The Underrated Miracle

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One of the amazing miracles from the Gospel accounts is that of blind people like the Blind Bartimaeus receiving sight. Most of us can barely handle darkness for a minute. Imagine living all your life in darkness imagining what is all around you, touching and feeling but never seeing. And then within seconds after Jesus says the words, the world is opened to you like a newborn. Imagine seeing the mountains, people, bulls, insects, trees, rivers… all in your first ever gaze. I’m already feeling overwhelmed imagining it.

You could say every miracle must have been exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I guess that’s what happens when the impossible happens. This is what drew crowds to Jesus and it’s what many preachers crave even the ones who don’t call for the “deliverance service”. If only a miracle happened when I was preaching then people would listen to me more and of course God would be glorified, says the man of God. I think all of us would actually want to see a miracle first hand. Our unbelieving friends insist this would convince them to repent and believe the Gospel. In truth, we see miracles everyday but they don’t seem to excite or overwhelm us as much.

You see behind the spectacular, crowd-drawing miracles was Jesus’ words and behind the scenes bigger miracles were happening that only those whose hearts he touched and healed could testify to. It’s the miracle of spiritual sight. It’s what happens when we hear the Gospel and our eyes are opened to see our sinfulness and our desperate need for salvation. When we understand just how blind we have been all our lives of God’s love and patience with our rebellion and idolatry. And when we first see the light of the Gospel we realize the darkness we’ve lived in and how blind the world is. Paul expresses this perfectly writing to the Ephesians. He says before they heard the Gospel they were so blind in sin and blind to their blindness, they couldn’t even feel and touch like Bartimaeus, they were dead:

1. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2. in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.

Ephesians 2, ESV.

But when Jesus’ words were spoken to us from the preaching of the Gospel our first ever gaze overwhelmed us seeing God’s love to such wretched sinners like us. It was a greater wonder than seeing oceans, mountains, children, skies, birds… for the very first time. Now we could see God and ourselves clearly than ever before. I can remember vividly that first time when I saw the love and mercy of God and my very clear guilt before him. I couldn’t believe how blind I was before to see how I toyed with God’s judgement on me. And to imagine that a sinner like me could be forgiven and called a child of God, my mind was blown away. That’s the miracle I see every day because like King David my sins are ever before me and yet God’s love and mercy is ever true and all consuming. And what’s more, I’m continually being changed by his Spirit in me through his Word to sin no more.

You see, to the naked eye this doesn’t seem as spectacular a miracle as restoring physical sight or raising the physically dead. But what’s more troubling is that even believers don’t seem to appreciate this miracle and privilege as much. We still crave for what is tangible because we like using our physical eyes instead of this new pair of spiritual eyes. Can you imagine Bartimaeus choosing to close his eyes and cross the street with a stick as he used to before. How outrageous! And yet that’s what we like doing, pack our faith on the side and take a step with the world for old times sake. May the Lord have mercy on us! May he quicken us to see just how privileged we are that we can see him, ourselves and the world around us as he sees it from the spiritual eye of his Word. And may we be overjoyed living in light of this Gospel in this blind world as we look forward to our eternal home.

Spiritual sight, walking by faith not sight, is what we need everyday in the good times and when our ministries are struggling. Because it’s the eyes of biblical faith that distinguish those who make it to the end and those who walk away. It’s what we need when our joy and enthusiasm in witnessing is failing. It’s what keeps missionaries on the field and faithful Christians living for Jesus in a hostile world. Spiritual sight is our unique blessing and dare I say the most important one this side of eternity. It’s what will keep our eyes set on the eternal prize while we are constantly tempted by the fears or pleasures of this world. Don’t forget to carry your pair with you at all times and in every circumstance.

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I can’t help but speak

Hi there! My name is Peter Muturi and I would love to share with you how I became a Christian. I grew up going to church all through my primary school and I was okay with it because I sort of believed in the idea of God and honestly my mom couldn’t have it any other way, haha. What I couldn’t get though was the idea that this God was interested in a relationship with me.

To me, God was all-powerful but wouldn’t be at all interested in me. This made it increasingly hard as I grew up to care about church on a Sunday while I could be out having fun with my friends.

Something else that bothered me was that God would one day punish me for my sins. It seemed cruel and trivial for an almighty being who should have more things to concern himself with. In time, I strayed away and stopped going to church altogether choosing instead to hang out with friends and watch movies despite my mom and aunt’s rebuke. In the end, it took my mom reaching out to my pastor to get me back to church. It was embarrassing for all of us but I caved in for their sake and went back to church. In any case, I wasn’t going to have my freedom while still at home so I decided to work hard and try it at uni.

I performed very well and finally, I could smell my freedom. I was a university student in the city free to do anything I wanted to enjoy life. I tried my best chasing a happy life but it didn’t really give me the satisfaction I had craved all those years. In the end, I felt emptier and more depressed.

In my gloom I remembered a friend had always been trying to get me to Christian union so finally I went to attend a Friday fellowship and I got hooked from that day. I kept coming for the company and sense of belonging until one Sunday morning when my comfort seat was shaken again. The speaker spoke from Revelation 3:16 warning those of us who had lukewarm comfortable faith. She went on how you were supposed to be either fully in with Jesus or out and if not, God would spit you out in judgement.

For the first time I realized I had always judged God on my standards and never considered he was right to judge me on his own standards. And looking back to my life I realized God had been very kind to me and I really deserved his judgement for repaying his love with my indifference.

I became very aware of my sins and was trembling in my seat and couldn’t wait to leave. I went straight to find my friend who prayed with me and I rededicated my life to Christ this time willingly. It’s not been an easy journey I must say but that day was the best day of my life and the beginning of a life dedicated to honor Christ with my life as he did with his death. And now I can’t help but speak of him!

#MissionMonth

#Ican’thelpbutspeak

#GracepointchurchKikuyu

Perfect imperfection

Photo by Chetan Menaria

Perfect Imperfection

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I look out of my window and see your beauty

You are wholesomely breathtaking yet so imperfect

The mountains on your shoulders are mind-blowing

But the wounds on your heart so sickening

You are altogether beautiful and yet so wretched

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You give birth to beautiful angels, a wonder to behold

But murder them in the morning by their mother

You raise them as leaders but soon turn them to thieves

What your right hand builds the left destroys

You are virtuous but detestable, perfectly imperfect

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Men give their lives for you, toiling to build you up

But you consume their children and the labor of their hands

They call you mother earth but you are a monster

You eat your own and drink their sweat of blood

You look so perfect and tender yet are so cruel and imperfect

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Our mistake is we never learn from your martyrs

We keep offering ourselves and our children to you

Sacrificing them on the altar of a better tomorrow

But your tomorrow has nothing better to offer

How perfectly we are deceived of your imperfections

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So I call out on what remains of your children

Wake up and ran for your lives, your mother is a monster

And Lo! I have seen a better one coming from above

She carries her own and brings them safely home

She’s perfect and has no imperfections

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She’s coated with gold, peace and justice

She’s built on truth and righteousness

A mother who tenderly cares for her own

She’s worth dying for and she dies in waiting for her children

She’s altogether beautiful, virtuous and perfectly perfect

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She’s feeds her children with the truth

And clothes them with righteousness

She’s ensures justice and equality for all

She has no sickness or infirmities 

She’s a caring mother and our perfect home

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She is a mother to all who believe

The Jerusalem above, city of our God

And our eternal home with our Saviour

So I look out again, yearning for her coming

Longing for our perfect eternal home

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Normal isn’t better!

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I've heard it in our prayers and seen it on the news
The pagan and the believer crying for the same thing
Take away this pandemic, give us back our normal life
We want to hit the button and restart the year again
We miss the good old days, away with the masks!
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That was the life wasn't it?
When you could go anywhere
And do anything you wanted
We were invisible back then
We clicked our fingers and got our wishes
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Everything was perfect and we lived the dream
Our leaders were amazing, ruling with truth and justice
None died of hunger or knew of economic breakdown
Our society was built on truth and integrity
Do you remember them those good old days?
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So we cry as we dream of what we had
But what really did we have then?
Could it be we were all dreaming
Maybe we are in a bad stupor right now
Supposing that yesterday would be any better
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You could go back to normal but not better
You see it's not the "normal life" we need
It's a better life where disease are unheard of
Where we don't turn wondering what will hit us next
Normal isn't nearly better it's only a milage
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In normal life we laboured and toiled 9 to 5
We did our best to make every coin count
Trying and beating the odds to climb the ladder
But always fearing what would eventually brings us falling
We were always in a pandemic only it wasn't labeled so
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As long as it didn't hit home or someone we knew
It was okay, it's the way of life we said casually
But occasionally we would be victims
Then we would see life in true reality
Because when death glares we see things as we should
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So I call you to see beyond the normal
Don't settle for less problems when you can have none
Don't dream of less sickness when you could be free
Free yourself from the traps of this vain life
And embrace the offer of abundant eternal life that Jesus offers
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Sure, there was something good with our "normal life"
We had a bit more control on things and plans
At least some of us did! 
But it was a always a step away from a pandemic
And who knows what awaits after this one! 
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We pray that things get better while down here
But we should see this as a wake up call
To know what the world offers is really overrated
We need a better home with no viruses and fear of death
And Jesus went to make the perfect home for those who believe
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It’s Already Hard to Be A Christian: Following God in Crisis and Suffering — Conversation Magazine

Lose your life to Save itThe call to discipleship is an invitation to a life of crisis in this life. It’s a call to stand out and live for Jesus amidst opposition from the world, the devil, and even our own sinful flesh (Ephesians 2:1-3). It’s a call to move against the tide following Jesus […]

It’s Already Hard to Be A Christian: Following God in Crisis and Suffering — Conversation Magazine

Do I really want heaven?

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I have been wondering why many Christians and churches speak so little of our eternal home. I’m not saying they don’t reference heaven in sermons and conversations but most of the time that’s as far as it goes. I mean when is the last time a sermon topic was Heaven, the new creation, living with God forever…

If you called me today and I told you I have been thinking a lot about heaven what comes to your mind? Most people will be like…he must be dying or he’s depressed and has lost reasons to live…
But isn’t it crazy that heaven is where we’ll spend our eternity and yet we barely comment about this and get unconformtable if someone becomes obsessed with this.

Too heaven focused without earthly relevance we call it to refer to heaven fanatics! But I beg to differ. If you are not heaven focused as a Christian I actually think you’ve little earthly relevance as our lives are all about preparing and inviting others to live peacefully with our God in the new creation. Now I’m not saying we walk with our heads in the clouds but I think we’ve moved to the other extreme where all that matters is the ground we step on with little relevance of where we are ultimately headed.

I’ve always wondered if many of us would have the kind of dilemma Paul has in Philippians 1:

 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better…

Philippians 1

Given a chance between going to be with Christ now and pursuing life on earth even for a good reason like Paul would you think it twice? Would it be a hard decision for you? I’ll tell you what many people say cleverly in answer to this : I want to live and witness by my life and achieving my God given purpose… Sounds really Gospel centered and maybe genuine but is it really witnessing you want or is it that you don’t want to die and be with God?

But I don’t want to pretend like I’m always happy to drop dead or that there’s isn’t selfish reasons why I want this life more than heaven. Asked what I want more: this life, marriage, family, a successful ministry or heaven I hesitate, strange isn’t it? And I think some of the obvious reasons we hesitate is fear of death, fear of the unknown, struggle with assurance of life after death…

But the one I want to address is on our teaching about the after life. We fight those who preach a better life here and now but we do so little teaching why life with God is the best thing that can ever happen to us. That when a Christian drops down dead that’s the greatest outcome of their life as they get to be with their Saviour. That’s really our life goal and purpose, to be with God in eternity.

Now, I’m not saying churches should revise the year’s preaching calendar or that what’s happening here and now doesn’t concern us neither I’m I suggesting that we should all be posting hashtags #can’twaittodie. Although it’s not such a crazy idea! But I think at least it shouldn’t be strange among believers to talk about heaven and we should do it more oftenly. I think we should train Bible students on this more as it’s really what will shape how we preach and do discipleship. We should teach our youths and children about death and life beyond…

But most importantly we need to evaluate the motivation of our life and ministry. Is it truly focused on the one coming from above or the here and now like everyone else? What’s informing the kind of dreams and life goals we get behind as Christians and the local church? You see everyone is on the case of survival and making this life better here and now and at best a couple of years to come. But as believers our timeline is longer. We are speaking about a million years ahead. We are safeguarding an eternity not just tomorrow. And that’s the hope we are called to and the message we proclaim.

… 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 11

To be continued…

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The God behind the scenes

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One day as we stroll the streets of heaven we will look back
And learn of the pain and sacrifice of many unknown heroes
We will hear of wounds and scars unseen before
Of hidden sin, doubts and possible backsliding
And will glorify the God who worked behind the scenes
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We will see our heroes of faith as we should
As mere feeble men and praise the one who worked in them
We will see those we look down upon
And hear of their unknown acts of charity
Then will we rightly praise the Saviour behind it all
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We will hear of much generosity and unrivalled patience
Of the hospitality of godly women and discipline of caring fathers
We will see those who suffered and died for their faith
And those who endured bearing their cross everyday
Then shall our mouths be filled with true praise
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We will know of greater evangelists and Bible teachers
Those who never came to the limelight but served faithfully
We will hear of businessmen and stay at home mums
Those who supported and served behind the scenes
And great shall be their joy meeting the one who saw it all
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We crave the reputation of men that will fade in time
We worry about things that will be deemed insignificant
Because we see more with our eyes than our faith
But if we paid attention and looked carefully
We would see the God at work behind the scenes
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Sometimes all we need is his sympathy

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I really hate it when I feel helpless. You know when you are in a crisis or someone shares their problem with you and you know you can’t help them. At times you wish they didn’t tell you to enjoy the bliss of ignorance. And you might quickly want to forget it by overindulging in some distraction.

The problem is when we share our troubles many people especially men rush to look for solutions. They mean well but they are also naive and shallow to realise the depth of the problem. Because sometimes the problem isn’t merely finding a solution but living with the problem.

Take our sinful heart for example. We know there’s only one cure, a new heart conformed to the nature of Christ. But we are here on earth and we have to live with this wretchedness. We don’t just need a cure for our sinful heart but the strength to endure living with this cancer.

This is why I find great comfort in the Lord Jesus because he doesn’t just fix us. He gives us the power to endure living with the problem. Because he knows what it means to bear the burden of sin in our weak bodies. As the author to the Hebrews says:

18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2.

I cry to him when I mess up and wish he could rip out this sinful heart. But I know as longs as I’m down here I’ll have to live with this sickness before I see him in eternal glory. So I live with the comfort of knowing he’s with me through the thick and thin. I know however bad and hopeless it feels I have him by my side as I fight sin.

And not once will I ever say, God you didn’t know what it was like living in this broken world because he knows. As a matter of fact I’ll never come close to facing what he faced on his way to earn me salvation.

Sometimes all we need is sympathy. It’s not someone to try fix us because in truth we are broken beyond repair. We don’t need someone to download their theology on us on right and wrong, evil and good, righteousness and wickedness.

We need someone who can say I know how you feel. I know the guilt within you. I can see the pain and anguish, the regret and remorse. I know exactly what you are going through because I have faced it and much worse. And Jesus the friend of sinners can say this and do much more. He can sympathize with our weaknesses, he is our strength in the journey and the cure to our weaknesses:

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2.

We need not fear anything when we are beside him. He has conquered the monsters, that is sin, death and the devil. And now he lives in us by his Spirit and has walked ahead of us as a perfect example. Whatever we face he can sympathize with us. He’s the surgeon in the operating theater that worked on our heart cancer but also the friend beside us as we face the pain of recovery.

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Calm down my worrying heart

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When I toss back and forth in my bed
And a hundred thoughts run through my mind
When the night feels like an eternity
And my worries too many to bear
I look to the one who calms my heart
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I worry of that which I cannot change
My fears run to a future so uncertain
It looks bleak and feels like the end
So I toss again with hopelessness
And I cannot calm my worrying heart
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I could toss all night and change nothing
I wet my sheets with my tears for nothing
Perhaps if I knew the future I could do something
But it’s not mine to know or change
Mine only is to surrender my heart to him
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So I give you this little heart and my worries
I offer my pain and distress as a sacrifice
Take it, Lord, as a pleasing aroma of my worship
I surrender this my heart and mind to you
For only you can calm this worrying heart
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It’s another night and fear looms in the dark
A new day comes and new problems are born
Where can I run far away to peace everlasting?
I will hide in the arms of my loving Father
The one who calms down my worrying heart
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Who wants eternal boredom?

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Most times what puts people off the Christian faith isn’t merely the cost it demands but what we imagine it offers. Sure everyone wants eternal life. But who wants to sing with the choir of angels forever. In our limited imagination we assume heaven would be one long Sunday service. It might have the best preacher but not exactly what comes to mind when you think about living life to the fullest.

We fail to imagine righteousness and fun going hand in hand. It’s like having the church in a bar. Those two places cannot coexist together. One is reserved for boundless fun and the other for the killjoys. In that case,  many would prefer a lifetime in the bar to an eternity in the church.

But we have two problems here. One we assume the only way to have fun and live life to the fullest is to break loose and give in to the cravings of the flesh. Sin becomes synonymous with fun and righteousness with boredom. Unfortunately, this is a highly overrated lie and in every age people fall for this lie, die unfulfilled and miss the real party.

Second, our imagination is really limited. We don’t stop for a minute to consider who gave us the things we so easily idolize. In our minds, God made the church with all the killjoys while Satan the rest of the world and everything good in it. Our problem is we cannot imagine a God who loves righteousness and at the same time delights in the joy and fulfillment of his people. That he would delight seeing them live life to the fullest.

In truth, our imagination doesn’t even come close to life at the gates of heaven. Everything that blows our minds away now is but a small fragment of the wonders of the city of God. In Isaiah 25 we see an eternal party with well aged wine and as I love to imagine the best grilled ribs. All this while at peace with the one who made us.

6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines. Isaiah 25.

The best party we have ever been to, the most finger licking meal we had, the most memorable adventure, the most fulfilling relationship and life goals and achievements. All these will fade away into insignificance when the Lord opens his eternal party.

What’s more? God will remove what ultimately kills every good party; sin, pain and death forever. There will no more be the pain of loss and disease or uncertainty and insecurity. We will truly live life to the fullest.

7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
8     he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.
9 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” Isaiah 25.

The million dollar question is will you be invited to this party? Looking at vs 9 of Isaiah 25 we see those rejoicing in the party are those who waited and trusted in the Lord. They are those who saw the lies of the world for what it is and chose to wait on the Lord’s return. Those who know this is not all there is but only a taster of the life we were made for.

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