Tag Archive: Christ


FAITH FUEL

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…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.

A Random Act of Kindness

…By Lee

I thought I would share a story about an amazing experience I had with God.

About 11 years ago, on a regular Sunday morning, my family and I attended a church service in The Hague (Netherlands). Keeping up with the normal routine, we rushed into the church hall a few minutes early, so as to reserve our usual seats.  At the time it seemed that the seating policy was not too close to the front and not too far behind.

After seating ourselves, half way through the praise and worship, I saw a woman stumbling into the church hall trying to avoid attracting any attention while seeking an empty seat. She was somehow able to navigate through the packed church hall and over peoples’ feet to a seat behind me. She sat down and immediately kept her face down, fixedly staring at the floor.

It was clear she did not want to be noticed. It took me a few moments to realize that it was her first time in that church. She seemed lost, confused, and unable to keep up with the worship songs. Her hands could not cease fiddling with the church flyer. Out of my willingness to help, I turned in my seat to face her, kindly greeted her and guided her to the lyrics of hymns we were singing. She took a short pensive glance at me and without sharing a smile, she whispered “thank you”.

Out of the blue, tears filled her eyes...

As the sermon progressed, I kept on looking back and inquiring if she needed any assistance. After a while I noticed her cracking a smile at me, so naturally, I smiled back. Then, out of the blue, tears filled her eyes. She quickly stood up and rushed out the church hall, leaving all her belongings behind. I was 12 at the time and all seemed nothing short of strange to my young mind. I was not able to pin point what her problem was. So I faced forward and I continued to listen to the sermon.

At the end of the church service, the same woman came urgently looking for my mum. From a distance, I observed them talking, the woman was still in tears and my mum was doing her best to console her whilst listening to all she had to say. Upon noticing me, my mum called me over and as I hesitantly approached them, the woman started repeatedly thanking me. I was at a loss for words, I could not fathom what I had done, or rather what she thought I had done. However, curiosity compelled me to ask why she chose to express her heartfelt gratitude towards me. She immediately narrated her story leaving me, a 12 year old, shocked to depths of my heart.

She painfully narrated that for the past couple of years she has been trampled on by her husband and kids. They had launched insults at her on a daily basis, she felt unappreciated, no one had shown her any compassion in a long time and no one cared about her. She had been left isolated, enduring unbearable pain. She knew only one way out of it all.

So on that day she came to church to ask for forgiveness for what she was about to do. She had pondered on that thought for a while and had made her final decision. This haunted woman was entirely convinced she had to commit suicide. But God had something to say to her on that day. What she experienced in the church touched her so deep, that she couldn’t stop the floods of tears rolling down her cheeks.

She could not recall the last time someone displayed concern for her, yet a young child, took time to check if she was doing fine.

She stood there saying that she could not recall the last time someone displayed concern for her, yet a young child, took time to check if she was doing fine. The seemingly  little concern I showed meant so much to her, she could not help but cry. She felt so relieved and for the first time in a long time, she felt love. She then knew that that her life was worth something and she was glad that God chose a 12 year old to express how important her life was to Him. The now renewed woman felt the need to take her life no longer, and made the decision to let her family know the truth about what they have been doing to her all along.

I was particularly proud when I grasped that God had used me to speak to that woman. It made me feel so special, realising that God knows me personally. It was amazing to me that in a congregation of 300 people, God singled me out and passed on his message to that woman through… me!!!Me!!! Wow!!

We serve an amazing God. At times one would think that God only uses pastors and the holiest of people to do his work, but the beauty of God is that he can use any seemingly ordinary person to do great works. Think about it, the disciples were merely fishermen and they were responsible for spreading the gospel to many countries. I also learned that, anytime and anywhere, God can use you to reach out to someone without you even noticing it. We should also keep in mind that the little things we do can go a long way in helping others.

The bible tells us to treat others as we would want to be treated; take time to help those in need. We should always remember that wherever we are we might be the only connection the people around us have to the healing power of Jesus. Be aware that where you are right now… you may be the only Jesus people around you see…

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 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

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…