Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘the Word of God’ Category

I haven’t been feeling well the past few days, with swollen tonsils/throat and low energy.  It was a combination of things that brought this on, but mostly because I was too cold for several nights.  (I’m such a wimp in the cold.  I am a bit envious of people who are warm or hot all the time…In the same way I am in awe of people who can fix cars and know how to make money and so on.  They are like a whole other breed of person!) 

Anyway, this little sickness coincided with the anniversary of my one month arrival, which has led to a lot of time of prayer and reflection as I have been resting. 

All the schools around here are getting ready for their April break, due to planting and harvesting certain crops.  We will finish up the lessons on “One Thing” this next week and then shortly after that, Ann Fyall, who started the Dominion Home will be visiting from the States. She will be here for 3 weeks.  The Kenya schools also take off the month of August, but continue through the summer. That leaves May through July as my remaining months to effectively pour into SILA/Dominion through teaching classes for the teachers and kids.  During those three months, I plan to teach a course on the Gospel of the Kingdom…the Kingdom of God. I am really excited and have been thinking about it a lot.

The other night I woke myself up from a dream in which I was explaining the Gospel of the Kingdom.  In my dream, I was talking about the rock that Nebuchadnezzar saw that crushed the statue in Daniel 2 (the image of antichrist with Babylon as the Head…too much to get into here) and brought it to chaff, so that it was found no more!  And then the Stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.   The Stone that struck the Image is David’s stone that struck Goliath…the Stone is none other than Christ (head and body), and the Kingdom that fills the earth belongs to Him…and us. 

It is a kingdom that will never pass away but will continue to increase until all creation (from the inner workings of every heart, to every cell in every body—to the farthest reach of every star) is “righteousness, peace and joy” which is found in the Holy Spirit…Till every man is a Tree of Life…till neither root nor branch nor fruit remain—anywhere in creation—of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Or you could say it this way: Until death is forever swallowed up in life!

The Stone that strikes the statue also strikes each man (a mini-Babylon in himself).  Do you see it hurtling towards you?  Or have you already fallen on It?  The Rock will fall on us or we can fall on the Rock. Either way, the Rock wins.  This Rock is Violent Love.  The word of the Rock is “grace, grace!”  And the Name of the Rock is Jesus Christ!  His Kingdom is upside down and inside out from the way the kingdoms of this world operate.  And yet, it is His Kingdom that was before and is the Kingdom that remains after everything else has been shaken.  It is the truest reality. And its increase is inevitable!

In this Kingdom, blessed, happy and to be envied…are the meek…are the merciful …are the pure in heart…those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  This is not the culture of earth.  But it is the culture of the kingdom that has come to earth and will one day fill the earth.

Wise are you if you set your heart to learn the ways of the Kingdom now and to unlearn every other way of thinking and being; painful as it might be.  Wise are you if you learn to turn the other cheek, forgive and bless when you are wronged.  Blessed are you if you learn to live before the praise and esteem of God, rather than the praise and esteem of man. Wise are you if you learn to let God put to death within you that which is puffed up and rotten to the core.  Happy are you if you see the rottenness within yourself and mourn because of it….for most certainly, He will then comfort you and cleanse you and continue to lead you in the Way; establishing His own nature in you. Blessed are your ears if you can hear His words…and wise are you if you actually put them into practice and DO them! 

There IS a Kingdom coming, and a Kingdom that NOW IS…indeed a Kingdom that always was and evermore shall be. The more we learn to live joyfully under the authority the King, the more kinglike we become…In fact, there is no other way to become a king.  For there are many kings in this Kingdom; indeed the Kingdom is a nation of kings and priests!  But the man parading around in lawlessness to the ways of the Kingdom; the man who acknowledges no King, is certainly no king himself.  The mark of a true king is that he has a KING. The mark of a true lord is that he has a LORD. (This is easily seen in the lives of Saul and David…the very apparent differences between a king without a King and a king with a King). True Royalty recognizes and honors Royalty!  Royalty stoops down to wash the feet of Royalty. True Royalty also stoops down to wash the feet of that which is not royal!

Entering into and living in this kingdom has very little to do with dreams and visions and all other “super spiritual” experience.  Some people are more spiritually attuned than others (and some just have fertile imaginations or great intellect), but NONE of these are qualification for entering or living the Kingdom of Heaven. (In fact, these things most often work against us.  It is very hard for the “rich man” to enter the kingdom…and he is often drunk on the “old wine” leaving him with no taste for the new).  The door is open to everyone to everyone who is childlike, who is poor in spirit, who thirsts, who knocks.  (I am speaking from a human perspective here).  It is also true that no one can even see the kingdom unless they are born from above.  

I love how Clarice Fluitt says that the things of the Kingdom become ours by reason of use.  As long as the ideals of the Kingdom are nice concepts sitting on a shelf, the kingdom will never be manifested in our life or the world around us—regardless of what we believe (or say we believe) or how many years we have sat under “kingdom teaching.”

Many dream of the perfect Kingdom after they die, but learning to walk and live by its principles right here, right now, is a whole different story.  But this is what we are called to! Hold your tongue.  Apologize.  Give.  Draw in the outsider, the lonely, the broken. Do when it doesn’t make you look good.  Do it when it kills everything inside you and your own justice is denied. Do it before the eyes of God alone.  Learn to let HIM be the judge. 

I hear the Lord saying to all of us, “To be found faithful in a small thing is no small thing before My eyes!”   For he who is faithful in the smallest thing will be faithful in the great things. All He is looking for are faithful people to whom He can entrust greater treasures…so that greater righteousness, peace and joy can be made manifest now and into the ages.

Whatever small things He has committed to your hand, beloved; whatever light He has given you to see with…WALK in it.  Put it into practice.  Share it. For Jesus said there will come a time when the light will be taken.  At that time, we will walk by the Light that has been formed in us as we have submitted to it and lived by it.  “Walk in the light, while you have the light, that you may be SONS OF LIGHT”  He said.  And if there is no light within us at that time, it will be because we refused to walk in what was shown to us.  “If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” said Jesus.  “He who does not have…even what he has (or thinks he has) will be taken from him!”

Sobering words, but the message of the Kingdom is not all fun and flowers.  The Kingdom is not just a concept or a distant ideal.  It is the heart of God expressed; His very purpose for creation.  Sharp as a double-edged sword, it will certainly circumcise every heart.  And the Door into this Kingdom?  I remember years ago when I was talking to God about His purpose and plan for the ages.  He spoke words that have never lifted from my heart, and I pray by His grace never will be.  He said, “Just remember this, Mercy.  NO ONE enters the Kingdom of Heaven apart from the Cross.”  Elementary words to most Christians, but weighty in their outworking.  And certainly words that many in the so-called Kingdom would do well to remember. 

This Cross—yes, this TREE— at the center of Creation is a profound mystery that I know I have only begun to plumb the depths of. While there is much yet for me to learn, there is one thing I KNOW.  The Cross is the Love of God expressed in the most powerful and meaningful way that He could possibly reveal it. 

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s GOOD PLEASURE to give to you the Kingdom.”    And He thirsted as He hung on the Tree, thirsted for true fellowship in His Kingdom with the many sons who He would bring to glory even as He was in glory. A family who will restore the face of the earth; a people with His own nature, character and ability.  A holy nation of kings and priests. What was He thirsting for? He was thirsting to drink of HIMSELF in US! THIS is the Kingdom, and THIS is the price that was paid for us to enter into it and become a new creation.

If there be those who deny the cross and the King who gave His life upon it, you can rest assured of this: They are NOT “kingdom,” regardless of what they might say.

At the center of the Kingdom is a Man on the Throne, and He has nail-scarred hands and feet.  Let us never forget!  The hands that fashion us, the hands that discipline us, the hands that wound us at times…are Hands that were wounded for our iniquities, the very Body that bore away the sins of the world.  And as the Potter works at the wheel, every pot that is fashioned by Him will bear His signature; the marks of the Lord.  This is the imprint of His nail-scarred hand into the soft clay of our own hearts and how could we refuse it?  It is not a proud and haughty hand that seeks to fashion us, but One who understands. This is the proof of every king in the Kingdom: does he bear in his body the marks of the Lord?  For every pot that is stamped with this inimitable signature is a vessel of honor and will be treated as such by those who have eyes to see.

I remember how my mama would cry whenever we sang “The Old Rugged Cross” in our family worship time which we had every night when I was a child.

I am reminded of those words as I write, though I find myself changing them around just a bit.  If you know it, won’t you sing with me and thank Jesus for what He did for you?  For all us!

“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross; the emblem of suffering and shame.

And I love that old cross, where the Dearest and Best, for a world of lost sinners was slain!

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, as my trophies right now I lay down;

I will cling to the old rugged cross, and trade it today for a Crown!”

Yes, there is a future crown to come (Paul entreats us to run in such a way as to win it!), but there is a crown for us now…a measure, a down-payment on the one to come.  If you are in the Kingdom, put on your crown (the mind of Christ) and step out into the world to serve it, as all true kings and priests do; with that rare mix of humility, compassion, wisdom and kingdom authority which brings heaven to earth.  

And if everything I am saying is new to you, I entreat you to surrender your life to His Lordship.  Repent, believe and receive the Kingdom! You will start small, and it will cost you all….But if you keep pressing on and do not quit, He will make something magnificent out of your life that will bring glory to Him and fill your heart with joy unspeakable.

Let us all continue to change our way of looking at the world and how we live in it; because the Kingdom is here and within our grasp.  That is just another way of saying, “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

Whether we are in Africa, the US, or anywhere else in the world, God is looking for people who are radical enough to believe the Kingdom and live by its principles…so utterly impossible to fulfill, and yet so easy for the new creation.  His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. Better to live by these principles, even if it costs us our life, than to evade them and be found in outer darkness.   

Radical, I say– not just for a day or a year…but for a lifetime.  It is one thing to start radically, or to run with passion for short spurts…but another thing to run this way year in and year out.  The most radical and inspiring people I know are the old saints who have run the race with passion and perseverance for a lifetime. Paul said that if you see someone really doing that, to imitate them…and you will be blessed. 

Please pray for me for these next 5 months in Africa, that God will reveal His Kingdom in fresh ways in our midst and that many blind eyes would be open and deaf ears would hear His words of grace and truth.  That His love would be demonstrated among us in power!  That we would be found in Him and He in us.  There is nothing else worth living or dying for.

Mercy

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

This has been a wonderful weekend.  SILA held a weekend-long “Workers Empowerment” meeting that went for most of the day on Saturday and until about 3 or 4 this afternoon (Sunday).  In addition to the weekly training and discipleship meetings, the “workers empowerment weekend” is designed for intensive study and to help bring everyone on to the same page.  The entire SILA staff comes, from farmers to teachers.  Others also come who are just hungry to learn more about God.  One man drove from a town several hours away to join us. There were probably about 60 or 70 people there, and many, many kids—including the staff and children from Dominion Home.

Yesterday, Joseph, David and I all spoke. Their desire is to help everyone understand that whatever they are doing is sacred–rather than secular– and that they are called into ministry in whatever they are doing.  David spoke for at least three hours straight!  The man can preach! I was so happy to hear how they are teaching a mature word of the Kingdom and I felt great freedom to share from my heart. I spoke on the “planting of the Lord.”  It was what the Lord specifically told me to teach on–the Seed of Christ being planted within us and our new nature in Him, as a Tree of Life. He said to tell them that they are His planting, the planting of the Lord.  I spoke last and all of our messages seemed to build upon one another…it was like one long message with many voices—which is how it should be! (I suppose my message was “short” since I only spoke about an hour).  

I also brought my guitar and was able to lead worship in my first Swahili song, as well as several others in English.  It was so exciting to be able to bless them by singing in their language, but I know that I was the most blessed!

I love how they worship in these meetings.  In between messages, everyone prays and someone might stand up and share what they got out of the message.  Someone else might break into prayer.  Another person will just spontaneously start singing, often in the traditional “call and response” style and then someone else in a different part of the congregation will launch out with a different song. Without making a big deal about it, the services are all directed by the Holy Spirit and everyone is free to participate and speak and lead in song. The songs are probably about half English and half Swahili. And what worshippers they are! I felt right at home with them and the presence of the Lord was very sweet in our midst. 

After the meeting we had beans, rice, ugali, and goat stew as well as nyama chuma: roasted goat.  They slaughtered a goat just for the meeting, so it was fresh!  And delicious!  We also had “chai,” which is the basic word for tea..…with milk and sugar, just the way I like it. (Chai Masala is what we think of in the US, with the spices in it).

I discovered last night that I would be speaking again this morning, so when we came home, I got together my next message.  Again, the Lord told me specifically what to share:  His desire for relationship with us, and His desire for the 1st commandment to be in the first place, leading into the second. It is all about love. This is our highest call, and this is what brings us to maturity in Him. It is open to everyone. I knew that He really wanted to touch their hearts and let them know how valuable their love is to Him. He wanted to set them free from living before the eyes of man, and live in confidence and joy before the eyes of God.

When we got there this morning, everyone was so ready, and so hungry in the spirit. All the early birds broke into spontaneous worship and we sang and sang until everyone else arrived.   Diane spoke first this morning–on faith.  She shared a lot of her testimony with Jesse and their walk of faith.  It was very encouraging to us all.   The Lord’s presence was so strong and sweet all day.  At the end of my message He gave me a prophetic song from His heart to sing to them.  I could see the Holy Spirit ministering to many.  It was so beautiful to see some wiping away tears of joy. Afterwards, we all ate again.  It was a wonderful time and I am glad that I am starting to get to know everyone.

I just want to thank you all for your prayers for me, because God is really showing up in a wonderful way here.  He has taken me past so many fears—and given me such joy and confidence in what I am doing here.

I drank fresh boiled organic milk today with my meal—from one of the cows on the property.  It was good!  There were loads of kids at the meetings.  They would always come in for part of the service and then be released early so they could run and play in the big school yard.  I got tears in my eyes each morning when the orphans from Dominion Home came walking in all properly and took their little seats in our midst, some glancing over at me with shy, excited little smiles.  I spent time playing with them outside between meetings.  There were four little girls named Mercy in the big group of kids.  It is a VERY common name here.  They were all surprised to discover that my name is very unusual in the United States.  There were also several kids named “Praiser,” (I love that) as well as many names like, Faith, Hope, Joy, Patience, etc.  I held a little baby named Joy, and everyone joked that Joy and I looked just alike, except our hair was different! Ha!

Tomorrow afternoon, one of my new friends, Ruth–who is a teacher at SILA– is going to take me to buy African fabric and then over to a seamstress, so I can have some traditional dresses made.  I hope I look very “smart” in them.  (If you are told your hair looks “smart” or your outfit is “smart,” that is a big compliment around here.  Everyone wants to look “smart” including myself.)

There is so much more I want to share with you; about the elegant Blue Gum trees that are a type of Sycamore, with pale trunks and peeling bark…the orange and fuschia bougainvilla, the roses—of every color—that are imported to Europe (you can get a dozen delivered to your house for just a little over $3), the huge sisal agave cacti and cactus trees all mixed in with the pines, palms, and perpetually flowering trees (pink, purple and orange/red).  There are plant nurseries all over the place, and this is a great part of Kenya to grow coffee; one of SILA’s next projects. 

In climate, this is a city of eternal springtime and it is hard to believe that Eldoret is the site of such a horrendous massacre that took place just a few years ago during the last presidential election.  (Eldoret is accented on the first syllable by the way—for those who like to know how to pronounce the words they are reading, even if only in their mind!)  In those days, they created a makeshift refugee camp out on the fairgrounds…and on Friday, those fairgrounds were used for a huge agricultural show; clogging up traffic in town so badly that all we could do was inch along to the “roundabout” where a muzungu and about 100 Kenyans were arguing over a fender bender.  I think the roundabout (a big circle with 4 or 5 roads leading out of it like spokes on a wheel) is a rather horrid chaos-breeding British import. I suppose they work OK if people follow the rules, but here it is nothing but a free for all.  Kudos again to Diane for her amazing driving skills!  She can hold her own with the best of them!

After almost 2 weeks here, I am amazed at the resiliency of the Kenyan people; all the African people, really.  They have endured things that would send many Americans into a therapy cycle for the next 20 years, but somehow they just keep going—and they do it with a smile on their face.

Read Full Post »

Before I start this blog, I feel like I owe a quick apology to some of you, in regard to the way I have presented some things. I don’t want anyone to worry about my safety here. I have definitely been on a huge learning curve since I have been here and several of you have told me that you are glad that I have decided not to take that trip up to Kakuma.

The thing with Kakuma, is that many muzungus do go there all the time, (ie international aid agencies, etc.). You just have to go with the right group. Of course, even then, nothing is guaranteed. Diane wanted me to go with a group that she knew would be safe, and David and the SILA group are as safe as they come.  However, it might be that if I was with them, they could be at a greater risk.

Even so, as I said earlier, I don’t think I am going to do it (this time at least) because God has given me a different assignment—to focus on the children and SILA. Every time I go out to the home, I have the greatest measure of joy and peace that I have experienced since being here. I know that is where I am supposed to be, and where the greatest blessing is.

Part of my adventurous spirit comes from living in Mexico as a kid, and while in college. During that time, our family, and later myself, did many things off the beaten track. Even as a child, I found myself embarrassed by the other Americans travelling there—their loud voices, their clueless attitude, their fear to touch anything on the street. I suppose a resolve was born in my heart way back then to never be like that. I enjoyed the “real Mexico,” or at least as much of it as I could get my hands on. I travelled by myself down there when I was in college, stayed in many homes with Mexican people, and though I had a few scrapes (a few of which were genuinely frightening), I felt mostly very safe.

I was entering Kenya with the same frame of mind, but have since been awakened to the fact that the culture here is totally different than Mexico…I cannot think just in terms of Kenya alone, but the whole region. So anyway, please rest assured that I will be focused on what I was sent here to do and will not do any side trips at all, unless I really know that the Lord is leading me to do so.  Thanks sooo much for your prayers!!

After hearing many stories about the sadder side of life here, the violence, the shams and corruption, etc., I went to bed the other night feeling really stupid about the title of my blog, “ordinary daisy.” I felt like the quintessential naieve little…daisy…and I felt I should have chosen a stronger, more appropriate sounding title or theme…Something like “God’s glory manifested in Africa” or “flaming sword” (spiritually speaking of course!), or something that had a little more muscle to it!

Honestly, what good is a daisy in a region of the world where it is not uncommon for emaciated babies to be discarded into pit latrines by their own mothers? (One of Moira’s sons, and many of the orphans at Testimony Homes were found that way). So, I was feeling stupid and telling the Lord about it. And then, He reminded me (again) that HE had called me daisy—it was not something that I had chosen for myself. And He reminded me (again) that to just be who He made me to be is the most powerful thing I can do…And that it is through the seemingly “weak and foolish” things of this world that He displays His glory.

Most of all, He reminded me of the necessity of keeping my Eye (the eyes of my heart) focused on the sun (on Him) at all times, like the daisy. More than ever, I needed to be reminded that He wants my eyes to be continually filled with light, and to focus on the light, even as I behold works that were wrought in darkness. He reminded that those who keep their heart open to Him and their eyes on Him at all times, are the ones through whom He will change the world…And in fact, the only way that the world will ever be changed. Jesus demonstrated this perfectly, leaning on the Father and doing only what He SAW the Father doing and speaking only what He HEARD the Father saying.

I think of Jesus beginning His public ministry at a time in Israel’s history that was filled with religious confusion, corruption, and violence simmering just under the surface. He could have started out with so many more “powerful sounding” messages, but instead He delivered the most powerful message of all; one that still sounds strange to our ears today: “blessed are the poor in spirit…blessed are the meek…blessed are the peacemakers…don’t worry about tomorrow…rejoice when you are persecuted….turn the other cheek…forgive everyone…don’t fear man, but fear God alone…you are worth more than many sparrows….don’t do things for the outward show or praise of man…seek first the Kingdom of Heaven…be TRUE in the secret place of your heart…”

Jesus knew that this is what we needed to hear. Either this message is true everywhere and anywhere, at any time, or it is not true at all. But if it is true, then it is what Kenya needs, the United States needs, and I need.

I have been drawn deeply into prayer the past few days; in fact it seems like I cannot stop praying and singing. I am probably going to wear a circle in the grass of Diane’s front yard! (It is quite nice to pray out in the sunshine).

Once again, I’ll just say that I am sooooooo glad to have my guitar. I learned a few Swahili worship songs yesterday, which I have already sung with the children. (This was after my first lesson in Swahili yesterday morning…Jina langu ni Mercy! Jina lako ni nani? Mimi nina upendo Yesu).  (My name is Mercy!  What is your name?  I love Jesus).

We spent some time at Dominion Orphanage and school yesterday. I went into all the classes and met all the kids (many more in the surrounding community attend the school). The rooms are tiny cement rooms without doors—still under construction. Big clouds of dust blow in sometimes. The kids are all dusty, in dusty little blue school uniforms. The “school house” is actually on loan from Kweli, and in the future it will be a dormitory. But for right now, it functions as a school house.

The classes are “Baby Class—3 and 4 year olds)” “Top Class—5 year olds” and Standard 1st through Standard 3rd, with the oldest kids being 10. (There are only three kids in standard 3rd; Standard 1st is probably the biggest). I had fun just getting to know them all. They were so polite and all took turns shaking my hand and introducing themselves. I practiced my Swahili with them and we counted to 100 in Swahili and sang the ABCs in English, and played many other games. The teachers were also very polite and warm. I am really going to enjoy working with them. Afterwards we went back to the Home and helped the kids with their homework and hung out and played.

 Today, I am going to meet all of Moira’s orphans. She is bringing them into town (she has about 11 kids living in an orphanage outside of town, and several more living in the house here in Eldoret). We are going to have a fun day of songs, games, lessons, and so on. Diane and I are making a big batch of chocolate chip cookies for them–an unusual treat in Kenya!

I can see that part of the reason I am here is for the Word to go a deeper place in my heart.  Now is the time to see the reality and truth about all the things we talk about behind the cozy walls of our churches in the sheltered United States.  Here is the place of the touchstone for me; for God to test, refine and approve me.  Back home, I threw myself into prayer and worship, believing with all my heart in the power of “sowing to the heavens” and letting the Lord sow back into the earth through the vapor (prayers and worship) that we release from our mouths.  One of my friends had a dream of me playing my guitar and just singing and singing and singing…singing the word of the Lord over this whole region and over the children…Declaring the answer, and not the problem.

And so, I am keeping my single eye on the Light of Life—on HIM—and singing for the grain, new wine, and oil to spring up from this land. Like Elijah, praying until the cloud comes, and the heavens open and the rain comes down.  For He has fashioned us in Christ to be like a cloud, dropping down water from the midst of the bottomless well of Himself within us, moving in heavenly places by the winds of His Spirit; even the quickening breath of His mouth. 

“You who bring good tidings, get up into the HIGH MOUNTAIN…You who bring good tidings, LIFT UP YOUR VOICE WITH STRENGTH!  Lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “BEHOLD YOUR GOD!”

I have been rather stuck in Isaiah 40 for the past few days. I recently discovered that there are only three places in the Bible where the phrase “the mouth of the Lord has spoken” is used following a prophecy, and they are all in Isaiah. 

“Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:4-5).

The mouth of the Lord has spoken—and all flesh shall see it together….This is His word, and has become mine as well.  The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.  Blessed be His name!

Read Full Post »