Tag Archive: Redemption


…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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…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.

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 Mandii

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

–Marianne Williamson

A.U.R.A. has an interlinked dual meaning, firstly, as the acronym of ‘Are U Really Awake?’ which challenges us to ask ourselves whether we are in truth, conscious beings, sentient of our identity and potential; or living our lives in a state of oblivion, unwittingly, almost mechanically, going through the motions. Are we aware of the brilliance that lies within each of us? Do we slumber as our astounding promise lies dormant?

With time I have learned the most significant lesson in my life- there is greatness inside of every one of us. In the words of Juan Arias: the extraordinary is not the birthright of a chosen and privileged few, but of all people, even the humblest. That is my one certainty: we are all the manifestation of the divinity of God.

This ties in with the second meaning of A.U.R.A. – an aura being the subtly pervasive quality emanating from a person; in this context, emanating from their core, their spirit, their true aura of greatness. People make a lot of effort not to acknowledge this, not to accept their colossal magical potential. The world may have told us in one way or another that we are weak, ugly and incapable. Many have been led to believe this is true. We need to forget what we think we are, so that we can really become what we are. This journey of actualizing one’s potential, of awakening one’s magnificence and unearthing one’s true aura is one that requires strength, bravery and faith. Along this journey we sometimes experience disappointment, defeat, and despair. But we must realise that God uses these trials to show us the way and to encourage us to have the courage to make mistakes, to risk failure and disillusion, prompting us to keep searching, keep looking for our aura.

This journey of unearthing one’s true aura is one that requires strength, bravery and faith.

Through this blog we hope to gently shake some awake and help others who are already on their voyage of discovery, by sharing our experiences and insights.