Tag Archive: Personal growth


…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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…By Mwandi 

Before I got baptized, I had always been a critic of the frequent church-goer; who on Sunday, in their Sunday best would praise the Lord with all their heart, and all their soul and all their might…then on Monday don the ski mask and rob you blind.  And it was unfortunate for me that I knew so many of them.  There were few people I met who I could say were truly spiritually in-tune and showed that both in and out of the office. 

I remember countless sermons in church that taught one thing and I ended up doing the other the very next day; a sermon on taming the tongue…and the next day insulted my manager in all the international languages I had acquired.

 Then I made the glorious change in my life and was baptized.  I was a new person.  I had a new outlook for life, I had new joy and peace within me and for the first time I had an overwhelming amount of hope.  But I was still working in the same office that drove me up the wall.  It didn’t take long, and it wasn’t too hard for me to quickly become a Sunday angel and the next day be a Monday Devil. 

 I remember countless sermons in church that taught one thing and I ended up doing the other the very next day; a sermon on taming the tongue…and the next day insulted my manager in all the international languages I had acquired.  A sermon on patience, and the next day wanting to chop off the head of a matatu tout for short changing me.  One on being a Samaritan to those around me; helping them up…yet the next day tearing them down.  There was a problem.  There was a missing link. 

 Not only was I not applying everything I’d learned the day before where it mattered the most; I was breaking one of my most sacred vows…putting God first and having Him guide me wherever I go.  I could be wrong (though I highly doubt it) but I don’t think God intended me to be a razor-sharp clawed, fire breathing vixen in the office.

 But many people claim and say that God does not belong in the office (unless your office is some form of ministry).  That religion and politics do not and should not mix; and that “me” as the politician is totally different from “me” as the religious person.   But where else can one practice the principals learned on that religious Sunday?   

 Finally, I did what every struggling Christian thinks last to do…I prayed.  I asked how do I bring God into the office?  How can I show, that something within me has changed…that God is fully with me and that I am a changed person?”

 The answer did not come easily and the application of the same is harder still.  It required of me to hold back when I wanted to go forward.  Or stand firm when I wanted to flee.  It meant me persevering when I wanted to quit; and letting go when I wanted to hold on.  It took more of me than I thought it would but I gained all the more back.  The peace that resonated within me from my decision was now spilling into the one place people said it should not go. 

And that is when I knew…it’s not the preaching in the office; neither the countless bible verses exhibited your work space; nor the continuous exclamation that “I am a Christian woman” that makes the difference.  It is God, living within you, guiding, transforming and emancipating you, that makes the difference wherever you go.

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 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

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.

…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.

…By Wambui

I like to lie on the grass and watch the clouds floating lazily in the sky.  Big, small, light, thick – all shapes and sizes.  In these moments, the matrix of random thoughts that make up my thought process comes alive.  The matrix stretches, bounces up and down, and the countless compartments somehow fuse together to produce that occasional “Aha!” moment.  This is the moment when I understand something I have never before understood, or I understand it in a completely new way.

I had been hearing the term “gentle warrior” used to describe a man who is a leader, protector, defender, and yet a lover, comforter and friend.  I understood that the term was coined to bring out the soft side of a man.  I had never really thought about how the term could apply to a woman.

My “Aha!” moment came when a particular cloud that was floating right above me seemed to stay in place for unusually long, yet the others floated by quite fast.  It reminded me of a friend who has completely refused to let me apply anything less than a Godly standard to my life.

When I was whining about my frustrations at work, she gently reminded me that God had put me there for a reason, and that those frustrations had a lesson attached to them.  She gently bullied me into changing my whining from, “What am I still doing here?” to “God, I’m lost; show me the way.”

When two of our mutual friends fell out, she completely refused to let me take sides. She adamantly rubbished my opinion on who was the cause of the disagreement.  I had no choice but to remain neutral and encourage them both to make up.

There is a time I wanted to give up praying for something I really wanted, but which eluded me for years on end.  She jokingly told me that God is not an ATM that I should go to only when I need money, and that prayer is not an ATM card that allows me to have instant access to cash when I’m broke.

Now, if that is not a gentle warrior, then I guess I have many more hours of cloud watching to do before I understand the term.

Yet again, God spoke to me in a way my simple mind could understand.

…By Mwandi

My spiritual journey is battlefield; a castle under siege, a journey in un-chartered lands, a voyage in unknown waters.  I feel there is a war raging in the pit of my soul and every aspect of my being is fighting.  It is time consuming, emotionally weakening and mentally exhausting.  It’s a battle I want to win but I feel like am losing. In the process I get confused and cannot recall what was winning and what losing.  Suddenly losing looks like winning and winning like losing. My heart, mind, body and soul are in perpetual disagreement.  One says go that way, the other refutes it.  I am no longer able to tell what is right and what is wrong; for what was once right and what was once wrong have switched roles.  Nothing is as it seems.

 In my fear I build walls, fortresses, towers and strongholds to protect myself.  I say to myself that I must figure myself out before anyone else can figure me out.  But from within me I find my defences are insufficient and they begin to shatter.  This frightens me more…for I am left vulnerable to the world…like an iceberg in summer my inner self is melting, crumbling and disintegrating before your very eyes.  

 In the madness of my own storm, He waits for me.  After my frantic, futile attempts of setting up yet another barricade, I lay exhausted on the ground.  My tears do not reach the ground before they are evaporated into the heat of the atmosphere.  I sit in silence and wait…and He calls to me.  He calls and the layers begin falling to the ground leaving in its wake a wide gaping hole where my heart is exposed. 

 Though, instead of being left bare and exposed for attack…the heart within is shining…it dawns on me…

I always feel that I need to prove that I am worth something, forgetting that I am worth everything to God.

All the walls need to come down.  The walls I thought were protecting me from the assaults of the world were inhibiting me from joys of life.  I am not the queen of the stronghold protecting that which is around me, but the princess in the highest tower held against her will; sedated into believing that the confinements are freedom.  And God is my prince charming – my Saviour, my refuge, my father, my protector – fighting the evil minions who guard the walls. 

 God is destroying me within to save me from myself.

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 knows that he has much to be grateful for.

He was helped in his struggle by the angels; celestial forces placed each thing in its place, thus allowing him to give of his best.

His companions say: ‘He’s so lucky!’ And the warrior does sometimes achieve things far beyond his capabilities.

That is why, at sunset, he kneels and gives thanks for the Protective Cloak surrounding him.

His gratitude, however, is not limited to the spiritual world; he never forgets his friends, for their blood mingled with his on the battlefield.