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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How Silence in the Face of Injustice Is the Same As Supporting It…Let Us Not Be That Generation of Zambians that remain Silent!


violence

We need to reject silence in the face of political violence in Zambia. 1 Corinthians 13 comes to mind. Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever truth wins out. This is certainly a call to Christ followers to be actively in the pursuit of justice and truth. We should be drawn to what is true and what is right because they are of the character of God.

History is full of those who have put their life at peril and some have even given their lives in the pursuit of justice and truth. The litany of names throughout history of those that have stood up to injustice and have been killed for their stand goes on and on and on. Love demands that we pursue what is right and what is true and what is eternal even unto death. So many of us cower away from the truth if it is going to cost us something. Do you, do I, seek justice and rejoice in God’s eternal truth?

When Jesus calls us to be His witnesses to Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, He is asking us for more than some quick words and a three-point testimony or three-point sermon. He’s asking us to stick our necks out. “Where duty call or danger, be never wanting there!”

Just look at how Jesus Himself witnessed to people in life-and-death situations. When He was asked to condemn the woman caught in adultery, He first courageously addressed the injustice in front of Him. Before He told her to “Go, and sin no more,” He dispersed the religious authorities that wanted to stone her.

How I wish I could see Christians going and doing likewise by addressing the injustice in front of them. But in the situations of injustice I’ve seen, too often church people have been bystanders, not witnesses. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Increasing political violence has now gripped my beloved country Zambia. It is alarming. The defining silence of the Church and Christians is most saddening. Where are the righteousness?  Where is justice? Where is action to prove faith? The continued violence now going on in Zambia is harming the country’s image as a peaceful nation, and consequently this will negatively affect foreign investment and tourism. Most of all the Silence of the church in the face of violence is itself violence: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

We have seen enough injustice and once you start witnessing injustice, you cannot stop. Once you see the faces of people telling unvarnished stories, once you start feeling real anger and rage about ugliness in this world, you cannot go back to being a bystander.

Witnessing for Christ gives us another gift. It gives us a window into worlds of bravery— “victims” who make us proud to be human. Learning from them is the prize.

In witnessing the resilience of brave victims of injustice, I’m seeing that courage gets easier with practice. I’ve seen that by muting my anger, I am also muting my joy. I’ve found that hidden in the merest engagement with injustice, Jesus is hunkered down, holding out a morsel of fish.

Blessed are those who stick their necks out. Blessed are those who move, baby-step by baby-step, away from ignoring injustice.

Blessed are the witnesses. And most blessed of all are the resilient people we witness: in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Do we have what it takes to be such Christians who will not stand in the face of injustice? Do we have the guts to stand up against those who oppress others? Do we have the guts to help free victims of political violence in Zambia? Do we?

What does this say about our generation, me included? We sit blindly by as fellow country men and women die in the face of political violence and yet complain that the government is doing nothing while we sit on our couches recite verses from the Bible and do nothing ourselves. We think someone else will fight for justice and we sit on our couches waiting for THEM to do something.

You and I know the things that are wrong in our country and this world. You and I know what is against the nature of God. You and I know what grieves the heart of God when He looks at our country Zambia. Let us step up to the plate. Let us be a generation remembered for caring more about the plight of our fellow man than about how many theological books are sitting on our shelves and a lot of theology in our heads.

Let us be a generation that knows what truth and justice are and are willing to die for it. Injustice and evil will continue as long as we are silent. When we are silent, we accept evil and injustice being poured out on our fellow occupants of this blue ball called Earth. Let us not go quietly into the night. Let us not give up without a fight. Let us be remembered as a generation that fought for the downtrodden and the oppressed. Let us be remembered as a generation that expressed love for others by fighting against oppression. Let us be remembered as a generation that sought truth and justice rather a generation that was more concerned with its own entertainment as the world burns around them. Let us not be remembered as a generation that allowed the country to burn around us but all we wanted to was dance.

Martin Luther Jr once said,” An Individual has not started living fully until they can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity. Every person must decide at some point, whether they will walk in light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment: Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’ As quoted by Coretta Scott King in The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Politics encourages us to dehumanize our opponents and, as a result, we dehumanize ourselves. Yes, Politics is inhuman.

As human beings, we have the capacity for reason. With it comes the capacity to engage with others reasonably. If you want to change my mind about something, the best, most humane way to do it is via peaceful persuasion. Raise arguments. Question mine. Try to show me the error of my ways. That’s what good people do when they disagree. I hate to see the level of violence now in Zambia!

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Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched!


Writings-by-Carl-Come-Ye-Sinners

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power.
He is able, He is able;
He is willing; doubt no more.

Come, ye needy, come and welcome;
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings us nigh,
Without money, without money,
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him:
This He gives you, this He gives you,
’Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all:
Not the righteous, not the righteous,
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Anonymous Chorus

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms.
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

I first heard this hymn in 1987 when I was introduced to Reformed Theology. The years that followed were literally a theological college of life. This hymn has divided Christians as much as it has united many. The difference  depends on one’s theological position.

This hymn was written by Joseph Hart (1712 – 24 May 1768) who was an 18th-century Calvinist minister in London. It is also worth mentioning that the 18th Century was an exciting, yet turbulent time in the history of the church. While God was saving countless sinners through the preaching of some spiritual giants, Christian unity was fracturing along doctrinal lines. At times the vitriol was so potent that it seemed the divide between Calvinists and Arminians was greater than that between Christians and Pagans. The story of hymnist Joseph Hart and his hymn “Come, Ye Sinners” gives us a fascinating glimpse into this period, demonstrating the serious consequences of ideas.

In the late 1730’s, Revivalism was in full swing in England and the American colonies, led by dynamic preachers George Whitefield and John Wesley. Though the two had been partners—Whitefield actually left his congregation in Wesley’s care when he left for an evangelistic mission to America—Wesley began to condemn Whitefield’s Calvinistic teachings. Their followers began to split into camps of “Free Grace” vs. “Free Will”, leading to a bitter showdown between Whitefield and the man he had once called his “spiritual father in Christ.”

Whitefield believed that Wesley’s teaching of Universal Redemption cheapened God’s grace by placing salvation in the hands of the free will of sinners. Wesley believed that Whitefield’s teaching of Sovereign Election turned the God of love into a deity of hate, and would lead Christians into antinomianism. The sparks that flew between the two ignited into flames when Wesley preached one of his most passionately Arminian sermons, provocatively entitled “Free Grace” (playing on Whitefield’s own terminology). You can read the full text of this sermon here, and Whitefield’s famous reply here.

About Joseph Hart.

Joseph Hart was raised in a devout Christian home, but later wandered far from Christ. He later wrote that he had become a “monstrous sinner” and a “bold-faced rebel” in his youth, but he still wrestled with thoughts about his eternal future. He came to call himself a Calvinist, and began to enthusiastically follow the career of George Whitefield.

Eventually, Hart’s depravity caught up with him, and led him into depression. He wandered from church to church, looking for peace, but finding that “everything served only to condemn me.” Fittingly, God’s grace found and finally saved Joseph Hart while he visited a Moravian chapel—a Protestant group known for their commitment to the unity of believers.

Hart became truly repentant of his earlier sins, including his antinomianism. He wrote a letter of apology to John Wesley, who had also become reconciled with his friend George Whitefield, though they retained their theological differences. Hart became one of the most revered hymnists of his day, and had over 20,000 people attend his funeral… where he was buried alongside the likes of Isaac Watts, John Bunyan, and John Wesley’s own mother in Bunhill Fields, a little cemetery across the road from Wesley’s house and chapel.

Some biographies have called this an “anti-Christian pamphlet,” but that’s not really the case. Rather, Hart contrasted Wesley’s “reason”—by which he meant that man’s unregenerate reason cannot fathom the concept of free grace and must instead devise some means of earning salvation—with true “religion” that attributes salvation to God alone. Had he stopped there, this tract would have been along the lines of Whitefield’s arguments against Wesley. But Hart went on to say that because God’s grace “infallibly saves sinners,” there is no need for the elect to ever demonstrate good works. He even went as far as saying that believers’ sins “do not destroy but often increase their comfort even here.” Where Whitefield was gracious in his response to Wesley, Hart was vicious.

Couple of Comments about

Given the turbulence of the period in which this hymn (originally titled “Come and Welcome, to Jesus Christ“) was composed, it comes as no surprise that it is one of the most altered hymns ever published. More than 20 different versions of its lyrics have appeared in hymnals. Most replace the final two lines of each stanza with the chorus added anonymously after the author’s death.

Much like Hart’s own life, this hymn has found itself in the middle of the ongoing debate between Calvinists and Arminians. Some assert that the changes rob the original lyrics of their emphasis on God’s sovereignty (“He is able”, “This He gives you”) moving the emphasis to man’s response (“I will arise”).

However, according to at least one biography, these lyrics are based on Hart’s own emotional response to a particularly powerful Whitefield sermon, when he wrote, “I will arise and go to my Father.” Either way, I don’t find anything particularly “Arminian” about the disputed chorus. After all, good Calvinists like Whitefield agree with good Arminians like Wesley that the gospel demands a response.

God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are both clearly taught in Scripture, and are thus not in conflict. It is when one is emphasized to the exclusion of the other that we run into difficulty. Hyper-Calvinism and Pelagianism are both serious errors! Yet between those extremes lies a great deal of unity.

Both Whitefield and Wesley would have rejoiced at the words of “Come Ye Sinners”, with its invitation to “true belief and true repentance.” Both would have celebrated with any sinner who, like Hart himself, realized that all that is required for salvation is “to feel your need of Him.” Both would have implored the spiritually needy to “without money, come to Jesus Christ and buy,” echoing the words of Isaiah 55. And both understood that “if you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all.”

The gospel is a message to the poor and the wretched, the weary and heavy-laden, the weak and the wounded. It is a message of hope, from a God who both willing and able to save those who acknowledge their need, and their insufficiency. It is the message that “Jesus ready stands to save you, filled with pity joined with power.

And while we Christians will continue to have our differences as to exactly how God saves sinners, anyone who has been given a new heart and can shout that “salvation belongs to our God” (Revelation 7:10) will cheerfully sing this hymn with the glad hope that God’s grace continues to draw the lost!

Pharasaic zeel and Antinomian security are the two engines of Satan, with which he grinds the church in all ages, as betwixt the upper and the nether millstone. The space between them is much narrower and harder to find than most men imagine. It is a path which the vulture’s eye hath not seen; and none can show it us but the Holy Ghost.
~ Joseph Hart

Biographical Sources:

 

 

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Whispering Hope


hope

Soft as the voice of an angel
Breathing a lesson unheard
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers a comforting word.

Wait, till the darkness is over
Wait, till the tempest is done
Hope, for the sunshine tomorrow
After the darkness is gone.

Whispering hope,
Oh how welcome Thy voice
Making my heart
Any sorrow rejoice.

If in the dusk of the twilight
Dimmed be the region afar
Will not the deepening darkness
Brightin’ the glittering star.

Then when the night is upon us
Why should the heart sink away
When the dark midnight is over
Watch for the breaking of day.

Whispering hope,
Oh how welcome Thy voice
Making my heart
Any sorrow rejoice…

 

The writer of this hymn has a great name: Septimus Winner .Though many hymnals today credit “Whispering Hope” to Alice Hawthorne, it was actually written by Septimus Winner (1827-1902). Born in 1827, Winner was a seventh child, hence a name derived from the Latin word for “seven.” Through his career, he frequently employed “Alice Hawthorne” (his mother’s maiden name: used for songs he felt were sentimental) as a pseudonym.

Septimus also used many other pseudonyms – Percy Guyer,  Apsley Street, Mark Mason and  Paul Stenton. He was a self-taught musician including piano, guitar and violin. He owned his own music store where he offered lessons on both instruments and wrote 200+ music volumes for 20+ instruments.

Whispering hope is his only hymn. Friends say he had not intended it to be a hymn and was surprised by its quick popularity in churches and this was the last song of his to gain widespread popularity.

Jim Reeves, Anne Murray and WIllie Nelson gave “Whispering Hope” an entrance into fame.  After that, not much is known about the song, other than it was written in 1868. What we do know is that the reference to an anchor in the third verse is a correlation to a Bible passage from Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”  That anchor is the “whispering hope” that keeps the soul steadfast – even when it may seem that the boat may be slipping away from its mooring.

Winner’s best-remembered songs today, other than “Whispering Hope,” are actually nursery rhymes. He wrote “Ten Little Indians” and “Der Deitcher’s Dog” (“Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone / oh where, oh where could he be”).

Couple of Comments About the Hymn

“Whispering hope” – the words themselves seem strange. Whispering is an adjective describing hope. So how can hope be described as speaking softly? The word “whisper” when used in relationship to the Bible always reminds me of one story. The story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19.

The situation – 1 Kings 17 – Elijah rebukes Ahab for sin and 3 ½ years of drought follow. Then Ahab tries to hunt Elijah down, kills many prophets. In 1 Kings 18 – Elijah challenges prophets of Baal to a contest. The prophets of Baal lose and are executed. The people turn to the Lord and rain returns to Israel. This was a time of great triumph for God. It should have been a great moment for Elijah, but . . .

1 Kings 19:1-10; Jezebel, the queen, promises to kill Elijah in the next 24 hours; Elijah believes the threat and starts running. Elijah runs first to Beersheba in Judah. There he prays that he might die. An angel twice appears and tells him to eat. Then he makes a 40 day journey to Mt Horeb through a desert surviving only upon the food God had fed him those 2 times. Then God asks Elijah why he had come. Elijah says he has done all that he could, but the Israelites aren’t going to change and he is alone and they want to kill him.

1 Kings 19:11-13 – God has Elijah stand outside. God causes a strong wind (tornado?), God causes an earthquake and God sends down fire (lightning?). Unfortunately, God was not “in” any of those things. He used those spectacular and fearsome things, but Elijah was not to confuse the spectacular things God does with God Himself. Instead God speaks to Elijah in “a still small voice” (lit. “a sound of soft stillness” or “the tone of a gentle blowing”).

1 Kings 19:11-13 – Elijah recognizes the presence of God and covers his face. God ask Elijah again why he had come. Elijah gives the same answer and God assures Elijah that his work was not done and he was not alone. God’s word was still active in people’s hearts and lives. Elijah had expected the spectacular events on Mt Carmel to change the nation. When they didn’t, he lost hope. And with a whisper God restored his hope, reminding him the word of God was working.

Stanza 1

Soft as the voice of an angel, Breathing a lesson unheard,
Hope with a gentle persuasion Whispers her comforting word:
Wait till the darkness is over, Wait till the tempest is done,
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow, After the shower is gone.

Hope is what brings us through the darkest times. We know during the storm, that it will end and there will be sunny days ahead. Hope is a lesson we understand sometimes without realizing it is being taught (like Elijah). What is the comforting word hope brings us? Rom 5:1-5. God loves us, have faith, there is a reward.

Stanza 2:

If, in the dusk of the twilight, Dim be the region afar,
Will not the deepening darkness Brighten the glimmering star?
Then when the night is upon us, Why should the heart sink away? When the dark midnight is over, Watch for the breaking of day.

The worst time to look into the distance is at dusk – things are unclear. But as it gets even darker, you can see even farther, all the way into space. And you shouldn’t be scared of the darkness because you know it will be followed by day.

Rom 8:22-25: As we live here on earth with its sorrows and temptations, sometimes it seems that heaven is far away. But rather than despair, we should let the disappointments of earth make us see much more clearly that hope of heaven. Luke 1:76-79. And we know no matter how dark the earth may seem, soon a new day will dawn for the saved. 2 Pet 1:16-21.

Stanza 3:

Hope, as an anchor so steadfast, Rends the dark veil for the soul,
Whither the Master has entered, Robbing the grave of its goal.
Come then, O come, glad fruition, Come to my sad weary heart;
Come, O Thou blest hope of glory, Never, O never depart.

Based on Heb 6:13-20; God gave His word and swore an oath to fulfill that word so that we might have hope. That hope extends “through the veil” into the presence of God and it is an anchor. That is, it is firm, unchangeable. Christ has gone there beyond the veil (overcoming death and making it powerless). So there again we have the certainty of our hope for eternal life.

The hymn writer says -“glad fruition”. This means . . . “the enjoyable attainment of something desired”. A desire to have eternal life (Rev 22:20). The hope Septimus Winner had was the sure and certain hope of being with Jesus Christ, the One He claimed as his Master. The writer to the Bible book written to the Hebrews describes this hope as a sure and steadfast hope, one which enters in through the veil (right into the throne room of God). This hope was made accessible when Jesus Christ rose from the dead and went back to heaven. The Bible describes Him as Prince and Saviour, able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him.

The Chorus:

Whispering hope, oh how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

When we are facing sorrows, there is nothing better than to turn to God’s word and listen for His words of hope whispered to us from the pages. Turning our sorrow to rejoicing (Rom 12:12).

When things look their darkest and you feel like Elijah that you can’t go on. Find the words of hope offered by God, knowing that He will keep His promises (an anchor on which we can depend). Like Abraham in Rom 4:18 “who contrary to hope, in hope believed” when God said he’d be the father of many nations when he was without a child. God has promised us a better tomorrow, let that hope whisper to your soul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unique Life lessons from Keeping Cows – Probably why Zambia should consider Electing Kachema!


cows

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This popular saying is basically advising you to make the best of the negative situations in life. If you end up with something sour, like a lemon, try your best to find the deeper sweetness. This quote can be much easier said than done, however. Learn how to adopt a more optimistic attitude in the face of adversity.

It is election time in Zambia and one of the front runners for the Presidency is a man that comes from a community that keeps cows. This in turn is being used to ridicule him. But alas! I have found many good lessons out of keeping cows.

Growing up keeping cows (N’gombe) teaches you a lot about life. There are so many life lessons that you can learn working with animals on a farm. These life lessons become relevant and helpful in later life. The cows in particular are great teachers. They can teach you how to be a better person. I’ve personally learned a lot working with them. So what can you learn from cows anyways? Here are some important life lessons that I have learned in my time working with the cows and I think HH being called a Cow keeper has learnt the same and may apply them when leading the nation of Zambia:

1. Cattle Keepers have Mercy for Animals!  Cattle keepers give Animals the Best Care Possible. Consequently, they have mercy for other people.  Sometimes as a cattle farmer I am very distraught by the things people say about the dairy industry. We treat animals with respect and give them the best care possible. We depend on them for our livelihood, just as our animals depend on us. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. That’s why it’s hard to listen to people bash us and our industry by saying negative things; condemning us for inhumane treatment of animals while the complete opposite is true.

Lesson: A Cattle keeping leader will have mercy for the nation he leads. He will provide the best care possible to the nation.

2. Dairymen are motivated to treat the baby calves on the dairy humanely because they are the next generation for the farm. “Imiti ikukula empanga”. Just like you want the best for your children, we want the best for our calves. We treat them well because happy cows really do produce the best milk.

Lesson: A Cattle keeping Leader will take care of the children and youths. He will keep them in a kraal “Chimpati” till they are mature. He will keep children in school till they are ready for life. Education and health will be availed to children and youths.

3. When you love Cows, they will love you back. Consequently, when you love others, they will love you back. Take care of the cows and they will take care of you: When you’re taking care of the cows, you quickly discover that having a vigilant focus on your cows comfort and well-being is the key to successful cattle farm. Healthy, happy cows give more milk, and lead far more productive lives than cows that aren’t treated well. It’s been scientifically proven that cows with more love in their life will outperform any cows that aren’t being treated well.

Lesson: A Cattle keeping Leader will love his people and in turn, they will learn to love him back. He is simply lovable not by force but by his works. What he does just makes you love him back. It all you can do and give.

4. Adopt an attitude of patience. One of the biggest lessons you learn working with cows is patience. Cows by nature are very calm gentle animals. They don’t get super hyper, but instead just mosey though life at a steady, constant pace. Being that they weigh 680 kgs on average, they have the right to do whatever they like. Working with them is a good lesson in patience.

Lesson: A Cattle keeping Leader will be patient with his subjects. Patience builds confidence and brings the wayward back to the fold.

5. If you’re being rude, you’re going to be kicked. If you’re acting crazy, being obnoxious, or sneaking up abruptly on the cows you are going to be kicked. There are no ifs ands or buts about it; “Muchende – poho” is going to give you a good strong kick if you are rude to animals. Hooves don’t feel good, but they do knock some sense into you. It teaches you that being callous, or insensitive to those around you will ultimately end up coming back to you in a negative way. Better to be thoughtful, and understanding when your around others. The “Mapatizya formula” – has its roots from Ngombe lessons.

Lesson: A Cattle keeping Leader will not hesitate to discipline the wayward when they are wrong. Though patient, there are lines that must not be crossed.

6. Sometimes pushing is useless, you need to lead. When you’re trying to herd the cows, sometimes trying to push them is pointless. The cows would rather explore, or try to gather around you. Pushing them in this kind of a situation is very difficult. But a better way is just to lead them. Lead and they will follow. This kind of attitude can also apply in life. Don’t push; lead. “Kachema” will not insult back, he will just lead by example and we will all follow!

Lesson: A Cattle Keeping Leader will not hesitate to fold his sleeves and show the way. He cannot stay up in the ivory tower, but is willing to get his hands dirty.

7. Go slow to go fast. This is something that people with little experience working with cows find difficult to understand. You can actually get your job done faster by going slower. Rushing around trying to go fast is not how cows operate, but instead they like slow and steady movement to rushed hasty ones. Being slow and gentle keeps the cows calm and relaxed. It seems contrary right, but if you go slow and are gentle, the cows cooperate like champions. This obviously makes your job much more relaxing and enjoyable. This kind of attitude can make life in general better. Stop rushing around, you’re only stressing yourself out. Slow down and enjoy life where you’re at. It will go by fast enough.

Lesson: A Cattle keeping Leader will get the job done slowly but sure. Just be patient and everything will fall in place.

In Summary: f you could sum up the general philosophy of life lessons from cows, it would probably be to slow down and adopt a carefree attitude. In our culture today, there is this huge emphasis on doing things, filling up your calendar and going a million miles a minute. Maybe we should be more like cows. Perhaps we should adopt the general attitude of a cow. Slow down, be gentle, relax, and enjoy life more.

Probably one of the most important lessons from the cows though, would be to make sure your giving love to those around you. While we don’t feed people like cows do, there is definitely something every one of us can do to show love to others.

God bless Zambia and God bless kachema wa N’gombe.

 

 

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KWACHA 2016: The Next Generation Of Politicians Is Emerging


Kwacha Ngwee

2016 – Kwacha again! It first dawned in 1964 when Kenneth Kaunda and his team of the first cabinet took over the reins of Zambia.  It is dawning again in 2016.

Zambia is at a crossroads. It is now at the center of development concerns that its leaders have been involved in for 50 years. These old leaders are striving to find a happy outlet through which Zambia can be able play a role at the forefront of the world stage. A new generation of leaders has to be considered, who are capable of facing up to a number of challenges such as fragmentation of the  Zambian community, history and knowledge, relaying the foundations of the post-colonial Zambia, promotion of democracy and human rights and the implementation of new conditions for peace and freedom, the gauge of sustainable development. The ways in which these various challenges are tackled are crucial.

Over the years, Zambia has lacked innovative leaders to match the changing times. The leadership problem has remained vague in the mentality of Zambians because of the repercussions of colonialism and the resulting mimicry. This problem is now linked to two issues which trouble our contemporary Zambia.

  • How do we shape a new Zambian future of the post-colonial Zambia, because of the recurring socio-political crises with which it is faced and the difficulties experienced by the people in adapting to it?
  • How do we invent a new method of governance, without which the democratic process that has been embarked upon since 1991 risks being compromised?

Thank God the 2016 elections are giving Zambia a new hope.  There is renewed hope and light at the end of the tunnel. A new generation of politicians is emerging – It’s a new dawn. Kwacha Again. This is what I call the Zambia 2016 Elections – Kwacha Zambia.

There is a saying that a life well lived can be split into thirds. The first third is spent learning, the second third earning, and the third returning, or giving back.  The thinking goes something like this. That you spend the first 30 years of your life “rubbing up against the world.” The first third of your life is spent learning skills and about yourself, as you gain new experiences to help identify your path. The second third of your life is when you are in the heart of your earning potential and serving as a leader. You begin to step up into leadership positions, and by your fifties you are at your peak. The final third of your life is focused on giving back. It is when you reinvest in future generations and the world. As someone rightly described, it is a time when leaders serve on boards and focus on sharing their wisdom with future generations through teaching, mentoring, and coaching.

I have not yet seen the full list of all those adopted to contest the next elections by various parties, but my eyes have seen the one for UPND and has my heart not skipped a bit? It’s time for my generation. They have come a long way and it’s time to jump into the 2016 electoral ring.

The August 11 2016 elections is indeed warming up and potential politicians for the next 5 years are lining up.

In the red corner – The UPND has unveiled their lineup. We are still waiting for the green corner to emerge.

Yes, I hear sounds of murmurs everywhere. Why is that one in and that one out? No it in not fair! That is the way it goes. Not everyone can get into the winning team. There are many roles and responsibilities that every supporter can play. If you are not playing on the pitch, there may be another. Find out what it is and do your part.

Having said that, I have also noted a new emerging pattern. A new generation of politicians is emerging. Great to see close friends like Princess Kasune, Fackson Banda, Miriam Choonya, Cornelius Mweetwa, Felix Ngoma, Eddie Ndebele, Attractor Chisangano, Edgar Singombe, Kapelwa Mbangweta and Belinda Lweendo among many new upcoming politicians. All these are potential new Cabinet Ministers in the near future. What a new start. Kwacha, Ngwee again.

Interesting that the new line up has come from all walks of life to converge at this year’s elections. The diaspora has some of its own, the civil society in Zambia, academia, private sector and old faces. Reminds me of the Biblical quote – …51 Have you understood all these things?” “Yes,” they answered. 52 Then He told them, reason, every scribe who has been discipled in the kingdom of heaven is like a homeowner who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” 53 When Jesus had finished these parables, He withdrew from that place.…(Matt 13: 47 – 52),

Whatever the outcome of 2016 elections, a new generation of politicians is lining up and may the Lord answer Zambia’s prayers by seeing most of these into power come August 12 2016.

Kwacha Zambia! Kwacha Again!

 

 

 

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