Thank You!

26 And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;

27 To them which were in Bethel, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir,

28 And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa,

29 And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites,

30 And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach,

31 And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt. 1 Sam. 30:26-31

The fact that we love talking of the good ways is a ringing admission that we in our generation have failed ourselves, failed our children, failed the world and failed God. The church especially has failed – failed to walk in the perfection of God and his ways, and thereby become a light unto the world.

The people of old whom we envy walked perfectly before the Lord. When you listen to the hymns of old, for example, you realize just how perfectly in the Spirit they were composed. The men and women who wrote them were saints in the true sense of the word. They were people who had met the Lord in the Spirit; and they took the time to sit down with the Lord and to meditate upon His Word and to hear His voice clearly before they would write down anything. Every line, every stanza, every word in their songs is full of the power and wisdom of the Word of God.

Today it is all a different story. It is more self, and not the Spirit, who dictates what we compose. The words therefore have no power to guide us in the strait and narrow path, which is the way of life. They are frivolous and full of our carnal desires. Listen to any modern church composition and try to put it alongside the songs that we find in such books as Golden Bells, Redemption Songs, the Baptist Hymnal and other old collections. There is no comparison whatsoever.

In the same way that it is with the church, it is even so with the world. In the olden times, people sang songs that had great meaning and value. In those days, the moral fabric was intact and people sang songs that celebrated the truly good things of this life. They sang songs that thought and wished well to your neighbor, songs of true love.

That is a stark contrast to the songs that are sang today. I got saved in 1990, right after the world ended (for the world ended with the ‘80s, literally). So I consider myself lucky. The present generation increasingly has no idea what real life is. And, along those lines, they also have no idea what real music is. Today they hear rap noise and think that it is music. They listen to such ‘composers’ as Kanye West, Tupac and other aimless people with such weird names as JayZ, Snoop Dogg, etc. And they think they are listening to music. But these looney tunes end up slowly killing their listeners’ souls. Sometimes, fast.

The real problem, of course, is that the present generation has refused to be mentored, so they have no way of knowing what is good for them and what is not. They do not know who to follow and who to keep away from.

That said, therefore, it is with a deep sense of honor that I present this track, which I consider to be the best performance ever of the most beautiful song ever written, to my friends. I dedicate this song to the longest list of people ever written – a list written on my heart, for no amount of ink or paper would suffice to write it. In any case, memory would fail me on this count. Were I to be given a lifetime, I could not number the people who have touched my life in one way or another. There are those whose passage in my life was but for a fleeting moment, but whose impact has been everlasting. There are some who have been and will continue to be a part of my life throughout my lifetime. None is less important than the other.

I could not help myself, though, and below I have put out a token list of people, or groups of people.  It is a symbolic list, as I have said and in no way reflects the value that I attach to anyone who has ever so much as crossed my path.

It is to Louise, and to Gilbert, whose ideas and encouragement brought into being this blog. But their love goes far beyond that. I thank them with all my heart.

It is to my elders in the Lord, whose love for me is unfathomable. May the Lord remember you.

It is to my brothers and sisters in the Lord in Tanzania. You know me inside out. You deserve the most words here but I leave you with the least. Thank you.

It is to my brothers and sisters in the Lord the world over. Needless to say, this list is endless. You are much beloved in the Lord. Let’s share the love.

It is to James Mwihia Kamau. It is to Mr. Joseph Ngugi. It is to my uncle Mwathi. It is to Mama Wanja of Ngummo Estate. You loved me with all your hearts, and each one of you has a story the world would not bear to hear. I have no words here.

It is to Frank and Carol Lanthier. You’ve always held me close. May the Lord repay you.

It is to you, David and Margaret (and Peggy and Melissa and Angela). You’ve broken forth upon my life. I thank you exceedingly.

It is to my siblings in the flesh: John, Simon, Samuel, Paul, David, Miriam, Margaret, and Prisca. Our childhood joys, and your enduring dedication and love, are ineffaceable. May the Lord bless you.

It is to my many friends in the world. Too many to mention here, and some long lost. It is to Ndiritu Njora, James Ndegwa, and Kairu David. It is to Mbichire George. I love you all.

Lastly, I dedicate this song to my fellow bloggers and to the readers of this blog. You all who span the earth from the Land Down Under all the way to the Arctic. I never told you this, but I feel deeply unworthy of the honor that you give me in humbling yourselves to even glance at this blog. I say that sincerely from my heart. Your encouragement is the reason I am here; you give me the strength (and reason) to live. Thanks Nat, Rob, Hope, Walter, Karina, Kristi, Mike, Andy, Laura, Terese, Lene, Deborah, Susan,… this list is endless. I love you all.

To you all people (hundreds of thousands, probably millions), I say this:

If anyone should ever write my life’s story

For whatever reason there might be

You will be there between each line of pain and glory

Because you are the best thing that ever happened to me.

Thank you all!

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Deception vs the Cross

I don’t know when this video was taken. Nevertheless, I thank the Lord Jesus Christ so much! The people in this video are men and women whom I would not, in a million years, have the faintest chance of matching in terms of brainpower, power, status or worldly wealth. (There are people here being asked for a single donation of 10,000 U.S. dollars!)

And yet, thanks to the grace of God, even though I am light years away from their class, I cannot imagine being scammed on the massive scale that these people are being scammed. Not that I am judging them. On the contrary, my heart goes out to them. These are people who had not the revelation of the true gospel of Jesus Christ – “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2) – in their hearts. They probably had never heard it preached. But, again, in their day, there probably was no teacher of the gospel who taught this revelation.

But, today, God has brought to light the gospel of the revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ and it is spreading all over the earth. And yet, even today, there are equally level-headed people – God’s people – who are being conned on an even bigger magnitude than what we witness in this video clip.

I have no words to express my gratitude to God, who delivered me from gospels of preachers such as these, who do not have the revelation of the cross in them; to whom, I hasten to add, I was once enslaved.

“(The Lord) brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Ps. 40:2)

It is a sad tale, the tale of where today’s men of God have taken the church to. They have taken God’s people back into the miry pit.

Sadly, everything in this video clip – the beautiful piano music, the soothing voice of the man speaking in the background, the preacher’s well-modulated intonations – are all used to euthanize the minds of the people this preacher is targeting.

A Cup Of Cold Water!

41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Mat. 10:41-42

Many of my posts originate from my dealings with people, and especially my family. So it was that the other day I was doing a certain chore when my daughter Keren came out to help.

We hadn’t gone too far when I began berating her for not doing the job as I wanted it done. Now, don’t mistake it here: I firmly believe in rebuking and disciplining a child, and that as parents we should teach our kids to do things correctly. But on this particular day, it was not about correction: it was about thanklessness – thanklessness on my part.

My daughter had come out to help, with a good heart and, in any case, the job was pretty straightforward and mundane; no professionalism was required. But I had this hawkish look about me and the minute she made a mistake, I ‘jumped’ her.

A moment of awkward silence passed after I had scolded her. The very next instance we both burst out laughing uncontrollably. The same thought hit us simultaneously (Keren and I are always on the same telepathic wavelength).

It had suddenly occurred to us that I had been hit by the ‘ingrate’ bug – again. The ‘ingrate’ bug is a bug that we have so named in our family because once this bug bites you, you can find no good thing in other people. Nothing to thank them for, no matter the good they have done for you. This is a bug that regularly rears its ugly head in my family, attacking one or the other of the members of my family. Normally, this bug’s attack ends with a good laugh for everyone, but sometimes the situation is serious enough to require pastoral intervention! I happen to be the pastor in the house, so I solve all the cases. But sometimes the bug bites me also, and in those moments when I am bitten, I allow only my kids to referee. My wife knows too many things about me and, in any case, given the opportunity, she tends to spill more beans than are needed. So whenever I am in the wrong, I make sure she does not get the opportunity to talk.

Of course, it is impossible to prevent an express train like my wife to absolutely not to talk, so I have designed small defence (read survival) tactics to make sure I remain safe. Like, I allow her to talk for about 30 seconds then I ‘humbly’ interject with a very holy-sounding, “Yes, Joe… you wanted to say something??”

Joe, by the way, is always on my side. And once he begins talking, there is no stopping him. Case closed.

Anyways, the other day with me and Keren, it was a light one, no pastoral intervention needed, and we ended up laughing and laughing. After the laughter, there was only silence as we continued with our work. During the silence, I began thinking about God. It was then that the above scripture came forcefully into my spirit. I had never seen this scripture the way I saw it that day: that God will thank, or reward us for giving so much as a “cup of cold water only” to one of his servants! The heart of God that I saw here shook me. It was an impossibly thankful heart.

In Africa, many households, particularly in the rural villages, are dirt-poor. Sometimes there is not even food for the family, and sometimes there can be nothing to give to a visitor. But a cup of cold water is mandatory whenever a visitor enters a household. It is considered the least that the host can do.

And this, the least of all our efforts, the Bible says, God will reward.

What a heart! What a rich heart God has! This God, He is so rich, rich in grace. He can stoop so low as to consider a cup of cold water as something of worth in His sight! But nothing is too small with God. The smallest thing that we do is written into God’s account books.

That speaks of the greatness of God. There is no greater man than he who can stoop to consider and appreciate the small things. In the Book of Romans the Apostle Paul tells us:

“Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” Rom. 12:16

The apostle urges us to “condescend to men of low estate.”

That is not Paul speaking there; it is God Himself. If God through the Apostle Paul tells us to “condescend to men of low estate”, then it must mean that He also condescends to men of low estate.

But do you know how difficult it is for a raw human being to condescend to a man of low estate? It is very difficult. Very difficult. The lower a person is in the social ladder, the more difficult it is for men to appreciate them. Society can clap for an important man for simply flashing a smile; but they will conveniently ignore it when a man of humble stature saves a life!

But God… God not only condescends to men of low estate, but He is also able to be thankful for the smallest thing that we do for the sake of Christ. Imagine God rewarding someone for giving a cup of cold water to one of His servants. A cup of cold water, only? Yes, literally.

Such humility and sensitivity is unfathomable. Among the many praise-worthy qualities of God, therefore, is that He is an extremely humble, thankful and appreciative God. Now, that’s grace!!

How about us? Do we have the grace to thank and appreciate our brethren – and our family members – for even the smallest favor that they do for us? Are we able to bypass the mistakes and failures and instead focus on the effort that someone has put in out of love?

And – the most important question of all – do we have the grace to thank God for all that He has done and continues to do on our behalf? Do we continually take time to contemplate and thank God for our salvation?

May we learn to be thankful!!

[Below: Today I wish to share this beautiful song with you, my readers, “Were It Not For Grace”]