Grow in Your Valleys to Reach the Mountain Top


God on the mountain

Someone once wrote,” He is on the mountain. Remember whose words these are but I found them helpful. “Things don’t grow on the mountain top anyway, they grow in the valley…..”

That has been true of my journey too. I have learned that it is important to sprout and grow in the valley, so you can reach the mountain top.

Oh how lovely the words of the old song,- The God on the mountain, is still God in the valley, the God of the day, is still God in the night. In my journey, I have never had to convince anyone that joy is good, but sorrow is a tougher sell. Sometimes we Christians describe a life following Jesus as something straight out of the pages of a pretty magazine. No! It’s not an easy road. Sometimes, yes it is hallelujah, but many times it is praise the Lord. But as Andrea Crouch sung, “through it all, I have learned to trust in Jesus, and I thank God for the mountains and I thank Him for the valleys for if I never had a problem, I would never have known that God could solve them and I would never know what faith in God can do”.

My hallelujahs came during the mountain top experiences and I have had many. We all need those mountain top experiences. Peter, James and John all needed encouragement for the days ahead. Moses had his mountain top experiences. He needed direction for what God called Him to do. Moses didn’t even know how to refer to God. He needed encouragement to face Pharaoh.  But as much as we would like to we can’t live on the mountain tops forever. We experience these wonderful mountain tops to prepare us for our valleys.

A Valley is a place of Trial. It the place that our faith is put to the test.(1Peter 1:6-7). Friend, the valley is hard ( Psalm 84:5-6). It is “baca” – a place of weeping. But the goodness is that weeping may endure for a night, but Joy Comes in the morning. (ps 30:5). The fact is that it is in the valley that things grow. It is in the valley of life that we grow as Christians. While we are in the valley it is an effort, a struggle, and a tough experience.

But one day after a season of circumstances and growing pains, it will  seem to  occur all of a sudden, and unexpectedly when we suddenly  have a day when we realize “oh wow today was easy and I am not moaning and groaning anymore”

It will be at this moment that we will be able to pause and  look around and see that finally, we have reached the top of the mountain, and life is indeed good and God is indeed faithful. At this time we will have yet another testimony to draw from when we are faced with a new giant in our life.

So our valley experiences are not a case of God turning away from us, but an opportunity for us to draw from our past victories and march through the valley up onto the mountain top, standing on the assurance that God is faithful, loving, steadfast, and dependable! Realizing that he didn’t throw in the towel and forget about us as we once may have assumed, but instead he was there every step of the way getting us to the top because he is indeed a good God!!

God is gracious to us at the sound of our weeping. He uses adversity and affliction to draw us to himself and to reveal himself to us in ways we have not seen before. God’s comforting presence is an extravagant reward, one that we can undervalue … until we are in the heat of a battle.

So let me encourage you, what ever you are facing, what ever your issues, God is still in the deliverance business. He will deliver you out of your circumstances! You just have to face your Goliath and remind him that God has already delivered you from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear and that HE will deliver you from every giant you face!!

Don’t wish away the valley just sprout, grow and become the strong person God has destined for you to become successful.

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He knows everything about us, and there is no place to hide.


He knows

Another great lesson I have learned on my journey to the kingdom is that God knows  who I am and calls me by my name. I can run but can never hide. All my life is an open book before him. God knows even the motives of our thoughts. So where can I go but to Him.  Yes, He created us all and we are so many, but He knows me better than I know myself and His plans for me are not to destroy me but to prosper me.

The moment when we suddenly have a profound awareness that God is speaking to us is called the moment of truth. For Moses it was the sight of the burning bush, the place where Moses hears the voice of the living God. For anyone of us, it could be an earth-shattering moment, or it could be a moment in the still of the night. But it is the moment when the presence of God breaks in on us. I have had some of those moments in my journey.

The curious thing is that we never know how long it will take us to reach that point. It is so easy to grow up in the Christian faith. Most of us grow up in a family where it seems as if everything is focused on God, and we are always surrounded by a Christian community. It is so easy to spend all those years in Christian education, perhaps we even graduate with a degree from a Christian college or university Maybe there has never been a day in your life when you did not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior in your memory. But then, suddenly something happens – something stops you in your tracks – an event takes place and you realize everything you know about Christian faith is disconcertingly shallow, as shallow as a puddle of water on a sidewalk.

It is that moment when life takes a sharp turn – turns from the mad pursuit of everything trivial and meaningless to a deep awareness of God. It may not be a burning bush, but you know – you know! It is an abrupt turning point. You turn, and now you want to know God. It is not that you just want to know more about him – you want to know him deeply. You want to know him with all your heart. You are ready to abandon everything just for the sheer joy of knowing him, for the pleasure of knowing him with utter honesty and truth. This God who has created all things has called you by name, and now you have a hunger – a thirst – a burning desire to know God.

It is the turning point in life at which we can do nothing else but respond to him who calls us by name. And you respond as Moses does, “Here I am.”

He knows everything about us, and there is no place to hide.

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Seasons Come and Seasons Go – But God Never changes


seasons_come_and_go1

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7.

One scripture that I has seen me through my winding journey in the past thirty years has been Psalm 19. This verse summarizes life in general. “Reviving” often means giving life to something that lacks it. This connects me to how the rainy season in Southern Africa and indeed everywhere brings life out of the death of  long dry season. And, in other ways, we see this same thing in all the seasons. Psalm 19: 7, calls the Lord’s statutes and laws “perfect” and “trustworthy,” reminding me of nature’s systems and how they exist and seem to work quite smoothly even when my human mind cannot conceive why.

As I have journeyed, I have noted that as people, we experience many seasons of change that we cannot control. We experience seasons of trials, of joy, of sadness, of mourning, of laughter, of things ending, and of new beginnings. But during these seasons, it can be hard to remain constantly faithful.

I have come to realize that it’s hard to remain faithful in season’s changes, because I have faith in myself, thinking I know what is best for my life. But, I do not. Sometimes I wonder where God went, and wonder if He never saw me struggling; but He is always there, no matter the season. I struggle with not having faith that God has my best interests at heart, when deep down, I know He does.

Seasons will come and go, but God will always remain constant. He will remain constant in your suffering, in your happiness, and in your confusion. Have faith that your season will change for the better. Nothing is too difficult for God. During these seasons, it’s our job to listen to God, to know if we should keep silent or speak, if we embrace or refrain, if we mourn or laugh, or if we keep or cast away. It’s our job to remain faithful, whenever we want to give up. There we will always seasons in our lives, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad, but our God will always remain faithful.

I have known all types of seasons as though the Lord wanted me to see how nothing I am without Him, and how great I can be when I trust in Him. He is all in all. I am weak but thou art strong – Lord keep me from all wrong in every season of life.

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Remembering the Day I was Born Again


Born again

Celebrating a birthday brings back memories of the day someone came into the world. Often the experience is told to us by our parents. But the second birth, the spiritual birth  is unique and different. You can actually remember when you were born again. I can still remember mine as though it was yesterday. To know Him is the most powerful thing you can ever do and to miss out the opportunity while you are still on planet earth – to meet Him and know Him will be the biggest regret you will ever face.

It was on 14th August of 1986, I had just reached my dad’s farm after a wonderful Brethren In Christ Youth (BIC) camp lasting one week at Choma Secondary school. Reminiscing the many sermons that had been preached throughout that week, I decided to hold nothing back. I was all by myself that dark evening by the fire. Exactly 43 kilometers away from Kalomo town in Chief Siachitema. This was not the first time I had prayed to God. I had done so many times before, but this particular day, I made an unconditional surrender to God that made the difference. I gave Him everything I had been, was and ever hoped to be, all that I owned, myself, and my whole life. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and cleanse me from all manner of sin and make me as clean as a forgiven sinner can ever be. I cried to the Lord for mercy in my hopelessness and helplessness. For the first time, I realized that I was such a sinner and nothing that I could ever do on my own could make me acceptable before God. Not my holiest of acts for they were as filthy as a rug. Nothing in my hand did I have to bring, but simply to the Cross of Jesus I clung. I felt peace of mind, that I had never felt before. My life transformed thereafter and I have never looked back again. And now thirty years later,  more than ever, I cherish the cross, more than ever I sit at His feet. The miles of my journey have proved my Lord true, He is so precious to me.

In 1986, I was so young, only 17 years old but a new life begun. I wondered what I was doing  surrendering my life at such a tender age – the dawn of my life. I expected to lose it all, childhood pleasures and youthful adventure, all gone. Jesus let me keep my life and placed me on a pedestal. Everything else went, and new life for me begun never to be the same again.

In exchange I got the most wonderful love relationship with my Lord and with others who loved Him as well. This was the beginning of the most wonderful thirty years of life as a christian. The only “gift” that I received at this time was the promise of His word and a ministry of giving which  I  have shared with joy as a servant of the Lord. Throughout the thirty years, I have learnt to give not only my life to God, but everything I own to God. I have learnt to hold on loosely to the things of this world. To let material things come through one hand and go through another and yet without lacking anything for myself nor my wife and children. I have learnt to hold nothing that I may receive more from my Lord. I have seen the Lord’s favor in my life as I have sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all many things being added unto me.

A few important people the Lord immediately brought my way to nurture me and lead to on my path were my teachers, Mr. Hamoonga Choongo and Ms Rachel (Melhorn) Phiri. Then along came my childhood friend late Ray Munsaka,  late Gift Mukonka and my brother Luundu Mwaanga. A combination of these people ensured I was on my path to the Kingdom. The same year, I also met the then school chaplain, the late Rev. Mfula who introduced me to the doctrines I now hold on so dearly – the reformed way of life.

So, does that make me perfect?

No! Not at all. In fact,  I am not perfect just forgiven. I have not yet arrived, but I’m on my way. Since Jesus found me and forgave me, can’t say I am perfect but I can say I am saved.  I have fought a lot of battles, sometimes I have won and sometimes I have lost. Many times the evil one comes reminding me of some past wrong I have done questioning my salvation and trying to make me doubt. But when I think of Calvary I can stand right up and shout – No I am not perfect just forgiven. He is still working on me, to make me what I ought to be and thank God, the anchor holds, though the ship has been battered and the sails are torn. This anchor holds in spite of the storm.

 

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The Anchor Holds- 30 Years of walking with the Lord!


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We are not alone in this walking with the Lord, He is right there holding our hand and leading us through it, and only if we let Him. I have learned to let go and let Him lead. He has never left me nor forsaken me in spite of myself. My heart knows how beautiful He is, His love is more precious than gold, He has never left me or led me astray, My only faithful and true companion, Always there on every occasion, All the time, in spite of allmy shortfalls. He is my glory and the lifter of my head. He is my desire and one I long for. In His bosom, I will be satisfied all the days of my life. 

Birthdays offer the perfect opportunity to reflect upon your life and consider what you have learned along the way. In this “The Anchor Holds Series”,  I  celebrate my thirtieth spiritual birthday—thirty years of knowing Jesus as Savior and walking with Him. It’s not been an easy road that I have traveled on. There have been many thorns on my way. I have met with many a dangers on this path. Often, I have been bowed down with care and I have seen many dazzling sights, tempting sounds I have heard, my foes have never left me alone, ever near me and within me. I have journey through wild ragged places  and sometimes  stabled and fell so hard that the stones cut my soul like a knife. This journey  has been a wilderness, and I confess, its a highway to heaven.  I am grateful for the the staff of my Shepherd which has been reaching out for me, lifting me up to cool pastures green. The Lord has often poured the oil of the Spirit healed my wounds as I often rested by the clear healing streams liking my wounds. I have learned to sit at the feet of Jesus, and there have I heard Him say wonderful word for the journey. At the feet of Jesus, I have learned to weep and pray while from his fullness have gathered grace and comfort every day.

Reflecting how I got here thirty years down the road, Psalm 9: 7 – 11 says it all.

“The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple… By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward”.

As I reflect on the goodness of the Lord during these last thirty years, I thought of sharing a series of things I have learned in this walk thus far. My prayer is that you will be encouraged in your own faith in Christ through these articles highlighting God’s loving kindness to me over the years. Here I share some of the most important things I have learned  walking with the Lord. As I recount the wondrous works of God in my life, being reminded of His faithful, steadfast ways through every season, every challenge, and every opportunity.

Here I recount My Born again Experience. The Seasons which have come and gone, but the Lord never changed. How that Sometimes, it’s been Hallelujah, and yet sometimes – Praise the Lord.  How this life has not been my own, but His. The Guardrails of His word, bringing me back when I have fallen. All the dazzling sights I have seen and tempting sounds I have heard. The winding path and the wilderness experience. In all these experiences – there is great reward in keeping His Word.

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The Attitude of Complacency – challenges from Pastor Evan Mawarire


This Flag

The first mark of a tragically wasted life is complacency. Pastor Evan Mawarire’s story challenges the lukewarm attitude of complacency among today’s Christian faithfuls. “Complacency is a blight that saps energy, dulls attitudes, and causes a drain on the brain. The first symptom is satisfaction with things as they are. The second is rejection of things as they might be. ‘Good enough’ becomes today’s watchword and tomorrow’s standard. Complacency makes people fear the unknown, mistrust the untried, and abhor the new. Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course — downhill. They draw false strength from looking back.”

In Amos 6:1, we find one of God’s “Woes”, and it is directed against His own people.  Surely, there is nothing wrong with relaxing at the right time and in the right place. But to be complacent when there is urgent work to be done is wrong, and this is a danger that faces us all. The complacency referred to here is an un-spiritual attitude.

In order to bring out the force of these words, compare Amos 6:1 with Isaiah 66:8 – “Woe to you who are complacent in Zion” and ”No sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children”. Both these statements are addressed to Zion, which in Scripture is always a picture of the Church of God. In other words, this passage is directed to God’s people and speaks of two possible conditions – being complacent or laboring.

For Christians this often reveals itself when we become satisfied avoiding evil, but not pursuing good. Psalm 1, tells us that “blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night.”

Charles Spurgeon comments, “Perhaps some of you can claim a sort of negative purity, because you do not walk in the way of the ungodly; but let me ask you — is your delight in the law of God? Do you study God’s Word? Do you make it the man of your right hand, your best companion and hourly guide? If not, the blessing of Psalm 1 does not belong to you.”

This is important, because we’re often tempted to sign-up for a less “extreme” version of the Christian life. Instead of the Platinum “Jim Elliot” Membership, we like the sound of the Bronze “Joe Christian” Membership. Less benefits, but less effort. Sounds good, right? But Scripture doesn’t leave that option open to us.

Writes C.S. Lewis: “It is hard; but the sort of compromise we’re hankering after is harder — in fact, it is impossible. We are like eggs at present. And we cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

In other words, we can’t just go on being ordinary, decent Christians, giving God part of our lives while holding back the rest. Either we are hatched and learn to fly or we are a dud that will soon start to stink.

The Lord does not slumber nor sleep. When Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested for his  #‎ThisFlag movement  and campaign and was ordered to appear before a magistrate court,  the whole nation of Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans over the world swung into prayer and praises  went up to heaven turning Psalm 67:3 into reality. Glory literally came down. The female prosecutor – accusing Pastor Evan Mawarire started sweating in court on  cold July day in Zimbabwe. More than 1000 lawyers in Zimbabawe came to offer defense to Pastor Mawarire for free and the judge in the magistrate court had no choice but to acquit Pastor Mawarire just like Pilate said about Jesus, “I find no fault in him”.

Stand up, Stand Up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross. Where duty call or danger, be never wanting there. Now the life of this Zimbabwean pastor is in danger after he started a subversive protest movement. Pastor Evan Mawarire suddenly lost his temper at the state of his country and recorded the rant at his desk in Harare. The clip with him wearing the nation’s flag around his neck sparked a nationwide trend around the hashtag #ThisFlag.

The 39-year-old church leader posted the four minute video on his Facebook and said he was “shocked” when thousands of people started to share it. Now with hundreds of thousands of views, Mawarire’s rant caught the imagination of Zimbabwe’s frustrated population.

Mawarire confessed that he did not intend to cause any protest. He was just airing his views. “I’ll be honest with you, the day it happened was a really tough day for me. I was thinking of ways I could get more money for school fees, or I could borrow money, but it just wasn’t happening. I was packing to go home..”

Well, Mawarire challenges a number of complacent Christians who will quote all kinds of scriptures and remain in their seats pointing fingers at others but doing nothing bout the rote in their midst.

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Helium Discovery in Tanzania -What will Magufuli Now Do?


magufuli+pic

Hongera Tanzania! Divine providence has smiled on thee. “Mungu amekumbuka maombi yako”. The eyes of the entire world are on thee for you “Tanzania” are is sitting on 54.2 billion metric cubic feet of helium gas in Lake Rukwa, with possibilities of more reserves as exploration of the natural resource continues in many parts of the country, particularly inland lakes.

As a Zambian I am also asking the Lord to make that same helium manifest itself in Mbala and Mpulungu, because in my mind I know that Lake Rukwa is only about 100 kilometers away from Mbala.

Anyhow, helium is  an important gas that the world has been craving for. Experts have been warning of a looming global shortage of helium for years, as the known reserves were almost being depleted. Now British researchers have discovered a large reserve of helium gas in Tanzania, using a new exploration method that offers hope for the future.

But the question is, what is the whole fuss about this discovery? In brief, Helium is  used, among other things, as a cooling gas for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines used in medical facilities. It is also used as a protective gas for welding, an inert gas for controlled atmosphere manufacturing, a fugitive gas used for leak detection, and a low viscosity gas for pressurized breathing mixtures.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), or magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to image the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body in both health and disease. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields, radio waves, and field gradients to form images of the body. MRI has therefore, proven to be a highly versatile imaging modality hence it’s  wide use in hospitals and clinics for medical diagnosis, staging of disease and follow-up without exposing the body to ionizing radiation.

The discovery of  such large quantities of  helium at such a time as this puts Tanzania on the spotlight. The question to ask is, “Will the discovery of Helium in Tanzania be another statistic of Africa’s continued Resource Curse or for the first time, are we about to witness the new beginning of the end of  Predatory Investments in Africa’s Extractive Industries? What will Magufuli do or is it what should Magufuli now do?

I ask the question because the rich countries have already emptied half of Africa’s Uranium, Copper, Cobalt, Coal, Zink and now Helium in Tanzania will be a new target. Will Tanzania’s Helium become another curse of Zambia’s copper, or Angola, Gabon and Nigeria’s oils? What does this mean for Tanzania?

My concerns are validated by the human development performance of many resource-rich African states that remain dismal. African oil and mineral exporters routinely rank near the bottom of UNDP’s Human Development Index and exhibit highly inequitable levels of income and wealth. The challenge of effective natural resource management in Africa is becoming increasingly urgent.

With more than 20 countries possessing bountiful oil and mineral deposits, Africa is home to more resource-rich states than any other region in the world. Yet, living conditions for most citizens remain dismal as a result of inequitable distribution of resource revenues. Sub-Saharan Africa’s top five petroleum producers rank among the bottom third in the world in terms of child mortality. The continent’s two largest producers—Angola and Nigeria—rank among the bottom ten countries in this category. Zambia and Congo are the leading producers of Copper and Cobalt but still rank among the poorest of the poor in Africa. What a shame!

Oil and mining ventures are arguably the most lucrative businesses in Africa, generating billions of dollars in revenues annually. But these billions have typically been squandered. Oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, for example, boasts an impressive annual gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of $37,479. Yet, on the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Human Development Index, Equatorial Guinea ranks 144th out of 187 countries. Equatorial Guinea ranks dead last in public expenditure on education as a percent of GDP and near the bottom in terms of health expenditure per capita.

The challenge of effective natural resource management in Africa is becoming increasingly urgent. In 2000, 7 Sub-Saharan African countries exported more than 20,000 barrels of oil per day. By 2013, this number had climbed to 10 countries. Overall crude oil production in the sub region rose from 4.2 million to 5.8 million barrels per day, a 38-percent increase.

With promising crude oil discoveries in Kenya, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, as well as important natural gas discoveries in Mozambique and Tanzania, the number of African resource exporters can be expected to grow still further. Many of these Countries will need to develop from scratch the institutional and legal frameworks required to effectively manage the extractive industries. In Kenya, for example, the country’s Petroleum Act is a 13-page document from 1986. Can one Mbunge in Tanzania table a motion in parliament to govern the extraction and use of helium in Tanzania? Can be done by tomorrow before the predators have had time to influence the new law? I pray no confusion will emerge.

Natural resource wealth has also been intimately linked to violent conflict across Africa. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rebel groups have used the proceeds of mineral sales to fund their military operations. Grievances about environmental degradation and inequitable distribution of oil wealth—as well as the manipulation of these sentiments by warlords seeking to profit from instability in the region—fuels insurgent groups in Nigeria’s Niger Delta. The sale of “blood diamonds” funded brutal civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Inequitable distribution of oil wealth was a central issue in Sudan’s civil war, and continued disputed claims over oil-rich territory regularly threaten renewed conflict between Khartoum and independent South Sudan.

In short, for the vast majority of resource-rich African states, oil and mineral wealth has not translated into improved living conditions for citizens but contributed to growing disparity, corruption, and repression.

So we ask again, What will Magufuli do right?  Who will get the license to mine the gas? Where is the legal framework to govern that? Should Tanzania hold on to the deposits and open a large scale Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) manufacturing company so that Tanzania becomes the largest producer of MRI machines in the world. What about medical diagnostics? Will this lead to better diagnosis for Tanzania and Africa?

Well, the equation typically boils down to three components: 1) corruptible senior figures in a government responsible for managing the natural resource sector coupled with weak oversight institutions, 2) unscrupulous multinational investors who partner with senior government officials to exploit resource-rich states while evading scrutiny, and 3) loopholes in the international economic legal system that allow external investors and corrupt officials alike to transfer revenues out of resource-rich states and into the international financial system with limited reporting requirements.

Our prayers are with Tanzania to get it right and may Helium discovery be the missing link in Tanzania’s prosperity. I look forward to investing in Tanzania to develop the world’s largest diagnostic machine producing company. Mugu abariki Tanzania.

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