Saturday, 19 February 2011

Faith during difficult times

Today I'm going to share from a message I delivered in church this past Sunday. Basically from my notes with a few additions but I'd encourage you to go through the biblical references too. It's actually something that came to my mind about a year ago when I was going through the toughest season in my life so far and shares it during one of our small group fellowships. Hope it will be encouraging to you.

Scripture references
Hebrews 11:1-11
Ecclesiastes 3 :1-11
Psalms 37:4-8, 18-25
Genesis 37:3-10

Heb 11:1-11
The Nature of Faith- you can't see it , you hope for it. If you could see it it wouldn't be faith now would it?
vs 6 without faith it's impossible to please God for He who comes to Him must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Even the very act of prayer is one of Faith as we can not see God with our own eyes but believe He is there listening to us.
In this chapter we are given numerous examples of people from the old testament who exhibited this faith.
Noah- had never seen rain before, his contemporaries scoffed at him thinking he was crazy but he didn't waiver in following God's instructions to build the ark and when the flood came he was safe
Abraham- did not know where he was going. He was in Ur f the Chaldeans living his life but when called out to a land he didn't know he went ahead. Even when asked to sacrifice his own son he trusted God and went along anyway.
Sarah- received a child even in her old age. The very thought of conceiving made her laugh no doubt because of how ridiculous it sounded but she eventually received the son of promise

Eccl 3
There's a time for every purpose. There'll be seasons of waiting, trials, preparation but it is God who knows it all -verse 11 and He has made everything beautiful in His time. It may look during the season of preparation or of waiting that the destination seems far away but it's only for a time, a different time will come.

Ps 37- 4-8
Delight yourself in the Lord and Hill give you the desires of your heart, commit to Him, trust in Him, wait patiently for Him. The source of our joy is in God
Do not despair when you see the wicked prosper. It looks like that a lot, the guys who get ahead take short cuts, engage in illegal activities but what about the honest, hard-working people working so hard but not getting ahead? However the prosperity of the wicked is only for a while...
The steps of the righteous are ordered of the Lord. He will not forsake his righteous, neither shall their children beg for bread vs 25

An example of a man in the old testament who endured a lot in his faith is Joseph- let's see what we can learn from him

The Life of Joseph

  1. He received a vision Genesis 37: 3-10
    Joseph gets 2 visions and shares them with his brothers but they are angry and plot against him and he ends up being sold into slavery in Egypt
  2. He remained faithful and diligent at all times
    In Potiphar's house he was hard working and loyal to his master- exhibited by his resisting His wife's advances.
    In the prison he was also exemplary
    In Pharoaoh's service he carried out his duties well
  3. Things went from bad to worse but he did not lose his vision
    chapter 37: his brothers plotted against him and sold him as a slave
    Chapter 39 he is in Potiphar's house as a slave but he is made overseer vs 1-5.
    He is Falsely accused and thrown into prison but even there he was elevated vs 22-23
    ch 40- he interprets the butler's and the baker's dreams but it took another 2 years for the baker to remember his promise.
    He is raised up by Pharaoh after interpreting his dream 41:39-40
    Whenever people tried to pull him down he still ended up rising to the top- you just couldn't take the favour away from him!
  4. He had to wait 13 years for it to come to pass
    41:46 He was 30 when appointed by pharaoh, 17 when he had the vision 37: 2. Sometimes it's going to take time for you to reach your goal kind of like his father who had to wait 14 years for Rachel.

Be blessed

Monday, 7 February 2011

Poly-ticks and Poly-tricks

We love to hate them don't we? Those smooth talkers who come to entice us every five years promising us heaven on earth and and end to all our problems if only we give them a vote. Hearing some of them talk you would think every valley would be filled and every mountain made low if only we gave them the chance... Funny that's not peculiar to Kenya, I remember in university one of our lecturers telling us how politicians in Japan pull the same trick when campaigning. Anyway wouldn't blame them for wooing us with sweet words of a better tomorrow, we all want an escape and they offer it and we unwittingly swallow the bait. The campaign period is always very interesting- everybody's an angel, singing funny campaign songs, a lot of hope and euphoria is whipped up. A popular line is change! Change you can see! change you can believe in! etc. Now that's what we call the 'advertising phase' kind of the way dating is referred to as that before marriage. Good they do the dance and we give them the chance to emancipate us from 'slavery'

Now after the elections the real work begins- or does it now. I'm amazed at how quickly in Kenya whenever a  proposal for increase in salaries is put forward it passes in record time whereas some other bills  have barely enough quorum to pull them through. Increase allowances- yes! Cars- yes! Retreat at some posh hotel- oh yes! Tax their salaries- errr errr. Very interesting but then again if given the power to raise your own salary what would you do? However I wonder sometimes whether if it's only self interest that motivates our politicians, what about service. For instance right now we are on the brink of famine but somehow the priority ends up being how to raise money for the Ocampo six... Anyway their days are numbered 2012 is just around the corner. Let them enjoy what little time they have up there, just hope our eyes have been opened and we'll be welcoming them back home... Then these poly-ticks will stop sucking our hard earned money.

Now now these politicians always have a bag of tricks with them. During campaigns they dish out money for votes- I wonder why people fall for that after all you can still vote against even after taking their money. One of the popular lines is 'I was misquoted' even when is was very clear what they said, remember the 'weka tyre' incident? Guy even had the audacity to say 'weka tyre gari ipite' Our latest circus comes from one who suggested that people living with HIV be quarantined... though in retrospect it looks like the clever work of news editors but then again I could be wrong. I think that the microphone has some magic powers over our politicians as when they grab it they tend to say some very strange things indeed!

It's not only what they say, some have made a habit of diversionary tactics to get the heat off their scandals. Common ones 'money has been pured', 'they are targeting my community' and such like excuses- like the whole community was there doing the crime! Yet somehow it works and their 'people' congregate around them.

Politics is a game of perceptions, there are many tricks that are carried out to pull the wool over our eyes and we will see very many in the coming days, more than ever before as there'll be more seats on offer. However I really pray that we Kenyans may vote in leaders who have a proven record of serving us not those who have a CV full of scandals in which they have been swindling us. Leaders who will be good custodians of the resources and responsibilities given to them. Leaders committed to taking us to the next level in all spheres and break the cycle of poverty, disease and hunger. Leaders who are wise and God fearing who do what is right for the country and are ready to make unpopular decisions to move us forward!

Each and every one of us with a vote has the power to make the choice please lets make a wise one in 2012 and lets us not fall for the poly-tricks that we so often fall for...