Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Take a pause, breathe.

 


Sometimes life is a crazy frenzy, and it's so easy to lose it completely in an attempt to put everything in order. Truth be told, we can't always control everything. We all need to learn to move in a rhythm the puts us in charge and still allows life to happen. If you feel your life spinning out of control, pause and breathe. It's okay to veg -out, take a break, do nothing, and recharge. Once you have a better grip, retake the reins and go with the flow of your life. Here is an article I wrote on managing your day with spaces to breathe (click to read).

 

Take a pause, breathe.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Heart, Soul & Mind.


It's February, and love is in the air. Valentine's day is just around the corner, and my mailbox is filled with advertisements. Offers from companies that tell me their products will give me the best love experience that I have ever had. From dinner for two to a weekend at the Maldives, promises that entice me to believe my acceptance of their offers will give me something unforgettable.

 

Don't we all love the romantic expression of love? And we should. If we take a cue from our creator, he has shown us that the ultimate expression of life, is love. Read with me the book of Matthew; in chapter 22, one of Jesus’  disciples asked him what the greatest commandment was. What was the one thing that trumps it all, the shortcut to being right with God? Without hesitation or deliberations, Jesus answers him in verses 37, 38, and 39.  " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

The disciple asked for a shortcut and got it – Love God, Love others. There! Right at the beginning of the sentence is a word that has hunted humanity since its existence. The search for love and to be loved has created some of the world's most tremendous pain and pleasure. Interestingly, when He gave us the command to love, He directs us to the One to whom we must love first, and that’s God.

 

To love God is no small request, as Jesus goes on to explain. It isn't something you do with careless attention. It's an all-in, whole-hearted devoted kind of claim. To love God, you must love him with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

 

With all your heart:

It’s a phrase that speaks to our emotions. You know the feeling that comes from liking something or someone. That excitement when you see the person your heart desires, yes that. God is calling us to love him deeply and wants our heart to belong to him above all else. We need to feel our love for him that we smile at his words and laugh in delight at his promises. We weep at his heartbreak when we see the pain in his world. We speak up with courage at injustice because our love demands we do. To love God, you have to feel for him and with him, with all your heart.

 

With all your soul:

When you love God with all your soul, it goes beyond feelings. It's an unseen tie. A bond. A connection. Like with a very close friend or your spouse – that unseen cord connects you in your spirit. It makes you Soulmates. You get each other. You know each other so well; you can anticipate each other's next move. To love God, you must move beyond expressing your feelings to learning and connecting with God on a deeper level.

 

With all your mind:

The mind is just a tricky little thing that will destroy you if you don't control it. Your thoughts can guide you or kill you, depending on how you have trained them to reason. To love God, you have to align your thoughts to his. You can't let the lies and destructive images of this world to plant and take hold of your mind that you start to doubt God. Or even worse, begin to lose your faith in God. You have to align your thinking to how he thinks, which is all spelled out in his words. Your thoughts must reflect his and hold steady even when the winds of life toss you around.

 

Heart, soul, mind – that's what I call a threefold cord that can't easily be broken.

 

Do you want love? It's not in the bed of a stranger or at the bottom of an empty bottle of alcohol. Do you want love? Then take the words of your creator and turn to him. Love God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul. As you do, you will experience his love for you, which was always there, by the way, on a much deeper and more satisfying level. And when you experience God’s love, it satisfies you completely.

 

Now that we got the first command covered: love God, how about we take a look at the second command: Love your neighbor as yourself. Well, that should be simple, do to others what you want to be done to you. If you don't want someone to steal from you, then don't steal from others. If you want someone to give you a gift, then give someone else a donation first. It should be easy, but you and I know it's not. Here's the trick if you are working on the first command to love God, the second command to love others will come naturally to you. 

 

Let's sum it up as you prepare to celebrate this season on love: Love God and Love others and watch your life bubbling over with so much love coming back at you.

 

 

 post image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Monday, 25 January 2021

Good Times

 


I smile when I listen to people talk about the good old days or a time in their life when everything was great and going precisely according to plan. You see the spark in their eyes as they retell happy tales of the great days when life was great. You watch their lips curl up in a satisfying smile as they talk about the abundance they enjoyed in either wealth, peace, power, or even human connection. You get drawn in rapt attention as their bodies get animated at the point the story gets to a crescendo as the adventure peaks. Then you watch their shoulders suddenly drop as they descend from the heights of joy when the story takes a new turn into today’s realities where things are not as great as they use to be. 

 

When I listen to tales of the good old days, I often wonder, "what happened to you, and how did you lose it all?" Sometimes you get a glimpse of the tragedy in a moment of absolute openness when the storyteller forgets himself and shares his uttermost regret—a wrong decision, a timing missed or a destructive habit that was left unchecked. One reckless action or inaction suddenly turns the entire story around.  So in my quest for finding a life worth living, I always make it a point to listen to such accounts and learn what not to do.  So when I read Proverbs 27 verse 23 to 27, I just had to pause and think about it.

 

“Be sure to know the state of your flocks

and pay close attention to your herds;

for riches are not forever,

nor does a crown endure to every generation.

When hay is removed and new growth appears

and the grain from the hills is gathered,

the lambs will provide you with clothing,

and the goats with the price of a field.

You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed you—

food for your household

and nourishment for your maidservants.”

Proverbs 27: 23 - 27

 

Solomon's words in these verses hold a lot of meaning for me, and I'll like to share them with you. I want you to be able to look back and see the good old days, look around you and see the great moments of today and look ahead to see the glorious days of tomorrow.

 

A sage man wrote Proverbs, and I love the prose, but I decided to take a stab at rewriting these verses in today’s expression and from my humble understanding. Below is my version of Proverbs 27: 23 – 27, and it will be the subject of our discussions today.

 

Take stock from time to time,

Know the state of your affairs at all times.

For in life, you get some, and you lose some. Nothing lasts forever.

Power always changes hands, and the transition is inevitable.

When times change, and the tide turns,

You can only profit from what you invested.

The proceed from one will support another need,

Today’s investment builds tomorrow’s growth.

If you do this, you will have enough to meet your needs,

You will have enough to spare for others.

 

Not bad, right :) Let's look at these in 3 buckets or nuggets of wisdom if you wish to call it.

 

Nugget 1:

Take stock from time to time.

Know the state of your affairs at all times.

 

Successful people keep an eye on the most critical aspects of their lives from time to time. Here lies the first thing you need to do, know what's important to you and protect it. Keep an eye on your health, monitor what you do with your finances, assess the relationships in your life. And if any is falling short, you should make a plan to quickly course correct. If you are on a winning streak with your finances, don’t get too cocky. Acknowledge the season and put some away for the future. Don’t go crazy and keep spending. If your health is at its best, excellent, you should make a plan to stay on the healthy path and not assume your body will stay that way forever. If your kids are the epitome of loving, obedient children, bask in it, but know influences are around them. So make a plan to continue to lead them down the right path. The reason is simple, and it's in the second nugget.

 

Nugget 2:

For in life you get some, and you lose some,

 nothing lasts forever,

Power always changes hands, and the transition is inevitable.

 

Nothing lasts forever is not a cliché; it's a fact of life. The tide always turns, change always happens, and you have to be ready when it does. Cultivate the habit of looking ahead, anticipate change, and plan for it. You can't be a leader forever; you will need to hand over the reins of power at some point. Your money-making machine won't always be there. At some point, a new business coming into the market will throw you off course. You have to learn to look ahead, anticipate, make contingencies and have back up plans for when things change.

 

Take a clue from Joseph and the famine's story in the Bible; you have to have the foresight to store away grains in the seven years of plenty ahead of the seven years of famine. Why's that, you ask? The answer is in nugget 3.

 

Nugget 3

When times change, and the tide turns,

You can only profit from what you invested.

The proceed from one will support another need,

Today’s investment builds tomorrow’s growth.

If you do this, you will have enough to meet your needs,

You will have enough to spare for others.

 

Nugget 3 starts with the word "When." Not "if," but "when," because it’s only a matter of time, the tide will always turn. So when it does, you have got to be ready for what comes next. If you have abided by nugget 1 and 2, which is to take stock at all times and invest today for the future, then you will have enough to carry you through the lean seasons. It’s like the saying, ‘you only get what you put in it.' If you haven't put some money aside for the rainy day, then when it rains, you will get drenched. But if you have put aside a little at a time in the days of plenty, then you will have a fallback plan—something to carry you through.

 

What I love most about this is, it’s not just about having enough to sustain yourself and your family, but you will be able to help others. Don't you hate when you meet someone with a genuine need, and you can’t help because you don't have to give? Horrible! We need to give back to our society and those around us, and you can only give what you have.

 

Summing it up: Keep a close eye on your affairs and take stock often. Look ahead and anticipate the changes that may be around the corner. Put a little at a time in savings and life investment for the rainy day. And when it eventually starts to rain, enjoy the proceeds from your investment and share it with the world around you.

 

Cheers to good times yesterday, today, and always!

 

Blog post image by  Angela Rose from Pixabay

Saturday, 2 January 2021

2021 - A New Beginning

“Jerusalem, stand up, shine!

Your new day is dawning.

The glory of the Lord shines brightly on you.

The earth and its people are covered with darkness,

But the glory of the Lord is shining upon you.

Nations and Kings will come to the light

of your dawning day.” 

Isaiah 60: 1-3

 

It’s a new year and the dawning of a new beginning in so many ways. The past year was filled with many stories that we will all be telling for years to come. Some great but many sad ones. Despite whatever we endured in the last year, it's nothing compared to the greatness stored up for us in the year 2021. Our bible passage today is from the book of Isaiah. It talks about a time when God's people get to experience the glory of God in their lives again. That time is now.

 

If the past year left you in pits of disappointment, despair, loss, anger or fear, here is a word of promise from the Lord to you: it's time to rise and shine. This year, the Lord's glory will come over your life and will shine brightly on you and your household. Despite whatever may happen or not happen around you this year, you will experience his presence in your life.

 

God's light gives you direction. This year you won’t stumble or fall. The presence of the Lord will guide you and direct your ways. You will make the right decisions and will craft out the best plans for your life.

 

God's light gives you warmth. This year you won't feel alone. Whether you are single, married, or surrounded by family and friends, the light of God will warm your heart always. You will feel his presence all around you wherever you go and whatever you do.

 

God’s light shows you off. This year you won’t stay hidden. The light of God will launch you into destiny moments where you will shine brightly and bring glory to God. Whether it’s at work, or school, with your kids, or a talent you nurture, this year, God's light will launch you into greatness, and you will succeed in all you do.

 

As we step out in 2021 with our eyes fully set on God, drop all weights and sins that will keep you from rising this year. The light of God is shining on you no matter what, but it’s up to you to stand up and shine.

 

Think about a balloon. As long a weights (like heavy stones) are tied to it, it can never rise, but it rises when the weights are dropped. The fulfillment of the promises in Isaiah 60, verse 1 only happens if you drop the weights.

 

So what's holding you down? Weights of anger? Greed? Evil thoughts? You know those things that you do, which silences the spirit of God in you and pushes you out of God's presence. It's time to drop them all so you can rise and shine. This year make up your mind to always take the high road and stay on the path of living right with God.

 

While human strength cannot help you drop the weights, the spirit of God can. As you start the year, ask God in prayer for the help of his holy spirit to drop all weights and sin. And as you do, you will see the light of God shine brightly on you, and you will arise and shine.

 

Welcome to 2021. This year you will have new beginnings of greatness in your life as you experience God's light shine brightly on you and as he gives you something new to launch you into his planned greatness for your life. Amen.  

 

Blog post image by Flash Alexander from Pixabay 

Saturday, 5 December 2020

A New Song

There is a saying you may have heard; it says, "music refreshes the soul." The Soul – the very essence of our being. It is the part of our existence that lies between the world we live in and the world our spirit seeks to dwell. It is the part of us that lives on long after we are gone from this world. It is the part that seeks out its creator, the one our creator seeks. The Soul is the core of our being; it's the eternal being.

 

When disaster strikes, you may feel the pain in your body and could very well recover from it. However, if you let that deep dark feeling of loneliness and depression sink into your Soul, it will destroy your entire being. Look around you, see how worries, anxieties, and fear saps out life from souls around you. The hardship of our world serves to create a troubled soul. A troubled soul is a fertile ground for seeds of greed, wickedness, and evil to grow, which eventually grows into lost souls.

 

Since our world is riddled with pain, how can we protect our Soul from being consumed by troubles, pain, and wickedness? One way I have learned to keep my Soul free amid pain and anxiety is to sing. Music does refresh the Soul, especially if you are singing songs that inspire and renews your mind. You can't sing songs filled with anger, misery, fear and expect your Soul to escape those feelings. On the contrary, it's just going to dampen your spirit. It would help if you sang a new song. A song of worship to God. A piece of gratitude for the life you have. A song of hope for the future. A song of forgiveness and love for those around you.

 

I have found my Soul refreshed, freed, lightened, and renewed when I lose myself in songs of worship to God. Worship frees your Soul and brings you into God's presence. Psalm 16: 11 tells us that in God's presence, we will find the fullness of our joy. When you enter God's presence in worship, your burdens are lifted, pain is healed, and hope is restored. His presence releases your Soul from all worldly tension and frees you up to soar.

 

This month of December, make a note to yourself to sing a new song. A song of praise and worship. Break out in dancing in gratitude to the most high God, our ever-present help in time of need. It's been one tough year that I doubt anyone will forget in a hurry. A year of difficulty, loss, and pain that has left lots of souls troubled. You don't have to stay in a state of despair; come into his presence with worship and watch him do a new work in you. As you worship, your Soul is freed, restored, renewed, and made alive again. Music does heal the Soul, so free your Soul in worship to God.

 

This the season of joy – keep singing.

 

Blog post Image by Rob Slaven from Pixabay

 

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

The Master Piece


 

Every once in a while, something dramatic happens that throws a man’s life off course. It could be the loss of a spouse, a bad business deal, or issues with the law. Such defining moments often make a man wonder about what is essential in his life from that point on. It is so amazing how quickly a seemingly good situation can change and go horribly wrong, leaving people completely helpless and feeling utterly despondent. Everyone has gone through a time when all the plans have failed, all the help has been seized, and all the courage has withered in the face of an impossible situation.  

 

At times like this, it’s easy to throw in the towel and just assume your new life. Sometimes we try to make a sense of it all, asking why did this happen and what am I supposed to learn from this experience? However, at the end of the day, nothing about what you have just gone through makes sense, so what’s the point? It’s really frustrating and often discouraging to go through a major storm in your life. 

 

I recently watched a great man build an empire, and then he saw everything collapse before his very eyes. I watched in horror, completely helpless, as he lost everything he had worked for. I was deeply anguished as I watched him try to rebuild what he had lost, but his efforts were fruitless. Sometimes, he even gave in to his new fate. So, one morning, in an attempt to find some way to encourage this wounded soul, I turned to the book of ageless wisdom and found solace in Jeremiah 18: 4, “But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands. So the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him”.

 

This is a simple story of a potter who was working with some clay. He had a great design in his mind of the timeless piece he was going to make. This wasn’t going to be just another clay piece; it was going to become a treasured relic and adorn royal palaces. The potter worked with great precision and purpose. This was going to be his masterpiece—the emblem of his genius. However, as he worked on the piece, something unexpected happened, something he didn’t envisage—the piece was damaged during the creation process. The potter didn’t stop working on it, he didn’t cast away his masterpiece, and he didn’t throw up his hands in utter submission. He simply devised another plan—a plan that best accommodated the mistakes that had been made. He went on to create his masterpiece, but he had been given a different design.

 

It is inevitable that at some point life will come at you, and you will believe that what is coming will destroy you. It may be some enormous problem that could overwhelm your very existence, but like the potter, God is determined to keep working on you and transforming you into the masterpiece he intended for you to be from the very beginning. As life takes you down this winding lane, you need to remember to keep your faith in God’s master plan for your life because that plan was created specifically for you, for your unique circumstances.

 

It often takes a lot to keep believing against all odds, but it’s worth the effort. God’s plan for your life is all that matters, and in spite of the defining moment you might find yourself in right now, if you keep trusting in God’s plan and working in line with that plan, he will redefine your path and help you become the very best you can be. Just as the potter didn’t discard the damaged piece, God will not dispose of you. You mean too much to him.

 

 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

What I love about RedeemTV

 
 

It’s no secret that what you watch and read ultimately influences what you think. The way you think influences how you act and the way you work forms who you are. With access to all forms of entertainment via the internet and social media, our minds are continually being bombarded with messages that frequently conflict with who we want to be. We have to make the conscious effort to guard our minds with iron gates of self-control and only allow in content that influences our lives in the God-directed paths we desire to take. 

 

In today's world, it's sometimes a challenge to find family-type entertainment that we can watch comfortably in the living room, even as kids play around us without fear of the next scene on the screen. So when I found the free streaming channel by chance, I was super excited and decided to write about it. And why not? If I pay monthly for a streaming platform that I can't watch half of what's on it because the content is not pure-mind friendly, then I indeed can write about something I know can entertain and still bless your soul.

 

Here's my review on the Free Christian Online TV Station called Redeem TV, founded by Ken Curtis of Gateway Films. It's the Christian version of Netflix, and it is absolutely free to watch.  No ads, no pay per view, and no membership fees. The service is made possible by funds from donors, and you are encouraged to donate to keep the station going but not mandated to do so. To access sign up is required with an email and password. You can download the app on your phone, laptop, or Smart TV, and you can watch it from a web browser.

 

I love the fact that the platform highlights what’s new so you can keep a tab on recent releases. There are a couple of segments to help you find what you may be interested in. You can browse by Drama, Documentary, Children's programming, Biographies, Biblical films, Classics, Contemporary issues, to say a few. I have been enjoying this streaming goodness for two weeks now, and here is my shortlist of my personal favorites to get you started:

·      Vindication (Drama)

·      The Pilgrim’s Progress (Kids)

·      He Sends Rain (Drama)

·      Newton’s Grace (Biographies)

·      The Fall of Jericho (Biblical Films)

·      God’s Outlaw (Drama)

 

In the words of Solomon, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." Proverbs 4: 23 (NLT). To change the course of your life, you need to start with your mind. Make a decision today to only fill your mind with pure goodness and watch your life as it blossoms into the fullness of God's plan for you.

 

About Redeem TV

Redeem TV is a donor-supported, ad-free, streaming service with no fees which aims to provide edifying and redemptive visual media content for all ages. They offer over 1,500 quality dramas, documentaries, animated features, children’s favorites, episodic series, Bible studies and. Redeem TV is the latest effort of Vision Video, which has been distributing and producing Christian media content for many decades. Founded by Ken Curtis as Gateway Films in the early 1970’s with the purpose of distributing 16mm films to churches.  

  

Visit https://redeemtv.com/ to learn more