God has set you free to be your true self and only He can guide you down the right road of life.

…By Mandii

When they walk into the room your knees turn to jelly, your brain scrambles and your heart sprints faster than Usain Bolt….

Many of us have experienced this feeling of intense attraction and perceiving amazing qualities in another person. Society has continually reinforced the message that until we meet the ‘love of our life’, then we are ‘incomplete’, ‘unfulfilled’ and ‘undesirable.’ Couples ‘fall in love’ blissfully and fall out of it with such agonizing heartache. Countless others remain in relationships that are not necessarily healthy, purely for the sake of not being alone.

I believe that many of these short lived romantic relationships are based on nothing but physical attraction and butterflies in the tummy...

Indeed, God created man and woman to be together, to complement each other. It is natural to desire to meet someone with whom you can share your life with. However, despite the cliché yarns of being swept of your feet into a whirlwind romance that would rival any Spanish tele-novella, the long lasting romantic relationships are those based on more than passionate infatuation. I believe many of these short lived romantic relationships are based on nothing but physical attraction and butterflies in the tummy, but those based on friendship have a deep understanding of who the other person really is and what they need.

Proverbs sheds some light on several characteristics of friends and friendships. Prov.17: 17 says, “A friend loves at all times.” Prov.18: 24 says, “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” Prov.27: 6 says, “When a friend rebukes you, that rebuke can be trusted.” Prov.27: 9 says, “The pleasantness of having a friend springs from his earnest counsel.” Prov.27: 10 says, “Do not forsake your friend.” These verses bring out the fact that God blesses friendship and encourages us to develop them. Friendship involves three essential elements, commitment to fulfil the responsibility of a friend, care and concern for the welfare of your friend, and affection. A romantic relationship rooted in this kind of friendship is much more likely to withstand the tough times.

When romantic relationships develop, the couple involved may feel the need to express intimacy through physical means. In an unhealthy situation, from my own observations I feel sex has come to be used as some kind of a drug. Even within the context of a ‘relationship’, sex is used in order to escape reality, to forget about problems, to relax, for instant physical gratification…and like all drugs, this is a harmful and destructive practice.

The purpose of romantic intimacy and romantic expression is for marriage and that is where it is to come into full bloom...

The Scriptures discuss the context in which the ultimate physical intimacy (sex) can be shared within a romantic relationship. Firstly, the purpose of romantic intimacy and romantic expression is for marriage and that is where it is to come into full bloom. It is like a flower bud that exists before marriage and is only opened up in a full way when it is time for it to bloom (in marriage). This is simply because romantic intimacy involves the most fragile part of our being – our hearts. Once our feelings are expressed and shared, the deepest part of us becomes vulnerable to another.

When your mother told you not to give your heart away too freely, she was right. She knew that sex is an extremely powerful force, and that when you bear yourself to someone else it is so much more than just a physical act. When we’re in bed with someone, we’re giving permission to that person not only to commune with our body, but with our whole being; we cannot hide who we are. Song of Songs 4:9 describes the vulnerability of expressing romantic desire to another when it says “You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes...” When romantic desire and attraction are expressed and reciprocated it “steals the heart” and makes it vulnerable. Without the commitment and resultant security of marriage, our hearts can easily be crushed.

The bride of Solomon in the Song of Songs celebrates the unity of romantic and physical intimacy as she proclaims in 1:2 “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth – for your love is more delightful than wine.” The Hebrew word translated “love” in that verse is literally “lovemaking,” showing love sexually.

In God's beautiful plan for man and woman, romantic intimacy and physical intimacy come to full expression together only within the protective bond of marriage.

In God’s beautiful plan for man and woman, romantic intimacy and physical intimacy come to full expression together only within the protective bond of marriage. Based on the Scriptures we have seen thus far, we can draw some important conclusions that can give us guidance when it comes to establishing romantic relationships. The first is that God desires for us to experience friendships with others before marriage. And it is a friendship-type relationship (with romantic desire, but not sexual intimacy) with a spiritual seeker of the opposite sex that moves directly into engagement (preparation for marriage). Second, in the Scriptures, no relationships are moved to the engagement/marriage stage unless the person is mature enough to be married. In Gen.28: 1-3 Isaac calls for his son Jacob when he is mature enough to fulfill his responsibilities as a husband and commands him to seek a wife. Third, romantic intimacy should not be experienced without the commitment of marriage to go with it. Romantic and physical intimacy is to be expressed only in marriage between a husband and wife. The Song of Songs shows us that romantic intimacy and physical intimacy are expressed together in marriage.

I leave you with some reflective words on marriage:

In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare.  Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced.  ~Robert Sexton

Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner. ~Amy Bloom

Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage.  ~Finnish Proverb

Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can’t live without.  ~James C. Dobson

We have the greatest pre-nuptial agreement in the world.  It’s called love.  ~Gene Perret

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.  ~Andre Maurois

…By Mwandi

“You are the person who has to decide,

Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside.

You are the person who makes up your mind

Whether you’ll lead or linger behind.

Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar…

Or just be content to stay where you are”

(Author: anonymous and time: unknown)

 Ecclesiastes 9:11

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

 There is a time for everything under the sun. Time comes with opportunities and decisions you need to make on which direction you will take.

Time comes with opportunities and decisions you need to make on which direction you will take.

 There is the time to change; the time to stop complaining.  The time has come for that old attitude, mentality and habits to change. You’ve complained all your life and has that made a difference?  You’ve looked in the mirror and despised the person you see there. Has that helped to make you a better person?

 The time has come for you to say and believe with your heart that God can do all things.  John left his home and went out preaching and baptizing people that the Messiah was coming.  He believed with all his heart and carried out his role in life with a vengeance like no other.  It is also time for you to have faith.   Sometimes things are so rough, you ask yourself “Where is God in this?”.  Remember, Jesus went through the same thing, when he was dragged, and beaten, and mistreated and insulted and a whole load of other things.  God was there.  Jesus needed to go through those things for us.  And now He is exalted and in Heaven, for suffering. 

(Read Ezekiel 37:1-14, the story of the dry bones).

 And then there’ll be a time for you to deliver;

 (Mark 1:14).  When John was put in prison, Jesus set out to pick his first disciples and begin preaching the new message.  He knew the stage had been set and went about performing what he needed to without hesitation. Fast forward a few years (or chapters), when Jesus was arrested, he was calm because he knew it was his time.  And before he was arrested, he went up on the hill and prayed.  It is important to remember the prayer as that is where he drew his strength from. 

 The time to be strong; by having a strong foundation and being a true woman (or man) of God.  Look for the Rock, look only to the Rock and build your house upon that rock.  When the elements come (the rain, the snow, the sleet, the storm, the sea), and after the storm, if you are on the rock, then you remain.  The elements, of course, refer to the challenges you are experiencing in your life.  (1 Corinthians 10:1-13)

 The time has come to choose to live for something, or you will die for nothing.  And you will not be content with your life if it was only focused on you and what you can take out of it.  There are souls you need to touch, people you need to speak to, and an impact you need to make in the name of Jesus. 

 Be blessed.  Feel loved.

Living with Sin

…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 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…