Wednesday, April 21, 2021
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Tshego M

Under Pressure

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I don’t like penalty shoot outs, in fact I hate them, so much so that I will change the channel if a soccer match ever heads in that direction! I just don’t think it’s fair that one person is put under that much pressure to ensure that the team wins. And if they lose, the world will never let that specific person live that moment down – as if it were solely their fault, yet they will forever be remembered as the person who let his team and nation down.

After 120 minutes on the field, both Chile and Brazil were unable to out-play each other; and so, exhausted and possibly frustrated, 5 players are chosen from each side to go head-to-head with the opposing side’s goal keeper in an exercise of who is the luckiest. With a 2 all draw and the last remaining kick, the Brazilian goal keeper just needed to keep the ball out of the net for the win; the Chileans on the other hand needed to score a goal in order to keep the nail biting penalty shoot out going. At this point, only one team will claim victory, while the other is defeated and it all lays on the shoulders of one player…

If you have been watching the 2014 Soccer World Cup, you know how this story ends… Brazil wins, but one poor Chilean player must live with his failure for the rest of his life – doesn’t seem fair.

I have come to realise that this is a common occurrence in life – although we’re all supposed to be running this race together as a team (friends, families and whatnots), often individuals are left (nominated, coerced) to take the brunt of the chopping block. They are the people who love the most, those who serve the most, who give the most and yet despite how much of themselves they put out there, it never seems to be enough.  More is required and the pressure is constantly on and it’s just not fair.

I’ve had to learn that life is not a one man team sport.  It actually requires the skills and expertise of others. No matter how good I may be at various things, I can’t do it all and I can’t save the world. Yet at the same time, I cannot expect others to play on my behalf.  I can’t just sit back and watch from the sideline; I’ve got to get into the game and play my part. If you have been watching the World Cup you will know that even though Ronaldo is the best world’s top player, without his team, he is nothing and Portugal’s unexpected departure from the games are proof of that.

There’s a reason you’re here, but you can’t fulfill that purpose on your own

2014 Soccer World Cup – Who Cares?!

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It happens to be one of the largest sporting events in the world with fans all showing their patriotic support, but what’s the big deal? 22 players fighting over 1 ball in an attempt to skillfully penetrate their opponent’s defense, in order to score 1 measly goal (with the hopes that the other team scores none) that could possibly guarantee them the opportunity to potentially claim the title of being the greatest football team in the world, only to find themselves fighting for that very title 4 years later in a completely different location (if they can even manage to qualify), all for what? A big golden cup thing…??

Ok, so it’s not that bad, although depending on which side of the table you happen to be sitting at, many relate to this all too well. There is no doubt that this year’s Soccer World Cup has been exciting. It has proven to be more than just entertaining by delivering some crazy action with a side plate of unexpected upsets. But what if I’m not a fan of the game? Why should I give my support?

I’m a fan of most sport (although I prefer playing over watching); I know it’s hard to believe given my opening statement, but truly anything that involves a ball, maybe a stick, and a whole lot of running definitely tickles my fancy. However, the only sporting event I’m any good at is Netball. Having learnt it as a youngster in primary school, I have played the game for pretty much all my life. I know all the rules, I know all the regulations, I know the game – so watching it makes sense to me. Unfortunately, despite my delight in goofing around from time to time with a ball and a slightly heavy stick, I rarely have a real understanding of other sports outside of the fun zone and often find myself rather bored watching them…

So the 2014 Soccer World Cup is currently underway – big deal! I barely get the concept and the entire event is overrun by pretty boys, who are constantly shoving each other and strategically falling over, acting out Oscar winning performances of fake injuries  – LAME (it just ain’t what it used to be)! And besides, my country didn’t even make it..  so what’s the point?

Still I was taught to support despite the circumstances; it gives hope and instills confidence, so I watch anyway. I may not always get the gist of it all but I give my cheer anyway. And it was in that moment that I realised what life is all about. We’re all constantly overcoming various obstacles and fighting different battles and because of that we could all use a little encouragement along the way. It’s no secret, we all need it and whether others understand our struggles or not, there’s no better feeling than knowing that there is someone on the sideline rooting you on, someone to pick you up when you’re down; someone who’s always there seeing you through whatever it is you are facing!

So as the 2014 Soccer World Cup continues, find a team – whether it’s your team or otherwise – and give it your support, root them on. Then once you’ve accomplished that exercise, find a friend, any friend, and commit yourself to supporting them through whatever they happen to be going through, whether you understand it or not…

Thess 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Make a difference; be the difference!

If I Wasn’t Born…

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I was watching Johnny Bravo the other day, yet another one of my favourite cartoons. The cartoon centres around a tall, blonde, self-obsessed, annoyingly childish, womanizing, young adult who is unemployed, lives with his mom and spends his time eating or trying to hook up with women. It doesn’t sound all too great, yet for some strange reason the entertainment value is just too high and I cannot help but watch it!

Anyway, one of the episodes I watched recently dealt with the topic of purpose. Johnny was, as usual, being an irritation except this time he was causing unbearable amounts of chaos in the lives of his loved ones, so much so, that their reaction led him to wishing he had never been born. Having heard this, an “angel” rocked up out of nowhere to encourage him otherwise. Unfortunately, after looking into the lives of his loved ones without him, it seemed that life was a lot better without him.

Often we have a tendency of thinking exactly like that, except unlike Johnny (who eventually realised his value in the end), the world needs you because the world loves you. It sometimes hard to believe – I’ve been there, I’ve questioned my existence many times before; I have felt exceptionally insignificant; I have wondered how I could possibly matter to the world but I have come to realise that no matter what I think or how I feel… I am an integral part of this life, I fill an important role in the lives of those around me everyday and without me life would be dull, boring and mediocre.

It’s clichéd, it’s a little arrogant and it’s been said many times before but it’s true! And it’s true for you too… You were created and placed on this planet for a reason. You have great significance to the lives of those around you, those who know and love you, as well as those who have never met you. There is a reason for your existence and any other reasoning around that is a lie! You are important! You are loved! And you are needed in this world! So no matter how you feel, no matter what is going on in your world, someone out there is very glad that you are alive!!

If you’re still not convinced, click the “continue this conversation” button below. We’d love to chat!

 

Spot Test

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Everyday, we’re put to the test in some way or another. I’ve never really enjoyed spot tests, but I do love quizzes. So, today we have a little spot test quiz for you – see how good you are at finding the books of the Bible in sentences…

Below is a paragraph that has 16 books of the Bible hidden in it and we’d like to see how many you can find. Some are really easy to see while others may require you to think a little out of the box…. or a lot…  Either way, have some fun and don’t spoil the fun by cheating – that’s just boring!! (PS – it might be easier to print the page… just a suggestion…)

I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible. It was a lulu, kept people looking so hard for facts, and for others it was a revelation.

Some where in a jam, especially since the names of the books were not capitalized. But the truth finally struck home to numbers of our readers. To others it was a real job.

I want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there will be some really easy ones to spot, while others may require judges to help them find.

I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of them and there will be lamentations when it is found. A lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better.

See how well you can compete. Relax, there really are sixteen names of books of the Bible in this paragraph.

How many did you find?

SPOT TEST feature

Worth Something

One of my favourite pastimes is watching TV; more specifically animated TV programs. I love cartoons; I find they work best in clearing and emptying the mind. One of my favourite old school cartoon programs has to be “The Powerpuff Girls”,  a story about 3 big eyed girls who became superheroes of the town that they live in, after the professor who was creating them accidentally added a secret ingredient to the recipe he was using.

In one of the episodes, Blossom, the “leader” of the group, failed a training task. After making a fatal error in judgement, she watched her efforts all fall apart right in front of her. She completely let herself get overwhelmed by her apparent failure and how it “represented her”. She let it affect her so much that it hindered her performance, not only endangering her sisters but the tiny Townsville community as well. Her self worth was incorrectly placed and it caused her to not only fail at the task, but also in life. Yes, I believe that you fail in life when your self worth is placed in the wrong source because you’re not living to be who you’re supposed to be but rather striving towards being who you think others would like you to be.

Welcome to the story of all of our lives! It’s no secret that we as people have a terrible habit if under/over estimating our worth. For whatever reason, we’re all prone to either not believing in ourselves enough or thinking too highly of ourselves, often affecting and/or limiting our relationships with others. Understanding our worth is probably one of the most fundamental yet highly underrated aspects of our lives, because knowing our value and our worth ultimately helps us determine and understand our purpose.

I recently read a fact about how Louis Vuitton discards all their unsold products by burning them at the end of each year because they refuse to sell them at discounted prices. At first I thought the company was being completely stupid and ridiculously selfish, but then I realised just how much the company valued their brand. The worth of Louis Vuitton products does not come from how many they sell in a year but rather to whom the products are sold. In understanding this, the purpose of Louis Vuitton products is therefore, to serve (or be owned by) an exclusively elite group of people and not the entire world.

Understanding Your Worth

You, just like a Louis Vuitton product, are highly valued (maybe a little more than a Louis Vuitton product – ok a lot more)! You are worth so much, that all your failings (past, present and future), regardless of size or seriousness, were already taken care of by your Creator, before you were even born. You were created for the purposes of One and not the world and your Creator paid a great price to make that happen.

So how dare you doubt your existence and undermine your value just because you don’t feel like you’re significant or good enough?! How dare you hold out in your life because you don’t feel like you’ve got anything to offer?!! How dare you accuse your Creator of making a mistake creating you just because you don’t feel like you have a purpose.

Feelings can get the better of us. If we let them, feelings will make us wonder if our lives really have any kind of meaning to the world and of course they do. So, it’s high time we got our act together, changed our mindsets and took control of our feelings, because no matter what they tell you, you are valued – YES! YOU MATTER!!!!

Your worth has nothing to do with what you can and cannot do (no matter how you feel) but rather in who (and whose) you are. Believe it or not there’s a reason for you! And regardless of what you may think and/or how you may feel… your existence is important, your life has an impact on the world – live to make it a great and lasting one!

Expect The Unexpected

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I love fairytales and children’s stories, they always have a good message and moral to them. One of my favourites has to be the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.

The story is about a mother and her son, Jack, who are so poor they can’t afford to eat. Out of desperation and after selling most of their possessions the mom decides to sell the family cow at the market so they’ll have a little money to get something to eat. So she sends Jack to the market with the cow. Jack, a young impressionable boy, meets an intriguing character along the way and ends up practically giving the cow away for a bunch of so called magic beans. Impressed with himself, Jack then returns home to show his mother what he had attained. Completely flabbergasted and frustrated by his unquestionable stupidity, Jack’s mom furiously grabs the beans from him, throws them out of the window and sends Jack to bed with nothing to eat (they had nothing anyway). The next morning, Jack wakes up to a gigantic beanstalk outside his window (it doesn’t say whether the mom saw it as well or not). He climbs it a couple of times, kills a giant and he and his mom live happily ever after, never to be hungry again.

Based on the basic concept of the story, it isn’t far fetched to assume that many of us can relate to the content of this story, that at some stage or another we have all been in a similar position of poverty. I’m not just talking  financially, but emotionally, mentally, spiritually and sometimes even physically too. And out of desperation, we seek out various solutions to our problem in hopes of overcoming. We cry out for help, we beg for an intervention – often expecting to be saved in a logical yet familiar way, something that makes sense to us, forgetting that sometimes, it’s possible to be rescued in the most unconventional ways.

Expect the Unexpected

When Jack’s mother sent him to the market, she was expecting money to bail them out of their situation, she never imagined that magic beans would have done the trick. So when the one thing she was hoping for did not come forth, she was angered and upset and sent her son to bed, hungry; and rightly so. In hindsight, his decision was not a smart one; yet at the end of the day, all worked out for their good.

So… Maybe

  • you’re struggling financially and it seems like gaining more money is the only solution; when in  fact, a budgeting/saving course may be what you need.
  • you’ve been struggling emotionally with feelings of inadequacy and non-belonging, so you think the only way to deal with them is by “selling” yourself to feel accepted and loved; yet if you could just take a look around and notice the people in your life and how much they love and care for you, you would have proof of how unnecessary that would be.
  • you’re not feeling creative enough or clever enough and you think mentally enhancing your brain’s capacity with some “out-of-the-box” chemicals will help, when simple networking and/or researching with the help of others is all you need.
  • your body is taking some strain and you think the latest fad medication and quick fix gadgets will help, when actually, all you need is some good sleep, good food and good company.

I’ve learnt that sometimes, the solutions to some of life’s problems will often come in a different packaging to what is expected. What you’re facing right now may be overwhelming, with no hope that you could ever survive. But instead of focusing on the problem, why not start appreciating what you’ve got and how far you have come. This is not to say sit around and mope, but live and expect the unexpected because your solution could be in the small victories you gain each day.

Expect the Unexpected

When The Bad Overshadows The Good

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When I was in primary school, our principal would often lecture us about the importance of our appearance in school uniform. She would constantly demand everyone’s co-operation in ensuring that we always looked presentable, as the overall perception of the school depended on it. She would incessantly stress the fact that it was everyone’s responsibility to look neat and tidy; repeatedly reminding us that if even one person neglected to play their part, it would have a negative impact regardless of how many were playing along. In other words..

No matter how great everything looks around you, if something is out of place it will be the first thing everyone notices!

Much of the same can be said about life; we’re often so focused on all the bad that is taking place that we forget that there is actually good going on too. We rarely notice all the good that is regularly taking place in our life that when one bad thing happens, life as we know it is no longer worth living! We’re all guilty of it; letting our bad experiences overshadow all the good. But what if we could change that, what if we could turn that around? What if instead of moping about complaining about how unfair life is, we chose to rather get through the tough times focusing on the good that is happening; the things that make us happy, things that make us smile? Wouldn’t that make a difference? Wouldn’t that change our perspective?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should just ignore the tough times and I’m not saying that you should pretend that you’re not going through them either; but you can’t let them get you down! When all is dark and gloomy, when all seems hopeless, don’t let that define your journey, don’t let it take you out of the game; instead let the challenges encourage you to consider all that is good in your life (and believe me there is good)! Start taking note of all the good in your life and let that be your motivation, let that be the driving force. It won’t be easy, but it’s definitely worth a try. Because when you start appreciating all the good in life, you realise that life really isn’t as bad as we deem it to be!

CHANGED TYPO

 

THE RED – WHO WE ARE – ANTHOLOGY

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Discovering an incredibly amazing hard rock band that is just oozing with unbelievable musical talent is always rewarding; and when their purpose stretches beyond just making and releasing head-bopping tunes, you know you’re in for a mind-blowing, possibly heart-wrenching, symphonic experience. RED is one of those bands. With passionate vocals, gnashing guitars and a potent message, RED has succeeded in pushing musical boundaries and setting new standards within the Christian alternative music scene. Dedicated to positively impacting and encouraging their listeners, RED has been using their music and life experiences to actively and uniquely convey a message of hope to all their fans.

Formed in 2004 by a bunch of friends from Nashville Tennessee, RED has managed to release four very successful albums, attain 2 Grammy Award nominations, achieve 11 #1 hit singles on Christian radio and tour with the biggest names in the industry. And with all that success, the band has decided to put together a CD box-set collection of their first three albums. Now you may wonder why in our digital age, when music is so easily accessible, RED would choose to release an album box set… The simple answer – because they can, because it’s who they are and because it’s probably cheaper and more convenient than buying 3 individual albums!  Who knows? Point is, if you’ve never owned any of their albums before, or if you would like to convert someone into being a fan… this is your opportunity! You just can’t go wrong with RED.

Still not convinced?   Here’s an overview of the featured albums and a snippet from each..

END OF SILENCE

In 2006, RED released their debut album End of Silence. It was a powerful and aggressive project featuring a mix of string arrangements and synth melodies with emotional yet often intense vocals and crunchy rhythmic guitars. Many of the songs unashamedly addressed the Christian’s struggle and focused on brokenness and healing through seeking the face of Jesus. The story behind the album? Admitting one’s mistakes and accepting redemption.

INNOCENCE AND INSTINCTS

After making their mark in the hardcore rock scene with their first album, RED made a comeback in 2009 with their sophomore album, Innocence and Instincts. Although the album sounded very similar to their first, their ability to convey emotion within their music regardless of the tempo or mood, set it apart. The theme behind Innocence and Instincts centred on conflict; specifically the conflict that rages within all mankind – the battle between right and wrong, the struggle between doing what you have to versus what you want to.

UNTIL WE HAVE FACES

RED’s third offering Until We Have Faces was released two years later. With the great success they attained after Innocence and Instincts’ release, there was immense expectation and excitement surrounding their third project. However, the album’s release was met with great disappointment as many felt the band had “sold themselves out” to the mainstream market and lost their niche by compromising on their unique yet daring and diverse “rock out” sound. Regardless, their incredibly introspective lyrics and creative musical composition were enough to keep their fans happy until their next release.

After 9 years of rocking out, it’s safe to say that RED is an AMAZING alternative Christian rock outfit who will blow your socks off and their albums are solid proof of that. What will they have in store of us next? Well, only time will tell, but if their latest release Release the Panic is anything to go by, you can expect it to be incredible!

All I can say is that I am excited to be inspired and encouraged, while rocking out to their captivating tunes. For now though, while we wait, let’s take a moment to honour RED – a band who confidently and creatively over-deliver using their music as a tool to reach out to those who are hurting, those who are struggling and those who just need some high-quality musical company.

THE RED - WHO WE ARE

The Time Machine

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Question – If you had a time machine, what would you do with it?? Where would you go and why??

I was watching the animated cartoon Dexter’s Laboratory the other day. It’s the story of a boy genius who has a laboratory of his own and a really clumsy and annoying sister who pretty much makes his life difficult.

In this specific episode of the cartoon, Dexter made an error in his calculations which lead to him being eaten by a giant slime monster. In an effort to save himself, he sends a note to himself in the past through his sister Dee Dee, who delivers the note without hesitation. However, “old” Dexter does not listen to his futuristic sister and ends up in the same mess, trying to save himself in the same way… again.

We’ve all had a moment like that – maybe even a couple – when all we’ve wanted to do is go back in time so we could change the outcome of a rather unfavourable and/or embarrassing situation. It may have been the words we uttered or the behaviour we may have displayed but we’ve all hoped for the ground beneath us to open up and swallow us whole…

Sadly, life is such that once something has happened, it has happened… There are no do-overs or take backs – what is done is done. That’s why we’re constantly being told to make the most of every moment and make sure to enjoy it. But… what about those moments that aren’t so enjoyable, moments that would be better off forgotten? Could you pretend they didn’t take place, or do we have to live with those scars forever??

Well, life is simply a combination of good and not-so-good moments. It’s not about how bad the not-so-good moments are but rather how we let those moments affect our entire perspective on life. We can either be overwhelmed by the pain of the mishaps of our life or we can learn from and overcome them.

So get over it… laugh it off… move on… and just have fun!!!

There’s more to life than the embarrassing/awkward moments that occur in life…

Pulse Show 😉

Tired and Uninspired

This is one of my favourite songs and when I first heard it, I could totally relate to it, in fact I was immediately hooked because it spoke of the way I was feeling at that time – I was exhausted and completely unmotivated to do anything.

We all go through it, we all have moments of “dryness”, when nothing satisfies us; nothing moves us; nothing inspires and we’re just going with the motions. Yet, I have also found that sometimes, it is in those moments of complete “dryness” that we are most creative.

TIRED & UNINSPIRED INSPIRATION QUOTE

Yes, I have found that even when you think you have nothing left, when you feel like you’ve got nothing more to give. When you are tired, uninspired and unmotivated just keep pushing forward, keep striving for that prize, because unbeknownst to you, it could be the beginning of something incredible.

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