We all have purpose encoded in our being. Circumstances do not DEFINE, they REFINE who we really are. WHERE you are is not WHO you are. The cirumstances of your life do not determine the circumference of your influence. These thoughts ran through my mind as I reflected on Najat’s story. She was a shepherd in Morocco but today is a Minister of Education in France.
Many of us can relate to this. I have been there too. I just had a flashback to 1984. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. I will never forget one rainy day at our family farm in Juliasdale, Nyanga. Our Dad bought the farm in 1981 and every school holiday we would all go to the farm. My brother Livingstone and myself were looking after our flock of Merino sheep in the paddock. It was raining, thunder and lightning – scary for the young boys we were then in the overgrown summer grass. He was walking ahead and he looked back at me – he was crying silent tears and so was I. He didn’t say a word neither did I. It was tough. These were character defining moments for us. Today we look back at that and know that we were being shaped to know the discipline of work and to overcome adversity.
I want to encourage someone today – don’t judge your story by one chapter. God has not finished your story yet. It doesn’t matter what you have been through. It doesn’t matter what family or place you were born into – your purpose will locate you even from the pasture land like Najat or back end of the desert like David.
And now, finally, God ANSWERED Job from the eye of a violent STORM. He said:
Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? Pull yourself together, Job! Up on your feet! Stand tall! I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers. Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much! Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that! Who came up with the blueprints and measurements? Job 38:1-5
I write to the weary today. I speak to the weak. I encourage the desperate. I inspire the burdened. Whatever you are going through – don’t give up. God is in charge. Reading this passage from Job this morning I wept in my spirit. I wept because sometimes we fail to trust God. Even when everything is breaking APART around us, we forget that He holds it TOGETHER inside us.
1. In the eye of the storm God spoke to Job. In the middle of your challenge God will speak
2. Job expected ANSWERS. God asked him QUESTIONS.
3. When you dont UNDERSTAND the PROCESS…STAND UNDER the PROMISE
4. When the enemy brings a BREAKDOWN…God turns it into a BREAKTHROUGH
“A man … born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in” – Acts 3:2
I am a corporate troubleshooter. I make a living by solving organisational problems. I am trained to identify, analyze and solve problems. Without knowing what the real problem is, you can never get the solution right.
Reading the story of this lame man in Acts, I could tell that the man didn’t know what his real problem was. It is ironic that a man with an ‘ugly’ situation was always stationed by the Beautiful Gate. He begged for money when he should have sought healing. His problem was not hunger but being crippled. It took trouble shooter like Peter and John to solve this lingering problem.
A few insights:
1. You only solve a problem you know
2. A problem is not solved by osmosis – this man was by a Beautiful Gate yet he remained in an ‘ugly’ situation
3. For every problem there is a “Peter and John”. You need to identify your Peter and John
4. You don’t cure a headache with a bandage. Each problem has a specific solution
Be a problem solver!
A few months ago I planted strawberries and chilies next to each other. I called it the ‘Sweet ‘n Chili’ corner. Today I observed that the strawberries are fruiting and doing well. The chilies are struggling and dying.I began to reflect about the metaphor of life – the good and the bad run together; weeds and flowers grow together. Ultimately the good always prevails.
A few lessons:
1. The sweet will outshine the bitter
2. Bitterness will kill your fruitfulness
3. Life is a mixture of the good and the bad. The bad eventually becomes the manure in which the good will thrive.
Today focus on the good and the bad will disappear. Bad stuff doesn’t last long.
Enjoy this little poem I just wrote:
Let the sweet give your dreams some feet
Dont let the bad tie you to a bed
The sweet must give your heart a lift
The bad must never get to your head
I just watched the Chelsea-Manchester United soccer match. Manchester was the better side and they had the lion’s share of possession at over 70%. Yet they lost. Life is pretty much like that. The most educated, talented or articulate do not always enjoy the greatest success. A few insights:
1. If you are BORING and SCORING it’s okay.
People say Chelsea plays boring football yet Chelsea always scores and is on top of the league for the greater part of the soccer season
2. What you POSSESS does not always lead to SUCCESS.
Manchester had all the possession but they did not succeed. Chelsea converted their only shot on target into a goal. Life is about taking your chances.
Parting shot – David was not a Rambo when he faced Goliath. He only had a slingshot. How boring…but boy he could score. Goliath possessed weapons of mass destruction and was a decorated war general but he lost!
Biggest lesson is that always do what matters. Balloons and frills, bells and whistles don’t always win. Keep it simple but effective!
My cucumber in the greenhouse is now fruiting. I planted on the 14th of January. Each day I have to water, weed, aerate or fertilize. Life pretty much the same – you have to water to stay cool, weed distractions, aerate to stay fresh and fertilize to grow
A few more insights:
1. Every place has a specific grace. A greenhouse enables fruit to produce faster, bigger and cheaper
2. What you order you can control. The order in a greenhouse means you can control growth
“…I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent us on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then! So I’m asking that you give me this mountain ” Joshua 14: 10-12
At 85 Caleb didn’t ask for a valley, he asked for a mountain. At the time when many would rather be pressured, he was pressing in! A few insights:
1. Act your WAGE…not your AGE
2. Don’t count your days, make your days count
3. Define your life by the STRENGTH of your dreams not the LENGTH of your days
4. Never sell yourself cheap because you feel short. Think of what you can give, than what you can get. Your value add!
Go out today and get your mountain!