Thursday, 9 December 2010

Waiting for the Palace

The other day flipping through the channels I heard one of those preachers on tv exhorting his congregation not to wait for the palace to serve God, you can do it even when you're in the pit. That analogy was clearly from the story of Joseph in Genesis. They sold him to slavery in Egypt but he was still faithful to his master, they threw him in prison but he became the 'chief prisoner' or so to speak. Wherever he was he didn't let circumstances determine his attitude to service and devotion to God. So I king of got what the pastor was talking about though I listened only a couple of seconds.

Thinking about it made me realise that sometimes in life when things aren't so rosy we're like I'll do this and this when I get the money, or when I get that big job but we tend to forget that when we are faithful with the little we'll be entrusted with much- Luke 16:10. Really hits homw for me coz right now I'm at a stage in my life where I feel I'm limited in what I can do but when I think about it I've got the greatest resource of them all- time and that's priceless. So as I work towards getting to the palace I can do something in the pit to bless those around me! At the same time there's no need to despise the day of small beginnings Zech 4:10


Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Story

We all have a story to tell
Who are you?
Where are you coming from?
Where you at ?
Where are you going?
Could think of thousands of questions to ask

What I see now is a work in progress
The creator made you gave you to those two who cared for you
Gave many more who came along the way
Many have been your day
Some tears, some laugh
Some ups some downs

With each passing minute the Good Lord gives it continues to unfold
Everyday a new page is written in the book
See a good story is enjoyed slowly
Page by page letter by letter
Some chapters move fast, some slow but I still would like to read
This story called your life

There is another story I know all to well
Ready to tell if you treat me well
I have a tale that may not sound oh so swell
but it will all come together if you choose to dwell

There is yet another story
For which pen is yet to meet paper
This ones different as it'll take two to tell

So now as I stand here looking and asking
What's your story?
Tell me yours and I'll tell you mine
Then hand in hand we will set out to write ours
And when the Good Lord sees fit he'll put the final dot
On that  final page

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Does it work?

There's been a lot happening on the transport scene in Kenya in the last few weeks. Quite a number of pronouncements from the transport minister Amos Kimunya on the way forward for the public transport sector. At the same time the Nairobi town jerk clerk decided to make motorist fork out more for the 'first class' parking facilities in our city and then giving analogies of Whisky and Busaa... Anyway I'm not here to discuss drinks but one of my pet topics- the traffic jams in Nairobi in which I've spent many an hour.

The government and authorities can be given credit for realising that we do have a problem here whether it is to 'restore sanity'- was it there in the first place or to reduce congestion. I'm no urban planning genius but I ask the question will it work? They've tried other methods before like doubling parking fees a few years back and we still have the same issues. Another effort which in my opinion failed in it's set objectives is the 'Michuki rules' which were introduced  in 2004 and have ended up being watered down, especially in 2007 as a campaign gimick. Now let me use my ignorance to poke holes in that initiative.

Now about that sanity, there's a this habit that is simply annoying and the biggest culprits are matatus- 'overlapping'. I tell you the number of times I've felt like I can just spill a sack of nails on the roadside to stop them Now that's insanity right there like the rest of us who are keeping our cars on the road are mad you decide to use the outside of the road. Nowadays even when you're waiting to turn at a junction some guy will overlap you- insanity I tell you!

When bwana Michuki set out to whip the matatu boys into shape we were all applauding. We'd finally get good, clean and efficient public transportation. Gone would be the days of miraa chewing, scruffy looking youths hanging on the doors of vehicles blasting music at deafening volumes while terrorizing the other road users. That would be replaced with nice polite service with clean uniforms and name tags... so much for that! Lasted a few months and if there's one thing that was achieved then it was ridiculous queues at the Motor Vehicle department as the matatu crews struggled to comply.

Once again in my humble opinion, the most important regulation was that of speed governors, seat belts in my opinion have no place in buses which are operating in the CBD. I believe that these regulations led to the 'matatu-ization' of public transport in Nairobi at least. Let me take you back a few years to when KBS was Kenya Bus Services not the glorified matatus of today. Back then they served all major routes in the city and you'd be assured of getting to where you wanted to go in good time as they were regular. Another thing is that they had standing passengers- a minor inconvenience if you were going a short distance but woe unto you if you had to stand all the way from Nairobi to Ngong like it so often happened. The service was affordable and did the job well enough but that one company was clearly not able to handle all the passengers and they got overloaded most of the times. Oh and standing passengers means more capacity per vehicle hence less traffic on the road but I think only proper buses should be allowed to carry standing passengers not Matatus.

That was then fast forward to now. Standing at the Kencom stage you realise that these buses be it City Hoppa, Shuttle, KBS, Double M etc are behaving like big matatus, soliciting for passengers as they cause a long traffic hold-up along Moi Avenue. What's more they don't even serve all the city routes just the short ones that have been deemed profitable to them. There's no standardization or timetable so that you can tell when the next bus is coming. In my opinion all this sprung up from the Michuki rules which in essence were good but they were never reviewed so as to make the system more effective and efficient to the 'common mwananchi' (that famous cliche)

So looking at it critically have the Michuki rules really worked as well as we'd expected. I'd say no! it's made public transport more expensive and less convenient for many though progress may have been made in the area of comfort. However I believe that change is inevitable and however good a policy may look at first it may need to be tweaked later.

Clearly our policy makers have their work cut out for them! I'm wondering if this isn't one of the reasons we have a Nairobi Metropolitan ministry. Nairobi residents need a good transport SERVICE. Emphasis on service as right now it's pretty much a dog eat dog world of profiteering matatu operators whereas what is needed is (cliche alert) public private partnerships that will deliver value to the customers at minimum cost. May I say that the local authorities should also subsidize the system if they are to justify milking more money from us- no taxation without service delivery! Therefore I laud the latest effort of having Matatus run by Saccos and companies- that would be a good way to pool resources so that they can acquire high capacity vehicles. I think we may have to move back to move forward by re-introducing the buses that could carry up to 90 passengers. That way we'd reduce the number of vehicles by a factor of at least 6 considering 14 seaters.

That's just one suggestion I'm sure that with greater consultations better solutions to our problems can be found. We are already wasting too many man hours in traffic. The new highways may help but only if we use them effectively and efficiently!

Another aspect of our transport system which I believe hasn't been used to the maximum is bicycles. A large portion of the City is pretty much flat i.e Eastlands and building cyclist lanes on those roads will provide a cheaper and more environmentally friendly means of transport.

Just a few thoughts but I believe that if we put our heads together we can come up with lasting solutions. Additions, subtractions and criticisms are welcome

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Brown Envelope...

Those of you who live in Nairobi have heard of 'jobless corner' that area outside the Hilton where you may find frustrated Kenyans some young. some old holding brown envelopes looking all beat with dusty shoes. I once was in that category 'consultants' who were freelancing. Was a few years back just after I'd left campus and it's so easy to forget that dry period once you get settled in the working world. That I did after finally making it to the land of milk and honey after roaming in the desert for a while.

It truly is a time of ups and downs, false hopes, trails that lead to nowhere, some that lead somewhere but it is so gratifying when you find that all elusive jobs. Who likes receiving those all too common regret letters- usually from your dream employer who you may have been praying, even fasting for. Attending interviews some promising, some total train wrecks as you are out of your depth because they're clearly expecting a more experienced person. There are also those that may have even gone smoothly but you never heard back again from the prospective employer!

Graduates usually come into the working world with great expectations and their dream career mapped out in their heads and after a few months you realise what a jungle it is out there. You may have been thinking what a superstar like me with an honours degree? they'll be jumping over each other to snap me up! They are of course th fortunate few who like step out of campus into work and even have to take leave for graduation then they are those who stay for  months even years before getting a job. You really can't predict what will happen next. Then as usual there's those adverts that ask for somebody with x years of experience and you wonder what to do with 0 years! Crazy time it is and the Kenyan job market is pretty much an employers' market and many find themselves snapping up the first thing that comes along.

Inevitably frustration may creep in when you find yourself still hanging there months later, maybe you do an internship or something like that for little or no pay but all of us want that big pay slip at the end of the month. What a relief it is when the waiting finally ends and you get called for that interview and what can measure to the joy of hearing that you've actually been hired for the job? Before then you have to survive on hope and prayer as it's a season that is temporary not permanent.

Well all this hits pretty close to home for me, not the first time as a 'consultant' but have the unenviable title of being between jobs. Experience is a bit more intense as I know what it is like to have an income and so have even greater motivation and sometimes frustration esp when I know I gave something up for what I expected would be better. Of all the virtues we aspire to have patience is the hardest one to cultivate- somebody once said it carries a lot of wait but I know in the end I'll emerge stronger. as for now it's waiting praying and walking around with those brown envelopes!

One of them!

All Kikuyus like money!

All Luos are proud

All Merus are bad tempered

Guess you've heard them all before

All men are dogs

All women want is money

You can't trust men

Maybe you've heard that too

It may be true that some are

It is also true that some are not

But how will you know

Without a chance given?

See all men have their flaws

Women too are not left behind

Life may deal have dealt you a bad hand

There is yet a different tomorrow

Just because the other did it

needn't mean the next one will

Lest you end up giving the label

He is just one of them!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Essential Reading

Been a while since I trudged the land that is the blogosphere but I've come across some Kenyan blogs of late that are a great read mainly due to their humour, wit and great writing

Here goes


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Be Prepared!

Ephesians 6:10-20

Vs 13: put on the armour so that you may stand in the evil day.

The time to put on the armour is all the time especially when things are good- keep training yourself. Even when there is no war soldiers are constantly training so that when the battle comes they’re ready. Keep exercising your spiritual muscles! ! Tim 4:8

If you don’t prepare before when the battle comes you’ll be exposed and easily defeated. A soldier does not start donning his armour when he sees the battle at hand, he does it way earlier in the barracks before he set out.

What is this armour that we are told to put on? The fact that we have to put it on means that it doesn’t come from ourselves but from God It’s actually described in the order in which it is put on by the typical Roman soldier.

The Belt of truth: Verse 14 The belt was the first item to be worn with leather strips hanging down to protect the legs. As a Christian you are supposed to live a life of practical truthfulness and honesty otherwise how else can you stand against the father of lies? Also just as a belt holds the armour together truth will hold our life together with a sense of direction and  purpose

Breastplate of righteousness: Verse 14b Was made of hard leather or metal and goes all the way around the upper body. This righteousness is not just that of Christ received through salvation but the righteous, practical character of believers. Doing that which is good and right will guard our hearts whereas ungodly living brings on emotional guilt as well as judicial guilt.

Feet ready with the gospel of peace: Verse 15 The soldier wore hard studded shoes to protect his feet. The Christian should always be ready to go out to defend and spread the gospel.

Shield of faith: Verse 16 This is above all. The shield was large 4 feet long and 2 and half feet wide and offered sufficient protection for most of the body. When we put our faith in God Satan’s assaults cannot penetrate

Helmet of Salvation: Verse 17a Protects the head. A blow to the head will most likely be nearly fatal. The same way a helmet protects the head the "hope" that salvation provides can protect our minds against things like despair and fear.

Sword of the spirit: Verse 17b This is the only offensive weapon in the armour of God. In Hebrews 4:12 the word of God is likened to a sword A believer has to have an intimate knowledge of he bible and not only that but speak specific words into the specific situation

Prayer: Verse 18 It may not be part of the armour per se without prayer the armour would be of no use and we are told to “pray always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit” vs 18. It is a continuous process come rain come sunshine we have to keep praying. In fact when things are going well that’s the best time to stock up your spiritual reserves and build your muscles because a time will come when you will not have the strength to do it yourself and others will have to stand in the gap for you. When Joseph was in Egypt (Genesis 41:17-36) they had 7 years of plenty in which they filled their stores for the 7 years of famine that were to come. However we may not always have the luxury of knowing the coming season but if we are always prepared the battle shall not overcome us.

This message was inspired by a conversation I had recently with some of my friends about a season of trials that came my way recently but somehow before then my spiritual roots had been deepened and it was like God was preparing me for what was to come. If the battle had found me far from God I would so easily have succumbed but thank God that my shield of faith had been strengthened and was able to use the sword of the spirit to wage war. So my final word to you is keep working at it, praying, spending time in God’s word even when your life seems flat you can always stand with those in the midst of hard times and the time will surely come when they’ll stand with you.

Be blessed

P.S  saw this somewhere on facebook

A Christian streaker - someone who puts on ONLY the helmut of salvation! We also need the belt of truth,the breastplate of righteousness,the shoes of readiness to share God's peace, and the shield of faith! And above all, we need ALWAYS to trust in God thru prayer. Barbara Johnson.

and that's the 1st sermon :)

Monday, 13 September 2010

In your Dreams

It's that time of year again where I blog about an exceptional movie I have had the pleasure of viewing. Last year Avatar gave us a visual feast but may have been a tad bit thin on storyline. However this year's pick takes the cake. What's more this is a repeat offender - Christopher Nolan directed my 2008 pick The Dark Night. This time he's taken even more honours as the writer and director of Inception. Similar to Avatar for James Cameron, Inception is a labour of  love for Chris with him having started work on it in 2001 and it was well worth the wait!

Chris has delivered a movie that requires your complete concentration from start to end due to it's intricate multi-layered storyline- bat an eyelid and you may miss something. I suppose if I watch it again I'll pick up some details I missed the first time round. The storyline is pretty fresh too, the last movie I watched concerning dreams was Nightmare on Elm Street though it bears a lot of similarities. Complex as it is that doesn't mean that it's all cerebral as it has a good number of eye catching action sequences to give your eyes a feast. Another thing I liked about it was that the dialogue was pretty clean not laden with profanity like some other action movies.

One thing I'm not falling for is 'Mombasa' They tried really hard to fool us but any Kenyan who's been there will realise it's not authentic. Kind of sad that a scene like that which would have easily been shot locally and done some good for our film and tourism industries ended up being shot in Morocco.

The only negative thing I can think of about the movie is that there was no strong main character but in general it's a good movie which will get nominations for Technical aspects at the Oscars. I'm guessing Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, maybe even Best Director and Best Picture who knows. Christopher Nolan has struck again!

And for my parting shot something I came across on the net- ' Leonardo DiCaprio looks really dreamy in Inception'

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Only on paper?

We have a new constitution. Last week we went out in our numbers to give our opinion on the proposed law and the overwhelming majority approved of it. This is a long awaited moment in the history of our country, the culmination of a long struggle which started about twenty years ago. No doubt this is a significant event as we put the pieces together for a new Kenya after the tragedy of the post election chaos in 2008 otherwise known as agenda 4. Some have gone as far as to say that we have a new Kenya. In the heat of the moment we would be tempted to make such conclusions but is it really true? Do we really have a new nation or is it just new on paper for now?

A new Kenya spelt out in that document, changes to our political and social order which well executed will have great benefits to all. However for now it remains as a book- a collection of words on paper. It will take human effort from our leaders and the citizenry at large to make it work. For instance since it was approved social ills like bribery, corruption, inequality still exist. Political change is easy on paper but the social change needs to come from the minds and hearts of the people who have to be willing to change, so let’s pull together and make it happen.

Similarly a long time ago a people were set apart by God for special blessings and were given a set of laws by which to live by and God promised them good success if they kept them –Joshua 1:9. They were numerous and covered many areas of life and would no doubt be hard to maintain, looking at them critically they offered a way to walk clean and righteous. However they failed miserably time and time again and suffered the consequences for it by being taken into captivity and in various other ways. Of course I’m talking about the story of children of Israel in the old testament who were called out of Egypt into the Promised Land. They may have failed in keeping those laws but the Lord promised a new better covenant where he would write the laws in their hearts forgive them their sins and would not need anybody to teach them. Jeremiah 31:31-35. A different kind of law where God does not leave them to their own devices but promised to pour out his spirit on them-

The lesson we learn from the Israelites and their numerous failures is that the written law can not produce the desired change, the people have to obey and change the way they live. In other words the transformation comes from the inside out not outside in. How great it is that we now have a covenant where the law is now in our hearts through Christ who is in us Romans 8:9-11 not just the dead letter of the law 1 Corinthians 3:6.

So now as we reflect on change in our country, my question is have you experienced the greatest and most lasting change? That can only come from God working within you and obedience to his will. Be blessed

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Microsoft and Safaricom- a comparison

Was thinking about these two companies which have become giants in their respective fields over the years and I noticed there are some similarities between the two that go beyond their dominance. So please take a few min to look at my observations.

We begin at the top of the two companies. Both have been driven by leaders who are similar in some ways, Microsoft had Bill Gates as it's founding president and Safaricom Michael Joseph also known as MJ. They're both said to be bullies and driven by results and another vital element is their vision. Gates' vision was to have a computer on every desk and MJ's driving force was to take communication to the people. Largely both companies have succeeded in that and most importantly their strategy was to go for the common consumer while their competitors went for the niche markets- Apple in the case of MS decided to keep their architecture locked up while Kencell went for the high end of the market. So by catering to the masses they achieved their now dominant positions.

Another similarity os found in their early days. When MS- DOS was chosen as the operating sytem for the IBM Personal computer in 1981 they hit the jackpot. This was probably the event that propelled them to the great heights they enjoy today. In essence they piggy- backed on a bigger company and that enabled them to support the other clone makers too. Safaricom on the other hand were also part of Telkom Kenya and had the luxury of using their infrastructure as they were setting up.

Another thing that I've also touched on a bit is their competitors. Apple produced the Macintosh which was generally considered to be technically superior and had a better interface but had the disadvantage of being more costly. Therefore the average computer user stuck to the good old black and white interface of DOS. Closer to home Kencell too had a more reliable and congestion free network but they also suffered the same disadvantage of cost as Apple did and the masses flocked to Safaricom.

The public relations and marketing of the 2 companies is also similar. MS may not have created the graphical user interface but they popularised it as they did word processing with Word, spreadsheets with excel and presentations with powerpoint. They were alble to package and market the products in a format that was acceptable to everybody. Safaricom too were not the first network to offer for example internet services or airtime transfer but with innovative products with catchy names like bambanet and sambaza they endeared themselves to the Kenyan people.

As far as accusations go they have been 'guilty' of similar crimes. Microsoft have been for a long time accused of monopolistic practices by using their market dominance to undercut the competition. A good example was the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows which led to Netscape's demise. Safaricom have also had their fair share of problems being accused of locking their subscribers in with tariffs that discourage off net calls.

Interesting coincidences can you think of any more?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

If only I had...

This Sunday in church we asked an interesting question "if only I had 'X 'my life would be complete" or something in those lines. Got me thinking about my focus in life and if I really got what I wanted I'd be complete. Many times in life we look for that thing that will make us happy, complete us or show us that we have arrived. For some it's education, a job, money, a man/ woman or an object such as a house or car. However once you get it you still find yourself wanting something else. FOr example when working you feel that your salary is never enough and keep looking for that raise but at the end of it even when you're earning millions it's still not enough.

For me that thing was a car, to be more precise I thought once I get myself a Range Rover sport I'll have arrives and would just sit back and tell God " I'm done now you can take me home". Looking back that was a foolish thing to say and was thinking- what if God takes that seriously? Not the greatest thing to live for now. Another thing I realised is that what I thought was so great and special is quite common today. I'm even tempted to say the Range Rover sport is the mew Vitz as there are so many on our roads today! Same would be said if I was seeking a mate or a child for example I would just walk down the streets and see lots of people have that too. So I search for something special that not everybody has but is only meant for me- my own purpose from God and once I get that I'll be more fulfilled than anything provided by a material thing or person.

Jesus Christ asked what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his own soul(Matthew 16:26) and these words resonate with me now more than ever as I see that it's not all about acquiring more stuff but laying my treasures up in heaven (Matt 6:20) and I pray that I may always have the right focus to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). Really hard with all these messages coming all around us about what success is.

Be blessed all as you get focused!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

All About The Game

What a month it’s been. The greatest sporting event going on in Africa! The world came to Africa and we welcomed them with the open arms. In the beginning we thought that this would be Africa’s time to shine but turns out that home ground advantage counts for nothing. In any case the wintry weather being experienced right now would be quite hard for us in tropical Africa to handle it I don’t think that’s an excuse. The African football game has come a long way with some of our own plying their trade in the big European leagues and making a name for themselves. Naturally some names like Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o and Michael Essien come to mind. So with those stars you would think African teams would have done something significant but we’ve been shown that we need to up our game!

However we can not ignore the great run Ghana had even without their big star Essien. They did us proud by making it to the quarter finals and though there exit was under somewhat dubious circumstances they fought bravely and gave a good account of themselves. What’s more being the world under 20 champions the future is bright and the only way to go is up.

If there’s one thing that has made this tournament spicier than most is the unpredictability. Some who were pre-tournament favourites were bundled out and we had quite a number of upsets in the group stages. The finalists in the last tournament both booked early tickets home, one for a lack of ideas the other for lack of discipline which was a huge shame for former world champions. Ha even a final consisting of Serbia and Uruguay was plausible at some point. At one point the balance of football power appeared to have moved to the South Americans but in the end Europe held their own.

Although football is just a game there are some lessons that can be drawn from it. Forrest Gump said that life is like a box of chocolates, I say that life is a game of football- you’ve got to have the right tactics, wisdom it is called. Comparison of life to sport with life with sport is also found in the bible where Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” Similarly on 11th June 32 teams were in contention for the world cup but only one will be crowned champion on 11th July…

In football to succeed you need the right tactics and in life you need the right wisdom which is the most important thing Prov 4:7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” About tactics it’ now obvious that football is very highly tactical gone are they days when people would just kick a ball in the air and somebody would run after it. Also missing which I find sad is the end to end dribbling and trickery that used to be there in the days of old. In fact a few of the early games were boring in that the teams were more interested in not losing than actually winning games! However in spite of that a team like Germany was able to stamp its authority playing positive attacking football. You may keep possession of the ball and have a good defence but in the end the only statistic that matters is goals so you have to play to win.

Another lesson can be obtained from the dismal performance of the African teams especially Nigeria and Cameroon. They play good football but couldn’t pull themselves together in front of goal. A case in point is that of Yakubu Aiyegbeni and his miss of the tournament. Nigeria had found themselves in a very good position where even though they had no points all they needed was a win to take them to the next round but they decided to become their own worst enemies. For African football to get to the next football we need to be more ruthless at finishing like the Germans. So lesson number two is you got to take your chances and well too not having 10 shots on goal and zero on target!

Next up are the underperformers like Italy and France who only have the past to look to. Oh and who could forget England and their favourite song about 1966 the only time they lifted the cup. Italy were reigning world champions coming into the tournament but that counts for nothing on the day and they struggled against lowly opposition such as New Zealand! Lesson number three- the past doesn’t count you have to perform on the day or you start packing!

France made a fool of themselves with their theatrics off the pitch prompting some to say that it was Karma visiting them after that dubious handball that sent them to South Africa. Their display of indiscipline in disrespecting their coaching staff was a blot to an otherwise good tournament. Naturally their lack of discipline translated to poor performance on the pitch. They also had a galaxy of stars but they couldn’t deliver as a team. Contrast this with Germany who were written off by their own Lothar Matthaus as below par without their injured star Michael Ballack. The proved the critics wrong with the best attacking team play of the tournament scoring 4 goals on 3 occasions. Teamwork took them to those great heights; every time they went forward they looked dangerous dues to their speed and accurate passing and good positioning, the hallmarks of good team play. Lesson number four- teamwork will win.

Oh and who could forget the excuses. One given by France was noise from the vuvuzelas keeping them awake. That horn has come up for criticisms from the players saying that they can’t hear themselves or the ref’s whistle. The ball was also criticized for being erratic at times; however I find it strange that Japan could use it so well in set pieces. In my opinion that’s just hot air! When we lose or under perform it’s easy to give excuses but they are not always the reason why. Lesson five- No excuses!

All African football fans will find the quarter final match between Ghana and Uruguay hard to forget. I for one have never been so disappointed by a football match. After dominating for long periods they were given a golden opportunity to win with a last minute penalty but that was not to be. They had been cruelly denied by a hand ball on the line but Asamoah Gyan who was consistent from the spot failed to deliver on the big day. Sometimes no matter how hard you try it’s just not your day but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Lesson number 6.

We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve experienced the thrill of the victory and the agony of defeat but in the end only one will prevail. Similarly in life we have ups and downs but we’ve got to keep our eyes on the mark and finish well. In South Africa they are fighting for a trophy that doesn’t last, after 4 years it will be gone but there is another crown an incorruptible one that Paul talks of in 1 Corinthians 9:25 “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. “

So the question is- are you running after a crown that lasts?

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Can you handle the truth?

"You can't handle the truth!" is a famous line in the movie A Few Good Men is spoken by Jack Nicholson's character in response to being told " I want the truth"

I doubt if anybody being likes being lied to so I would guess that we all like being told the truth. At the same time "the truth hurts" is a well known saying. It's easy to say that I want the truth but what if the truth is not exactly what you want to hear but is what you need to hear?

Recently I read this somewhere " A communication consultant says many people fear that honesty will cost them friendships, love, or respect. So they will either keep their lips zipped or say something other than what they mean. Lack of self-worth and fear of hurting someone's feelings also impede honest communication." How true that is especially when we know the truth has the possibility of hurting the other person's feelings.

However once in a while we( me included) all need a little kick to bring us back to our senses since it's so easy to see others' faults yet overlook our own- see the mote in your brother's eye in other words. So the challenge is how to speak the truth in a loving manner that will bring goodwill and build each other like in one of my earlier articles- Irons sharpens iron. For instance what do you say to your friend who you know is being unfaithful to his or her partner or perhaps one of your friends who you're hanging out with is developing a drinking problem. Or maybe if your close friend or partner has done something that hurt you. It may be tough to speak uncomfortable words but sometimes it may be necessary for we are told in proverbs 27:5 it is written "Open rebuke is better than secret love".

So how exactly do we "speak the truth in love" as we are told in Ephesians 4:15? Honesty may hurt, but if we speak kindly and compassion we may give the support that somebody needs to face reality. It's obvious that we need great wisdom from above! we can get some of that divine wisdom which helps us speak effectively from the book of James 3:17 "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."

Naturally criticism is easy to give but hard to receive. It's all too easy to give somebody a piece of your mind but not quite so when the shoe is on the other foot now is it? One of the hardest things to cultivate is humility to listen first and that is something that I personally have to learn so I ask once again " Can you handle the truth?"

Be blessed

Heavily borrowed from Matt De Haan's word's in the "Daily bread" for May 22nd

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Faith reminders

Some scriptures to build your faith in God. Be blessed

If you ask anything in my name I will do it. John 14:14

Is anything too hard for the Lord?- Genesis 18:14

You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love Nehemiah 9:17

You are precious in my eyes, and honoured and I love you Isaiah 43:4

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you John 15:7

Have faith in God Mark 11:22

Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours Mark 11:24

Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full. John 16:24

Your father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:8

He took our infirmities and bore our diseases Matthew 8:17

Through God you are no longer a slave but a son Gal 4:4-6

Give and it shall be given back to you ; good measure, pressed down shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back. Luke 6:38

Hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.Luke 8:15

If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end Lamentations 3:22-24

If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my father in heaven Matthew 18:19

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well. Matthew 6:33

condensed from the book 'anything you ask' by Colin Urquhart

Bumps on the Road

Every once in awhile some bumps come in the road of life, some big some small but they all add to the experience of the ride. Wouldn't be the same if life was just a straight and flat road.

I've recently gone through one of those 'bumps' had it all figured out and everything was going all right and looking forward to big things then all of a sudden things changed. Disappointing it was at first but if there's one thing I'm thankful is for God's presence through it and the help, support an prayers of family and friends. I'm also learning to trust more and more in God and His plans for my life. This journey is nowhere near over yet! All is well in His hands

So to all of you thanks a lot and God bless you, been a blessing to me

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Rubbing the Wrong Way

One thing in life is the people closest to you are the ones who have the greatest effect on you. They can give you the happiest moments and the saddest moments. It's easy to think that life is all clear blue skies and when a cloudy patch comes up you wonder what's up and think that something major is wrong.

One of the scriptures that is frequently quoted with respect to friendship is proverbs 27:17- " Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" (KJV)
Now consider how this happens, two knives do not sit up next to each other warm and cosy and then they magically become sharp. No what happens is they strike each other and sometimes sparks fly, that's how it goes down. Similarly with our friends there can be those heated moments which come up when due to our humanity our flaws become evident. Nobody's perfect and so we do not see eye to eye all the time but we can build each other using the right words and end up being the better.

Let me quote Dr. James Dobson who put it so well in his book "Life on the edge"

" Whenever two human beings spend time together, sooner or later they will probably irritate one another. This is true of best friends, married couples, parents and children, or teachers and students. The question is: How to respond when friction occur? There are four basic ways they can react.

- internalize anger and send it downwards into a memory bank that never forgets. This creates great pressure within and can even result in disease and other problems
- They can pout and be rude without discussing the issues. This further irritates the other person and leaves him or her to draw his or her own conclusions about what the problem may be.
-they can blow up and they to hurt the other person. This causes the death of friendships, marriages, homes and businesses.
- Or they can talk to one another about their feelings, being very careful not to attack the dignity and worth of the other person. This approach often leads to permanent and healthy relationships."

And I end with the words of Psalm 133:1 "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity"

Monkey Business

Picture this.
An ape in the forest high up in the trees, moving along with his troop. Every time he switches trees he has to hold on to the tree he's on, grab the next then release the current one so as to keep moving.

Was just thinking about this in relation to life. We have to keep moving from one stage to the next as we progress. However if we try to grab onto the future and still insist on holding on to the past- the old branch so to speak we'll just end up hanging in the air not progressing. So to move forward you've got to let go if the past, with it's victories, failures, disappointments etc and reach out to the future with it's new possibilities!

In those same lines consider what Paul said "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. " Phil 3:13-14.

Don't get hang up on the past keep moving forward to greater things!