Part 2: Lessons From The Bible
To tell you the truth, there was a time I didn't believe in the Bible for reasons I won't disclose today. I even made it known to my fellow church members at Kiserian Catholic Parish in 2006 that I didn't believe in the Holy Scriptures despite the fact that I attended church.
Those who considered me lost those days were right. But those who thought I was completely lost couldn't relate the story of Paul who was once a prosecutor of Christians. Then he was suddenly transformed by God so much that he became one of the most ardent believers of the gospel. And you know what? Paul went on to author more books in the Bible than any other believer.
So in a sense, I am more like Paul. Don't be surprised if I end up authoring many stories on God and His Word in this lovely blog of mine; I, Thuita J. Maina, who was once an unbeliever.
Yes, I believe deeply in the Bible these days because of the way it answers most of the mysteries of life and the issues that concern us humans. Okay, let me tell you about them.
To begin with, the Biblical account of creation is more accurate and plausible than the theory of evolution that was first propounded by Charles Darwin. That theory of evolution for instance doesn't explain why apes still exist; as in, why were they spared from the spirit of evolution? Clearly, there is something that is not adding up in that theory of evolution.
The theory of evolution also doesn't explain the origin of sins. And you know what? Sins bother humans a lot. You go out there and listen to the stories of people; then you'll discover how people are hurting from divorce, theft, rejection, disagreements and other sins. Others are consumed with hate, fear, guilt and jealousy.
Yes, people are really bothered by sins; a mystery that the theory of evolution doesn't explain.
Then the Bible goes on to shed light on issues that still concern civilized man today: health, wealth, marriage, corruption, knowledge, paying taxes and life after death, just to mention but a few. Allow me to discuss on the few issues I have listed.
First is on wealth. I am sure it is everybody's wish to be wealthy because we all need enough money to lead a decent life. The Bible says that we all have to be patient in the acquisition of wealth. Whoever is quick to get rich will not go unpunished. And the best way to acquire wealth is through hard work.
On health which is another wish of every person, the Bible extols it as the greatest gift. The inspirational Book of Sirach found only in the Catholic Bible says "better the poor in vigorous health than the rich with bodily ills".
And do you know what the Bible recommends for good health? In addition to exercise and a good diet punctuated with an occasional glass of wine, we also need to think noble, cheerful thoughts. Let me spare you the list of verses that point out those keys to good health. You read the Bible deeply and you will identify the verses for yourself.
Third is on knowledge. The Bible says knowledge is the key to success. And it adds in the Book of Psalms that wealth without knowledge is like the beasts that perish. So in a sense, the Bible advises all youngsters out there to acquire as much knowledge as they can by pursuing education to university level.
Fourth is on paying taxes. I have chosen to discuss on this issue because I usually read in the media of people all over the world charged in court for tax evasion.
Jesus Christ himself counsels us in the Book of Matthew to pay our share of taxes which is because governments play an important role in our lives. They provide security, administer justice and build the infrastructure that bind us together. Those are noble causes, aren't they?
And that brings me to the issue of corruption. The problem with most governments, especially in the developing nations, is that most funds meant for those noble causes end up in personal bank accounts of corrupt officials; the kind of corruption that the Bible condemns. That's one reason that hinders development.
Let me leave that issue of corruption and dwell on marriage, another issue the Bible addresses. It says the keys to a successful marriage are marrying the right partner (faithful, upright and God-fearing) and submitting to one another.
I believe if every child was born in a successful marriage, the sins of this world would be greatly diminished because the criminals who create hell on Earth are as a result of the hoi-polloi who bear children they are unable to nurture into responsible adults.
Lastly, let me discuss on life after death which the Bible promises us. Let's face it; we are here on Earth for seventy years or so. That's a very small number of years compared with the age of the Earth which scientists estimate to be 3.8 billions years old.
For me, the Bible's promise of life after death inspires me with hope beyond measure. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this part 2 of lessons from the Bible, you might also enjoy part 1 of the series. Just click here to jump straight into the story.
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Rooting For Brazil
Ever since my days at Starehe Institute, I have always been fascinated by FIFA World Cups which, as most people know, are staged after every four years in different countries of the world. I recall fondly of myself single-handedly creating a software program on that year's World Cup using the computer-programming skills I was acquiring at the institute.
My favourite team that year was Brazil which I fervently believed would lift the cup because of its then talented and experienced attacking combo of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.
Well, the first FIFA World Cup that took place when I was conscious of myself was the 1994 one held in the United States. Even though my family owned a black and white television set that aired the matches, I didn't take an interest in the World Cup simply because I was too young to understand and enjoy soccer.
It was one of my neighbour's children led by Ludovic Kahoro who made the most of our television in following the World Cup when they visited our home to watch the matches which were aired late at night.
Recently when Ludovic Kahoro, who is now a Catholic Catechist, came at home to check on my Mum who is recovering from a stroke, he remarked on those days when they visited us to watch the 1994 FIFA World Cup. And I think he believed me when I confirmed I could recall vividly of them visiting us to watch the World Cup.
The 1998 FIFA World Cup took place when I was old enough to recall things but I hadn't been influenced to love soccer. All I recall that year was how my primary school classmates idolized Ronaldo (no, not the one of Portugal).
A local chewing gum manufacturing company took advantage of the popularity of soccer by attaching small photos of soccer players on its chewing gums. That's how I got to learn how my classmates idolized Ronaldo, the then talented Brazil striker, because some of them offered to exchange several of those photos for one of Ronaldo; that's crazy, isn't it?
I also didn't take an interest in the 2002 FIFA World Cup which was held when I was a first-former at Starehe Boys' Centre because I was consumed with the desire to excel in academics. And with the strict school rules that required us first-formers to be asleep by 9.30pm, I doubt whether I would have watched the World Cup anyway.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup was the first one that I followed with great interest after having been influenced to love football by some of my high school classmates, especially one Wesley Moss Chege who loved leading discussions and arguments on soccer.
I was still in Starehe when the 2006 FIFA World Cup took place. And the school rules were still strigent but I managed to break them together with some of my friends in Starehe Institute because we were now older students in Starehe. Imagine we would sneak out of school at night to a nearby television joint to watch the matches.
As I have said, I strongly rooted for Brazil which I believed would lift the cup because of its then talented and experienced attacking combo of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.
So much did I root for Brazil that I put an image of Ronaldinho on the main window of the software program I have told you I created on that year's World Cup fixtures when I was at Starehe Institute. Creating that software program was an exhilarating experience which helped me to better understand computer programming, a skill that has wonderfully enriched my life these days.
Given the way I strongly rooted for Brazil, I was heartsick when the team lost to France in the quarter-finals thanks to a surprise goal by Thierry Henry. I was so heart-sick that I didn't turn up for church the following day.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup took place at a time I was facing hard times in my life. I had just dropped out of the university in JKUAT the previous year and was still unsure of what to do with my life. And when the World Cup began that year, I thought it would help me feel rejuvenated with energy.
How wrong I was! I used to feel lonely and guilty on most times I went to watch the matches at a restaurant near my home-town. (Whoever said you can feel lonely in a crowd was on point.) And when Brazil lost to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of that year in 2010, I didn't feel as heart-sick as I had in 2006, probably because it made me realize I wasn't the only one losing in the game of life.
I also took an interest in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and rooted for Brazil as usual. So strongly did I root for Brazil that I would at times get horribly nervous when Brazil was playing. Imagine I got so nervous during one match that I had to stop watching it and instead preferred to hear of match results later on. And I was a bit disappointed when Brazil lost heavily to Germany in the semi-finals. They lost 1-7, if my memory serves me well.
As of this year's World Cup, it has taken place at a time when I am beginning to feel in control of my life. I am still rooting for Brazil as I did when I first followed the World Cup in 2006. And I am delighted that they hammered Mexico 2-0 in a round of 16 match held today in the evening.
Now that I have professed my fascination with FIFA World Cups, I believe the next one in 2022 will take place when I will be married and in my own home, God willing. How about you? What do you envision to have achieved by 2022 World Cup in Qatar?
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on the team I am rooting for in this year's World Cup, you might also enjoy another story I wrote sometimes back on Scoring in Life. Just click on that link in blue to jump straight into the story.