Friday, September 24, 2021
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Jax Okiro

Totally Lost – Soccer World Cup

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Ok, so to be totally honest I did not have a clue as to what my next blog should be about  and doing a search on Google did not help much either, as all people are searching for is the Soccer World Cup.

I have to confess, I am not a soccer fan and all the World Cup talk has left me kind of out of sorts because most of the time I don’t have a clue what people are talking about or even who they are talking about. Names like Marouane Fellaini, Luis Suárez, Sergio Busquets, Matthew Špiranović (names googled by the way) leaves me with a total blank expression on my face as I don’t know them.

I don’t know if it’s just me but I’m really not catching the whole World Cup fever this time around. I didn’t grow up in a house with a family that’s totally soccer fanatical.  We do enjoy an exciting game of rugby though, weird I know, but I think it’s a purely South African thing (or so I hope).

Let’s just hope that the whole World Cup does not go by and I end up not even knowing who the winning team was (fingers crossed).

 

 

2014 World Cup: To Watch or Not To Watch…

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The more I listen and pay attention to the conversations happening around me, the more I feel isolated and perhaps even like there’s something wrong with me! While most sports fans are getting all excited about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, I’m getting freaked out about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching football (particularly the World Cup) as much as the next guy. So to that end, I’m the first guy to say, “Yes please, bring it on!” because I’m ready for it! Am I prepared for it? Well, that’s a completely different question to which the answer is “No”. Here’s my dilemma – I get up at 5:45am to get my wife and kids sorted, then see them off to work and school. Then I get ready for work, after which I spend about an hour in traffic before i get to work. My work day starts around 8am and ends around 8pm. Then I take another half hour to get home, fortunately just in time for kick off to the second game of the night (the first of the group games kicks off at 6pm CAT).

What’s the point of watching the World Cup if you’re not going to watch all the games, right? Right. I mean how else is a guy supposed to join in on the next mornings office discussion, which of course means that I have to watch the midnight games as well. So effectively, that leaves me with approximately 3.5 hours of sleep (including the time it takes for my excitement levels to drop and for the buzz in my brain to stop)! All this and I haven’t spent time with my wife and kids yet!

While writing the aforementioned paragraph, I just had another mini-meltdown because as you may have noticed, there are three key things that are about to be majorly impacted: fatherhood /family relations, employment/productivity and sleep/health. So while everybody and their goldfish are getting all excited about the 2014 FIFA World Cup, I’m completely freaked out! I love my wife. I love my kids. I love my job. I love watching World Cup. I love my sleep. How am I supposed to choose? Why should  a brother have to choose?

Why can’t my wife be a single parent for just a month and my kids spend more valuable time with her? Why can’t my boss just give me paid time off as and when needed or allow me to sleep at home? Surely that’s not asking for too much, right?

Mark 10:45 – The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.

Soccer World Cup (The Game Of Life)

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It’s World Cup time which means that irritation, frustration and annoyance will be on the increase during this period of time. Understandably so, if you consider the fact that peoples’ soapies will be interrupted, family life will be interrupted and that every second conversation will be soccer talk. Not everyone loves and enjoys soccer. I get that.

Love it or hate it, it’s going to take place and at some level you will be engaged with it. It’s just a question of how much you’ll be engaged with it. Whether it be the players who are actually in the game, the spectators in the stadium, the viewers at home or those who couldn’t care less, the fact is your view on the World Cup puts you in relation to it and whether you like it or not, it’s going to take place.

your view on the World Cup puts you in relation to it and whether you like it or not, it’s going to take place”

It’s similar with God. Many people get frustrated, irritated and annoyed by conversations about Him. Others feel like he’s more of an interruption in their lives, while others may down right reject the idea of Him being as real as the device you’re reading this blog on. The difference with God is though, unlike the World Cup where only a select few get to be players, we get the opportunity to be actual players in the game of life.

Whether or not you’re on the field playing, or in the stands, or watching at home or completely disinterested, the World Cup will still happen. Similarly, whether or not you believe in God, the fact is you’re in relation to Him. It’s just a question of where in relation to Him you are. Whatever that relation may be, one thing is for sure, it is only the player in the winning team who gets to lift the trophy and win the big prize.  Play to win.

 

16 ways to ruin your marriage.

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So, since the last time I graced this space with my ‘bloggery’, I said ‘see ya later’ to my single-lady-status and became the happy Mrs to my Mr.  For the record, marriage is very amazing.  I love it.

Maybe strangely to some however, I never really ‘over thought’ this thing called marriage before I said “I do”.  Despite the maaaany well-meant pieces of advice we received before Simon and my wedding day, marriage was something we figured that we would just figure out together.  Like I’ve heard so many times in my life,

..this, Melanie, is a marathon not a sprint,

with no finish line in sight, the metaphorical sneakers came on and we hit the road, in it for the long run.

Of all the things that were spoken, emailed to me, posted on my Facebook, etc.etc.etc. one particular blog has stuck with me.   A few days before I walked down the aisle my brother-in-law sent the following blog link to me.  By no means the Dr Phil/Oprah/Life Coach TED talker, this is a regular guy speaking very honestly about the two marriages that have failed in his life.  I know, that’s right, failed.  That being said, we’ve all heard the old idiom that ‘experience is the best teacher’ and the fact is, so many respected commentators have attested to this very thing.  C S Lewis himself wrote, “Experience: the most brutal of teachers.  But you learn, my God do you learn”.  I dare to say that if this the case then this guy, who calls himself ‘Single Dad Laughing’, could therefore be considered case in point maybe?

So rather than add anything else, as but a newbie to wedded bliss, I’ll let ‘Single Dad Laughing’ do the rest of the talking.  If you’re married, maybe these are things you’ll read and think “well, duh!” to, but then again maybe not?  And not-yet-marrieds? Well consider this a little bit of pre-wedded-primping.  Like so many did for me, a little piece of advice passed on from this new Mrs to you.

read more…

 

The Refugee

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1 Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

3 I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”

4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.

5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16 – A Psalm of David

Purity Pledge

Our youth at church recently decided to make purity pledges in which they pledged to live pure lives by abstaining from sexual encounters until they are married. In America the purity pledges started in the 1990’s among Christian-affiliated sexual abstinence groups  by means of singles wearing purity rings as a sign of abstaining from sex until marriage.

As a married woman it made me think about whether purity pledges are merely for abstaining from sex before marriage or whether it’s not actually about living a pure life in thoughts, words and deeds.

Whether you are single or married, purity is something we should all strive for. How else will the world see the difference in us as Christians if we don’t stand out because of our morals and beliefs?

Let’s not lose our effectiveness as Christians by conforming to worldly standards which says there is nothing wrong with premarital sex (God designed it for marriage and it’s a beautiful union that should be protected and respected by all), gossiping about others (we see it daily in gossip columns in newspapers, magazines and websites), not talking to others (because they are not as “holy as we are”), but let us be the light shining brightly into the darkness, proclaiming by living pure lives that indeed there is a better way of living and in pursuing purity in all areas of life true fulfillment will come from within.

What are your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you.

If Only

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If only I could do it again, I’d do it differently.

If only I had more money, then I could get out of this horrible community that I live in.

If only I was smarter, my parents would love me like they did my brother.

If only I was prettier then I would have a boyfriend

If only I was part of their family, I’d also be as successful as they are.

If only my circumstances were better, I’d be a lot happier than I am.

I think that most people, if not all of them, have that one ‘if only’ in their lives…well, at least I do. So it’s a case of having a problem or a perceived disadvantage and desiring a resolution that will arguably make our lives complete.

What if Noah didn’t feel like going through the all the effort and mockery of building the ark? What if Abraham insisted that Lot takes the dessert land? What if David got annoyed of being a shepherd? What if God was thinking this guy won’t be able to weather the storm without an ark? What if God was thinking about making a covenant with Abraham and protect him from the rubbish of Sodom & Gomorra? Or what if God was thinking this boy can’t lead His people without being able to lead sheep?

What if yours and my ‘if only’ situation is a stepping stone in the journey to that desired resolution? What if we were to pay attention to that ‘if only’, embrace them and learn from them? What if this ‘if only’ was like the last exam you needed to write in order to graduate successfully? What if ‘if only’ is needed by us in order for God to prepare us for the next big, significant and purposeful thing?

Instead of ‘if only’, let’s do what Jesus did when He said: I see what my Father is doing and I do likewise (John 5:19).

A KING BRAAING FOR HIS BUDDIES

How awesome to observe the life of Jesus.  For a few seconds let’s look at the human side of Jesus. Here is a man that healed and helped so many strangers that did not know HIM nor did they believe HE is who he said He is. He handpicked His followers and demonstrated His divinity by performing signs and wonders in front of them. Not only did His followers betray and deny him, the people who he healed and helped ended up shouting “kill him”.

One would expect that He would have bitterness, anger and resentment like many of us who felt betrayed and hurt. Nope! Not Jesus.

After He appeared to his disciples for the second time at the sea where they were fishing, He displays once again His character of love, humility and kindness.

Here is Jesus the man that was murdered, betrayed and denied and yet his followers find Him barbecuing on the beach with fish on the coals and bread for them after they spend all day working trying to catch fish (John 21 v 9). How awesome! Making a meal for those who ran when the going got tough.

We can certainly learn from this wonderful man Jesus. Whenever I feel hurt by those around me and even loved ones I think about Jesus. To come back from death most super villains would come back with vengeance according to our cartoons and our heroes of today. However Jesus came back still a servant unto the people even to this very minute he stands in heaven pleading the case of each of us.

Seriously! It does not end there, even better still.  The most mind blowing part is that after all He still manages to give us a gift, Holy Spirit the unseen powerful force that keeps us comforted and helps us in our daily life.

How can I not bleed with love for this awesome wonderful man called Jesus?

JESUS KING

 

DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY.

‘It might seem crazy what I’m about to say. Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break.’ I’m pretty sure you have heard these lyrics somewhere in the last couple of weeks. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely happy! The summer, Africa and especially the people from Africa have been amazingly good to me. ‘Clap along if you know what happiness is to you!’

If you’re not in a happy mood yet, watch this video. (Beware: this will bring a smile to your face!)

Happiness colours life in many different ways. Happiness after a surprise, happiness because you feel loved or happiness because of good memories that make you smile. Luckily tons of other stuff brings us joy as well! That feeling that gives you a smile that is impossible to wipe off your face, a sparkle in your eye you can’t hide and you just want to share that feeling with the people around you. I hope you experienced some of this. I love that feeling!

Even though I’m an enthusiastic and happy person, I really don’t feel like that all the time. I can’t always relate to ‘Can’t nothing bring me down, my level’s too high.’ I get tired, lose my motivation or some circumstances do not naturally give me positive thoughts. Broken relations, sickness of loved ones or disappointments can unfortunately get me down. In those times I wonder why life is so hard and unfair and it can make me feel pretty upset. You recognize that?

When you are in a mood like that this Bible verse does probably not make a lot of sense to you:

HAPPY

When I try to look at it this way I find a new happiness. God gave me friends and family to help me through the hardships, He encourages me with His words in the Bible and He gives me amazing times to remember for during those times when I’m in pain. That is probably not the easiest way to look for happiness, but I’m sure it is the most fulfilling way. Realising that God was and is there in my hardships and that He gives me the strength to overcome them does bring me that happiness I never knew before. ‘Clap along with me if you feel like this happiness is the truth’ 

Leadership Starts With A Broom

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I think this is a true saying: There are too many chiefs and too few Indians.

Most people want to lead and call the shots but very few of them are willing to serve. A friend of mine’s dad is a pastor and tells the story of guy who wanted to become involved with his church. Like most people would do, he was making all the right noises to elevate himself in the view of the pastor.

My friend’s dad listened patiently and then told the guy to talk about it to him some more on the following Saturday morning. So the guy rocked up at church and started talking about his prospective leadership involvement, how well he would be suited to this kind of role, and so on.  To which the pastor replied, “Great – here’s a broom.  Please go and sweep out the dusty hall.” Naturally the guy thought it was a joke. It wasn’t.

Needless to say that was the end of the discussion about whether or not the he would become a leader in this particular church. Leadership starts with a broom.

It seems as if most people want to be the voice, the face, be upfront, call the shots, be in charge, be the boss, and have the title and the status that comes with that.  On the other hand, the number of people who want to humbly serve pales in comparison to the aforementioned.

Looking at the lives of many so-called leaders both locally and internationally, it seems as if leadership equals power and status when in fact (or at least in my humble opinion) it means servanthood with humility. Again, leadership starts with a broom and I think Jesus would agree with this statement. Being the Son of God, as well as the founder and visionary of the ‘discipleship and evangelism movement’, Jesus was fully entitled to ‘be the boss’ but instead in Mark 10:45 He says this:

SERVE-VERSE

When one considers the way Jesus served, it becomes clear He did so with more than just words and patronizing ‘quick win’ actions. It was a practical servanthood that met both the physical and the spiritual needs of those He encountered. It was a servanthood that sought to embody the task with which the disciples would be commissioned. It was a leadership that didn’t trumpet what it looked like but one that practised what it preached through servanthood.

And so, dear leader, let me ask you this question: “When was the last time you used the broom to sweep the hall – or have you paid your dues already?” I suggest to you, as illustrated by Pastor Awie Goliath, that leadership starts with a broom.

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