Essay: Strange Love

One has my name (the other has my heart), Nat King Cole

This song was originally released by Eddie Dean, and co-written by Eddie Dean, Hal Blair and Lorene Donnelly. It was later recorded by Jimmy Wakely, Jerry Lee Lewis, Nat King Cole, Willie Nelson and a host of other artists.

It is a track on one of Dad’s Nat King Cole albums — entitled’s Rambling Rose. I can still remember the sky blue sleeve and a picture of the young artist with a jolly smile on his face! I never got to hear the original version until much later, as a result Nat King Cole’s version will always have a special place in my heart. As the title goes, so does the tale. A man in dilemma between two women; one he was married to (has my name), the other he was in love with (has my heart).

What correlation has this got with matters of the spirit you might be wondering — well some theologians have described the bible as an epic love story. The story of a creator in love with His most precious creation — humankind. A love that leads to incarnation, birth and ultimately death for our sins. It can be encapsulated in these words from John’s gospel;

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In the Old Testament the Prophet Hosea was commanded to go and search for his long lost wife who had given herself to prostitution. Once she is found, re-new his vows towards her and forgive her of all the hurts, pain and shame she caused him. A symbolic gesture typifying God’s undying love towards us, even though we turn our backs on Him in pursuit of other gods — self, money, sex and power.

Perhaps the most inspiring account can be found in the book of Ruth… In the days of the Judges there was famine in Judah. A man named Elimelech, his wife (Naomi) and their two sons; Mahlon and Chillion decided to relocate to Moab in the hope of a better life. They settled into life in Moab, their sons got married; Mahlon to Ruth and Chillion to Orpah. Sadly Elimelech dies, to compound matters both sons also died, leaving Noami with her daughter-in-laws.

Amidst this all Naomi gets wind that the famine was over in Judah, so she decided to head back home in the hope that she might be able to cope better with her misery. To her surprise, Ruth and Orpah decided to go back with her. On getting to the major road leading to Judah, she said to them;

Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.

Both women wept aloud clinging unto Naomi. But after much persuasion, Orpah decided to return, she kissed her mother-in-law and said her goodbye with a very heavy heart. With Orpah gone, Naomi continued diplomatic talks with Ruth, but the lady was not for turning. Her eyes were fixed on Judah, her spirit would only be separated from Naomi’s in death — wow! In defiance, Ruth went on to make this profound statement;

Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.

On that note Naomi rested her case, Ruth had won, she was coming to Judah — and the rest is history. In Judah she got back far more than she bargained for – she was blessed beyond measure!

Every now and then human radicals emerge demonstrating strange manifestationsOrdinary people doing Extraordinary feats. You see friends, Orpah had the lord’s name, but Ruth — His heart. Ruth went far beyond the call of duty! She made a vow like Orpah, however she chose to esteem hers — even after her husband’s death. In the words of her great grand son;

As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you oh Lord

Little wonder how this woman ended up in the chronicles of time and the lineage of Jesus Christ.

~ Sabali

Essay: Snakes and Ladders

Flight, The Movie


Flight was released in 2012, starring Denzel Washington. The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards at the 85th Academy Awards, this includes Best Actor (Denzel Washington) and Best Original Screenplay (John Gatins).

 

Friends, lies are like snakes, they bite when we least expect and they bring us down. But like a ladder, the truth takes us to heights and domains beyond our wildest imagination!

 

Life’s lessons from the movie:

1. We can not substitute emotional or spiritual void(s) with drugs, sex, alcohol, money, power, fame, food etc. Denzel had perfected the art of lying about his drug and alcohol addiction for years. Externally he seemed okay, but spiritually he was bankrupt.

2. Be nice to people you meet along life’s journey as they might just be your saving Angel at some point in life. See below two examples from the movie;

  • One of the flight attendants always invited him to church. She also agreed not to testify that he drank the night before the crash.
  • The co-pilot did not testify about him being drunk on-board the flight either, but rather prayed for him to realise his purpose and destiny.

3. The truth will always set us free. Denzel could have lied about the Flight Attendant being the one who consumed the contents of two bottles of vodka found on-board the flight by the investigators. In fact this seemed the sensible option as she had a history of alcohol abuse and she was dead anyway. But no, he seized the opportunity to make amends with his spirit and soul. He set the record straight and embarked on a new life.

4. It takes fortitude and resolve to make positive lifestyle changes. These decisions can sometime cost us our “reputation”, “friends”, social and professional circle… The key is to keep our eyes on our goals with the understanding that we have to be in a well secured place in order to pull someone else from a pit. So after offering help to Denzel, Kelly decided to leave in spite of her feelings towards him. Although difficult initially, this was also a catalyst in Denzel’s change process.

The Rabbi once said:

For what does it profit a person if they succeeds in their pursuit/goal/ambition but loose or compromise their values, beliefs and conscience in the process?

~ Sabali

Essay: Epiphany…

A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something

One of many qualities that sets humankind apart from other living creatures is our ability to radically change the course of our lives.

A plant stays stationed within the sphere its planted all through its life span. As close as domestic pets are to humans, I have not seen any evidence of a radical change in their habits and instincts. All other animals have shown no significant sign of incremental development through knowledge transfer in comparison humankind’s.

From small changes to our daily routine or habits, to radical ones that lead to; healthier lifestyle, better relationships, or completely different vocational or career path.

And we have not stopped! From the Garden of Eden to; caves, huts, villages, cities and mega cities. We have defiled gravity with airplanes, conquered the seas with vessels, and space with rockets and satellites.

We are able to achieve all this because we posses the ability to ask questions, envision possibilities, process and pass on knowledge to our off-springs. Our quest for knowledge is the main catalyst for these epiphany moments.

Most change-makers encounter this experience at a crucial point in their hunger and thirst for answers to life’s questions, thereby leading to various degrees of change or re-orientation from their original path.

As a result, these people were able to challenge the status-quo and turn their world upside down. They challenged; stereotypes, cultural norms, traditions, ideologies, institutions, popular culture, life styles, political systems, theories, spirituality, science, authorities etc., compelling others to re-think their position and re-align their paradigms.

I firmly believe that this experience is not reserved for a handful of “special” people, but available to all seekers.

In The Rabbi’s own words;

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Wow…! In our quest for more, the gateway to Epiphanies is opened.

So friends, as we yield our lives for the greater good, we open our hearts and minds to sudden manifestations of the very essence or meaning of life.

~ Sabali

Essay: Life in Panorama

Considering the Context…

Listening to The Human Zoo (not the best title for creationists I know – chortle!), on BBC Radio 4, I realised that as well as willpower, our context is an equally important factor in making life changes.

So important that scientists worth their salt now consider it when conducting a research. So important that town planners now use it to nudge changes to lifestyle choices like obesity, cigarette smoking and even investment from businesses.

Our context include variables like our; current situation or circumstances, friends and colleagues, environment… Our context affects our disposition, therefore it should be added to the mix along with willpower and positive affirmations when considering life changes. Little wonder why Paul made this his closing remark to friends in Philippi millennia ago;

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – If anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Perhaps before we go charging up our willpower and rehearsing those positive affirmations, we simply need to make little tweaks to our current context?

Maybe that’s the missing link to that long anticipated breakthrough!

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~ Sabali

Essay: Conflicts of Interest…

What on Earth is happening?


Ever since the rebellion by Satan and the angels under his command, planet earth has remained the final frontier. The final frontier in the proxy war for the souls of humanity by beings from a far more advanced civilization.

These assaults are beyond human comprehension or imagination, the fiercest battle the universe has ever witnessed.

Famine and diseases, evil and suffering, typhoons and hurricanes, shifting tectonic planes leading to earthquakes, asteroids and meteoric missiles travelling at about 20,000 miles per hour… In the human mind the battle between; good and evil, the Holy Spirit and fallen human mind, selflessness and selfishness, faith and faithlessness…

Since both sides are interested in the affairs of Planet Earth, there had to be ground rules. The data from this perfectly controlled experiment has to be unbiased and free from Conflict of Interest in order for the results to be credible. The chiefest of these rules being humankind’s freedom to will and do — in other words, our gift of freewill.

Therefore interventions by any external agent will have to be in agreement by humans. Science, history, the Bible and even folklore have evidence of Alien interventions. Either force can be triggered by our allegiance to the laws governing each kingdom — light or darkness. For this thought, lets focus on the forces of light from a biblical and philosophical dimension.

For instance, the Bible records in the Book of Joshua that Joshua encountered a strange man (an Angel) with a sword in his hands just before the conquest of Jericho. When he asked this being to identify himself, he boldly declared that he had come as “the commander of the Lords army”. Then the Angel gave him clear instructions and strategies for his campaign against the city of Jericho.

In the second Book of Kings, we see the story of Prophet Elisha who had a knack for knowing and revealing the military strategies of enemy nations to the King of Israel. In frustration, an enemy King rounded up all his Generals for interrogation under the treason act. Amidst a highly charged sessions, one of the officers told him of Elisha’s unique ability. In rage he sent a host of army to camp about Dothan, where Elisha resided.

When Elisha’s protege went out in the morning, he saw the armies, in fear he asked his master, “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” Elisha replied, “Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them. And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Perhaps the most profound of these encounters can be found in the Book of Daniel. While the Israelites were in captivity under Babylonian and Persian dynasties, Daniel fasted and prayed at various times for the return of his people to their homeland.

During one of these protracted spiritual exercise, on the twenty-fourth day an Angel appeared to him with answers to his prayers and reasons for the delay. This passage provides us with snippets of these unseen battles. The Angel said;

“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

The first Angel was subdued by a Demon (The Prince of Persia) for twenty-one days before reinforcement(Michael, one of the Chief Princes) was sent to overcome the Demon and set him free to continue his mission — Wow… Star Wars Divine Edition! By the way, there are lots of other epic scale visitations and battles recorded in the bible — please read in your time.

Friends as with any research or experiment, sometimes we encounter anomalies. For this scenario these are individuals, people or circumstances; that go against the natural laws — paradigm shift. You find them in both camps, and every now and then they radically impact and transform the course of planet Earth.

But everything with a beginning must have an end, so the final show down happens when Jesus returns to Planet Earth with His Angels as the judge of the living and the dead. At that stage, the results of this pilot would be collected and analysed. The final conclusion and recommendations would be drawn and report submitted to the Master of the Universe for the harvesting of souls and victory celebration.

Those that refused to conform to the pressures of this world, and accepted his lordship over their lives will be transported to a new Planet to reign with Him. Sadly those that refused his reign will find a place with their master Satan in hell.

So, which side are you on? Better still, which side would you like to be? There seems to be no middle ground in this conflict my friends.

I was told the Angels rejoice whenever an individual changes course and joins the good camp!

Essay: A quest for more…

The Potter’s Hands, Hillsongs

Friends, I have come to realise that anything of transcending value comes with a high price. And with this thought in mind, let’s look at the life of the biblical character, Moses.

Born of Hebrew parents under the reign of a “short sighted” Egyptian King who saw the Hebrews as a national threat. As a result he carried out a policy of forced labour and also enacted a decree for the killing of any male child born of a Hebrew.

Moses’ mother was however “long sighted”, so she was able to see through her spiritual eyes that he was destined for greatness. She hid him for three months, thinking of how best to preserve his life. Then one day she encountered a eureka moment. She made a basket, coated it with tar and pitch, wrapped him up nicely, put him in the basket and left him on the river Nile.

She did it as an expression of her faith in The Potter’s ability to preserve, sustain and protect this seed of greatness. She sowed her son into The Potter’s Hands in the knowledge and understanding that the fruits of a harvest is always greater than the seed sown!

True to His nature, The Potter rose to the challenge. Baby Moses was discovered by the King’s sister. She adopted him, and went ahead to put out an advert for a nanny. And in The Potter’s classic orchestration, Moses’ mother applied for the job and she was successful. Wow…!

When Moses came of age he chose to give up a life of nobility to deliver his people from the yoke of pain, shame, poverty, oppression and slavery. He was so consumed with this mission that he made enemies within his adopted family, including his adopted Mother who loved him dearly. In fact many saw Moses as one biting the very hands that fed him.

After a brave but lousy attempt to deliver his people, he ended up in exile as a fugitive for forty long years. This period would have been very dark for him. There would have been off days. Times when doubt, regret, fear and insecurity crept in to gain a foothold on his mind.

Times when he questioned his decisions, values, faith, beliefs… Times when he looked back to the luxury he enjoyed and influence he exercised as the son of the daughter of Pharaoh.

But friends our darkest hour is always the period closest to our breakthrough. Sadly this is always the point where most people throw in the towel. They simply walk away from it all to settle for a “normal life”.

On an ordinary day while Moses was ruminating over life, he suddenly saw an extra-ordinary manifestation — The Potter had showed up! The rest is history.

Reading this beautiful biblical account, it’s amazing to see that Moses got back far more than he gave up. His patience and focus, was rewarded with a more purposeful and spiritually richer life.

One theologian encapsulates it in these words,

“ By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be ill-treated along with the people of God[The Potter] rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

I simple say — its marvelous what we can achieve when we put our lives and complete trust in The Potter’s Hands.