“Let me tell you how you measure a man. When his world starts to fall, see how tall he stands. It matters not how many times you fall down, what matters most is how many times you rise. Mistakes build character. Character takes you places money can’t” – T.I.
In this world there are two kinds of people. The haves and the have nots. Among the haves there are two types of people. Those that are wealthy and those that are successful. Among the successful; two things. Those that give a hoot and those that don’t. With those that give a hoot; two things. They are either driven by principles or they are grounded on values. Principles and values have distinct characteristics but are often divided by a thin line therefore, they can be easily confused.
And so today I will tell you a few differences between these two based on my perspective. Walk with me.
• Principles inspire confidence, Values breed trust.
Helena is sitting at the Cafe with one big issue on her mind. She is in love with two men but can’t get to pick which one to fall for and which one to give the ‘friendship speech’. She is in a tricky situation. You see the first guy Patrick, is a professional who’s star is on the rise. He is one of those individuals constantly getting recognized for a job well done. His pay slip speaks well of him too. He is the kind of guy who is neat beyond comment and the type who will never accept his woman to pay for anything. He is somewhat mechanical too. He doesn’t forget dates, be it birthdays or a promise to call at a certain time. He is reliable. He is also very predictable and has a fixed schedule that he usually cannot break. He works like a donkey and his goal is to be a fellow at the institute of business blah blah blah…
Then we find Frank who even now as were talking is entertaining kids at the bouncing castle behind the restaurant. He has this childish side that makes him look like a nine year old. He has a good job in one of the big companies but always has time to play. He loves cars and everything that comes in the ‘good times’ tag. Frank forgets faces and dates easily so he’s always in a fight with everyone when it comes to memory. He is a very intense and emotional creature. He knows what to say and exactly when to say it. When Helena needs to talk, she calls him and everything turns out alright in the end. According to Frank, love and family come first. He has always been there when Helena needed him. He is not well off financially compared to Patrick who is HUGE in the corporate circles. Not a big problem though, according to Helena. Patrick has principles. Frank has values. Helena has confidence in Patrick yet she trusts Frank more. She just needs to choose one [sigh].
• Principles are based on fear, Values…passion
Lately Lisbeth has noticed a change in her boyfriend’s behavior. Joe doesn’t have time for her anymore. He doesn’t call as much as he used to and has stopped calling her the lovely pet names that she was used to. She in turn has decided to sit back and wait for him to come round. After all, it is in her principles not to be the ‘beggar’ in any relationship. She is beautiful and is always warding off suitors. She is a proud woman and doesn’t need to chase after any man. But is this really the case? Or is she just afraid that everything might come tumbling down when she raises her concern? Her boyfriend is very unpredictable and confronting him is akin to a suicide mission. She has always suspected him of being unfaithful but would rather die than confront him. She lives in constant fear. But she can’t afford to show it. She’s also a control freak. She’d rather look strong and focused than face her demons. Unknown to her, Joe decided to back off after he noticed she didn’t have time for him. They love each other intensely but can’t seem to find common ground between fear and passion. Both are natural reactions, but one needs to conquer the other.
• Principles thrive in pride, Values in humility
After 35 years of working hard and making the right investments, Mr. Robert is finally retiring. He is rich and has a tidy stash that will enable him to live comfortably for the rest of his life. He always has to point this fact out in all his conversations. His children are all grown and are successful professionals. But wait, it’s been 2 years since he last spoke to them!
Next door, we have Bobby the family man. He works as the president’s butler at State House. For the past 20 years the routine has been the same. Every morning, he bundles up the whole family in a van and volunteers to drop everyone off at work and school. He loves his family and they love him back. He is also retiring in a few years. Of course he’ll not end up as rich as Mr. Robert but he will be comfortable nonetheless. His family too.
Let it be known that principles and values are different in nature, but work exceptionally well together. All we need to know is how to find the perfect blend between the two. This blend varies from one person to the next.
Principles create history, Values….heritage.
Principles are based on the past and present. Values are timeless.
Principles are based on goals. Values…vision.
Dedicated to my sister whom I love with my heart. Gortoz a ran – I will never stop waiting for you.
“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Jesus Christ
Have you ever lost your Debit Card to an ATM? You typed in your password and seemingly followed instructions to the letter and still the greedy machine swallowed it all without even producing the money you requested? I know you cursed the bank, the machine, the bank CEO and most of all yourself. You cursed yourself because for some reason, you think you should have guessed it would happen. And from that moment, everything that day went downhill despite hoping that it would only get better. You tripped and fell on a flat pavement at lunch time. You stood up brushed the dirt off your shirt and said another silent prayer for the rest of the day. This time, angrily. Only kids are supposed to fall on flat surfaces! In the elevator, you involuntarily farted. That’s it! #DEAD
We pray for different reasons. Mostly, we pray to ask for help. It’s a human thing. We could be different in the sense of what we believe in, who or what we pray to but in the end, we seek to be answered in one way or another. And when our prayers don’t get answered, our faith is shaken. When this happens over a long period of time, we lose our faith. When we lose our faith, we lose our spirit [The little silent voice within us that tells us where we came from and our destiny]. We become animals.
On the other hand when our prayers are answered, our belief is strengthened. Our hope is renewed. We become thankful and want to spread the word so that others might experience what we are experiencing. We start believing in things unseen. Impossibilities turn into possibilities. What I know for sure is that there are many people who believe but very few can show the positive results of their beliefs. So could it be that we don’t know how to pray?
By now you’re asking what qualifications I have to teach people on how to pray. I have none. When was the last time I went to church? Let’s see… maybe 3 months ago, maybe more. I am not special in any way and I feel sad every time I think of the things God has done for me versus what I have done for him. I’m a ‘work’ in progress. I am thankful for the many things that I have experienced through prayer. I’ll share my secrets with you. This is not a lecture and I will say again that I have no qualification whatsoever. The only thing backing me up is, what prayer has done for me. I am a blessed man I tell you. Everything I’ve ever prayed for I have received. And for the few things I am yet to receive, I am gladly waiting for. If ever I fail to receive one of the things on my list, I know it will be for a reason. A bigger plan and purpose. I feel strongly that by reading my findings you will be enlightened. You could be a preacher or even the worst villain, it’s all the same. Praying is talking to God and as with any conversation, there are ground rules. Pay attention because I will tell you just one of the rules that I think is the most important. Important because it determines the outcome. There could be other rules but this one is essential. Walk with me.
God does not owe you anything. You heard me right. He doesn’t. That’s the main thing that you need to understand because I am pretty sure you know it already. Just because you prayed for a car doesn’t mean you’ll get it. Just because you wish your oppressive boss would die doesn’t mean it will happen. If that were the case, there would be no war, hunger or even starvation. The world would be a better place just based on the fact that there are more good people than there are bad people, I believe. You on the other hand are alive because God wills it. You owe God everything. When you pray, you should humble yourself and be ready to accept the answer God will give you. Why? It is for your own good.So God will definitely give you an answer. It just depends on how you choose to receive it.
So how then do you interpret the outcome of your prayers? I will give some practical and familiar examples. Would you give an infant a razor blade just because they cried for it? Would you skip immunizing your child just because injections hurt? Why not? It’s sad to see a baby cry in all it’s innocence. In the same breath, it feels good to be able to provide your child with all it wants. Anything that will make it happy. Clearly, if you listened to the desires of the child you would end up killing its fragile life for giving, or failing to give for the wrong reason. One more question. how then do you explain to a baby who still speaks goo goo gah gah why you had to treat it the way you did? So there you have it. When you pray, understand that God will answer according to his WILL. Not yours. He alone knows the master plan because He made it. So if you prayed with an honest heart and didn’t get exactly what you wanted just know that THAT is still an answer. On the other hand if you got what you wanted after praying, always remember to give thanks because you are still in God’s plan. This realization has been my motivation. That is why I can confidently say, ALL my prayers have been, are and will ALWAYS be answered.
It’s sad that in our time we’ve had people promising you returns if they pray for you. Some even pay in exchange for prayers. They say plant a seed by sending money and reap the benefits. I don’t dispute any concept but at the end of the day, everything depends on God’s will. What God gives, he gives for free.
Next time, I will give you the anatomy of a prayer according to my findings. Ofcourse it will depend on how well this article is received. I could be wrong. Write to me and tell me what you think.
Dedicated to the one person who in my blog poll, said that God does not exist. Just pray that you’re right.
When I was in class one, my teacher noticed I had a passion for arts and so she made it her mission to help me develop my talent. She would always provide me with extra crayons and additional drawing paper. All this, because I painted her a picture of what I thought was her family. Perfect and balanced. I remember her reaction when I presented her the painting. She cried helplessly, hugged me and soaked me in her tears. I was too young to understand what her tears meant so I cried with her too. I was later to learn that she had lost her family in a car crash. From that moment, we became best friends. She even offered to teach me how to count as I had difficulty in math. She liked me. During the morning breaks, she and I would go and sit on the grass at the far end of the field and I would catch grasshoppers for her. I wanted her to smile but she wouldn’t. She was a sad creature.
One day after learning of the fate of her family, I painted another picture of her family. This time, I painted her departed husband and two kids were on the top of my composition with smiles on their faces. At the bottom of the painting I had drawn my teacher smiling and looking up at her family. I used yellow for most of the painting. This also happened to be the first thing she noticed when I presented it to her. I explained that the yellow stood for God, and that he was always watching over her. I also told that her family was safe in his hands. There were tears in her eyes when she told me that she didn’t believe in God. For a young child brought up in a christian family, her statement threw me into personal melee and finally a quest for the existence of God. It was the saddest thing to know that my teacher died a few years later in 1997. It was even more sad to learn that she died having not believed in the existence of a higher power.
When I was twelve, I read the bible from beginning to the end. I wanted to find out why people believed in christianity. It was a tough time as my uncle and his wife had just lost their three month old baby. Naturally, some people wanted answers, others wanted understanding. For me, there was one big question. Where was God when the poor child was sick? Why would he give us a ‘gift’ only to take it away before its time? It just didn’t make sense. I was looking for answers in the bible in the hope that I would get an enlightenment or at least an understanding. I could not bring myself to believe how God formed the universe from nothing. There was a tempest in my heart between logic and faith. In a strange way, I could now understand why my teacher did not believe in God. It was scary to harbor such thoughts in my young mind. But sometimes, the answers come when one is in the eye of a storm because after my long search, I finally got home. I believe strongly that God exists. Trash everything else. That we evolved from apes is complete rubbish. How else can the evolutionists explain why the apes are still there? As one blogger put it, it’s like saying a chair will one day evolve into a table.
You see the terms faith and logic are relative; depending on how you understand them. Personally I believe that faith is observed and experienced by signs. Affection is not affection unless it is expressed in signs. How else do you know that someone loves or hates you? Is love something you can touch? Is hate an object you can take hold of and bury in the sand? Why then do you doubt the existence of God just because you cannot see him?
Likewise, science also derives its basis on signs. Smoke is the signal of a fire. The mood, cognition and voluntary movement in a human being are explained by the presence of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) that the brain is able to produce. So can we safely agree that science and religion are based on signs? Well scientists would definitely not agree to this co-relation. Fair enough. I wonder what they have to say about this thing called gravity. How is it formed? Where does it come from? Clearly, all a scientist can do is try explain the signs of God’s work. It then becomes useless to explain the inside of an egg without first trying to find out where the hen came from. Get it? At the end of the day there is no evidence needed to bring forth faith. Just signs.
‘Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. ‘ Hebrews 11:1-3
In my article Dreams, I gave the example of Jesus‘ Walk On Water. I have come to call this wonderful event WOW- Walked On Water. Of course scientists will always try to refute this fact but I on the other hand, have experienced more WOW moments than I can count. My prayers have always been answered. I have seen the signs of God’s goodness that I can’t ignore. I have done bad things in the past but I now enjoy the mercies and grace of a forgiven man. You see the same author of my faith is the same One who created science. So when science fails to explain an occurrence, I cannot assume that it doesn’t exist.
Sometimes all we need to do is close our eyes and experience the connection. You know that feeling in your heart that tells you, that you are not here by chance?
These are just random thoughts of a man looking to find his way. The journey is long and it’s just beginning. Maybe next time I will tell you what else I have discovered. I dedicate this to my mother who has been the best teacher when it comes to explaining the intangible.
Today’s blogger happens to be one of my best friends who I am always thankful to have met. Meet Linda Muriungi. I have seen her go through the most crucial of life’s stages. She is one of the people I would unflinchingly lay my life down for. She is family. Recently she went through a life threatening situation where she found herself bed-ridden and unconscious. In the darkness that engulfed her, she found her true self. She has a lot to be thankful for and in this post she reminds us that there are more important issues to pay attention to. I’m glad you’re back. This is what she had to say when she came to.
By Linda Muriungi
They say the best therapy for the soul is to put your thoughts on paper, so today I take this chance to bare my soul. Just for the simple reason of stirring a sense of faith in myself and others. To believe that everything always happens for a reason. To accept that the experiences we go through are meant to challenge us and afford us an opportunity to learn something novel and life altering.
So as I sit here today wondering where to begin with my tale or rather true life experience, my pen comes to life.
As the year began on a good note for some, mine took a turn for the worst. What I went through was one of those things that happen in a split second, that turn your life into a midst of uncertainty and turmoil. How to deal with it and its effects is the test. This incident made me look at myself with a keen eye and it is with coming face to face with such a life altering event that one learns to appreciate life in totality.
You see the worst thing about the ordeal, was that I never saw it coming. I went about my normal life yet the clock was counting down to that fateful day. And thereafter, my wall came crashing down. I wondered, why me? Why now! Was this part of God’s plan? Then again, I worried about how soon I would get back up.
Good news, I made it. Two months down the line and have never been more true to myself as I am now. How you may ask? It simply took the willpower to make my situation better, faith in my Father (God) who at some point I had almost given up on, and the presence of my family & friends who all stood by me every step of the way. You see, to get better in whatever situation; you need lots of laughter, stress relievers and hope. Figure out what you want to achieve and work towards achieving that goal. It is all about determination which gives one the strength to continue, the steadiness to succeed, and the wisdom to slip past difficulties undisturbed.
All I needed was some sort of assurance that it would be okay. And it now is.
The trick to handling such experiences, and trust me I know how tough it is to keep on keeping on, to smile at the world and yet you are dying inside, is to simply; stay positive (encourage yourself with simple phrases, they will mean a lot to you despite the simplicity in the words) maintain good friendships (keep positive people around you), keep your family close (they got this uncanny way of loving and caring for you when you need it the most) and lastly pray until something happens, as the track for Kanji Mbugua goes… P.U.S.H ON (Somehow I have never been this close to God, He’s kept me sane in a time of chaos)
Now it’s time for me to live my life, smile as I face the world with my head held up as I tackle the everyday challenges. I will try to take each experience positively and see it as an opportunity to be a stronger and better person. The thing is, it’s life & it happens. The point is to never let anything take your spirit, we are all one slight adjustment from making our lives work for the better.
By Michael Ngigi
Lake Tiberias, also known as Lake of Gennesaret, more commonly Lake of Galilee has often played a big role in world history. It is on it’s shores that Israeli song icon Naomi Shemer was born (at Ktvutzat Kinneret) and laid to rest. That may not be familiar but atleast you remember where Jesus recruited a quarter of his disciples. Ever heard of Simon, Andrew and the brothers John and James? Maybe you have heard about Kibbutzim, the coperative farming villages of Israel? Well this is where they began way back in 1909. This water mass happens to be the largest fresh water lake in Israel and also (get this) the lowest fresh water lake in the world! Anyway, I just thought you’d want to know…
You see, this is no ordinary lake. About 2000 years ago today, Jesus’ disciples are caught in a violent storm on this lake, in the first hour of one morning. They are thrown in fear and confusion and their boat is bashed by high waves. It is tossed about the water dangerously and there is eminent threat that it will break. They try to wrestle this unforgiving natural force and after a while they fall back helpless and wait for the end. It is at the third hour that they see the figure of a man emerge from the darkness walking towards them. Yes, walking. Peter is fearful and points towards the figure as he swears to the other disciples that what they’re are seeing is a ghost. They are terrified. For a moment, the storm is not their biggest concern. This ghost is.
Jesus emerges from obscurity and tells them to be courageous that he is there with them. They believe in him (Jesus) because they have seen him perform miracles. However, they are not sure if the man they’re looking at is really him. Peter thinks fast and comes up with a deal. That if this man should prove that he really is Jesus,by giving him (Peter) the ability to walk on water too. Jesus beckons to him and Peter steps out of the boat and starts walking towards Jesus. All the while, his eyes are fixed on his master. Halfway, his attention is diverted to the huge waves that keep rising at the corner of his eye. Immediately, he begins to sink and so Jesus has to save him. They climb back to the boat and the wind storm dies down.
I believe that Peter actually walked on water. I believe that man actually landed on the moon on the 21st day of July, 1969. I believe that Kipchoge Keino won gold over American favourite at the time, Jim Ryun, a year before. Have you ever wondered how men began to fly? Who thought that a piece of metal would fly us from one location to another? How about electricity? Who knew it existed? Who knew that one day it would be one of the most hardest ‘things’ to live without? Who thought you would become what you are today? Manu Chandaria was born in poverty and uncertainty, who would have thought he would be one of the most influential industrialists of our time?
Only yesterday, I told my friends that I will build a city that will be among the most famous in the world. Of-course it became a light moment. But picture this, I never thought I’d be able to own new clothes or even make a living, when I was growing up. But it happened so I have had to dream again. Dream higher. I wanted to own a car, now I’m thinking of a bigger car. I wanted a small nice house but now I’m thinking of a big house because I want to live in it with someone else.
Dreams are never realistic, but watch out, they may come true. Most of the time, what we fear (the bad dream) comes true. Why? Because we remain focused on it. Without knowing, we start inviting the possibility of our fears coming true. What if we did the same for our good dreams? Peter was able to take a few steps on the water because he was focused on his role model. Jesus. Do you have a role model? Every dream has a source. We wanted to fly but we had to get inspiration from the birds. Have you ever noticed the shape of an airplane? It just happens to be a large metal bird. It is essentially a bird.
When we lose sight of our focus, we perish. What would Peter tell you if he were alive today? What would he Tweet?
“Just walked on water! Now I believe! @DoubtingThomas”
Dreams are fulfilled by purpose. So purpose keeps us alive so we could live to see our dreams come true. How I deal with everything that I experience determines how far or close I get to achieving my dreams. Every second counts. The few seconds that we spend worrying. The minutes that we spend complaining. The days that we waste regretting.
Are we ever too old to dream? Never! I know of a wealthy man who became successful in his mid-fifties. He happens to be my mentor.
A dream is never realistic, after all, it is just a dream. That doesn’t mean that you can never be the biggest actor in Hollywood? Ask Djimon Gaston Honsou. Dreams are never final, they only beget bigger dreams. Dr. Manu Chandaria who happens to be my mentor says, “You stop dreaming. You die”. Dreams create success. Dreams are for the strong at heart. They determine all aspects of your life. At first, a dream is vague just like how vague Jesus was to Peter at first. It gets clearer as it draws towards you. It gets easier to walk towards it, the more visible it becomes. But the trick is to keep focused or else the sinking starts.
I woke up today feeling empty and lost. It feels like my dreams are taking too long to come true. But as I sat to write this article I realized, I have more to be thankful for. I have even more to look forward and be hopeful for. For now, I dream. I wait.
This note is dedicated to the men and women who toil and labor away from home; in pursuit of happiness.