When Church Went Online, Did True Worship Follow?

Did it? Great points to ponder.

MULEEFU

Image/Sergey Zolkin/ Unsplash

When physical church was still open, you got a chance to see  a worship leader, in real time, wipe away a stubborn fly. 

Yes, we also noticed the preacher’s awkwardness when he lost his line of thought, or his sentence. (Some of you went further to evaluate your neighbor’s musical voice) 

We gasped at such, but by faith, still remembered and perhaps said to ourselves, ” nobody, save for Christ, is perfect after all.” In other words, our imperfections amidst gathered worship reminded and gave us a chance to ponder a perfect savior. And so, in that sense, our genuine sacrifice of praise, our sometimes out-of-tune worship, rose  authentically, from this broken and sinful, yet loved and redeemed people.

But now, oh but now. 

The Pastor now has an opportunity to become a producer too (or stand behind one while he does his edits) Church staff can…

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Don’t Worry, You Too Will Die (And You Still Don’t Know When)

Are you ready?

MULEEFU

Image/Margaret Polinder/Unsplash

On one of those terrible COVID death rate days, I overheard our house help, quoting Exodus and comforting a colleague to pray hard that death bypasses them, just like it did one night among Israelite homes in Egypt.

In her world, believers would divinely be spared from funerals, leaving death exclusive to non-believers. Ah! Prosperity gospel folks would have applauded her. Luckily I didn’t.

I gently shared with her Jesus’ words to Lazarus’ mourners in John 11, showing Jesus as the resurrection and life, but I guess she wasn’t ready to receive them, at least not in that context. I sympathized, because neither are we often ready to hear about the morbid destiny resulting from the fall.

Yet her impulse was right. I could understand. I mean, at that point, I already had a Zoom funeral invite in my phone notifications.

But I wondered, had she…

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A generation awakened…

This is a pretty crazy season. The most bizarre we have all probably had to live through. The lock down last year was tough and all, nothing we had ever experienced. However, it seemed easier and less scary. I am hoping above all hopes that there will not be another lock down in the years to come.

Over the last fourteen (14) days of the new lock down, we have all had days when we woke up desperate or went to bed extremely anxious and depressed; not sure of what would be behind the door when we awoke the next morning. We recently joined voices in crying out to God for a miracle for the nations but especially our beloved country Uganda. Well, looks like we might be praying about this situation for a while. The news is full; full of deaths, numbers of those infected, positivity rates and estimates, full of the filth that is our systems. It all seems like doom. Like all this will never end, or that things will never look up. And yet, none of this has caught God by surprise.

I was chatting with a friend recently about how long the lock down might be and she gave me a pretty scary number of days. And in my mind, I went off like the women in the Nigerian movies, cancelling and calling down fire on this COVID and the lock downs it comes with. Well, in my mind, I have plans, I have hopes and it feels like this COVID is just slowing it all down, breaking it all apart. You would think I run the show you know. Like I can control how much oxygen I take in and when. If there is something this season has taught us all, it’s how valuable a litre of oxygen is, how important our sense of taste and smell is and how much our lungs contribute to our well being. My brothers love food, but when it all started to taste like paper, they realised that maybe the taste buds on their tongues were more useful than they thought. That may be the next time a huge plate of food is placed before them, the blessing will be more meaningful as well as the experience of clearing that mountain of delicacies. Well, there is still so much more to be grateful to God for especially since we do not run the show down here.

This week, I have been strongly reminded to sit down and reflect on my life yet again. This time, to ponder the reason why I have been placed on this earth. Weirdly, Genesis chapter 1 came to mind; that point where God created everything and sent them out with the command to reproduce after their own kind, to be fruitful and to increase in number. This fruitfulness didn’t just mean giving birth biologically. This reproducing after our own kind also meant producing others like us in skill, in passion, in devotion and all. And isn’t that what the discipleship command is for us that profess Christ? He calls us to follow Him and then go out and fish others and help them grow like us. Someone once summarized it this way, “follow me as I follow Christ”.

There has been news of death all around us: death of those we personally know and those we don’t. It’s quite disheartening. One of the scariest bits has been hearing deaths of people of all ages: young and old, some extremely skilled in their fields. And I kept wondering to myself, who will fill all these offices, all these spaces as ably as these people did? I wondered to myself if these people have passed on their skills and talents and ethic? Did they reproduce after their own kind?

I was deeply struck by the reminder from Judges 2:10, about that generation that grew up after Joshua’s generation had all died, that neither knew God, nor what he had done. Ohhh my heart sank. I kept wondering to myself about if I died today, how many disciples I will have left behind? How many have I trained in the skills God has given me? How many have I challenged into the ethics and values I say I hold on to? May we not be like Joshua’s generation, that when we are called home, those we leave behind have no knowledge of this God, of the gifts He has given us and why He has given them to us. The main purpose of which is to glorify Him while we walk this earth.

My hope and prayer for you is that you will purpose in all this pain, sadness and struggle, to come out better and focused on equipping the next generation; and that includes those people around you during this lock down. Tell them of God and what he has done. Tell them of the skills he has given you and what they are for. Teach, coach, mentor, disciple someone; whatever you will choose to call it.

Let’s go reproduce after our own kind!!

Our Secret Weapon

Pre-COVID, the easiest thing to say was there is no time. Personally, like i shared before, I felt like there was hardly any time in this fast-paced world especially for quality time in prayer or a thorough bible study. Post-COVID, well, there is lots of time to do either of the two but then there is a new twist. There is so much time to pray that you feel like there isn’t enough stuff to pray about or the soul is too burdened by some seemingly impossible situations. The temptation is to only bring your supplications to God which can usually can be listed in just a few sentences and then throw in a few others here and there. In addition to that, the uncertainty of the times and the news on TV and social media that won’t get better, it is very easy to think that your prayers will not yield any results.

You have prayed for COVID to end and it hasn’t. You have prayed for food to reach people and it hasn’t. You have prayed for good health especially for those without access to medical care this season and you have heard that some of them have passed on due to hunger and even sickness. The corruption you have begged God to wipe out just seems to increase. The corrupt people just seem to prosper and get away with every other evil act. There is the protests for Black lives and others around the globe. You have prayed for wars to cease and they haven’t. Uganda and other African countries go into deeper debt every other day. People are bitter by the day, angrier by the decaying state of the world around them, pain, depression and so much more. Often you are tempted to wonder if your prayers even go past the few social distancing meters we are being advised. Well, today I am here to encourage you like I was this morning, to not give up on prayer. The devil knows that is your strongest weapon and he will do anything to get in the way of your knees and the floor. He will do anything to get between that time you have set aside to go to God in prayer. Prayer is a simple conversation with a friend, with one you love and trust and in this case, it is the one true God.

As the Poet nears the end of Psalm 119, in verse 170 he asks that his supplication comes before the Lord, he asks that the Lord deliver him according to His promise. This is such a full Psalm, one i wish i could memorise. The poet ends it with an assurance of a God that is sure to keep His promises.

Moses in Exodus 33:12-23, has a back and forth conversation with God. God in response assures and encourages Moses of His presence. My favourite verse from that portion is verse 22 where God tells Moses that as His glory passes by, He would put Moses in a cleft in the rock and cover him with His hand until He had passed. What a beautiful picture of God’s protecting hand after we have had those conversations with Him. Isaiah in chapter 41 reminds us not to fear, not to be dismayed because God is with us always. He has promised to strengthen us and help us, to uphold us with His righteous right HAND.

In Joshua 10:12-15, we witness one of those events that went down in the books of history (see the Book of Jashar) with the sun stopping when Joshua prayed. First pause for a moment, the sun stopped for a FULL day. Very many scholars try to interpret what that probably meant but the fact remains that it was a world changing event. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel. This story gets me praying ‘Fight for me Oh Lord. Please intervene divinely in my situation like you did for Joshua and Israel.’

1 Kings 3:4-15 is another portion of scripture that makes you wish it was you exuding such wisdom in your request to God. God in verse 5b tells Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” And Solomon the man whose events really changed from around here responds, “…so give me a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours.” And God being the FAITHFUL God that He is and one who answers prayer, granted Solomon exactly that and more. God gave Solomon the much needed wisdom and the wealth fit for a king.

Hezekiah in Isaiah 37:14-38 makes a pretty intense prayer and God responds with a likewise intense answer. Actually God’s answer is way longer than Hezekiah’s prayer was and confirmed that Israel would be saved. My bible commentary says that God clearly wanted Hezekiah to know his prayer would be answered. WOW!! God sometimes may change his methods in response to prayer but his purpose always remains. God does not change. He is not man that He should lie or the son of man that he should change his mind (Numbers 23:19). He will answer prayer.

And so in conclusion, do not give up on those prayers you are making or have been wanting to make. Bring that situation to God in PRAYER. Pray for those leaders, yes, even the political leaders. Pray for the state of our nations and the world at large. Pray for those corrupt officials. Pray for the sick. Pray for our economies. Pray for the health care systems. Pray for provision both physical and financial. Pray that God’s word will be preached in all the world. The list could go on. In all this, pray that God’s will shall be done.

Let’s get on those knees like never before in our times. Let’s get them wondering what just happened. Let’s fold those hands together in prayer and surrender to the one true and faithful God. He sees, He hears.

“Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So let all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less.” Lauren Daigle
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_aVFVveJNs)

Camp in the Cloud

Camp in the Cloud flier

My heart is full!!

Events that have to do with joining believers from all over the world in studying God’s word always have a way of making my heart tingle and sing happy songs. These last two weeks have been exactly that.

Well, you will wonder how that happened with all the lock downs and restrictions. William Cowper said, “God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform…” That was in 1773 when so much of what we know now wasn’t. And this quote continues to be ever true even in the 21st century.

These two weeks I had the privilege of being a part of a team involved in an online camp for teens and for young adults. And boy was it amazing!! Sometimes in the doom and gloom and uncertainties of life, it is very easy to lose hope altogether, to wonder how God’s word will continue to be spread when all the churches are closed. You wonder how the body of Christ will meet to be edified. Well my awesome church this season has made use of YouTube, whatsapp and zoom but I had never imagined a ‘Camp in the Cloud’. As Word of Life Uganda for many years we had been trying to figure out how to resume the career camp but the thought of corporate schedules and calendars made it almost impossible to set dates. If you have been to camp, it is very hard to imagine that it can happen without a physical meeting or so I thought. But God has such a sense of humor and he didn’t give men wisdom for nothing. Well this awesome friend of mine called David, always dreams up these crazy ideas and this was one of them. It was the whole camp program but shorter and yet all the awesome activities got fitted into the 4 hours. The famous bible hour, music, discussion groups, games, camp fire and so much more. Ohhhh I can’t explain the joy. We were able to connect with campers from around Africa and the world. Something that would never have happened with the physical camp. We were able to listen to amazing teachers that we probably would have gone to heaven without listening to physically at that. I have made friends from Nigeria, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, Dubai and beyond. Who would have even thought?!

So my sister, my brother, never ever underestimate what God can do. He is the God of the impossible. I am sure even the ZOOM app creators didn’t see this coming. Camp in the Cloud, online church services with actual interactions. I am reminded of the New Testament church that went through so much, from false teachers and prophets, persecution, poverty etc and yet it grew even the more. It came out stronger. The Gospel spread like a fire to all the places the Christians were scattered in. That is exactly how this experience felt for me. God’s word lighting up the world from every corner through the teenagers and the young adults. The physical church buildings may be closed, but the church has never been more alive. With Christians around the world studying the word for themselves, families praying and studying together, people spending more time in prayer. This is the time to live in. This is the time to grow your relationship with God. Do not be left behind.

As God sieves and cleans the world and his church, may you be found standing, firm and unshaken.

In the weeks ahead I will be sharing (God willing) amazing lessons picked from thriving in trials, temptation and good deeds.

Find a good seat in the cloud, get those journals, a good cup of coffee or tea and lets go for a ride.

“God is good, all the time, in every situation, no matter what i am a witness.”

Dr. Ray Pritchard

Could it be??

Could it be

Like the detective in the movie Knives Out says, ‘Allow me to spin this even further.’

We go through life with so many ‘could it be’ and ‘what if’ moments. They are all around. And as you grow older, they are even more visible. When you notice certain symptoms, you already are thinking, ‘could it be…’ When you meet someone that you makes your heart skip, you think ‘could it be…’ When the car won’t start, when the internet page won’t load, when the TV won’t start, when the door won’t open, ‘COULD IT BE…?’ The possibilities are almost endless, but are they? I am sure the conspiracy theory season hasn’t ended yet. There is always something new. However, we also seem to be getting tired of following all the mad news. We are slowly learning to slow down and not run after everything. We are seeking something sure, genuine, legit, a truth, stability, something to hold onto…

Well this piece has been inspired by a conversation with a friend of mine that got my mind running and spinning to the book of Judges and Romans and all over the place. That’s when all the ‘could it be’ moments came rushing back.

So, here comes my spin. Each sentence will start with ‘Could …’ Do feel free to share what your list is.

So, Could it be that the pandemic is a wake-up call to the whole world? A wake-up call to what or from who exactly you ask? I think i know the who part but not too sure about the what part. Help is welcome on that one.

Could it be a time for each one to look within and examine their relationship with God? To check if their allegiance was to the one true God, the creator or His creation? FYI, creation includes human beings.

Could the lock down be a check point and clean up for the church?

Could it be a clear line being drawn between what is true and what is false?

Could the season be a reveal of what is and what isn’t?

Could it reveal what really matters in life?

Could creation be in mourning as in the pains of child birth with all the things we have done to the environment and humanity and is giving birth to something new?

Could it be a time to reveal what each nation really has or had abandoned and needs to resurrect?

Could it be a time for the hearts of men to actually be revealed?

Could we be back to the cyclical time of Judges, a time where God gave the people the leaders they actually deserved and had asked for?

Could it be a time for repentance starting with individuals in their households before we even call those outside of us to repent?

Could it be a time for us to pray for ourselves first, for the cleansing we want to see, before we pray for it for our leaders?

Could it be a time of God extending his kindness to us that it will push us to repentance?

Could it be that God is causing the foolish things of the world to shame the wise?

Could it be that we are being called to confront our idols, to clear the stage, to clean house?

Could this season be an answer to things we asked for in speech, in thought, in attitude, in actions?

Could it be a time for us to re-examine what we ask or wish for?

I beg not to spin this any further, but could it be?

My prayer is that we will all meditatively think on what could actually be.

Well for me, it is Back to the basics, back to the drawing board. And like our famous blogger Ssemakula Eddie said, ‘Back to factory settings.’

 

When the lock down ends…

Freedom Cage

I am so excited about Easter this time despite the COVID-19 lock down. The message of Easter has never been so real. Sin keeps us in bondage, under a lock down. So tied down with no hope, with uncertainties of what the future will look like. All gloom and doom. And then….Jesus Christ came, ohhhh and our story changed. He was locked up in that grave just to be let out so I would be free. How cool is that??!! ‘He lives, He lives, He conquered the grave, covered my sin. He lives, He lives, death could not hold the promise within’ (Cruise Ratcliff).

Just been reflecting on the events of that week, the events that led to Sunday. I have been struck by so many details. Herod and Pilate, former enemies became friends (Luke 23:12) just because of this common goal, to get the man Jesus on trial and later be crucified. Can you imagine!! United against God the very one that gave them life. And isn’t that what sin does to us? It causes us to throw fists at God and often call him all sorts of names because we refuse to believe and understand who He really is and how He works. The one through whom all things were made (John 1:3). His ways are not our ways.

I am sometimes like Simon Peter, saying even more than thrice, “I do not know that man”. Denying Christ not just verbally, but in attitudes, deed, in thought and in words. Having a form of godliness and yet denying its power. I imagine what ran through Peter’s mind when that rooster crowed, ohhh the pain. The bible tells us that he went outside and wept bitterly. May our sin indeed cause us to weep bitterly and never want to go back there again. Peter in that moment probably realized that things might never be the same again but guess what, forgiveness once and for all was coming. Later Peter is given the charge by Jesus to look after His sheep.

Sometimes we are like the Pharisees ignoring altogether what is written in the holy scrolls and the prophecies in there. We follow the crowds to make up stories and accusations against people and against friends just like the Pharisees did with Jesus. We join in the mockery and call it fun and jokes. Timothy Keller warns, ‘We live in an internet age that makes mocking and scoffing easy and reasoned discourse difficult. So we must resist the enormous cultural pressure to be mockers.” The line is very thin, but may God give us the wisdom to see it clearly and choose the right side.

Huh those crowds. In the same week they sang, “Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest” they also joined in shouting ‘Crucify Him, Crucify Him’. They later demand for Barabbas, a rebel and murderer to be released in the place of Jesus. Wawawawa, oh how the devil can play with our minds and hearts. From one exciting thing to another without really weighing what these things really meant.

Well, well, well, the drama never ends, Pilate failing to find anything wrong with Jesus surrenders Him to the ‘will of the crowd’. FYI, this is the Son of God.

Jesus on His way to Golgotha tells the women not to weep for him but for themselves. He adds that ‘For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry.’ And that made me stop. At that moment I thought of Peter again, running to the outside and weeping bitterly for himself. What are you weeping for today? Is it for an unsaved friend? The sin in the world? The pain and suffering you see? A habit that you just won’t break from? Be encouraged, we have a friend in Jesus, who we can share all our sorrows with.

Right before the curtains close, the two criminals (I will call them Ed and Eddy) on their own crosses, each on either side of Jesus enter the scene (Luke 23:39-41). Ed (name made up) decides to hurl insults at Jesus and demand that if he is the Messiah, he should save himself and them. Eddy (name made up) on the other hand turns to Ed and says, ‘Don’t you fear God, since we are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong?’ Eddy got it. Ed however, was soooooo close and yet he missed it. Don’t miss it friend!! I beg of thee that you do not miss it. Jesus is right there beside you calling out, refusing to let you go.

There is so much to the Passion Week, so many details I have skipped. I hope that you find the time to dig deeper. But onto my favourite part, the game changer for me, the culmination of all the events of that week and from the beginning of time. The RESURRECTION!!!!!

My Jesus is alive!!! Alive, Alive, He is alive, He’s alive and I am forgiven, Heaven’s gates are open wide. My heart is full of joy at what that means. It makes me feel like singing all the hymns at the same time in praise and honour of that life changing moment for me. That fulfillment of scripture. That light bulb moment even for the disciples that had forgotten that He had promised to rise on the 3rd day according to the scriptures. It makes me think of that moment when the lock down will finally be over and we can freely run to the streets and all. And yet the resurrection is still so much more that that. He is alive!!!! He is risen from the dead and He is Lord. And every knee will one day bow, in heaven and under and declare that He is Lord. Oh I can’t wait to join the heavenly choir and sing,

‘Holy, Holy Holy, Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come’

and after that sing,

‘Crown Him with many crowns, the lamb upon the throne. Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own. Awake my soul and sing of Him who died for thee, and hail him as they matchless King through all eternity.’

Come Lord Jesus, Come!

Young woman

In the Crazy…Who runs the show?!

So many news sources, so many theories that you can no longer tell who is telling the truth or not. Or if whoever is giving you news or updates is doing it out of fear or trying to be part of the solution. It’s crazy! And with all that the anxiety grows, the mistrust, hate, anger, crippling fear, complaining and all the things that come with those.

You get onto the news and wonder why you even sat there to watch it in the first place and yet you still find yourself glued to the screen both for information and yet more for the anxiety and fear of missing out on what might be. It is a crazy world!!! And hasn’t it been that way from the start? We see it all through from Genesis to Revelations, from that Garden to that battle at Armageddon. And yet…there is something that remains constant. Someone that is unchanging. And oh how that brings me joy!

When we look at Adam and Eve, it was all going smooth. It was unimaginable as you can guess. Until the serpent showed and spewed his lies as always, and right there the first humans doubted God’s word and His character to be all good, and they sinned and with them sin came into the whole world and with it death. And yet God doesn’t just leave us there, He made a way, He allowed for them to make sacrifices for their sin and right there Grace shined again. (Genesis 2-3)

Fast forward, sin multiplies on the earth with every human being born and God looks down and regrets why He made human beings on the earth and his heart was deeply troubled. (Genesis 6:6) and all this right before Noah and the big flood. Well, you would think that after the flood and all the changes that came with it like longevity being affected, that we human beings would get the point and not sin but well…we still go on, business as usual, sinning and making up new and fun ways to do it. We see Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, David and so many others all struggle with it. However the difference with all these people was that they knew and realized what sin was and how bad it was and what it did to their relationship with God. And so, every time they ran back to God and made sacrifices for their sin. David would often cry out because of his sin in the Psalms. In Psalm 51:1-4a he cried, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight….” And yet God’s love and mercy never runs out, like the song goes, ‘His loving kindness is better than life…’ Why? Because it never runs out, it keeps giving. And so fast forward, so many years later, He sends His One and only Son to die on the cross for our sin. Once and for all!!! Too good to be true some say, and yet that is what Grace is. Undeserved favour. There is nothing we could ever do to earn it.

And yet this too good to be true continues to say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart, just come. His arms are ready and wide open to receive you.

And so my lessons in all this crazy that’s happening in the world, I am choosing to come to Him daily and constantly because just like all human, I am so prone to wander, so prone to leave the God I love. I am choosing to take on His burden and yoke because they are easy and light. And each moment I cry out to him and ask just like David that He will teach me to number my days aright that I may gain a heart of wisdom in all this chaos. (Psalm 90:12) And I pray that with that wisdom will come the alertness He asks of me in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

And so alertness it is even with all the news and conspiracies and the emotions that well up in me. I know who holds the future, I know who runs the show, I know who wins in the end and my life is in His very able hands. He is omnipresent, He is omniscient and nothing, completely nothing happens unless He allows it to happen. It is all part of His big story and plan. If I were you, I would hold Him tight and never let go. He is God, the immortal, the invisible, the God only wise. The creator, the designer behind the design, the Alpha and the Omega and in all His magnificence calls out to you today. Trust Him…

Happy Easter to you all.

Kiwatule, Uganda

Kiwatule, Uganda

Forever and a day…

Forever and a day. Well those were the words that came to mind as I thought about starting out this piece. They are words in a song by a lovely lady called Vanessa. A section in the song says.. ’Jump in we’ll go for a ride, move past familiar boulevards, it will take a while before we have seen it all. It’s a trip down memory lane, we’ll see ourselves in a different way, don’t worry about the time, we’ve got forever and a day…Take a picture it lasts longer cause soon enough the sun will set and the years we’ve spent will leave their mark…” Doesn’t this just tell the story of our lives. From when we are born to when God calls us home.

Today I celebrate forever and a day. It is a pretty interesting year and season to celebrate a birthday. It is a hilarious one too. The President of Uganda just declared 1st April (my birthday), the wise man’s day. Guess who is laughing now and as always.

I am excited and look forward to what the times and He that controls the times has in store. This will surely be a birthday to remember. My journal will hold those memories forever. My heart will cherish them. Some of the reasons to remember it are:

  • It was declared wise man’s day. No jokes 😀
  • Uganda officially went into a 14 day lock down thanks to the not so popular COVID-19 virus. Okay we kinda started the partial lock down about a week ago but well this is the real deal happening. Time to talk those strolls to everywhere.
  • It is a season that marks a couple of changes in my life as well as changes in the world today.

I had not really sat down to figure out how to celebrate this new year may be because of the lock down but also may be I have just grown or I was too busy to even think about it. Well it is now here. I believe God has caused this birthday to be such a learning point for me.

I have gotten a better understanding of verses like Hebrews 11:1, when it says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the assurance of things yet unseen. Aren’t those our times? There is so much we hope for. We hope for the pandemic to be over. We hope that the world will not go into an economic crisis. We hope that our lives will go back to normal or even better. We hope for healing for those infected by the virus. We hope that no more cases will be reported in our country and even around the world. There is so much to hope for. And yet the outcomes of all these things is still uncertain. We cannot see it, we hope and hold onto an assurance, a confidence because we know who runs the show. We cannot see the future, we cannot see where the world economies will be at. We cannot tell how many more people will be infected or die or recover and yet we hold onto Faith and Hope because HOPE does not disappoint. Our UNSTOPPABLE God is alive and at work.

Another verse that has come alive is 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.” Given the times, it is so easy to give into the fear and with it, out the window goes the sound mind. Have I had days like those these past few weeks? Oh yes I have and I have been constantly reminded of the truth of God’s word. That there is power for me to overcome those fears, power to get up and study His word each day. The power to pray and make decisions for each day even in a lock down. He has also given me a spirit of love in this season when it is very easy to only look out for myself…ohhh and that sound mind that so often evades us. That sound mind keeps me from the panic that social media brings, the anxieties about what the future will look like, financially, career wise, family wise and so much more.

So yes I stand today in gratitude to God for the so many years He has allowed me to live so far. I stand in gratitude for the different colours He has painted my world over the years. I am grateful to Him for milestones, for answered prayers and for His peace that continues to guard my crazy heart and mind. I am grateful for friends and family that are always giving my heart jiggles. I am forever grateful.

I have learnt so many lessons over the past year and so I stand and look forward to even more amazing lessons in the coming year. I look forward to answered prayers, to dreams coming true, to growth in leaps and bounds in my relationship with God. I look forward to grow in skill in the different talents and gifts that God has placed within me. I look forward in faith, pressing on towards the goal.

I am excited and My heart is full!!!

 

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-29 at 00.01.36Photo Credit: Chris Tabu

COVID-19 Lessons in Gratitude

Well this season has got me re-thinking how grateful I am. I often thought that I was a grateful person. I have been in for a shock this season with God opening my heart and eyes to so many things I should have been grateful to Him for.

For starters, there are things I have missed because of the busy schedules like uninterrupted extended periods of bible study and prayer with no fear of running out of time. I have missed sitting at my sewing machine and making up stuff. I have missed just doing simple crafts and changing the look of spaces around me. Therefore for the opportunity to do that stuff this season, I am forever grateful.

Well, the other category is things that have been around me that I had never thought of verbalizing my gratitude to God for.

For example, having a taxi/matatu available to me after a 5 minute walk from my house. Sitting in that taxi shoulder to shoulder with strangers with no fear or thought that I will catch a virus or another disease.

I am grateful to God for good health, especially now when a slight sore throat gets you thinking you may have contracted the virus. Ehhh, who would have thought!!

I have been reminded to be grateful to God for markets that are freely open to us all over the country with fresh produce at very good prices. In the past one was able to even get a pineapple at UGX 500.

I am grateful to God for medical personnel, who always freely receive us without showing any fear that we might infect them with whichever disease we come in with.

I am grateful to God for the gift of work. It is so easy to complain about the work load and all. But just these few days I have been home, I am so grateful to God for the gift of work. For the opportunity to have somewhere to go every day and be busy doing something. It is nice to have breaks and holidays, but when you are not sure when that will end is something else.

I am grateful to God for cars. Often it comes off as a luxury. Often it can be parked and alternatives are used for days. However this season, it is such a gift.

I am grateful to God for hard cash and for mobile money. For the brains that came up with these ideas. Yes the stock markets are failing, the exchange rates are crazy but I am still grateful to God for money. Whether it will be helpful for this prolonged season we don’t know but I am forever grateful.

I am grateful to God for friends and being able to hang out. I am grateful to God for the opportunity of having people to chat with or call up this season and just laugh and stay encouraged.

I am grateful to God for sound biblical teaching and the opportunity to share it this season with the thirst and hunger that is going around.

Oh and I am grateful to God for HUGS. I am one of those suffering the most this season. I have withdrawal symptoms. I was in so much pain the other day that I could not hug my parents. It cut so deep. I love receiving hugs and now I can’t even get a one second hug.

As hard as the quarantine is, I am grateful to God for it and the change it is bringing.

I am grateful to God for the gift of His Son through whom I can approach His throne of grace.Gratitude

There is so much, so much I am grateful to God for this season. I can’t exhaust the list.  I hope that this is a season where you will grow into new amazing habits and sharpen different skills as you grow in gratitude as well.

What are you grateful to God for this season?