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The 7 day #BibleChallenge…. Day 7

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Love is the greatest  1 Corinthians 13:13;
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Romans 13:10;
Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

Love is the greatest, and will forever remain the greatest.

LoveI have a belief that if we loved and loved truly, then all the evil we see, the betrayals, the bloodshed, the fights, the wars, the hatred, just to name a few would all be history. If I loved my friends enough, I would not speak behind their backs unless I am speaking praises, If I loved my neighbour, I would not shed their blood, I would not rape their daughter, I would not sodomize their son, I would not steal their belongings; If I loved enough, I would not corrupt the nation of its wealth, I would not grab public property and claim it as mine, I would not organise a group of gangs and make them kill each other; If there was enough love, then we would all live in goodness, looking out for each other, no one would go hungry or thirsty or naked; no one would be in prison, no one would be struggling with letting go of years of bitterness held deep in our hearts for wrongs done long ago,…

But that is a perfection that we have to daily seek. It is the perfection Christ seeks to teach us each day. As humans, we are weak, we have to constantly seek to be perfected by Christ. Our journey of faith because a continuous search for perfection, which by the grace of God, we shall achieve in eternity.

1 loveIt is easy to love those who love us back. Our ultimate test of love, is when we have to love those who we believe do not deserve our love. May we, in this moment remember the crucified Christ, who in spite of our imperfections loved us enough to die on the cross and keeps loving us…

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The 7 day #BibleChallenge…. Day 6

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Kindness

We are all called to be kind. And like one wise man said, kindness is a language that the blind can see, the deaf can hear and the dumb can understand. It is easy to be kind to those who are kind to us It is easy to show goodness to those who are good to us.It is very easy to reciprocate love. True Christianity however calls us to go beyond that which is obvious. Luke tells us in the Bible to Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 

True Christianity requires us to do to others as He did for us. While, we condemned him and mocked Him, he cried for us; while we whipped him till he bled, he prayed for us; while we nailed him on the cross and jeered till he breathed his last, he forgave us. He tells us “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”. 

Be kindIt is easy to wonder how we can be this, especially when we are really wounded. Kenya is a bleeding Nation at the moment, how now can we love those who brutally shot and cut short the lives of our beloved children? How now? Isn’t this verse making a mockery of our emotions? Flip side; how many times do we ourselves wound those whom we love? How many times do they bow down, swallow their pride and tell us,  “I forgive you?” Are we so special to deserve forgiveness?

Luke 6:37-38:- Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you…

God have mercy on us and grant us graces to actually be kind, very kind, especially when being kind is hardest…

Article 33:- Footprints in the sand…

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footprint

Many times, we meet people, who walk in and out of our lives in different capacities; teachers, friends, neighbours, watchman, boyfriends, spouses. Many at times, some will touch us in a way that we will never forget. They may be there for a short while, or for eternity, but the impact they leave makes us different people eternally. They introduce an attitude that we never had before, and make us wiser, stronger, kinder, learned, and better human beings. Many of us have probably come across the following poem at one point in time…

“One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it: “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”The LORD replied: ‘My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.’”

Taking stock of our lives we can sometimes see ourselves writing this poem. Problem comes in realizing how exactly God carried us on his shoulders. Many of us don’t even take stock of our lives and we miss out in this realization. Many still do take stock and instead of realizing the blessings behind the sorrow and low moments, carry the pain much longer than when supposed to. This makes us miss the lesson, miss the blessing, miss the Graces but mostly miss the realization that God really does carry us through the tough times. Missing this realization makes us fail to be thankful for the tough times.

I remember the early months of last year when I walked into a clinic for a regular check up on my ante natal clinic only to be told “madam, I hope you are aware that you are not going to home today”, my reply was the obvious, “you are joking, right”, and the stern worried doctor says, “no, which hospital do you want us to admit you”… There followed a serious of denial statements to the doctor and a very firm concerned doctor whose resolve could not be changed, which was in the end good for me. I left his hospital with an admission letter. I felt very lonely at that moment. I remember walking to the casualty of the hospital I was to be admitted to and sitting at the entrance wondering what to do next. I made one phone call and wrote one text; phone call to my friend Agatha, text to my friend doctor. All I know is after that, things seemed to fall in place, like a puzzle had just been solved. I still got admitted for some time and was put on bed rest for a month before baby came but everything was to be fine. My heart was at peace. Fast forward my story a month later, baby boy came, but I got slight complications with my episiotomy and I was in so much pain I could barely do anything for myself. My first house help was a darling. She did her job excellently and I can confidently say, she did beyond that which I paid her to do. With all the dramas that they come with and with all we know, I had a perfect girl with me, nurturing my baby and I to good health. I saw, and still see the hand of God through all that. I was probably in my lowest most helpless state, but God carried me through it all, literally on His shoulders.

How does God carry us on his shoulders; He brings people in our lives to make the baggage we carry light. I know all of us have looked back and said, I wouldn’t have made it through that time without so and so’s help. I could not have hacked it if my mom had not called me every night to give me words of inspiration. I could not have made it alone. I came through because my friend came to see me daily, hugged me many times, held me in her arms when I cried and gave me loads and loads of words of encouragement. When Christ made this promise in John 14:16, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”, he meant every word. But how many times do we miss the grace of his presence just because his ‘helper’ is not packaged the way we would want him to be. How many times do we refuse to be carried because we are afraid to admit we need help? How many times do we sink in the pit because we are afraid to take the offered hand? When will we stop believing that we can do it on our own and let people help us through? I must admit that this world has brought forth the notion that we should not trust each other, but I also believe that the angels of God are the people we interact with every day.

All of us have stories to tell. No matter how much tears we shed when we tell these stories, there always is the light in the story. The cab driver who gave you a ride when you dint have a coin to your name when you tarmacked, the matatu driver who understood when you told them umesanywa, the kind relative who came to stay with you just because you needed someone to be with you, the darling friend who prays with you when you don’t have the strength to pray for yourself, the loving husband whose presence never wavers, whose support, no matter how weak he is himself, never falters, that friend who cheers you on as you pick yourself up… All Christ, carrying you on His shoulders through the angels he sends your way.

The other question is how many times do we actually go out of our way and help those we encounter in the name of Christ, that is, not taking the glory for ourselves? A Roman saying goes “We should give as we would receive: cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.”An old lady of about 70 walks to you at Holy Family Basilica on a Saturday morning and u are walking out from the adoration chapel, rushing to run an urgent errand and asks you for the direction to some place, instead of giving her many directions that include many right and left turns that will leave her confused, you walk her there yourself and proceed on your way to wherever you are going. In the end she tells you, ‘May God remember you when you get to my age’. What a nice feeling. How many blessings do we miss, just because we are too busy to be kind? Take time to visit and talk to your friend who has been unwell, praying for someone diligently (yes, I have learnt that the most selfless thing I can do is pray for someone. Most of the time, prayers are a selfish but very intimate way of presenting our wish list to God, ranting to him because things are not going the way we want them to, giving him thanks for the great things happening in our lives…me, me, me… So if among this selfish needs and intimate moment you can bare yourself, and bring in someone else and bare their needs too, that is kind, very kind), smiling at that man in the gate, giving a complement, saying thank you ( I recently discovered it tears me up), giving to the needy etc.  What do we lose by being kind? Off the record, we shouldn’t be kind because we want blessings; we should be kind for kindness’ sake.

There are so many kind things we can do, not even necessarily going out of our way. Anyhow when you learn to be kind, acts of kindness become a norm, and it won’t feel like you are going out of your way any more. It’s just being yourself, doing what you are supposed to do diligently and hardworkingly. If you are a friend, be a true friend, if you are a colleague, be a good one, if you are a classmate, be a classmate, if you are a partner, be a partner. Do it well, and in your doing, you will end up being the miracle someone needed to see her to the next day. By doing, when the other party takes stock of their lives, they will remember that at one moment in time, God carried them in His shoulders through their interaction with you. As Kevin Heath says, “Wherever there is a human need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference”. mabegaI have ridden on the shoulders of great people, great because anyone who lets you ride on their shoulders have a greatness in them. I am probably what my friend Agatha calls a spoilt child of God. I pray that I can be that shoulder for someone. May we be those persons, those persons who ensure that only one set of footprints appear in the sand when the troubles come in the wake of those we encounter…

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