The amazing colour run

We don’t have lots of events or functions in our little town. We don’t even make the news every week. But yesterday the local Christian School organized a day full of all kinds of entertainment. They kicked off with a colour run. You know, one of those fun run’s where you get doused with powdered paint at strategic points and in the end everyone looks like a rainbow.

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I was going to walk the 5km but eventually the rest of my family decided to take part and I graciously offered to look after the shop while they were running. Of course they would finish way faster than me because they actually run. (And by saying I did it graciously it sounds much less like an excuse!) Yesterday morning I was at the shop and I had dealt with all the issues that required my attention when I decided to drive up the road and photograph my family as they ran past. My intention was to take a few quick pics and go back to the shop. I ended up staying till the last participant had passed that point.

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What I saw was nothing short of amazing. There were some runners who were athletes and they competed for a place or for a personal best. Then there were children who took part just to finish. They weren’t really worried about placings. They just had fun. A group of ladies who are part of a weight-loss club took part and looked so happy. There was a father jogging with his little daughter. It was so awesome to see the support he gave her. Another mom and dad took turns carrying their toddler on their back’s or shoulders.

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There as a lady in a wheel chair that was pushed all the way. Her friends were with her all the way and they were so joyful. Nothing was going to stop them from participating. Little kids screwed up their faces when the colourful powdered paint was tossed towards them. Others tied bandanas over their faces. It was such fun.

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The thing that stuck me the most though, was that my husband who recently turned 60, came running by holding the hand of a little girl of 8. The two of them covered more than half the course hand-in-hand. He was supporting her, but she was unwittingly supporting him too. She was supporting him by giving him the chance to be an example and show people what its all about to reach out to others. The picture just made me think of how we are here on earth to help one another and to carry each other’s burdens. We aren’t supposed to be just looking after our own interests. We are supposed to esteem other’s higher than ourselves.

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Philippians 2:3-4 : Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Do we know how to esteem others higher than ourselves? Do we know how to look out for the interests of others? Do we believe the media when they tell us to put number one first and look after ourselves? Or, do we look for someone who is struggling, take their hand and run with them?

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Offence

There’s a word I’m looking for to describe what I feel right now. Happy, glad, thankful and grateful just won’t cut it. I’ll just have to go with thankful. I am so thankful God isn’t like me. In the Bible it says we should be more like God.
Ephesians 5:1,2 – “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us …”
So we have to be imitators of God. In other words study the Bible to see what God does and do that. Easy, right?
NO! Not easy at all. All that love every day. How?
I’m just so immensely grateful that God isn’t like me. I mean, He doesn’t bear a grudge, not even for a minute or a day or a week. If someone offends me it’s so easy to wallow in self pity for a while. I can even justify it! But God doesn’t even get offended. And He has way more reason than I have to be offended. Every single minute someone, somewhere is doing something that should bring offence to God. Using His name in vain, not trusting Him or rejecting Him.
Let’s talk about Offence. That is something we all know about. We hate it passionately to be offended, don’t we? We take an offense and we analyze it and we bask in it. We turn it over and over like a steak on a grill. Maybe we just pretend to hate offence. By all the attention we give it anyone would think we love it. Instead of pushing it away we hold on to it and let it stew in the recesses of our hearts. We nurture it, we treat it like it was special, we entertain it like a long lost friend. Don’t we? Even though we know that it does us no good at all, we just keep it close and the longer we keep it the harder it is to let it go.

 

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These are roosterkoek made from bread dough on a grill. A long process.

What if God did that? What if He took every offense we flung at Him, intentionally or not, and held it against us? What if? Where would we be?
John 3:17 – “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Isn’t that just the most awesome verse? I love every bit of it. I just see how, because I trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He says to me, “Its OK, I’m not offended by you. I love you and I have covered your sin with my blood.” And when I cry out to Him because life is too hard for me to do alone, He is there and He carries me through the hard parts. And during the easier parts, (there are some parts of life that are so easy and joyful and totally wonderful) He’s right there by my side. He’s on my team. He loves me and He wants me to be near Him. He says I’m beautiful when the world doesn’t think so. He says I’m good enough when even I don’t think I am. He says I can get through the hard times when everything looks impossible. And because He’s there, I can.
Knowing all this, do I have any reason to take an offence and own it?
I think not.

 

Just not you

People judge others

On what they say and do

And on the choices 

they make each day

Just let it not be you. 
People get angry at things

That seem so small

At things they should

 just let go

Just let it not be you
People steal and cheat

And lie and swear

And pretend to be 

what they aren’t

Just let it not be you
People reject God every day

They say they don’t need Him

They think they are strong

Just let it not be you
You are a special one

A chosen one

One who is destined

To be great
You were known long

Before you were born

Before you were even conceived

Before the beginning of time
You have a future

And a destiny, and there are

Plans which will not harm you

But will give you hope.
Your trust and hope in God

Will cause you to be

Like a great, green tree

Flourishing beside the water
When you call on God

He will surely hear

And deliver you because

It’s in you that He takes delight. 

Right or wrong – or is it?

Recently there was an incident at a Spur steakhouse where a white man threatened a black woman because their children had a fight in the play area. According to a large sector of the white community at large the incident wasn’t handled correctly by the management of Spur and they decided to boycott the restaurant. Instead of a matter of general decent manners it has been turned into a race issue. I have seen the slogan ‘Spur must fall’! I am not even going to try to debate who was right and who was wrong. It really doesn’t matter because if we are going to fall into the trap of judging every incident as right or wrong we are going to make ourselves very unhappy.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). It is so easy to influence and manipulate people by what you say. You justify actions, you do the guilt trip thing, you do whatever it takes to make people do what you think you are justified in doing. Before you know it you have a large following and you are acting like a politician. So what are the implications if Spur does fall? A whole lot of people lose their jobs and maybe some families don’t have any employed members anymore and maybe crime escalates. But you are justified in what you are doing so you don’t care.
What would Jesus have done if someone had taken the Spur incident and all it repercussions and put it before Him? Would he have judged right and wrong? Or would He have said what he said to the woman caught in adultery – “Go and sin no more.” He said that the one without sin should pick up the first stone. Which one of us is without sin?
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well He knew that she was living with a man she wasn’t married to. “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband;” Jesus never told her that she was bad and that it was wrong to live with a man if you aren’t married to him. He never condemned her actions at all.
What about Zaccheus? (Luke 10:1-10) He was the chief tax collector at Jericho and he stole money from people by demanding more taxes than were rightfully payable. He was working for the government and cheating people. Does that sound familiar? Well, Jesus didn’t sit him down and tell him how bad he was, and neither did he ignore him or make him understand that he would not associate with a criminal. Jesus had dinner at Zaccheus’ house! By loving him, Jesus caused him to realize his wicked ways. He repented and paid back everything he had stolen and more.
Then, of course there was Mary, who poured out a jar of expensive perfume over the feet of Jesus. His disciples were indignant because Mary was a woman of ill repute. (John 12:1 – 8) Jesus never condemned Mary for being a prostitute.
Looking at all these incidents which had judgement potential I am seeing a pattern. I am seeing that Jesus never condemned people. He loved them. And because He loved them they changed. Are we able to do the same? Is it really necessary to incite people over social media to join your negative protest? Jesus says in Matthew 7:1 – 2, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
I would hate to be judged on the sins I commit. Can you imagine? Every thought and every word – I shudder to think. What did Jesus die on the cross for then? A few years back everyone was wearing those bands that said WWJD? Well, What Would Jesus Do? Would he condemn our actions or would He love us?

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What about love and peace instead of judgement?