Thursday, 17 January 2013

Thank you Jesus for January 17, 1991.

Today is Thursday, 17 January 2013. It is exactly 22 years since I gave my life to Christ during an evangelistic crusade at the Nairobi Pentecostal Church Valley Road. It has been a 22 year adventure of experiencing the faithfulness of God and realizing His promise never to leave me nor forsake me. I have seen His hand through good times and bad; from the hallowed cloisters of academia to the forsaken dungeons of Kenyan prison cells; from hospital beds to cocktail parties with the great and the good. The Lord has hidden me beneath the shadow of his wings when danger assailed me and He has lifted me when I have fallen. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

People, Let My Pharaoh Go!

Ever wondered why it took 10 plagues to persuade Pharaoh to let God's people go and ironically it was God who hardened Pharaoh's heart. What sort of game was God playing at?

Well, the hardness of Pharaoh's heart was not for Pharaoh's benefit, for it only postponed the inevitable. It was for the benefit of the Hebrew slaves. For 400 years, they had been hypnotized by the power of Egypt into idolizing Pharaoh and all the gods of Egypt. They had long forgotten the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; their God, the only true God, who alone was to be served and worshiped. God had to put on a 10 act play to display once and for all who between Pharaoh and Himself was the true God. It was an epic drama and the Hebrews were invited to take front row seats and enjoy the show in order to know beyond doubt not only who they were, but whose they were.

The Kenyan people have endured slavery for a long time. We have been made to serve and worship first the white masters of colonial rule and later their black nyaparas who we have regularly 'elected' to take care of the white masters' economic interests while feeding off the fat of our land while the rest of us starve and strive and enjoy our 'democracy'.

Our God has issued the directive "Go to Pharaoh and tell him 'Let my people go that they may worship me'". The only problem is that there seem to be few takers of this divine command.

We have fooled ourselves into believing that an election will dismantle the system of oppression that has been perfected over centuries without the necessary preliminary display of power to show who the real God is. Whether it is our Pharaoh comprising Western multinationals, Anglo-Saxon hegemonic geopolitical interests, China, and their black nyaparas - the Kenyattas, the Mois, the Kibakis, the Odingas, and a bunch of MPs and Senators and Governors and MCAs, or it is the only true God who alone is to be served and worshiped and enjoyed forever.

And so we continue making bricks without straw - manufacturing clothes in export processing zones for the white man's back which we re-import years later as mitumba; growing pineapples, tea and coffee for his palate, while we can barely feed ourselves; setting aside the most beautiful landscapes, flora and fauna for his enjoyment and not our own; giving him preferential treatment no matter what his status or achievement in life while abusing our own brethren.

We have been worshiping at the altars of Egypt for too long to realize that Pharaoh is not God and that our lives and livelihoods do not after all depend on him. Our God is perfectly able to take care of His own. If only we could trust Him; if only we could pause and listen... we would hear Him asking 'Who will go for us, whom shall we send to break the spell that Pharaoh's magicians have cast over my people?"

Amkeni ndugu zetu.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

We are The Beloved - A New Year Letter from Johannesburg

8th January 1999
My dear Ann,
Here's a thought:
'We are childen, perhaps, at the very moment when we know that it is as children that God loves us - not because we deserved His love and not in spite of our underserving; not because we try and not because we recognize the futility of our trying; but simply because He has chosen to love us. We are children because He is our Father and all our efforts, fruitful and fruitless, to do good, to speak truth, to understand, are the efforts of children who, for all their precocity, are children still in that before we loved Him, He loved us, as children, through Jesus Christ our Lord.'
                                                                  Frederick Buechner, 'The Magnificent Defeat'.
We often forget or choose to misunderstand  the true nature of God's love for us; His grace, given to us not because we've earned it, or deserve it, but simply because He created us to love us.
This last week, I've been trying to come to terms with my own belovedness before God. He is showing me how valuable I am to Him; and reminding me that I do not have to perform to impress Him. And if you are like me, and I know in many ways you are, you too need to be reminded of the special position you occupy in God's heart. I borrow the words of Henri Nowen and tell you today, "All I want to say to you is, 'You are the Beloved,' and all I hope is that you can hear these words as spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold. My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being - 'You are the Beloved.'"
This is a reality that we Christians should take hold of and refuse to let go; for as Brennan Manning writes, "Anchored in this reality, our true self needs neither a muted trumpet to herald our arrival nor a gaudy soapbox to rivet attention from others. We give glory go God simply by being ourselves."
I pray that this may be a year like no other when it comes to glorifying God. For me, I am tired of lukewarm Christianity; I have returned to my First Love. Remember how I told you that I had abandoned my search for a spouse. Well, the real reason I did so was that God asked me a simple question, "How exactly do you propose to succeed with a second love when your relationship with your First Love (Jesus) is on the rocks?" And so I decided that having a relationship was not a priority. I am casting my eyes and all my attention upon Jesus; I am giving Him all the gifts and talents He gave to me and making them available to Him to use them as He pleases. I am upping the stakes and sticking to biblical standards in my life. You know I was reading the other day how Christians make the mistake of comparing themselves with the world and if their morals compare  better, they feel OK. Well, the trouble is that the world's moral standards are perpetually on a downward spiral; and so what was the world's standard yesterday becomes the Christian standard today. And the Church has become even more powerless because we've let ourselves be dragged down by a dying world as we have pegged our morality to its scale. We should stick to and strive for biblical standards because they never change.
I hope your fasting is going well. Mine's great. It has enabled me to focus on God and pray like never before. I thank you for inviting me to Victory (Christian Church in London) those two times, especially last week - it has really opened me to a fresh and practical understanding of fasting and prayer.
As for the Maya Angelou book (that I forgot at your house), I wouldn't worry about it. If you do find the time to read it, please do; but if not, don't feel obliged to read it just because you happen to have it. I shall pick up where I left off when I next see you.
Well, that's me being remarkably preachy again. I hope you don't mind. Sharing my faith, and some of these lessons, helps to make them real to me. And I do hope that you find som of the insights useful.
I conclude by urging you, my sister, to continue to be prayerful; for a prayerful heart is a heart in tune with God. And always remember "it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." (Phil. 2:13)
An anonymous poet writes:
They tell me, Lord, that when I seem
To be in speech with you,
Since but one voice is heard, it's all a dream
One talker aping two.
Sometimes it is, yet not as they
Conceive. Rather, I
Seek in myself the things I hope to say,
But lo!, my wells are dry.
Then, seeing me empty, you forsake
The listener's role and through
My dumb lips breathe and into utterance wake
The thoughts I never knew.
And thus you neither need reply
Nor can; thus, while we seem
Two talkers, thou art One forever, and I
No dreamer, but thy dream.
May the Lord continue to watch over you, dear Ann, as your feet continue to walk in obedience to His will.
Love in Christ,