Last night, I was going through some archives and came across this description of the Kingdom of God that moved me and has since shaped the way I approach life. I heard it from John Paul Jackson of righteous memory on his show, Dreams and Mysteries on the episode – The Kingdom of God. It was worth sharing today.
On that episode, the scene begins with John Paul sitting down with a woman. He begins talking about the inner life. Then shifts to the subject of the Kingdom. He talked about the woman’s inner issues which he noted were mostly spiritual. Then, he said –
Because it is spiritual, they require some change. One that begins inside of you more than anywhere else.
We all live in a kingdom and there are many kingdoms.
There have been many kingdoms of men throughout history.
They come. They go. They rise. They fall.
But, there is a kingdom. A kingdom above every kingdom that spans far beyond the limited kingdoms of men. One cannot see the castles on earth of this kingdom because this kingdom begins in the heart. It begins inside of us.
This isn’t a kingdom of politics or economics but of brotherhood.
It has an aristocracy not based on dominance but on service.
It has a house of Lords but it is not filled with eldest sons but of selfless brothers.
It’s not a kingdom of pride but of humility.
It knows no greed but fosters selfless giving.
It’s a kingdom that does not banish the weak but offers to make the weak strong.
This kingdom is the kingdom of heaven.
And in the final analysis, how we’ve lived our life in this kingdom is all that will matter.
There are some things that God wants to do that begins inside of you that’s going to change everything in your life. But it is going to require you accepting His only begotten son.
That kingdom begins with Jesus and with you accepting him and his sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins and payment to help you draw near freely and boldly to God your creator who longs to be a good father to you.
Following Jesus is hard. Saying yes to an adventure he calls you to: saying yes to leadership can be painful. Leadership is hard! It involves a commitment of your emotions, feelings, as well as your mental prowess..
On Monday, I wrote about a crisis I am going through, titled – God is good, my confessions. It was nerve raking. Matter of fact, I am still trembling. I think it is the after effect of being so vulnerable with strangers. After I shared the post, I removed it. Then, I posted it again and then hours later, I removed it. I did this about 5 times.
I was conflicted. Below was and perhaps still is the battle in my soul –
I kept asking myself – Have I shared too much? This is too personal to be sharing with people I don’t know. What the “hell” am I doing?
But then I thought – Ish, you need to preserve yourself and the dignities of those included or connected to these struggles. But, is this a cop out? But it will help someone. But who reads this anyway…? Does it matter…?
Too many thoughts.
I am still shaken because I know its too late. It is said that, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” It is true for the internet. What happens on the internet stays on the internet. Difference is not everyone goes to Vegas but everyone is on the internet. And since what I shared stays on the internet stays, even if I delete it., people will find it anyway.
Saying yes to a call from heaven is hard. Leadership is hard.
When you lead or are called to lead, you deal with so many secret pressures and pains. Your hands and body often tremble under stress, fear, and anxiety, while you struggle to keep your composure and think clearly. You don’t have answers or know which way to go. You hold onto faith, but wonder just how much you can take and how much more you can give. There is lonely decision making.
Even though people are all round you, you could be suffering, dying, sweating and silently as well as secretly crying for help and those around you wouldn’t even hear it. Sometimes, you wander what to say. What do you tell people, your people? How do you say it? How do you even explain it when it is so spiritual? Where do you begin? Will “they” understand it?
It is hard to be a leader. Harder still, is fighting the good fight of faith on this ultimate adventure with the Almighty. You’ll do things for its own sake and people will never know. You pray and hope for others even when you yourself are barely holding on and people will never know. You’ll fully engage in celebrating the victories of others and wander – but, what about me? Did I do something wrong? Or is it something right? You pay such a hefty price and then wonder, is this all that I get or is this just life?
While driving this morning, my body was vibrating under all the trials. I was struggling to focus on the words of his promise. But, it was hard. I wondered if I could keep going. I thought to myself – this is hard and when I finish this part of my adventure with the Almighty, I am tempted to say to him – I don’t know if going on with this is still worth the price…! (Its – the pain speaking).
The problem with life is not that it is rationale or irrational. It is that it is almostrationale – J.K Chesterton
Meaning, just when everything seems to fall into place and you seem to be getting a hang of things, and moving along in life, suddenly something happens that throws everything off balance, setting you like a chess piece in a box called – paradox and contradiction.
Suffering brings courage ~ President SirLeaf of Liberia
That said –
It is during our lives lowest and most challenging periods that a patient and listening ear as well as mere words spoken out of love and understanding echo divine messages and become our greatest gifts. Such a message came from my mother.
She is a true African Queen. She is wild at heart and her passion keeps her youthful. She is my biggest supporter, sides with God on everything concerning Ish even when she knows it will be long and painful, and never allows me to say the word depressed. She can feel it when I am losing strength and courage. She just knows. She knows things man.
Anyone have a mom, friend, or a person in their life like that?
Recently, Ms. Mom was talking with a friend. Knowing my trials, her friend expressed concern because she was worried about her own children and couldn’t imagine her children standing under a similar cross if they carried it. Without skipping a beat, Ms. Mom said of me,
“I know my boy. I am not worried about him. If any of my other children were in his shoes, I would be worried, crying, and shrieking. But, its him – I’m not worried about him.”
Then, she added this gem –
“If you take him and throw him into a sea, he will come out dry. He will come out with a smile. No matter how long it takes. He’ll be fine.”
This gave me much courage. The fact that she believed in me gave me courage. Not many people may understand your life and your life’s call from heaven. You may be lonely on your journey to meet God on page 898 in your book of destiny from page 123. But, the words of that one person – family, friend or stranger – may be all you need to keep going.
Ms. Mom’s words empowered me to keep looking at the Master amidst these divinely engineered storms. Thanks Mom! This is by far the best compliment I have ever received.
Enough with my musing.
What about you? How are you doing and how are you holding up, friends?
What is the best compliment you have ever received in your life?
Why did it matter to you so much?
I would love to read your thoughts too. Don’t be shy. I don’t bite.
I don’t know how this is going to go down but I guess I will find out.
I’m not sure how many people read this blog or will ever read it so I will take vulnerability for a test drive. Today I want to be vulnerable. To share my trials, struggles, pains…! This is going to be hard, but l promise to try.
For a while, I have been on a journey with God. To discover something. To prove something. It began when I was 17 and its been a good ride, no lie. I knew it would be a challenge rolling with an unconventional Father, a God of mystery. I knew and I said yes anyway. And lately, the difficulties have been long and hard.
For days, I have just lied down on the carpet looking at the ceiling after midnight, asking myself – what’s the point? What’s the point of everything? What’s the point of my life? Where is God in all this? What is he saying? Does he even hear me? Does his word still stand? Are we still working with it?
Suffering brings courage – 1st Female African President (Ellen J. Sirleaf)
Things get tough. You won’t always feel like yourself. You may feel overpowered by unwanted thoughts. You may lack the strength to encourage yourself in the Lord. You may lack the motivation to be relentless.
1) Even so, keep pushing, keep talking. If necessary, “Be still and know…” just be still for its own sake. Say nothing. Do nothing. Just be.
2) Big decisions are a culmination of small actions. Just do them – do the little things.
3) In the words of Rabbi Sacks, “First build a future. Only then can you mourn the past. If you reverse the order, you’ll be trapped in the past.”
This has been on my mind for a while. I have been working with someone whose pessimism about life is breath-taking. My goodness! For instance, he says things like –
You can’t get a good job because you are black.
This is what is wrong with this country…
This generation is lazy, good for nothings…
Robots are going to take all the jobs and make people unemployed…
Basically, everything is going down…
Its like he always finds a reason to make depression a reality. Yep. He’s from “that” generation alright. Or maybe its just the age. And though I love and appreciate him, his thoughts might be rubbing off on me. And when he told me he watches the news all the time, I was like –
Recently, after sharing his heart about how hopeless the future would be, I challenged his views. I told him –
There are people out there who will transform this world. Young people who will inspire hope, engage in societal reformation, embody transformation…and more. Don’t be surprised to see a sudden breakthrough of young folks inspired by the Divine doing great things next year. I am confident of it.
Though he insisted that this was not possible, I added,
I disagree sir, but there is. You don’t see them because there are not where you’ll typically look. And there a lot of young adults who are already making that change. I am fortunate to know and be connected with some of them. You might not see them because they are a remnant…waiting for the appointed time. A tree is first a seed and when it is a seed, you can’t see it.
That’s why God hides this type of people until it is time for them to emerge. You will see them in 2018. You will have reason to hope. You can either retire to some remote place as you plan and watch the change happen or you can keep at your craft while watching and participating in the change. I guess its up to you.
Personally, I was thinking I wouldn’t want “you” around me with this barrage of creative negativity.
Though I may have been affected by this barrage of hopelessness recently, I am constantly encouraged by the work of friends and family who are breaking ground. Folks like this proof that there is hope and a remnant in our generation bringing the transforming power of His presence into the streets and marketplace.
Our meeting was a supernatural one. It was – destiny. I stepped out of a church service to get something and saw two people loving, comforting, and praying for someone. One of them was wearing a prayer shawl. I ignored it. A few secs later, I discerned that sweet still small voice say – “Go over there and pray with them.” And – go – I did.
Turns out, the guy was Eli – remember him? And the classy lady with the prayer shawl was Ria Githuku, one of the most talented female singers I have ever met. She’s an actor too. Pure artistic genuis. We have become friends.
Listen to her new single below.
Like many of you, this beautiful mademoiselle has gone through rock and hard places. She has been tested by fire, her faith tested like gold…you know, and every other unforeseen circumstance that is attracted to people of faith. You know, the usual.
But, she remains faithful and her song is her testimony.
If iron sharpens iron, then I am glad she and the Shabbat family sharpens me. Ria together with many of you are part of the change heaven is releasing on the earth. You are God’s gifts, God’s surprise, for this age of hopelessness and depression. Keep on keeping on.
I asked Ria to share some wisdom and encouragement. With love, she sends her thoughts and regards to you and your family. In her own words –
“When my dream became being in the center of God’s will, following my dreams always led me into the center of His heart, where there is no rejection, no disappointment, no striving, no inadequacy – just Love and trust in the fact that I will be led into the absolute best destiny for my life! There is complete freedom in following Jesus because He has bigger dreams and higher hopes for us than we could ever have for ourselves!!
I have found who I really am in Him, my purpose, what I was born for, or at least I have started to unearth it. I am a worshiper of the living God and a deep lover of His people. With my song, my words, my communion with Him, and my heart of compassion for people, worship flows from me like living water. This is what we are all called to although it will look different for each of us.
FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS – SEEK HIS FACE, AND YOU WILL LITERALLY HAVE EVERYTHING YOU WILL EVER NEED, AND MORE!!! ❤❤❤“
There you have it. Seek his face. In short – Seek first the Lord and his kingdom and all other things will be added unto you. Don’t give up guys. Press in.
Life is hard. Holding onto the promises of God and doing life is harder still.
That’s because every “promise” of God to you must be tested. Every single one! But run the race. Keep the faith. And ask God for folks like Ria who like iron will sharpen you with hope. You are blessed and highly favored.
Thank you Ria for your wisdom and for the gift of friendship and divinely inspired music that drives away hopeless thoughts with love. And now, I raise my glass to you Ria; to friends and family everywhere who are boldly traversing the valley of the shadow of death in pain and in peace –
One Love, One Spirit
PS:Butterfly represents being transformed by the renewing of their minds to do what HE calls them to do. Creative Negativity is the metamorphosis of the negativity (doubt, pain, persecution etc) we have to overcome to become who we really are and do what we are born to do.
Well! That is a massive understatement. And this scripture is responsible for damaging that paradigm.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not suppressed it…The Word became a human being (flesh) and lived with us, and we saw his Sh’khinah(glory).” [John 1;1-5, 14 CJB]
Consider this thought experiment.
Imagine someone approaches you. This person has not said anything yet. Imagine that she has no voice and she is just an incomplete person – just bones, muscles, and ligaments. Pure biology, no voice, just human with no humanity.
This human is just standing there looking at you. Then you are given an assignment to make those bones live again. But, you are to do it using only words. What would you do? What would you say?
How do you make a human being of that human? How do you cause this human to come alive and truly live up to their full potential? How do you do it with your words only?
Your words are not just powerful. Your word is a human being. Your words are human beings
Have you ever done something so stupid you tried to change your name, identity, and your existence after? Something so stupid you can’t believe you did it? Something so uncool that even though you are redeemed, the memories can’t seem to fade and shame is a constant stain?
Well, I’ve been there.
About two years ago, I made a mistake so terrible that left me feeling regret and remorse. Its too embarrassing for me to share with you just yet. But, I was ashamed for the longest. Afraid to even show my face in public. The voice of the accuser finally had evidence against me. I couldn’t stop thinking –
How could I have let my fears get the better of me? How could I have been so dumb as to use fear, instead of faith, as an anchor? What type of person would others see me as? How could I even think myself a decent child of God now?
As I wallowed in shame and despair about my blunder and my identity, another voice joined the conversation. This voice interjected my thoughts and decided to tell me a story. Guess who the other voice was?
That’s right…it was our friend, our helper, our counselor, our teacher, the comforter –
The Holy Spirit
It was the most shocking thing. His voice wasn’t audible, but it was clear enough for me to count it as a supernatural experience. Clear enough for me to still remember it and share it with you now.