Monday, 30 December 2013

The Marriage Boat..........

I have 4 major phobias in my life. Fear of heights, crowds, being surrounded by water and reptiles. I don't know whether its because of my height but when am on a height which is at least 2-storey building high and i look down my whole world seems to be spinning, so how would i explain being on a plane. For water I just fear being in the middle of water say a lake, river, sea or just being surrounded by water with nothing to hold on to. I don't know how to swim and i feel that is suicidal to be in the middle of it. Being in the midst of a large crowd and speaking gives me the jitters and for the last phobia ; creeping reptiles. For example a snake. I don't need to see it. All i need to do is hear of it and you find me running in the opposite direction even though its nowhere near me. I just don't wanna hear of it. It gives me the creeps. Of these phobias i cant tell which is worst.

Unfortunately for me one of these was to be overcomed very soon. The water part. Last Friday my husband and I visited Johannesburg zoo lake. It was just to see the ducks on the lake and probably feed them. Then later we would hung around a little and then go back home. After feeding the ducks for a while my husband said
"Honey why don't we try to have a boat experience today" I looked at him to see if he was kidding, well he wasn't. So i responded.  "OK, is there going to be someone with us like a boat guide or something?" i asked him. "No, there wouldn't." He responded. "Look at the other boats guys on the lake, they have no boat guide with them. You just need to paddle yourself." He replied. That response didn't quiet settle with me so i asked, "and do you per chance know how to swim?" And he responds by shaking his head. "C'mon honey its gonna be fun" and he was off, long gone to get our boat ready. I stood there for a while trying to decide. Whether to run from my fear as i usually do or follow my husband who for the moment had gone fanatic.

Well the husband won! There i was in the boat with him, we both hadn't been in a boat before how much more knowledge of steering one. We've never been in the middle of a lake surrounded by water, we both didn't know how to swim either and we were trusting our instincts. He had both oars so he was paddling. Soon we were able to move from the dock and yes that was quiet a success but for some strange reason we remained at one side of the lake for more than 5 minutes just going round in circles. And no there wasn't any strange current. The lake was very still and peaceful just that my husband couldn't move the boat.

I was dazed just going round in circles and quiet scared. When he tried to steer towards one end, we ended up in the opposite direction. We had to pause for a while and pick up the pace again. We were able to get the hang of stuffs after a while and we had fun doing so. In the midst of these events God taught me something interesting;

1. Marriage was like being in that boat.
2. We were newly married and none of us has been married before, thus no prior experience.
3. That i had to learn to trust my husband to steer us to our destination and not overturn us into the lake.
4. If there is no support from the other partner(meaning me) then there is the probability of we going in circles.
5. Since each of us couldn't see behind us we had to trust the other partner to tell us what was behind us.
6. We have to listen to the other partner on how to steer else we would crash the boat.(This particularly happened on one of the instances where i told him we were about to hit a pole behind him, well he didn't listen so we hit it. It wasn't a big hit though so we were saved.)
7. That everyone on the lake was trying to steer their own boat as it seemed best to them not as the other boat pal was.

In all it was a fun experience which thought me a lot and at the end of the day i was able to overcome my fear of water. Marriage is fun just trust your partner not to crash the boat.

The Child as the Heir.

As part of the Christmas festivities my husband and i visited "The lion's park" in South Africa. This is a resort which houses animals of different species in their natural habitat. Talk of antelopes,roebucks, zebras, ostriches, wild dogs, leopards etc and of course not to forget the Lions who are the king of the jungle. This was a place where tourist could visit these wild animals in their natural habitat without them being caged.

We went round with the warden in a tourist truck where he taught us about each of the animals and their various breeds and also answered any questions that we had. It was quiet fun. However when we got to the lions part it was very daunting.

Merrhhhnnn!!! these were real, live African lions who are not in cages or even sedated. The only thing that kept our fear under check was that they had been fed so they weren't hungry or aggressive. Even in that state we knew well to keep our distance. We were in the truck and no one dared to come out to touch them. They were fearful even as they lounged gloriously under their shades. Something quiet interesting that I noticed was that; each male lion had its own territory and wouldn't share it with another unless they were lioness; simply put their wives or concubines.

Then there came the time to visit their cute little cubs. The cubs were separated from the parents from birth until 6 months and then returned to them afterwards. The interesting part of meeting the cubs was this. They were so cute and harmless. These were caged and there was quite a number of them in one cage. I guess the principle of ruling their own territory didn't apply here. We entered their cage to play with these cubs. Here you could actually touch them and pat their backs. This was a vast contrast to the parent huge lions which we met back there.

Then it hit me about what the apostle Paul said in Galatians 4:1-7;;that the heir as long as he remained a child is no different from a slave even though they owned the entire estate. There it was; as simply as that. Here we were playing with cubs. We could touch them, run our hands through their back, carry them and feel no fear of them because they didn't  yet know who they were or what they were capable of. They even didn't know yet that we were supposed to be afraid of them. 

Imagine how we often look like to the devil when we do not come into a full realization of who we are in Christ Jesus and become as paupers in the sights of circumstances and events he throws at us. 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

It was.......but a Mirage?


Ever trekked across the dessert  and experienced the dryness and the force of the scorching sun at your back? Noticed the vast desert making you feel you were somehow lost though you knew you were still on track?                                                                              Experienced the accompanying thirst with it? Just imagine you are still on that journey. You had brought lots of water but then its all spent and it seems it was not quite enough?

Ok! Ok! so for those of you who have never wondered across an actual dessert. There might have been a day you really felt a thirst for water but then there was no access to it. Yea you got me now! I'm referring to that day. Ever wondered why soda water and other soft drinks couldn't quench that thirst?

Now lets get back to the dessert. You are so thirsty and out of water that you cant wait to get out of the place and probably get to your destination.As tired and as weary as you are, you drag yourself slowly along the path, head down to avoid the sun. You try shielding your eyes to prevent dust from getting into it. You are moving gradually and you pause for a while to catch some breath. You try raising your head a little bit to make sure you haven't wondered of your track and there it is! A glistering stretch just a few meters ahead. Something like a stream or flowing water.

Water! There it is. You are energized again and this time you try to move faster. Trying to get to it.Trying to seek relief. You've walked a considerable distance just to get to it. After hours and hours of walking and warding off the doubts of what you've actually seen or thought you saw. You would rather hate to admit it. But you finally come to the acceptance that it was but only a MIRAGE!.

Ironically, that's how most of us are right here on earth. We are frantically searching and following after so many things. All with the intention of achieving satisfaction. Maybe a career path that you've spent a lifetime investing in, marriage, a position at work, some amount in your bank account, your car, house, etc. One way or the other you are trying to achieve a status quo laid down by either your friends, family or colleagues. Have you ever wondered why when you achieve one of those goals it still doesn't feel like "that's it"?. Maybe it does satisfy for a while but then you move along trying to search for the next "wow" thing. The world at large is trying to set a lot of things on display for us. Things meant to fill a void that only the one who created it can satisfy. And that is God.

You seek for something and that's why you keep pushing in a world you've not yet figured out. May we not get lost in all this spiral of life. And may we draw near to the one who is the living stream that never dries. So we can constantly be satisfied.

Isaiah 55:1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

John 4:14.........but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Monday, 4 March 2013

THE SCARLET ROPE PT3



Rufus had watched as the men stood up to follow Rahab. He was in the inn and had witnessed the whole incident. He got up and slid away. He was going straight to the King’s palace. He knew who these men were. He himself was a wonderer who came in and out of the city often. He had met the likes of such men. They were Israelites. And their appearance in the city only confirmed the rumor going round. These men were after their city.

They were a strange people, following a strange god they claim they worship but cannot see. Anyway their god was powerful and had brought them much conquest. Because of this they were greatly feared by all though they were but a small people.

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At the King’s palace, they news had brought in much fear and insecurity. Servants were seen whispering among themselves. The King was greatly outraged by such news. He ordered some guards along with Rufus to Rahab’s abode. They were to bring the men out to him for strict questioning and later sentenced to death. The King was angry but all knew that this anger was greatly motivated by fear.

He would be the third King in a row of Israel’s conquest and wouldn’t want the spies to get away with that. Who knew how much they have learned from Rahab. That woman knew the secret he spoke even in his chambers. How she did, he had no idea.

------------------------------------------------------------&--------------------------------------------------------------------
Meanwhile, Rahab was still in the room with her guest. It was evening now. She was enthralled by all she had heard initially but hearing it from her guest’s mouth was enough. She wished she belonged to this group of people who did not fear anything and to be led by such a strange but powerful God. Suddenly her servant girl rushed into her room panting. 

“Madam! Madam! Rufus and some guards are heading our way”. The servant girl spoke. This made Rahab panic but she didn’t show this to the servant girl. “Ok thank you dear”. And she let her go.

Turning to her guest; “quick come with me, there is no time”. She told them. She led them behind a hidden door towards her roof. She was the only one who knew this door. It was mostly overloaded with clothes and draperies. She had some stalk of flax there since it was the time of harvest. 

“Lie down quietly and do not move till I come for you” She told them.

She went back down and began to re-arrange the room. She messed up her hair and removed the upper part of her garment. She ruffled the bedspread to portray that she recently had a guest lover. Then the big bang on the door came.

“The King orders you Rahab to bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.” The lead guard shouted.

Rahab came to the door and opened it. “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from.  At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” She lied.

“You can come inside and check for yourselves”. Rufus peeped in and noticed that there was no one there. 

Besides the room was too small to hide two men no matter how small they were.
“Quick lets go after them so that we can catch up with them.” Rufus spoke

So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

“Hmmm”, she breathed a relief sign. A thought came to her. Why be part of a city or nation that would eventually be destroyed. She would save herself because surely the God of the Israelites had given the land of Jericho into their hands. She could also escape their destruction with her siblings and her parents and even her servants.

Besides, she wanted to be part of this well known and feared people. She wanted to know their God. The owner and maker of heaven and earth. She wanted to experience being led by ONE who was greatly feared and perhaps serve him too. That is if he allowed prostitutes to be part of his flock. She liked the way God treated his people it was like a father as well as a mother. He watched over them jealously not like those useless gods her people had. All the stories she had heard about Him was true. Then she wanted what they had.

Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, 

“I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.[b] 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

12 Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.”

14 Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------To be continued.................

Friday, 1 March 2013

A SCARLET ROPE PT2.



  It was late afternoon, around 3:00 pm. The inn was up and running. Men sat around tables in the sitting area drinking and making merry. Servants were seen running to get orders for the clientele. Rahab was seen behind a counter engaging in luscious conversation with a man.
Two men walked in silently. They had cloaks around them. They went into a corner of the inn and sat. It was obvious they were strangers. A servant girl came to them and offered them water and wine. Rahab watched all this from a distance. They really weren’t from around here. But they also looked like potential clients. Rahab walked to them and inclined at their table.
“Who are you?” She questioned.” I can see you are not from around here.” “You must be very tired from your journey”.” I am Rahab, at your service.”
“We are men from Shittim, may we speak to you privately instead”. One man spoke. This brought a gleam to Rahab’s eyes. More clients meant more money.

She got up from the table and asked them to follow her. She led the way towards the back of the inn where her house actually was. She swung her hips seductively as she led them. If these men wanted services, services they would get. She knew her job and she was good at it. She grinned.

Her profession brought her lots of money, coupled with the running of the inn. This thought also brought with it that age old familiar sadness back into her heart. Her parents were against her profession. Her siblings looked at her with disdain and wouldn’t come close to her. They all lived in the same town but she couldn’t remember the last time a sibling came to visit her. All her siblings were married; they had children, fields and other properties. So her parents were proud of them. But not her; after it became apparent that she possessed a mind of her own. They left her to her own devices. However the annual gifts she lavished on her parents were never rejected.

She was still unmarried. She had the looks that were the envy of all women. Her eye lashes were long and dense as a thicket. Her tender face and lovely mouth that always had that smile that lured men away. She was endowed with young tender breast, skin and backside then never seemed to sag or age with time. But who would want to marry a prostitute?
 As she opened the door to her house, one of the men quickly pushed her into the room, covered her mouth from screaming.
One said ‘We are spies sent by our leader to spy the land.” “Tell us about this place and we won’t kill you if you oblige”. What do you know about this place?” “You are a native, aren’t you?”
The barrage of questions seems endless. This was no joke and no foreplay either. Their demeanor had changed. A sudden fear gripped her.
What was she going to do? There was nobody around to help her escape. She kept stealing glances around to see if there was something she could use to escape.
She heard one man say “woman! Do not fear because we are Israelites, from the land of Egypt.”

That statement made her relax. She’s heard about them. Actually the whole city had. She looked at the men. These weren’t men drawn to lust and wickedness like those she knew. How come she didn’t notice that earlier before? She relaxed a bit more this time around.
She took in a deep breath. “Please let’s sit. I would like to know more about your mission and how I can help you” she spoke softly to them.

-----------------------------------------&----------------------------to be continued

Thursday, 28 February 2013

A SCARLET ROPE PT1



It was dawn and nature was stirring up to call forth the Morning. A cool breeze came through the window stirring Rahab from her sleep. She opened her eyes. As she lay down silently; she came abreast with her surroundings again. It was still dark but she knew it was just a few hours before the whole town came alive again.

As she lay down, she could hear the sound of the breeze raising her curtains, she could hear the crow of a cock from the distant house and again the steady heartbeat of her night lover, Uriah.
Wait! It was time for him to leave. She moved from her side of the bed to cover herself. This made the man beside her stir in his sleep. He might have sensed the empty space by him but still went on sleeping. She quickly covered herself and went to his side and whispered in his ear; 

“Uriah! Uriah! Get up; it’s time to go”.
Uriah opened his eyes and blinked. Trying to come to grasp of his surroundings, he blinked a third time.
“It’s time to go’, Rahab said again.

The man understood exactly what that meant. He grudgingly got up from bed and began to dress.
He was in the house of the most renowned prostitute in the land of Jericho and its surroundings. She had many clients; the high and noble as well as the ordinary. This is because she maintained an inn where she welcomed visitors and locals. The location of her abode served her well to all intent and purposes. She was located right by the city’s wall. This made it most comfortable for the well respected to sneak in and out and still maintain their dignity.

He was a well respected man and didn’t want others seeing him come out of his mistress house. Not at this time of the day. It would cause a big dent on his image. He finished dressing. On his way out, he slipped 120 pieces of silver into the coin bag hanging by the door and stepped out.
His senses were sharpened as a fresh breeze slapped him into reality.
Meanwhile, inside the house, Rahab was putting things in order. She opened her curtains to allow in more breezes to remove the stale air within the house. She folded some clothes and straightened the bed. She took her water jug and stepped out to take her bath.

To be continued.........................

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Be still and know.............




Psalm 46:10
    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

A simple statement "Be still............" Sounds easy huh but is it? God speaks to us today saying "Be still and know that I am God". Why is HE  saying so? When God told the Israelites to be still, what was the situation that they were in? 

Definitely not a favorable one. Pharaoh of Egypt was coming behind them with chariots and trained warriors. Before them was the red sea. Like the saying; "stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. However this one was "red" and not blue. They did not know how they would escape and I am sure they didn't know how to defend themselves either against trained warriors. With what would they use in combat? The sheep, unleavened bread or the silver and gold they plundered from the Egyptians?

They knew and believed God had sent Moses to help them come out but they hadn't yet seen the wonders of God. The natural instinct of man is to do something or anything when in a tough situation because of FEAR. In this case they didn't know what to do but throwing accusations, angry fist or murmuring was a pretty option to them. Then God tells them "Be still........" How easy would that be if you were there? Seriously it would have helped if God had added the plan for deliverance right after saying “Be still”. At least natural calmness would have followed. He didn’t. Only the leader heard the instructions.

God knows we always want to do something about the situation or challenges we face, using our own strength and might but he never called us to do so. It is human inclination to help ourselves when we are in situations like how the first Adam and eve helped themselves by covering their nakedness. However when it comes to our relationship with him; He says "Be still...” David says in the book of psalm 23:2 "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters." God knows naturally we do not want to lie down but when we allow God to take over, he will make us lie down in green pastures where we didn't plant or toil for. Reason is he led us there and it is the still waters that he would lead us to.

So how easy is that? To me doing nothing is tougher than doing something. I can’t seem to help it, I feel better when I know something is being done. May not necessarily be by me but I would definitely add some anxiety here and there to make it complete. I might even come up with scriptures and quotes on why I should do something. My reward normally ranges between migraines and dark circles around the eyes but that isn’t what God wants me to do. He just wants me to be still. So then what is it in being still? What does it even mean? Is it when I sit at one place and keep quiet? This is how Wikipedia defines stillness;

Adjective: Not moving or making a sound
Noun: Deep silence and calm; stillness
Adverb: Without moving
Verb: Make or become still
Synonyms
Adjective: quiet - calm - tranquil - peaceful - placid - quiescent
Noun: silence - quiet - calm - stillness - hush - quietness
Adverb: yet - more - nevertheless
Verb: calm - pacify - appease - soothe - quiet - lull - quieten

From the above if God is telling you to be still. He means do the above. Stop worrying about things which are none of your concern. Like I mean “you” can’t fix it and even if you can do something he says don’t. So relax and know he is control. What do we gain from it? How does it help us?

Isaiah 30:15 says “For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength, But you were not willing” Our strength comes when we are still and waiting on the lord. It is only when the river is still before one can see its depth/bottom. In your stillness you gain strength and God is exalted.

So be still.........................