Tag Archive: Bible


…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”.

 

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FAITH FUEL

Swept away by the world

…By Wambui

Being a good Christian, following the commandments, praying and reading the Bible regularly is a very safe way to live. It is almost like standing on the bank of the River Nile, watching the millions of gallons of water flowing past, carrying away with its force items as small as ants and as big as trees.

At some point, watching from a distance gets boring; the urge to be a part of the action overcomes you. Almost as if they can hear your thoughts, a group of old friends happen to pass by in a raft, so without a second thought, you grab an oar and head straight into the water. After all, you can swim, so what’s the big deal? For a Christian, that’s the point at which all the do’s and don’ts become stifling, and you feel like you need to shake things up a bit.

For the first 10 minutes, the ride is smooth and uneventful. The scenery is breathtaking and it’s all laughs in the raft. Then the water begins to get rough; there’s a whirlpool coming up ahead. The guy whose idea the ride was shouts, “To the left.” So you all paddle frantically and somehow manage to avoid spinning endlessly at one point in the river. To a Christian, this might be your first hangover. The friend who took you clubbing gave you some bitter soup and voilà!

The sun is still shining and the water is calm again, so all’s good, right? Wait a minute. The water seems to be flowing faster, and there’s a bend ahead. “Is that a rapid?” The girl next to you says, “Yeah, hold on tight, it’ll be rough.” True to her word, all of a sudden, all you can see is water. It’s everywhere. Its force is so much that it yanks your oar right out of your hand, slapping you in the process. You’re holding on so tight that your fingers are paining, and you can feel your shoe coming off, but you can’t let go. A Christian comes to this point when s/he realises that being in the thick of things is not easy. There are lies to keep up with, lifestyles to maintain, appearances to make, and all for what? Just to avoid looking ‘uncool’.

You feel yourself tilting over slowly, slowly, slowly, then you realise that you’re only still breathing because of the air pocket formed by the hollow of the raft. “Am I looking up at my seat?” you ask yourself. Your fingers are numb; you’re holding your breath; the raft is moving away, but you can do nothing – you’re at the water’s mercy. For a Christian, a drowning experience can be a chance for revival. When you realise that you’re helpless, you’re more likely to be open to God’s word. This drowning experience may come in form of drug/alcohol addiction, financial ruin, or a deep sense of loss or emptiness.

As the current sucks you deeper and deeper, and you can’t hold your breath any longer, you give up on the idea of dying peacefully in your sleep, and accept this unexpected, watery death.  Suddenly, the water is calmer, you feel the sun on your head and something soft grazes your knee. Mud? It seems this was not your day to die, so the current pushed you to the river bank. As Christians, do we have people around us who push, pull and prod us to live a good life? Do we do the same to others? Are we accountable to anyone who can keep us from getting into such “watery” situations?

You look around and see one of your friends who is so shaken that she refuses to get into the rescue boat (the drug addict who has refused rehab).  The girl who sat next to you in the raft is now on a stretcher, heavily bandaged on her knee and elbow (a baby and HIV from a “complicated”  relationship).  You look at yourself, see how muddy you are, one shoe missing, and wonder if you’ll ever be able to wear those expensive jeans again (guilt, sense of loss, doubt and anger).  As you pull yourself slowly to your feet, you ask yourself, “Why didn’t I just stay on the river bank in the first place?”

…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

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…