Tag Archives: Christianity

Sunday Reads

“To all the little girls out there,
we will set fire to this world
that steals your childhoods
and stops you from being
everything you want to be,
and build you a better one from the ashes,
the kind of world that treasures you
for all your powerful capabilities.”

– Nikita Gill, Women’s March 2018

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Merry Christmas

I loved the Collect from our Service today and so I thought I would share it with all.

O Christ, light of the world,

born into human pain and joy;

let our celebration of your birth

make us bold witnesses of your love;

to the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Be Blessed. 

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.

 

Beware the tongue

I have been studying James over the last couple of  weeks and one of the themes he speaks repeatedly of are the words of your mouth. In fact, he specifically states that “perfect” is the man who is able to bridle his tongue. This has got me thinking of how I can restrain myself from saying certain things and therefore prevent myself from falling into unnecessary sin.

This morning I read this blog post cautioning against using secular language rather than speaking the words of truth that many in the world today need to hear about. This article brought to mind another area of the tongue that could lead us to fall into sin – the hollow words we speak of that while well meaning do not really mean a thing or profess the hope we have in Christ.

This article got me thinking of the number of times I have said rather vaguely “All the best”, “Good Luck”, “Best Wishes” or “I will think of you” rather than I will pray about this to Jesus and ask that His will be done. How many times have I heard of people talking of an energy/ the forces out there and not called it out and asked them to rather refer directly to Jesus – and this is true also of Christians and non-Christians.

So from the post, this is the challenge that I would like to leave you with.

I would like to challenge you, as a believer in Christ, to evaluate the phrases and hashtags you throw out to a world desperate for hope. It may seem harmless enough, but the vibes you’re alluding to are vacuous. Our friends aren’t strong enough on their own to “keep their heads up” and “pull through” life’s challenges, like vain platitudes suggest. No, they were made to find their strength in the God who made them. Theology matters. It doesn’t take long for someone to see the way we deal with the circumstances in our lives. We either have confidence in God or confidence in the flesh.

 

 

Belated Sunday Reads

We mentally compress our networks when we are harassed, bullied or being threatened by job loss. We close ourselves off, isolating ourselves, creating a huge blind spot where we can’t see our resources, allies and opportunities.

Something on my heart

How can small groups deepen their faith?

Encourage your group members to choose a verse or passage of the Bible that illustrates:

  • A way they would like to grow in Christlikeness.
  • A promise they need to remember.
  • An attribute of God’s person they want to know more deeply.
  • A precept they want to apply to an area of struggle, pain, or temptation.

Sisters, Jesus is not your Cheerleader

And, to be clear, Jesus does encourage. He offers words of strength to the weary and comfort to the hurting. In a world where we so often feel we don’t measure up, we need his encouragement daily. By focusing on only part of his message, however, I’m concerned that we’ve reduced Jesus to a spiritual cheerleader. And, in turn, that’s what we’ve become to one another. We offer words of affirmation, but not rebuke; words of forgiveness, but not repentance. We rightly celebrate his grace, but often forget to mourn our sin.

How to win the war for your mind

Take your thoughts captive and examine them closely. Bring them into submission. Consider the fruit. Then fight back with gospel truths. This is how we go to war.

When we don’t love the Bible

What can we do when we’re unmoved by God’s love and the gospel’s power?What can we do when we’re unmoved by God’s love and the gospel’s power?

Good lovemaking is about God

You can have the best spouse on the planet and enjoy the most fulfilling sex life imaginable, and still this fact remains: if our hearts are not satisfied in God, they will never be satisfied. Spouses can be wonderful helpers, but they are sorry saviors. The best way to have a blessed sex life is to delight in the God who gives the gift. Jesus is always better than any gift he gives you, including sex in marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Reads

Recipes

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).

 

Sunday Reads

  1. Interesting take on development in Africa through the tale of the seed industry in Uganda.
  2. Even I got punished for speaking an African language at school.
  3. More women than men in Lesotho are in school.
  4. Technology is definitely making life easier for refugees.
  5. This seems like a simple DIY even I could do.
  6. As Christians we do not look to our circumstances but the hope of Christ and His promises!
  7. A mistake is just a moment in time.”
  8. Be ambitious for life and not just work. Yes!
  9. Ten places to visit in Nairobi.
  10. Six hot podcasts on and by Africans to listen to.
  11. Yummy lemon cake.
  12. What is a PhD?
  13. Awwwww at this cute child‘s response to her mom. Oh dear for this old man.
  14. Lime zest and cardamon mandazi.
  15. Some really inspirational girls!

Sunday Reads

  1. How to read more books this year. I am definitely taking it to heart by reducing my junk TV viewing and making sure I always have a book as I go about various chores.
  2. A reading list on Kenya in case you are interested.
  3. If a story moves you, act on it!
  4. This article on insecurity made me stop and think. Really hard!
  5. Somali nicknames are hilarious 🙂
  6. So many white tears in this article. I see that they have only a given demographic of foreign spouses married to South Africans.
  7. Also, this IS cultural expropriation.
  8. More on how couples deal with finances.
  9. I didn’t know there were Nigerian Jews in Johannesburg. Today’s fact!!
  10. What does it mean to be a boy or girl? National Geographic asks 9/10 year old kids.
  11. Stealing from one of the comments, “This is by far the best article I’ve read regarding LBGT and the gospel.”
  12. Chocolate cake and another vegetarian pasta recipe.

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

Thoughts on being a worshipper

During my BSF break, I have been going through the Purpose Drive Life book. I had read it some years back and following the study on Revelation, I thought this would be a great way to meditate on those specific lessons. I have finished the first purpose, created for his pleasure and wanted to summarise some of my thoughts so far.

  1. Because God delights in us, He created us (me). Worship is how we reflect our delight and pleasure back to Him.
  2. Anything, from the mundane to the extraordinary, can be done as unto God and therefore qualifies as worship.
  3. Delayed and partial obedience is disobedience. Understanding can wait, obedience cannot. Obedience to God precedes understanding.
  4. Worship is steeped in a total surrender to and trust in God. Here I am reminded of the 24 elders in Rev 4:10 who before the throne of Christ. “fell down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne” declaring His uttermost worthiness of all glory and honour. Their crowns were their most precious things and before the throne, they laid that down before God.
  5. Nothing is more powerful than a surrendered life in the hands of God! Surrender is counter culture and against our very personalities.
  6. True worship is steeped in understanding who God is. And here I am reminded of this famous line: “when we see Him as He is, we will worship Him as we ought”. Often we (me included) talk of worshiping a particular type of God i.e. I cannot believe that a loving God would do … and if He would, then I cannot worship Him. This makes the construct of God something that either you or I could fully grasp. God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours and the only we can understand that/Him is via constant prayer and meditation on His word.
  7. God calls for true worshipers in spirit and truth (John 4:24). True worship is authentic. Authentic in that it is centred on a true understanding of God and His character and is true to my unique character. I have come to understand that I worship best in a very structured and almost ritualistic environment and therefore things like an Anglican service really appeal to me.
  8. Sometimes, we feel like God is distant. We still have to worship. But how? (i) we can honestly share with God that we do not feel Him or His presence. We can trust God with our emotions. All of them, the pleasant and the not so great. (ii) Focus on God and His true character. Continue to pray and give thanks ceaselessly. (iii) Reflect on God’s past faithfulness. God has already met our utmost need through sending His son to die on the cross for us. Our biggest need is our salvation and reconciliation to God. This has already been met, we only need to believe.
  9. There are also some barriers to great worship. The biggest one is me and my perception of how I need to worship. In addition, is fear, lack of trust and pride.
  10. Finally, I leave you with a few verses to meditate on regarding worship: Philippians 3:20, Romans 12:1-2, Hebrew 12:28 and 2 Corinthians 5:9.

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.

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

2015 cHRISTMAS

Source

For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is govern

This day in Bethlehem is born a Child of the Virgin

My prayer is that Christ may be reborn in your hearts and in your midst this day. God Bless and richly scatter His favour upon you and your family!!

4 days to Christmas

For the past two Sundays I have listened to a sermon preached about Mary’s response to the Angel in Luke 1 when she finds out she will be with child. About her obedience and the fact that she knew the character of God and His promises from everlasting to everlasting. Yesterday we sung the following hymns that also speak to this message.

 

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
tender to me the promise of his word;
in God my Savior shall my heart rejoice.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his Name!
Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;
his mercy sure, from age to age to same;
his holy Name–the Lord, the Mighty One.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by.
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word!
Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
to children’s children and for evermore!

Be blessed!

 

29. Three thoughts for Thursday

  1. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
  2. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
  3. Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. Luke 9:23-24

We are not our own, we have bought with His precious blood in order to live a life worthy of the calling we have received (as prisoners for the Lord) Ephesians 4:1! The life we live must show that we are Christ’s redeemed, being renewed by the transformation of our minds (Romans 12:2) and shedding light as a light on the hill (Matthew 5:14).

Be blessed!

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.

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.

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thes 5:16 -18)

I especially like the part highlighted in bold.

I will also be honest and admit that so many times I have despaired and stopped praying.

Often this followed what I felt like was a long time for me to be praying for one thing repeatedly. As I type this I am struck at how ridiculous this must sound because this is the Great I AM, the Alpha and the Omega, the Rock of Ages. HE knows about eternity and that’s how he views our times that are in His hands (Ps 31:15). That is who we pray to.

This year I am reminded of two instances where I have been praying consistently in my personal life and then this shifted to praying sporadically and finally not at all only to begin the cycle repeatedly. I have been reminded without a shadow of a doubt that God is faithful and He hears us when we pray and that is the reason I should continue to praise Him and trust in Him. Also, that prayer is good for me and it strengthens my walk and my belief in Him and almost that God is not here for me but I desperately, desperately need Him to be in my life.

Yesterday in Church we sang great is thy faithfulness and the following sentences, that I will end of with, struck me:

Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Be blessed and strengthened in your walk and acts of faith.

PS: The title is also taken from the hymn mentioned above.