Posts tagged ‘2013’




Another Year Gone!
As most years are won’t to be the year 2013 had its up’s and it’s down’s. The good times and the bad. Great news that caused us to hi-five brought massive smiles to our faces and for some an excuse to pop open the bubbly. A new birth in the family, a promotion, a new house, a new car, a friend gets married, a really great holiday.

And of course there were the sad times. The times when there was more month than money and you weren’t totally sure how to put the next meal on the table. Redundancies and failed interviews, accidents, sicknesses and homelessness. The death of a loved one.

The Death of an Icon
There was one particular death in 2013 that seemed to rock the whole world. The death of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Mr Mandela, who is known affectionately by his clan name, Madiba is said to have died shortly before 21:00 local time on Thursday the 5th of December 2013. A very sad day for the people of his native South Africa.


The Free Mandela Movement was Worldwide
Growing up southwest of the Sahara desert in Africa (which of course is not news) I remember local musician after local musician releasing a ‘Free Mandela’ themed song. In fact as the likelihood of Nelson Mandela actually being freed edged towards reality a friend of mine commented, “I wonder what musicians will sing about once Mandela becomes a free man”.

That world changing day did indeed come on the 11th of February 1990 Nelson Mandela became a free man again after 27 years of incarceration for fighting for his human rights and the human rights of many of his fellow countrymen.

I say world changing day because Nelson Mandela was definitely an actor who played on the world stage. The struggle he embodied was a struggle each of us can identify with, a struggle for freedom, a struggle for equal rights, a struggle for the dignity of every human being regardless of colour, class or creed.

Nelson Mandela wasn’t perfect, apparently he was the first to admit it in his autobiography, but I haven’t read it so I can’t confirm. What Mandela did have though was a “super-human” ability to forgive.

What Could It Have Been Like For Mandela In Prison?
Come with me for a few short seconds to consider just some of the things the great Mandela went through. He was in prison, not some fancy western cell with three square meals and more TV channels than most get outside jail, he was in prison in every sense of the word. For nine years he was in a damp cell with a lone window a small stool and a straw mat to sleep on. Think about it… Have you ever slept on a mat in prison before, a mat that barely keeps out the cold of the concrete floor underneath? No, I didn’t think so. Now think of sleeping like that for nine years before a few more items of furniture are added.  It makes me shudder, I don’t know about you.
Have you ever felt lonely and isolated before? For many years Nelson was allowed one visit and one item of mail every six months. Newspapers were a forbidden item, and he was locked in solitary confinement on several occasions for possessing smuggled news clippings.

Things did get slightly better during the later years of his confinement, but can you imagine undergoing those conditions for just a few years. I personally marvel that he survived those twenty-seven years and he was in his seventies before he was finally released. We didn’t even mention the harsh labour of breaking rocks into gravel on a daily basis.

I can only postulate that the Lord had need of him and therefore kept him alive and in good health until the appointed time.

It reminds one of when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt and endured bitter treatment until the time that the Father God had designated.

Freedom Finally Comes
The days of incarceration must have definitely seemed endless to Mandela and his fellow freedom fighter prisoners but somebody was ticking off the days. A God who knew he could trust Nelson to do the right think had everything worked out to the minutest detail just like He always does. I tend to believe that the Father God must have had many nocturnal chats with Mr Mandela, creating in him a new heart, a heart after the things of our Saviour.
And when it was time it was time and there was no going back. If a P. W. Botha refused to cooperate then he would be replaced by an F. W. de Klerk. The day of freedom must surely come and it did.

On the 11th of February 1990 Nelson Mandela left Victor Verster Prison, to which he had been moved in 1998, a free man. The event and his subsequent speech were televised worldwide. This was however the beginning of a long drawn out process to secure an election that would culminate in majority rule.

What Did He Do With His Freedom?
It is said that old habits die hard, some such habits don’t die at all and pockets of violence continued to rock South Africa, but Mandela was set on a peaceful resolution of processes. Many within the African National Congress (ANC) and other black parties/groups considered his approach weak, but Nelson was adamant that South Africa belonged to all South Africans regardless of colour or creed.

Despite what he had gone through in his life and times Nelson Mandela was on a mission of peace and reconciliation. When he eventually became the leader of the majority elected government he attempted to create the broadest possible coalition in his cabinet. He was about inclusion, notwithstanding the fact his people had been excluded for years.

Nelson Mandela oversaw the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate crimes committed under apartheid by both the government and the ANC, appointing Desmond Tutu as its chair. To prevent the creation of martyrs, the Commission granted individual amnesties in exchange for testimony of crimes committed during the apartheid era. Dedicated in February 1996, it held two years of hearings detailing rapes, torture, bombings, and assassinations, before issuing its final report in October 1998. Mandela praised the Commission’s work, stating that it “had helped us move away from the past to concentrate on the present and the future”.

Forgiveness Seemed to be His Watchword!
Through all these difficult, harsh and very painful circumstances Nelson seemed to have just one word on his mind ‘forgiveness’.

Forgiveness it seems a simple harmless word but is often so hard to implement. It is often so hard to truly forgive and move on. To genuinely reconcile, not hold the dreadful past against your adversaries, instead to let it go and actually work together for the good of other people, for the good of communities, for the good of a nation.

Some will say Mandela had a large heart, I don’t doubt it, but to me it seems more of a heart after the Father God. I strongly believe that Mr Nelson Mandela must have drawn on and received strength from the forgiving power of Almighty God.

Some of us haven’t spoken to our neighbours in years, not since that altercation about the fence or some other matter. And of course we are too ‘big’ to be the first to break the ice. We make a point of actively avoiding one colleague or another rather than supposingly looking weak by being the first to say hi, after the words we had, sometime in the past, over what, we can’t really remember.

Forgiveness is not easy, I know that first hand and Mandela was probably among the limited few who could have proposed it in the Rainbow nation that had more or less had its heart ripped out.

Others would have had a flurry of sarcastic questions thrown at them:

Did your son die?
Was your livelihood ruined?
Did you almost die in prison?
Were some of the best years of your life spent behind bars?
Have you ever endured solitary confinement?
Was your marriage ruined?

To all of these questions and more Nelson Mandela would have answered in the affirmative.
I imagine that many South Africans would have longed to avoid the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and gone about their lives holding their hurts on their arms, flaring into flames at the slightest provocation.

Strong Men Forgive
However, when they looked up and saw ‘Madiba’s’ example (as he was often fondly called), they didn’t have much choice except to down weapons and take up the perfume of peace.

Mandela wasn’t perfect, many of us would have loved him to be, we would have really been able to go to town with our articles – a man so gentle that butter didn’t melt in his mouth – but that wasn’t him. He was like the rest of us a mere mortal, who took many a wrong turn in his time and said many a thing that made him blush, yes, a blush so strong that it showed through his dark skinned face.

He didn’t however dwell on the mistakes instead he plodded on trusting that he could and would make a worthwhile difference.

This is 2014 and sadly Nelson Mandela and many others didn’t get to see the sun rise on this glorious New Year. They’ve served their time, done what they could and are trusting for a nod of approval from their creator.

True we are not all Mandela’s; I for one wouldn’t want to be incarcerated for twenty-seven years I know I wouldn’t survive it. But we can all have the spirit of forgiveness.

If we can hold on to forgiveness throughout 2014 I’m sure we will be the better for it.

When insults, hurts, pains, lies, mud and mischief are thrown at us if we can retaliate with forgiveness I’m positive our lives will be the better for it.

Yes, the world lost an icon in 2013 in the person of Nelson Mandela, but our world will truly be a better place for his having visited if his spirit of forgiveness lives on in our hearts, our minds and our actions.

May your 2014 be all you wish it to be!




Ref. Nelson Mandela Wikipedia page






“Your beginning may be small, but later years will be very great.”
(Job 8:7 International Standard Version)

We all desire that the year 2013 will be one of our best but what exactly do we need to put into it? How can we work better, play better, walk better, talk better, look better, love better, share better, be all round better in this wonderful new year that is spread before us? We still have 360 days what are we going to make of them?

Oftentimes we find it so easy to blame other people for our failures, setbacks and inability to achieve and maybe just maybe we might not be entirely wrong. But… and this is important, at the end of the day we have to take full responsibility for the way our lives turn out. (Just writing that gives me the shivers; I’ve been dealt some unexpected and very painful blows in life and I’ve sat down and had many a pity-party. 😦 If I can’t keep blaming my future inability to achieve on the past poor cards I was dealt then I really need to get off my backside and do something positive, O my…)

Yes, as I write I realise I’m also speaking to myself and at the end of the day, at the end of the year at the end of our years, excuses won’t count. Our Creator will have some questions for us and we better have some genuine answers. He has deposited something in each one of us, we all have something we can do, it might not be what we ultimately want to do but the key is we should start somewhere. And if you’re not really sure where just start at the beginning.

I just read this article about allowing other people to critic us and it sort of resonated with me. Let me paint a picture, have your you ever asked someone: “How do I look?”, “What do you think of my new haircut?” or “What do you think of my new spaghetti Bolognese recipe?”. And for a half a minute they look at you and then comes hmm…, well….before they finally give their opinion. Supposedly they were trying to judge how you looked or what the meal tasted like, more often than not they made up their mind about that long before you asked. What they were actually trying to judge was whether they should tell you what they really felt or they should just tell you what you want to hear. If they are close enough they might ask you which version you wanted to hear, most will just be polite :).

I’m not asking us to ditch our politeness, no not for a second. What I am asking us to consider is whether we are man enough to handle the truth. The truth about our new look that we’ve spent a small fortune on, the truth about the haircut we got at that classy salon and the truth about that spaghetti Bolognese that tasted, yea, you got it pretty awful.

When we ask those type of questions more often than not we’re looking for approval not critic, so when we’re asked we should be nice and help people to feel better about themselves if that is what they are looking for. You might lose a whole lot of friends if not. But when you’re the one doing the asking decide whether you want to massage your ego or you want genuine critic from people who want to see you do better, excel and become top of your game. There’s always room for improvement, the rate at which new technology products are run off the mill tells us that. (One day, in a few short years from now, mobile phones, credit/debit cards and passports etc. will be a thing of the past; all the information will be embedded on our person just below the skin. Ostensibly to prevent our valuables from getting lost…that however is a story for another day).

Today we are looking at embracing the truth, embracing constructive criticism so that we can improve our lives, become better in every way, move ahead and prosper. Even the Lord desires that we embrace the truth: “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” Psalm 51:6 (NIV).

When we sharpen a knife we file away the unwanted bits until it becomes smooth, sleek and cutting edge sharp. Hard on the knife and possibly hard on our arms but the effort is worth it. If we want to look sharp, think sharp, and work sharp, if we want to be at the cutting edge of our professions and endeavours we need to allow our nearest and dearest to file away the unwanted bits so that we can begin to gleam like gold. Some may call it the fire experience that turns us into gems. A great saying can be found in Proverbs 27 verse 17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”.

As we allow our embarrassing, non-performing, inefficient and unhelpful bits to be filed away, as we take hold of views and practices that will enable us to excel, may 2013 indeed prove to be our best year yet!

2013 here we come!

Please let me know what you think… Cheers LolaA



Here Already 2013!

Last night before I switched off the TV I saw a bit of ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ a science fiction film starring  Arnold Schwarzenegger that was released in 1991.

The setting for the film was 2029 and I guess in 1991 the year 2029 was a terribly long way off….. But this is the end of 2012 and in a few days’ time 2029 will be just 16 short years away, makes you think doesn’t it!

Where does time go? Your guess is as good as mine, but it sure does fly by.

So what is your 2013 going to be looking like what is my 2013 going to be looking like?

In church today someone mentioned the power of the tongue:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat
its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

That is to say the words we speak shape our lives, that is true whether we believe it or not! Many people profess to be non-believers (i.e. claim not to believe in anything they can’t see, touch and feel) but will caution you not to say negative things as the ‘gods’ may be listening….. Don’t ask me 🙂

Many motivational books have the same theme, take Napoleon Hill’s 1937 ‘Think and Grow Rich’. His title is almost verbatim from the Word of God:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he……Proverbs 23:7

Well almost. But what I’m trying to say is that come 2013 what we think and what we say about ourselves have profound consequences, they are not just empty words. It is said if you can think it you can achieve it, if you can’t think it…hmm, you need to change your thinking process.

Ever heard of Job another guy in the bible, in his case his worst ‘fears’ came upon him. I reckon he used to sit down each day and think “what is the worst thing that can happen to me?” He probably came up with, “losing my family and my wealth”. What happened? You got it, he lost everything and was left with his wife who told him to curse God and die.

2013 is upon us! Let us begin to think and speak our positive desires into our lives.
2013 can be our year of abundance, our year of plenty, our year of promotions, career advancements and take home pays that take us home. 2013 can be our year of exam success and new impressive qualifications! 2013 can be our year of family tranquillity, of love, peace, harmony and marital bliss, our year of beautiful, handsome well behaved children and lovely cute new born babes. 2013 can be the year our business turns the proverbial corner and we finally arrive :). 2013 can be our year of restoration: restored relationships, restored homes, restored finances, restored love, restored wealth, restored jobs and careers, restored health, restored hope!

2013 can be whatever we desire it to be by the grace of Almighty God, for He has said in His Word that as a man thinketh in his heart so he is and the power of life and death is in our tongues! (My paraphrase)

We can make 2013 our greatest year yet and yes we will make 2013 our greatest year yet. Yes we can, and yes we will!

I know some people will look at the number 13 and say OMG in a non-positive way, and that is exactly why we are pre-empting it. We must not allow any negative thoughts or words to come our way concerning 2013, either our words or someone else’s.

2013 here I come, I align my thoughts with Gods will for my life and good success is my portion, I align my speech with God’s will for my life and 2013 will be my best year yet!

Let’s go folks, let’s make 2013 a real rocker of a year. Yes we can and yes we will! 🙂

Love you loads, LolaA