WALKING THE TALK

Posts tagged ‘Life’

Hurdles

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It’s summer and the season when many sports come into their own. There’s the tennis at Wimbledon, rugby in New Zealand, cricket at Lord’s and even the London 2017 World Championship in Athletics taking place in August, something to tickle everyone’s fancy so to say.

Our individual life journeys are often likened to one sport or another.

Your Life as a Sport
Do you envision life as some form of team sport where you bounce around with your team members everyone contributing their unique abilities till ultimately the winning goal is scored?

Many assemble on that fine June or July day to see the opposing team humbled and your side erupting into the victory song that will stay with you for many many days. What the crowd often fail to remember is the gruesome training the team members undergo, years and years of sweaty practices, coaching that seems way too harsh and some colleagues who fall by the wayside their hopes dashed.

Is athletics your thing, you go through life like an Usain Bolt sprint. Life must be fast, it must be furious; you must be at the forefront of everything. The first to get the latest gadget, play the latest game, watch the film premiers and meet the stars. For you the end justifies the means, you coming out on top is all that matters. You may have to push, shove or kick, but my jolly you will be at the centre of the photograph if only for a few fleeting moments.

Just one question, at the very end of the day, will the bad name, the bastardised reputation really be worth it?

Sport did I say, you feign a chin scratch, you’re not really into sport, pressed further you come up with marathon. Yea, why not “slow and steady” win the race or so they say. Really! The only race the slow and steady win is the snail race and even then there might be the over ambitious snail who makes a dash for the finish and beats you to the line.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that life is all about the sprint finish, I don’t and will never believe in the end justifying the means, but if you spend life looking out the window wondering what could have been you will never reach the finish line.

Challenges vs Problems
You need some oomph, some gumption, some motivation, something to spur you on when the going gets really tough, and it will do, trust me.

Sometimes I look at life like the hurdles race, I know I’m not the first; I didn’t invent this particular wheel but bear with me.

You start out at the beginning, everyone does, the whistle is blown or the gun goes off and you’re on your way. Be grateful for that start, some never saw the sun rise and others spent their formative years in and out of hospital, but the Lord was gracious to you and you joined your peers as the race of life began.

No sooner than the race started than you came in contact with the first hurdle, in life we often call them challenges. Some call them problems, a Mount Everest and immediately limit their ability to surmount the hurdle. We will refer to them as challenges and by the grace of Almighty God we will overcome every challenge, every obstacle.

Do the Circumstances of Your Birth have to Determine Your Future?
You were not born into a wealthy family you were born on the wrong continent, in the wrong month and definitely in the wrong year. You didn’t get an iPhone for your first birthday, no bicycle when you were five. Your parents didn’t send you to the latest trendy school in town, you didn’t go to university abroad and you didn’t get a BMW for your graduation present.

No, unfortunately you didn’t graduate, heck, you didn’t even finish high school, did I say parents with an ‘s’ what are those? You had a Mum who tried her best but the struggle was too much she succumbed when you were eight; you went to live with an Aunt who really didn’t care.

Life has dealt you lemons and you’ve decided to frame them, put them on display, you have a sob story for anyone who cares to listen. You’ve decided to fall at the first hurdle.

Well that’s easy for me to say, I’ve not had to live your life. That’s very true, not even twins live the exact same lives there will be some differences, we are all different with different experiences. The fact that we tend to smile, hug, backslap and wish our friends and family a happy new year on the 1st of January each year doesn’t necessarily mean we are actually happy to be welcoming in a new year.

I remember one particular birthday a few years ago that I literally balled my eyes out. 50 years but precious little to show for it. “Shattered dreams, wounded hearts and broken promises…” or words to a similar effect the song writer sings.

Inspiration for the Journey
What to do? When life deals us lemons we need to take those lemons and make lemonade, if there are enough off them we can even use them to scale the hurdle and get some respite as we continue in the race.

Yes, we will encounter disadvantages, perceived discrimination or lack of “luck”; we never seem to be in the right place at the right time, we are always pushed over or left out, seemingly.

Or maybe like a colleague of mine once said we need to “make our own luck”. Starting with hard work, being where we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be there, putting in the hours, the commitment, the dedication, the willingness to start on the lowest rack and work our way up.

As one speaker said ‘John’s’ overnight success was ten years in the making, maybe more.

Dearest friend, there will always be hurdles in life, life is the hurdles race. You overcome one challenge, breathe a little, rejoice a little, enjoy a little and then you’re faced with the next challenge and more often than not it’s a bigger challenge.

Stories abound of people who had to overcome hundreds of challenges before they got their light bulb moment, just ask Thomas Edison. The key that unlocks every door is ‘Don’t Give Up!’

Jesus said in the world we will have tribulations otherwise known as troubles, misfortunes, problems, trials, sufferings, pains… but He said we should be of good cheer for He has overcome the world.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16 verse 33

I urge you align yourself with the all-knowing God, the Omniscient and He will enable you to not only scale every hurdle but ultimately be a winner in this race called life and remember – Quitters don’t win and Winners never Quit!!!

See you soon, LolaA 🙂

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The Future, Here I Come!

Forgiving

As I went for a run this morning I thought of the radio program I listened to just before going to sleep. The program was about forgiveness and the importance of forgiving one another, even when it’s not easy. Asking God to help us to release that person(s) to Him so that we can move forward in our lives without a root of bitterness and so that we can receive forgiveness from the Father for our own wrongs.

So I thought about it, had I forgiven those who had a part to play in some of my unfortunate circumstances and I felt yes I had forgiven, some years’ back a friend had given me a book that had helped me to pray through and forgive.

I realised however that now I needed to forgive myself. In a bid to forgive others I had put some of the blame at my own front door, now I needed to get rid of it, forgive myself fully and move on!

I continued with my run, turned where I usually turned and began to head home. Then what I might term one of my worst nightmares happened, I fell, not good I can assure you. I managed to break some of the fall with my hands and came away with a bruised knee and elbow.

I got up as quickly as I could and began walking, hopping on my way. I daren’t look back to see if the people at the bus-stop I had passed a few minutes ago had seen my fall, I was too ashamed to, so I continued in the direction of my travel.

I began to think and ponder, why did I fall, the path wasn’t new to me and I had definitely taken it in much worst weather, ice, snow and frost and I hadn’t fallen? I’m a child of God and He is more than able to take care of me, He could have prevented the fall if He so desired. I wasn’t injured in any way apart from the minor bruises and scratches; I felt there was a lesson for me to learn.

Let Bygones be Bygones

Just as I had gotten up from that fall as quickly as possible, dusted myself over and continued on my way I felt the Lord was saying I needed to leave the unfortunate incidents in my life behind me.

Just as I didn’t look back at the unusually large number of people at the bus-stop to see if they were jeering at me, I should shake off any shame I might feel about my circumstances and head into the future strong in the Lord and the power of His might.

If truth be told, the people at the bus-stop probably never jeered, if at all they saw my fall, if they felt anything it was probably compassion. The devil however always wants us to think otherwise, he wants to put shame on us where no shame is warranted. He wants us to sit down in the mud and puddle and have a pity party, to feel sorry for ourselves and to think we have drawn the worst straw of all.

Well we’ve got news for him, satan, the devil, the pity is over and so is his monstrous party, for we’ve stood up, we’ve shaken off all the shakeables that were holding us back and we’re heading into the future, the glorious future of fulfilled promises, favour of the Lord and victory on every side.

 

Pressing Forward

I really felt the Lord wanted me to leave the past behind and focus on the future, fully assured that He is with me, that He will never leave me nor forsake me and that I’m going to overcome and when the people see me they will call me blessed of the Lord.

I’m not going to quit running or walking because I had a minor fall today, no its going to make me stronger, because I saw the Lord’s hand and heard Him speak on the inside of me, indeed it is very well.

The future is bright, I don’t know if it’s orange but I do know that it’s Jesus!!!

Speak soon LolaA 🙂

 

Chloe’s Questions

Mummy, Chloe said,
Why do lines form on your forehead
With a twinkle in her eye, Mummy replied
It shows how many times I’ve gone to bed

Mummy, Chloe said,
If God is real why can’t we see Him
Mummy thought a minute and then replied
He’s like the wind, we experience Him

Ex-peri-en-ce? Said Chloe,
Yes my dear, He wakes us up each morning
And we can see the pretty flowers opening
We can hear the birds singing and to one another calling

Remember Chloe,
in autumn when the wind blows hard
At times its whistles as it rushes through the trees
Fallen leaves brown and yellow filling our backyard
We rake and rake, at times bending on our knees

Ah, said Chloe, about this invisible God
Does He really make the moon and stars to shine at night
With a peaceful smile Mummy gave a nod
Yes, she said and the sun at noonday to shine so bright

God is a Father to us
He gives us food to eat and clothes to wear
He keeps us safe, even when we ride the bus
He is always near because He is everywhere

Mummy, Chloe said,
Why is God in  heaven is he dead?
No, no Mummy said, God is alive and well
He answers my prayers so I can surely tell

Mummy, Chloe said,
My teacher said that Jesus died for us
And, if we want to go to heaven and see Him,
Then accepting Him as our Saviour is a must.

Mummy stood and beamed with pride,
Her happiness distinctly unable to hide.
How right your teacher is dear Chloe,O Yes,
Only Jesus gives us Salvation and eternal rest!

 

God bless, LolaA

 

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

“SELFIE”

The English language is indeed dynamic, over the years ‘thou’ has become ‘you’ and ‘saith’ has been transformed into the simple ‘say’.

The dot.com generation seems to be particularly ingenious in coming up with new words. One cannot fault them however; technology is itself so dynamic that new words do need to be continually ‘manufactured’ to describe the rapidly moving technology feats.

‘Selfie’ I understand is one of a few words that have just been officially recognised by the Oxford Dictionary (or should I say the people responsible for keeping the dictionary up to date). Anyway Selfie is now an official English word, I don’t know if the queen is pleased but whoever coined it can give himself/herself a pat on the back. Shame it wasn’t me…

I guess the next question is; what does it mean? For people like me who are not totally glued to social media and the going on’s there the glue is definitely in the word itself. This is what I found under selfie in the Online Oxford Dictionary:

selfie

Pronunciation: /ˈsɛlfi/

(also selfy)

noun (plural selfies)

informal

  • a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website: occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn’t necessary

 

The last phrase did make me chuckle, all selfie addicts should please take note.

I’m assuming I’m having a bad hair day and therefore cannot add a selfie of my own to this monologue but why am I going on about the novel word in the first place?

As far as I’m concerned selfies are okay, I mean nobody can force me to view their workmanship if I’m not inclined to, but selfie does seem to be a very near cousin of selfish.
Selfish? Yea, selfish as in ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘myself’. I mean why would anyone want to continuously spend ages taking their own portrait only to then upload it to so called social network sites. I mean apart from one’s own picture is there nothing else worth taking?

I also feel that social networks, as good as the concept is are actually making a lot of people anti-social. Many spend hours on end typing away to friends some of whom they have never met or seen in person and yet fail to interact with their neighbours, colleagues or classmates.

Apart from the virtual world many are becoming loners, they interact with people online and not much else. I believe that selfies originated out of necessity, no one else is available to take your picture so you take it yourself. In its self this is not a bad thing, you have the smart phone or webcam so why not if not.

When we look at the whole picture however we have to ask is this isolation really a good thing. I mean isolating oneself from the physical realm and spending a lot of time Online in a virtual world. A virtual world that is so often harsh, uncomforting and even cruel. We’ve all heard of cyber bullying and how some youngsters have been pushed to suicide by faceless people who exist only in their virtual worlds. We can and should ask, didn’t anybody (parents, carers, siblings, etc.) notice something wasn’t right before it was too late…Maybe people were too busy interacting with their tablets and smart phones and uploading selfies?

So you upload a selfie today and tomorrow you take another one and you begin to compare.

This scenario reminds me of 2 Corinthians 10 verse 12:

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

Man is a social animal, or should I say humankind is made up of social beings. God gave Eve to Adam, because it was not good that he (Adam) should be alone.

Selfies, social media and innovative technology products are indeed an integral part of our modern world. However these products and systems are not an alternative to physical human contact that we all need to live happy and balanced lives.

By all means upload your selfie, but then get out there and interact, check on the people around you how are they bearing up. Get someone else to take your picture for a change and then return the favour.

Go on, get out there and smile to someone who isn’t on a screen for once.  🙂

Let me sign off so I can heed my own advice.

LolaA

Interior Renovation!

Ambrose Uga sat, with his head to one side resting on the four folded fingers of his right hand, in the departure wing of the Jamale airport. Jamale is a rather hot albeit small town in the heart of Africa. The constant buzzing sound of the air-conditioning only served to infuriate him further, it seemed to major on noise and minor on cool air.

Sitting on the un-padded bench provided for customers Ambrose regularly sighed as he thought of the punishment he would have the pleasure of meting out to his assistant for making him late and causing him to miss his flight. Never mind that his assistant had knocked frantically on the door of his two star hotel for about five minutes before he finally decided to get out of bed. Thereafter he took his time in having a wash and ate his breakfast leisurely even as his assistant constantly glanced at his watch. Finally, Kendu, as the assistant was called tiptoed up to his boss to tell him that if they didn’t get a move on they would miss their flight. But Ambrose liked to do what Ambrose wanted to do, and by the time they arrived at the hastily put together bricks and mortar that Jamale airport was they saw the plane taxiing off into the sunny mid-morning skyline.

Ambrose had immediately rained a torrent of obscenities at his assistant and sent him off to the booking desks to secure them a seat on the next flight while he went to sit on one of the far from comfortable seats in a corner of the area demarcated as the departure lounge.

After fixating on his watch for five minutes and unable to stop it even for a split second he reluctantly concluded that time doesn’t actually wait for Ambrose and if he was not careful he would miss his very important four o’clock meeting. With this realisation he jumped to his feet, used his eyes to scout for the direction of the ticket desk and headed off towards it.
He took large determined steps even as a rage began to well up on the inside of him. Kendu his assistant began to walk towards him from the ticket desk. Once Kendu was within earshot Ambrose shouted to enquire if the tickets had been bought. Kendu shook his head and started to explain that he had been told all the flights were fully booked and the booking office would only be able to determine if there was space once the flights began to board.

Ambrose stormed past Kendu almost toppling him over in the process. As he approached the ticketing desk he began to shout “do you know who I am? Have you any idea at all who I am?” Stopping in-front of the first ticketing officer his voice went up a notch as he declared “it seems you guys don’t have a clue who I am… “

The ticketing officers seemed to unanimously think in their minds, “You’re right about that mister”.
As far as they were concerned who he was was immaterial, seats on their aircraft were not based on how much of a ‘big’ man you were or were not. They were based on availability at the time of booking.

Unsurprisingly the Father God just like those ticketing officers does not ‘receive face’, i.e. He is impartial and He is not impressed with the positions that men hold. Galatians 2 verse 6 tells us as much:

Moreover, [no new requirements were made] by those who were reputed to be something—though what was their individual position and whether they really were of importance or not makes no difference to me; God is not impressed with the positions that men hold and He is not partial and recognizes no external distinctions…”

The Father God is interested in our hearts, what is inside of us and whether we are right with Him. At the end of the day that is the determining factor, what God thinks. The anointing of David as King of Israel illustrates this point very well. Seven of David’s brothers appeared before Samuel and they all looked the part of a future king but God who looks at the heart had other things in mind. God chose David a ruddy little shepherd boy whom the family didn’t even bother to invite to come in for dinner (1Samuel 16:1-13).

Today the world may think you are a genius comparable only to Einstein or they make think you are nothing to write home about and whatever you say is neither here nor there. The Lord however is not interested in what the world thinks, He is looking at your heart and my heart, your thoughts and my thoughts, your actions and my actions and He is rooting for us to be more Christ-like.

You are important to God

The World may or may not think you are important

What is seriously important however is what God thinks about you!!!

 

Think about it. Till next time LolaA

Nothing Good Comes Easy!!!

50 years ago a group of people marched on Washington, most of them were black but there were white faces scattered among them.

The people marched with a mission, a purpose, a resolve and some of them were willing to pay with their lives.

What did they want, why were they marching, what had caused so many people from all walks of life to come out of the woodwork?

Equality! That was what they wanted. Equal rights, equal opportunities, equal jobs, equal washrooms and equal seats on buses. That’s what they wanted and that’s what they were marching for.
As far as they knew God had created all humans equal and none were more equal than others.

Martin Luther King Jnr had a dream and he knew that that dream could well cost him his life. He knew that to achieve something out of the ordinary, to change the status quo there would be costs, high costs. He told his fellow campaigners that success might not be theirs until they are ready to risk everything.

No risk, no venture; no risk, no freedom; no risk, no breakthrough; no risk, no jobs; no risk, no equality; no risk, no success.

Martin Luther King Jnr stepped out of his comfort zone, he took a grave risk and he spoke about his dreams.  His dreams of equality in a then segregated America, his dreams of equal opportunity for his children, his dreams of people being selected based on their abilities and not the colour of their skin.

He did eventually pay the ultimate price for his dreams that seemed rather weird in America of the sixties. But he had long before made it known that he was willing to make the sacrifice, he was willing to pay the price for the emancipation of his beloved people in his beloved homeland.

Being a minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ I strongly believe Brother King took strength and inspiration from his Saviour. I believe he must have placed his times and his life in the hands of the giver of life as he sought to better the lives of his brothers and sisters.

Maybe he wasn’t perfect; Jesus is the only perfect man who has walked this earth. Maybe he made some mistakes; it’s expected of a human being.  But he knew Whom he had believed, he knew what he had believed and he was ready to stand up and be counted for what he believed.

As he stood up to be counted he knew fully well that he may eventually be shot down and not just with words. But he was ready to give whatever it took cause he knew that nothing good came easy.

In 2013 part of Martin’s dream has been fulfilled, there is a black man in the White House. Many of Pastor King’s contemporaries may have found it hard to envision it but with Jesus all things are possible!

What is your dream today? Do you have one? Remember without a dream, without a vision the people perish.

Take hold of your dream today and march forward with Master Jesus for with Him all things are possible.

Good things may not come easy, but good things will come once we are ready to pay the price. So let’s get our hands dirty, let’s put on our marching boots and let’s go and fulfil some dreams!

Catch ya at the victory parade!

LolaA