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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Excerpts from my book (GOD)

WEEK 1

One of the main pillars that has sustained and given me the strength to maintain a positive attitude in the midst of a negative and hope eroding atmosphere is my faith in God. Being in the journey of life has taught me the importance of attaching myself to the source of hope, the well of inspiration and the sustainer of life. What I am talking about is having a relationship with the Big Man upstairs. I know when I mention Him, what comes into the minds of many is religion. Well, let me help you, I grew up in a religious family, I was forced from a young age to go to church on Sunday mornings and for many years, I continued attending church without really seeing the relevance of it in my life.

As author, Laurence J. Peter rightfully puts it, “going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going to a garage makes you a mechanic.” What was happening every Sunday morning was just a religious ritual; my life remained the same in spite of my weekly attendances. And as the founder of communism, Karl Marx once said, “Religion is the opium of people”. In other words, religion is more like a drug that poisons the minds of those who indulge in it.

The problem with religion is that it has misled many by presenting God as a passive being who is less interested in what they are going through. Religion has further portrayed God as a sadist who delights in inflicting the world with suffering, sickness, death and destruction. According to religion, God employs situations like poverty, retrenchments, accidents, death in the family, diseases and hardships to teach people a lesson and to test their faith, when the truth is to the contrary (2 Timothy3:16-17 and James1:13). God is persistently seen as the inventor of pain and suffering. That is why whenever something bad happens; God is the first one to be blamed even when we know who the culprit is. It is quite ironic to hear mourners blaming God for the death of someone even when they know the cause of his demise. Religion has further turned God into a scapegoat for all of the world’s ills, whether it is the passing away of a family member, accidents, tornados, tsunamis, diseases, recession and any other evil thing that befell mankind. God has always been perceived as the face behind the pain of humanity.

I remember the day I was requested to speak in a prayer meeting in Mamelodi for a family whose son was slain. The family was distraught by this tragic incident. So, in an effort to comfort them in their grief, various speakers stood up to offer their condolences. Many spoke about God’s love and His mysterious ways. They mentioned among others that God was the one who orchestrated the boy’s exit (death) from the world because He wanted him to come home (heaven). The family was encouraged to trust in God and not to question His sovereign will. I kept wondering whilst listening to the speakers, of how this brokenhearted family could be expected to trust in a God, whom as they say, was the source of their pain, to me this was just a contradiction. So, when my time came to speak, I told the family that God was not responsible for their pain but the people who murdered their son. I reminded them that people who commit murder are usually arrested and jailed for their deeds. I further mentioned that there was no judge in the world who will acquit a murderer who claims he was send by God to maim others in the name of fulfilling His will. I concluded by saying, man and not God was responsible for their loss.

It is funny that our prisons are full of people who were convicted for crimes; religion has blamed it on God. It is a paradox to blame God for diseases and adverse weather conditions, when the source of all these problems has been proven scientifically. The world is hurting today because of the different religions that are warring for supremacy. What mankind is ignorant to, is the fact that God is not interested in religion but in having a relationship. After all religion is man’s own understanding about God while a relationship is God revealing himself to mankind? Thus, the bible teaches us that God is a father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) and our father in heaven (Matthew 6:9) God also wants to be our friend, just as He was to Moses (Exodus 33:11) and Abraham (Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23).

What I am communicating to you is not religion but developing a relationship with God. It is of utmost importance to note the difference between the two. For instance, religion is characterized by intimidation, bondage, stagnancy, confusion, arguements, traditions, complexities, arrogance, intolerance, ignorance, fear, immaturity, rules, rigidity, manipulation, judgment and too much control. While a relationship is based on submission, love, humility, simplicity, understanding, faith, redemption, free will, reconciliation, accountability, flexibility, truth, growth and progress. What is sad is that throughout history, God has been battling to free mankind from a mentality of being religious to an understanding of having a relationship with Him. One of the great teachers of all time, Jesus Christ was hounded during his earthly ministry by religious leaders who felt that his message of having a relationship with God was contrary to their religious beliefs. This led to him being crucified since the religious leaders of those days could not stomach an idea of man having a father-son relationship with the almighty God. To them everything sounded as blasphemy. What they didn’t notice is that God wants us to recognize His love, relevance and the active role He desires to play in our lives.

As long as you can breath

As long as you can breath, you can dream. As long as you can breath, you can walk in hope. As long as you can breath, you can believe God for your impossible looking breakthrough. As long as you can dream, you can pursue your career. As long as you can breath, you can turn your life around. As long as you can breath, you can change for the better. As long as you can breath, you can fall in love again. As long as you can breath, you can built your desired future from the debris of your painful past. As long as you can breath, you can see what you have been wishing for turning into reality. As long as you can breath, you can visualize your healing and restoration. As long as you can breath, you can move from your struggles to your desires. As long as you can breath, you can walk expecting good things to come your way. As long as you can breath, you can bury your painful past and give birth to your exciting future.

The sun rises inspite of

The sun rises up every morning whether it's dark, cloudy and windy. The sun rises up whether we like it or not. The sun rises up because it was programmed to do so. The sun rises up because nature needs it.. The sun rises up because it has the ability to do so. Just like the sun, you need to rise up from the dark clouds of your hardships. You need to rise up from the background of negativity. You need to rise up from your painful experiences. You need to rise up from your scars. You need to rise up from unforgiveness. You need to rise up from your excuses. You need to rise up from other people's opinions. You need to rise up from your mistakes. You need to rise up because you have been created for success. You need to rise up because there is an untapped wealth of ideas and plans within you. You need to rise up because there is something you need to share with the world. You need to rise up because you are pregnant with destiny. You need to rise up because you have a story to tell. You need to rise up because the world is waiting for your contributions. You need to rise up because you can.

The sun rises inspite of

The sun rises up every morning whether it's dark, cloudy and windy. The sun rises up whether we like it or not. The sun rises up because it was programmed to do so. The sun rises up because nature needs it.. The sun rises up because it has the ability to do so. Just like the sun, you need to rise up from the dark clouds of your hardships. You need to rise up from the background of negativity. You need to rise up from your painful experiences. You need to rise up from your scars. You need to rise up from unforgiveness. You need to rise up from your excuses. You need to rise up from other people's opinions. You need to rise up from your mistakes. You need to rise up because you have been created for success. You need to rise up because there is an untapped wealth of ideas and plans within you. You need to rise up because there is something you need to share with the world. You need to rise up because you are pregnant with destiny. You need to rise up because you have a story to tell. You need to rise up because the world is waiting for your contributions. You need to rise up because you can.

The Womb

What didn't kill you was surely meant to equip and empower you. Life is a journey, a journey that is sometimes hard to fathom. Because along the way there are incidents, situations and experiences that will challenge your faith, derail your destiny, abort your dreams and swallow up your positive energy and enthusiasm. This is the womb stage of life. A stage dominated by the overwhelming depressing thoughts of hardships, scars of abuse, headache of unanswered questions and flooding tears of betrayal. All these encounters even though painful are not meant to imprison but to propel you forward. You can learn amongst others from a womb of debts, broken relationships, retrenchment, lack, rejection and failure. And although you may sometimes feel like a dying hospitalized patient suffering from an incurable disease, just hang in there. Because what doesn't kill you will surely empower you. What doesn't kill you will surely propel you to your destiny. What doesn't kill you will surely lead to the people who are carrying the missing pieces of your jigsaw puzzle. What doesn't kill you will turn you into being a better and not bitter person. What doesn't kill you will usher you to your dreams and desires. Remember you are in a womb, a temporary place of development. A place that requires you to push until something happens.

Don't look back, look ahead

When your memory is full of sadness and your life is covered with scars of abuse and pain, don't look back look ahead. When tears start rolling from your face and your struggles seem to be overwhelming you, don't look back look ahead. When people walk away from you and some even betray your trust, don't look back look ahead. When your faith is shaking and your hope seem to be dying like a candle light, don't look back look ahead. When stagnancy seems to be your first name and disappointment, your surname, don't look back look ahead. When fear is screaming at you and negative thoughts seem to be the dominant force in your life, don't look back look ahead. There is still more ahead than where you come from. There are great people ahead than the ones who left. There are showers of smiles, blowing breeze of love, joy and fulfillment and the sweet melody of success. So, look ahead and not backwards. Visualize your desired future and don't even look back and take a picture of your past. Look ahead at your future dreams and not at the nightmares of your past. Drive forward don't even think of putting your life in a reverse gear. As you look ahead the past will disappear behind you and the future will suddenly appear before you. Your prison of pain, debts, lack and discouragement will eventually be replaced by the palace of joy, abundance and inspiration. Don't look back look ahead. What has happened has happened and what has never happen will happen. What you have been building will eventually be completed. What you have been dreaming of is about to come to pass. Look ahead and not backwards.

Because tomorrow is coming

Your yesterday may be painful, your today may be depressing but your tomorrow is exciting. Raise your expectations. Because tomorrow is coming.Tomorrow is pregnant with possibilities. Tomorrow is a handkerchief that will wipe away your tears. Tomorrow is make-up artist that will give you a new look. Tomorrow is the sun that will bring light to your darkened life. Look ahead with optimism. Because tomorrow is coming. Tomorrow is pregnant with destiny. Tomorrow contains answers to your innumerable questions. Tomorrow has solutions to your problems. Because tomorrow is coming. Where you used to be and where you are is about to change into being where you want to be, because tomorrow is coming. Your sad face is about to change into a smile. Your challenges are about to become channels of breakthrough. Your struggles are about to become stairs of progress. Because tomorrow is coming. Don't give up on your dreams. Don't stop believing. Don't stop hoping. Don't stop asking. Don't stop trying. Because tomorrow is coming.

Excerpts from my book (introduction)

As my point of departure, I would like to borrow the following thought provoking words from the world celebrated author and television evangelist, Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes. “Life is a roller coaster. Life is not a straight line between two points. It has many twists and turns, peaks and valleys, pinnacles and ravines. It has many elevations.”

Life is full of contradictions. Looking at it is like having a coin on the palm of your hand, because there are two sides to everything that you see on the earth’ surface. The world is inhabited, amongst others, by the affluent and poverty stricken; the dejected and energized; the employed and unemployed; pessimists and optimists; procrastinators and doers; the slothful and industrious; players and spectators; critics and admirers, the abusive and caring, quitters and fighters, employers and employees; the brave and fearful; the astute and stupid; leaders and followers, the patient and impatient; the ordinary and extra-ordinary and the victims and victors. I can go on and on, but what you need to know is that all of us belong to either one of these camps. It is up to you to decide in which group you wish to belong.

It is important to know that you possess the means within and around you to reposition yourself from where you are to where you are aspiring to be and from being ordinary and depressed to being extra-ordinary and exciting. Keep in mind that your current life is a product of your previous choices, and your future position will be determined by your existing thoughts, habits and decisions. Life is like a road with lots of signposts and it is what you do with the signposts that will determine your destiny.

As you go through this book, I would like you to take note of the following points: Being positive is neither an event nor a quick fix solution. But it is a journey, a mindset, a habit, a life-style and an exercise that requires incessant practice, because along the way you are going to encounter portholes of betrayal, stop signs of failure, road blocks of disappointments, congested traffic of delays, off ramps of uncertainty, traffic lights of discouragement, speed humps of criticism, cul-de-sac of hopelessness and isolated gravel roads of obscurity. But by remaining positive, you will find the tunnel that passes through this mountain of obstacles.

This book contains nuggets that are meant to serve as signposts that will help you to navigate through the traffic of negativity, limitations, fear and hopelessness. I hope and trust that the nuggets in this book will challenge you to rise from the grave of your past to the palace of your dreams. Please note that there is nothing new under the sun, even the information in this book may be familiar to you, but what really matters in life is not what you know but what you do with what you know. Therefore employ these nuggets as stairs towards the podium of greatness and as keys to unlock the doors that have kept you from living the life of your desires.

It is possible to live a positive life in a negative world. If you don't think so, then follow me and I will introduce you to people who have learned to turn their lemons into lemonades by deciding to be positive in the midst of negative and discouraging situations. Let us take a journey of unearthing the desires of our hearts and burying the frustrations and disenchantments of the past. There is something exciting on the other side of your struggles. The light is shining at the end of your tunnel of hardships and tears. There is a silver lining at the end of your dark clouds of hopelessness and pain. Keep walking; keep believing for there is a valley of fulfillment, success and peace of mind ahead of you. Remember, everything under the sun has an expiry date including your current challenges.
(Being Positive In A Negative World: Spiced Weekly Nuggets)





You are in a tunnel and not a prison

When life suddenly becomes tough and hope is eroded from your vocabulary. Just hang in there, for you are in a tunnel and not a Prison. When your troubles becomes an ever increasing mountain and your faith is replaced by fear, just hang in there, for you are in a tunnel and not a Prison. When your eyes are filled with tears and pain seems to be your every day companion, just hang in there. You are in a tunnel and not a Prison. When disappointments show up and your dreams look impossible. Just hang in there. You are in a tunnel and not a Prison. When debts keep mounting and your income start shrinking. Just hang in there. You are in a tunnel and not a Prison. When you feel lonely and everybody seems to be walking away from you. Just hang in there, for you are in a tunnel and not a Prison. A tunnel is better than a Prison because it has a beginning and an end. A tunnel may be unbearable but it is not permanent. A tunnel may be dark but it has light at the end of it..A tunnel is a passing phase. A tunnel leads to destiny. A tunnel brings progress to those who walk through it.. At the end of a tunnel there is joy, fulfillment and success. So, wherever you are right now and whatever you are going through, just remember you are in a tunnel and not a Prison. So, keep crawling until you see the light. Keep believing until your dream is fulfilled.

I Choose

I Choose to be positive when everything around me is negative. I Choose to walk in hope when everything around me is screaming hopelessness. I Choose to love where hatred seems to be the best option. I Choose to forgive when unforgiveness is screaming loudly in my head. I Choose to believe God when everything looks doubtful. I Choose to visualize my dreams when depression wants to drown me. I Choose to celebrate myself when everybody is rejecting me. I choose to be a victor even though I may have scars of a victim. I Choose to walk away from the past even though the future may look uncertain. I Choose to soldier on even when the odds are stacked against me. I Choose to get better from a situation that was supposed to breed bitterness within me. I choose to learn and not to complain in the midst of a bad situation. I Choose to learn and not to regret my experiences. I Choose to stand up no matter how many times I have been knocked down by life. I Choose to cheer myself up no matter how many times I have been disappointed. I Choose to wipe my tears and smile again no matter how many times I have been hurt. I Choose to be a winner when defeat seems to be the obvious end result. I Choose to succeed when everybody is gunning for my demise. I Choose whatever I want to be because I am a builder of my dreams and not the resident of my struggles. I Choose to keep trying no matter how many times I failed. I Choose to keep knocking no matter how many doors have been slammed in my face. I Choose to choose because life is about choices.