Monday, January 31, 2011

Get wet.

Another rain post?

Before I met the Adler, rain to me was a kill joy, an unnecessary occurrence that spoils plans and makes making babies easier. Rain was only needed when it was necessary. It was welcome in the night to enhance sleep but unwanted in the day for it would just cause unnecessary hustle.

The Adler loves the rain and at first I thought it was weird that anyone would choose the rain over the sunshine. She did not love the rain because it caused her to sleep, or because she did not want to wash, no....she just loved the rain. There was a fascination she had with the rain and with time I sort of caught onto this love for the rain.

We do not pick times for the rain to fall. The rain falls on its own accord. There have been many whose past two "christmases" were vitiated because the rain fell on the "wrong" day. Night or day, public holiday or not, when it falls, embrace it.

God's rain is falling. And Arsenal keep on scoring.

See, in God's world, Arsene Wenger is a much better manager than Mourinho. Why? Wenger does not look for the stars. He does not seek out or compete to make the big signings which everyone else is dashing after. Wenger goes for those who can grow, those who have room to learn, those who are not proud.

Luke 5:31-32 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus came to seek out the Wilshere's and Fabregas's and the Djorou's and the Koscielny's and the Sagna's. If you consider yourself a Cristiano, a Rooney, a Drogba, there's no room for you on the Arsenal squad.

God loves those who are not afraid of getting into the rain; those who know their dirt can only be washed away by it. If you're able to play under Wenger, you're ready to play under Christ. The rain falls and only those who are not afraid of getting wet can get clean.

So, before I met the Adler, rain never really caught my fancy but after her, rain has a pleasant feel to it. And more so, because the rain reminds me of the grace of God. The grace that falls free.

The rain is falling; get out and play. Get wet. Get clean.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Can you handle the truth? When the rain falls (Part 2)

Previously I talked about grace and how it can be likened to the rain which falls upon all of us. Sorry to say, there has been a scarcity of rain lately but that does not hinder the graces of God. Take as an example, the favour and grace of God upon Egypt during the time Joseph was alive; God spoke to Pharaoh through a dream and foretold seven years of plenty notwithstanding the seven years of famine that would come after. It took the grace of God to present Joseph as the man who would have the wisdom to save some of the food in the years of plenty for use later during the famine. (Gen 41:33-36) By faith, Pharaoh appointed Joseph as governor (Gen 41:39-40) and kept the land in plenty.

So, can you handle the truth?

Truth must be eaten as a whole. No one should take sides of the truth and claim it as the whole truth. Gird your loins here, this article is about to get messy.

Rom 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
We know God as a God of forbearance, and love and mercy. Many, if not all of us, sorely depend on these qualities of God to get through our regrets and guilt and bad consciences. We have exercised great faith in accepting these qualities of God and thank God that He is such a God lest we be found without hope.

It is a relief that God is merciful but it is a fearful thing that God is just.

I need not look elsewhere in judging myself. I know that I have the capacity to do great evil. Lecrae posits "I notice when people notice me, my exterior is the only way they know it's me..." Do not be deceived, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?..." (1 Cor 2:11). You will never know that I battle with doubt, greed and lust, unless I tell you. I have had and still have issues.

None of us is good. I wish we would all stop trying to pretend that we are "innately" good. Rom 3:10 (Amp) says "As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no, not one." We all need God's rain.

It becomes a snare in today's world when we make distinctions in goodness. The Bible is very clear on many social issues today but I wonder why we are still contentious about them. In today's Uganda, it is better to eat government money with others than eat it alone. It is an excuse for entry level corruption when there is top level corruption(- Corruption is a sort of deceipt and gluttony and greed and selfishness). However, with much searing of our consciences we now make excuses and declare one's sin is greater and therefore God can handle it. In God's eyes, when you commit one sin, you break the whole law! You are as good as an adulterer, murderer, (I use this because we think these to be greater sins- not to be misunderstood, they have greater consequences but still are a breaking of God's law).

Homosexuality is a touchy concept in the world today because here we say, if something is consensual, then it does not concern others. I rather talk about something else for fear of criticism but here are more of my cents. If we accept God is love and forgiving and merciful, why is it hard to accept He is just as well? He has made it clear to us, homosexuality is wrong as is lying and cheating and stealing, downloading songs without paying for them, etc (1 Cor 6:9-10) and that whoever sows in these will reap from them. (Gal 6:7-8)

I am judging myself here, I have committed all those sins, however, I have not found comfort in continuing in them, so I take out my pail and collect the rain. This is the call of God, that we repent. We cannot give excuses to God about sin, He has all the solutions and has made them known to us. Repentance is not confessing one's sins, there is a difference. Repentance can be one's entire lifetime but it involves a contrite heart and a willingness to change plus a dependence on God to effect that change. Confession on the other hand can easily pass for lip service.

When we darken our hearts and sear our consciences it becomes harder to separate truth from lies but like the Bible says, we reap what we sow. This piece goes out to all of us. We all struggle with sin. I am no better than a homosexual in God's book when I keep on stealing, lying, cheating etc. To me, a proud gay person is like having someone proud of being a murderer. Why? There is no concession that what we are doing is wrong and that we need to change. However, make no mistake there is no distinction, -

1 Tim 1:9-10 (NIV,2011) We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.
Fear not, the struggle will never be won by your own attempts.
20For no person will be justified (made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law. For [the real function of] the Law is to make men recognize and be conscious of sin [[a]not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character].

21But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets,

22Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction,

23Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory [b]which God bestows and receives.

24[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,

25Whom God put forward [[c]before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment.

26It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time ([d]in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus.

I reiterate: the rain is falling, take out your pail!

Baseline:Rom 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

When the rain falls, take out the pail! (Part One)

Believe it or not, there was a time when National Water & Sewerage Corporation did not exist. So, there were no pipes, pumps, taps, toilets, tanks and the kind. Water was made available through the rain, or via streams, rivers and lakes. You did not have the luxury of going to the sink to open the water. So you needed to either go to the well, the spring, the river, or whatever place had clean water to help you in your nutritional and hygienic needs.

Water is a utility, and the fortunate have easy access to it. Once you have the plumbing done, you can have the good men from NWSC connect you to their reserves. From then, it becomes a matter of paying your bill as you open the tap whenever you need to.

However, as I was saying before, there was a time when there was no NWSC. ALL of us had no easy access to water. The methods we used were the same except of course the men dressed in purple robes. They had servants at their beck and call. Nonetheless, we needed to do the same thing to get water.

The most basic way of getting water is through the clear drops of rain from above. Back in the day, when it rained, you would take out all possible containers and place them on the veranda so that you would harvest as much water as you could for your personal use. If there were holes in your roof you would place the containers inside the house to make that harvest so that it would save you a trip to the well or wherever you needed to go for the water if it had not rained.

In the era of NWSC, when it rains, we prefer to be inside our houses, a car or have a jacket and umbrella on. No one wants the wet drops on his skin. No one even puts a bucket or pail outside to harvest lest they do not have NWSC services.

When it rains, it rains on all and we all can take out our pails and harvest it, so that we may bathe and brush and have water to drink. This is the grace of God; that it rains upon all of us. When it rains in Ntinda, it rains upon all of Ntinda. The rain is not choosy, it does not discriminate. It falls, upon the good, the bad, in fact even upon the ugly and the weird. It will fall on the bungalow and the shack, upon the murram and the tarmac.

Such is the goodness of God’s grace. However, the rain alone is useless if we do not take out the pails and buckets and whatever it is to trap the rain. See, God’s grace is amazing because it has no limits however, without faith, His grace goes to the drain [or the swamp ;)].

We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory but are justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus(Rom 3:23,24). We are however, not saved by His grace alone. We are saved by grace THROUGH faith (Eph 2:8). The rain is a gift, but we need to take out the pails to receive it.

All mankind has been forgiven. That there is God’s grace. In God’s eyes, a homosexual and a liar are pretty much the same. His grace is available for both. The difference is, will you take out the pail? Will you receive His mercy? His love? His kindness? His forbearance?

Make no mistake, living it good does not mean you are innocent.
Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

It is raining, it’s been raining long. Will you take out the pail? Grace is available. Will you engage your faith?

The truth you may not have heard is
2Co 5:19 whereas God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and putting the word of reconciliation in us.

So this is what I is saying- use your faith. Enjoy God’s grace.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Gone in 60 Seconds....with Nevender Neva Nev

"Kawuna" is back and Ug Girl just tapped me. Have fun with the interview and when you get to the bottom, look for your name and continue with the tagging.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

They actually brought some forms in 1996 to our school asking us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wonder where they took those forms? They should bring them back to us and we laugh!! ...Okay, I too wanted to be a Doctor.

2. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

To trust Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Saviour.

3. What’s the best piece of advice you ever gave?

Would not know.

4. What do you most enjoy about your job?

Creativity. Ah, just being able to express myself the way I know how.

5. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Right now it is Andrew Wommack. I would learn so much. If you had asked me 2 weeks ago I would have said the name of a girl.

6. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Seriously? I'm not saying it here...... Okay there are two. 1. Very quiet class, then an abrupt sound and then eyes on me....tihihi. 2. Entering the S.3 class after I knew every girl in the class had known about my failed heart conquest. Again, all eyes on me.

7. Who is the most important person in your life?

The Word.

8. What’s your worst regret in life?

I wish I had never seen those pictures.....

9. Who is your role model?

I do not have a role model. However, I have people that inspire me : Andrew Wommack, my mother, father, Paul ma brother, Monica my aunt, every person that is happily married.

10. If you could be one person for a day, who would that be?

Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa, as God has destined him to be; and then I would be him for all life.

Alright, a few tags. Dorene, Hellen, The Rising Page, Sleek, mILLY carry this on.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Are you self conscious?

"Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?"

Ever considered the mirror may tell you lies? I heard a man last week say, you have actually never seen your face. Never. No matter how many times you look into the mirror or go to Do.Li.Co., you have never actually seen your face, face to face. You rely on the mirror and the lens to let you look at your face.

What gives you confidence? Is it the way you look, the way you feel, the way you smell, the way you talk, the way you dress or the way you walk? Is it where you walk, where you eat, where you sleep, where you dance, where you drink? Is it your wife, your husband, your child or children, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your clique, your parents, your workplace, your Church?

Many of us will probably look at the above and say yes to a lot of the options placed. To feel alive, to feel loved and important, a great deal of us have learnt and mastered the art of placing confidence in the things our senses can [sense?].

The mirror tells you you are beautiful and you believe it. Your bank account number tells you you are rich and you believe it. It is so easy to believe everything you sense. Those things your physical body understands are what you believe the most.

However, do we ever think to notice how strong the power of words are? The spoken unseen. "Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body...Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" [James 3:3,5].

A word of disapproval from a friend can cause depression, a word from a lover can cause happiness. The spoken unseen has such great power over the felt unseen. In the same way you respond to the things you can see, feel, touch etc, there are also things you cannot sense. These are the things which matter the most to people. For example, "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. " [Prov 21:9], and "Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting,a with strife." [Prov 17:1].

We so often focus on the things that bring us physical comfort and forget that we need to also focus on the unseen. Words have a lot to do with this. Many beautiful women so often doubt it coz one man they esteemed said they were ugly. Or a wise man was told by a fellow that he was foolish. So easy to be moved by words.

Self consciousness is many times a product of our own self examinations, rather a a product of external evaluations. Many times this consciousness goes on to affect the person's confidence in life and other things. Words are important in treating this.

Moreso, the word is important. In His word is life, and health. In God's word is the true you. Your mirror may lie, your friends may lie, your enemies may scorn, so many will tell you stuff. However, at the end of the day, at the end of your life, it is the word of God that matters. It went forth before you did. It is what we need to believe first before we believe any thing else.

Are you self conscious? Dear, be not. Be Christ conscious. Be conscious of what he says about you, of what he did for you. He saved you, redeemed you , forgave you, put you above all things with him. He is life. His words are Spirit and they are life. LIFE!! Friends life! If you believe anything today, let it be what He says about you not what other people say.

Baseline: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. [Jeremiah 29:11]

Monday, January 03, 2011

Rich man problem.

There is a certain rich man mentioned in the Bible said to be customarily clothed in purple and fine linen, and who fared sumptuously every day. Purple and fine linen spoke of wealth and comfort therefore it meant, this man was living the proverbial "good life".

To many of us, the "good life" is a thing which pertains entirely to the physical, that is, good living means all your physical comforts are in place. More and more each day, new inventions are in place to increase convenience. When the conveniences are poked at, then there is a problem.

The travel upheaval during December took a toll on many, here in Uganda you can hear loud jeers when power goes when people are watching their favourite soap or program on t.v.

Good living is a pursuit. "You ain't lived yet till you drive your own car. You ain't lived yet till you own your piece of land. You ain't lived yet till you got your own company." We want to live easy and comfortable.

Now, this rich man we are talking about apparently has no name. Some attribute it to the fact that this is a parable and not a real character, others think it is a grace for all who would consider themselves in the same bracket.

Anyway, what about this rich man? This rich man is as I have said living the good life, however, at his gates is a beggar who seeks to survive by the crumbs that fall from the rich man's table. Dogs lick his wounds.

This beggar's name is Lazarus- in His parables, Christ rarely gives people names, perhaps this was a real occurrence?

Later, the two die. The rich man ends up in hell with torment and Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. Abraham's bosom is a term used by Jews for heaven since their "Father" is Abraham, they hope to be with him when they die, for it is known he was a man with God's favour and grace upon him.

The rich man is suffering and begs that Abraham send Lazarus to cool him with some water, albeit it being a drop from the tip of his finger. Abraham's response is that since the rich man had his good things in his lifetime and Lazarus his pain, it was now time for the first to be the last, the tormented to be the comforted and the comforted to be the tormented.

Moreover, he continues to say that even if that were possible (the temporary quenching of thirst), a great chasm existed between the two and no one could move to and fro.

The rich man is in so much despair that his focus changes to his family. He asks that Lazarus would go to his five brothers and testify to them lest they end up in the same place. What change of focus, what love he seemed to have now. He cared that his family would be saved if not him.

Abraham tells him that Lazarus need not go for they have the prophets and Moses. Interesting to note that there was no excuse for the brothers for they had the Word. God's voice had gone out through Moses and the prophets and they should have paid attention.

The rich man insists and says that if one from the dead were to speak to them, they would repent. As though prophetically, Abraham affirms and says " And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

And this is exactly what we have today. That though Christ died for our sins, though He lived a spotless life, though through faith in Him we can have the righteousness of God, many of us still doubt and refuse to believe. He was that Lazarus who even though he had gone back to the rich man's brothers to testify, they would not have believed.

The good life maybe the world's top priority now but the God life is what God would want us to have. Selflessness instead of selfishness, humility instead of pride, pro-action instead of turning a blind eye, love instead of hate, giving more than receiving.

1Ti 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

Is there a Lazarus at your gate? In your house? At your school? In your work place? Do not go the path of the rich man even though you may have things like him. "...for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Luke 12:15) Fear not, for I am listening to this sermon myself.

Hopefully we can listen to the Lazarus who died, and rose again; Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Story is from Luke 16:19-31)

Baseline: Mat 23:26 Blind Pharisee! First cleanse the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of them may be clean also.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The First Word.

In the beginning was the Word.

What better thing to be reminded of at the start of the new year than the fact that His Word is there even before anything else. Before we make plans and resolutions His Word is there. Before every thing else happens, His Word is there and since He is His Word, He is there.

I cannot stop marveling at the wisdom and grace of God. He is so good that, He goes before us. It says in Hebrews," ...where the Forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. " (6:20) What this piece of scripture is talking about is the promise of God and how He swore by Himself He would bring it to pass. This provides a hope for us- the writer of Hebrews calls it - an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil, (6:19). The veil refers to that most Holy place where no man must approach God without a High Priest.

However, Christ becomes our High Priest and becomes our forerunner. He goes in before us to make sure there is no enmity anymore. Even as the new year starts, Christ is our forerunner. He has taken upon Himself every possible thing that can keep us from having a relationship with God, thus we can enter the most Holy Place.

The Word, is crucial. Knowing God's word improves relationship with God, both literally and metaphorically. In the beginning was the Word. It (He) sets the standard for everything, it paves the way, it builds the house, it is the foundation. It is like starting a car's ignition, if you do not start it, nothing else will work.

It does not only cater for your soul, it works for your physical too. In God's Word is found wisdom, sobriety, hope. I thank God for being reminded at the start of the year to make the Word of God the first thing, that is , the foundation. I trust that with the Word (Christ) constantly at the fore of everything in your life, you shall be blessed. Not only this year, for surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

Joh 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.