Tag Archives: belief

Building an Active Faith

UNWAVERING

Romans 4:20-21 NIV

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,  being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Like Abraham, I want to face the truth of my circumstance and not flinch in face of them but to maintain my eyes on the focus on the truths of His promise and His character.  I want to have an active faith that clings desperately to God.

 

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Why I Believe

This is the reason why I am a Christian. Truths I have been reminded through the study of Romans in BSF.

  1. We are justified through faith because Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25). The great exchange: His life for ours; His righteousness for our sin.
  2. Knowing this saves me from striving for salvation. There is nothing I can do to save myself., I am powerless to do this. If I do not accept this truth, I strive and try to work at my righteousness through works. All I can do is accept this free gift of salvation.
  3. Christianity makes all men equal. Before salvation we were all sinners, after salvation we are all justified by faith. No one’s sin is greater than the other or the utter worst; none of us is more righteous once we have believed. God views all men as equal.
  4. As a believer, I know what I am saved from (the penalty of sin which is death) and what I am saved for ( eternal life) and while here to do good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
  5. While we wait for the day when we will be taken up to meet our Lord and Saviour, we have the Holy Spirit as a seal and a promise. He also reveals all truth and teaches us all things righteous.

So do you believe, and if you do not, will you tonight ask Him to be your Lord and Saviour (Acts 4:12 / John 14:6)?

Tuesday Tunes / Prayer

I have often heard of this verse (repeated three times) as a caution to young unmarried people to guard their hearts so I enjoyed hearing it as a prayer to God to stir up those feelings of first love we felt when we first became Christians.

 

Sunday Reads

Concluding Thoughts from the Book of James

It is quite funny how we can pick to do something and then later find that God had actually purposed for us to learn from that experience. Well, I picked James as I had just finished doing John and wanted something light for the BSF break. How very wrong I was as James turned out to be the very thing I needed to continue with the lessons learnt from the Book of John.

What character traits of God did I see?

  • God as sovereign, ordering all my plans and in control of my future.
  • God as Judge. Reading James 5, I learnt that the coming of Christ is imminent and that in all my plans I have to remember the eternal plan for mankind’s salvation.
  • God as transformer who is able to change me from my fallen self through to the daughter that He would have me become.

What actions/thoughts do I need to stop?

How has the study encouraged me?

  • I was encouraged by the fact that by abiding in Christ and remaining in His words and teachings, I will grow.  This was brought out through the likening of God’s word to a mirror. (James 1: 22 – 25)

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

So be encouraged!!

An area of growth

Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3 

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26

With those close to me, I love to talk. But equally, I tend to say things that are undesirable or hurtful and so my desire and prayer is that I would learn to restrain my tongue, being slow to speak and anger and quick to listen (James 1:19) starting today and always by God’s strength.

Courtesy of this journaling prompt.

Thursday Music

 

I discovered Lauren Daigle this week and she has quickly become a firm favourite. I am amazed at how she sounds like Adele but different. Here are some favourites to enjoy:

Enjoy

xoxo

Concluding Thoughts on the Book of John

On the last night of BSF we typically have a sharing night where class members share with each other lessons and thoughts of the study. It is a very encouraging and motivating part of the lesson as the Holy Spirit continues to affirm that He is the one who reveals knowledge to each of us.

Below see some of my thoughts and I pray that you will be deeply encouraged/challenged as I was.

  1. The Father and the Son act in one accord always. Jesus acted in total obedience and submission to His father and was obedient to death, even death on the Cross (Philippians 2:8).
  2. God is Sovereign – He ordains all things so that scripture will be fulfilled. This was confirmed for me particularly at the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord – He was in charge at all points, even when He gave His spirit on the cross.
  3. Through looking at the relationship between Father and Son, I was able to reevaluate my identity as a Child of God (John 1:12 -13) and to critically evaluate those relationships that were providing a pseudo identity. It particularly helped to read that believers are a gift from the Father to the Son (John 17:2) and we are securely held in the Father and the Son’s hand (John 10:28).
  4. Believers bear fruit as they abide in Christ. This forced me to look at the Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) again and ask those around me to help me identify where I am not bearing fruit. It was challenging to hear but definitely true and it gave me another reason to trust and ask God to help me overcome this area of growth.
  5. The character that most reminded me of myself is definitely Peter. Oh how I wish I could say I was like John but I saw repeatedly how self confident I am as opposed to being God-confident.
  6. I was struck at how unbelief in Christ existed throughout the gospel. I had previously thought that it only grow during that Holy Week but it was only present among the Pharisees and the other Jewish leaders throughout His life on earth. However as John explicitly says that he wrote this book that we would believe and by believing we would have eternal life (John 20:31), this is what I learnt about belief:
    • Jesus confronts unbelief to expose the heart. I was particularly challenged at how praying small prayers ultimately demonstrated that I did not fully believe that God is able to achieve significantly above all I can think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
    • A believers’ sole identity is in Christ and nothing (or no one) else.
    • God provides evidence for each step of belief.
  7. I also learnt that obedience is the lens that allows us to see the purpose that we were created for. Also, through the depth of my obedience am I able to show my love for Jesus Christ.

Having learnt all of this, I can also say that my discomfort at the number of the unreached (unsaved) also grew. It is appointed for man to die once and after that to face judgment (Hebrew 9:27). My responsibility is purely to share God’s word and leave it to Him as he awakens faith in us and causes us to believe. While scary, failure to believe means meeting Jesus as Judge as opposed to as Saviour and Great High Priest. So I pray that we may continue to share the reason for our Hope when asked (1 Peter 3:15).

 

Word for the Day

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1: 18)

Through the intense study of John in BSF this year, I have had occasion to think of the verse above. To me, God’s word is living and inspiring and able to cut through flesh and bone. When I read the Bible, it speaks to me and I gain understanding and learn something about the character of God, about my faith and sometimes about myself. And this is different from my feelings – it is an internal working of the Holy Spirit in the heart of someone that is submitted to God. But, this verse also helps me understand that for those that do not believe the Bible is God’s inspired word (2 Timothy 3:16 – 17), it is all foolishness.

Be encouraged!

John 6:16-21

I love it when Christian rock is so steeped in Scripture. As in this case Third Day have done with the track, when the rain falls. In the storms of life, let us never forget that Christ is with us.

When the rain comes it seems that everyone has
gone away
When the night falls you wonder if you shouldn’t
find someplace
To run and hide
Escape the pain
But hiding’s such lonely thing to do

I can’t stop the rain
From falling down on you again
I can’t stop the rain
But I will hold you ’til it goes away

When the rain comes you blame it on the things that
you have done
When the storm fades you know that rain must fall
on everyone
So Rest awhile
It’ll be alright
No one loves you like I do

When the rain comes
I will hold you!

Source

Positive relationship related jams

Relationships are not easy. Conflicts are a side effect of all relationships and sometimes it’s all about the perspective we select.

Enjoy!!!

True Love is this …

This week’s lesson at BSF was on John 3, where Nicodemus approaches Jesus and learns that all who believe in Jesus are born again and have eternal life. Salvation is the necessary prerequisite to access the kingdom of God and eternal life. We become children of God when we receive Him, believe in our hearts and confess in our hearts that Jesus is Lord. I love the song and the lyrics below because they express this point in a beautiful way. Salvation is to be found in no other name but the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4: 12). There is only way to heaven, not many.

There is Love
That came for us
Humbled to a sinner’s cross
You broke my shame and sinfulness
You rose again victorious

Faithfulness none can deny
Through the storm
And through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me

You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all

No beginning and no end
You’re my hope and my defense
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross

God of Truth and Grace

 

No. Not today. I just can’t.

Some days never make sense and the more we try and make sense of them, the harder the truth we face is.

Today is one of those days.

I can’t.

I find comfort in the following: God is our creator and the sustainor of all life and in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). In the song “What I thought I Wanted” Sarah Groves talks of wanting to get to heaven so she could go and ask Job what he knew about faith and being able to remain focused on God through tough and trying times. Today, I wanna ask the same hard question. Thankfully, we worship a might God that we can directly approach with such questions.

 

Week’s Memory Verse

John 1: 12 – 13

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God children born

not of natural descent,

nor of human decision

or a husband’s will,

but born of God.

Belief in God gives us access to eternal life and a godly heritage. We are siblings of The First Born who died for us, Jesus Christ. I love this verse. It reminds me of Carol services on Christmas Eve. We always read John 1: 1 – 18 and this verse about being called Children of God always gives me the warm fuzzies. Always. Today, if you too would receive him in your heart and believe in Him, you will surely also receive eternal life and right to be called a child of God. While we all have life and are in fact living beings, not all of us are children of God, that requires belief and faith in God.

True Fasting (Isaiah 58)

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden

like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

As Christians when we fast, the intention is that we would increase in our devotion and faith by willfully withholding something so that we could spend more time in prayer and hearing from God. It is a private act of worship. It is refreshing and draws one closer to God. I am reminded of the verse, rend your heart and not your garments (Joel 2:13) – God knows our heart and we cannot deceive Him by being ‘externally good’ but inwardly untransformed. What would inward transformation entail? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8) and Is. 58:6-9.

 

 

 

2016 Theme Verse

Source

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)

In the last couple of years I have started to look at a theme word and then gotten a verse for the following to keep me grounded. As 2015 drew to a close, I started to look at the last couple of years and the word that came to mind was “centred” or “rooted” as it felt like the previous years had been in some kind of flux. An alternative word was abide which always calls to mind being at peace and being deeply connected to something or someone as it were.

I love this verse above because besides so many other things it connects being established and rooted in Christ while at the same time talking of gratitude which was something else that I felt about 2015. God has been so good to me and mine in this year that I want to begin another year reminded of this and almost saying to myself to count my blessings, each and everyone of them every day.

So I look forward to a calming year with my focus on my Lord and Saviour as well as a spirit of gratitude!

23. Be prepared to give a reason for your hope

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,  who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1: 3- 5)

I love this verse because it helps me to contextualise the present and remember that it is only temporal and that the imperishable is where we need to focus our energy and efforts. This body is fading away and this body will perish but our glorious riches have been purchased by the Blood of Christ and we can be sure that it will neither fade nor spoil.

I also LOVE THIRD DAY and it has been satisfying to hear this song and realise that it was drawn heavily from the Scriptures.

9. And what is my heritage?

UG independence day

Happy Birthday Uganda!! 53 today and counting 🙂

South Africa has a Public Holiday on the 24th of September – Heritage Day. There is a bit of a history of this day. There is also ill-feeling around the fact that this has now been White-washed to National Braai Day which cheapens the day. Be that as it may, I would like to commemorate my own Heritage Day and share part of what makes me, me.

  1. I am not a refugee. I remember being in lower primary at school and hearing people call me one and I had honestly never heard that phrase and when I dutifully went home and asked my parents what it meant, I saw the disgust in their face and honestly thought it was a swear word. My parents moved to Kenya as part of the East Africa Community and they got jobs in Nairobi. Yes I am a foreigner, but a legal one and really a labour migrant.
  2. The same thing applies to my status in South Africa. I am proudly foreign but also extremely legal and here by choice. Weirdly, I had my own status prior to marrying a local boy. Yes I am aware that marriages of convenience do happen but by the time we got to settling down, they had tightened up all of those loopholes. And they continue to do so even to date. Don’t even remind the number or height of hoops we had to jump through to get married.
  3. Growing up in a very Ugandan home but in a foreign country, was never confusing. Not in the least. Without much explanation, it was always known what happened at home and what was non-negotiable and the level of influence that we could pick up outside and bring home and you just knew what fit where.
  4. Some non-negotiable Ugandan aspects? We always knelt to greet my parents and other visitors, we proudly bore only our Ugandan names- my mom was particularly clear about us using our first names that identified us as coming from my fathers community and not our middle ones that are from her community. Our foods always had groundnuts, we had groundnut sauce, sweet potatoesamukeke (dried and steamed sweet potatoes),  matooke (plantain)atap (millet),  firinda (beans), obutusi (traditional mushrooms),  smoked and dried beef and fish. Just brought tears to my eyes and loads of salivating as I remember some of these meals.
  5. We also learnt Kiswahili and Sheng’ that was spoken by our contemporaries. We adopted chapati (flat bread), ugali (steamed maize flour) and sukuma wiki (kales). We wrote local exams and went to local schools living and mingling with predominantly Kenyans. My accent? How many times have I been in Uganda and had people walk up to me and refuse to accept that I am Ugandan because of my accent. I think it is now a confusing thing because the most I get is, “Are you from East Africa?”
  6. As I have gotten older, I have learnt not to question too much what makes me me. I have certain core beliefs that I hold dear to me and surprisingly, a lot of them are inspired by my Christian faith as I view that as my first and biggest cultural lens. Thereafter, in light of what makes the most sense to me as an African child. Some cultural practices differ from community to community and indeed nation to nation but for the most part, they are summarised by respect for all, care and regard for all and your enviroment and in some cases, there are gender expectations that you must adhere to.
  7. In planning the wedding, it did get confusing but even then it played out how I order my worldview – get all the requirements for the Church wedding out of the way and then get the traditional/ civil stuff finalised. The traditional stuff was a mix of both my mom and dad’s practices and you would expect it to be similar but it wasn’t and as long as I was told where to stand and what to do,I did and it got done.
  8. As I am getting older/ maybe in the last four to five years, I have seen an increased interest in my traditional dress (ssuka) and I delight in wearing it to special occasions. As a married woman, there is also additional jewelry that I get to wear it with which makes it even more special. An interesting finding for me was also the fact that I asked my dad whether my grandma took my granddad’s surname and he told me two things: (i) in our culture, before the  wazungu (White man) came, we didn’t typically take on surnames because it was taboo to name someone after yourself unless the baby was born when you were going to die or were at war and were expected/feared dead  and (ii) names in our culture are indicators of a clan and since a man would never marry a sister (a fellow clanmate) it was never expected that you would take on the new (clan) surname. On that note, I figured why take it on then?
  9. Something I do ask is what is Kenyan culture. What of that background contributes to me. A friend asked me recently, when you say you are going home, where do you mean? Unequivocally, Kenya. I KNOW the people, the context of stories, the language, the setting, so many firsts and memories singly and with others.  It’s a whole part of my life and a part I love with such intensity, it is both exciting and scary. But is all mine to pick and play with.
  10. So happy heritage day and here’s to all the things that make me,me. Cheers!!

PS: If you are from Uganda (the Motherland), please let me know if my spelling of the food is fine – prior to now, I have never had to spell them out.

5. Two thoughts for Monday

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. ( Rev. 1:17)

This was the response of John the Apostle (the one that Our Lord loved the most) when he saw the voice that was speaking to Him. John had spent three years in close proximity with Our Lord yet when He met him after describing his eyes, his hair, his voice and his overall look, John fell to his feet in amazement and worship. It struck me the purity of his worship that was not overshadowed by his familiarity and previous proximity with Jesus. This stood out because every day despite our walk with Jesus, we get to experience Him anew again and again often in a refreshing way that deepens my faith and relationship with Him and that is how our daily walk is enriched.

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (Acts 2: 45 – 46)

Anytime I have heard  this verse quoted, it has often had to do with some cult of a church that is asking it’s members to get rid of all their wealth and give the proceedings to the church in light with the early Believers. Yesterday in Church, the Preacher talked of the fact that the intention is rather for those that have plenty or abundance to rather give (meaningfully) to the poor around them. As a Church, we have to meet the needs of those around us otherwise we cannot proclaim ourselves to be Christian.

Be encouraged and strengthened.