nyathiragitau

Thru' My Eyes…

PIRATED FILMS BANNED IN KENYA…

699186-3x2-340x227Pirated films/movies in the country it’s not a new thing. Walk into the movie stores that are ‘the new business venture’ in the city and in the neighborhoods and you’ll find any movie you want. Most of these movies, mainly originating from foreign counties, including China (China of all trades), are finding their way into the country without meeting the required legal requirements such as classification and examination. This is not only against the laws of Kenya, but also in contravention of intellectual property rights of local artistes.

While we enjoy an evening or a weekend indoors watching the latest movie and series bought from our movie joint, or simply by downloading, our local filmmakers on the other hand are not enjoying the fruits of their hard labour. This piracy menace is creating an unfair operating environment for them even after complying with the law, and it is, without a doubt, discouraging investment in the industry. It is also making it impossible for our local producers to earn a living from their creative works. Further, producers will not be motivated to exploit the talents to generate more films inspired by Kenya’s rich cultural heritage and values.

You and I can attest that we have one time, or several times, downloaded content including songs and films, from the internet, just because it’s easy, and sometimes cheap or free. This is truly damaging our local artists because they’re not gaining from it, especially after months of hard work and sleepless nights editing, which normally takes a toll on them (I’ve experienced it). Quick example, last year the film industry lost one of our best artistes and long-time entertainer, Mzee Ojwang. He was and still remains a darling to many (those who knew his work), but he died in a very poor state. A fundraiser had to be conducted in order to settle the hospital bill and funeral expenses. So sad. You may ask why or what happened to ‘all the money he earned’. Well, he wasn’t given the recognition he deserved especially in terms of payment for his talent skill in acting. How many other artists have we heard complaining of the same predicament!

A couple of months ago, KECOBO launched a campaign against infringed material in the country, and yesterday, in collaboration with KFCB, they banned the importation of unlicensed foreign movies as a way of curbing piracy. This means that no foreign film will be allowed in the country unless it has been duly cleared by the customs authorities, that is, KECOBO and KFCB. All foreign films will also be required to bear the appropriate KFCB classification symbols to protect children from being exposed to inappropriate content. In efforts of implementing the above, through its C.E.O Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, KFCB will also not affix classification labels to pirated films being distributed in the county. They will work closely with KECOBO to ensure dealers in pirated movies are arrested and prosecuted in line with the law. Woe to the existing movies stores and Distributors of pirated (thieved) movies/series! It’s about time cleared shop and stored the right/original content, with the right kind of license.

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Speaking at the conference, the director of KECOBO, Dr. Sigei said that it’s the states obligation to protect copyrights, according to Article 11 & 40 of the constitution of Kenya. However, he put the media on the spotlight as it is a powerful tool and has a great role in constructing and sustaining our moral values in terms of film and contents aired.

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Dr. Mutua reiterated that counties should completely cease from charging multiple filming license fee to filmmakers. One of its goals and is to protect artists and our Kenyan culture. He gave a rare shout-out to Dj Afro; a Kenya Dj famously known to corrupting the message in films (and for the record, he’s very good at it. He has actually perfected it over time). Kids love him, adults too, do, but of course no one will admit, but the fact remains that he’s not promoting the film industry in any way. He’s simply an ‘entertainer’. Movie lovers, we can do better than we have been in the past, like in the last few minutes, by buying the original films, aye?

 

KFCB STAND ON MULTIPLE FILMING LICENSES

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We all know that in order for any business to legally operate, it needs to have a license, yes? Same case applies to filmmakers and producers across the globe, including Kenya. Now, despite the filmmakers and producers having licenses from the Kenya Film Classification Board, some naughty county governments have been minting money from them by charging illegal filming license fees in order to film in their counties. In a conference held today at KFCB Boardroom, KFCB CEO, Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, said they are charging up to a good Sh. 150, 000 per day. Among them are Kajiado, Narok and Kilifi Counties. These and more counties might have all the reasons there can be for doing this, but it is contrary to the Constitution (2010) and an impediment to the growth of the creative economy.

According to article 191 of the Constitution, in cases where a county by-laws conflicts with a national law, the national law prevails. However, it’s good to know that the Constitution permits County Governments to charge only for services or facilities offered to film makers, e.g Recreational facilities, thus should not duplicate the film creation license issued by the Kenya Film Classification Board.

During the conference, Dr. Ezekiel Mutua was accountable to say that the numerous complaints have been noted down by the Creative Economy Council, which is representing the creative industry in the ongoing stakeholders’ forums on the review of the Film and Stage Plays Acts, Cap222. This fact should be captured under this Cap so as to protect the industry. He, and the Board, thus informed all filmmakers, producers and distributors who’ve obtained film licenses from KFCB not to pay for any other additional filming license to any County Government, and that any demand for such illegal payments should be reported to the Board immediately for appropriate legal action. He firmly pointed out that devolution wasn’t meant for extortion.

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Dr. Mutua further announced that KFCB is in the process of consulting stakeholders across the count for suggestions in efforts to make the Film and Stage Plays Act, Cap222, facilitative rather than being an impediment to the industry’s growth. The aim of the review is to align the Act to the Constitution of Kenya (2010) and to regulatory challenges that have been occasioned by advancements in technology. He reiterated that KFCB’s main goal is to protect children from exposure to harmful content and at the same time ensuring a facilitative environment for the growth of the industry.

How will a film maker in Mtwapa or Turkana get a filming license from KFCB and it’s not yet online? You might be asking. Well, Dr. Mutua announced that KFCB will be automating their services and coming up with a new online licensing regime to ensure that every one (filmmaker, producer, and distributor) get the licenses, either from KFCB offices/branches around the country, or to visit former provincial headquarters of the counties they reside in.

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Are you a Riverwood or a River road fan? Do you enjoy our local content? The Riverwood Academy Awards Ceremony 2017 is happening this Saturday, 11th March, at Kenya National Theatre from 6pm to 11pm. Come ready to have lots of fun, support and celebrate our very own Filmmakers, Producers, Artists and Actors as they get awarded for their excellent works. How about we all consume our own home-made content to support our filming industry, deal?

In case you spot something irrelevant on your screens that’s harmful to your ‘health’ or that of loved ones, you can reach Kenya Film Classification Board through this Hotline: 0711222204

THE SMILES & FROWNS OF THE FILM INDUSTRY…

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The creative industry is so far the most promising frontier for income generation across the world today. Now, if we may do some comparisons. According to a recent report published in the Fortune Magazine, the arts and culture in the United States are estimated to be contributing 3.2% of the G.D.P translating to $504 Billion annually. On the other hand, Nollywood is currently performing very well and has actually overtaken Bollywood to become the world’s second largest film industry by volume. If we may hastily look at the state back home, the film industry currently generates 7.2 Billion Shillings every year, creating direct and indirect employment to more than 100,000 people, according to the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers.

The good news is that with the advancements in technology such as Digital Migration and the emergence of Over the Top Service providers, the industry has flourished and promises to generate even more income thus greatly contributing to the country’s economy and therefore enhancing Kenya’s G.D.P drastically.

A special ceremony was recently held at Hilton Hotel, Nairobi, with the aim of sponsoring Riverwood Academy Awards, 2017 courtesy of Riverwood Ensemble. In attendance was the C.E.O of Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, Dr. Korir Sang’oei who represented the Office of the Deputy President, William Ruto among other potential sponsors.

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Riverwood Ensemble’s main objective and goal is to tell our story, the Kenyan story across the globe, something Dr. Ezekiel Mutua emphasized during the event urging producers to focus on telling our local stories from our local lenses, and keep the culture of celebrating our positive attributes, glorifying our virtues of hard work, patriotism, love, generosity etc. alive. Riverwood comprises of over 200 film producers all over Kenya and employers of over 4000 youths who decided to come together and recognize the players in the film industry in Kenya. This is made possible through Riverwood Academy Awards which was launched on 26th of February, 2014 at the Kenya National Theater. This year, it has received 81 entries for the awards, and on 22nd February, 2017, the nominees were unveiled at Alliance France.

Kenya Film Classification Board has come in handy by making it possible for Riverwood to go across the country carrying out training and initiatives to support artistes and producers, both young in age and young at heart, with the goal of nurturing talent and creating employment opportunities through entrepreneur ventures in the creative sector.The board is in the process of establishing a Creative Arts Center of Excellence at Norfolk which will provide training opportunities in various creative arts including film and music. It will also provide production equipment to aspiring producers at subsidized rates. During the event, Dr. Mutua mentioned that the board, in partnership with the government, is also working on the Sinema Mashinani Concept, which aims at reviving theater culture and encouraging more film production among communities in vernacular languages.

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The highlight of the event was when Dr. Mutua announced that KFCB was glad to sponsor the 2017 Riverwood Academy Awards with a total of Sh. 2.5 Million shillings up from Sh. 1.5 Million shillings last year, and stated that this sponsorship is testament to the Board’s commitment to grow local content, and promised to work closely with the film industry to develop it even further. To make it even better by words and actions for Riverwood and the Film Industry, KFCB has sponsored two teams to participate in two International Film Festivals in India and Burkina Faso. The first team is currently in India to screen their local film ‘Kizingo’ at The Prestigious Bollywood Bodhisattva International Film Festival. The team to Burkina Faso is participating in the Pan-African Film and Television Festival in Ouagadougou. Besides putting the Kenya’s creative industry on the international map, the teams will without doubt learn new ideas in film making.

You and I know that there has been a lot of cry and gnashing of teeth especially from film lovers around the country as KFCB has been banning films at a very alarming rate, yes? The board has received a lot of pressure from the public to come slow on the banning. Well, by trying really hard not to sound like he and the board admits it, Dr. Ezekiel Mutua mentioned that they are in the process of ‘reviewing’ the Film and Stage Plays Act Cap222 stating that it’s in order to spur growth in the creative industry. He, however, reiterated that the reason for banning some films including American box office The Wolf of Wall Street, Kenyan Film Stories of Our Lives, Fifty Shades of Grey among others, is in order to protect children from exposure to powerfully harmful films and broadcast content, emphasizing that the strength of all societies is the principles and values upheld.

Did you know that Kenya is among the best filming destinations in the world? Now you know. If only the filmmakers and creators, who coincidentally share the creating part with God, would turn these advantages into money-making ventures!See, this will in turn increase the volume of content produced locally to attain the 40-60% threshold that is expected of broadcasters to promote local creators of content and reclaim Kenyan Culture, national values and aspirations.

There has been a very misleading narrative about Africa of it being a dark and hopeless continent and everyone in this industry should strive to  change it by highlighting the positive aspects through film; talking about the beauty of our land. One thing I know is that Kenyans love clean content, for us, our children and the generations to come. The Question is, are we doing something if any, to maintain this principle? Look, you don’t have to be a filmmaker, producer or an actor to do this. On the contrary, it can be by what you allow your kids to watch, how you talk about Kenya, how you view Kenya, is it close to your heart? Let’s be part of the change we want to see especially in our film industry. Yes, we can.

#IStandWithAWidow…

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Widows, women who’ve lost their husbands through death. It really doesn’t matter whether it was just 3 months after marriage, 1 year or 30 years, the pain is the same. Though not married, yet (so haven’t had a personal experience), I think it is totally impossible to understand the depth of the pain caused by the loss of a mate.

It’s unfortunate that the society mostly cares and minds about orphans, the sick, elderly and people with disabilities, but tends to quickly and ignorantly forget about widows. They have no one to take care of or look after them, to stand with, especially after the funeral when everyone has gone back to their daily routine.

The question likely to be on our minds right about now would go like, “Why does it take men a very short time to moan and remarry?” It’s good to know and understand that it definitely works different for widowers. Contrary to popular belief, men do not always remarry simply to satisfy their physical or sexual needs. It is, in fact, the male tendency to confide solely in a mate that may cause a man into profound solitude following his wife’s death. This tendency explains why many widowers see remarriage as the only way out of their loneliness, despite the risk of becoming involved in a new relationship too quickly. On the other hand, widows are often more capable of finding emotional support (even when clearly they are forgotten by the husband’s friends), thus may be able to handle loneliness in a better way.

Without trying to sound biased, it’s rare to find women jumping from one relationship to another without taking time to heal from a break-up. We’re designed in a unique way. We can’t pretend we’re healed when we aren’t, thus can’t handle a relationship when we’re broken in the inside. Our men need us whole. Moving on needs time to recover from loss. Some take really long time before being fit and deciding to get into another relationship/marriage, while some choose to remain single especially if they spent a better part of their lives with the deceased. Again, it is a personal choice to re-marry or not to.

Any idea of a widow(s) in your life, or might you be a widow? I know it’s nothing short of agony, pain, loneliness and sometimes bitterness, but given a chance to talk your heart out, how would you describe the experience? (feel free to leave a comment below)

One of the heartbreaking things I’ve seen, heard and read about them widows is being accused of nyemelearing and snatching other women’s husbands, being labeled ‘home-wreckers’ and all sorts of degrading nasty titles, but how many of these stories are true?  Think about it for a second….

It must be a horrible experience. If I may try to get into a widow’s shoes for a minute and imagine HOW it is like to lose a husband. This is something that no one prepares your heart for, and sometimes it’s so sudden that you feel like your life is whole wreck. Everything, literally, comes to a halt. How about us, those whose husbands are still alive (including those of us are yet to get married)? What’s our role in the lives of these women? How can we help them pull through this journey? What about how we treat them? What can we avoid doing at their expense? Here are a few things I gathered:

  • Give them time to grieve and moan. There’s no ‘right’ length of time that one is supposed to grieve their loved ones, so let’s allow them to express their pain.
  • Don’t be afraid to share their grief and support them. Talk about what you loved and appreciated about them. Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]”.
  • When offering support, avoid overwhelming the grieving one with advice. Don’t pressure them to make decisions quickly.
  • We shouldn’t, at any given time, mistreat widows (and their children). Exodus 22:22 “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child”.
  • Try and be with them especially during anniversaries like wedding or on the date of the mate’s death. Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times,And a brother is born for adversity”.
  • You might be a widow and can as well support a fellow widow. That goes along way, just like the story of Ruth and Naomi in the book of Ruth.

You see that relative of yours whose husband died 3 months, 2 years, or 10 years ago, or that next door neighbor of yours, who spends most of her free time indoors, alone, that co-worker, or that mama mboga that wakes up at 4:00am to go to Gikomba, get veggies to sell to be able to raise her kids?  Next time you see them, give them a hug them. Ask them, genuinely, how they’re doing. Tell them you love them (as hard as it is to let those MAGIC WORDS out of the mouth). Yes you may not feel or understand their feelings, but tell them it is OKAY to be sad, okay to grieve, and that no matter what, you will try to be there for them. Most importantly, stand behind what you say. Believe with them and jointly figure a way forward.

Let’s stand with the widows.

James 1:27 “Pure and unblemished religion [as it is expressed in outward acts] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit and look after the fatherless and the widows in their distress, and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the [secular] world”.

#IStandWithAWidow

 

THE EDGE…

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Ever thought of crossing the Mediterranean Sea, not on-board a plane though, but literally? Yesterday I was reading this story on CNN’s site about the dangers of crossing the Mediterranean Sea, and it talked of how people, a huge number from Africa, try to cross the sea (‘try’ because not many make it through) while escaping either war or poverty, as the main reasons, in their countries. Most of these people rarely know or have an idea of how the sea is like and the dangers associated with it. Read of how high the numbers of those who don’t survive to the other side keep rising through the years. As at 2014, the number of deaths stood at 3,279, 2015-3,673 & and now, only half way into 2016, 3,165 have lost their precious lives in the sea.

To imagine that these people risk everything and escape from their war-torn countries or poverty stricken villages, and on top of that pay smugglers so us to help them cross the sea, is very saddening. Not sure whether or not to celebrate that Kenya isn’t mentioned in the list of migrants, but who knows, maybe CNN and others haven’t discovered us yet.

The reality at this point is that it’s not a guarantee these migrants will FINALLY live happily ever after in Europe WHEN they get there, no. They’re actually likely to face more hardships than they did in their homes, though according to them it’s new life in ‘greener pastures’. How many horrible heart-wrecking stories have we read and heard, of how immigrants suffer in the foreign countries? Talk of getting into trouble with the immigration, no place to stay ending up in the streets, no food in order to survive. #LifeInTheUnknown

Last year, 3kids (2 were brothers) died in the sea, and one of their little bodies was found  washed up on a beach. It was really sad. The bluer thing is that their mothers didn’t know they were no more, until a rescuer told one of them that her son was no longer alive. You can read the rest of the story here http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2016/08/world/dangerous-migrant-crossings-mediterranean/?sr=twCNN082916dangerous-migrant-crossings-mediterranean0601AMVideoLink&linkId=28102859

Can’t help to imagine how desperate these people might be, and I’m certain that more are on their way in pursuit of better lives, through the sea, even as I write this. No, not right now during the day, because they start their journeys deep in the night, when ‘no one’ is watching. I believe for them to make such delicate decisions, not knowing what lies ahead, or whether or not they’ll make it alive to the other side, is because they can’t take ‘IT’ any more where they originate from. Well, I can’t blame some of them, or any of them at that, because when you look at some of the mentioned countries, they’ve been in war for decades, which definitely results to poverty, diseases, death and destruction among others.

Where I’m I going with all this? I’m directly relating this situation with the rest of us: How many times do we get/find ourselves in desperate situations and we have no strength to endure a little bit longer, and during such times see as if God has forgotten all about us, ignored our cries and forsaken us? (Ref: Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you”) As a result what do we do? Go for alternatives, the shortcuts (easier and quicker ways out) in efforts to solve our problems. The truth is, they never lead us anywhere, and if they do it’s only for a short time and we’re back to where we were before (and many times it’s gets more complicated). It surely does. It’s so rampant today where people are opting for ‘better options’ when the waiting gets tough. Talk of visiting herbalists, witch-doctors and dark forces so as to get power, money, solve domestic issues, get children, job, name them. Things that satisfy this flesh. Look at all the posters we come across almost everywhere reading ‘daktari toka Tanganyika/Zanzibar’ advertising their services. Why? Because they know they’ll get customers. We all know what waiting is hard; well, who said it would be easy? We’ve all been there, I am currently there and I’m not/will not lose hope or faith. What keeps me holding on? Someone might ask. Why have I not given up no matter how tough and challenging it is to wait, esp for something I have no idea when I’ll get it? I’ll answer and say, “Because I serve a true and faithful God, who promises, doesn’t change His mind and never fails no matter how long it takes”. Simple as that.

Related to the subject of  Waiting, I remember reading a story where a Stanford University professor named Walter Mischel experimented with hundreds of children around four and five years old to see how long they could delay their own gratification. In the experiment, a researcher brought each child into a private room one at a time and sat down across a table from him or her. On the table he placed a marshmallow. Then he told each child that he would leave the room for fifteen minutes. If the child did not eat the marshmallow during the time that the researcher was gone, he or she would get a second marshmallow when the researcher came back. If the child ate the marshmallow, he or she wouldn’t get any more. As we might expect, most of the kids ate their marshmallows. A few didn’t though, but here is the interesting part. As the researchers followed the kids as they grew into adults, the study showed that the kids who were able to delay gratification were more successful in almost every area of life: reduced rates of obesity, better social skills, higher scores, you name it. They were simply better at life than the kids who gave in to instant gratification. We clearly see the how far waiting can take us.

One thing I know is that nothing good, or bad, happens as an accident or rather a coincidence. There’s always a reason behind it. It might sound a cliché already, and easier said than it actually is, but let’s refer to Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. God picks our dire situations and turns them around for our good. In the midst of all that, we get shaped up, molded, strengthened, brought closer to God and our faith is increased in good measures. It’s a daily walk, and it takes endurance and a positive attitude to get through that phase and become victorious.

Let’s not consider going for the shortcuts, let’s not try to get to the other side of happiness, contentment and satisfaction through the ‘Mediterranean Sea’. Let our ONLY hope and SOURCE of EVERYTHING we need be Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who was, who is, and who will always be faithful to supply our needs according to His riches in Glory. He is faithful! Shalom! 🙂

FEAR THE BEAST…

fear3815I once asked a friend what their worst fear was, and they answered and said that it’s ‘Poverty’. They didn’t ask what mine was though, so I kinda escaped from revealing my fear, lol! I understand that most of our fears originate from experiences we’ve had in life, either directly or indirectly, and because we wouldn’t want to go through the same, we’re always on the look out, being cautious at all costs, simply fearing the same would happen to us.

Fear is a monster. A beast that has no mercy on us. It rips us off our dignity and self-esteem. It’s ugly. It’s our biggest enemy. Fear is a liar. Once you let it in, you almost feel it creeping from the inside of you and then comes into full manifestation. It feels like a prison. It’s a state of bondage. I’ve been there. If you’re going to fear anything in your life, fear God, otherwise there’s nothing else in this world that deserves to be feared, really, especially if you don’t look at it with physical eyes (getting all shpiri 😉 ).

There’s one time a lot was happening in my life most of which I had no control over, I couldn’t change anything, and because it had been a ‘mountain’ for quite some time, I decided to look at it/ life with a different eye, different angle, and realized that there’s never a reason to  panic, none at all. You will, or might agree with me when I say that majority of the things we fear from happening actually never happen. Proverbs 9:10 (NIV) says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”, so if we don’t fear God, then we lack in wisdom. #DontFearAnythingButGod

Where you are in life right now, how does the future look like (it’s just a few months to the end of 2016…BOOM!)? Is it promising? Lots of hopes? It’s definitely unknown, right? We never know what tomorrow is gonna bring with it. Yes, we got all our plans and dreams intact, of which we would love to see come to pass sometime in our lives (at least when we’re still alive…haha!), but we really never know when. This is where trusting the unknown future to a known God comes in. We can bank on it, anytime. Remember what He told Joshua when he was commissioning him for the great work ahead after the death of Moses, in Joshua 1:9 AMP “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” #DontLetFearCrippleYou

I can hardly count the times where I’ve found myself worrying, seriously worrying about how ‘tomorrow’ is gonna look like. You know those moments you find yourself buried in worry and anxiety, especially when things aren’t looking up, yes? It’s a very uncomfortable place to be in. But then here comes the word and voice of truth in Philippians 4:6 AMP “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God”, and because You and I know without a doubt that He’s a faithful God, why not give it all to Him? I heard something yesterday that went like, “If you wanna give up, give it up to God”. #DontLetImpatienceGetTheBestOfYou

He wants us to rely on Him, wholly trust Him, even with the smallest details of our lives. See, there’s nothing He doesn’t know of about us, right? He tells us that even before we were born, we came into existence, He knew us, He did—Jeremiah 1:5(a) AMP“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument], And before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own]”. So why do we give in to fear and self-pity when things don’t work out as we expected? I have tasted of the Lord, The Most High, The Holy One of Israel, The True God, and I know that He can be trusted. We can definitely count on Him. You see that 1 friend you’re very close to, that you tell absolutely anything and everything without a worry that they will sambaza to their other friend, chama or post it on social media, yes, that one? Imagine God is more than that friend —Proverbs 18:24 (b) “But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother”. How beautiful it is to confide in Him. His friendship can never fail.

When we’re afraid and unsure about how that Business deal, Relationship, Marriage, Ministry or Dream will turn out, we can pray our way through. We seek answers and solutions through prayer. Something that we can all note down, is that God doesn’t answer questions, He gives answers. Remember, before we call on Him, He has already answered—Isaiah 65:24 AMP It shall also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear”. However, He wants us to take that step of faith and approach His throne of Grace and Mercy with humility and speak to Him, because He’s more than ready to listen.

His paths and ways aren’t like our ways, His thoughts are waaay higher than ours either, and they are to be trusted, like we can never go wrong when we have Him on board, as the Head, the Leader, and through the Holy Spirit, He leads, guides and directs us in the way we should go—Psalm 32:8 AMP “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you”.

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#ItsTimeToSlayFearTheBeast

PRAYER:

Lord God Almighty, thank You because we can Trust You with our lives, our future. Thank You because You know the plans You have for us, plans to do us good and not harm, plans to give us a future and a hope as it is written in Jeremiah 29:11. May our Faith soar higher and higher. How we lay down our crowns at the feet of the cross, we lay down our small and great fears, our insecurities, our confusions, bitterness, anger and anything else that is not of You. How we ask that You may come and fill us up O Lord, Your Holy Spirit finding a dwelling place in our Hearts, and May our minds, hearts and spirits be inclined to You and You alone. We trust and believe that You’re able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ever ask or even imagine, according to Ephesians 3:20. In Jesus name, Amen!

 

EASY ON THE ‘IVORIAN’…

So yesterday as I walked home, this guy says “Hi” to me and I reply with a “Hi”, but I wasn’t sure I knew who he was or where we had met, and so when we had passed each other, I paused and looked back to see him clearly, and it’s like he was waiting for that because he looked back as well. Heh! On seeing that I had stood on the pathway, he walked back to where I was and began talking, but as I saw him coming back, I whispered a little prayer and said, “Lord, have Your way”, lol! He had this look on him, a very cunny look. I bet you too would have ruled him out like right away, mumbling to yourself, “He isn’t for real”. We are many, haha! This is how the conversation went:

Alvis: I know you but you don’t know me

Me: Yes, I have no idea who you are

Alvis: (while looking at me suspiciously) You’re beautiful

Me: Thank you

Alvis: I’m Alvis

Me: (I’m like, “Who”? My ears inclined to hear this name well)

Alvis: Alvis, from Ivory Coast

Me: Ooh, okay (while shaking my head in agreement)

Alvis: I want to be your friend

Me: (breaking out in loud laughter) Thank you (then I started walking away, and he kinda wanted to follow me but I hurried my steps and he stopped).

Last week, in a Group I’m in on WhatsApp, I read/heard of how chics are being conned by men a.k.a charlatans from West Africa, esp Nigeria, and left more miserable than they were before. Well, I wasn’t scared of being a victim, but the minute I heard that this guy was from one of those Countries, plus his evidently cunny look, I had to flee. Woi! I walked on asking myself, “Might he be following me?”, and I looked back to confirm. Thank God he wasn’t, like how could he. Lol!

Did I judge him wrongly? You and I might be asking, and we may be pretty quick to conclude and say, “No, he had intentions”. Hmm

We (Anchored Ministry) normally have a Hot Topic for discussion every Wednesday on WhatsApp, and about 2 weeks ago we were discussing, “As Believers, do we judge too quickly and harshly?”, and the constant Answer that I saw come up was, “Yes, we do”. Matthew 7:1 NLT says, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged”. However, there’s an exception for believers, who’ve been given the go-ahead to judge among themselves/fellow believers. We find that in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13-NLT “It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”, but we openly overdo it, we exaggerate. The rate at which we judge them is very high. May the Lord help us!

Was listening to a Sermon the other day, I think it was on Radio 316, and the Preacher was talking of how offenders in the Church should be dealt with. He said that the best way of doing it is, if you see someone going astray, talk to them, privately, and if they don’t listen to you, call another brother/sister and together, go talk to them. If they don’t listen to the two of you, call the Church leaders and have them talk to him/her. If the 3 attempts fail, we are no longer required to entreat them with the courtesies shown to brethren. They may be dealt with in the same fashion as we would a heathen or publican (Matt. 18:17 NLT “If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector”). The Question is, do we do that, like follow/ try to follow the above ways of dealing with people in the Church who’ve messed up?

I included, I must say that we’re very quick to put a tire on their necks in terms of judgment (while most of the time not seeing the logs in our eyes), and very ready to light a match and burn them up, and actually watch as it happens. We don’t take time to at least get to know what’s going on in their lives, or what they might be battling with, or where they’re coming from, which is very sad. We literally murder our own with our words, with our attitudes towards them. They suddenly cease to be the “fellow believers/brethren” we had.

Something I’ve come to learn in my walk of Faith and Salvation is that if truly the Holy Spirit is living in the inside of you, and you somehow judge someone wrongly, even without you intending to, He will definitely alert you and tell you to repent, and probably pray for them. The thing is, He speaks all the time, He does, but do we pay attention to Him, do even have the time to listen to His instructions, teachings, directions? I bumped onto a post yesterday where this Pastor testified of his relationship with the Holy Spirit, and how strong it has grown over the years. He talked of how he had misplaced a couple of dollars and frantically searched the house to no avail, and the next few days after that, he was a very sad man, because apparently it wasn’t small money. Then when he was still wondering where the money could be, he heard a voice giving him directions and instructions of how to get it. He followed them and yaay!, he got it at exactly where he was told it was.

That’s my daily prayer, slow to judge; slow to point fingers, and instead, pray/intercede more, grow more attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, that I will give Him time to talk to me, tell me of everything I need to know (He’s the teacher of everything).

You see that sister/brother in your Church that recently slipped away from the ways of the Lord, and everyone crucified them and maybe no longer come to Church? Choose to be different from the rest of the judges, show them love and care, talk to them, and let the Spirit of God use you to reach out to them. You might be the voice they’ve been waiting for. As for the Ivorian ‘friend’, there’s definitely a ‘Next Time’ 🙂

Psalms 139:23 AMP“Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts;”

YES TO HIS LEAD…

 

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Andrew Carnegie wrote and said that “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” (That Intro makes me feel like I’m delivering a speech at Toastmasters 🙂 Oh, and it has been fun so far. Will write about it soon). I believe each one of us is born a leader, and by this I don’t mean that we all have to lead in the big companies/organizations, but there comes a time in every chapter of our lives where an opportunity to lead avails itself, be it in school, in church, at the work place. It can happen anywhere.

Not once have have I been privileged with such opportunities (but I don’t say 😉 ), and each of them has brought with it different or almost the same experiences, leading people in a particular course being the main agenda here. One of the outstanding lessons I have come across in leadership experiences is finding out that I can’t successfully make it in the given roles on my own, that is, without consulting various leader(s) who’ve held the same position(s) before. I have had to (I’m avoiding to use the word ‘forced to’, lol!) submit to their mentor-ship which includes them sharing lots of wisdom and knowledge about the roles, without which I wouldn’t be in a position to achieve the goals and objectives set out. Well, you may be asking where I’m going with all this. I’ll tell you what, it’s not about leading, per se, but being led. Are we willing, to be led?

I’ll out rightly say that no one can survive in this world on their own, and it’s not only about friendships, couple-ship or partnerships, but that each one of us needs guidance in one area or another. That’s why we have people we look up to, also known as mentors, who act as leaders in our lives. However, coming to that point of admitting that one needs to be mentored is not easy, naturally. No one wants to appear inferior, a weakling and incapable. We, I very much included, normally have that ka-inner feeling of being a superman or superwoman, a do-it-all kinda attitude, until something drastic happens that requires us to seek assistance, and we go like, “Oh, I think I’ll need help in this area”.

I’ll use an example: Let’s say I’m a passionate foodie (and I really I’m, fyi 😀 ), and I’m trying to overcome that addiction of eating a lot, you know. Number 1, if the friends I hang around with eat a lot too, I’ll need to change or come up with a plan that will keep them and avoid the ‘eating a lot part’ (if that’s possible anyway), and probably start hanging out with people who eat less than me (haha!) The other helpful thing I can think of is seek professional help. But I have come to understand that one cannot come to such a point unless they lay their ego down, just a little. In other words, die to self and accept that they need help. Talk of the ‘humbling moment’. That’s the message that has been doing rounds within my circles on influence for the last few days; dying to self. Gary Hopkins said, “Never allow your ego to diminish your ability to listen”, in this case, listening to the Holy Spirit, and we can’t listen to Him if He doesn’t reside in us (John 14:23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them”. The Question that comes to mind at this particular point is, “Is the Holy Spirit living in the inside of you? Have you allowed Him to come and abode in you?”

Here’s the The Hard Truth: The Spirit of God cannot live in a heart that knows it all. Remember Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all our heart, and not rely on our own insight or understanding, and so for Him to have His rightful place in our lives, we have to submit to His leadership and guidance, agree to let it (our human understanding, knowledge and wisdom) all down for Him take over, take full control of our whole being. As much as we are urged to have self-control (govern ourselves, esp our bodies), which happens to be one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we still can’t make it on our own, like Jerry Bridges says, “Self-control is not control by oneself through one’s own willpower but rather control of oneself through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Ignoring God’s guidance is clearly translated as Rebellion, and when it’s present in our lives, it becomes difficult for the Holy Spirit to have a dwelling. It is also an open door to the demonic in a person’s life. The Bible strictly warns us against it, and its consequences are not to be taken lightly. It’s placed in the same category of sin as witchcraft itself. We find that in 1 Samuel 15:23, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft”. Rebellion also cuts us away from God as Psalms 68:6 it says “…the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”

When we’re not led by the Holy Spirit, we’re definitely being led by flesh, and those two cannot rhyme, cannot stay in the same room, cannot go together either, like it says in Galatians 5:16-18 “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law”.

God is pleased when we fall down and lay down our crowns at the feet of the Cross, and let Him lead us, manifest in us, through us. We cannot make it in this life on own. Galatians 2:20 says that “I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me”. This scripture also makes me believe that unless the Holy Spirit lives in us, this walk will prove more difficult every day.

If we may choose life, if we may choose to be led by the Spirit of God, and with that comes perfect peace, perfect patience and perfect Holiness.

 

ANY REMNANTS AROUND?

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Where are the Remnants? Wait, are there any remnants remaining?

A lot has been going on lately in our Country that is negative, in many ways, and the Question I (and probably you too), have been asking is, “Where is the Church in all this? What is its stand? Has it abandoned its mandate, its Mission as the Body of Christ when it comes to handling/dealing with such matters? Why is the Church alarmingly silent? Where is the Church’s voice when it’s needed the most? Come with me.

There’s an event dubbed ‘Project X’ that was meant to take place tomorrow the 12th of March, and was targeting young adults for all the wrong reasons. I had a chance to see the Posters (they’ve been making rounds on the internet), and on them plus other very raunchy publicity materials, it was actually headlined with ‘No one goes back home virgin’ and ‘One night to lose your mind’ slogans. Project X takes its name from a 2012 Hollywood film that showed a group of teenagers organizing a party which gets out of control, and somehow the same kind of behavior has managed to find its way in Kenya for some time now. It was confirmed by KFCB (Kenya Film Classification Board) that the party was being used by crooked business people to promote drugs, illicit sex and the making of pornographic films. Like who in their right state of mind organizes for something like this, honestly? Do they have teenagers/young adults?

This morning I read from a fellow member in a Group I’m in that police raided a similar (Project X) party last evening in Langa’ta and nabbed 72 boys and 32 girls, who are currently held at Lang’ata Police Station. Most of these kids were High School Students and Form 4 leavers. I’m made to believe that they do not yet have a right footing in life in terms of who they are (identity), what they want to do, and so are trying to use all possible ways to discover themselves, in the name of ‘having fun’. My Questions at this point is, are parents being responsible enough or are they too busy to know what’s going on in their kids’ lives?

Yesterday I read something on BikoZulu’s Articles about this young man who was bold enough to open up and state some of the struggles he and fellow age mates are going through. Here is the excerpt: “At 22 we think we know everything and our parents think they have seen everything. The truth is parents don’t know us. If parents knew half of what happens to their kids in school, or who their kids really are, they would never be the same again. At 22, we don’t have anything solid to hang onto, to relate to or even look up to. And so we end up looking at each other for direction, which is a disaster. I have been looking for local writer that speaks to me and my peers. There is none. Nobody is writing for us. I want to write for us.” Yes, that’s the reason he’s joined Biko’s Master Class so that he can Learn how to Write and do it for his generation, because apparently, no has, so far :-/

We have an Anchored WhatsApp Group and this matter came up in our day to day conversations and we got to discuss it last week. I was actually surprised to learn that such parties have been going on especially in these major cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru etc, targeting the same age-group with the same Mission. It’s sad, very sad. The main Question that constantly came up in the discussion was, “Are the parents playing their rightful roles?” The questioners might seem kinda ignorant but the concern is valid. I’m not yet a parent, but what I’ve gathered is that raising teenagers/young adults is a demanding task, but they are a gift from God. They have been entrusted to us as parents to watch over them, and yes, we will give an account of how we brought them up.

The Bible clearly states in Proverbs 22:6 (AMP) “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents],
Even when he is old he will not depart from it”. I’m not here to blame any parent/guardian whose kid(s) has taken a wrong route, but something is definitely wrong and amiss somewhere.

After all has been said, what should be done to correspond with the talk, you know, like walking the talk? What’s the way forward? Both we the churched and unchurched might ask. What’s our Role when it comes to shaping up Children in our Society? A week ago Mr. Matiang’i who’s the Cabinet Secretary for Education outlawed corporal punishment in schools, and any teacher found on the wrong will be breaking the law. A very good move, it might seem, but will the solution come from not caning our kids? I remember in our days ;-), being caned was a norm, and every parent was responsible to any child they came along. Disciplining was a community thing unlike these days. Did it help in shaping and moulding us into who we are today? It partly did, I’ll give it 70%, and the remaining 30 was done through Religious teachings and kind of upbringing. Personality, too, plays a role here. Proverbs 13:24 says “He who withholds the rod [of discipline] hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines and trains him diligently and appropriately [with wisdom and love].”

I want to believe that our Children, Siblings, do not belong in these places. It’s not their potion. With all the evil that’s happening around one would be quick to conclude that there’s no hope for this generation, but I’m convinced that there still is. Remember when God wanted to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18 & 19) because of their immorality, and when He thought about His friend and servant Abraham, He decided to tell him first of what He was planning to do. We see Abraham pleading with God not to destroy the wicked together with the righteous. He started by asking the Lord whether He would still go ahead and destroy the cities even if He found 50 righteous people. God knew there were no 50 righteous people in those cities and so He said He wouldn’t destroy them. Abraham too wasn’t sure about that number 50, and so he started reducing it from 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, up to 10. Then after that conversation, the Lord left. Boom!  So out of the 10, who would the Lord spare the punishment? Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family.

Will we sit back and watch our City being destroyed while we do nothing? God still hears and answers prayers, and I know He delivers and restores as well. Yes He might be quiet right now but that doesn’t mean He ain’t seeing what’s going on. Was listening to Pastor Jon Curson last night and he said that we shouldn’t mistake the patience of God (to act) with apathy nor impotence, like we’re waiting for Him to approve our sins, no. The Bible says that He’s a God who’s slow to anger and abounds in love. However, His wheels of judgment grind exceeding slow, but they grind thoroughly.

The picture of His judgments is two great millstones grinding the grain: The grain is poured through the hole in the top millstone, which turns around and around, and the grain works its way out from the center to the edge of the stone. By the time the grain is out to the edge it’s like fine powder or dust and you have flour instead of grain. Although His wheels of justice sometimes seem to grind exceeding slow, they eventually grind exceeding fine, and he that fails to be broken upon the Rock of God will someday find the Rock falling upon him and crushing him to powder and dust which the winds of His judgments will blow away, and the place thereof shall know him no more! (Mat.21:44-AMP “And he who falls on this Stone will be broken to pieces; but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”) We therefore can’t afford to mock Him.

He is the God of this City, and He shall bring us back on our feet, where He wants us to be. May the Lyrics below be our confessions in such a time as this.

Chris Tomlin-“God Of This City”

You’re the God of this City
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
 

SHUSH, AND FIND THE GOOD…

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Ever gone through 5 consecutive tough days, in that they don’t even make an effort to smile at you, even for a second, and it’s only the Grace of God that you depend on to keep you sane? Well, I had such this past week. Almost everything was going the opposite direction at a very high speed that I hardly had time to sit and reflect on what or where the problem could be.

So on Sunday the 31st of January, the month known to have 90 days and a bonus, I woke up and prepped for Church. Hadn’t decided on what to wear and so I picked a dress that my heart wasn’t for 100% because how it came out wasn’t the way I expected, but I rocked it anyway. There are times/days I wake up in the morning and I can definitely tell how the day is going to be like, and so this was one of ‘those days’. Yes, I prayed, but I felt some kind of an unease. This wasn’t going to be a normal Sunday, and unfortunately, I couldn’t tell why. I couldn’t place a finger on the very thing that was amiss.

If I may digress a little bit, the previous Sunday (24th Jan), a Man of God and a fellow Anchoredite Daniel Mutua a.k.a Solidman, shared his story with us at The Anchored Lounge, and he concluded by saying, “Let the Word of God be more real to you than whatever it is that you might be going through”. Deep!! Didn’t know what I was to come face to face with exactly a week later, but His Word, His true and ultimate Word has been my Anchor. And by the way, yesterday happened to be his (Solidman) Birthday, so a very Happy Belated one Mr. That name fits you very well; it aligns with who you really are. You’ve stood firm on the Solid Rock (Jesus), just like 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We are pressured in every way [hedged in], but not crushed; perplexed [unsure of finding a way out], but not driven to despair; hunted down and persecuted, but not deserted [to stand alone]; struck down, but never destroyed”.

(Back to 31st). We normally have 2 Services and so after we were done, met a few friends here and there, attended The Lounge and then I headed home. Opened the door, got inside, switched on the lights but they were out. Talk of total darkness. I notice the window curtain is pulled back and the window is wide open. I instantly know that something is very wrong. I had had unwelcome guests. I started inspecting while walking around the house. On the seat, I noticed the washing detergent (which I had left well tacked in a polythene bag) had spilled on the seat. The previous night (Saturday), I had watched War Room the Movie, and I admired how this lady made a decision to kick the devil out of her home with prayer, and I too didn’t want to take chances. I started praying at the top on my voice with all Power and Authority bestowed upon me by God, rebuking and cursing out every demon and unwanted spirit that might be in the house. The door was still open but I didn’t care who heard me praying. This was my house and this emergency needed the attention of the Heavens.

I cleansed every corner of the room with the blood of Jesus, commanding the devil to pack all his belongings and depart from the place with immediate effect, because I wasn’t going to share neither the house nor anything in it with him. After the prayer, that’s when I remembered the laptop. Looking at where I had left it, it was gone, with its charger as well. What surprised me most about it all is that despite the heart beating a little faster, I wasn’t afraid. I was simply at peace (it’s normal, right?). I sat on the bed and tried to think of ways by which the thief managed to steal, from the window. I found the padlock intact when I arrived home, but nothing was adding up, and mark you, the padlock is one of the best in the market, so how they got access was a huge mystery altogether.

Checked if there was anything else missing and surprisingly all the other stuff were in their rightful places. I wasn’t sure of the next and best step to take, but as I sat there, still in darkness, the door half-way open, I decided to ask our IT Person at work of what happens when one loses a laptop. He explained the whole process of what I needed to do, and among the list was to report and obtain an abstract without which I wouldn’t be provided with another machine. I thought of doing it the following morning but again tomorrow was very far.

I had never visited the area’s police station, well, since I moved to where I currently reside (not so long ago though), but I got directions to the nearest station where I reported the case. Was advised to go back the following day as the Officer who handled such cases wasn’t in.

Going back to the station on Monday, I recorded a statement (where you tell your story as they write it down). When we got to the part in the story where I prayed, the Officer asked me, “Tuandike uliomba?”, and I told her, “Yes, write it”, and she smile and jotted it. Was given the O.B Number and was directed to the Deputy OCS office. Found her chatting with fellow officers, asked what my issue was, I explained the important parts, and then she told me that I first have to give them time to investigate the case before issuing me with an abstract. Really?? I was getting impatient. Tried to explain to her that my employer needed it so as to verify that the incident actually happened (my innocent face wouldn’t bail me out of this), but the more I tried, the more she played ‘hard to get’. I’m still standing there contemplating whether to leave or wait for the OCS instead. She asks for my name, give her the first one but she asks for the second one (I guess just to know which part of the country I come from, then what?). I reluctantly replied, then she tells me (in Kyuk), to go back the following morning (and and asking myself, will they have done the investigation in less than 24hrs?). I half-heartedly left for work and submitted the O.B Number (they usually write it on a very small piece of paper. The Gov. should supply each Police Station with enough stationery, for the abstract one has to buy from somewhere else and take it to them for signing).

One of the colleagues I shared it with, my desk-mate in the office, sympathized with me (don’t like being felt sorry for, but thank you CM) and told me, or rather reminded me (hadn’t forgotten though 😀 ), that I should reflect on the situation a little deeper and try to find the ‘good’ in it, otherwise I’ll be the one to lose, meaning there’s a lesson I must learn from it (there’s always a lesson to be learnt). She didn’t make a reference, but I’m sure she was referring to Romans 8:28 (I’ll pick from my favorite version-AMP), which says, “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” I’ve always known about the verse, but I needed that reassurance, that reminder, a fresh revelation (coz at this point I wasn’t sure what to go with).

As I settled at my desk, a lot was going on in my mind, majority of it being lots of questions addressed to no one in particular, and I didn’t expect answers anyway. Some of the other (good) advice I got was that I should shift to another ‘more secure’ place, something that my mind embraced but the heart wasn’t for it. Indubitably, anyone would have thought of that as the best thing to do, but when the heart isn’t for something, the whole body and being doesn’t have a choice but to say, “Yes, Heart, we shall go with what you say”. The heart decides (this reminds me of a song that goes like, “Listen to your heart before you tell them goodbye”. Surprised I know it too? :-)).

This past Saturday, a friend of mine posted something on Facebook that I read more than once to understand better. It was in 2 Parts, but it’s the second part that stirred something in me. This is what it read, “Listen to me. God will allow you to go through difficult issues; He will let the devil play his games with you but to a certain extent. God steps in in His time just that He may take all the glory”. I thought of commenting but I chose to inbox her instead. I wrote “I know it’s true but I don’t understand how…” Of course I knew the answer to my question only that I needed more explanation and assurance of the truth I know (sometimes the truth you know and dearly hold on to can appear in a different way, especially when there’s a storm in your life). She replied and started explaining of how God works, reminded me of how Satan went to seek permission from God so that he could persecute Brother Job, and God gave him the go ahead. As I read that message I couldn’t help asking myself the obvious question, “Might the evil have gone to the Lord and asked Him to let him torment me for some time?” Hmm.

We know how Job’s story went, and in the end, Satan didn’t finish him. God came in (at the RIGHT TIME) and rescued His good friend Job. She went on and said something that I’m not sure I agreed with, then (though I didn’t tell her), but looking at it now I believe it’s true. One thing I do is refrain from writing about something that I don’t agree with, and so I had to make sure I did before putting it down here. She said that all trouble is either God-sent or God-used. The whole point was of the conversation was (for Job, and still is for us), there’s a line the devil can’t cross in our lives, and no matter how difficult and inexplainable the situation might be, God always steps in and gives us Beauty for ashes, like it says in Isaiah 61:3-AMP “To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following: To give them a turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning], The oil of joy instead of mourning, The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit. So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God], The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified”.

How do you react when you’re overwhelmed with tests and trials emanating from every possible and impossible place? If you question, whom do you throw the questions at, yourself? God? Do you start cursing the devil and blaming him for causing you and your family problems? Do you usually take time to at least get to know why what’s happening to you is, or do you quickly jump into conclusions? It’s through some of these questions that you and I are able to sit back and try to look at the bigger picture and at the same time find a way to dance in the rain. I recently learnt that the worst thing you can do and confuse yourself, especially when going through a rough patch in life, is to ask questions, not like the ones above, but the likes of “Why me?” “Do I deserve this, really?” “When will it be my turn?” “Why are You taking so long, God?” “Are You punishing me?”. The constant Questioning causes you to be bitter. Bitter at God, bitter at yourself and at anyone else you think might be ‘playing a role’ in your misfortunes.

Every single thing we go through, the negative stuff to be specific, is meant to work out for our good, and what the devil meant for evil, the Lord always turns it around to work for our good. Yes, it might take some time (even years) before you finally find and see the ‘Good’ in what you went through, but trust Him even when you don’t understand. It’s in such times/experiences that I have learnt to trust Him more. Depend on Him even when every other voice tells you otherwise. He alone knows what’s best for you, and even if it means causing you to pass through fire and waters, like He says in Isaiah 43:2 (“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you), He will, just to get you to your best. Shush, and find the good in the bad.

 

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