Sunday, December 30, 2012

Camp Chronicles

It’s called a camp when you go to the wilderness, sleep in tents and (maybe) have overnight campfires with open roasts and cooked up tales. We have savoured none of these choice luxuries at the just concluded youth camp (Sunday 23rd to Sunday 30th December 2012 at Nyadero Primary School).

We slept in classrooms, not tents; for bedding we spread reed mats on a hard concrete floor. It took me a while to decide that sleep was even possible. Even the weather militated against a good night’s rest: the rain fell exclusively at night; water leaked through holes in the rusty corrugated iron roof and torrents poured in through gaping glass-free windows. And just when one was getting the hang of this sleep thing, the camp bell rang well before the crack of dawn. (I had a mind to go home after the first totally drenched night but something told me to endure.) And the food was not exactly five-star fare. Consider this: for a whole week’s diet, twenty-six of us (my contingent) spent around seven thousand shillings total. So you can picture the Spartan situation. Fortunately we didn’t skip a meal and yet still had five shillings left over. Five bob change! Economies of scale are a miracle!

Eventually, despite these seeming setbacks, the overall experience was worth the minor discomforts. The camp program, the whole raison d’ĂȘtre, from the second hour of daylight to the third hour of night, was the redeeming factor. Between songs by talented youth choirs, we heard courageous teachers of the Word who were not afraid to offend. Yes, offend – that’s what the truth does if you aren’t straight with it. They also managed to be witty and informative while we delved into the puzzling and ponderous matters of Biblical prophecy, of visions of beasts with multiple heads. God willing, I will share some of those teachings on this blog. We also sang a lot, I love to sing – hymns, choruses, songs.

There was soccer in the evenings to look forward to. As regular readers should know by now, this was a major plus for me. I scored all of four goals, making me unofficial top scorer (applauds self), though it figures, since I was the only one with studded boots on a muddy pitch full of barefoot opponents (the rain, remember?) However, tragedy struck: I missed the “final match” on Thursday due to absence though my side still won the match.

The camp’s social scene was a refreshing change for me. The presence of a whole bunch of like-minded youths infuses the environment with palpable energy. Typically I squandered the opportunity to get to know some good beautiful people and maybe take their numbers.

There were many little ones who liked me. It’s easy to like them but it’s really hard when the children like you. They do not get tired of playing and climbing all over you and parroting your name and testing your intelligence/patience just to see how ”philanthropic” you are. Lesson learnt: good parenting = nerves of steel. Can I hack it? I don't know.

As we cleared the "campsite" this morning it occurred to me that the opportunity to spend a whole week immersed in the Word of GOD is a rare privilege nowadays. Already we are hearing of people in the US who are arrested and tried in court for holding Bible studies in their own houses. Religious freedom as we enjoy today is fading away as the end times dusk sets in. We best make use of whatever remains of it – these are “the things that belong to our peace” that we take for granted; the water that we only miss when the well runs dry. I say this because:

AMOS 8:11-12 

“Behold, the days come”, saith the Lord God, “that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.”

LUKE 19:41-44 

And when he (Jesus) was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.


Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

We are sleeping

The end comes with judgment and tribulation because we, the inhabitants of the world, have by our deeds brought it upon ourselves.
{24:5} The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 
{24:6} Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
The curse has devoured the land, literally and figuratively, through all types of pollution and abominations. We are living in perilous times. One would expect to be found staying alert, but we are spiritually asleep and blind to the true danger we are faced with. Despite all appearances to the contrary, economic crisis is only a symptom and not really the world’s current predicament. The real problem is sin.

Insecurity, crime entice fear. Money and insurance are the new security. Money is the god and lifeblood of the entire world system. Likewise, traps and snares multiply around us to numb our attentions, to waste our energies, to divert our best efforts to vain pursuits, to lead us to our death, in the name of entertainment. The devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, yet we have slept.

Strident warnings have been given to us to proclaim and thus wake others up. But we who call ourselves the people of GOD are in as dire need of repentance as the world. By their fruits ye shall know them, a good tree cannot bear bad fruit.

The oracles of GOD are the way of life - a rich blessing, not an exclusive heritage meant for the few. They are freely offered for all who have ears to hear, widely proclaimed. The Gospel is a benign trust which all its recipients are inspired and expected to share with as many others as possible. Go into all the world and make disciples of men. The power of the Word is that no matter how much it is shared, it does not lose its power. But we are sleeping in total disregard for the prize in hand.

GOD’s warnings would have us pay attention to the message, search our hearts and repent. Our Creator warns us to repent from our evil ways, invites us to put our trust in Him, calls us to touch not the unclean thing – to come out of Babylon. Though the world may not end today or tomorrow (nobody knows the hour of Christ’s coming), nobody is assured of tomorrow either! Death does not make appointments. Now is all we have to wake up.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lesson Retention FAIL

Loneliness has a way of bringing thoughts into sharp focus. Between work, family and soccer, my social initiative is dead in the water. I have been alone before, so I can deal with it - not complaining. Usually I just start to think and see where that leads me.

Starting a relationship just for the sake of company would be toxic. Men being wired the way we are (susceptible to visual cues with instant reflexes), loneliness often takes on aspects of actual physical pain harder to resist than obey. I CAN SEE how easily a hormone-harassed man would turn to transitory relationships to gratify passing urges.

But that would be rash. Nowadays you think you know someone but they are so sunk in their preoccupations that you can't tell how thrown off you are. Any individual's brain contains a whole virtual universe populated with memories, plans and emotions. Some people's internal worlds are thriving ecosystems, others are polluted wastelands.

"The unexamined life is not worth living," said someone wise. The more I examine my life, the less examined it has been these last few months. I have been lax. I want to blame on it getting my enthusiasm worn down by "the system" - an easy scapegoat within reach - but that wouldn't be the full picture.

The things we admit into our minds yield us thoughts and actions. You can't "un-watch" or "un-hear" or "un-know" something once its past the gate. I am learning this the hard way. Better to switch off the TV or else, before you know it, that program you thought was a sitcom has got you having impure ideas.

It's a sign of immaturity when I have to learn the same lessons over and over again by repeating the same mistakes. Growth will be the day I can stop flogging my own back about it because it's well and truly in the past. On to new challenges ahead. (Funny how many times I seem to have reached that stage!)

Let us all strive to conform to the highest moral standard: the WORD of GOD.

PSALMS 119:9
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Monday, December 10, 2012

White Flag

Fever is what's up right now. This mix of dizziness and weakness is alien to me, a CERTIFIED WARRIOR! Disease has caught me by surprise, how vulnerable, how fragile I have become. (Don't worry, I'm boring everybody with the details - not just you.)

Modern medicine has always earned my uninhibited suspicion. Ever since I heard of Big Pharma and the Medical-Industrial complex (I just made that term up), I have never regarded drugs, vaccines, painkillers and antibiotics the same way again. I mean, who in their right minds will fight the symptom instead of the disease? My mother knows I avoid conventional medicine, so whenever I fall sick she firmly insists that I should see a doctor. Usually we dwell upon the argument until the disease leaves. (I'm starting to realize how stubborn I am.) See, I consider doctors with the same suspicious horror with which kids consider clowns. When I have a flu I'd rather chew copious amounts of garlic until the flu surrenders. Its taste makes me weep and its scent expels housemates from my immediate vicinity, but nothing good comes easy. No pain no gain. etc.

But this time the fever is even in my joints. My nerves are a wreck. I feel like someone tore me apart and put me back together using home-made glue. Therefore we all know by now what tomorrow's itinerary looks like: I acquire a white flag, go, and plead terms of surrender with the nearest hospital. I may have to swallow bitter pill - literally. Or get injected. Or both.

(A fevered brain is not ideal to be thinking with.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Me Generation

Our generation is pampered unto spoilt , both relatively (comparing our parents' time) and absolutely, especially the urbanites among us. I am pointing fingers at myself as well; this confession is derived from a critical analysis of my own life as I turn 24. Having watched such unfortunate shows as "Wife Swap" and "Soulmate Tryout," I know that our third-world spoilt brats have nothing on first-world spoilt brats.

The apparent ease and comfort extends beyond childhood, especially now that we have a well-worn beaten path that defines most people's lifetimes. Default framework: go to school, graduate, get a job, start a family, get insurance, retire. Artificial systems - entire industries from healthcare to housing - have grown up around these stages of life to prop up the "commensurate" material standard of living. Their shared backbone is the system of financial usury. (Today you need a loan in some places to get a child into nursery school.) All the pains we endure to achieve this expected standard of living almost neutralize the enjoyment of any gains attained. This system, being wasteful and exploitative, is designed to take more than it gives.

It's nice to have luxuries, rights and privileges. However, there is danger when the culture inculcates a sense of entitlement in its members. The community becomes a production line of self-absorbed, antisocial workaholics, easily given to despair when a crack in the narrative shows.  Yes, there is a place for self-esteem, but the great paradox is that the higher one prides themselves in their own conceits, the less genuine esteem they earn from themselves or others. That said, a lot of popular logic is up-side down. Many of society's so-called "role-models" derive their motivational aspect from their fame and riches rather than the values they stand for. They create fans in their own moral likeness. I'm certain there was a time showing off ("flossing, balling") would have earned the extravagant braggart a concerned word of advice. Those days are gone.

Love for "things" poses a fatal spiritual danger. Anyone who is desperate for the good life is much more willing to sacrifice principle for profit - to sell their souls - which is being made fashionable in a twisted kind of way (Illuminati, anyone?). But this is not the example taught to us by Jesus Christ, the prophet Elijah and John the Baptist, amongst many other who became wanderers, fugitives and martyrs courageous for the sake of the kingdom of GOD.

These considerations are not merely academic/historical. The hour is late. As these last days darken, each individual within this pampered generation of ours will be forced to choose between our beloved comforts and the express commandments of GOD. The good life (easy credit, fiat money, conspicuous consumption) will be leveraged on the mark of the beast. GOD's people will leave all that behind in faith and obedience, counting even their very lives a small price to pay. That's Bible prophecy.
Revelation 13:15-17
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.