You get to hear that Jesus/ God loves you so many times, I bet every time you do you either go; “Yeah right?” “Amen,” “Thank you,” or just nod. You might also have another response and I would love to hear those in the comments below. I also know that your response to that statement varies depending on the season you find yourself in. I say this confidently because just like you I have been there. And then there is when you know for sure that God does indeed love you. There is nothing as comforting and uplifting as that. The Psalmist writes and says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” Psalm 139:6 NIV. For emphasis the Message translation says, “This is too much, too wonderful – I can’t take it all in!”
I am a mother of three now, yes I got to three 🙈.
Did I tell you how hard parenting is? It is said to be the most fulfiling job in the world and yes, I am in agreement but… Weh!!! Yes there is a but. Fulfilment comes when you see your children pass their growth milestones and further grow into people that we all look at and want to associate ourselves with. I bet you know what I am talking about. If you don’t maybe you can relate to having your parents or guardians just want to brag about you. Back to where I started…
I love my daughter, I am protective of her and I am also mkali to (tough on) her. My cousin (first cousin who we grew up as sisters) says when she sees my daughter she feels for her because just like her, she had alot of pressure as the first girl to set the pace for us in the family. Doesn’t help that I always wanted to be like her, but that says a lot about her. She was admirable: the things she knew, how she carried herself, I looked up to her. As I was saying, with Latifah being the first born, there is generally a lot of pressure to set a good example for her siblings. Then there is my son Lionel who follows her. I have been accused for babying him… in my defence, raising a girl and a boy is so different trying to find that balance is not easy. He can be a piece of work like a little lion (aggresive, head strong and he loves to roar -literally 😃😃😃). Both of them have a lot of me in them and sometimes you want to chapa (spank) because of something they said or did then you remember ni njaro zako (those are your ways) 🙈. By the way that doesn’t mean they get away with it. I know what my stubborness has costed me, so I wouldn’t want that for them. I give alot of credit to my husband for his great parenting skills…
To you dad and all the dads who stepped up and took responsibility and carried out the obligation of being a father; I salute you and may God bless you. I encourage us to share Celebrating Fathers sermon with the men we know; it will encourage and teach not just them but the women in their lives. Fred knows how to find a balance between being fun and mkali (tough). I struggle and its usually my prayer that my babies know that I actually love them. That I do not let them get away with things or just let them free flow and get what they want, do what they want, however they want, whenever they want because it is detrimental to them and I want the very best for them.
If you are a parent or have gotten to that age where you actually appreciate the controls your parents put for you when growing up, you probably relate. We now see it as love. So why is it that we don’t look at things from that perspective when it comes to GOD? We get so caught up in looking at God as that guy who is seated somewhere /enthroned and just setting legislation of don’ts that take away, the pleasure of just doing as we please in order to make our lives miserable. Then He waits for you to make mistakes so that He can make us suffer. Let me say at this point that He is not just another guy but the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY enthroned in all heavens and all the earth. Maybe its our skewed way of looking at love and what love looks like. I have been a victim of this; not being able to reconcile Gods love with his discipline and especially punishment yet the Bible says “…the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Hebrews 12:6 NIV take note of the part where it says everyone he accepts as his son. Are you a son?
Allow me to share more from that scripture even though it will preempt me. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best (emphasis my own); but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:4-11 NIV
That passage is self explanatory but allow me to say this. I know that the struggle against sin is real. Name them; from dishonour, to selfishness, debauchery, gossip, lust of the flesh of every kind, greed, idolatry etc but we live in the dispensation of Grace. He doesn’t require righteousness only but has ensured we have a helper the HOLY SPIRIT to help us live up to the things He has asked of us. Which therefore means whenever we are convicted of sin what we need to do is just ask Him for help to overcome. Some are instant and some are gradual but we need to fight against just wanting what the flesh wants, if we are going to please God, who is our Father.
Now, I was reading through scriptures in Duetronomy and I came across something that was a great encouragement to me and I hope it will be to you too.
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today (This is todays instructions too), so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord . Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.
Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 8:1-20 NIV
Before you begin to talk about how God is not good for being okay with the destruction of others… just pause for a second. I have three children but I am surrounded by a multitude of children and the truth is neither you nor I would choose other children over our own: True or false?
There is a way that every parent would have their child go. And God as our Father also has a way He would have us go and be. Just as He was with the Israelites He would have us walk in obedience to Him as well. At the start of this year, we as a church begun to do a through the year Bible devotion by Pastor Nicky Gumbel and it has been an amazing journey thus far. On one of those days when we were reading about God giving the ten commandments, this is what he had to say to encourage us:
The Ten Commandments were not given as a ladder that people had to climb up to get into God’s presence. Rather they were a God-given pattern of life for those who had already known God’s grace and redemption. They are not given to restrict your freedom, but to safeguard it. They help you enjoy the freedom of living in a relationship with God, showing you how to live a holy life just as God is holy. Your love for God flows out from, and is a response to, God’s love for you.
Pastor Nicky Gumbel
If and when we put this in mind we realize that God truly loves us. Like Paul said, no discipline seems fun when it happens but when God is done, you look back and are glad. Another thing, God cannot have taught you something or led you a certain direction and then you fanya (do) your own things and imagine that we will get away with it. God would have us thrive, you know not only prosper but be able to accomplish all God had for us. His thoughts of us and the plans He has for us are good and not of evil. We have to trust that. I mean having become an adult and just reflecting on how I was raised, if my father and mother had not raised me well, I would have probably blamed them for all the wrong choices I made. God would have us stand out and become the light of this world and you cannot do that when you are living in sin.
Therefore, when God lets you face the consequences of your actions, do not be mad and throw a fit, learn from them. When He sets boundaries for you, know that they are meant to keep you from harm. When He gives you direction or commands remember that they are to take you to a place of abundance and His peace. When He rebukes you, its because He would hate for you to take the path that leads to death literally or metaphorically speaking. And when He chastises, punishes or scorges you as is in the different Bible translations, it is out of His abundant love. What I am saying is, His love for us is not present only when things are rosy and the feelings of mushyness are present, as long as you are His child, His everlasting love for you is there all the time, its constant and relentless. The next time you hear God say, ” I love you!” and you don’t buy it or are struggling to understand, how about you whisper this prayer:
I humbly come before you.Thank you that you say you love me. I truly want to believe that you love me and walk in that love as well as respond to your love. Help my unbelief, reveal your abundant love for me. Flood my heart with your love so that I may know how deep, how wide and how high your love is for me. And when you have done that, that I may be able to share your love with the world around me. In Jesus name Amen.