How can I…?

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I sat across a gentleman on a green school plastic bench and what brought us to our destinations was my child and his who were practicing for an upcoming hockey match. A tall man with a pair of glasses to aid his vision, he introduced himself to me using his surname and where he came from, I introduced myself as Mrs….we compared notes on the schedules that the kids grind us through and he immediately clarified that he was the grandfather and not the father. Though we were apart in age we had common understanding of how the world worked then and how it works now, how the school systems were and how it was now, how the parents’ involvement was in their children’s lives and how it is now. He went to a boarding school, left home in January and came back after the mid-term exams, no letter, no telegram unless he was sick or disappeared, he narrated his school life to me. He had no contact with home and home trusted that the train that took him away from them got him to the school and will return him when the school is finished and his parents never came to his school for anything he added. I understood that to mean he was a good student, he did seem like a calm grandfather, laughing at the right places and having eye contact occasionally. “I never went to boarding school and my parents never got to come to any my school activities”, I added thinking to myself that it might be because I had none. “However these ones”, I pointed to the field of kids in front of us, “gets sick if you didn’t come to their practice or their play”. We both laughed and somehow got to his three successful boys and the daughter who is the mother of the child that brought him across my table. “I was so angry when she got pregnant, but now this grandchild of mine is the love of my life”, he said. “I have six grand kids but she is the one that stays with us and her face I carry around with my keys everywhere”, he continued.

I asked if the grandchild asks for the father and though he tried to conceal his feelings, I could see he was getting uncomfortable, “I think the child ask the mother” he responded. “This child is the only one that doesn’t have a father, all my grandchildren are raised by both parents under the same roof and we help this one and the mother as they stay with us”. “The father came once and said he will come and pay damages but that never surfaced and I don’t want to even see his face”, he let off the steam. “He never paid a cent towards this child and I can see that single parenting is hard for my daughter”. What will you do when the child asks for the father”, I asked him. He didn’t like the question nor have the answer to it. It seems like it did cross his mind though. “The child knows where the father’s home is, he never did anything for this child”, he reiterated. “Are you going to allow the child to see the father when the time comes and the child asks for him”, I added to my initial question. “I didn’t grow up with my father”, I chided in before he answered “and I understand that every person is looking for a belonging that only their parents can give. The question is going to come up sooner or later and you are going to have to face the issue of the father and you have to decide whether you are going to punish your grandchild for the teenage father’s deeds. Both your daughter and the father were young when they had this child”, I pointed to the field “and unfortunately the baggage was yours to carry, however you have to separate the two issues” I advised. He nodded his head trying to take in all the information I spilled out within a minute. The ball was in his court and he had to decide what to do with it.

“You have to first forgive this boy and then by the time your grandchild need him you will be okay” I said. “How can one forgive though”, he emphatically and apologetically asked. The questions caught me off guard, excited me and saddened me at the same time. I realized how easy it was to throw out the word forgiveness, how easy it was to expect one to forgive because I know it’s important. However in front of me was a pensioner asking me a question that was raw and real. “Mandela forgave” was all I could say. He silently laughed and realized what I was saying, I threw a lifeline that he didnt know whether he needed or not, a possibility of letting someone get off the hook without paying the price. It seems like something he never thought of, “forgiving the boy that brought shame to his family, the boy that changed her daughter’s destiny”. I saw the pain that he carried for years, the conversations he had with himself for years if he could see this boy, the sacrifices his daughter make with the child each day. I also saw that he never the thought of forgiving his grandchild’s wayward father.

I told him of the struggle I went through to connect with my father and his family, the struggle some of my family members went through to locate their own fathers and families. I told him of the destruction that the absent father can bring in a child’s life. I also told him of stories of children who outlived the absent father syndrome and positively lived their lives without them. In my experience however I needed to know who my father and his family were, I added to my story. I needed to belong in both my mother and father’s families. I found my belonging when I found my dad ‘side, other people I walked with through the journey of finding their fathers found themselves when they found their father’s people. For the first time I could find someone who laughed like I did, someone with my skin tone, someone who loved me because I exist.

The grandfather listened attentively to me, as he matched my story with his grand child ‘story. He held to the hope of one day, one day when he wouldn’t have to deal with the pain or maybe one day when he will have to face it.

One day each one of us have to face our story, our life story, whether it be of an absent father or raising a grandchild whose father abandoned. Our story is going to be in front of a Father who was never absent, but always forgiving. Our story is going to be in front of a Father who will not accuse nor condemn. He will just ask this question, “how was my Son Jesus Christ part of your life story”? The answer we are going to give is the one we live out each day.

As you live out your life story, is Jesus part of it or the center of it? Are you living your life through Jesus’ resurrected life or is Jesus Christ, the Son of God living His life through yours?

I encouraged the attentive grandfather to ask God to heal him from the pain that the arrival of his grandchild brought. I encouraged him to ask God to teach him how to forgive as the field was emptying and hockey practice wrapping up.

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Captivating

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via Daily Prompt: Captivating

Have you ever watched the child’s face on their first trip to the beach, what about when they enter the toy isle in the supermarket or when their dad/mom comes home after a long day away? Its captivating.

 

 

Kingdom Conduct

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Romans 14:17 New King James Version (NKJV) 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

How important is conduct in the life of a believer. The context of this scripture is that Paul was telling the believers in Rome, don’t argue with people about what to eat and what to drink, don’t judge people on what they eat and what they drink. If your faith is strong enough to do this don’t quarrel with someone who believes that church must be on a Saturday. Don’t put stumbling block in front of one another, live freely for the kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

God’s righteousness is His right doing in remitting our sins through Christ. Christ righteousness is that He did all that was required of God to redeem men. Our righteousness is received when we believe and receive what Christ has done on the cross. This is positional righteousness, we are legally in right standing with God, and the debt has been paid. Jeremiah 23:5-6, 5″Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. 6“In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, The LORD our righteousness.’  That is why Paul in 2Cor 5:21 could say we were made righteous because Jesus a righteous branch was made sin for us, we swapped positions, he took ours and we took His, that is our position. We are positionally righteous and this righteousness is produced by the Holy Spirit and it is the same Holy Spirit that enables us to do righteousness.

To do righteous means:

  • To have a godly desire to do right,
  • To live in accordance with the will of God, in accordance to the Word of God.
  • To have a heart that is sincere in the ways of God

As righteous people we have a new nature, that of Christ because “as He is so are we in this world” (1John4:17). Doing right by one another is looking at one another through the eyes of Christ, which is through the eyes of His love. Yes there are people who are hard to love however when we remember that we are all in need of a Saviour, we will ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to love and do right by them. Doing right requires that our eyes be open to see the plight of others and our ears hear the cry of the afflicted, because we who are in the kingdom have solution. It might not be physical solution but we can bring wisdom to the table, we can bring a word of knowledge that will unstuck a person. When our hearts are open to what the Holy Spirit says to us we are able to say the right things and He can send us to the places at the right time where we will meet the right people and say the right things. Psalm 34:16-17 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil to blot out their name from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

David, a man after God’s heart had an affair with a married woman, killed an innocent man and God called him to order because he didn’t do what was right. Proverbs 13:6 tells us that righteousness guards the person of integrity and David was not walking in integrity. In the kingdom of God we are expected to live our lives with integrity and dignity. Our yes must be yes and our no be no. Psalm 89:14 says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne” (Psalm 89:14). Living righteously is not only about us and our status in life but it is the seed that we plant for the next generation, when we don’t cheat in our marriages we are showing our kids that we respect the covenant of marriage, when we treat others kindly we are saying to them all men are equal in God’s eyes and in our eyes, for Jesus died for all humanity. Living right is also to the world. Our lives is a witness to the world, 1Peter 3:14-16 says, But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their intimidation; do not be shaken.” But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to articulate a defense to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But respond with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who slander you will be put to shame by your good behavior in Christ.…

Secondly the kingdom of God is a matter of peace.

Genesis 13:8-9 Then Abram said to Lot, “Please, let there not be quarrelling between me and you, and between my shepherds and your shepherds, for we men are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you want what is on the left, then I will go right; if you want what is on the right, I will go left.”

Abram pursued peace, he was older than Lot, he could have sent Lot back home, he could overpowered him but he valued his relationship with Lot that his superiority. He pursued peace rather than being right. Do you want to be right or live in peace. By the way, “Peace-making doesn’t mean avoiding conflict. A conflict avoided is often a conflict postponed and therefore a conflict that ultimately becomes worse. Peace-making begins with the honesty and courage to recognize a problem and face it” (Colin S.Smith). There are times when you have to say nothing for the sake of peace.  I don’t have to prove my innocence with you to be at peace with you. I have to pursue peace with you and in time God will reveal my heart and character to you. People who lack peace are: Insecure, In competition and Selfcentred. We see this in the life of king Saul. He was insecure in his position as the king of Israel and therefore he pursued to kill David because some ladies sang that he killed less people than David. He only though of himself, to the point of bringing his son and daughter’s lives in danger to satisfy his wicked desire. He competed with David unnecessarily and above all he lacked peace. He died a shameful life because he didn’t pursue peace. Hebrew 12:14 (NIV) says, make every effort to live in peace with everyone ……. Psalm 34:14(NLT) says, “search for peace, and work to maintain it”.  Romans 12:18 exhorts us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

There is enough for everyone in the kingdom, there is no need to compete, nor bicker. Each and everyone have a father who will make sure that we get what is due to us. If we fight, or compete we are saying to Him that He doesn’t know what He is doing, therefore we will do it ourselves, through bickering and fighting. Romans 5:1 says, “therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…God is not angry at you nor with you, Jesus Christ has obtained the peace for you, you are now reconciled with the father and He will make sure that you are provided for, He will bring your revenge, don’t go and get it yourself, that will steal your peace and be content with yourself. Be at peace with yourself and with your fellow brothers.

Lastly the kingdom of God is a matter of joy, because the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Hebrews 12: 2 says “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the originator and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”. We are the joy that was set before Jesus. He saw you and me accepting Him as our Saviour, serving Him in the Kingdom and for that He was able to endure the pain of the cross, this joy sustained Him. Joy is the fruit of the Spirit and it is not conditional. It is an attitude that says no matter what I am going to approach life joyfully for God is with me. I am not going to be bitter about what happened yesterday and let it rob me of my joy and weaken my stance in Christ, I choose to be joyful. God rejoice over you, not when you do right that day, His joy over you is at all times. Isaiah 62:5  says “And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more JOY in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 17:15.

Christianity is a journey that can be challenging, however in the kingdom of God we are not alone, the Holy Spirit enable us to live righteously, pursue peace and live joyfully on earth.

 

 

 

 

 

Above

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via Daily Prompt: Above

Above all things I know that I am created for a purpose

Above all things I know that I am created to serve others

Above all things I know that I am created to love

Above all things I know that I was created by love, thus I am loved

Above all things I know my Creator

Righteous Living

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1Samuel 3:7-10(AMP) “Now the boy Samuel was attending to the service of the Lord under the supervision of Eli. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; visions [that is, new revelations of divine truth] were not widespread.Yet it happened at that time, as Eli was lying down in his own place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well). and the [oil] lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, 4 that the Lord called Samuel, and he answered, “Here I am.” He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call you; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know [or personally experience] the Lord, and the word of the Lord was not yet revealed [directly] to him. So the Lord called Samuel a third time. And he stood and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli understood that it was the Lord [who was] calling the boy. So Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and it shall be that if He calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the Lord came and stood and called as at the previous times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”

An opportunity to receive or rejects is at hand in every moment of our lives, to say yes or to say no, to be selfish or to be selfless. In the life of the priest Eli, he find himself on the crossroads of his life, being partially blind an old, he was also nursing a broken heart. His sons were defiling the temple and dishonoring God, furthermore dragging his name through the mud being ill disciplined and most of their behavior was his fault as a father. In the temple however there was a young boy, hope of the nation, Samuel. His mother dedicated him to the Lord and Eli accepted the responsibility of teaching him about the Lord, for it is only the God of grace who will give each man an opportunity to right his wrongs. Eli had that opportunity with Samuel, he failed to raise his sons as God fearing man and now he was getting another chance. It looks like he was winning for at the first call we find Samuel running to his master, I wonder what time of the night it was, don’t you?

Eli though he didn’t realize at the time that Samuel was hearing from God, the creator of the heavens and earth, his God. An opportunity rose for him, to do right or to be selfish. Eli still had righteousness and the fear of the Lord in him and the moment he realized that Samuel was the chosen one, he released him. “Though it was a disgrace to Eli, for God’s call to be directed to Samuel, yet he told him how to meet it. Thus the elder should do their utmost to assist and improve the younger that are rising up. Let us never fail to teach those who are coming after us, even such as will soon be preferred before us.” (Matthew Henry)”. As a parent, Eli knew that his children could never have the opportunity to hear God’s voice. They will never be called by Him due to their wayward lives. Imagine being that parent.

Righteous living requires us to do right all the time, even when our circumstances are not yet right. It requires a parent who just lost a child to embrace the living children of his neighbor, a mother who never gave birth to hold a confused teenager’s child. It requires a teacher who has a son who is disinterested in studying to teach excellently those who are hungry for education. Righteous living required of the sinless Son of God “who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Corinthians 5:21).

Promoting and releasing others because it is their season is the best seed one can plant in their lives and in the lives of the generations to come. For Eli to teach Samuel about God and how to respond to His voice, he released a nation from bondage, for under Samuel they had a prophet, a judge and an intercessor who had a close relationship with God. He grieved when the nation did wrong, rebuked them and prayed for them, anointed the first king, Saul and then king David who brought the nation to a time of rest and prosperity, a man who served his generation, a man after God’s heart. Eli’s selflessness had a part in all this.

The challenge is that our intention and purpose in life is to serve our generation and like Eli I pray that believers will allow God to speak and work in other people’s lives without looking at what is happening in our lives. God will always use the obedient and I pray that we raise an obedient generation so that, maybe, our own children can be the called one.

Its about Perspective

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I recently had a talk with a mother who is raising a teenager, a girl, who came ten years after her perfect son. One day after another frustrating day with her daughter she decided to give up on her, give up on helping her with homework, give up on asking her about her life to the point of not even celebrating her birthday. When her daughter asked her about the birthday she said to her, “I forgot your birthday”. That sentence hurt her more than her daughter for she regretted lying to her, regretted giving up on her. She confessed to me that she was surprised that her daughter passed her exams at the end of that year.

In life we are going to have perfect sons, perfect jobs, perfect spouses while on the other hand we will have demanding sisters, demanding daughters and demanding in-laws. Can we have it all, can everything in our lives be perfect? It depends on how one views life. If a situation is always measured against another it can never be perfect meanwhile if it is dealt with individually it can be perfectly resolved. If a child is dealt with as an individually, the parent and the child can perfectly grow in a loving relationship but if a parent compare the children there will always be one who is perfect and one who is not.

I am a follower of Christ, “the way the truth and the life” and therefore in my life I try to look at life from His perspective. There are challenges in the journey of man’s life, there are people who treat others unfairly including myself however those are circumstances and conditions that always draw me to the perfect One, the One who knows it all, the One who perfect every imperfection. As a follower I trust and attentively listen to the direction that He wants my life to take. This helps me to see His perspective rather than mine. Therefore if an unfair situation arise, I look at how it can make me rather than break me, if a child is being difficult I look at it as an opportunity to love rather than condemn. It is not always easy, however it is doable for my leader did it. It was when they ridiculed Him, wickedly accused Him of blasphemy and betrayed Him that He showed them love, for He is love.

Jesus Christ’s perspective is always for the good of humanity, for my good and therefore I choose to accept my difficult children rather than compare them, find solutions rather than be a victim and love as Jesus does.

The Victorious Couch

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Deep inside me there is someone that I don’t like, someone I  sometimes want to befriend or hate. I sometimes hear the voice, the suggestions and even the urges to go and cahoots with the inner me. I know the being is a she because we share the love of shopping, the love of food and the love of books. I think this is the only times that we agree and I can listen to her suggestions. I can’t even trust her to co-parent with me for there are times that I feel she is over angry over a little mess that children make. I sometimes see her being over nice when I am annoyed. I then do know that I cannot trust her and I cannot afford to like her. There are times I allow her to crave through my body, let her throw tantrums through my mouth, let her be bitter through my body and allow her to feed my body unhealthy food at least once a month.

Deep inside of me there is someone I like to blame but tame. I wonder though sometimes if this is what Paul felt when he said “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do” (Romans 7:15). The things that challenge my worldview I sometimes give to her for she likes rejection when it doesn’t suit her. The things that wants to pull me out of the comfort zone I gently push them under her rug because she can do procrastination. The words that I struggle to communicate I shove them in her mouth and allow her to vent in the name of anger and frustration.

Deep inside of me though there is a voice stronger than the suggestions, a spirit that is connected to that of the Creator. Deep inside of me there is a spirit of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Yes there is a struggle deep inside of me, just like the two nations in Rebecca’s womb I figured that there will always be a struggle. I rest and get comfort however in the knowledge that though the struggle is real, Jesus Christ overcame it all and I am fighting from the victorious couch.

Deep inside of me I am a lover for the lover of my soul lives in me, deep inside of me there is joy for the One anointed with the oil of joy lives in me. I “belong to Christ Jesus and have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. I live by the Spirit, and daily I chose to keep in step with the Spirit”.

 

Daily Prompt: Perplexed

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via Daily Prompt: Perplexed

I am perplexed that there is an expectation

I am perplexed  that there is a look

I am perplexed that there is the attention

I am perplexed that there is a need for response

 

So what if I was found guilty in their eyes

So what if I was born me

So what if I was born

Being born means that I am to live

 

I am perplexed that I am perplexed

Allowing myself to care for the uncaring

To talk to the deaf

And now I choose not to be perplexed.