Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Home Authors Posts by Eden Myrrh Toohey

Eden Myrrh Toohey

One Price Pays For It All?

“It’s called ‘interoperability’ and it’s changing the way South African’s move,” read the article at the back of the People’s Guide to National Roads, 2016. A print out by the South African Department of Transport found in local newspapers.

I don’t read much print media anymore, except when I’m at my grandparents’ house, or on days like today, when I have to get up and clean some windows. Because it’s summer, and cleaning windows is what you do in summer.

Anyway, I stopped to read the paper before tearing it up (haha!). The article went on:

“Travelling South Africa’s world-class toll road network is becoming easier, safer and more convenient. A new system enables commuters to use a single electronic tag to pass through toll plazas without stopping… At the moment, drivers are required to slow down when approaching the toll plaza, wait for the vehicle in front to pass and then pay with cash or card at the tollbooth. This creates delays at some plazas….”

It may seem completely unrelated but this article about current road systems got me thinking. Every year, Jesus’ family (his parents) and a whole lot of other families made the big trek to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival (Jewish), and when he was 12 years old he went with them for the first time, according to the tradition.

The Passover wasn’t just a one-day event. It was the beginning of the seven-day Festival of the Unleavened Bread, and was a part of the Passover season. During the Passover there were sacrifices that were made. The sacrifice was a sacrificial animal, which was a one-year old male lamb or a kid that was without blemish.

WHY?

Well, in HEBREW, the words PASSOVER SACRIFICE are the following “zebah Pesah”; which literally means “The sacrifice of exemption.” This means that, by the priest sacrificing the animal, shedding it’s blood, and saying a prayer on behalf of the family, the family obtained exemption from their sins of the past year. They sacrificed to “obtain community between God and man.”

I can’t imagine how much traffic the road to Jerusalem had each year with all of those families trekking!

Those families were essentially paying a new toll fee every year. But, when Jesus came to earth, he came to change all of that, being the ULTIMATE INTEROPERATIONAL DEVICE (see what I did there?)!

No more blood sacrifice, because, just like South Africans now have one device that can get them through all of the tolls, Jesus came to be the one sacrifice to forgive us of all of our sins – no annual trekking!

Christmas is the celebration of the fact that he came to make our lives easier…

There will be a reduction in travel times on long distance routes. Drivers will no longer have to stop and wait in queues at toll plazas… This system will make your journeys shorter, more enjoyable and will lead to a reduction in driver fatigue, which means safer travel for all users of the road.”

Accepting his sacrifice makes our (lives) journeys…:

  • Shorter – because he is on our side to fight our battles
  • More enjoyable and will lead to a reduction in driver fatigue – because we don’t have to do everything alone
  • Safer travel for all users of the road (of life)… life is safer when you allow Jesus and his sacrifice protect you

So, here’s my improvement of the opening statement: “Jesus came to earth and it’s called “Interoperability” and it’s changed the way that all people move and live!”

NOW WE CAN LIVE IN COMMUNITY WITH GOD!

If you haven’t accepted the sacrifice that Jesus came to earth to give for you, and want to know how you can, why don’t you click on the banner below?

A Mother’s Love, Treasure of Christmas Connection

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“To Mom: There are several things about Christmas that I have come to admire: my favourite may be the effect that the joy of the season has on Moms. This Christmas, know how much you are loved.”

My mother loves Christmas – me in the past, not so much.

When my sisters and I were kids, my mum went to England on a much-needed two-month holiday and came across these porcelain nativity sets. She was convinced that there were none of the same in South Africa and so she bought sets for each of my aunts and uncles and her friends.

These nativity sets took up so much of her luggage space that she had to leave tons of clothing behind at customs because she didn’t have the money to pay for the extra luggage.

Imagine her disappointment when she realized that the exact same nativity sets were in the front window display of a store she walked past in town once she was back and she was even more devastated when she saw that they were made in China.

All she wanted was to capture some sort of way that Christmas was celebrated in England.

The nativity set wasn’t the only thing that, despite the disappointment, went up in our home that year. There were lights, socks, and a big-bright-glittery Christmas tree. There were freshly baked cinnamon cookies, milk and a special Christmas Eve dinner.

My young self was appalled. Why all of the fuss? Why put up a tree if it’s just going to stay up until February? What if I don’t have money to buy a gift? – And other questions that render themselves useless when trying to contend with the force of a determined mother…

A lot of the aforementioned have long since become tradition in our home – and I’m thankful for it. So thankful in fact, that I’ve started to look forward to them…

I’ve also met a lot more people who can corroborate my theory that there’s something about the way that Mother’s LOVE CHRISTMAS (and gifts and decorating and food and friends and and…)

MOTHER’S – GOD’S SPECIAL CONNECTORS! 

“So here, finally, is the story of the birth of Jesus the Anointed (it is quite a remarkable story): Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, son of David. They hadn’t married. And yet, some time well before their wedding date, Mary learned that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit… And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus, Saviour. Years and years ago, Isaiah, a prophet of Israel, foretold the story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus: ‘A virgin will conceive and bear a Son and his name will be Immanuel (which is a Hebrew name that means “God with Us”)’

Matthew 1:18-25 (THE VOICE)

 The whole point of Jesus coming to earth was connection. Jesus came to restore the broken telephone between God, His father, and us. How else could Jesus truly be “God With Us,” if He didn’t walk on the earth and experience all that we as humans experience today?

Mary was chosen as the vessel of that connection, because there is no greater connection or bond than the one between a mother and her child. Imagine the joy!

Today, in an age where people pay for hugs (go to Asia and you’ll find that), have broken down and desecrated what God originally intended to be family, build totally insane and unrealistic social media personas, meaningful connection is what the world craves most! 

I mean, a little less than a week ago, in the US, a non-profit organisation was launched called “Orphan Christmas” . The NPO has a service called “Tinder For Christmas” where people can link up to other people (strangers) to have a Christmas with some sort of “meaningful connection”. “Christmas is about meaningful connections,” says Professor McEvoy in the article, and goes on to say that these platforms help alleviate the needs for interaction and engagement….

Really?

We can try all we like to devise beautifully creative plans to fill our lives with meaning and purpose but I’m inclined to think that none of it will work.

The need for the REAL CONNECTOR is more and more imminent and just like animals can smell and sense the danger of a tsunami from far away; Mother’s innately understand the reason for the season: Jesus’ plan for joy and hope and wholeness.

This God made us in all our diversity from one original person, allowing each culture to have its own time to develop, giving each its own place to live and thrive in its distinct ways. His purpose in all this was that people of every culture and religion would search for this ultimate God, grope for Him in the darkness, as it were, hoping to find Him. Yet, in truth, God is not far from any of us. For you know the saying, “We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God.” And still another said, “We are indeed God’s children.”

Acts 17: 26-28 (The Voice)

Why search on social media for a connection when you can swipe right, on the right connector? Or, in this case, if you would like to know more, click on the banner below?

Walking The Line

This year I’ve had many interesting experiences.  Some of which have shocked me to the core – mostly, because I’m someone who  always wants to believe the best in people.

But, life isn’t set up that way (trying hard not to be cynical here), and people have trouble seeing life in terms of black and white because we are living in a grey world; where most of the time, our generation (my generation) doesn’t know where the line between right and wrong is. Many don’t believe there is a line, or, if there is, they don’t care.

All of this can make it especially hard to function, especially when there are disagreements in your work environment, school environment, or wherever else you might find yourself.

When our country (countries) followed a Judeo-Christian ethic few people questioned that saving sex for marriage was a good thing, that hard work was the duty of every responsible person, and that it was never right to lie, cheat, steal or commit adultery; but today, our ethics and morals are no longer based on Jerusalem; they’re based on… Sodom and Gomorrah.

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles: e.g. a gentleman of complete integrity.  It means to be consistent, and to lack corruption. Each believer needs to be very determined to grow in integrity because that is the character of Christ and the fruits of the Spirit.

On the road to integrity a journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step.

STEP 1: MAKE A DECISION

  • In the book of Daniel chapter 1 verse 8 we read that  Daniel made a decision not to compromise and defile himself. He chose to stand tall for what he knew to be right.

STEP 2: CHOOSE TO PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST

  • It’s not easy to be pure in an impure world. It’s what’s inside a man that defiles him. The truths of the Bible must be planted in our hearts daily.

STEP 3: DETERMINE WHERE YOUR LINE IS, AND THEN STAY A SAFE DISTANCE BEHIND IT

  • Satan’s first step in the battle for our minds is to distract us. (James 1:14-15) We need to ask ourselves – In what areas of life do I consistently struggle? Are there any particular sins to which you are consistently vulnerable? Do any activities consume too much of your time? Over the past years, what has been Satan’s most effective ‘bait’ to attract you?

Moral failure is seldom the result of a blowout, it’s the result of a slow leak.

Think About It: how you are doing on any one of the above points?

STEP 4: GUARD YOUR HEART

  • Jesus made it clear that we can’t serve two masters. Only the passionate love of purity can save a person from impurity.

STEP 5: GUARD YOUR MIND!

  • I really cannot over emphasize this! The mind is the place where decisions are made for or against the truth. What we choose to read, watch, think about will determine whether we become victims or victors, conquered or conquerors.

STEP 6: GUARD YOUR EYES

  • Job 31:1 I made a covenant with my eyes. David lingered too long, stared a bit too much, and unwisely entertained unhealthy fantasy. He didn’t guard his eyes and ended up committing adultery with Bathsheba and murdering her husband.

STEP 7: GUARD THE LITTLE THINGS

  • Jesus said that “whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” (Luke 16:10) Many of my own failures started by movings in a direction my head rationalised by saying, “It isn’t sin,” but my heart said, “I’ve seen worse,” or “The Bible doesn’t have anything to say about that.”

We need to try to remember: “Blessed – happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous – are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8 AMP)

Think About It: Which of the above do you find most challenging – guarding your heart, your mind, your eyes or the little things?

Do you need prayer for grace and strength for the above mentioned? Honestly, I often do as well. If you would like to join with someone or to know a little bit more about what I’ve mentioned, why don’t you click on the banner below?

Boundaries… For Better!

Before you read any further, let me say that this is post is specifically for the singles (like me)!

The end of the year is coming up. The time of year that my primary school principal labelled, “silly season.”

You know, when everyone is so thankful that the year is over that they start celebrating – happy because it’s summer, letting their guards down, making bad decisions in moment’s of weakness – and more…

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalms 16:5 (NIV)

In order for life to be successful (and for all of us not to regret what went down during the festive season), it is important that clear boundaries are set in our lives; boundaries in all areas of our life – especially in the area of sexuality.

SEXUAL BOUNDARIES:

Let’s try to do everything possible to be young people who know and love the Word of God: this includes personal devotions, Bible teaching church, messages, godly books, family altar and so on.

For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: 8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.

Psalms 78:5 (KJV)

 Doing Things Gods Way Enables You To:

  • Set Your hope in God … build your dreams and your future around God;
  • Rely on Him … remember His works
  • Obey Him… clear rules are vital. For example, if you need to set a curfew for yourself so that you can maintain purity and not get into sticky situations, then do so!

Without Godliness, We Become:

  • Stubborn, which means we turn away morally, back slide and withdraw (Strongs Concordance);
  • Rebellious … which means to make bitter or unpleasant, to be disobedient, and contentious
  • Unset of heart … fickle passions – given to compromise
  • Unsteady of spirit … apt to disappoint

Building Boundaries and Reinforcement:                 

Building our character to do sexuality the Godly way is important, because the “worldly” system and the kingdom have two completely different standards…

For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.

James 3:15 (NLT)

Listen, we may think that God is trying to stop our fun, and maybe we’ve been holding all of our sexual frustration in for the whole year and still find ourselves single with NO prospects at all, but, even though it seems harder, God’s ways are easier!

Plus, His grace for us is more than enough (it’s really not by our own strength that we are able to do anything…).

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…”

Titus 2:11(NIV)

I love the words from the hymn Amazing Grace by ex-slave trader John Newton, “GRACE HAS BROUGHT ME SAFE THUS FAR AND GRACE WILL LEAD ME HOME!!” You got this baby. Just believe that Jesus has the best for you!

If you would like to know more about this topic, as well as how you can employ the help of Jesus to achieve what I’ve said, why don’t you click on the banner below?

Peacemakers

“Road rage… Oh, I have that…. I always have to think of what the person may be going through and channel that empathy to calm down… I mean, what if they’re rushing because a family member died? Or because something serious is happening at their home?” said my friend Gabi.

She turned to me with a genuinely distraught face and I couldn’t help chuckling. We had been talking about different pet peeves that just push us over the edge when the topic of how other people drive came up. That, and bad service.

There are so many things that happen a thousand times a day that, if we let them, will totally ruin us. We can end up using so much energy and time hating and being angry that it’ll be hard to have any energy left to enjoy life.

JESUS AND PEACE

The distinct nature of Christ is that of peace and gentleness.

  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew  11:28 (ESV)

No wonder He is called Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), he promises to give us, ‘His peace.’ (John 14:27), and Galatians 5:22 (ESV) ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, …’

THINK ABOUT IT FOR TWO SECONDS: Would you describe your self as a person of peace or lacking peace?

A classic example of ‘non-peace’ is road rage – where driving related outbursts of anger lead to fights, recklessness, accidents, shootings and even to murder – we see this all the time in my home country. Other classic battle grounds where people lose peace, and engage in potentially very destructive strife is – in marriage, between workers and employers, teachers and learners, etc.

ANGER VS PEACE

Anger is often the problem, not the solution. Being peaceful is not weakness but strength. Being angry is often the weak, cowardly way.

An angry person causes trouble; a person with a quick temper sins a lot”.  Proverbs 29:22(NCV)

God sees anger as the foolish, evil option. Did you know that?

 A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.  Proverbs 14:17 (ESV)

It shows a lack of wisdom. It demonstrates folly – lunacy and madness – and is destructive.

 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.  Proverbs 15:18 (ESV)

How we react to anger will inflame or defuse it. Whereas anger destroys … peace and gentleness are life-giving….

 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.  Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)

BUT WHY IS IT SO HARD SOMETIMES?!

HOW TO HANDLE DIFFERENCES PEACEABLY

If our desire is to honor Christ, everything else will follow.” …

Here some practical tips, taken from professional conciliators, that can help you resolve personal conflict:

  • Define the problem and stick to the issue. Conflict deteriorates when the issue that started the conflict gets lost in angry words, past issues, or hurts tossed into the mix.
  • Pursue purity of heart.Take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5 NASB). Before approaching others regarding their faults and shortcomings, prayerfully face up to your own. Confess any way you might have contributed to the problem.
  • Plan a time for the discussion.  Choose a time when you are both rested and likely to respond in love to the other person’s concerns. When you are tired, stressed, and distracted with other responsibilities, things rarely will go well.
  • Affirm the Relationship.  Before clearly defining the problem take a moment to be positive about your relationship. For example, “Our relationship is important to me. But when you don’t return my calls, I feel rejected and unimportant.” Avoid blaming the other person and saying, “You make me feel…” Instead, say, “When you do ‘A’, I feel ‘B’.”
  • Listen carefully. Once you share your feelings, listen to the other person’s perspective. Lean in; be present. Make sure your body language conveys that you are open to the other’s perspective. Reflect back to the individual what you believe you have heard. For example, “I heard you say that you feel expectations from me. Is that correct?”
  • Forgive. Forgive others as Christ has forgiven you. Make forgiveness concrete with four promises:

◦      I promise I won’t bring this up and use it against you in the future.

◦      I promise I’m not going to dwell on it in my own heart and mind.

◦      I’m not going to talk to other people about it.

◦      I’m not going to let it stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.

  • Propose a solution. Remember the relationship is more important than the issue. When working toward a solution, consider what it says in Philippians 2:4-5: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Seek solutions that keep everyone’s best interests in mind.

FINAL ADVICE

Try your best not to involve unnecessary people in your strife – try to confront in the official biblical order:

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.’  Matthew 18:15 (ESV)

It’s hard but you have to try not to capitalise on people’s mistakes and blame them for losing your peace and getting angry and take responsibility for your own lack of self-control – saying, ‘You made me do it!’

Apologise quickly even if you are only partially wrong. (*DEAR GOD HELP ME*)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Are you struggling with this, but find yourself intrigued? Why don’t you click on the banner below to find out a little bit more. 

 

When It’s Okay To Name Drop: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

THIS IS A REAL LIFE STORY…

Not too long ago I started working with quite a well-known South African rock band. My sister and I were asked by the band to join them on their tour as back up singers and a bit more.

For a recent show we had to meet the band at the head quarters of a big company (who was sponsors for the tour). We had to wait in the lobby as they practiced before we could join them on the road for a two-hour drive to the venue that we were going to be performing. All we wanted to do when we arrived at the company was to sit at the restaurant that was inside of the building but, unfortunately, there was no one to sign us in at the time, and we weren’t allowed in.

So we had to wait.

We waited until we were told that we could go to the other premises of the company and sit at their cafeteria without a sign in.

That was the wrong information, but, I decided that I was going to try anyway, and walked up to the receptionist.

“Hi ma’am, you’re probably not going to be able to help us, but we’re with that band that’s practicing in the dome across the road, and would just like to sit in your cafeteria until they pick us up for the show that we just flew in for…”

For some reason, this women was different to the other receptionists and went positively insane when she heard that we hadn’t been helped yet, flittering and fluttering, mumbling loudly to herself:

“I can’t understand why someone hasn’t helped you yet….”

“You must be so tired…”

“Why would you say you know them if you didn’t…

Someone come and sort them out!she said loudly, and called someone to escort us and take care of us for the duration of our stay there.

While it was the funniest situation, and I never like to name-drop unnecessarily – something in me really clicked!

WE WOULDN’T HAVE SAID THAT WE KNEW THE BAND UNLESS WE HAD A REAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM. IMAGINE THAT WE DIDN’T KNOW THEM, AND SOMEONE TOOK US TO THEM TO TEST WHETHER WHAT WE WERE SAYING WAS TRUE OR NOT?

Talk about embarrassing!

… And yet so many of us saying, “Oh, ya… I know God…”

… But do we really? I know for one thing, that when the end comes, God isn’t going to be impressed with any of that fake association (read Matthew 7:21-23).

HOW TO “KNOW”?

Know – definition:

  1. Be acquainted with (a thing, place, person, etc.), as by sight, experience, or report;
  2. To understand from experience or attainment
    (Dictionary.com)

In Hosea 10:12-13 (THE VOICE) it says the following,

Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes, and showers his righteousness on you. But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength…”

Hosea shows us that deception is rooted in self-reliance, and that knowing God, or anyone for that matter, is a process of actively seeking out to be acquainted with and experience Him. The verse above likens seeking to “sowing seed,” plowing/breaking up “unplowed ground” – WOW! That in itself speaks volumes, because how much work goes into plowing unplowed ground? It requires a certain amount of digging! Not to mention an investment of ones’ time. However, the harvest that one reaps from this is peace and trust in the character of the person!

Planetshakers recently released a song called, ‘I Know Who You Are!’ as a part of their Overflow (2016) record. What a bold statement of faith. Why would the songwriter name-drop if he or she didn’t have a real revelation of who God is? That’s right, he or she wouldn’t. But, because the songwriter has spent time getting to know God, they can call him out when times get tough, or when they are blocked out of situations where their blessing or relief might be just beyond the gate they’re locked out of!

Being able to say that you KNOW God will change your life, I can guarantee it! Tough times, poverty, sickness and lack all bow to the name of Jesus, and not self-reliance. There is no power in our own names. No reputation that you’ve built up for yourself on earth can open Heaven for you, but the name of Jesus can, and anyone who knows Him and calls upon his name will be saved! When you know God personally, you can name drop anytime!

If you want to know about this or try to understand what I’ve begun to talk about, why don’t you click on the banner below?

 

Each One Of Us, A Public Protector!

Not too long ago, my dad and I were speaking about South African politics, and the fact that Public Protector, Thuli Madonela was about to step down with an interdict served to her by the President who, at the time didn’t want her to read out the findings of the cases that she had taken on.

Who exactly is Thulisile Nomkhosi “Thuli” Madonsela, and why had she made such a difference in the lives of South African people? What was it that she had done that was so contrary to what her contemporaries were doing when given positions of power?

DEFINING THE ROLE OF PUBLIC PROTECTOR

Briefly, during her career, Madonsela has acquired two Law degrees, held various positions in the trade union movement during the mid to late 1980s and then moved to higher education in the 1990s. She served as a technical expert in the drafting of the South African Constitution, worked in the Department of Justice, after which she became a full-time member of the Law Reform Commission – which was the last position she held before a seven-year stint as South Africa’s third Public Protector (2009-2016).

She has raked in awards and accolades, some of them being Transparency International’s prestigious integrity Award in 2014, as well as being listed as one of TIME Magazine’s top 100 most influential people in the world.

“That’s just it,” Dad said, “Do you remember who was Public Protector before Thuli? Do you even remember whether the role had this much importance in the eyes of the public? She made it what it is.”

No one remembers her predecessors, and we are all holding thumbs, hoping that we remember her successor positivity (although, her successor is already trying to smear her office, which maybe isn’t the best start…

Now, Thuli may have seemed superhuman, but she isn’t and in reality, each one of us are able to be PUBLIC PROTECTORS that stand for integrity and truth in our spheres of influence.

But how do we do it? How can we make sure that each one of us, no matter where we are positioned, are champions of integrity in our workplace, amongst our friends, whilst pursuing our dreams?

HOW TO PURSUE AND STAND FOR INTEGRITY?

My interest was piqued by listening to the beginning of 1 Kings – where Solomon becomes king. Chapter 3 tells the story (AMP):

Then Solomon said, “You have shown Your servant David my father great loving kindness, because he walked before You in faithfulness and righteousness and with uprightness of heart toward You; and You have kept for him this great loving kindness, in that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is today.  So now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in the place of David my father ; and as for me, I am but a little boy (in wisdom and experience); I do not know how to go out or come in (that is, how to conduct business as a king).  Your servant is among Your people whom You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted.  So give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart (with which) to judge Your people, so that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge and rule this great people of Yours?

 Now it pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this and have not asked for yourself a long life nor wealth, nor the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to recognize justice, behold I have done as you asked. I have given you a wise and discerning heart (mind), so that no one before you was your equal, nor shall anyone equal to arise after you… If you walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David did, then I will lengthen your days.’”

I found this passage of scripture, though I’ve read and listened to it so many times, so interesting, and incredibly apt in today’s climate of turmoil, where, all around the world, people are looking for leaders who are willing to speak out and stand for the truth.

SOME HELPFUL POINTS FOR YOU AND ME:

  1. Solomon saw that (and acknowledged) he was young and inexperienced in these ‘ruling’ matters and knew that he had to get guidance from someone wiser, and stronger than himself. Who better than to turn to the all-knowing, all-seeing, God?
  2. He didn’t trust himself to be able to discern between good and evil without God! And understood that only with God’s help was he going to be fair leader.
  3. Instead of just bringing a shopping list of things he wanted to God when he was given the chance, he asked for grace to guide the people that he was supposed to be leading.

Each one of us are already equipped to be public protectors/leaders in society – shining the light of truth where there is no light. However, without acknowledging that we need God, it is very often that the fight for our noble cause will go south. Change is not far away, but we might just have to adjust the prayers we pray.

If you are interested to read a little bit more about what I’ve begun to talk about, why don’t you press the banner below?

Taking back the wonder!

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Recently, we were invited back into Alice’s Wonderland, but this time, through a looking glass (or, mirror).

About the movie itself

Sequel to the Tim Burton directed Alice In Wonderland (2010), new director, James Bobin attempted to take the audience through the same dark-thrill that one inevitably experiences in a Burton creation, in Alice Through The Looking Glass. The story is set three years after Alice’s first visit to the now peaceful Wonderland, that is – ever since the banishment of the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). However, despite the peace in the land, Alice’s friend The Mad Hatter’s (Johnny Depp) finds himself struggling to deal with the death of his family by the Jabberwocky. The situation spirals so out of control that only “his” Alice (Mia Wasikowska) can help him get out of.

The movie was a fail amongst critics and in the box office, grossing way below the 2010 counterpart. Bad choice of date – and subsequent overshadowing of the film by other releases, The Depp Scandal, Disney 2.0 Fatigue, as well as the rebooting of a reboot, and more are all reasons given by critics for it having failed to impress big time.

Although I found myself agreeing about the film being overshadowed and the plot redundant, I couldn’t deny the thought-provoking escape that the film provided amongst deadlines and end of year fatigue.

“Sign over The Wonder, give up on the Impossible? Then who will I be?”

– Alice.

What did I take from the movie?

TWO THINGS: LOYALTY AND LEGACY!

There was Alice, who had become the fearless and skillful captain of her late father’s ship, The Wonder. She was busy. Busy carving out trade routes to China, being chased by pirates and living out her father’s legacy – hoping never to betray all that he had taught her, to never give up on an extraordinary life and to always believe that she could do “six impossible things before breakfast.”

We all know that obtaining one’s dreams doesn’t ever come without a fight, and sometimes, we need to relearn what is important along the way.

And, so there Alice is, faced with having to give up The Wonder!

An inheritance is a gift. I’ve seen family members fight to the death (no lies!) to get more than their siblings.

What about our inheritance? 

The Bible introduces us to Jesus, who through his death on the cross and conquering of sin was, and is, able to offer us a new inheritance if we so choose to be adopted into his family, and be called sons and daughters:

But now that you have been emancipated from the death grip of sin and are God’s slave, you have a different sort of life, growing in holiness. The outcome of that life is eternal life. 23 The payoff for a life of sin is death, but God is offering us a free gift – eternal life through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King.”
Romans 6:22-23 (THE VOICE)

It is an alternative path to a better life than our parents could ever give us, or than we could ever give ourselves – a pathway and inheritance of holiness. Without Jesus, a natural inheritance might just as well be squandered.

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”
Prov 13:22 (NAS)
Jesus: Come here, you beloved, you people whom my Father has blessed. Claim your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of creation.”
Matthew 25:34 (THE VOICE)

Recently, I’ve had to keep praying fervently that I keep focused on what matters. While I believe in justice on earth, I also believe in the bigger picture. I believe in not getting distracted by what is right in front of me so much so that I lose sight of that which is ahead or even not yet revealed to me. The way that Jesus does things is so vastly different to the way that the world does things that it’s so easy to lose the wonder!

If you’ve started to think and fight for your earthly inheritance more than you have for the one that Jesus has provided you, then there might be something wrong in the way of priorities. If you’ve started to get more angry about what the media tells you, or even if you remain indifferent to what is happening around you and refuse to let your actions and thoughts be dictated to by what Jesus think’s then there is something wrong.

God help us all to never lose the true picture of what The Wonder is.

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FOR A LIFETIME!

“You know what, it’s not your life, it’s life. Life is bigger than you, if you can imagine that. Life isn’t something that you possess, it’s something that you take part in and witness.”

– Louise C.K.

For some of us, the prospect of living a life for something greater than ourselves is hard to grasp. I’m yet to find the solid facts, but, I have solid word that lov… I mean, LIFE is about service, and that when we tap into doing whatever we do for a greater cause then we will be able to grasp the true meaning of happiness – in all of its glory. Forget the CSI and BEE points. This is the real thing!

For the person who pursues a relationship with God (which, in this case is me, and hopefully you too), then I want to put it to you that there is untapped power in service.

What is this thing? Service? Serving?

The Bible holds so many promises for the servant. Serving God is, in many ways like being a parent. Parents usually need to serve their children in one way or the other – for life! One of the best services a parent can do for their child is, well, teaching them how to serve. In other words, when a parent brings up a spoilt child, they’ve actually done them a disservice.

Honestly, I grew up in a Christian household, with Christian parent’s, went to a Christian primary school and there were times when I thought to myself, “How on earth am I going to keep up this relationship with God for my whole life? A lifetime is long!!!”

Challenges stop people from serving and loving God for a lifetime: 

  • Youth: Psalms 25:7 (ESV) Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions…
    A lot of us tend to think, “I’m young, I have time”. But, if we’re not careful, what we do in our youth can derail us for life, leaving us to deal with consequences that take the greater part of our life to fix – or not…Don’t fall into the trap of waiting to serving God until “you’re older” – you might never get there;
  • People tend to lose the passion to serve, as they get older: Most people serve God most passionately when they first find him. Revelation 2:4 (KJV) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Men and women in love for the first time go totally crazy and that’s how God expects us to be in our service to Him. It takes skill and determinations to keep one’s first love (Haha! This we know!)
  • As we age life gets more complex: We have many more responsibilities that can steal our time for God. Ecclesiastes 12:1 (ESV) Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, I have no pleasure in them”; This verse shows us at least two things – that it is sensible to serve God when we are young and life is simpler. Secondly, life gets more complicated and troubled as we age, so it follows that it will become harder to serve Him then. Remembering God, through service, from a young age will actually reduce the troubles that come later in life. In fact, life goes a whole lot better when we serve God from our youth.
  • People tend to get harder and more full of complaints as they age: Cynical, disappointed, disillusioned people would rather find fault with those that are serving than serving themselves. That’s why Jesus challenges us to remain like little children – full of hope and obedient and believing – Matthew 18:3 (ISV) Then he said, “I tell you with certainty, unless you change and become like little children, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
  • The more skilled, educated, better off, privileged we become the harder it can be to serve: In fact, the very blessings of God can distract us from serving Him. 1 Peter 5:6 (ISV) Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you.

Here are the blessings of a lifetime of service:

  • The Bible has many promises of long life, pleasant ageing and fruitfulness for those that serve GodPsalms 92:13 (NIV) planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
  • There are great heavenly rewards for those that serve God consistently: Matthew 25:21 (NIV) His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!

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Don’t settle

There’s not much in life that is set out in black and white.

With that being said, so much of what could be so right within the boundaries of the right circumstances can also be so very wrong in the wrong circumstances.

It must only be grace that keeps the right choice the right choice. Because, again, the right choice can so very easily become the wrong choice.

So then, how do we ever make the right choice?

  1. When we acknowledge God in all of our ways…

Give him credit for everything you accomplish, and He will smooth out and straighten out the road that lies ahead. And don’t think that you can decide on your own what is right and what is wrong. Respect the Eternal; turn and run from evil. If you depend on Him, your body and mind will be free from the strain of a sinful life, and will experience healing and health, and will be strengthened at the core.”

Proverbs 6:8 (THE VOICE)

  1. When we don’t settle!

It was Janis Joplin who said, “You Are What You Settle For”, and according to Wordset, settling is to accept despite a lack of complete satisfaction as well as bringing to an end (Wordset).

Through constant disappointment, through loss, through the loneliness, through the lack of courage and fear, through the endless ‘not enough’s’ and ‘can’t afford’s’ – don’t settle friend!

The other day, a friend and I were speaking about how long we’ve held out on not settling for less. Even though there were often many reasons to accept that what was in front of us was all we would ever get.

There were also many times when our contemporaries ‘found what they were looking for’ while we stayed waiting. Whether it was a relationship, a job or anything else we might have needed.

Look, we know that life is a guaranteed gamble, with death being the only thing that is sure for all of us.  However, there are two other things that you can make sure that you don’t gamble with:

Your peace and your destiny

  1. PEACE:

If you don’t feel the peace that “passes all understanding” (Phil 4:7) when making a decision, then DON’T DO IT! It won’t end well. Very often what looks like the golden globe ends up having being a glittery globe of distraction. Also what looks like, and very well may be, GOOD, always comes our way before what is PERFECT does. We can either settle for the GOOD or hold out for the perfect. Some people wonder why they keep on getting into the bad situations;  maybe it’s because they constantly override their peace, or their conscience?

  1. DESTINY:

If God is making you wait for whatever reason, you are in very good company. The Bible is full of stories of men and women who had to wait – FOR VERY LONG PERIODS! VERY LONG!

Almost always, the pain of the process, is better than the pain that comes with having missed the boat entirely – the pain of moving or the pain of staying the same?

Are you about to settle?

Has this encouraged you?

Remember to hold out until you feel the peace…

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