ALCOHOLISM: DO WE HAVE THE CURE YET?

ALCOHOLISM; DO WE HAVE THE CURE YET?

I have closely been following the current initiative by the President to scrap off all illicit brew dens and I would be very unappreciative not to acknowledge the efforts by the President and the County government in saving the alcoholics (particularly those of the poorly prepared and unhygienic liquor). My village back in Nyeri County is not an exception in the effects of liquor (the veterans call themselves ‘wamuthota’ meaning ‘the thirsty ones’), and this is not the first time such a war on illicit brews is being launched. Only that this time around I hope the chiefs and county commissioners would be steadfast in the fight and not give in to bribes.

The illicit brew producers haven’t given up in innovating new ways of carrying on with their business. As Kenyans reacted online I caught a humorous comment that the small-scale coffee vendors now have liquor in the flasks. Besides that, drunkenness will continue to be a menace in our society given that it’s only a war against the illicit brews, and not on all alcohol. So in a sense, the broken families out of alcoholism will continue to be, the accidents on the road caused by alcoholism will continue to be, etc.

I just came across a quote from a book I am reading that seemed to communicate what has been in my mind for the last two weeks. A theologian Richard Baxter wrote ‘A thief doth not become a true man when the prison or stocks do hinder him from stealing, but when a changed heart doth hinder him’. And replacing the ’thief’ on the quote to ‘alcoholic’, and ‘prison or stock’ to ‘government’ explains my very thought on what is going on.

There is a deeper problem in man other than drunkenness, prostitution, homosexuality among others. If by the way of blocking satisfaction of a worldly passion like drunkenness we are able to forcefully reduce availability of the illicit brew, it will be near good, but that doesn’t affirm the success of preventing indulgence into other ungodly addictions. Our rejoicing in the war against illicit brews may just be a temporary measure to cure a stomach ache, while there lays a deeper ailment of gastric cancer. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….’ Rom 3:23 is a diagnosis of the problem lying right at human’s heart. The ‘gastric cancer’ is SIN. The good news however is ‘and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood….’ Rom 3:24-25a.

And so as Christians join in in rejoicing at the ongoing illicit beer war, let us not forget the opportunity we have of reaching out to the circumstantially alcohol-deprived men and women with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who not only desires men not to be given to drunkenness but is calling out to their hearts that He may heal and accord them grace for this momentary life.

I can’t help but think through these words from a hymn;

Amazing grace how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me,

I was once lost but now I am found,

Was blind but now I see.

Grace be with you,

Njeri Maina.

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THE PROMISED LAND

Hebrews 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

We are all aware of the famous promised land in the Bible – Caanan. And we remember so well of the story, right from the nine plagues to the passover and the deliverance of the Israelites from bondage of the Egyptians and their forty years in the wilderness before getting to Caanan, and of their disobedience to God all through even after all the signs and wonders (maybe thats a point to strengthen on just how wicked man’s ways became after the fall of man in Eden).

Now the question comes, do we have a promised land as christians?

I have listened to debates on christians arriving to the promised land while still here on earth (a point where one gets to eat of what they sowed) ….. others argue that when one gets to spiritual maturity-never mind the spiritometer- one has reached the promised land…..and the arguments go on and on and on….

HOWEVER;

What does the Bible speak to us about our ‘promised land’ as christians?

Hebrews 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Ours is a heavenly one, one which God Himself has prepared. When we begin our walk with God after getting saved, its like the Israelites after their deliverance and they were headed to Caanan, but for us its a road to heaven. Here om earth we are aliens, outsiders, a chosen people who God has allowed to be in a cross-cultural setting – our citizenship being in heaven-.

Our promised land may not be here on earth. The discipline maybe a little too harsh, the suffering be a little too much and probably the persecution be too ruthless but theres hope: theres a Promised Land for us once the journey is over.

Could we declare like Paul; Philippians 3:13-14 ‘Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus’.

Theres hope for THE PROMISED LAND

HIS LOVE…..

HIS LOVE….

Well, think of a man, wandering in the desert wastelands finding no way to a city where they can settle. He is hungry and thirsty and consequently weak…..

Think of a man, sitting in darkness in the deepest gloom of a prison cell. He is in subjection to bitter labor without any help…..

Think of a man lost in his rebellious ways, and consequently suffering in affliction because of his iniquities…..

Think of a man who goes out in the sea in a ship, he is caught up in a tempest and high waves, that mounts up to the heavens and go down to the depths. He gets so afraid, having reached his wit’s end and staggers like a drunk man…..

Well, all these are men, in different situations, but all of them really in desperation. That must have been us (me and you) at one time when we dint yet know ourselves in Christ. We neither knew of our blindness, nor of our hunger and thirst. We neither knew of our hopelessness, nor of our distress.
This is the condition we were in;
• Until Christ came and gathered us from the lands, from east and west, from north and the south;
• Until Christ led us in a straight way where we could settle, filling the hunger in us with good things;
• Until Christ brought us out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away our chains;
• Until Christ sent forth His Word and healed us rescuing us from the grave;
• Until Christ stilled the storm to a whisper and hushed the waves of the sea and is guiding us to the desired haven.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

‘Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the Lord.’
No wonder Paul’s words to the Ephesians; ‘so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints , to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’ Eph 3:17-19.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

MY FOOD IS TO DO THE WILL OF MY FATHER…….

‘MY FOOD IS TO DO THE WILL OF HIM WHO SENT ME…….’
Why don’t we Christians always take chances to witness when we get an opportunity? Well I tried thinking through some of the possible reasons and came up with the following;
• We are busy; the ‘rushy’ kind of lifestyle we have adopted in the post-modern era denies us time to check out on our surrounding. I bet even the governments ‘nyumba kumi’ initiative has/is facing this as a challenge.
• Being in a high-tech era has also denied us putting aside time and energy for nourishing human relationships. Actually the people far away seem to be closer, at the expense of those physically close. For instance, a person could be in the sitting room with their family members and fail to talk with them while in constant communication with ten friends miles away through whatsapp. (Of course the positives of globalization don’t go unnoticed).
• We have a variety of motivations to encourage us face every day. It could be money, family, career advancement etc. there could be a clash on the motivations, and more so forget the number one expectation from God; reaching out.
• We could also be just merely selfish, and our neighbors’ welfare isn’t any of our business.

‘Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for they are a kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and His worshippers must worship in Spirit and in truth.’ John 4:23-24.
A story is told of a Samaritan woman that found Jesus at the well. He asked her for water but she hesitated reasoning that Jews and Samaritans dint associate with each other. However the men Jesus dint seem to be bothered by that, and went ahead to strike a conversation between Him and the woman. He seemed to know so much about the woman’s life, something that leaves the woman amazed. We can drive out some observations from this story;
• Jesus went unconventional by associating with a Samaritan (irregardless of the fact that Samaritans and Jews dint associate freely). Besides that the woman was a prostitute.
• It was no longer about being Jew or Samaritan; Jesus seemed to describe people as the ‘True Worshippers’ who the Father is seeking.
• It was also no longer about where the people met to fellowship, whether in Jerusalem or on the mountains but rather worshippers worshipping the Father in truth and in Spirit. Jesus seemed to be interested in a peoples condition of the heart, rather than where they met (physical place) or their tribe (Jew or Samaritan or any other group of people).
• Jesus is quite conscious of the environment, the well. He speaks to the Samaritan woman concerning the water of the well (which doesn’t quench the thirst completely one will always get thirsty again), and of a source of living water that would lead to a spring of water that would well up to eternal life.
After that encounter the Samaritan woman actually left her jar of water and went out and told people of how she had met Christ, that could even have added onto the number who believed in Jesus that day.
We definitely have a role to play in ensuring the presence of true worshippers who will worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth. God has entrusted us with the Gospel, and there’s a harvest to it: bringing onboard many more true worshippers of our Father. He will be with us to the end of time, we aren’t alone!
Opportunities aren’t over yet of witnessing. Some of which include;
• The digital platform avenues such as whatsapp, emails, Facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.
• Our work mates at our places of work.
• Our neighbors at home.
• That neighbor, conductor or driver in the matatu.
• Etcetera……..there can’t seem to be an end to opportunities of witnessing.
Have a great week ahead as we deliberate on taking opportunities to witness.

THE LORD HAS DONE THIS, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES.

Psalm 118:22-23, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’
I had a ‘Eureka’ moment when I read this Psalm just recently. I have read and heard it quoted before but my very recent encounter with it got me into a new mode of reverence on who God is, and His love, mercy and grace.
We(I) have gotten into quoting of the marvel when things go well with us(me) like passing exams, signing a business deal, getting promoted, getting married, etc. But wait a minute…., is that all there is to marvel about? The Psalm is full of prophesies about the Savior who was to come and particularly Psalm 118:22 ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;’ and it came to pass by the coming of Christ from David’s lineage, the rejection by the Pharisees and teachers of Law and even by the Jews themselves and yet He was the Savior the early prophesies talked off…..
• Now isn’t marvelous that Christ died for all? He was made to be sin (He who had no sin), that in Him we might become the righteousness of God? 2nd Corinthians 5:21.
• Justice demanded death for us over our sins, isn’t it marvelous that Christ reconciled us to God through Himself such that we through Him are now are a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come?
• Isn’t it marvelous that through Christ we have the assurance of eternal life, not through our deeds that anyone should boast but through Christ’s grace? 1st John 5:11-12.
Christ’s love to mankind is unimaginable and not equitable to any other thing. I echo the psalmist’s words in Psalms 136, there is every reason to marvel at the Lord’s nature, a God of SALVATION. The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes…..

MAY GOD’S WILL PREVAIL

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Often as I pray I say ‘may you…r will prevail’. Now thinking about it, do I really mean that when I say it?

Now from the above verses, it’s quite clear that there are God’s thoughts, and there are our thoughts. And in a way, there is a way that would seem good to us as human beings, but not be good at all instead would lead to death. This may mean that man alone can’t be trusted! From Jeremiah 17:9-10, we see that the heart of man is deceitful above all things BUT the Lord searches it and is able to examine it. That spells out the condition of man, and God’s ability to examine it being the Creator.
So whats God’s will for mankind? God desires that all men would know Him, and accept His invitation to get reconciled to Him. At times we/I really desire to have God’s will done. But other times, we/I shelf God’s will and invest in our own wills…..until probably another sermon to remind me. Its only in Christ that we can get access to God’s mind even the deepest things of God through the Spirit, 1st Corinthians 2:10.

So its evident God’s will is for man to be saved through Christ. Thereafter, we can always be ready to confess that we no longer live but Christ who lives in us (Galatians 2:20).
So today as we/I pray, remember to allow God’s will to prevail, for I no longer live…….

God bless, and may GOD’S WILL PREVAIL