Last month, I fulfilled one of God’s instructions to man, specifically the one about multiplying and filling the earth. Well, I did not fill the whole earth but at least part of it. We can now coin a slogan- filling the earth one child at a time (smile). Having done that, I of course received a sticker worth God’s extra love on the merit chart he maintains for all Christians. I am sure that by now you are finding me sounding either absurd or seriously challenged in my theology. Yes, it is seriously absurd to think that we earn more of God’s love and acceptance when we fulfill the law or fulfill certain religious duties and obligations.
This article, IF by Mark at 3rdRace.org articulates something that has been in my heart. Please read and be blessed by another part of this Glorious Body of Christ as I recover from my sleep deprivation.
Kenya, the country God has placed me in is soon going to the five yearly elections in August this year and thankfully many Christians are praying that we may get good political leaders. However, this post has nothing to do with the political season this country is in, but it still has everything to do with the conscious daily choice of a leader, ruler or king.
The subject of kings in the bible and their conquests makes for an interesting reading; there are great lessons to be learned and reminders of God’s faithfulness to be observed. The eighth chapter of Samuel caught my attention a while back, not because of the beauty and might of the incoming king at the time, but because of God’s take on the Israelites’ request for a King.
But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Samuel 8: 6-7 NKJV)
Our omniscient God, knowing the weaknesses of the natural man, had preempted the fact that Israel would at some point demand and have kings. He had indeed earlier given them a list of qualities to be found in a good king in Deuteronomy 17:16 -17. God knew very well that a human king however good, was going to fall short, and would never be a flawless replacement of Himself. None, it seems would fit the above description, therefore he gives the Israelites this reality:
And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties; he will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work.He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”(1 Samuel 8: 11-18 NKJV)
The desire for a human visible king, one whom we can relate to, and one who can lead us and set up a safe kingdom for us did not end with the Israelites. Consequently, the rejection of God and His designed ruler-ship continues not only in the world but sadly even in our Christian circles. How does this rejection manifest itself in today’s Christian circles? At least in my country, I have seen people identify more with groupings and the personalities that lead them than with Christ Himself.
We are wowed by the charisma, talents and revelations of those we have crowned kings over our lives. We soon become comfortable and complacent being followers and call it discipleship, we change our manner of dressing, our talk, and our relationships and completely become little clones of our spiritual leaders.
Some of the ways this becomes apparent is in our Christian lingo:
“Our Man of God says ………”
“Papa or dad said…….”
“Our church does this and that……”
“Finally the leaders say: My Church…………”
This substitution of Lordship, like in Samuel’s time comes with a hefty cost ranging from stunted Christian growth, disappointment and disillusionment to outright spiritual abuse.
Am I simply pointing fingers? Have I been immune to this disease? No, I have at one point suffered from this disease and will soon share this in a booklet titled The Bride is Free to be released later in the year.
So what posture are we to take? Where do we start? With the help of the Holy Spirit we have to reestablish Jesus Christ as our One and only King. Our allegiance and accountability must be firstly and solely to Him and this will transform our inadequacies, perspectives, and tendencies that lead to a need for a human king. He has already made a way for this to happen as He fulfills us in a way that eradicates the need for human applause and validation.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV)
He is the only flawless King.
He is Love.
He is Just.
He does not seek to gratify himself but He Who Sent Him.
He is not looking for slaves but brothers and friends.
He is the only worthy King.
His qualities as the perfect Lord cannot be exhausted, I’d love to hear more of them from you dear reader.
Above all, He never grieves God the Father and the Father will not regret ever making Him King.
When Patrick and I were courting, he asked me a question which at the time, I thought was simple and straightforward. The question was, “Are you willing to live in tents?” This must have been inspired from Abraham’s walk of faith.
(Hebrews 11:8-10 NLT) It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God
I answered in the affirmative. At the time, I thought that God would be giving us very clear instructions and sending us to well defined, hopefully comfortable ministry assignments. When I look back, I see that I had a very glamorous idea on how this living in tents would work out in our lives. Fast forward, over eleven years later, as I was writing my last post, and the question was rekindled in my heart by the Spirit.
This then forms the follow up of that last post – Now that I have moved, what is my new address?
As I look back on our lives, I notice that the glory I had anticipated has been very different from what God has availed to us. We have not been moved from city to city with dramatic instructions. Ministry work through us has not been as I had anticipated. If anything, God has led us on a journey of stripping so many things in our belief system, that depended on our perceived abilities. There has been a redefining of our own perceptions of and expectations on God in addition to a deconstruction of our ideas on how to best please Him. I know this sounds like He has just been demolishing and taking away, but the beauty is that he has not been leaving the cleaner house unoccupied. He has been filling the void with Himself; He has been reconstructing and guiding us forward.
Much as there has been limited physical movement, there has been spiritual movement. This is how our living in tents has worked out- that regardless of how beautiful the new spot of revelation is and how conducive it is for us to permanently dwell there, He urges us on. He allows for just enough time before we have to carry our tent and move on with Him. Does this make for a fairy tale, easy Christianity? Not at all. Would I desire it otherwise? Not at all. Paul put it very well when he wrote:
(Hebrews 11:15 – 16 NLT) If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
This continuous experience reminds me of the Transfiguration account in Mark 9: 2 -7. Peter was so enthralled by the glory he beheld. He wanted to contain the experience and the personalities -Moses and Elijah. He wanted to make a dwelling out of and for this experience. How human that is. Do you agree? We want to hold on to that one experience, one revelation, one miracle. Yes we turn them into a doctrine, structure a permanent dwelling.
The desire of God is however very different. Immediately Peter took this stance, God withdrew Moses and Elijah and left only Christ. Yes, He stripped off everything else and left Christ alone for them to behold, hang onto and permanently dwell in. He glorified Christ and instructed them; Hear Ye Him.
With this, I have come to the conclusion that as believers, our new address is Hearing and Following Christ. It is a progressive journey, it is a living in tents and I sure hope to encourage at least one saint- let us on His call, pull down our tents and move with Him. There is more to Him than we have experienced.
Recently, I joined Facebook. My reasons for being such a late entrant is because I prefer having deeper, authentic one on one relationships; something that platforms like Facebook are unable to offer. Well, I joined because two of my very good friends were leaving our beautiful country – Kenya and they mainly use Facebook to update their friends and supporters on life and ministry. At least with them, I hope we will still maintain the one on one besides general updates on FB.
On signing up, I received a warm welcome with numerous friend requests. In fact, I was rather overwhelmed. The requests mainly came from people I have interacted with in my past. These are my childhood and village friends, people from churches I have been involved in and others are friends of friends. Before I clicked each confirm button, I would find myself reminiscing on parts of life I have shared with these people. I was grateful for each contribution they have made in my life.
With these thoughts, I also became increasingly aware that these people do not know the Virginia I am today. Neither do I know the people they have become. In short we know each other and are probably relating from history.
History while informative and sometimes good, can also be limiting and detrimental. Do you see how blinded with the past the older son in the Prodigal Son story was (Luke 15:11-32). Instead of enjoying and embracing the present, he concentrated on his brothers past faults.He could not see his brother beyond his previous choices. I happen to have a medical history that receives the same reaction from people. Whenever I go to two of the city’s hospitals where my huge files exist, the doctors tend to treat me with too much caution, even when the symptoms are totally unrelated and even though that condition was healed over ten(10) years ago. In addition, when I meet with my high school friends they remember me as ‘the one who was sickly’.
Without belaboring the point too much ,I simply no longer reside on that address. I, like Paul have desired and decided to shed off things in my past, both good and bad, that I may press in to Christ. That I may know more of His joys , ops and His sufferings. and that He may continually conform me to His image.
(Philippians 3:12-14 , NLT) I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
On the same breadth, I choose to know none of my friends according to their history, both good and otherwise. I chose to see Christ in them. I choose to see the beautiful parts of the body they are being turned into. So help me God.
(2 Corinthians : 5: 16-17, NLT) We have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know Him now!This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Together and individually let us adventure forward in Him.
Some time back, I went for a family party/ gathering with our two boys. I had them well groomed as my extended family values neatness. However, one of the boys seems to think that fun is synonymous with dirt and within a few hours he was the dirtiest kid in the vicinity. When my sisters commented on his state, I, in embarrassment and deflecting the question, simply asked “huyo mtoto ni wa nani?” (Whose child is that?). We can laugh about this question but this got me thinking on parenting.
I am a great proponent of highly involved and conscious parenting. In fact I subscribe entirely to the verse:
(Proverbs 22:6 KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
However, I have observed an enormous unnecessary burden carried by the parents. This is sometimes self- imposed but is also mostly heaped on the parents by society. How many times do we hear or ask, “did you know what so and so’s child did?” The so and so will most likely be a person we esteem highly. In church circles it will be a pastor or any person deemed a spiritual authority. Home-schoolers form another category whose children and parents are viewed with a lot of scrutiny. The truth is, these categories of children have like passions with those not scrutinized and they go through largely the same experiences and stages of growth.
My short experience as a parent has caused me to think what God has to say about parenting. Above the usual admonition to parents, the most encouraging and liberating words on this topic I have found is
(Isaiah 54:13 KJV) And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
While this scripture largely applies to the operation of the church (maybe I’ll do a post on this later), I believe it also has merit in the raising of biological families.
While I urge us to do our best in nurturing those under our care biological or otherwise, any effective parenting or nurture cannot be done without God’s empowerment. The reality is that even after doing all we know to do as parents, at one time or another; our children will make choices that we do not approve of. I like a certain scene in the movie Lion King 1. Zazu, the Hornbill encourages Mufasa “there is one in every family sire, two in mine actually and they always manage to ruin special occasions”. This is how common the problem is. Yes, our children, siblings and people we love, might choose lifestyle paths that even prompt us to ask; huyo mototo ni wa nani? And this is a good question.
You guessed the answer right. That child belongs to God; .and God more than you, desires for his or her earthly and eternal well-being.
(1 Timothy 2:4 KJV) Who wills/ desires all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
The same way this God found us, He will find our erring children, siblings and friends. Yes, He will orchestrate events and relationships that will be used to draw them back to the Father. Let us entirely entrust them to Him. I call this surrendered parenting- where God parents us, in us, through us, despite us and even without us.
It would be nice to hear your testimonies and thoughts on surrendered parenting.
As I have been contemplating the best name for this blog-site, I have had many ideas. I was looking for something fancy yet not a cliché. I wanted something appealing too. However, when I couldn’t settle for any of my ideas, it became a quick reminder and I believe a lasting reminder that this blog is about Him. Yes Christ my Lord, Our Lord , Our Treasure and our All. Soon after this reminder, came the name the name of the blog- Quenching our Thirst.
The inaugural post was also thus conceived and here it goes.
The story of the Samaritan woman has been retold in many sermons with the woman in the story being applauded as a good evangelist or giving hope to people in circumstances and lifestyles deemed too complicated for a transformation. I want to however, emphasize on the one through whom such a transformation happened.
Jesus clearly points out that this Samaritan woman had a compelling thirst. Indeed she needed water as a basic need to do her chores and for personal hygiene. Further than that, Jesus sees beyond the natural physical thirst that this woman has been experiencing. As a bombshell, he states to the lady her full marital history. A history which in my opinion she would not have wished known by a stranger as it points to something deeper in her life, her pursuit of marriage which she apparently had not managed to grasp, enjoy, achieve and sustain.
(John 4:16 KJV) Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
(John 4:17 KJV) The woman answered and said,I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
(John 4:18 KJV) For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
In my opinion this lady could have been divorced or widowed five times. Remember, the Samaritans still held some Jewish customs. She could have married these many times to raise an heir. Whatever the reasons, she could simply not keep a husband yet she kept remarrying. This, Jesus tied to the issue of a deeper thirst. In today’s world we would have come up with a elaborate name and called it either a physical or psychological condition or orientation. The beauty of the story is that Jesus did not seek to explain the causes and science behind her situation. He went straight to the solution. Yes, He asserted Himself as the Thirst Quencher.
(John 4:13 KJV) Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
(John 4:14 KJV) But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
In our lives, we pursue many things to make us feel complete, to give us a purpose, a sense of identity, of importance and accomplishment in life. These could be good things like material prosperity, career, marriage parenting, fashion, social work, the list is endless. In fact these have been classified in a hierarchy. We hope that as we achieve each of the levels, the thirst will stop. We will be satisfied. But unfortunately it is not so, the natural man will always have to go to the well to satiate the next thirst once the previous one has been quenched. Why because the natural methods, pursuits and achievements cannot fully and eternally satisfy.
Jesus gives us hope. He says “I am your Maker, I know all your areas of thirst and I surely can quench your thirst. Will you come to Me and drink?”