Lessons From The Bible
Much has been said about the power of habit. Like there was Aristotle who said good habits formed at youth make all the difference. And then someone else phrased it better by saying "we first make our habits, then our habits make us".
So being the teachable young man that I am, I have started forming good habits like rising early, reading regularly, taking one-hour morning walks and stretching with rollers daily to firm up my abdominal muscles and to keep them in shape.
I have also gotten into the habit of praying, telling the truth and reading the Bible. Yes, even praying, telling the truth and meditating on God's Word are habit forming.
These days, I not only utter the Lord's Prayer after making my bed in the morning but also commune with God throughout the day to pray for whatever need that pops up in my mind. Like on several occasions in the past three months during my morning walks to Kiserian Town, I have stopped to ask God for financial breakthroughs in a few of the hobbies I am developing after observing how some people in Kiserian are struggling to make ends meet by hawking such mundane items as sandals around the town.
Last Sunday when I stopped to pray for something I have forgotten but which I am sure God remembers, my friend Karatu slowed down his car to find out what was amiss with me. He thought I was crying or something. But I sensed his worries were allayed when I greeted him jovially by his name after he called me out from his sedan.
But my subject today in this story of mine is not on praying but on the lessons I have learnt from my habit of meditating on the Bible. Okay, let me enumerate and expound on them for you, and in so doing, I hope to pass on to you some gems of wisdom which you are free to take or leave.
The first lesson I have gleaned from my Bible is not to fear any person. For those of us who had a suppressed childhood during which we were mocked, beaten, ridiculed and criticized, we know well how hard it has been to be acquire the virtue of courage in our adult life because, as they say, old [fears] die hard. We have feared almost everything: ridicule, criticism, rejection ... you name it.
As for me, I have found encouragement from the Bible to be as brave as three lions strolling together. My friend Paul Bundi Karau, the top candidate in 2002 KCSE exams, says in one of his books that the Bible talks of courage 365 times. I am not sure about that but at least I know a couple of verses that exhort us to be men (and women) of good courage.
There is the Book of Joshua which says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Then there is St. Paul who in one of his epistles in the Bible says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but of power, of love and of self-discipline."
For me, Prophet Isaiah phrases it best when he comforts us this way in Isaiah 51:12-13:
Those three verses from the Bible have infused me with courage to be myself even if it means being eccentric. So let the howlers howl, let the scowlers scowl and let the growlers growl but I will keep acting in harmony with my authentic self for the rest of my time in this grand and magnificent planet. Different ... yes. Imperfect ... certainly. But nonetheless valuable.
Who are you that you fear mortal men,
the sons of men, who are but grass,
that you forget the Lord your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the Earth...? 
The second lesson I have gained from the Bible is to value work. The Book of Sirach (an inspirational page-turner found only in the Catholic Bible) implores us not to hate hard work because work was assigned by God. Then the philosophical Book of Ecclesiastes beseeches us to work with all our might because in the grave where we are all headed, there "is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom".
But there is a catch here: the same Book of Ecclesiastes that counsels us to work with all our might also advises us find joy in the work - something Steve Jobs, a Buddhist who revolutionized the hi-tech industry by making personal computers possible, highlighted to Stanford graduates in his famous 2005 commencement speech at the university.
As for me, I am converting my hobbies in music and writing into work which, as I have pointed out when talking of how I pray even during my morning walks to my home-town, have requested God to be kind to me by making my hobbies successful not only in impacting the world but in making me self-reliant if you know what I mean. And, believe it or not, I am really working hard to be exceptional at those hobbies.
How about you? Tell me, what do you plan to do with that precious gift of life given to you by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
And the last lesson which I have picked up from my Bible that I will discuss today is on that hot-button topic that is considered a taboo in many families all across the world. But if the holy Bible itself devotes a whole chapter in the Book of Leviticus (Chapter 18) to instruct us on what we shouldn't do when going about it, why shy away from discussing it here? The hot-button topic is none other than sex.
Let's face it: sexual feelings are part of the package that come with the gift of life for humans. At times, those sexual feelings can become so strong that even prominent men put their reputation at risk to engage in sex.
While we all know sex produces a pleasant feeling, the wise among us admit it ought to be exercised with care. Why? Because no well-meaning parent would wish her daughter to get pregnant while still in high school, or her son to acquire HIV before graduating from the university.
Me, I believe sex ought to be practised within the confines of marriage by a couple that not only understands birth-control but also ready to nurture children to responsible adults. If all people on Earth shared that belief, this planet would be blissful to live in because the criminals who create hell on Earth by robbing us are as a result of the hoi-polloi who bear kids they are unable to educate into law-abiding citizens.
That's why I have refrained from pre-marital sex till my current age of 30, a no-mean achievement. But I won't assume a holier-than-thou attitude because I have to confess of entertaining lustful thoughts in my mind every now and then for as long as I can remember. So, in a sense, I owe my virginity (if that noun applies to men) to God for having kept me from sexual snares in those moments of weakness when all sorts of raggle-taggle licentious thoughts force their way into my conscious thinking.
I've told you of how I recite the Lord's Prayer after making my bed in the morning, haven't I? Part of the reason I value that prayer is the way it calls on God to "lead us not into temptation [and] deliver us from evil" for His is the kingdom, the power and the glory, now and forever.
And so what have I learnt from the Bible on sex? That both men as well as women get sexually aroused. Like the Book of Proverbs cautions healthy handsome young men (like me) to be wary of "the wayward wife with her seductive words..." - something the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis makes clear. You see, after Joseph went to Egypt, he grew into a handsome and well-built gentleman which led his master's wife to take notice and lust after him. I won't tell you what happened next. Just find a Bible and read the rest of the story for yourself.
For those of us who grew up as timid boys, it comes as a surprise to us to learn that women get as much sexually aroused as men because the media outlets are always awash with news of men raping or sexually harassing women which creates the impression that only men get turned on.
Having overcome the timidity I acquired in childhood and learnt much about the world, I can now authoritatively inform all timid boys out there that women do indeed get sexually aroused, sometimes even more than men. It's just that if a man forces a woman to have sex with him, that's reported to authorities as rape and sexual assault. But if a woman forces a man to have sex with her, that's not considered a crime at all. That's the way it is folks!
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,  &  Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Awakening the Child Within
Aha! As much as I have tried to pump up my fragile ego by trying to perceive myself as brilliant, I have finally accepted of how lost I have been. You know why?
Well, I have reflected a bit on my past four years - yes four, not twenty - and it has dawned on me I have committed six of the seven deadly sins I first learnt from a lady-friend of mine called Eva: that's sloth, greed, anger, gluttony, pride and lust.
Of the deadly sin I haven't committed, it is envy. Imagine I have tried to recall ever feeling envious in the past four years but couldn't nail any particular moment I felt that sin in my heart. All I have felt is jealousy which was not included in the seven deadly sins by whoever came up with that list. Like I felt jealous when I read in the dailies that Bien Aime-Baraza, a primary school class-mate of mine who sings with a local popular afro-pop band called Sauti Sol, was among the musicians selected to entertain President Barack Obama when he visited our country in 2015.
For sure, I have committed those six deadly sins repeatedly over the past four years. But I have successfully overcome sloth in the past two weeks following the goal I talked about in my previous story in this lovely blog of mine. And in the daily toil that is now becoming a part of me, I am also growing more gentle thanks to a revelation in my heart that no one is perfect.
Yes, no one is perfect apart from God. That's the way it has always been, it is and shall ever be. So I am continually bracing myself to gently accept the imperfections of others for the rest of my life in this grand and beautiful planet.
And on that deadly sin called lust, now that's one I am yet to conquer and I seem not to be in a hurry to overcome it. Like yesterday before retiring to bed at about 11.30pm, I allowed some lustful thoughts to take root in my mind but let me spare you the details of what I thought. Just know the thoughts were lustful.
As brilliant as some people may have thought of me, my last four years have been nothing but sinful. I have at times dragged out of bed in the morning filled with bitterness over what has been done to me in the past, rehearsed in my mind rebuking some of the people who have sinned against me, felt guilty over some of the mistakes I have committed, resorted to over-sleeping and over-eating as an escape from the boredom and loneliness that have occasionally bedevilled me. A sinner I have been.
Has that sounded like you too? Maybe it will if you reflect on your past four years as well.
To reclaim myself from that sinful nature to be the loving, powerful and self-disciplined youthful gentleman God designed me to be, I have resolved to re-awaken the child within.
You see, when I was little boy of seven back in 1994, my life was blissful. I can't recall ever feeling bitter or angry at any one then. Perhaps the only deadly sin I committed back then was lust because I used to admire and fantasize caressing the breasts of our Standard One teacher, an attractive lady called Ms. Alice. The kind of breast admiration the Bible exhorts us men to have for our wives in the wonderful old book of Song of Songs. If you happen to be an unbeliever of Christ currently thinking of dating, please get a copy of one Bible and read that book; I am sure you'll like it.
And oh you lust, when shall I ever overcome you?
Yes, my life as a seven year old was blissful for shizzle. Like when I went to take milk in the evening to the home of a distant neighbor called Mrs. Mathenge, who by the way has turned out to be a good friend of mine these days, I used to love doing creative acts along the way and giving free reign to my imagination.
At times during those walks, I would pick dry blades of maize plants, reduce them into smaller pieces with my hands and stick them together into 'X' shape by piercing a thin stick where the blades crossed. Then I would start running with my right hand holding one end of the stick, whose other end pierced the blades, while pointing the hand forward and voila! The maize plant blades would start rotating like the engine fans of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
As I have said, I also loved giving free reign to my imagination during those walks. I especially liked visualizing myself winning fights like the way Shawn Michaels did. In those days, I was a big fan of the WWF wrestling show that was aired on KBC, the only TV station available back then here in Kenya, on Tuesdays after 7.00pm news. Our family owned a small black & white television set called Greatwall which I am sure some of my agemates in the '90s are familiar with. Our television set may have been small as well as black & white but trust me, I always looked forward to watching those WWF wrestling shows.
Shawn Michaels was a handsome and a charismatic wrestler who earned my admiration more than any other did. I noted he had a particular style of winning his fights by tapping his right leg on the boxing ring floor twice, then hitting his opponent with the same leg. Whenever Shawn Michaels started tapping his leg, I knew he was about to win the wrestling match. And he always did.
There was one special wrestling match that is worth narrating here. Special in the sense that all the wrestlers, who I had hitherto only watched in two-man fights, were all put together in the same boxing ring. The match, as I learnt while it went on, was all about the wrestlers eliminating each other from the boxing ring. And the last man to remain in the ring was declared the winner.
Needless to say, I strongly rooted for Shawn Michaels when the match commenced. And he managed to stay in the ring as the fighting went on. But when the match boiled down to four or five wrestlers, some of them teamed up to eliminate Shawn Michaels. They managed to push him out of the boxing ring but somehow, Shawn Michaels kept himself in the match by hanging on one of the boxing ring cords.
Given the way I loved Shawn Michaels, I must have felt nervous that my hero was about to be eliminated. All I recall was that he outwitted his opponents, got back into the ring and eventually won the special wrestling match. Oh, how I loved Shawn Michaels!
So much did I love Shawn Michaels that during my evening walks while taking milk to Mrs. Mathenge's home, I would imagine myself winning fights like he did as I have already said. Sometimes I would find myself touching leaves of plants along the paths I trod on - the way Shawn Michaels greeted his fans on his way to the boxing ring at the beginning of every match he fought.
That was vintage me back in 1994. And that's the kind of child-like spirit I am trying to re-awaken in me. I want to feel joyful and creative again, certainly now not by running with dry blades of maize plants if you have gotten the gist of my story.
I beseech you to also join me in the endeavor of re-awakening the child within us. Let us strive to joyful and creative again, first by freeing ourselves from all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. And then by being kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgives us as St. Paul says in one of his epistles in the Bible. Adieu!
My dear reader, I have edited a story I wrote in the past about scoring in life. I am sure you'll like it more the way it is now. Just click on that link in blue to jump straight into that wonderful true story.