Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Power of Reflection


Wow it's been 13 years???!!!   Yep, that is how long it has been since I migrated to these United States of America.   And believe it or not, I did not realize this until much late in the day, almost at the day's end to be precise.  My night was thus filled with many emotions, joys and anxieties to say the least.  Overall though, I sighed and gave thanks and slept the night away in absolute gratitude as I looked back over my shoulder. 

Lao Tzu, the Chinese Philosopher was right when he remarked that a journey of a thousands miles start with a single step.  Embracing this thought soothed me to sleep while I sought to categorically remember my journey in its entirety.  February 11th, did finally go down to me as one of the most pivot days in my life as it has been over the years, but this time it was more profound than ever before.  Why it took me by surprise is beyond me because since the move, this date has had almost the same significance as the day I graduated from college.  Significant because coming to America was something that hatched over a period of 3 months if not less, and then I found myself in America.  In retrospect, I am in awe of what the LORD has done, truly.  And as with most pivot moments in my life, today I deliberately took some time to seriously take inventory and some analysis of ‘the state of the union’…I being the union in this case. 
 
Frankly, it did not take me long before bursting in thanksgiving and praise worship to the only true, real and always there friend that I have had since 2003, the Holy Spirit is His name.  It must have taken me awhile before I composed myself, and all I could say... am forever grateful for every blessing, opportunity, mentors, friends, laughter, grace, joy, adventure, promotions, lay off, mistake, valley, mountain, detour, regret, challenge, enemies, struggle, all the good, the bad and the in between.  It was as if I was reborn into newness, where instead of thinking oh my goodness, I cannot believe its been 13 years.  But rather, I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude, joy, and a sense of destiny seem to beckon me to keep matching on, forgetting what is now behind me, and looking up to my future where my destiny calls.  And like the embedded song prods, lay hold of the what is ahead, "...let go of every mistakes throwing off the chains of restraints."

I think it helps to be vulnerable, thus I admit my dream lists looked very different from the actual list I have today.  (If you're in business, accounting or in finance know and understand that the forecast budget does not always match the actual budget).  Nevertheless, it was through much prayer (perhaps in quest for a ‘crystal ball moments’, I don’t know) that I prayerfully discerned that the discrepancy could be explained in a decision I made 11 years ago.  A decision that I would urge each one of us to consider carefully if we have not because it will determine not only how we live the life here and now, but life after this age too.  For me however, I actually didn’t grasp the weight of the decision at the time as it resulted from frustrations once I realized I could not discount the truth as it unveiled before my heart, mind and soul on that Sunday afternoon in 2003.  Needless to say, I have never been the same since—I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ when I realized I was a sinner who needed saving.  My journey has been but joyful but like all roads rocky at times but overall glorious!

In short, the following words seem to grab my heart as I carefully meditated on what the Master was sharing with his disciples or anyone who may consider following Him today.  “Do you NOW BELIVE?”  Jesus replied (in question)  Indeed, the hour is coming yes, has now come that you will be scattered each to his own, and will leave me alone, but I am not alone because the Father is with me." John 16:31-33 NKJ.  My interpretation; once one believes, they become constrained by the power to which they have surrendered their heart, soul and mind to, and their resolve to that belief is then on to either run or stand firm when that belief is tested or being verified, and it is here that the rubber meets the road.  Some of us often seek to run away or devise the easiest way out of trials or tests by turning back to what we know, or going into hibernation when things seems unimaginable rather than doing what Christ urges us to do.  He did it Himself, He knew the Father was with Him no matter what, and therefore could undergo the pain of the cross, and overcome.  This is the solution He thus offers you and I when faced with the weighty of this world or simply put when tribulations strike, and our belief in HIM become questionable either by ourselves, and those around us, be it circumstances or those who don't believe.  My resolve, to stand in Him and His grace alone.

In conclusion, as you and I navigate through life today, and perhaps ponder where we have been in our life's journey over the years.  Lets allow the Holy Spirit to help us find strength and grace in Him, He will, it is a promise He made!!  And in Him we will overcome, and be crowned even as He was.  33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NKJ.  So, just like in any race or (in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia today), the crown only goes to those who truthfully endure the race or test, and it is these who get to seat with Christ in high places even while they be here on earth.  I wish I had the time to tell you how God has shown been favorable and faithful to me (next time perhaps!)  

As an after thought, this song just encourages me to set my eyes on what is ahead... Christ in Him who I have my destiny!  You may have not migrated to the USA, but I would love to learn a thing or two about your life's journey, what is it like? 
 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter

...What is the Reason for the Season?!?!

What is Good Friday? I pondered upon watching a video a friend sent me titled, "Sunday is Comin".  I enjoyed it to say the least, but somehow the content of it set me on a spiral of thoughts and only after awhile did my mind linger in this thought… our Victory, for those of us who believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus came when Christ died on the Cross.   I was amazed at this revelation so I meditated on it awhile, and was grateful to the Holy Spirit for opening my understanding to this truth.   

You see, when you and I believed or believe ...(that is if you have ever taken the time to consider what Christ did and actually responded by surrendering your life to this truth through faith in Him, the person of Christ whose death we commemorate this weekend)... I am persuaded that in that moment you and I choose to crucify 'self' in that we surrender our being fully to Him in faith and choose to die to the desires of this world.   In that we awake to our true purpose—that is Worship to the only True and Living God, Yahweh.   The Holy Spirit reminded me that just as Christ came on this earth and lived out His life for this very cause, you and I’s true living begins when we lay hold of this truth, and therefore everything else preceding this moment only serves to open our spiritual eyes to the unfathomable love and grace of God.   It was not until Jesus crucifixion, burial and resurrection that many in those days came to comprehend that indeed He was God yet man according to many prophecies and His own Word to them.   Today, you and I have the Bible that points us to the Cross, and even offers precedent in some of the challenges we each face that should ultimately lead us to a moment of death and resurrection, dying to sin and being alive in Christ.  Apostle Paul talks much on this, he said, that these things were written for our examples (paraphrased).   

It is evident without Jesus' death there would never been resurrection.  Just as there would be no 'Victorious Me' without Faith in Christ on that day-10 years ago this March!  Oh how I praise the Lord for His awesome grace!  However, until Jesus comes back again and He is coming soon, I must choose to die daily in my weakness, surrendering my desire to Him if I expect to walk in victory on this earth, and when I do so, I arise from whatever pain, trial, challenge to another level in faith.  The scripture calls it 'from glory to glory, from strength to strength', notice the continuum?!! because challenges and trial are prevalent in this life and so is victory by the way.  For me therefore, this Easter I would say I've awakened to a new meaning of why I exist, a new perspective to faith and stirred my spirit to rejoice in my first Love again—He who loved me before I loved Him.  My prayer is that I would live conscious of this moment by moment surrendering my shortcomings, worries and failures to Him that I may be renewed in His strength thereby living in His inheritance of joy and much more regardless of present circumstances.  After all, Jesus overcome, and He promised we too shall overcome!  I would love to hear what this Easter season means to you.  

PS. Check the video via this link...  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRiIpsbJW8o

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Experience is often the best Teacher

Is Wisdom = Lessons From Life's Mistakes?


Is it me or are days, weeks, months and years becoming shorter and shorter these days?  It seems to me that this years is moving at a greater speed than the last.  I suppose its true... time really does fly when you're  having fun.  Nevertheless, its my hope you’ve had a great start of 2013 and are looking forward to great successes ahead!

I recently read in a blog that it helps when parents talk to their children about things that are important to them, even when it may not be in the purview of their liking or wishes as it could very well impact their future significantly.  The author of the blog went on to list such topics as family history, finances, economy, wealth and money as areas warranting the chat.  He added that by engaging kids in this regard, it helps ease their fears when some of life’s challenges and inevitable came upon us.  Recently, I happen to be reading the Bible in quest for an answer to a particular issue that I needed to address, and while at it; I noted that David, one of the greatest Kings of Israel took time to speak with his son Solomon about what was to come.  He informed him that God had promised him that his son not he, would be the one to build the Temple of the Lord, and so he encouraged Solomon to keep the ways of God.  David told Solomon, “Only may the lord give you wisdom and understanding and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the Lord your God.  Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel.  Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.” (I Chronicles 23: 12-13 NKJV)   

Upon reading these lines, I found myself thinking of how am often wowed that unlike me Solomon knew exactly what to ask God for when He appeared to him.  I don’t know about you, but I have often asked myself the question; would I really have the insight or know how to ask for Wisdom apart from all the other needs or things and demands on my list?  Frankly, I don’t think I would ask for wisdom if God appeared to me right now, perhaps I would,  I don’t know; but I sure have a list of things that I think are more prominent to address and ask for, but WISDOM??  Only God knows.   Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the notion that as a parent, David took time to share his heart and the things that the Lord had shown him candidly without sugar coding the details.  In fact, he come clean by pointing out that God did not want him to build the Temple (house of God) because he had shed much blood and had made great wars in the sight of God (paraphrased).    

I am not a parent yet, but this kind candor jolted me for a moment and had me ponder if I would dare …or be willing to come clean to my children like this; admitting that I have many faults and made many errors in life or would I just want the image of ‘mom in control’ be the only hallmark of what my children carry with them?  I don’t know.   Reasons being one, I don’t have children yet and lastly; because frankly speaking as much as I wish to say yes or no now, I really don’t think I can be objective now, but possible could when faced with the matter head on or on the test.  That said, I think it helps to point out that it is key to engage our children heart to heart with truthfulness especially because it could very well be the only thing they may remember—when faced with various situations much later in life and/or when we are nowhere in sight to help.  Too, we may never know how this may shape their life ahead as it did for King Solomon.   

In conclusion, I believe it was not coincidental that when the Lord appeared to Solomon and asked what he desired; Solomon already knew and remembered the words of his father David—‘may the Lord give you WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING…’  The Bible tells us that this was exactly Solomon’s prayer when the Lord appeared to him in the night.   The Scriptures states, “… "Ask! What shall I give you?" And Solomon said to God: …Now give me wisdom and knowledge that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?" And God said to Solomon: "Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life--but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king; wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like."  (II Chronicles 1:7-12 NKJV)

I grew up with a grandpa who often used riddles and short stories to share his wit on life.   Most of his stories ended with the proverbial saying ‘Knowledge is Power’.   In hindsight, I find it rather ironic as I go through life and often don’t know what to do until after I have been over the hump in most cases.  How I wish I could have seen it coming… am sure you’ll agree hindsight is indeed 20/20.  However, I thank God there always lessons learned—and when I find myself on the same test over and over again, I cannot help but pen down or more appropriately type up the lessons learned.  Like David, I look forward to share them with my children some day.   Some argue that WISDOM is better than money, thus leaving me to wonder if there is anyway to gain Wisdom without having to experience some of life’s inevitable drills?!  Whatever the case, it makes me flinch when I find myself paying for ignorance over and over again …Ouch, how it hurts!   

What about you?  Want to share some of your past memorable phrases or grandma/pa wits?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Something Got To Give!

Pardon the late follow up since the last posting!   

By now you’ve probably inferred that I am on the pathway to …well exploring other possibilities in this journey of life.  Whether this happens tomorrow, two years from now or two decades from now, I will rejoice in the fact that I opted to confront the unknowns facing the challenges head on.  

As you very well know or have experienced; thinking of a thing and doing something are two different entities.  In fact, much thinking and analysis in decision making can often lead to ‘analysis paralysis’ if one is not careful.  Therefore, getting ones actions behind his/her words is the place to start.  The author of the most ironic book of all times i.e. The Book of Ecclesiastes puts it this way, “Much dreaming and many words are meaningless.  Therefore stand in awe of God.”  My understanding… fearing God and allowing Him to lead in every step of any pursuits is what will determine one’s success.  Imagine what it would be like to be connected to the right resources, people and platforms that you need to get to that edge—divine connection is what I’m referring to?  Otherwise, we can strategies on how to achieve, and even embark on this journey, but the attainment of it all depends on God’s leading and the understanding of the knowledge necessary to get there.  The past indicates that the most successful people e.g. Dr. David Livingstone, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mozart, Vincent Van Gogh, and Henry Ford, etc.  In my view, am convinced all operated under their convictions to pursue their passions by harnessing the one thing they each believed was their core strength, and by so doing they inspired many generations after them. 

To perceive and behold success, I believe it is imperative that one ask he/herself the very question of what is endowed to him/her.  Ensued by the will, resolve, tenacity to embark on the journey towards the destination and acknowledging that getting there will be coupled is with much activity and a price tag—as is the case with anything worthy of your time and pursuit!   This reminds me of a Kikuyu proverb, “Gutire kiega kiumaga hega” meaning there is nothing of worth that is without toil.  In other words, the dream is free because one has the talents, will, resolve, etc [that is of course] if he/she chooses to exploit these attributes, however; the way there is not free.  Hence, something must give!   There is cost involved, could be time, money, even comprising some relationship for some but in the end the dream is realized.  I like my Master’s words  the best, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?”

Frankly speaking, this can be overwhelming and many have shared their fears on their way, nevertheless; I find that the more I just let things be with ease and without self criticism, the more I am able to get in touch with my real niche.  For now however, my prayer is to allow the Supreme Giver of all gifts to magnify the ‘it’: my passions and propensities, and trusting that as I follow Him closely, He will lead me there.  After all, He is the good Sheppard/Master Creator, and only He knows just what He deposited in me, or better yet the gifts He wired within me just as is with the likes of the late Steve Jobs or Bill Gates—only they being ‘creator’/master designers know why they designed the Apple and PC computer [respectively] the way they did and for the very distinct functions though they be similar in general.  And by trusting in the Master Designer, I know He will complete that which He has begun in me because He has also imbued me with the vision, power, will, tenacity, foresight to get there.   Furthermore, He promised, “Whoever walks the road, although a fool shall not go astray.”  Wooohaaa, this is exciting!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why Do I Exist?

Why do I Exist? I often find myself asking this question more often than I like to. At times, am skeptical and other times, am as certain and zealous as you can imagine. Whether you admit it or not, I bet you've probably asked yourself similar question at sometime in your life. If you’ve not, well ...keep on living. I dare argue we are designed to seek a deeper meaning in life, and while some find the answer earlier on in their life, for others; this the question remain unanswered. So, why do you or I exist?

One of my mentor remarked "Work is what we were designed to do, but Job is what we are trained to do". To contextualize this statement, the topic in discussion was surrounding the issue of how peoples’ life have transformed over the last few years either due to catastrophic events e.g. Haiti’s/Japan’s earthquake, drought in Africa, high numbers of unemployment across the global, etc. The point; we have all witnessed untold changes than we would like proving that change is perhaps the only change we should expect. I suppose what I inferred from the statement is that if I focus on the question, 'what is my work/destiny' am more likely to push forward with zeal, joy and tenacity, and ultimately reach my destiny if I faint not. However, the same is also true; if I choose to focus on the antithetical, I will end up in apathy, dissatisfied, and being tossed and turned to various directions.

So, how do you pursue your destiny you ask? Focus on your gifts: all of us have God-given gifts that are unique to each individual. I would therefore argue that it all starts by knowing what you are best in or simply ask yourself; if money and time was not an issue, how would I be spending my life? Would I be painting, traveling, writing, fighting for justice? Once you identify what that is, proceed on to developing that gift if this is necessary e.g. sign up for voice training if your gift is singing. For others, this might mean a complete life change, seeking training or a mentor to harness your gift, and for others it might mean get your hands dirty, start doing what you love now because well, tomorrow is not guaranteed.

The wisest man that ever lived, King Solomon asked this question, "Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown [foolish] men". He continued by adding... "Like a bird that wanders from its nest [one who does not know his [gift/talents], is a man who wanders from his place [purposes/calling]".

By now you are probably wondering, have I then answered the question above? My answer, yes; however, much toiling is inevitable as Rome was not build in a day. If you need some inspiration, this short text might help: Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson or better yet, get a copy of King Solomon’s Proverbs!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Fresh Perspective

Recently this thought flooded my mind, and overwhelmed my thinking for a while. A simple truth, yet proved by conditions of the world we live in. 'The Strength of a Nation: spiritually, economically and militarily is in the Strength of its Men/Fathers; while the Strength of its Kings: Leaders, Rulers, Children is in the Strength of its Women/Mothers'.