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…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.

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The Manual of the Warrior of Light, presents a collection of philosophical thoughts and stories that will inspire spiritual seekers everywhere…here we share some excerpts with you…

A warrior of light who trusts too much in his intelligence will end up underestimating the power of his opponent.

What does God think?

…By Wambui

We often wonder why others don’t see things the way we do.  We’re often able to analyse and solve a problem faced by someone else in a jiffy.  Does God wonder why we don’t see things the way he does?

God has given us all we need for the stage at which we are in life.  He has given us his Spirit to be our guide and teacher in the use of these things.  Does he get tired of our complaints and dissatisfaction with our lives?

God created us to love and serve him in this life, so we can be happy with him in the next.  He loves us so much that he allowed us to brutally murder his only son, so that we would live.  Does he ever wonder why he bothered?

He gave us trees, oceans, birds, animals and people, so that we can see him in the things he created.  He made them one by one and took care of even the details we shall never see.  Will he, one day,  get tired of our abusing his creation and take it all back?

Let’s imagine that God is the rich widow next door, and we are the poor neighbours.  She’s always been quiet, polite and kind.  Since she has so much, and she’s so generous anyway, we tap her electricity, water, satellite TV and wi-fi without asking her permission, thanking her or  even offering to split the bill.  For how long do we think she will let this go on?

Yes, God is not a rich widow.  We do not need to make any illegal connections to tap into his goodness.  So what’s stopping us from experiencing that goodness?  That’s a question that only you can answer for yourself.

…By Mandii

God is love. There is a God-shaped hole in every heart. When we do not fill this hole with God, we seek other ways to seal the vacuum. We seek out the ‘love’ of others. There is a huge problem with this as until we know God’s love, we shall be unable to truly love ourselves, and  truly love others.

When one seeks out the love of another without first establishing a relationship with God- many a time, an addict is born. The relationship addict feels (sometimes on a subconscious level) a sense of incompleteness, emptiness, despair, and sadness that he or she seeks to remedy by connecting with another. The relationship is viewed as a means of meeting one’s needs for love, attention, and security rather than as a shared experience.

The addictive relationship becomes an arena for trying to resolve unfinished business with one’s soul, to fill the void that remains without God. Addictive relationships are characterized by a simultaneous excess and lack of love; an over abundance of love to obsessive attention is bestowed upon someone else while an inadequate amount is given to self.

Here, I give you seven signs of an addictive relationship:

1) Dishonesty: Neither John nor Mary talks about who they are or what’s really bothering them. They lie about what they want; they use manipulation and half truths to elicit emotional responses in the other. This kind of communication fuels an addictive relationship.  

Hebrews 6:18 – “So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.” (NLT)

Psalm 119:160 – “The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.” (NLT)

2) Unrealistic expectations: Both John and Mary think the other will solve their self-esteem, body image, family, and existential problems. They believe the “right relationship” will make everything better. Yet, they’re in a disastrous addictive relationship.

But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)

(Psalms 147:3 NKJV) “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.”

 Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

3) Instant gratification: Mary expects John to be there for her whenever she needs him; she needs him to make her happy immediately. She is using him to make her feel good, and isn’t relating to him as a partner or even a human being. He is like  a drug. An addictive relationship drug.

2 Timothy 3:2 “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.”

4) Compulsive control. Mary has to change or act a certain way, or John will threaten to leave her and/or vice versa. This establishes a strict conditional love policy within the relationship, lacking any kind of compromise, tolerance or acceptance.  Both feel pressure to stay in this addictive relationship; neither feel like they’re together voluntarily, but instead are limited in exercising their free will.

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change …”

 Psalm 80:13 “So I [God] let them go according to the desires of their heart: they shall walk in their own inventions.

5) Lack of trust. Neither partner trusts the other to be there when the chips are down. They don’t believe the other really loves them, and they don’t believe genuine caring or liking exists. At some level they know they’re not in a healthy but rather in an addictive relationship.

Luke 16:10 – “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (NIV)

6) Social isolation. Nobody else is invited into their relationship – not friends, family, or work acquaintances. People in addictive relationships want to be left alone. They do not want to hear the advice of those who care for them, as the truth of the unhealthy nature of their relationship is something they would rather not  hear.

Ecclesiastes 4:13 “Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive counsel (friendly reproof and warning)” (AMP)

Proverbs 19:20 “Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.” (AMP)

1 Corinthians 4:14I do not write this to shame you, but to warn and counsel you as my beloved children.” (AMP)

7) Cycle of pain. John and Mary are trapped in a cycle of pleasure, pain, disillusionment, blaming, and reconnection. The cycle repeats itself until one partner breaks free of the addictive relationship.

Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken.”

Jeremiah 30:17 “For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,” says the Lord.

John (or Mary) can get out of this unhealthy, addictive relationship…but how does he overcome this self sabotage nightmare?

John must let go of the fear of being alone.

Tim 1:7 (AMP) “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

John must have an awakening, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually. The first step to recovery is acknowledgment of a problem and the will to change. Thus once John realises that things aren’t quite what they seem; what he thought or how he wishes they would be,  his initial awakening shall continue as he recovers.

1 Peter 5:7 (AMP) “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”

John must glimpse his (addictive) relationship as it exists in reality. John’s spirituality and subsequent relationship with God can provide the essential coping skills and personal courage required to do this. John’s emerging awareness leads him to seek out and find appropriate help. Awakening awareness begins to help him to see and understand his self sabotage of chances for genuine intimacy. John shall learn about learn about identifying poor boundaries between adults; addiction and problems of intimacy; unhealthy attachment, ending relationships and self sabotage.

 God can slowly heal John’s issues with control, being over-responsible, neglecting his own needs, and his fear of abandonment. When he begins to allow God’s love in, he will understand that during his relationship he put up with abuse and ill treatment, which should have been unacceptable.

John learns to let go and let God. Most importantly, he learns what REAL love, what God’s love is.

Psalm 46:1-3,7 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. “

…By Wambui

God is good

All the time

And all the time

God is good.

And that’s his nature.

I’ve heard this said so many times that sometimes I find myself switching off even before the end of the first line.  Now why would I want to switch off, yet that statement is so loaded with meaning?  Could it be that it sounds like a nursery rhyme and is a bit too simplistic for my “mature” mind?  Could it be that this mind which I think is “mature” is actually too undeveloped to fully grasp how good God is?  Could it be that in God’s dictionary, good is defined in the whole of creation, yet in mine, the definition takes up two lines of a two inch column?

 So exactly how good is God?  And what exactly does his goodness mean?  I shall not even attempt to answer that in one sentence, because now I realise that it would be fruitless – it would never work.  Now I admit that my mind is indeed too small to understand the full extent of God’s goodness all at once, so I can only try to break it down into manageable ideas.  Here we go. 

My life is a blank piece of paper...any mark on that paper is either written by God, or He has allowed someone to write on it.

My life is a blank piece of paper, like the one used to make photocopies.  Not even a single line on it like in a notebook, but completely blank.  Any mark on that paper is either written by God, or he has allowed someone to write on it.  Long before I’m even conceived, he draws out an elaborate map of the path he wants my life to take.  He plots every twist and turn with accuracy that makes a Google map look like a child’s colouring.  He maps out the timing of each event with more accuracy than NASA equipment.  In short, everything that happens to me, he has either done himself or has allowed it to be done.

If God is so powerful, why does he not punish the people who are funding genocides, political violence and destruction of the environment?

Which leads to other questions.  If he’s so good and only wants the best for me, then why are bad things happening all around me?  Why are two year old girls being raped by HIV positive men?  Why are babies dying of cancer before they can even walk?  Why would a God who is so good allow a woman who has dedicated her life to serving him give birth to four children who are all blind? If God is so powerful, why does he not punish the people who are funding genocides, political violence and destruction of the environment?

Maybe one day, my small, simple, undeveloped mind will understand that God is so good, that he’s also good to the people we consider bad.  He’s so good, that he gives us all an equal chance to do good and tell others about his goodness.  He’s so good, that he forgives us whenever we mess up, but apologize and make a sincere effort not to mess up again.  Even when we’re hurting others by polluting the environment, borrowing our friends’ partners, neglecting our families or exploiting those who cannot stand up for themselves,  God still gives us a chance to make good our messes.

Evidence of God's goodness...

Doesn’t this God sound too good to be true?  To some extent, doesn’t he sound like he can’t decide if he wants a world that’s good or bad?  Maybe one day when my mind opens up enough to understand God’s goodness I’ll be able to answer that question.  In the meantime, I’ll just bask in all the good things that happen to me.

If I get home today in one piece, that’s his goodness.

If I wake up tomorrow and can still breathe, that’s his goodness.

If tomorrow, I find even one thing to laugh about, that’s his goodness.

If I have enough hope to make plans for next week, that’s his goodness.

If I can have the audacity to question his goodness, that’s definitely his goodness.

…By Neemo

I once told a saved friend of mine that Professor Gale would go to heaven before she did. She thought not.

 Now, Professor Gale was our political science lecturer and a self confessed atheist. He thought we were all deluded to believe in God and we once had a one-hour argument about it in class. But Dr. Gale is the most selfless person I have ever met. If anyone lives by Christ’s example it is he. He cares nothing for himself (you should see the way he dresses) and everything for others. Especially disadvantaged women and children. He even once tried to get our University to donate some land towards building a shelter for abused women. He cares nothing for material possessions. The guy lives at YMCA and used to lecture at University only to get enough money to live by. He teaches for free in the slums and in fact he encouraged use to spare the time to do so. (Though he told us one day that one of his former students waved to him from a prison van so I don’t know how much success he is having with that!)

 My question is. Why do we get stuck over membership and not the membership values we should espouse? Gale is not a Christian. Neither is he a Muslim or a Hindu or any other religion. He is like Mahatma Gandhi. He espouses the values of all these religions. Which is what we should all try to do.

…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

In His Presence

…By Wambui

Have you ever felt God so near you that you could almost hear Him breathing?  Have you ever felt so surrounded by Him that the sheer intensity of His presence made you shudder?

Mt. Kilimanjaro, almost six kilometres above sea level - the highest point in Africa.

My experience was much unexpected.  It was on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, almost six kilometres above sea level – the highest point in Africa.  It was the fourth day of our expedition; we had been walking all night to reach the summit, and were hungry, cold and utterly exhausted.  I dragged my feet to the edge of the cliff to get a good view of the landscape below.  As (bad) luck would have it, our pace had been too slow, so the sun was already high up, and had caused thick clouds to form below us.  Instead of seeing the land below, all I could see was clouds – layer upon layer of clouds.  I was disappointed.

Just as I resigned myself to accepting that I would see nothing but thick clouds below, out of the corner of my eye, I saw some movement.  It was not one of the people in the expedition; it was the movement of clouds right in front of me.  These were not the thick clouds I had been staring at far below; they were light wisps of water vapour right at my eye’s level.  Then I realised what was happening.  The moisture laden wind blowing across the plain was now blowing up the cliff at whose edge I was standing, cooling and forming clouds right before my eyes.  

The first was God as a child playing happily with bubbles which floated upwards into beautiful formations.

Two images came to my mind simultaneously.  The first was God as a child playing happily with bubbles which floated upwards into beautiful formations.  The second was God standing right next to me – a renowned musician conducting the symphony of nature. Then He looked at me and smiled, and I shuddered.  The raw power of that moment made me shudder and all I could think was, “O Lord, my God. How majestic is your name in all the earth.”  It could have been my untamed imagination playing tricks on me, but at that moment, I felt like I was sitting right next to God when he said, “Let there be light.”

To this day, whenever I remember that moment, I find myself smiling.  I’m still surprised at how I had such an amazing experience at a time when I was at my worst – exhausted, frost-bitten, sunburnt, hungry and disappointed.  It also makes me ask myself why I should be afraid of death, if dying means that I’ll experience that moment every day. 

 I don’t have the answer to that question.  All I know is that the answer will come when I least expect it.

The Manual of the Warrior of Light, presents a collection of philosophical thoughts and stories that will inspire spiritual seekers everywhere…here we share some excerpts with you…

Every Warrior of the Light has felt afraid of going into battle.

Every Warrior of the Light has, at some time in the past, lied or betrayed someone.

Every Warrior of the Light has trodden a path that was not his.

Every Warrior of the Light has suffered for the most trivial of reasons. Every Warrior of the Light has, at least once, believed he was not a Warrior of the Light.

Every Warrior of the Light has failed in his spiritual duties.

Every Warrior of the Light has said ‘yes’ when he wanted to say ‘no.’

Every Warrior of the Light has hurt someone he loved.

That is why he is a Warrior of the Light, because he has been through all this and yet has never lost hope of being better than he is.