Sunday, October 24, 2021
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Jax Okiro

If Only For A Second…

Ok, so the following short video requires very little in terms of introduction.  I would however like to urge you to take a moment out of your busy day to click the link and take a 3 minute and 43 second glance at the following presentation..

So, having watched this video myself today, I got to thinking;  I wonder how many of us have I ever faced a situation which has somehow swallowed us whole and overtaken our ability to feel carefree.  Or, maybe there is someone, right now, in your life who is facing a challenge like this.

Unfortunately tragedy has a way of touching every single one of us at some point in this life journey, whether directly or through someone we care about. Monumental life events that in our very flawed human capacity we can do nothing about, other than, of course, cling to a cliche and, well, “hope for the best”.

But, really?  Is that all that can said or even done?  I’d like to think not.  I’d like to think that, like this video has so poignantly shown us, if only for a second, we can all have a meaningful part to play in the storm surrounding of a loved one, friend, colleague.

Now granted, maybe we can’t don’t all have access to top make up artists to have a professional photo shoot…yet, despite this, if by definition being ‘carefree’ is to be free of that worry that weighs you down, then I’d

If only for a second

like to suggest the following; Perhaps the greatest comfort of all isn’t necessarily in what WE do, but in WHO God is?  I think the Bible says is best;

CAST YOUR CARES anxiety

Let’s Eat!…Grass?

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The media recently highlighted the story of a church where the pastor teaches his congregation that in order to increase their faith they should, among other things, eat grass. Sadly, the congregation seemingly happily complied. While this seems ludicrous, I suspect that this kind of spiritual manipulation is more commonplace than we care to admit.

Let’s assess our own situation; church or ministry. I’d like to suggest that anytime your spiritual leader or pastor preaches ministry, ministry and getting involved with church activities Monday to Sunday, you are possibly in a similar position to those grass-eating congregants.

Let's eat grass!

I’d like to suggest that anytime you accept your pastor’s or spiritual leader’s teaching unwaveringly, you’re putting his words above that of God’s Word. Again, you are possibly in a similar position to those grass eating congregants. In the words of Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, “Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action.”

Let me suggest a few things to consider to  help ensure that you don’t get spiritually manipulated:

  1. Read the Bible for yourself
  2. Study the Bible for yourself
  3. Spend personal time in prayer with God
  4. Make sure your pastor or leader’s teaching is biblically and doctrinally sound.
  5. Be sure that your church, your ministry and your pastor or spiritual leader are committed to building God’s kingdom as opposed to their own.
  6. Don’t put them on a pedestal.

The problem with ignorance is that  you’ll just lap up anything and everything from these so called men and women of God, purely based on the fact that they’re using the right language. Martin Luther King Jr. made the following statement: “nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”. As children of God, let us not stand accused of sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

VERSE

LIFE’S TOO SHORT

Every life experience is an opportunity for us to learn something from it. Recently my dad was taken up in hospital with severe pain due to a back injury he incurred at work. Seeing him hospitalised, in so much pain and not being able to do anything about it was a real eye-opening and frustrating experience for our whole family.

It made me think about what life would be like without my husband, parents, siblings, close family or friends. Being the emotional person I am brought me to tears and right there and then I made a decision  to let everyone close to me know just how much I love them, how much they mean to me and have impacted my life in one way or the other.

Life is too short to keep grudges and walk around with unforgiveness in our hearts. It is also too short to not tell the people in our lives what they mean to us.  I don’t want to stand at someone’s grave site one day and wonder whether they knew how much I loved them. I want to stand there with the assurance that they knew just how much they meant to me while here on earth.

It’s time to live our lives in such a way so that we don’t have any regrets because this life we are living will come to an end in a blink of an eye.

As Ronald Reagan said:

RONALD REAGAN quote

Past Your Sell By Date? Really?

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Have you ever been made to feel like you’re not worthy? Or better yet, been told in so many words that you’re no good? Well, rest assured, you’re not alone. Not too long ago, somebody told me and I quote: “You’re actually past your sell by date”. For a ‘minute’, I actually bought into it.

The mistake you and I make when we buy into the ‘past your sell by date’ mentality, is that we allow flawed creatures to assume the role of the perfect Creator. If you can relate, then dare I say that you and I have been sinning in this regard. I for one was guilty of this.

That was, until I wrestled with God, lost against Him and gave Him His role back.

SELL-BY date

Remember David’s story? Remember the way his brothers and father viewed him? Ray Boltz sings about it and says ‘when others see a shepherd boy, God may see a king’. And that’s the whole point of this blog; we will always be ‘shepherd boys’ both in our own eyes and that of others when we allow others to define our meaning and purpose in life.

Stop sinning. Don’t allow your self-worth, your identity, your purpose or your ‘sell by date’ to be determined by flawed people. God is God all by Himself and doesn’t share His throne with anybody! God has perfect vision for your life, He knows exactly what you can and cannot do, what He wants you to do, when He wants you to do it and for how long He wants you to do it.

I needed to confess that I allowed someone’s view of me to become more important than God’s view of me, but that was then and this is now. Over the last 13 months or so in particular, God’s convinced me that His view and opinion of me is what matters and when we had this conversation about my importance to Him, I heard Him say: “You are mine. I determine your sell by date”.

As for me being ‘past my sell by date’…well, lets just say that person was wrong.

 

What is your destination?

Imagine that I did not tell my best friends that I would leave them for a couple months to travel in Africa. Just packed my stuff, boarded the plane and sent them a message: ‘Hi guys, I just left the country, I’ll see you in five months. Enjoy your day!’   I can only imagine the reactions of my friends. Disappointment, incomprehension and  probably anger as well. Reactions like that would be totally understandable.

Since I’ve been away for a couple of months now (and trust me, I did inform them of my travels!) I have had time to reflect on my relationships back home.  When I think about the friendships I have I feel truly blessed. I am certain that they love me and that they would help me right away if I needed them.  The difficult part of my reflection, however started when my friend Mary called me with bad news. Her dad, who is in his 40’s, has been diagnosed with cancer and the tumor is in his heart already. They don’t know how long he has to live and if he will be able to see his own children grow up. ‘I don’t know if you are going to be able to see him again’, she told me. What can you say at a moment like that?

A few days after this call I was listening to this song by David Crowder.  And suddenly the lyrics hit me, even though I have heard this joyful song a hundred times already:

destinaition

Suddenly the song did not sound so joyful any more. I imagined Mary celebrating New Year with her family, probably not really very joyful. I was wondering if there would be questions she would now really want to ask her dad, questions she’d maybe wanted to ask for years already but never knew if it was the right time. And then I asked myself some questions: ‘Are there questions I still need to ask?’, ‘Do my friends know where I’d fly to if I died today?  Did I ask them about their destination?’ I realized that some of my relationships are not as deep as I want them to be. I don’t want to leave this earth without my friends knowing where they are going after this life. Or without at least trying to help them understand that they have a choice in the matter.

There is “a land where joy will never end”.  And while we’re here, where happiness is temporary and life is short, we do have a choice about making sure we go there.

destinaition

Grow Forth And Be Awesome

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Unlike many people I am fortunate enough to own a house with a small backyard. Some time ago I tried growing a patch of lawn and although it grew, it was never really lush and green like I wanted it to be. So I took it out and started clearing the ground.   That is when I discovered that my little piece of backyard is more like a dumpsite filled with builder’s rubble.  No wonder the grass wouldn’t grow properly!

Maybe you can relate to this in your own life. You’ve been going through the motions, you haven’t been growing as you’d perhaps like to but you haven’t quite stagnated either. I think we all experience this from time to time.  And perhaps what we need to do is to ‘shovel our back yards’.  Let’s do some introspection.

We need to do what is necessary in order to fertilize the soil and replant, perhaps even plant something completely different. Whatever you do though, don’t settle for what seems average or even good. Let’s keep digging deep, let’s go hard and only settle for great!

As you continue to journey into 2014 and beyond, may you discover and grow to be the awesome person God intended for you to be.

Eyes of Wonder

Here I am, all the way from The Netherlands, travelling in Africa. A dream is coming true! And time flies when you’re having fun…

Sometimes time actually seems to stand still when you enjoy life in a unique way, though. Do you know that feeling? I definitely do, especially now when I’m travelling. I can write one journal after another filled with all my experiences. About beautiful scenes, differences in culture and above all about the people that surprise me!  But usually, time seems to pass by more quickly every year. The daily rhythm of life (as far as a student has one!) seems to swallow all my time. And suddenly I’m 24. Almost a quarter century!

EYES OF WONDER

A Dutch author has a really good explanation about why time goes by so quickly during ‘normal life’.  He says that when you are a child everything is a thrill, because you experience it all for the first time. Once you get older you live repetitively, because lots of similar activities like work and study happen almost every day. But when you travel and have new experiences it seems like you’re back in your childhood.  “Suddenly time slows down, not because it slows down, but because you live more intensely. You are back in the paradise of wonder.”  (Godfried Bomans)

As I get close to the end of my study I feel the pressure of achievement: I need to get great marks for my exams, I have to get my degree within the prescribed four years and then I have to get a job despite the rate of unemployment being so high.  I have to achieve!  But why do I think this way? Because society expects me to, I guess.

Is this the life God planned for me: living under pressure, always looking for more and better?  Perhaps not.  Jesus says in the midst of this pressure:

EYES OF WONDER

Trusting God no matter what and being real and honest… that sounds too good to be true. But you know what? I’m trying it! And I’m finding that living like that really is possible! And that it gives me lots of energy! Even though I don’t pass all my exams first time around and even though sometimes I get hurt by people I think I can trust, I still see the amazing blessings in my life. Because God has given me the eyes of a child again – The eyes of wonder!

Your Wedding Portfolio

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I enjoy a bit of photography and in an ideal world, I would be the world’s top wedding photographer. Now I’m still a long way off that but I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos in my wedding portfolio with you.

Your Wedding Portfolio

The thing about my portfolio is that it’s only a sample of the best weddings I’ve done so far, not the whole picture (pardon the pun). Looking at images from when I first started up to now, you’ll be able to see how I’ve grown over time and what I’m capable of at present.

Your Wedding Portfolio

My photos may not be world class yet but I think they’re  pretty decent. And there has been very obvious progress!   There are some that I took a few years back that I cringe at and wouldn’t want anybody to see, even though some would still find them acceptable. In fact, I’ve even seen similarly cringe-worthy photos as part of some photographer portfolios!  Hectic.

If your life was a series of wedding photographs, what would your portfolio look like? Would it all look the same or would we be able to see your growth? Would people cringe at some of the moments or would it all be so impressive that you would be in demand beyond what you can cope with?

Your Wedding Portfolio

We all project images to the minds of those whom we encounter daily.   When those around you look at the images of your life over time, what do they see?  Growth and progress and significant moments?

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

 

JUDGEMENTAL, HYPOCRITICAL AND MEAN CHRISTIANS

Out of curiosity, I recently did a search on Google just to see what people want to know most about Christians. What I found left me with mixed emotions of sadness, shock and well… a realisation that it might just be the truth.

All I typed in was: “Why are Christians so…” and the top three search results were:

  • Why are Christians so JUDGEMENTAL?
  • Why are Christians so HYPOCRITICAL?
  • AND Why are Christians so MEAN?

 

If we should do some introspection, I wonder how many of us would fall into one if not more of these characteristics that others see. It’s so easy as human beings to sometimes forget where we come from and the process it took for us to become born again. Isn’t it easy to judge others because we feel so self-righteous but yet forget to sweep around our own front door. We often forget to remove the balk from our own eyes yet want to concentrate on the speck of dust in our neighbour’s eyes.

When Jesus spoke to words:

 JUDGEMENTAL, HYPOCRITICAL AND MEAN CHRISTIANS

I don’t think He meant to judge, have double standards or to be plain and simply mean to others. He meant LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR, there is no two ways about it. Love is love there is no middle and that is the bottom line.

 

How great it would be if we typed into Google’s search bar: “Why are Christians so…” and what would pop up is “LOVING”, “CARING”,   “CHRIST LIKE”

I LAY THIS CHALLENGE BEFORE ALL READING THIS BLOG AND EVEN MYSELF,LET’S BE THE CHANGE THIS EVIL WORLD NEEDS TODAY…….

Basic Revenge

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I nearly wet my pants the other day – literally. I got into a taxi and sat in the front next to the driver. He must’ve been possessed though because he was driving like a demon. Michael Schumacher had nothing on this guy. Weaving in and out, stopping abruptly, crossing 3 or 4 lanes in one go are just some of the pants wetting manoeuvres he pulled. I got out in one piece but completely shaken.

After I calmed down and I know this is probably a dumb thing to say, I actually thought to myself this guy’s got some excellent driving skills. I then daydreamed about having a mini-bus taxi driving Formula 1 Grand Prix type competition where taxi drivers got to compete against each other. I liked the idea for two reasons: 1) it would contain their madness to a closed circuit environment, albeit temporarily and 2) they’d know exactly what other motorists feel like when they put other people’s lives at risk. Truth be told, I loved the idea of them having a bit of their own medicine and like a mad person walking in the street, I even smiled at this thought.

Isn’t it amazing how easily we can go from love your neighbour as yourself to taking revenge on them? Yes, it was only some random thought in my head but truth be told, I really wanted for that taxi driver to experience what I felt and what other passengers and motorists feel every time their lives are endangered.

How often don’t people do this – bearing grudges and even take revenge when they’ve been ‘wronged’? Well, the truth is you and I are guilty too, much more than a taxi driving maniac! The Bible makes it clear that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). We have sinned against God, we have wronged Him and He has every right to act towards us, the way we would often do others.

But He doesn’t because His nature is love and we see this love poured out for us through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ dying and taking on the sins of the world – a price we were supposed to pay. Now if this is the nature of God and His response to those who have wronged Him, how much more are we not supposed to do the same? I know this is hard and at the best of times a difficult thing to do. It will however continue to be a difficult and near impossible thing to do unless we focus on the place where that response comes from. What is your heart condition? Perhaps that’s what makes a loving response so difficult.

Whether we like it or not, our responses have to reflect the nature of God. And so:

REVENGE

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