Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The power of choice

Most of us don’t realise how fortunate we are that God gave us this power of Choice and hence we don’t use it to our benefit most if not all times.
Fred Kofman say’s you can choose to be a player or a victim in any situation in life, both sides have truth and facts to back them, except they are just one side of the whole reality. He gives an example of how most of us will respond to are simple question: why are you late for work/date/meeting?
Option one: The most obvious response will be, I was held up in another meeting, or I was stuck in traffic, my car broke down, my child did ABC etc.
Option two: The truth could be that we overslept, started off late, or decided to stay in a meeting that went over time.
He calls option one: “things you have no control over” and option two: “things you have control over.”
Most of us take the default position of option one because it makes us look innocent and we don’t have to take the blame, but what we are doing in this situation is that we are giving up control. This makes us by default the victim in any situation and hence we are likely to fail or not realise our full potential. We will not put any effort, since as a victim people are supposed to understand why you didn’t achieve or pass an exam; it is not your fault. We then settle for mediocrity all the time.
But if we decided to choose option two, taking control and responsibility, we are more likely to act on our situation and improve it. We will be able to get up and dust ourselves and move on towards our goal.
I will now delve to apply this to situation that Shevach Pepper a marriage counsellor has suggested: a case of being married to a depressed spouse.
You can decide to leave the marriage and say you left because your spouse was depressed and that is true. You will not lose anything (except time and emotion you invested while in it) but you will also not get anything. But you can also choose to stay; he says you can benefit a lot more. He gives 3 things that can happen to you if you decided to stay and stand by your depressed spouse.
Firstly, when you are with a depressed spouse you became proactive, hands on, you get your act together and are efficient because you have to do more roles that you would have done. In fact in a traditional African marriage if your wife is performing her cultural roles, as a man you might not even learn how to boil an egg, but if you stick to your wife, you may learn how to cook, get things going at home, prep kids for school, learn time management and how to effectively use your time and resources which you many have otherwise not learnt if the system was working well. We must remember that “necessity is the mother of all inventions.”
Secondly, you will also likely become creative or get your creative self switched on. You can start doing activities that call upon your creative self such as writing and painting. You also became a very romantic person and creative about your actions towards your spouse. You will try a lot of things to change environments and situations to make your spouse happy and help them get over their depression and find meaning to life. This will benefit you. JK Rolling of that Harry Potter fame started writing when she was on her lowest point in life you never know what you might became if you decide to not be a victim.
Lastly, you are likely to also become more spiritual and self less. You will get joy in the smiles and “Thank You’s” that you receive from spouse in appreciation of what you do for them. Even in extreme cases where they will not say thank you, your love for them will evoke a self less love that is driven by the moral right to do something good and nice regardless of whether we get any benefit from the action. That is the ultimate spiritual level, being selfless and exhibiting pure genuine kindness. You will also learn to be long suffering and patient.
These 3 things and many more will benefit you in many sectors of your life, career, business, social etc.
But the choice is yours, I would not be prescriptive on what you need to do but, I urge you to have the motto that Apostle Paul had, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and decide not be a victim but a player.

Have a lovely week  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Who is a MAN?

adapted from  Chewe Chisanga Simwambana
A man is the most beautiful part of God’s creation who starts compromising at a very tender age.

He sacrifices his chocolates for his sister.

He sacrifices his dreams for just a smile on his parents face.

He spends his entire pocket money on buying gifts for the girl he loves just 2 see her smiling

He sacrifices his full youth for his wife & children by working late at night without any complaint.

He builds their future by taking loans from banks and repaying them for lifetime.

He struggles a lot & still has two bear scolding from his mother, wife & boss.

His mother, wife & boss all try to control him.

His life finally ends up only by compromising for others happiness.

Respect every male in your life.You will never know what he has sacrificed for you.

Lessons from john the Baptist

Key text John 3:27
AMP “John answered, A man can receive nothing [he can claim nothing, he can take unto himself nothing] except as it has been granted to him from heaven [a man must be content to receive the gift which is given him from heaven, there is no other source]”
NIV “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven”
What is it that you have and have you realized that has ONLY come from heaven and that it is a gift?
Family, spouse, Job/employment/occupation/business, house, health, skills etc
Have you been thankful and thanked God for it?
John the Baptist was the one who had a special message from God to prepare the people for Christ’s first coming, to preach and ask for repentance among the believers (Jews), he was the first one to baptize.
As individuals and as a church how do we react when we are the only ones who have exclusive information or knowledge about something? Are we humble or proud? Do we use this position to oppress others?
As for John he preached mightily the gospel he had and was very stern in the warning, bordering on being harsh (calling Pharisees as a brood of vipers). He was true to his calling are you?

John teaches us that the laborers can rest (die but the work continues). God’s work is never dependant on one person, it is meant for a lot of people to share the work, so you must not feel bad when your time to stop work is up. 

Lessons from Christ's Step Father- Joseph

Text: Matthew 1:18-19 (NIV) "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly."
In the beautiful story of the miracle birth of Christ, One of the key characters, Joseph is often over looked and Mary seems to be the one in the spotlight. Not that I want to remove anything from Mary, but I think Joseph equally did a lot of things and we can learn some things from his character.
From the text we find Joseph in a very difficult situation that required him to make a painful and tough decision.
The first option he had was to expose Mary and according to the law (Deuteronomy 22:23-24) she would be stoned to death. That was lawful.
The second option that was less drastic was to divorce her secretly, that was also allowed. He would then start his life afresh without Mary.
But he did neither!
The action that Joseph took revealed among other things 3 character traits that we can learn from.
The first one is that, Joseph exhibited righteousness by his desire to please God rather than do what was legally allowed. He yielded to higher calling, and we too must at all times consider what God's will is even when we are legally allowed to take a certain course of action.
The second is that he showed a deep compassion and sensitivity toward Mary. In spite of the eminent humiliation he would have been exposed to if the community discovered that Mary was pregnant with someone's child, he had concern for Mary. He empathized with her situation and chose not disgrace her publicly.
The third is his obedience to God. When was instructed by angel of God, he obeyed without question. He supported her all the way even when it appears he did not have a lot of wealth, he put in his all.
I think we should emulate this wonderful example set by Joseph when we are face with situations that don't go according to plan in our families and lives.

I pray that God can give us wisdom and power to achieve this!


And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
(Exo 31:1-3 KJV)

Aim of Christian/ Adventist education is prepare people for this world (mission or ambassadors of God) and also for the heavenly kingdom
We need to develop children who are like these biblical characters
And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.
(1Sa 2:26 KJV)
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
(Luk 2:40 KJV)

So Christian education must have the following
There is a mission, to work for God in this world
Bezaleel’s mission was to help build the tabernacle or sanctuary
Bezaleel  :Means in the shadow/protection of God
Steps/ key aspects of Christian education
There must be a Calling and without saying an Isaiah-iac response to the call. “here am Lord send me”
Recognising that you are called among the many to be a special person for this mission
When you respond to the call, you will be converted and filled with the Spirit of God, the power to do God’s will
KNOWLEDGE: information, facts, data, without interpretation or application is nothing but useless. The importance of it is that with it you cannot make what is known as an informed decision, in order not to make fool of yourself in decision making both for this life and the life to come, knowledge especially about God is very important. Even faith comes but hearing the word (knowledge/ information) about God
WISDOM:  it that which is not foolishness, foolishness is saying there is no God. It is also the ability to assess people or situations accurately. This is God given or Holy Spirit driven.  It is a combinational application (not sum) of knowledge, understanding and skill driven by the will of God through the Holy Spirit.
UNDERSTANDING: showing careful consideration or attention long-suffering
ALL MANNER OF WORKMANSHIP: Skill: ability, proficiency, knack, competence, aptitude
We must distinguish skill from talent (endowment, gift)
It is possible to have a talent but fail to excel of you don’t develop it. So skill could be seen as talent developed

It is a combination of all these aspects that make one educated in the biblical sense

Zambia's Tangled Webs and Flows | Think Africa Press

Zambia's Tangled Webs and Flows | Think Africa Press