WALKING THE TALK

INVICTUS

 

Maybe you have or haven’t heard of the Invictus Games. It’s a four day event presently taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London in the UK.

The international event for sick and injured servicemen and women from 13 nations is aimed at inspiring recovery and rehabilitation as well as highlighting the injuries of service.

The Games is the brainchild of Prince Henry of Wales aka Prince Harry who was inspired to create the Invictus Games after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado, an annual event aimed at rehabilitating injured US servicemen and women in 2013.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Games Prince Harry said:

“Over the past eight years, I have witnessed the whole cycle of life-changing injury; evacuating soldiers and local Afghans to hospital; flying home from Afghanistan with some of those critically injured; meeting others in hospital coming to terms with life-changing injuries; and finally trying to keep up with 12 wounded veterans on our way to the South Pole. I can only begin to imagine how challenging the journey of recovery is, but the admiration I have for these men and women, to move beyond their injuries, is limitless.”

The Games is all about the service men and women who have decided to look their set-backs in the face and declare ‘you will not beat me, you will not hold me down, and you will not hold me in bondage’. ‘I will overcome you, I will conquer you!
Many have taken advantage of the modern day tools made available to them; wheelchairs, prosthetic arms and legs and for some their injuries are seemingly invisible, their minds being the battle grounds.

But competitive sport has given each of them a new purpose in life, inspiration to rise above their circumstances, to let go of what inhibits them and embrace their capabilities in a bit to excel in their chosen event. To push themselves to be the very best and then some!

The Games actually takes its name from a poem written by William Ernest Henley 1849–1903 an English poet.

 

Invictus

(By William Ernest Henley)

Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

      I am the captain of my soul.

 

Over 400 wounded, sick and injured personnel are taking part in these games, men and women who have decided to confront their ‘demons’ and take back their lives. Men and women who have decided to give life their best shot, they have decided to succeed and to excel.

If these men and women can do it then surely so can you and I and with Jesus living on the inside we have even more reason to overcome and partake in the victory march.

Our broken limbs, broken relationships, our wounded hearts and diverse impairments may seem life shattering, but if a double amputee can outrun many fully bodied contemporaries then we too must never give up.

For some their disabilities precede them wherever they go, for many of us we wrestle with them of a night-time alone on our beds. But whatever our own particular circumstance may be, there is someone who wants to stand alongside us and coach us on until we arrive at the gold podium. His name is Jesus, He promised that when we embrace Him, He will never leave us nor forsake us. He promised to give us victory if we follow His lead.

I encourage you to be inspired by the 400 plus exceptional men and women taking part in the Invictus Games.

I urge you to place your faith and trust in the greatest life-coach of all time, the Lord Jesus Christ and be a part of the world’s dream team, the team that has been assured victory!

 

Looking forward to seeing you on the gold podium, LolaA  :)

Jaco Van Gass is presented with a Gold Medal by Prince Harry

Jaco Van Gass is presented with a Gold Medal by Prince Harry

 

How Long is Time?

 

As we know time is constant. Thousands of years ago sixty seconds made a minute and today sixty seconds still make a minute, sixty minutes make an hour and so on you get my drift.

But what about our perception of time, how do we see time?

Take 6 years old Johnny for instance on Saturday his mum told him to go to his room and spend an hour on his school work. He was to do his homework and then spend some time going over the timetables he was learning and the other things he’d done in school that week. Johnny’s shoulders drooped as he obediently put aside the video game he was playing and went to his room. Fifteen minutes later his mum hearing him on the stairs said “Johnny are you having a problem with the timetables?”
“I’m done”, Johnny replied.
Smiling his mum said, “Johnny you’ve only been up there fifteen minutes, you’ve still got forty-five minutes to go”. Johnny stared incredulously at the wall clock in the passage as he went back to his room. Forty-five minutes sounded like an awful long time.

On Sunday Johnny and his mum went to Aunt Gloria’s house, it was his cousin Anna’s birthday and he was looking forward to playing with her and her younger brother Ben. As they parked outside Johnny’s mum turned to him and said, “Johnny, I don’t want you throwing any tantrums when it’s time for us to go. You’ll have two hours to play with your cousins and then we’ll have to head home as I’ve a load of things I need to sort out.” Johnny smiled as he nodded several times to show he was fine with the deal. One whole hour times two, sounded like ample time.

Two hours and twenty minutes later Johnny’s mum called out, “Johnny, time to go”. Johnny was sure he wasn’t the one being called; they couldn’t have even been there up to an hour he reasoned. He continued the game he was playing with Ben and he was beating him at it too.

Johnny’s mum stood up and went to where he was, “we have to go Johnny”, she said.
“But you said two hours, it’s not fair”, Johnny whined.
Looking at her watch she replied, “It’s now exactly two hours and thirty-three minutes; now get your shoes on cause we’re leaving”.

In utter disbelief Johnny put his shoes on, now he knew for a fact his mother’s wristwatch loved to run ahead of everyone while the wall clock at home tended to drag its feet like his grandfather :)

 

When we pray we would very much like it if our prayers could be answered the minute we say, amen. Unfortunately majority of the time that isn’t what happens.

Our prayers are like seeds we plant them in the field of our faith and water them with the Word of God. And like seeds of all types and shapes they need time to germinate. Beans are said to be one of the quickest vegetables to grow yet even they need 8-10 days to germinate.

Recently the ordeal of the 200+ school girls from Chibok in Nigeria passed the 100 days mark. As I took a moment to offer a prayer on their behalf I thought of the awesomeness of our God. I thought of the fact that He could have caused their return many days ago, in fact had He been so inclined He wouldn’t have allowed them to be kidnapped at all; afterall they are secondary school girls, young and impressionable. But He knows best and He has a plan.

Over the years I have had the privilege of listening to different men of God telling in their various ways of the great faith of Abraham and urging us to emulate him. What did Abraham do, he held on to the promise of God for 25 years. Could God have given Abraham a child after 2 years, yes but He chose not to, after 10 years He could have done it but He chose not to. He could have told Abraham to be satisfied with Ishmael but He didn’t.
After 25 years when Sarah was long past menopause and Abraham struggled to remember just how agile he used to be in generations gone by the Father God decided it was time to fulfil destiny and bring promises to fruition.

Can you imagine waiting 25 years to have a child, 25 years before your prayers, whatever they may be, are answered. I know many people, yours truly included, who after praying and striving to have the faith of Abraham, add a side thought that as much as possible they wouldn’t want to wait 25 years.

Ironically, it is because of the 25 years gap that we talk about the faith of Abraham today.

I had hoped, prayed, believed, pleaded and trusted that the Chibok girls would be home before now. But I know that my God has a plan, and I know that the longer they stay in the ‘wilderness’ the greater the miracle of their return will be!

The Chibok girls may no longer be in the headlines, but I assure you that the One who exists outside of time continually has them in His sights. He understands time, He created it, but He is not limited by time, time doesn’t fluster Him as it does many of us.

I fully understand that for these poor girls the last 100 days must have been and still is like 100 years of total agony, each minute must seem like a day. However I wait with great anticipation and hope for that glorious day of their ‘shewing’ (Luke 1:80 KJV).

I realise that there are many schools of thought of what might have become of the girls by now, after 100 days in the forest. Just like the ‘doctors’ must have certified Sarah physically incapable of becoming pregnant let alone carry a child in her womb for 9 months. Thankfully God’s plans are not dependent on human capability or limitations. If He says a thing He’ll do it then consider it done, His proposals always come to pass.

Our God, the Father God, the creator of the heavens and the earth is a faithful God and I eagerly await the day when # Welcome Home Chibok Girls will rule the waves. Yes indeed!

 

Keep on believing, LolaA

 

 

D-DAY

Although the term D-Day is used routinely as military lingo for the day an operation or event will take place, for many it is also synonymous with June 6, 1944, the day the Allied powers crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control during World War II. Within three months, the northern part of France would be freed and the invasion force would be preparing to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet forces moving in from the east.

With Hitler’s armies in control of most of mainland Europe, the Allies knew that a successful invasion of the continent was central to winning the war. Hitler knew this too, and was expecting an assault on northwestern Europe in the spring of 1944. He hoped to repel the Allies from the coast with a strong counterattack that would delay future invasion attempts, giving him time to throw the majority of his forces into defeating the Soviet Union in the east. Once that was accomplished, he believed an all-out victory would soon be his.

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

(http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/d-day)


The article above was taken from the History.com website.

Yesterday the 6th of June 2014 we marked the 70th anniversary of that great D-Day, the day that marked the beginning of the end of World War Two and changed the course of history.

Royalty, presidents, politicians and the veterans were out in full force to honour those who gave their lives so that the world would be a better place.

We are told that thousands lost their lives and the sea became red with the blood of fallen heroes shot down by their adversaries. Helpless to assist their comrades the other soldiers went ashore marching on as they dodged bullets, for there were battles to be fought and a war to win. Yesterday as in years gone by we remembered the victories, but most of all we remembered those who gave their lives to enable the victory.

As I think and ponder on these things I remember the greatest soldier of all time, the greatest victor of all time who also gave His live that others may live. His blood was special; it was sinless, spotless and powerful. His blood has the inherent ability to wash away the sins of every man, woman, boy or girl who comes to Him for cleansing.

Our Saviour is a man of war and the Lord is His Name. He spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, and He triumphed over them in it. However He is also the Prince of Peace and He loves us with an Everlasting Love.

Today He is knocking at the door of our hearts, asking us to remember the blood He shed at Calvary and urging us to embrace Him in totality.

June 6th 1944 was a great day, the day the Allies decided to put an end to tyranny. An even greater day was the day Jesus, having shed His blood on the cross, fought the devil and his cohorts overcame him fair and square and took back that which the devil has stolen from mankind.

Today He hands to us the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven enabling us to exercise authority here on earth, He has made us more than conquerors, and we are overcomers in every sense of the word through the victory He wrought for us.

As we by default are partakers in the great outcomes of that D-Day 70 years ago, I urge to embrace and partake of the greatest outcome of all time, the Salvation that was won for us by Jesus!

Looking forward to seeing you at the victory parade in heaven

LolaA

(Ref: Exodus 15:3; Colossians 2:15; Isaiah 9:6; 1 Corinthians 13:8a; Revelations 3:20)

True Freedom

 

 

I’m sure many of us have come across one person or another who likes to rant about their freedom.

“I’m a free moral agent, I’m free do what I want to do, when I want to do it and how I want to do it, nobody, nobody tells me what to do and that includes you!”

Sounds good, especially if they’ve worked themselves up into a frenzy and are pouncing around like a tiger newly released from its cage.

One gets the impression they are desperate for freedom and are hoping that if they make enough noise and trouble someone will cut them loose.

The onlookers are also willing freedom on them, for if someone at that precise moment should indeed question their freedom the tiger may decide to bite and no-one wants that now, do they?

What is Freedom?

But what is freedom? The dictionary defines freedom as:

  1. The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint
  2. Exemption from external control, interference, regulation etc.
  3. The power to determine action without restraint
  4. Political or national independence
  5. Personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery.

So if we live in a country that is politically free, we aren’t in jail and are not beholden to anyone are we free? Can we do whatever we like without restraint? I don’t think so.

If we put our music on full blare at two in the morning we’re likely to get a visit from the cops and if we make a habit of going over the speed limit on the highway our freedom to drive will probably be taken away.

So our freedom seems to be relative, it’s dependent on the laws of the land. For instance there are a number of countries especially in Europe where public nudity is not illegal e.g. Spain and Germany. Of course the authorities are not expecting you to be on ‘Main Street’ in the middle of town baring all, it’s more to do with the beaches and those looking to sun tan without pantie lines. In other words, yea, you’re free to go naked but please do so ‘responsibly’. We see that ‘relative freedom’ all over again.

Mental Imprisonment

Depression, anxiety and fear are ways in which our minds hold us captive.

We are free moral agents, but we are unable to stand up to that bully of a manager and get what rightfully belongs to us.

We are free moral agents that lay awake at night fretting about everything imaginable, things that might happen and things that will probably never happen.

We are free moral agents but we are unable to shake-off that sad feeling of gloom and doom. We wilfully confine ourselves to our houses instead of going outside and enjoying the sunshine because our minds hold us hostage and play games with us.

So just how free are we in this life?

Lasting Freedom

How many of us are truly living ‘the dream’? The dream in my estimation is a carefree life. Not a careless live, but a live free from unnecessary cares and worries.

In Luke chapter 12 Jesus urges us to live a life free of worries He encourages us to observe the ravens or take a leaf out of the lily’s book:

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Luke 12verse 27

 

True freedom comes when we hand our lives over to the Lord; that is why He said in His Word:

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8 verse 32

The truth is that salvation is in Jesus and in Him alone (Acts4:12)

When we embrace His salvation and hand the totality of who we are over to Him, He gives to us all that we need, He takes care of us so we don’t have to carry the cares.

We give Him our worries, our fears and concerns. He gives us peace, joy and a heart filled with His love that enables us to enjoy life to the full.

When someone else is taking ‘care’ we have the freedom to live life to the full.

We will not need to throw a tantrum, to rant and scream for the chains to be removed. We will just bask in all that the Lord has done, is doing and will continue to do for us.

Because: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

 

I urge you to embrace true freedom; I urge you to embrace Jesus who can truly set you free!

 

See you soon LolaA

 

- An inspirational overview of the Passion Week, which highlights the key events and scriptures leading up to, and after Jesus’ crucifixion. The video follows a trailer style format to make the story engaging for all audiences.

Please click on the link and preferably watch on full screen you’ll love it! LolaA

via When Jesus Rose // Passion Week.

SPRING!!!

It’s that period of the year when we spring into action and enjoy the actions of Spring!

Spring

Spring

Spring is one of those words that in linguistics is called a homonym, i.e. one of a group of words that share spelling and pronunciation but may have different meanings.

Let’s see what good old Wikipedia has to say on the different meanings of spring:

-          Spring is one of the four conventional temperate seasons, following winter and preceding summer. There are various technical definitions of spring, but local usage of the term varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. When it is spring in the northern hemisphere, it will be autumn in the southern hemisphere. At the spring equinox, days are close to 12 hours long with day length increasing as the season progresses. Spring and “springtime” refer to the season, and also to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth.
(The Spring Equinox is the first day of the spring season and occurs when the sun passes the equator moving from the southern to the northern hemisphere. The next one is March 20th 2014)

-          A spring is an elastic object used to store mechanical energy. When a spring is compressed or stretched, the force it exerts is proportional to its change in length. (I would have said more about this but I really don’t want to turn this into a physics lesson).  :)

-          A spring is a point where water flows out of the ground. A spring may flow the whole year or only sometimes. This depends on the water getting into the ground all of the time (rain) or only once in a while (snow melting).
A spring often sends water down, along the land. This is how rivers start.
Some springs produce water that is good for health reasons. Sometimes towns grow by these springs because many people who are ill come there to get better. Such towns are called spa towns.

 

One thing we see from these various meanings of spring is that they are all positive, and seemingly have positive energy. The sun crosses to the northern hemisphere during the Spring Equinox, bringing warmth, sunshine and a general feeling of happiness.
A mechanical spring stores energy which can be useful in different ways such as in opening and closing doors or in helping us to write with our ball-point pens.

A water spring is probably the one time that water naturally flows up, up out of the earth and then along the ground bringing with it healing powers.

Talking about the season of spring, Wikipedia says “springtime” also refers to the ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth.

It is a time when we can shake off the drab of winter, pack away our dark clothes and brighten ourselves up both inside and out. The days are longer, sunnier and often happier and our hope for a better tomorrow goes up a notch. The flowers bloom, the weather is warm and we can roll down the fresh grass on the hillside, what’s not to like?

Indeed Spring is when we remember the death, burial and resurrection of our Saviour.

Just like we can plant a single seed of corn and harvest hundreds of seeds from one cob, Jesus, one man gave His life that millions upon millions may share the fruit of His resurrection. Awesome!

As we see the flowers open up and the bees, hedgehogs and chipmunks’ come out of hiding. As we see the birds fly home from their winter holiday and we bring out our shorts and flimsy tops let us remember the one with the ultimate power to put a spring in our step.

The Spring Equinox is indeed coming on the 20th of March but there is hope for a perpetual Spring. We can spring into the nest of our creator a place of eternal rest, of unlimited energy, good health and abundance. A place where the sun doesn’t leave the hemisphere and hibernation is not necessary.

Let’s sign up for the un-ending spring, let’s sign up for Jesus!

In-case I don’t get to see you here on earth, let’s make a point of meeting where the sun never goes down!

Catch you soon, LolaA

WHO PLANTED THE SAVANNAH’S?

The other day there was a programme on TV about certain animals in the savannah and how they live and survive. I was able to catch glimpses of it as I went about my other chores.

I must confess that my geography is actually quite poor, who’s to blame? I’d love to say it’s the fault of my teachers they didn’t teach me everything there is to know under the sun, but maybe just maybe I might be culpable in the matter.

Anyway the beauty of living in the information age is that any information we need is at the tip of our fingers, via the Internet and the likes of Google. In fact the other day I learnt that one of the most commonly used ‘apps’ is the Wikipedia app, no surprise there I guess. And yes, it was the exact place I was directed to by the search engine when I typed in savannah.

Like I said geography is not my strong point and for some reason I had always thought that there was actually a savannah, as in just a particular place called the savannah and it was somewhere in South America, I wanted to find out exactly where.

Surprise surprise! I was wrong and I was right.

There is a place called Savannah, it is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia. No it’s not in South America, but in what is known as the Deep South of the United States and its climate is classified as humid subtropical.
Savannah lies on the Savannah River, from whence it derives its name and it is approximately 20 miles (32 km) upriver from the Atlantic Ocean. Savannah is an industrial centre and an important Atlantic seaport.

However the term savannah (with or without the ‘h’ at the end) is used to refer to certain types of landscape.

According to good old Wikipedia:

A savanna, or savannah, is a grassland ecosystem characterized by the trees being sufficiently widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of grasses. The oak savanna is a common type of savanna in the Northern Hemisphere. Savannas are associated with several types of biomes (ecosystems). Savannas cover approximately 20% of the Earth’s land area.
Wikipedia also talks about the different types of savannas such as: Tropical and subtropical savannas; temperate savannas; Mediterranean savannas etc. some of which are famous for their wildlife and/or exotic and varied flora.

Oak Savannas

When you think of the beauty of the savannah’s and how the trees exist equal distantly apart with sufficient room between them to let in enough sunlight to maintain the ecosystem that lives below the tall trees one wonders at the beauty of it all and the definite attention to detail that has been exercised in their development.

The question that comes to mind is who planted the savannahs? Who bore the cost? Who spent the effort and time to make sure everything was and continues to be just perfect? If there is any problem in the savannahs today it’s man-made and not the fault of the original developer.

So in your honest opinion who is responsible for the savannahs, could it be, as some would have us believe, the result of a big bang. A big bang that ultimately led to trees being planted methodically, maybe but it doesn’t really strike me as a possibility.

Okay, I get it; it was all down to nature, a natural phenomenon. But then what is nature? The Oxford Dictionary of English defines nature as: the physical force regarded as causing and regulating the phenomena of the world. It says: it is impossible to change the laws of nature.

A physical force…

And then there is Mother Nature which the dictionary defines as: nature personified as a creative and controlling force affecting the world and humans.

So the physical force behind nature can be personified, not necessarily a human being, but an all-powerful, awesome being. A being who holds the universe in place by the breath of His nostrils.

I believe the savannahs were planted by this magnificent being. This being looks at the forests, looks at the savannahs and sees their unified beauty. He also sees each individual tree and tends to each with love and care. His attention to detail is unequalled, no tree is out of place and each individual ant is accounted for. What an awesome being.

For want of an alternative name we’ll call Him God.
The Awesome Father
The Creator of the Universe
The Alpha and Omega
The beginning and the Ending
The One who changes things but who never changes.

He was there when this world began and when it will all be over and time is no more He will continue to be.

I believe God planted the savannahs.

The beauty of the savannahs, the trees, the vegetation and the numerous animal species are a testimony of the creative awesomeness of this God. A God who loves beauty. A God who cares about the big picture but is also immensely interested in the minutest detail.

He clothes the lily of the valley in beauty and He cares and loves every single being on the face of the earth.

The God who makes sure every tree in the savannahs is correctly planted is surely interested in us as individuals. If we will lean on Him and trust Him like every tree and every creature in the savannah does He will definitely perfect all that concerns us.

The savannahs are indeed marvellous but they pale in comparison to the magnificence and the splendour God wants to manifest in us.

God planted the savannahs, may we allow Him to plant His seed of excellence in us and nurture it to perfection that even the savannahs will begin to envy God’s handiwork in us!

Catch you soon in the realm of excellence LolaA  :)

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