Anticipate Blessing

ONE PRAYER-WEB

 

Question: What do you love most about this country?

50 years ago was a time of great excitement in our nation! After 68 painful years, the yoke of colonial oppression was finally about to be thrown off and Kenyans were preparing to receive their independence from the British colonialists. Among the many things that the government-in-waiting did was to constitute a 5-member commission to prepare an anthem for the new country.

Ultimately, the commission settled on a traditional Pokomo lullaby. And the end result was one prayer

This prayer was designed to help the people of Kenya to invoke God’s blessings over their land every time they sang it. This month as we enter our 50th year after independence and also prepare for a historic first national elections under our new constitution, I sense God would have us reflect on the words of this prayer in order to prepare our hearts for this special time and season. If you are a Kenyan, this series is for you as I believe this Jubilee year is one whose blessings you don’t want to miss out on. If you are not Kenyan, this series is also for you because I believe you are not here in this special historical time by accident, and that God’s blessings on this land are also accessible to you because you have chosen to make it your home in this season.

I want us to begin today with the first line of this prayer;

Oh God of All Creation, Bless This Our Land and Nation.

Let’s turn in our bibles to Num 13:17 – 14:4

The Israelites were an amazingly blessed people. After almost 400 years of oppression in Egypt, they were the newest independent nation on earth. They experienced what no other nation had ever experienced: With 10 mighty signs, God had delivered them from the most powerful nation in the world by demonstrating that He was the God of all creation. No longer slaves, God had shaped them into a nation and given them a new constitution – based on the 10 commandments. And now He was leading them to the Promised Land – flowing with milk and honey.

12 men were sent out to spy out the new land and after 40 days, they returned to give their report. On the plus side, they confirmed that the land was indeed fruitful. They even had samples of fruit to prove this and one bunch of grapes took two men to carry it! BUT after mentioning this information, they quickly moved to the minus side: The people in the land were powerful giants! They were much stronger than the Israelites. And then came that summary statement; ‘The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size… We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes and we looked the same to them’!

‘Oh God Of All Creation, Bless This, Our Land And Nation’.

The Israelites were a blessed people indeed. The problem was not that God had not blessed their ‘land and nation’. The problem was in their perspective. They had a scarcity mentality. A scarcity mentality is a fear driven view of reality that sees life as having limited resources – and a a result always focuses on the negative. Let’s look at some of the dangers of a scarcity mentality: The first one is…

1. FORGETFULNESS OF PAST BLESSINGS

As you read this story, don’t you want to shake these people and ask them, “what? How can you refuse to enter the land?  Don’t you remember how He humbled the most powerful nation in the world on your behalf? The pillar of fire and cloud? Don’t you remember the miraculous provision of food and water? How can you be so forgetful of what God has done for you so far?”

People with a scarcity mentality easily forget what God has done for them. While it’s true that we as a nation have not come as far as we could have, God by His grace has brought us far! As a people, Kenyans have been blessed by God! Our blessings are too many to mention!

Kenyans are a hardworking and enterprising people. Walk out in the morning at 6 am and you’ll see massive numbers of people walking up to 10 km to get to work. Everywhere you go in the world will find Kenyans have settled and set up businesses. Our countrymen overseas last year sent an estimated 100 billion shillings back to this land to invest and assist their families. Our athletes have won more global medals for us than any other African nation has ever won!

Kenyans are also innovators. Apart from the famous M-pesa mobile money transfer that is now being rolled out worldwide, a Kenyan recently won the Nokia 1 million award for the most innovative software program design. Another startup MoDe just this last week won the global IBM smart camp award last week. Equity Bank is now a global case study for how banking can empower the poor. We have two Nobel laureates – the late Dr Wangari Mathai and … Barrack Obama. Our investment in education over the years means that we are positioned to become a global outsourcing powerhouse. Eric Shmidt, executive chairman, Google, recently said that he believes Nairobi may soon become Africa’s leader when it comes to technology

Other blessings are our great location, our amazing weather, and our beautiful land. We are the home of the annual wildebeest migration, the best tea and coffee in the world and the marathon! Many mistakenly think our anthem is the theme song for the World Athletics Championships.

The opening up of regional trade, the devolution of government and the development of road and internet infrastructure mean that our economy is positioned to grow tremendously over the next few decades. No wonder the world is taking notice! Even politically we have come a long way with some of the most liberal media freedoms on our continent. I can safely say that we have achieved in 50 years what it took the Europeans centuries to accomplish!

There’s a little children’s song that says, ‘count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done’. I sense that as we go into this Jubilee year, one the foundational keys to God blessing our land and nation is that we will remember what the Lord has done for this country in the past. The same God who has brought us this far is able to help us overcome the obstacles we face.

 ‘Oh God Of All Creation, Bless This, Our Land And Nation’. The 2nd danger of a scarcity mentality is…

2. FEELINGS OF INADEQUACY

v.33 ‘We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.’ While it’s easy to blame the 10 spies, the reality is that they were factually correct – the fellows in this land were actually giants! So in reality they were just calling a spade a spade, just telling it like it was! But while what they said was true and correct, the facts they chose to base their reality on revealed a deeply-rooted low view of themselves.

People with a scarcity mentality have a very low view of themselves and their reality. My friends, this could easily describe us as Kenyans! We often prefer focus on the negative side of our nation. It’s common to hear Kenyans talk about how their country is a failed state on the verge of collapse, a banana republic, a country with no future… it’s common to hear Kenyans say derisively when they see something wrong, ‘only in Kenya!’

We complain about poverty but forget to mention that poverty levels have fallen by 11% since 2012. We complain about the nature of our schools but forget to tell the world that with free education the number of children completing secondary school, has risen from since 2008 from 46% to 74 %! We complain about our security forces but forget to shout to the world that the war for the liberation of Somalia would not have been won if not for the valiant KDF, and that our government fully funded our forces in winning that war!

People with low self esteem despise what they have and desire what others have: I know this is below the belt but let me give an example… despite being the best in the world at long and middle distance races, I suspect we know very few of our world beating athletes – and they’d be un-noticed if they were sitting in a service here. But if you ask half of this congregation to name the starting line-up for Barcelona or Man U – they’ll name them plus substitutes – for the last 5 years!

This week, an article in one of our newspapers revealed that because of the decision of world leaders to raise the profile of the UNEP headquarters here, Nairobi is now the environment capital of the world! You can easily guess the comments following the article: ‘how can we be the environmental capital of the world while Nairobi is such dirty city?’ Another said, ‘The city in the sun is a shame to its residents and visitors’. While some of these facts may be true, our focus on them shows that we are ‘grasshoppers in our own eyes’! I’ve come, over time, to realize that it’s impossible for God to bless our nation when we curse it every time we open our mouths!

Oh God Of All Creation, Bless This, Our Land And Nation’The last danger of a scarcity mentality is…

3. FORGOING OF OPPORTUNITIES

Because of their attitude, the Israelites missed out on their God-given opportunity: It would take them another 40 years of wondering in the desert to finally come back to the same place. None of them except Joshua and Caleb would be alive to see it. And the amazing thing is that when you read the story in the book of Joshua, their children would not take the land because they had become more prosperous or better organized but because they would choose to focus on God rather than dwell on the obstacles before them!

I’ve often wondered how it must have been to watch that Union Jack come down at Uhuru Gardens in 1963 and watch the Kenyan flag come up, as the new national anthem was played for the first time to a jubilant nation. The joy, the hopes, the dreams, the aspirations, the opportunities! I envied my dad for being young and educated then, and thus able to fully engage in the opportunities that the new nation offered…

But I want to say to my generation that – 50 years later, this is our time! With our new constitution, we stand on the verge of Kenya’s second independence. The generation of our founding fathers is passing on. There’s little guarantee that we’ll be around for the next Jubilee. Let’s not miss our Jubilee because of a scarcity mentality!

Oh God Of All Creation, Bless This, Our Land And Nation’.

The antidote for a scarcity mentality is thankfulness. I believe God has greatly blessed this country and He has greater plans yet to bless it. We are a blessed nation if only we will stop seeing the half-empty glass and appreciate that we are already greatly blessed. If only we will learn to stop cursing our nation and learn to pronounce God’s blessings over it – accepting that we were born in Kenya for such a time like this. If only we will live out the words Paul said in Philippians 4:8, ‘Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise worthy, think such things about your nation’.

Let’s not forget what God has done and will do/ throw off our feelings of inadequacy/refuse to forgo our blessings.

This week when people ask you the question “How is Kenya doing?” Tell them, ‘Kenya by God’s grace is on the rise!’ And when they say to you “But isn’t Kenya the same country that had the post election violence that killed 1200?” Tell them “Yes and we are praying it never happens again. But did you know that in the US that same year, 10 times more people (12,000) died in gun-related violence?” And when they say “Isn’t that the country where you have corrupt and despotic leaders?” You say, “Yes it is and we hope by God’s grace to change that this election season! But thank God we’ve never produced anything close to Europe’s Hitler, Stalin or Mussolini!”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be speaking about some of the terms and conditions for our prosperity as part of this great nation; I challenge you to share this message with your friends and family members through social media… and to invite them to church this February.

I want to conclude with a prayer of confession for those of us who have cursed our nation so many times with a negative report OR listened quietly while others have done so. And in the process, I challenge you to refuse to join the ’10 spies’ with a negative report this month and instead to choose to speak positively over ‘our land and nation’

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12 Responses to “Anticipate Blessing”

  1. I love this post, it really speaks into my life. I know with the knowledge embedded in me I can change the world around me.

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  2. Halleluyah! 50 cheers for 50 years! We BE-LIVE in Kenya and may God bless our country exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think, according to His mighty power at work in us.Amen!

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  3. Reblogged this on wanguigichuki1 and commented:
    A prayer for Kenya… powerful sermon by pastor Mmurithi at Mavuno Church

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  4. This is quite eye opening. I have being one of the 10 spies now I am going to speak of the blessings of my country Kenya

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  5. The sermon was great. At the end you asked us to place our hands on our heads and pronounce (sing) a blessing on ourselves by singing the national anthem. Whereas I understand the rationale behind this, I believe that the national anthem should be sung while standing at ease and with hands on our sides. It is a sign of respecting and honouring our nation. I believe we should honour this – even in church.

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  6. @Joy, no offense or disrespect meant. My intention was to move us from mindlessly singing a song whose words we heard since childhood to understanding how powerful a blessing the national anthem/prayer is and it’s direct relationship to our own blessing when we sing it! In doing so, I hope that there will be greater respect and honor for our nation, something we clearly both desire 🙂

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  7. @Pst M: your comment and sentiments noted and understood. Thanks.

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  8. Hi Pastor M,

    Just wanted to thank you for reminding us to be grateful for our country. Because of your sermon, I watched Monday’s debate with a very positive, grateful and expectant attititude.

    We have come a long way for a country whose citizens could be arrested for sedition if they spoke out against injustice and corruption. On Monday, current and potentially future leaders were questioned about their past actions and words on live television. This would have been unthinkable even just 12 years ago. We really have come a long way, and I know we have God to thank for that.

    We can argue about the sincerity of the candidates, their eligibilty for office, and whether the moderators did a good job or not, but this too is progress. We are hearing from our leaders on specific issues, they are learning accountability and in the end we get to decide whose responses we liked or disliked. It was great. I felt very proud of my country. I think we did good.

    Thank you.

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  9. Jemimah Jasmine Muthoni Says:

    What do i love most about my country? Today’s question. A question so simple yet it provokes so much thought and insight. A question that I dare say not many think about. My mind calls to memory of a certain forum, in which this very question was asked and at that particular time I stood and said so much about what I loved that many were left shocked. It was rare for such to happen and for such a young mind to speak as so yet still I allowed my mind to get poisoned with the many thoughts that fly around and paste our nation as a hell hole where none can survive.

    I sat and watched and participated in drowning Bwana Mutua’s ‘Najivunia kuwa Mkenya’ slogan into such a sad statement; Najihurumia. I painted a world where corruption was the order of the day and where things are done only at the end of the five year regime because politicians want to be re-elected. I took part in conversations as to how bad our university hostels are, citing painting as one of my key points. I tarnished all the work done by Kibaki’s regime over roads saying the Chinese had pity on us and decided to do our roads. When I finally discovered that it is us the taxpayers who had done the job. I have talked trash about our 8-4-4 system saying it only makes us theoretical students forgetting that it forces our minds to create neurons to have all this information stored somewhere and then when our leaders came up with the suggestion of changing the system with the notion of making it more practical, I was the first to scream how unfair they are as they would affect my curriculum.

    So Passy was right, the best way and only way to get past this scarcity, half empty glass attitude is to be thankful and what better way to be grateful than when you count your blessings and name them. One by one. This brings me right back to today’s question. What do i love about my country?

    Kenya, a beautiful land with a beautiful name and the most beautiful of all flags in the world. I know not those who were present at the time of our re-birth those fifty years ago but i must commend them for a beautiful job done. From the flag, to the name but, most importantly our national anthem. Kudos! Yes..it gives me intense pleasure every Olympics to watch our flag hoisted high and compare with those of others.

    I also take pride in the richness of our culture. 42 tribes living in so much harmony that you cant tell the difference.

    A country with great minds and great entrepreneurs. An economy that sets the benchmark for them rest. You know if you make it in this economy, you can.make it anywhere and the success of Kenyans in the diaspora attest to this.

    Our wildlife, 8th world wonder, Our diverse flora and fauna that one can only imagine can be found here.
    And the one thing that most people hardly think about; our transport system. I got the chance to travel(thanks be to God)) and in some places it is so hard to get public transport, yet at any particular time here we can always count on our matatus to get us where we need to be. I will say that here we actually have a matatu culture which I do love. Its something so synonymous with us:-) and with Michuki’s rules we are I may dare say,unique in that aspect.

    Kenya is our motherland, a beauty to behold,and our own. Let us treat it as such. Let us love it with our all. And when we own it,as we should, we will all take it where it should be. Kenya is not for the ‘Serikali’ and all the “ningependa” requests. Kenya is that family you feed at home, that beautiful/charming spouse, that wonderful mother. Kenya is us. Lets build it one step at a time, by doing our own part. Kenya.Najivunia kuwa nchi yangu.

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  10. Pastor M, I’m a Mavunite, never really been able to place myself in society, and for that reason I’m always thinking of the next immediate escape route. I have heard you this morning on Kiss fm and I’m feeling bitter kidogo when it is said there are opportunities in Kenya. The thing is there aren’t! I am now 27 years old, having tried everything possible but nothing seems to go right! It has even demoted my personality to the minority complex where I always feel I belong to the group that has no right to be heard. Anyway, that was the past me.
    I attended the 2nd service last Sunday and my oh my, didn’t I take a huge turn in life related decisions, I am now more positive, feeling like am going to do the best I can with the best I got and I’m not going anywhere! Not now, not ever! Am going posses what I can access here! thank you Pastor M!
    Neema.

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  11. I love the hospitality and good nature Kenyans display to all and sundry!

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  12. Tony Muramba Says:

    Pastor M, thank you for this word in season. I have taken to posting something positive about Kenya and the response has been immense. Young people are slowly coming to the realization that it is us to possess and bless the land. It is not about what the country can do for me but what can I do for my country.

    I have had the opportunity to travel (by road) from Busia to Diani and I must say we are a blessed country, great people, great food, awesome weather; the list is endless. God bless Kenya

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