Identity is a strange thing. It is something that should be obvious but can be strangely mysterious. There are many, especially the young, who are going through an identity crisis. One dictionary defines identity crisis as a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure or unstable. An identity crisis usually occurs when there’s a change in a persons life, and can also be due to a change in their expected aims or role in society. An identity crisis is a type of existential crisis. Existential crises generally have to do with questions and inner conflicts about the meaning and purpose of life. As thinking beings, reason and purpose have a central role to play in how we go about life.Continue reading
I, like many others, believe that God is. But I also, like many others, wish I could meet God like Moses met God in the burning bush encounter of Exodus 3 and 4. Moses’ encounter with God is one of the most iconic, most recognizable and unique instances of God revealing Himself to a man recorded in Scripture. Note, this was not a vision, or a dream, or an impression, or an imagination; as the Scriptures indicate later on in Numbers 11, God makes it clear that He speaks to Moses face to face, not in dreams or visions or dark sayings or riddles. So yes, though I believe that God is, and I believe in His Word, I still wish to meet Him like Moses did.
Sometime ago, God revealed to me that He’d already granted that wish (but in classical form, He had done it not in the way I was expecting). Then He went ahead to show me how the burning bush experience that Moses had in his time, was his (Moses’) version of what we would call in this dispensation, ‘the born-again experience’.Continue reading
Join me on a journey back through time,
Way before the episode at Lazarus’ tomb,
Very close to the beginning of a beautiful story,
In the perfect garden, where all things should have been rosy,
Love wept…unseen, unheard, unconsoled.
In the face of betrayal and death;
At the pain and thought of losing
What He’d literally invested Himself into;
Love wept…bloody tears, to make room for Hope.
In times of loss and pain, I’m reminded of hymns like:
“Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side…”;
But how does God console Himself?
“Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side…”?
One ordinary-seeming day, Love wept…unshed tears.
I am not unlike the words of a spoken-word artiste;
I am a work of art, and not a simple one at that…
But what I truly am, I cannot confidently guess.
I am what I cannot completely define;
The product of a Master beyond constraints;
A thought from a creative Mind without confines
And birthed in Love from Hands perfect for every work.
I am His breath trapped in a mould;
A divine spark merged with an earthen work of art
In a mystery beyond unravelling though born in Light.
Tell me that it’s easy,
To rise up each morning at the break of dawn
To set your knees in that spot in the mat
With the perfect grooves made from wear;
A testament to the consistency with which they carry
The weight of your desperation and dreams.
Tell me how you’ve gotten used to the familiar aches –
The pain of the strain of holding a position
That under different circumstances would be called corporal punishment;
Hands clasped underneath chin,
Elbows scraping the edge of the bed…
But none of these compare to the aches
That rampage in places the eye cannot see;
None of these compare to the screams that no ear hears –
None, except One.
There’s a song furnished in my heart this dawn;
It is a song of pain and tragedy;
It is a song of unfailing and faithful love;
It is a song both marred and perfected
In my lack of complete understanding and full appreciation.
It is an old song, but seems new every morning;
It carries the weight of hope and is full of promises and possibilities.
It promises such great things and calls for me to be bold and courageous;
It calls for me to step out in faith and complete trust.
Father, You have searched me, and You know me – even better than I know myself. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You perceive my thoughts long before they are formed within me. You search out my path, even to where I lay my head to rest; there is no part of my life’s journey that is obscured from You. No word has reached my tongue that You didn’t already know about. You hem me in behind and before; and You have laid Your hand on me. You give me knowledge of things beyond me, lofty things that I cannot attain.
Is there a place that Your Spirit cannot reach? Is it possible for me to escape Your presence? If I were to ascend to heaven, that is Your throne and You would be there; but even if I were to make my bed in the depths of Sheol, I would not be beyond Your piercing gaze. If I take the wings of the dawn, and settle in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will hold me.Continue reading
About 365 days since I last sat to write a “New Year’s Message,”
And I can’t help but loosely echo the words of the Psalmist…
In the 65th psalm, he says,
“Praise waits for You, God, in Zion.
Vows shall be performed to You.
You who hear prayer, unto You shall all men come.
Our sins did not overwhelm us, because You atoned for our transgressions.
How blessed we are that You have chosen us and caused us to come near to You.
How privileged we are to be able to live in Your courts.
You have positioned us in Your secret place,
And filled us with the goodness of Your treasuries.
By awesome deeds of righteousness, You answered us and brought us salvation.
You have shown Yourself to be the hope of all the earth, of those far and near.
By Your power and strength You have brought great things into being,
Stilled the roaring of the seas, its waves, and the turmoil of nations.
Even those in the farthest reaches of the earth
Have come to know and fear Your wonders.
You have set songs of joy into our dawns and dusks.
You have blessed the works of our hands and brought us increase;
Indeed, You crown our year with Your bounty,
And cause our storehouses to overflow with abundance.
Everything in sight declares Your praise with joy.”
Find me on my knees,
Kneeling on my doubts and distresses;
Hands clasped, holding tight my faith;
Eyes closed firmly, that I may not be moved by sight;
My words are incoherent, rightly depicting the state of my mind;
My mouth seems too slow, not fast enough to articulate the flow –
The gushing of thoughts and emotions from my mind backed up behind my throat,
My tongue feels tired, but there’s a will
That seeks to push until something happens…
Giving no rest to self or God;-
The mystery that keeps mighty men on their feet in battle,
And keeps the sword of the warrior stuck to his hands
Even when his arms are wearied beyond remedy;
And keeps him facing a thousand as they descend on him
Breathing destruction and slaughter….
A small portion of the mystery, that brought a Man
To the carrying of the burdens of the whole world.
The Scriptures are littered with God’s promises to His people, and they are also littered with the consequences of disobedience and sin. But it would seem upon observation that the consequences of disobedience are more pronounced and are executed more speedily than the promises and blessings are manifested. That would suggest that ‘The Accuser’ and his team take their tasks more seriously than most Christians do.
It is true that God rules, He sets the rules and He reigns; but most of the time, we seem to forget that the devil is not a very obedient entity, and obviously not a ‘law-abiding citizen’; if he was, he would not have rebelled in the first place, and there wouldn’t be such disorder in creation. He may be a defeated foe, but he is not powerless, and he has not suddenly become obedient. The fact that God has said, “Touch not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm,” does not mean the devil will obediently leave you alone if you don’t know enough to stand upon that knowledge, and God knows this too; and that is why He has given us the provision of His Word, and the ability and tool of prayer, to contend against the devil and his team of experts.