Vision is blurred if the light does not bend or refract correctly and focuses directly on the retina. Blurred vision is a refractive error, which is the most common disorder of the eye.
Sculpted By Design 2021
What you focus on, EXPANDS
Are your thoughts preoccupied with the concerns for today? What shall we eat? What shall we wear? Where shall we live? Have you noticed that these concerns keep growing?
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Romans 8:6 NKJV
Who is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth? Who is the Savior of the World? Who loved you enough to die for you? Who loved you to redeem you from death? Who gave you new life? Whose name is above every other name?
Jesus is the Light of the World. Our gift of 24hrs is because the earth rotates around the sun. The earth never waivers, never falters, never alters. The Son should remain your singular focus just like the earth and the sun.
Martha was excited to host Jesus. A very important guest. A Rabbi. Everything had to be just right. She drew up a menu and assigned roles in her mind. She ensured the guests were seated, their feet were washed. They had light refreshments. All was going well till she sent Mary to serve the guests.
Martha had many things coming at her that day. Hosting a big number of guests can do that to you. There is only so much you can achieve alone. There is also only so much you can achieve through very excited others. Little things begin to pile. You cannot find a certain table cloth. The person you sent to borrow one from your neighbor heard yellow when you specifically mentioned cream. The caterer’s truck or maybe donkey breaks down and will not move. The wood is wet! Or power goes as you place that roast in the oven.
When the many things came, Martha became anxious. Nothing was going according to plan. This was not good! She began to fret. She was troubled.
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42 ESV (emphasis mine)
Mary also had many things come at her. She was also hosting guests at her home. When she entered the room to serve the guests, she heard Jesus teach His disciples. She observed how they sat listening to Him. His words were warm and comforting. They made her heart lighter. The bustle in the kitchen was no longer important. This moment here had to last. She could not pull herself to leave the room.
She was not anxious. She was not troubled.
She chose to sit and listen to Jesus. Jesus called it the good portion.
Moments. Life is a collection of moments. A moment is a result of a choice. You can choose one moment over another. You can reject one moment over another. Life may seem to roll on and at you, but with each roll you have the power to choose. It is never taken away.
Have you caught yourself too busy with getting things done for Jesus? It is never that serious. Selah. Breathe. Look at the stars, remember who is that called you. Have the things of this world consumed you? The soaring prices, the never ending deadlines, the endless quest to make it in life. Selah. Pause. Look around you. Listen for the birds. Watch the leaves bristle. Have you become troubled by all the suffering in this world? Selah. Take a seat. Go back to Calvary. Take in the cross. Take in the blood that Jesus shed. Take in His choice in Gethsemane. Are you anxious about tomorrow? Selah. Turn back. Return to the stronghold of hope. God is your refuge.
Every day of your life, you can choose the good portion.
It became the most popular song during the COVID-19 pandemic. Complete with a dance routine. There are so many tik-tok videos in various countries. It went viral.
We long for Jerusalem in times of distress and Master KG’s Jerusalema lyrics do not stray far from this very familiar cry.
Jerusalem is my home Jerusalema ikhaya lami
Save me Ngilondoloze
He went with me Uhambe nami
In World War I, a poem by William Blake was set to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916. It became England’s version of The Battle Hymn of Republic. Recently, there have been calls for it to become the anthem of England.
I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand Till we have built Jerusalem In England’s green and pleasant land
1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” 2 Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!
Psalm 122:1-2 ESV
Lord, like the Psalmist, prayed so long before our time, may our hearts never forget you, O Jerusalem. May our feet always stand in your gates. May our souls receive gladness when we come into the House of the Lord. May our home always be in Jerusalem. Amen.
The end of a rope. I have not had an occasion to run out of rope. However, we did run out of road this one time. Hilarious right! So we were cruising on Mombasa road heading back to Malindi, and part of that road was so bad, you didn’t know whether you were on the road or off the road. Well, not quite. It was really bumpy, so at one point, we noticed how smooth it has gotten. Only to hear our driver say, “oops, we run out of road!” We were driving on the shoulders at that point. He quickly course corrected and we were back to our jostling.
Not so many situations are this great. Most of the Hallmark movies have a scene where the family of the patient are in the waiting room and the surgeon walks in, still in his scrubs,and says ‘Doctors have done all they can… but he/she didn’t make it!’ Hearts broken. Sad theme music. And it’s done. You may rewind but you will always get back to that point and the doctor will walk to the waiting room in his scrubs. There is a finality about death.
Then there was COVID and the dynamics changed completely. No more wakes. No more ashes to ashes and dust to dust by the grave side. No more laying wreaths on caskets. No more viewing the body. Just the ‘angels’ coming in, spraying their paths with chloroquine. And ensuring everyone stays far away. Strangers burying a strangers. Loved ones estranged. There is a stillness about death.l
Early, one Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary made her way to the tomb to finish dressing the body of her Rabbi, Jesus. She finds the tomb empty and goes back to tell Simon Peter. Simon and John run to the tomb, to find indeed it is as she said. They return to their homes. The emptiness of this phrase points to the hollowness of death. Mary remains in the garden distraught, weeping and recounting the same phrase as grief is bound to do. The angels ask why she is weeping. They have taken away my Lord and I don’t know where they have laid him. Even after the angels have told her. She looks up to see someone and in her grief, she recounts the same phrase for him.
Mary’s pain is raw. The raw pain missed in Hallmark movies. I was hurrying to the hospital when the call came, it was my dad. He calmly asked where I was and I told him I was rushing to the hospital and apologized because I was so late. I cannot remember anything else he said, but I do recall that he told me mummy passed away in the early hours of the morning. Ohhhh, those words cut through my brain like a butcher’s knife. Right to my physical heart, the only response was a loud wail. I stopped the car in the middle of the road. I felt the sun had to stop rising and darkness should come and cover me. But it did not. I felt like my life was over but it was not. I just kept repeating over and over, mummy has passed on. It void statement. It was devoid of meaning. Because what was a world without a mummy. From the day of my birth, mummy had been there. When I cried, I would cry for my mummy. When I was in labour, my mummy was there. Now in the moment that was like the worst, she was not there. There is a loneliness about death.
Jesus, just like He did for Mary, whispered, ‘Dora, why are you weeping?’ She is not here. She is risen. May hope arise dear reader in your heart. The One who is the Resurrection and the Life. The One who is the firstborn over all creation. He is not dead, He is Alive. Because He lives you can face anything. Look to Him, He is your Lifeline and Waymaker.
Jeremiah laments a lot for the daughters of Judah. He is the one who speaks of Rachel weeping for her children. This prophecy was fulfilled when Herod went on his murderous spree to remove all trace of the Messiah. His lament is almost 600 years earlier, but the words hang over Judea like a wet blanket. Mothers wailing for their sons, no home left untouched.
Is there no balm in Gilead?
I had always thought this balm was a figure of speech but it is a real thing. There is actually a balm, similar to our shea butter, ghee, Avocado oil, tea tree oil. It has amazing healing properties for the body. You get the drift. Though I shall stick with my figure of speech, thank you very much.
Every mum has that quick fix or go to balm for aches, pains and colds. For most mums, it was Vicks. That is until Dragon balm came. My mum used it as the cure of all things! Ha ha! You have a cold? Dragon balm. You have a headache? Dragon Balm. You are just out of sorts. Dragon Balm. It had such a strong scent, you went around smelling like a peppermint tree. And guess what? It worked.
Is there no balm in Gilead? Will I never have relief from this cold? Will this headache never end? Will I never wake up without pain all over? Is there no balm in Gilead?
Dr. Luke does not record her name, clearly client confidentiality did not start recently. This woman has been bleeding for twelve years. She had gone through all of Judea looking for the balm in Gilead. With every visit to the doctors, her hopes were raised and with every visit her hopes were dashed. Because even though she had spent all the money as required and done all she needed to do, the bleeding did not stop. She did not have a regular cycle. She did not have children. She only had those bloody menstrual clothes to look at each day. Those bloody menstrual cloths to smell each day. Those bloody menstrual clothes to wash each day. Those bloody menstrual cloths to ask her every day, is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no balm in Gilead? Your situation remains unchanged, despite doing all you can. Your health deteriorates, there is no relief from pain. You feel drained and tired, there is no comfort.
Jesus is on His way to heal Jairus’ daughter. She has heard about Him, the Great Teacher. Some say He is the Messiah. The Messiah whom Herod did not kill. If He is indeed the Messiah, she thinks, I shall be healed. There is no more thought about protocols and cleansing laws. The opportunity is now.
She crawls into the crowd.
And touches the Hem of Jesus’ garment. Immediately, the blood stops flowing. Is this true? She can feel it, but she has to get away to check and confirm. Then Jesus stops and asks that question, ‘Who touched Me?’
Oohhh, the dread. I am fine now, can we all just get along with our lives? You know it’s me, Jesus. I know it’s you, let’s just move on. Jesus stops and is almost dismissive of Peter’s questions.
She stands up and walks to Him. There must have been a hush falling on the crowd as they recognized her. Jesus speaks to her. The unclean one. The one who had spent most of her life in isolation. He exhorts her to be of good cheer! Stand up, Rise up, your faith has made you well.
It’s over. She can go home and have dinner with her family. She can smile again. She can laugh again. There is a balm in Gilead. His name is Jesus, He heals and makes you whole. He is the Balm that keeps on healing. Laughter is good medicine. The Balm of Gilead not only soothes, He brings recovery.
Be of good cheer and come to Jesus. He will heal your sin-sick soul. He will heal your ailing body. He will make you laugh.
Or maybe I should call it The myth of retirement. Part 1. All through school, we always heard about and planned for retirement at some ripe old age. It was the utopian idea that at this age, one would have time to take all those holidays they missed, take a cruise around the world, run a farm and maybe play golf all day. Getting into the fast and furious rat race, I quickly realized this was too good to be true. There was just no one around me who lived like this. The only pensioners I knew were in their homes, in Kabale, where my parents grew up. And they were still very active in the political and economic life of Kigezi. Plus, the only reason I knew they were pensioners was because they were always coming to Kampala to fill out some forms to enable them to get their pension. This journey is about 500kms and because the roads were worse for wear, it took almost 24 hrs. All of my life. 😏
So what was retirement then? Did it simply mean that I was too old for formal employment? Not everyone is was formally employed, some were self employed. There, lived around the periphery of Makerere University, a group of elderly Batooro men who peddled anything and everything. One of the peddled recycled bottles, he collected glass bottles from our households, at that time everything was bottled in glass. He cleaned them up and sold them off. Would he retire? When would he retire? My nanny, was so old, Maria, bless her heart. She plucked out all my milk teeth, never needed a dentist. Would she retire as well? When would she retire?
Then came the Structural Adjustment Programs that saw the massive layoffs of public servants. They were given severance pay and overnight, they were no longer civil servants. Were they retired? Apparently, they were. But they were too young for cruises and yet too old for their former jobs. They reinvented the wheel. Early retirement became an option.
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost is a description of the buzz around me when I decided to retire. Nevertheless, when I opted to retire, time took on an elastic quality. I would have all the time to do everything, I had wanted to do. So I bought vanilla essence. I was going to be baking fresh muffins for breakfast and desserts for my family, so they could also live the life. I have a very sweet tooth. It did not help matters that one of my retirement gifts was a desserts recipe book. I would like to take a moment here and laugh 😂🤣 at this plan. Four years down the road, the essence is a running joke among my sons. I never baked a cake or dessert or any such thing.
…Life it goes on
School schedules remained the same. Traffic jam remained the same. The earth still orbited the sun for 24 hrs. The dry and rainy seasons still remained. The visa application process for those long boat cruises remained just as rigorous if not more. Morning routines remained. Meal times remained.
And so it was that I found myself grappling with the word retirement and its meaning. Would it vanish like Santa and the tooth fairy? Only to reappear when my own children were learning about milk teeth and Christmas gifts. Would it be deleted from my word bank? Would it take on a new meaning? The Jews had been waiting for the Messiah, there were prophecies by great famous prophets like Elijah and Isaiah and little known ones like Micah and Joel. This Jesus who had just fed over five thousand of them with two fish and five loaves, might be the one. They followed Jesus in small boats across the Sea of Tiberius to Capernaum. After all, Moses had fed their forefathers with manna, surely Jesus could do better. Maybe He could even show them how He did it.
Jesus answered, “This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.” John 6:29 AMP
Surely, it could not be that simple. There should be a miracle he could perform. But, just like it was for me, the realisation that life is the journey of believing and trusting in Jesus is the ultimate mythbuster. Many of them walked away that day. Ultimately, the goal of life is not retirement but to believe in Jesus. Totally blew my sails out! This was not what I was expecting but it was how I had always lived. So if I had lived this way, was living this way, surely I should continue to live like so?
The essence of life is to believe in Jesus, the One sent by God. The Bread of life that satisfies my hungry soul.
And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
John 20:22-23 NKJV
Jesus walks into the room where the disciples are locked in for fear of the Jews. ‘Shalom’, He greets them as if He had just returned from one of his evening strolls.
One of the things He does is to breathe on the disciples so they receive the Holy Spirit. Why? The room was filled with failure and its attendant emotions. The disciples were filled with fear, uncertainty and confusion. The air is filled with silent accusations and dashed hopes.They had run away from Jesus, fallen asleep instead of praying, they felt lost and sad. They missed Jesus and His leadership. They were angry- with the Romans, with Judas, with the teachers of the Law- mostly with themselves. They could not wholly blame Judas, they too run away. They had given up everything to follow Him and He was gone. It is a dejected lot He finds in that room.
How does Jesus respond? He breathes on them like He did in the beginning. In the beginning, when the earth was formless and empty. When the earth was dark, no birds tweeting, no lions roaring, no flowers, no mighty ocean waves, nothing. In the beginning when Adam had a form but no breath in his nostrils. Life.
The Breath of the Holy Spirit proclaims liberty and releases them from darkness. In that instant, they are empowered to forgive. Rescued from the darkness, they can rescue others. They are able to forgive. Able to forgive themselves first, because they recognize how sinful they are. Able to forgive each other because they recognize how they hurt each other. Able to forgive other sinful men who crucified their Rabbi.
saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’
Luke 24:7 NKJV
In a season, where we have experienced immense loss and failure, we swirl in similar emotions. Some days are better than others. Most of us remain physically locked in, uncertain, fearful, angry, disappointed. For those of us, easing out, the shadow of loss hangs in the air, it is in the distance, in the hand washing, in the facial masks. Jesus still comes and stands among us to Rescueus like He did with the disciples..
For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV
Jesus has unreservedly freed and rescued us from all this brokeness. Receive the Holy Spirit and forgive the sins of those who have offended you. Those whom you have been offended by. Forgive yourself for offending others. Jesus breaks the fetters, chink by chink, of offence off of you today. Walk free.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33 NKJV
This morning as I pondered these words of Jesus as recorded by Matthew, a former tax collector, three things came to mind:
This verse is not misplaced. Jesus goes on about birds, lilies, food, clothing, drinks and somehere in his teaching, out pops, this verse. Furthermore, it starts with a ‘But.’ What is the connection?
Birds, flowers, all creation -other than man -was spoken into being in the account in Genesis 1. God said ‘Let the land produce vegetation,’ ‘Let the birds fly above the earth.’ So if God places such care on His Word to perform it, how much more care does He place on you whom He formed and breathed life into.
The Kingdom of God is eternal and cannot be shaken. If you are looking for tangible, things that remain, then you should consider first putting aside birds and flowers and such manner of things(food, clothing, drinks) as concern your life. Because the Kingdom of God is the thing. The thing that does not fade or pass away. The thing that remains when everything else is gone.
Today, choose what you shall seek first. 🐦🐧🕊🦅🌹🌺🌻💐 or the Kingdom of God.
Today is Janani Luwum day. We set aside days so we never forget what is important. Janani Luwum was the Archbishop of Anglican Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga (Zaire) from 1971-1977.
In 1971, Field Marshall Idi Amin Dada became President of the Republic of Ugands through a coup de tat. The deposed President, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote was being hosted as an exile in Tanzania. There was trouble everywhere in Uganda including the borders with Tanzania. The army purges to cleanse the army of troops deemed hostile to the President were ongoing. The purges later spread to all Luo speakers and later to all professionals. Israelis were expelled. Indians were expelled.
Janani, together with Festo Kivengere, and other bishops stood up to Idi Amin. I thought this post would be about Janani alone but it is not possible for me to separate the two. Like Paul and Luke, their voices blended into one voice that challenged illegal detentions and extra judicial killings because they believed in a God who is just and good. They believed that their leaders should be good and just. They did this in sermons, in meetings with the President, in books, in their living rooms, in their prayers.
Janani is quoted as saying, we need to be Jesus to these people. Which people? The ones looking for their loved ones. The ones on the run. The ones facing injustice. The ones being hunted down. The ones no one cared about. They needed to be a voice of the distressed nation to a leader whose ears had dulled to his people.
Janani was ‘implicated in a coup’ arrested and murdered. Even in death, his memory was slandered- The government of the day said he was an escaped convict, killed in the act of escape. Festo left his cherished Uganda and became a refugee in exile. He later wrote a book, ‘I love Idi Amin.’
Church, I would like us to take a moment to consider the cost of our faith. On this day, what are you willing to stand for?
Who will be Christ to the hungry? Orphaned by corruption and greed. Who will be Christ to the thirsty? Watching the filth from our industries roll past their homes.
Who will be Christ to the naked? The victims of violence clothed in shameand ridicule.
Who will be Christ to the homeless? Carrying their boxes from street to street searching for a spot on the street to call home.
Who will be Christ to the sick? Searching for a doctor, a teacher,who is working three jobs to make ends meet? The leaders with more questions than answers. With solutions that come up short of the mark, every single time.
The despairing, crushed and lifeless youth stuck in the wheel of life rolling on. Filling up the mental wards. Trudging aimlessly from town to town.
Who will be Christ to the prisoner? Chained by impossible dreams. Crushed by unfulfilled hopes.
What is the price of your faith?
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Hebrews 11:24-26 NKJV
Moses is a witnesses of our faith, he left the passing comforts of Pharaoh’s household to suffer with God’s people. Have Pharaoh’s comforts veiled your eyes, Bride of Christ?
Will you accept the status quo or will you rise as the Son of God creation is anticipating?
This was hardly what I had walked into the clinic to hear. I am doing all the things that I love. Passionately so. Surely as a doctor, there should be a pill you could prescribe that could zap my body back into shape.
The legacy I have as a Mukiga woman is one of hardworking and never resting woman. We cram so much into 24 hours, it is amazing. With modern gadgets, it should give you time to rest.
Do mothers ever have a Sabbath? When God set apart the seventh day, did it include mothers?
How is it even possible? Meals to cook, schedules to manage, extended family, laundry piles, careers, hobbies, friends, dreams, hopes. Everything tumbling over, spreading you too thin. Is it ever OK to say, I am resting?
Mary and Martha welcomed Jesus into their home. There is so much to do when guests visit and it has to be done. Food will not cook itself, water will not fetch itself, tables will not lay themselves, beds will not lay themselves, fires will not light themselves, bread will not bake itself. Someone has to do it.
And Martha chose this.
Jesus is here. I have this huge opportunity to sit and learn from him. The Rabbis will not make time for me. He answers all my questions and His words are so refreshing, they water my soul. There is so much to do, but Jesus is better. There is so little time, I choose to connect with Jesus. Is it the better thing?
Mary chose this.
In a world, where we are rewarded and paid based on what we do. As a mother, it is easy to place your premium on performance. It is easy to slip into messianic mode, where everything depends on you. It is easy to bear the weight of the world and comfortably cloak yourself in the label, beast of burden. come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28. Is this for mothers too?
In Christ, we are called to a place of abiding. To live in Christ. It is a place of daily connection with Christ, a space where He is number one. Where my chief pursuit is Him. Where apart from Him, I can do nothing. Where I am more aware of Christ and His presence and what He is doing than anything else. This is the rest for mothers.
The laundry calls, the meals call, the school calls, the baby calls, the alarm clock calls, the traffic light calls. Jesus is Calling. Jesus is the field of great treasure, will you sell all to keep Him?.
My answer is Yes.
And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough . But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!”
Romans 8:15 TPT