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Have you lost your mind?

Charity helplines receive a surge of calls during this period as people are reminded how far away their lives are from their childhood dreams. There are unhappy people around us this festive season. Some have put away their sadness and are tapping into the joy that surrounds them. Some are putting on a facade of excitement and happiness.¬† Some are unhappy just because they don’t know any other emotion. Life hasn’t been kind to them. There’s no real reason to celebrate. They’re broke and couldn’t afford presents. They are alone and have no one around them.

I want to suggest a few things to be thankful for.

You are alive.

You have at leat some body parts that function. Most people have the majority of their bodies working quite well.

You are in your right mind (at least most of the time!)

Being in your right mind means you can make a sensible decision.

The whole idea of Christmas is not so much to be happy for the season, eat turkey and get drunk only to return to misery. It is actually quite bitter-sweet in that a baby was born to be sacrificed, just so you will have a life of pure joy. While Jesus died to save us from going to hell, he also died so we could live a hell-free life on earth. You are not actually meant to be miserable, whereby you are simply waiting for it all to end so you can “rest in the bosom of our Lord”. Your life on earth is to be filled with joy, victory and peace. Jesus said; “In this world you will experience difficulties, but take heart I have overcome the world” John 16:33, the message bible. If you are having difficulties then you have proof that the words of Christ are true. He knew there would be an increase in knowledge and advancements in technology which could ‘potentially make life easier’ but he still said you will experience many difficulties. He knew. He knew you’ll be where you are right now. He also said he came that we may have life abundantly.

If you just read this, then you are in your right mind. Make a sensible decision and choose Christ today.

If you want to know more about becoming free through Jesus, please send an email to: ppuk11@gmail.com

You can read more Christ centered musings at https://inspiremeinc.wordpress.com

Haiti

I¬†cried today. Not outwardly although¬†my face looked sad and pensive and¬†I shed a tear or two,¬†but I was hysterical on the inside and¬†I don’t think I’m done yet . I’m not sure which of the storylines or images I consider to be the worst. The newborn baby with lacerations on her head made me want to leave my family¬†to go bring her home. I have a name for her already- several even.

The 11 year old girl- no, let’s make that the 10 year old boy called Aaron, my first son whose leg was trapped under the rubble. The grandmothers wailing in the streets. The man who is thankful to have lost everything but¬†his life. The growing pile of bodies, some of them look like they are not dead but sleeping, albeit with dirt on their faces. Perhaps I don’t know what death looks like.¬†Children’s legs. Children’s legs? They are meant for running and skipping while still attached to a¬†vibrant body. Children’s legs are not meant to be disconnected or¬†poking out lifelessly from underneath the broken beams of fallen¬†buildings. ¬†There’s a man pushing a coffin on a wheelbarrow, they keep showing him, I wonder if it’s the same clip that’s being re-run, or several trips made by the same man. This is what I see.

And this is what¬†I imagine.¬†People going about their business at 4:53pm, suddenly and without warning, unimaginable disaster strikes.¬† Four days and counting¬†they are still hoping¬†their loved ones will be recovered. Mothers looking at their dead babies torture themselves as they wonder¬†how much pain their children went through before they finally died.¬†Men drifting back into the past wishing there was no future. The past is defined as any period prior to the earthquake, the place where peace used to reign. The earthquake is far from over since their lives are still quaking. The aftershocks will come soon but only¬†as the¬†clean up progresses.¬†It is¬†after then the people can finally say; “yesterday, there was a terrible earthquake….”

Items¬†like nutrition bars, candles, clothing, sheets¬†and blankets can be sent to the address below. Blankets are to keep people warm at night and sheets to wrap the dead bodies.¬†There are some links at the bottom of this post for cash donations. Beware of clicking to hoax donation sites, I haven’t heard of any yet but it has happened in the past. Stay safe and stick to Red Cross, Oxfam, Yele, etc. You can also click on links¬†from major TV networks.

Thank you for reading, stay blessed.  

 http://www.yele.org/about-us/

British Red Cross

Disaster Emergency Fund

From Sunday 17th January Items can be dropped off at:

Adrienne Arsht Center
1300 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132-1608

Death’s Sting

Jim Rohn passed away on Saturday.¬†I didn’t know the man personally, I never met him but I would recognize his voice if I heard him speak because¬†¬†I listen to him regularly thanks to my small collection of audio CDs. Jim was a motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, author, philosopher etc. He was funny and witty and genuinely wanted to touch people’s lives by constantly staring them toward success, and he did. I think he knew Christ but I’m not certain, I hope so.
I guess that’s what started to bother me. He lived a full life and died at 79. He impacted millions of people’s lives. As at last night there were nearly 4,000 names on his tribute page- that’s a lot in three days!

The last time a death¬†disturbed me was Michael Jackson’s. And the time before that was a former schoolmate’s that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. Unlike many of my school friends, Jide wasn’t one of those I got reunited with. As a matter of fact I never actually thought of him at all, there was no real reason to. But when I heard that he passed away suddenly I was perturbed to say the least. It bothered me because I knew he wasn’t the most popular kid in school, so of course I started to wonder what life as an adult was like for him. You may already¬†know about my hyperactive imagination. Armed with memories of over 20 years ago I began to carve out Jide’s life for him- it was a sad one too, not that I wanted it to be but that was how my mind chose to weave his story. The story carried on from how¬†unhappy he was¬†that he wasn’t the coolest kid with the coolest nickname. Do bear in mind that the boy never told me this, it is all the workings of an animated psyche. For all I know he could have been the happiest kid around! Then I began to feel really guilty that he had this unhappy life. I felt bad when I learned that he even lived in the same city as I did for years. It got worse¬†as I faced up to the fact that if I had found out that we lived near each other I probably wouldn’t have bothered to visit him. But all was forgotten when I was told he knew the Lord! I was also assured that he had no lack of friends.

Here’s my conclusion:¬†No¬†matter how full or how empty one’s life turns out to be, what¬†is truly lasting¬†is the positive¬†impact you make on others’. To have 4000 mourn you in a couple of days¬†is no small feat especially without being a rock star. And no matter what impact you make on their lives, there is no impact greater than staring others in the direction of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. In the same vein our knowledge of Christ should lead us to have fulfilled lives so that if we do die empty,¬† it will be because we gave away so much and not because we had Christ lacking. I pray that you live long and full and die empty.

www.punkinpatch.co.uk

www.punkin-patch.com

Balloon Boy 2

After my last post on Balloon Boy, I felt a pang of guilt as I had judged the family without any evidence. It didn’t help that a Christian channel had portrayed them as innocent- at least they didn’t suggest that The Heenes were guilty of fraud. Afterall¬†the only thing¬†we had to go on was the body language experts analysing of the size of the sweat beads and how fast¬†they fell from Mr Heene’s forehead.

Well all my fears were laid to rest today (or was it yesterday?) when Mrs Heene admitted to the incident being a hoax. I still feel sorry for them for as Michael commented they were driven to desperation. I agree. Desperation can drive one to do all sorts of things which is why as I raise my kids I enforce boundaries around them. Even on days where they are perfectly well-behaved, I don’t say yes to everything they request- harmless requests included. Like today child #3 asked for cookies. There was nothing wrong with the timing, it was midday. He was neither full-up nor¬†hungry but he had¬†eaten so it was actually prime time for cookies. Plus he was well-behaved (relatively).¬† But I said no. He asked why and¬†I explained to him that in life you don’t get everything you want.

He did get the cookie later, but only after I had made sure there was no sulking and he was happy not to have¬†received it. It is very hard to pull that one on toddler J. He would scream the house down and I hate noise- all kinds. Perhaps what I should do is say “no” and run outside so I don’t hear his cries.

My prayer is that I raise my children to have a realistic view of life and an unwavering faith in God. That way the chance of ever being analysed by body language experts remains nill to nada.

He loves me!!!

Ps 139 has become one of my favorite passages of scripture. It talks about God’s perfect love for man. I love the part that says; “your thoughts towards me are precious- so many, more than the sands”. Each of God’s¬†thoughts towards us is precious. Each one of those precious thoughts is like a grain of sand- more than all the sand in the world. So that even if you could count all the grains of sand in the world, God’s precious, loving thoughts towards us is more than that. (v17, 18)

Another verse¬†says; “you have hedged me behind and before,¬†and such knowledge is too wonderful for me (v5, 6). Even if I make my bed in hell,¬†you are there”. God is ALWAYS with us, even if I make my bed in hell, he is there (v8)

Dear Jesus, I thank you so much for loving me and hedging me in with your love and presence. I thank you because I am no longer in darkness. And if I were in darkness the darkness would be light to you, (v11, 12) so I am never, ever hidden from your view. Every thought you think towards me is precious. There are no angry thoughts, or thoughts of disappointment, malicious, irritating or negative thoughts. Only good precious thoughts (Jer 29:11). The reason there are no negative thoughts is because your ways are not my ways and your thoughts compared to mine are higher, even than the heavens (Isaiah 55:8). For that, I bless you- always.

Love, Toks

Life, Actually

The common cold. It sure ain’t common to me, especially as it knocked me for 6 yesterday. You may have read an earlier post where I chronicled my pet peeves. Sore throat I think was number 3 on the list. It is a simple ailment that everyone gets from time to time, but when Toks gets it, it is no longer so simple. It affects my mood. It affects my energy levels. It keeps me irritated. It ensures I look only to self, thinking that self is going through the ringers, all for a sore throat. I want to stop ALL activity, hide under the covers and place myself on propofol (tasteless I know, couldn’t resist).

It is the same way with a pebble in your shoe. You have a head (hopefully just one), shoulders, arms, knees, feet and everything else. Yet one pebble touching just one of your ten toes on one of your two feet, which is one of your many body parts can cause you to stop your journey, sit down and work at dislodging that pebble.

A similar scenario is this journey called life. An annoying pebble finds it’s way into our grand big plans and throws us off course, causing us to sit still and take the time to make the journey less tedious. Sadly by the time the pebble is removed, we’ve missed the bus of opportunity. We catch another one but it takes us somewhere else, not to our dream destination but an alternative- one that “will do”. Some even forfeit the journey altogether¬†and go back home, to the job they hate or the relationships that hinder.

Meanwhile there are those other travellers who are just like us  but in unlike some of us they have no shoes and are used to walking on, in and around pebbles. Every step they take is bound to be taken on pebbles. Yet they keep going because they know they will get there and they also want to, at any cost. And they arrive at their desired destination reaping the rewards that come with persistence and hardwork.

Can you ignore the pebble in your shoe today? It will not kill you. I ignored my sore throat for what might possibly be the first time in my life yesterday because I am self-employed and can’t afford to take time off work. I actually survived the day, surprise, surprise! Yesterday came and went, I worked through it all and today I am fine. I shall not spend the evening even thinking about buses I’ve missed. Thank God for countless second chances in Christ.

What’s your pebble?