Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

CHRISTMAS comes but once a year. While this day induces excitement and wanton spending and merry-making, it must be a time to reflect on the man on whom this day is centered. This is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Although I do not intend to sermonize, those celebrating Christmas must reflect on the events that led to God allowing Jesus to come in the form of human flesh and dwell among us.

The ultimate purpose of his being born was to eventually bear the consequences of a sinful world and die on the cross to save humanity.

For those who may not know, when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God laid a plan of redemption and the ultimate sacrifice would be his only begotten son.

Even when he was born, Christ knew the cup he was to drink from and he endured all his suffering willingly knowing that at the end of it all, his mission of saving humanity would have been accomplished.

And so as we celebrate this day, we should celebrate God's redemptive powers and mercy that he showed to humanity when he allowed Jesus to be born and die for human beings who were otherwise destined for eternal death, because of sin.

Living for the moment leads to carelessness and impaired judgment as is seen with the increase in fatal road accidents, usually caused by drunken drivers and regrettable actions such as indulging in unsafe sex with its known consequences.

Let this Christmas be spent with family, reflecting and thanking God for having brought us this far when several of our family members and friends have gone.

Love and blessing be yours this day. Have a merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Oh the Grace

On Wednesday July 30, 2008 I posted an entry that touched many lives across the globe.

As an online blogger who shares events and stories across a myriad of platforms that touch my life and in turn hopefully touch yours too - it is my responsibility to be aware of stories and issues that either change or continue to develop and shape the way information is disseminated whether the content be good or bad.

For the most part it is my intention to share in honesty and to keep my entries as accurate as possible so as not to distort the truth in any shape or form, knowing that the consequences of doing so would compromise truth, honesty and integrity. That being said I know for sure I fall short of the mark that I am called to attain, but in knowing that truth, I do not relent, I do not give up, and I will continue to share for as long as this technology and ability to do so exists.

Mike Guglielmucci is a Pastor, composer and musician. In 2006 he made a public announcement that he had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, and that he was receiving treatment for his diagnosis. His story touched my heart personally because my father was diagnosed around the same time, and we watched him go through changes that altered his life tremendously finally culminating in his passing and going to be with the Lord last year in the month of May. I came across Mike Guglielmucci's youtube announcement and statement in front of the Church in Australia, which was followed by an amazingly anointed worship song titled "Healer".

Recently stories have been running across information platforms announcing that Mike Guglielmucci's diagnosis was in fact not cancer, and that whilst he was sick no diagnosis was ever confirmed and he in fact does not have cancer. He has however, gone public with a confession as to why he said he was diagnosed with cancer. Many people have become enraged by his public confession, because during this time frame Mike Guglielmucci was receiving royalties from the music, and people were sending donations for the cause. His public confession can be viewed by clicking this link: Michael Guglielmucci Video Confession.

I continue to believe that despite this brother's confession, the music is anointed and has its' place in touching the lives of those who are seeking the Lord in their own moments of distress. What is the viewpoint of the Church? I don't know. I can't answer that. What I can say is that turning to the Gospel will always answer the questions that man fails to address. I could think of a number of scriptures to apply when a brother or sister is either found out or confesses sin in seeking repentance, but I think what becomes of greater importance is not in hearing the details, but in examining our own hearts as to how we respond in such situations, knowing that since we belong to Christ we have His mind. The old cliche applies ~ "What would the Lord do?".

Galatians 6:1
Brothers and sisters, if a person gets trapped by wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should help that person turn away from doing wrong. Do it in a gentle way. At the same time watch yourself so that you also are not tempted.

This to me sums up what the Church should do when such a circumstance comes to light. So, for me personally, my heart is not changed toward my brother in Christ. Because it now becomes my responsibility to pray for him, to restore him lest I myself be tempted. That simple!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Times; they are a changing

I went back over the entire Journal and saw a repetitive speech forming with regard to the lack of posting and updating, and figured I wouldn't even bother mentioning that I have slipped out of contention and broken the one month no post rule!

The idea of being a practically open book and journaling for the world to read, can sometimes be dangerous. I considered the danger long ago, and can safely say that the benefits by far outweigh the risks of posting matters of the heart. The world is such an imperfect place isn't it? Dangerous but strangely beautiful.

Looking back over 2008 how has this year faired for you? The goals that you set at the beginning - have you achieved any of them? Did you have a chance to modify any of them? How many are left for you to achieve? Or did you take the easy route, and simply amble into the start of a new year hoping it would turn out right, and not bring any drama across your path? I know there are people that live their daily lives by appointment setting, and serious time keeping. While that might work for many across a myriad of platforms, I have to be honest and say "been there, done that" and don't think that I was cut out to be a pen pushing schedule maker let alone keeper. I guess my reasoning is based on personal experience and understanding that in my own life I need to be flexible. If something is not achieved today, then perhaps it wasn't meant to happen, and I shouldn't compartmentalize my life only to be faced with disappointment through lack of set goal achievements.

Speaking from a personal point of view and experience, I am learning to put more of my life in the hands of the Lord and let Him be the one to adjust my goals, give me a heart to achieve them and allow me the grace to accept failure when I do not attain the mark. There is always a cloud that surrounds the word failure, but I truly believe there are two ways to fail, and I know I mentioned them in a previous post. I prefer to fail forward. I know that if I have allowed the Lord to set the course for my life then it means that He not only is walking with me, but because He set the course then He has to be in front leading me - hence the fail forward mentality I subscribe to. If I have charted my goals in my own strength, and storms come along and wipe me out, destroying my man made foundation then I simply fail miserably. Think about it, which option would you be more comforted by? Understand that any failure hurts. But knowing which preferred option is better to hold on to will determine how quickly your goals can and will be achieved.

The USA went to the polls last week, and by now the world knows who the 44th President will be in January 2009. The seat that he will occupy, the office that he will hold has been slated to be the most critically difficult office in the entire history not only of the USA but of the world. For some the results were obvious, for others the results were not desirable. But in the larger scope of things how relevant would either outcome be? Simply look at the state of the world, and realize that perhaps some things need to happen, which are largely beyond our control anyway. Check out this scripture;

James 4:3
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

For the longest time I wondered the true meaning of this scripture as it pertains to certain requests I personally have made to the Lord. Grasping the intent of its' meaning helped me understand that sometimes what I ask for, doesn't come through, because I really am asking out of my own selfish desires. What if I were to use the small mustard seed of faith, and go to the Lord and lay my requests at His feet, and then pray in this way - "Lord let my motives be pure, let me ask that your will be done in this situation, so that the glory can be returned to you". Easier said than done, but I am certain the results will be wonderful, life-giving and true.

So, looking at the state of the world, and the hints and slights of global recession/depression, and nations facing bankruptcy, should this surprise us? Should we be asking the Lord to fix it? Or....alternatively, should we be saying "Lord these are the signs you warned us about in your word; even so...continue to set your stage and triumphant entry, let Your will be done." Even if it means evil prevails, this should not surprise us. I guess what I am saying with sincerity of heart, is that I am not phased, neither am I surprised regarding any electoral outcome, be it here in the States or across the oceans in Africa or elsewhere. I think what we ought to be doing is seeking the Lord even more fervently, that His will be done, and that the Church across the world rise up, take her stand and not be beat down any longer. I really believe it starts with you and me, knowing who we are in Christ, and collectively holding to the virtues we believe in and boldly sharing them even in the face of persecution and opposition.

Such a comfort knowing the Lord has our best interests at heart!

Ahh, the internet is a wonderful tool, resource and soap box where we can have our say, and be able to disseminate information!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Life Journal Entry

While in Yosemite last week, I spent the early mornings sitting out on the deck with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, waiting for the sun to rise, and watching the deer forage for their breakfast. It was a perfect setting to spend time with the Lord. You know how people often say "...and the Lord spoke to me"? Well, I haven't audibly heard His voice yet, and quite honestly am not entirely sure He speaks face to face with His kids - but I know a day is coming when that will happen. While sitting there, turning to the Psalms and beginning to read, nothing seemed apparent until I read Psalm 9:10 in particular...

This is my written journal entry for that morning, which I would like to share with you;

Knowing, Trusting & Seeking

Psalm 9:10
Those who know Your name, trust in You. For you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

His name to me is Redeemer, Savior, Comforter, Friend, Provider, Healer, Creator, Majesty, Peace, Love. His names are endless and true. Lord am I one of those who knows Your name? As I sit here at the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park, I take this moment to repent, turn from evil, confess my sin and re-dedicate my body, soul and spirit to You on this glorious day.

Because I know Your name - I can trust in you as David did when he confronted Goliath. To know You is to trust in You. The depth of knowing You cannot change the level of trust I have in You - it simply means where I am in all my limitations, knowing Your name in my life is enough to trust You with my life.

Why do I sometimes feel forsaken by You? Your promise is to never forsake those who seek You. My mind is a stumbling block. Your word is true! You will never forsake me when I seek You.

Lord you make this serving You easy - all I have to do is "know You", "trust in You" and "Seek You". Lord help me to have childlike faith - when You say 'come, go, stay' let me hear You, let me know You, let me trust You and let me seek You.

Your promise is to never forsake those who seek You, so help me daily to know You, to trust in You, and to grow in my desire to seek You more.

Lord thank You for leading me to Your word today. I am strengthened in my spirit, excited for the future, and comforted in knowing you as my Savior, knowing Your name - trusting in You, I seek You!

Sometimes we think passage of scripture and a rhema word is for us alone, but I wanted to take this opportunity to share my personal entry with you, in the hope that whatever you are facing or dealing with, these words will give you courage to face each obstacle with boldness knowing that whatever you are navigating you do so not alone. Many of you know through reading the entries in the Journal that I have faced and continue to face interesting situations, and were it not for the Lord ~ failure would be imminent, but I know for sure, that He is in control, and if He can bring His word through scripture to illuminate my path then I know because we walk the same narrow path He will light your way too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sharing Yosemite With You

I looked at the photos I took while on vacation in Yosemite and trying to describe reality with digital images is simply impossible to do. Looking back over our week away from San Diego the memories are burned into our hearts and minds with each day packed full of adventure and fun more so than we have had in a very long time.

Our last mini-vacation to Joshua Tree was brilliant, but truthfully this trip to Yosemite was simply awesome. Jack and Mary joined us on this trip, we left together early on Sunday morning and began our long drive northward stopping in Bakersfield for breakfast. Something about an IHop breakfast that simply makes the start of the day great! Driving through Fresno I remembered Frank and Linda telling us about life in this city. It looks small on the map, deceiving, because it has a population of 483000 people...! Exiting Fresno the roads narrow down and become a two lane highway - something we are used to coming from Africa. Highway 41 eventually brought us to the small town of Oakhurst (population 14000) which is situated at the south entrance to Yosemite.

Our first day was more of an orientation. Finding our little cabins, establishing where the stores are located and what the general area had to offer. You know the internet is a fantastic resource, and sometimes a website and reality can be distorted. Saturday night before our trip began I looked at the facility where we were going to stay, and imagined it to be rustic, maybe home from home. Reality didn't let us down. The cabins were nicely laid out, appliances were in good condition, and the back yard scenery was pleasant. We even had a family of deer that would come walking through every morning and evening which added to the calm of being in the wild.

Monday we drove to Bass Lake. It was seriously packed full of people, cars lined the banks of both sides of the lake, which I might add is the largest lake I have ever seen. Actual waves were crashing on the shore! Looking back now I know those waves were being edged on by the boating activities.

Glen and Toni had us over for dinner the previous Friday and Glen put me through a crash course in fishing. The last time I fished was a good 17 years ago, so the lesson intrigued me and I couldn't wait to get out there and see if I would have any success. Vicky opted to sleep in so Tammy and I woke early, loaded the car with all the gear, drove into town and got some Starbucks before heading out to Bass Lake. Greg who works in the deli of a local supermarket on the banks of the lake is the fisherman 'guru'. So we stopped by and asked for his advice on where to go, what bait to use etc. He pointed out a few spots on the lake itself, which we tried, but after a couple of hours and not even a single bite we decided to try a different lake altogether which Greg admitted was less frequented and had an excellent stock of rainbow trout.

I don't usually get lost, but trying to find this lake turned into a bit of a mission. Winding twisty mountain roads, little one street towns, and beautiful landscape finally brought us to Manzanita Lake a quaint little lake fed by Bass lake tucked away almost out of sight. We scoped it out, and decided to give it a try. While I was unpacking the car a gentleman arrived and we chatted a little. He suggested a few spots we should try on the lake and so - knowing the locals have a good idea of what's going on we set up our fishing poles - I had to look at the diagram Glen drew for me...I might scan it for you all to have a grin! That piece of paper became my bible for the day! I found a spot, Tammy found her spot and within minutes she pulled out a 12 inch trout.

A few moments later Jack, Mary, Nancy and Vicky arrived to watch us fish for a while. I moved to Tammy's spot and cast my line into the lake, and BAM...I had a trout on he end of my line! I need to add that the biggest fish I have ever caught was no larger than 4 inches in length. So as this trout was being reeled in, my heart was pounding, I lifted it out of the water, and you guessed it...he wasn't having any of it, and spat the hook out and vanished! Vicky made her way over to us, and I baited the hook, and gave her the fishing pole - she too had never caught a fish, so this was going to be a first for her. A moment later, she said "I have's pulling the line" reeling it in, she landed a 13 inch rainbow trout - part of her wanted to throw it back, but the thrill of the catch spurred her on to fish more.

If you go on vacation and need an excellent navigator Mary is your best pick! She figured a short way back from Manzanita Lake to Bass Lake...and when I look at the map, the time and distance saved was huge! We took a break for lunch, driving to "The Forks". The burgers at the water front diner were absolutely delicious. They brought back familiar memories of the hamburger nights we used to have with Mom and Dad back in Zimbabwe. The fishing bug had bitten the girls (and me) and so we gulped the burgers down, and excused ourselves from the table heading back to our spot on the lake. I think what impressed us was the fact that we were the only people there, and were able to find spots freely and enjoy the afternoon fishing. A few hours passed and nine rainbow trout later...we decided to head home for the night. Yes - we took the fish with us. Glen had given us a fishing bag that conveniently had a measuring rule printed on it, so we were doing everything by the book, measuring to ensure we were within the 12 inch limit. The girls attempted to gut one fish each but couldn't stomach it, so I prepped them all and froze them. We are going to have a follow up photo shoot of that once we put them on the BBQ!

Wednesday was Nancy's birthday so with Jack and Mary having driven to Bakersfield to visit their son Josh who is an airline pilot, we decided to take a scenic drive for the day. We loaded the car up with water and snacks and set out on a wilderness adventure that amazed us. We found a spot on the map pointing the the geographical center of California and decided while we were in that general direction we should visit. Little did we know that it appears to be a less frequented ara, the road was poor, the altitude was frightening having climbed to well over 5500 feet. At the crest of the geographical center we stopped and looked down into the valley - and there what appeared to be thousands of feet below was the Redinger Lake. We were so high up that it almost looked as if we were flying over it. back in the car we continued to climb higher, and came upon another vantage view point that over looked Mammoth lake. We pulled in to Mile High Vista and looked down into the valley floor to see the most amazing lake reflecting blue for the sky, surrounded by mountains, rivers and trees...very inspiring view.

Glancing over the map and judging the angle of the sun, we knew it was time to start heading back to Oakhurst and so we set out from Mile High Vista looking for Grizzly Road. This was a short cut across mountain farm land that would connect us with the main road that would filter down into Bass Lake - eventually! Little did we know this grizzly road would turn into a narrow one vehicle pathway for what seemed like endless miles. The girls were uncomfortable, fearing a bear sighting or attack...Nancy and I however were less intimidated and continued along the winding curves taking in the beauty that surrounded us. I remember at one stage we were rounding a corner and heard something below in the ravine - did we stop to investigate? No! We all were of the same mind that it could have been a bear. A little further down this narrow road we saw cows crossing the road - this is at an altitude of 6000 feet. No wonder they say happy cows come from California...looking at the plush vegetation and awe inspiring views, it is no wonder they are happy! I must mention that this day trip took us 5.5 hours to complete a distance of only 91 miles...

Thursday was one of the most memorable days in Yosemite. Jack and Mary hired a pontoon for the day on Bass Lake, and so we packed the cooler boxes and loaded up. Remembering how busy Monday was we arrived at the dock and to our surprise and blessing discovered the lake was practically empty! If there were more than 10 boats on this vast expanse of water then that was a lot. So...we loaded the pontoon, and Jack piloted us out of the harbor to begin our day of water adventures. I took the wheel for a moment and then Tam piloted us. They only allow counter clock wise movement on the lake so we basically traveled the entire lake in search of a quiet spot to BBQ. Yes - the pontoon came equipped with a BBQ! We found a decent spot kind of in the middle but more to the east end of the lake were we dropped anchor, BBQ'ed and swam. The initial shock of getting into the frigid water was soon forgotten and we were able to cool of and splash around for a while. Something about being on the lake, with good food, good friends and family just made for a really special day in Bass Lake!

Having been in Yosemite for five days we still had not actually gone into Yosemite proper. Friday was penned as the day to drive into Yosemite. If you get motion sickness then I suggest you take something prior this trip because whilst the views are totally amazing, the winding twisty roads will mess with you before you get to the Yosemite valley village. You know, having traveled a fair amount, I am yet to experience what we experienced this trip. Already at an elevation of over 5000 feet, we were shadowed by El Capitain, half Dome and every other notable mountain in the park. We went on a guided tram ride - a distance of only 12 miles lasting 2 hours. El Capitain towers above on the right of the main road. At the foot, is a camp ground which is home to a team of rescuers who are world famous and renowned for their rescue abilities. They live there in white tents all year round and are flown around the wold to rescue and search for missing persons. The Park guide told us some very interesting facts about what we were looking at. Back in the day, there was an explorer who decided he would climb El Capitain. His first attempt took him forty two days! Reason being that he loved his drink, and so would climb...get thirsty and come own to drink. Once he sobered and put the drink aside he managed the climb in two weeks. On average El Capitain now takes two and half days to climb, and climbers will peg sleeping hammocks on the face of the rock and sleep for the night before resuming their endeavor. The youngest person to ever climb this mountain was a 7 year old french boy, a lady who was told she would not live long, had a heart transplant and climbed El Capitain, one section of the face is actually now known as "triple bypass". The rescue crew who live there all year round however, can scale the top of El Capitain in 2.5hrs....!

Saturday was another amazing day. We had heard of these giant trees that exist and so took a drive into the park for a second time and drove to the place where the most amazing trees grow untouched in the park. The giant sequoias. The photos hardly do justice to the enormous size of these trees. Their story is quite remarkable. They live for thousands of years - some date back as far as 3500 years. They do not die. Insects cannot harm them. Fire doesn't destroy them. Their seed pods can stay on the tree for 20 years before falling to the ground. It is estimated that a single sequoias holds enough seed to germinate 2 million new sequoias. This particular grove that we were in has a sequoias population of the math! Scientists have been unable to establish what gives these trees the ability to withstand the elements, to live infinitely. There is fossil evidence that these trees lived across the USA, but with changing climates only a few groves remain intact today. Researchers are studying the sequoias in the hope of unlocking their secret to longevity so that the same formula can be applied to mankind - like we really need to longer than we do already! You will see a picture of a sequoias that has been burned in the shape of an upside down Y...the opening that you see on this tree is large enough for two small vehicles to drive side by side through it. I looked up at the towering trees some over 350 feet tall, and could almost picture the Lord walking through this area in the cool of the day. Just seems like a place He would want to grace with His presence.

Sunday came all to quickly. Before we knew it a week had passed, and we were on our way back home. The roads were good, only the traffic in and around Los Angeles was crazy as it always is. We all agreed that we need a vacation from our vacation, seems you always arrive home feeling more tired than before going on a trip. Nevertheless, we had a truly wonderful time, enjoying peace and quiet and taking in the beauty of the Lord's creation at Yosemite.

As a sidebar I am developing a new website and will include a gallery of the Yosemite pictures, I took in excess of 450 and need to sort through them before posting them online. Some of them are spectacular and if you would like to use any in their original format please let me know and I will send them off to you.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Can we Pray for you?

Life is very hectic at the best of times. Ever notice that there are many out there who always have the right answer during a crisis? Sometimes being honest and not knowing how to answer is a good place to be.

If you are facing a crisis, situation or circumstance we would like to extend to you our hearts simply to pray with you through whatever it may be.

This isn't a fishing attempt for information, there is no desire to delve into personal matters, rather, just to ask you:

"Can we pray with you and allow the Lord to do what He does best?"

If your answer is yes, please send an email to the address below, there is no need for any explanation or depth of details, simply let us know that we can pray with you...

Walking together in prayer and navigating the path ahead with the Lord always yields His perfect plan, no matter how dark the road ahead is.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In prepared always...

Every morning on the way to work, I listen to KWAVE, and usually at that time Pastor Greg Laurie from Harvest Ministries is preaching, or sharing a word for the day. Well, today Pastor Greg shared about a devastating moment in his life...take a listen and watch this video clip...

I am touched that even in a moment such as this, where a life has been lost, this man still reaches out with grace and mercy to fulfill what God called him to do, and that is preach the Gospel in and out of season, always ready to give an account of the hope of Christ living within. We do rejoice in the knowledge that Christopher is in eternity now, and offer our condolences to the Laurie family during this difficult time.


This youtube post contains two videos that I came across recently. The first is a narration of a young man by the name of Mike Guglielmucci from Hillsong Music, a song writer who shares something about his life...

The second video Mike sings the song Christ gave him...

Such a touching moving God be the glory!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wretched man that I am!

It's no wonder there is such an abundance of frustration in the world today. The purpose of this entry is not to judge anyone, but rather to look a little deeper into my own life and try and find some semblance through scripture as to some of the trials being faced and endured.

Romans 7:14-24
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ~ This is the dilemma that causes frustration. I totally get it. I fully comprehend the state of my life, and yet echo the same truth of the scripture in my life. Why is it so incredibly easy to do what I do not want to do, yet struggle to do that which ought to be done? Such a frustration! Strange as it may seem, if we are totally honest each of us will experience the same dilemma. We will do easily the thing that we know is wrong, yet struggle with immense difficulty to do what is right. In many aspects of my life I have made definitive internal changes, and have small victories in certain areas, but others rage out of control and cause great inner conflict.

Paul often spoke of a thorn in his flesh. I wonder what it was for him? I know mine, and sometimes I wonder if it is indeed a thorn and not a sword? How is that the same mountain will be circled day after day, week after week and so on? At what point will victory come? Is it given to each of us to carry a thorn in the flesh and wage a war against sin that easily camps at our heart's door? I think the answer is a resounding yes. There is no person alive on the face of this earth who is perfect, nor has attained total victory in every area of life, and is walking in total and absolute victory. I do not believe this is possible - yet! Only when Christ returns then we shall be like Him according to His promises.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Herein lies the answer. Only Christ can rescue me from my own body, rescue me from myself, rescue me from the perils of sin and bondage and the thorn that is hard pressed in my flesh, that leads me to do what i do not want to do, and hampers my ability to do what is right.

I find one of the simplest commodities in life is seriously lacking, that of being honest. In passing conversation rarely will anyone go into any depth or detail as to how they really are doing. Some people will be like an open book, and let you read their life story without hesitation. Others will give you the proverbial nod and smile, and assure you they are "fine". Can you imagine if we were transparent and open, honest and desiring of growth to the point where we can say it like it really is? Then there are those who will let you know how they are doing in truth, and suddenly people will distance themselves from "problems" for fear of what it may cost them. Don't get me wrong, people always relate personal problems to "what is this going to cost me". Will this cost me in terms of time, effort, resource, finance...what cost will I incur if I stick around listening to your problems? And so the cycle of frustration spins another revolution.

Sometimes life circumstances will confront you and demand change. For the longest time I was quite the fussy slash picky eater. I was impatient and had what could be termed as a short fuse, becoming angry at the most ridiculous unmerited issues. If we visited somewhere, and were offered a meal, I would simply mask the flavor by dousing the entire plate in salt. Was any of this good behavior? No. But that was me! Something had to happen to get my attention and give me the correct perspective of my poor behavior and attitude. So, what happened...?

The journey of coming to the USA, starting life over, and learning to adapt and survive were a part of the process. A larger portion of the inner change in my life really started in 2005 when Mom was diagnosed with an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. I was totally convinced the surgery would be a breeze. She would go in and come out within the prescribed twenty one days, and then work on her strength and visit us for Christmas! What could go wrong? I mean come on, let's be real, Mom loved the Lord, He would be with her, bring her through this life threatening surgery, and she would have an amazing testimony...yeah right! Mom had the surgery January 27th 2005, and on March 20th 2005, Mom went to be with the Lord. Then came the news on December 26th of 2005 that Dad was not doing well, a visit to the Doctor would reveal NSCC (non-small-cell-carcinoma) lung cancer. Having lost Mom a year earlier, I knew this would be a time of drawing near to God and trusting Him for whatever outcome would be according to His will. The walls in my life began to come down and I realized that I could never manipulate the Lord. I would simply have to put my trust in Him and accept His plan for Dad. Well, May 5th 2007 Dad went home to be with the Lord. **I will be writing an entry about Mom and Dad in a dedicated article**

The passing of Mom and Dad impacted my life greater than I ever thought possible. You know how sometimes you can think to yourself that you have it all together? I soon realized I didn't have it together and needed Him to put the pieces back together in my heart. Suddenly, sharing a meal with someone became special and appreciated, what used to irritate me no longer drew my attention, anger subsided and the desire for peace and humility enshrouded my heart.

Life circumstances will get your attention to change, if you let them.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

July 4, 1776

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.

On July 4, 1776, America claimed her independence from Britain and Democracy was born.

Democracy is a beautiful thing if applied as to the letter of the law. Look over the world today, the two greatest nations are by no coincidence Britain and America.

One of the reasons we felt a pull and draw in our hearts to come and settle in the USA, was for the very reason above. True democracy! Having lived all my life in Africa, first under white rule in the then Rhodesia, with Ian Smith as President, and then Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe's leadership, true democracy was a figment of the imagination. It was simply a word, used only in the context of wooing foreign investors, and holding forced political rallies to be used as a public display of so-called "freedom".

Today I stood chatting with an American, Brazilian, and me a Zimbabwean! We spoke of this coming weekend and what it meant for each of us. The resounding echo we all agreed on was the fact that in a society that upholds the civil rights and liberties of its' people, and stands upon true democracy, the economy may falter, may dip but if these principles are steadfast then the cycle will correct itself in time and the rights of it's citizens and residents will be respected, whether under a Democratic or Republican leadership. The freedom exists within the bounds of the law to be who you want to be.

For me that means I can practice my beliefs and not have to look over my shoulder and be concerned who is watching, who is making note of my steps and getting ready to report me to the governing authorities. Sounds preposterous, but happens throughout the world. Take Zimbabwe, prime example. It is against the law today to meet in groups larger than three people. That even means walking down the road innocently in a small group is prohibited. The government is hell bent on breaking up any form of political opposition even if it means disrupting Church gatherings and places of worship. This is only one example of a failed democracy and the demonizing of leadership on innocent people!

Skimming back over the issues taking place in Zimbabwe, I am drawn to the untold stories. The children who have been born in the last 15 years. What do they know of freedom? What do they know of eating three nutritional meals every day? What do they know of playing joyful at the park with a football? When they get sick, will they ever see the inside of a clinic or hospital to receive care and treatment that should be made available to them? What about their parents - what legacy is being left for these children? The average age of life expectancy has declined from 64 to 36. One in 15 woman in Zimbabwe will not survive childbirth. AIDS/HIV is wiping out an entire generation...a staggering 6500 people die on average every month. Some disturbing facts...

I digress easily! This week is our 6th year celebrating the 4th of July. Having integrated into this new society, we uphold those values and stand by them. And thank the Lord for leading us to a place where we would have the freedom to worship, the freedom to live our lives as Christ purposed. To contribute to society, and to expand on ways of helping those less fortunate than us.

Happy Birthday America! You are 232 years old!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The "run-off"

Not quite sure what to make of the Zimbabwean situation. It has been a dreadful week trying to anticipate the movements on the ground. Give him his dues, Mugabe is no fool. He is a master statistician, and can out play many a foe. So the MDC backed out of the run-off election, leaving one candidate to stand for President. The world called for the postponement of the June 27 election, Mugabe pressed ahead. Most of the super powers have openly admitted they will no longer recognize Mugabe as the leader of Zimbabwe.

Total political sham! What was Robert Mugabe thinking? Going ahead with the "run-off" to prove a point that he will always be the duly elected leader of Zimbabwe? News coming out of Zimbabwe is almost unbelievable. Mugabe had the gall to send his military junta door to door in rural settings and urban centers alike, to force march people to the designated voting stations across the nation. Once inside the stations, the voters were escorted to the booth and made to vote in the presence of the police - while they looked on...The only reason to legitimately explain Mugabe's insistence at going ahead with this "run-off" election would be to ensure his place in granting him safe passage and permanent exit from politics in Zimbabwe. Do you think that could be it?

Speaking of looking on, perhaps now the AU, UN and SADC will rise to the occassion and insist on a negotiated transitional shift of power that will exclude Mugabe form the table, and see Tsvangirai leading an MDC based government that will include three factions from within Zanu PF that had already begun negotiating their protection and immunity once they knew Zanu PF had lost the March 29 poll. If the above regional and international bodies do garner enough influence to speak sense into the situation, then perhaps the two western backers will make provision for the transition to occur financially. Don't really see any logical other solution.

In the larger scope of things, even if this were to be the case, by virtue of the shear volume of gross human rights abuses that have been chalked up by Zanu PF, spanning back to the Gukhurahundi in 1983 - we may see Mugabe's plan ultimately failing with the possibility of him and some of his right hand men making a forced trip under escort to The Hague.

So, we know how long the release of the first results were in being announced. I reckon it would be safe to hold your breath as the "run-off" results will be discharged by the ZEC without haste. Ok, give or take a couple of days, citing the "logistics" but I can assure you the results will already be known by sunrise June 28th...

And the winner is - BUT not for much longer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Madness Continues

Finally the world is taking note that they will not embrace Mugabe as the "self=proclaimed" leader of Zimbabwe. That however, does not solve any issues on the ground. It is possible that Zimbabwe is on the brink of anarchy and civil unrest by way of war. It is now common knowledge that Mugabe is no longer in control, but is being propped up by his military mechanism. This is the nature of the beast in African politics...the very ones that he placed in commanding roles of leadership have forced him into a corner where nothing makes sense, no solution is in sight, and he has to follow the military JOC that is pulling the strings.

Could the end to this tyranny be insight...? If so, then at what cost...?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Muzzle the Ox

Zimbabwe is about to have a 'run off' election June 27. I don't think anyone credibly believes this vote will be remotely close to free and fair. Mugabe has stepped up his violence against MDC and anyone associated to it. The Mayor elect for Harare city, has experienced brutality just this week, with his wife being abducted at the hands of zanu PF military junta. She turned up burnt and dead! Story after story can be recited at the atrocities befalling people in Zimbabwe who have the right to democratic free and fair elections and yet, as the world watches from afar the evil perpetuates...

So then, the question is raised "will anyone actually step in and bring resolve to Zimbabwe?". I would have to be among those who believe the answer is emphatically no! What does Zimbabwe have to offer? Nothing. If you call innocent children, starving and being deprived of a normal lease on life, nothing. Maybe the women, and seniors who have lost their husbands and children to AIDS/HIV, nothing. Resources such as gold, platinum and tobacco -nothing. Quite sad really, when you pause and think about it all.

Sometimes I try and distance myself from the events, but while the spotlight shines brightly, this is becoming a difficult task to perform. We have family still living there. Are they safe? Are they eating sufficiently? Are they able to work? What is the state of their health? Are they being subjected to the intimidation? Will they safely navigate through the circumstances they encounter daily? So, simply turning the radar off from afar doesn't help.

I know that the Lord is ultimately in control. He knows the beginning and the end. He knows each one by name. He will recompense when the accounts are tallied. If no nation is willing to step in, then it must be that the Lord has a plan. Wouldn't it be easier if we knew the answer to that question? I think this is what being sifted is like to a large extent. Knowing you believe in One who is more than able at the blink of an eye to change destiny, and yet year after year, that change doesn't come. Could it be that we ask a miss? Maybe an answer is already on the way, but the spiritual warfare being waged is hampering the delivery of the answer. Yes that is scriptural! I believe nations have powers and principalities that enslave territories under them. I also believe these can be broken once identified, and removed from their domain in the name of Jesus Christ.

The church in Zimbabwe is united on every front. Many who didn't associate with certain denominations now find that the common ground they share is crying out to the Lord in this time of despair and need. Those who took a silent approach are now voicing boldly their opinions, and the church is garnering support and gaining momentum. Incredibly and rightly so, brothers and sisters are coming together like never before, and if there was an appropriate stage being set for revival Zimbabwe cannot be discounted. For the church this is an exciting time, because the Lord is active and evident even in the midst of hopelessness. People are being stretched. Resources are being pooled.

It's hard being optimistic and positive but what other option do we have? I am convinced the Lord is working even though the situation looks blatantly pathetic. There is a scripture in the book of Romans 5:5 that says "...and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." So we continue to hope, against all odds, and the One who said it will not disappoint! Ultimately this whole fiasco will pass, Mugabe will not live forever, and he like the rest of humanity will stand before the throne and give an account. No riches, wealth, body guard, armored vehicle or secret tunnel will be able to spare any from that day which is rapidly advancing.

Crazy sometimes, what my mind thinks of. For the most part all recent posts to the Journal have been laced with politics. Rightly so, I come from there, am a Zimbabwean by birth and thrice over through ancestry going as far back as the late 1800's, why wouldn't it concern me? But then I have this tug of war in my heart and want to see the situation resolved instantly. Life doesn't work that way, and that is where I see my lack, and absolute need for the Lord to be the One who leads and guides me. If it were not for Him, who knows...but one thing is for certain, nothing lasts forever in this life, and equally comforting is the truth that nothing catches Christ by surprise in as much as it pertains to our lives -if we live for HIM.

Hopefully as June 27 comes and goes, attention will shift, and my ramblings will encompass a wider range of current and interesting muses. But then again, this is my online journal, and I am hopeless at using the pen, prefer the keyboard and will tap away here at what catches my attention.

Thanks for giving up a few minutes to read this. Hopefully more and more people are reading between the lines and noting the call to prayer for Zimbabwe...may the Lord richly bless you!

Much as I try, the Zimbabwean Ox needs to be heard, it cannot be muzzled...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gruesome Torture in Zimbabwe

You know there are times when I just lower my head in pain and disgust at the government of Zimbabwe. The very people that Mugabe liberated in 1980 are the very people he is now systematically and brutally torturing, maiming and murdering. As much as I don't want to post these graphic pictures I find myself stuck in the dilemma of "should I: shouldn't I" My mind is saying no, but heart is pounding a resounding yes!

The world needs to see what a barbaric dictator by the name of Robert Mugabe is capable of doing, at the hands of his paid henchmen and spineless military junta. It saddens me immensely, and my heart is broken to see both young and old, male and female and more specifically children being tortured into voting for a government that has raped and plundered the nation of Zimbabwe. Please be advised these pictures below are real, they are graphic, they are the images of a people experiencing the breaking of their spirit while the world sits in their ivory towers and winks and nods at these deplorable acts of terror. White collar crime is being perpetrated in the most abysmal form, and getting away with it yet again.

I wonder...what will it take to remove this mad man from power along with his generals and commanders and chiefs? Why won't just one nation rise and step in and remove these despots with utmost urgency? They did it in Rwanda, they did it in Sierre Leon, they did it in Kenya, They did it in Sudan...why the distancing from relief in Zimbabwe?

What kind of legacy is being left for the nation of Zimbabwe and her children? And at what cost is this legacy being bestowed upon these beautiful innocent stars that are trying to shine bright in a seriously depraved situation...come on people...we have got to do something! Just view these graphic images and then ask yourself how you would cope if these were your children, your family, your brother, your father...suddenly reality takes on a new meaning...or so I hope...

Again, I ask...would you sacrifice a few minutes each day to cry to the Lord for these souls, they be healed physically emotionally and spiritually, they be strengthened and the madness stops and those guilty of such actions be brought to book in a court of law, preferably the Hague for war crimes, terrorism and gross human rights violations.
Just for the record, Robert Mugabe was in attendance at the Rome Food Summit last week. My question is why was he not arrested on foreign soil for the above violations? Wrong seems to be right, and right is pronounced wrong. Oh because it was a UN sanctioned gathering, thereby offering this megalomaniac immunity...WICKED!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Memory Lane and the Question

Have you ever looked over your life and wanted to go back to a certain time and place that stood out in your mind? I seem to be doing that rather often lately. I remember a time in my life when everything was good. I couldn't have asked for more. So, in the next few posts I think I will pull a few memorable experiences out of file 13 and share them with you.

I remember as a kid, going to the ZITF to watch the "mini-monaco" - gokart racing around the fairgrounds. At that point in my life I didn't understand the relevance of the name of that particular race weekend. In 1993 the world of Formula One motor racing grabbed my interest, and one such event was (and still is) hosted in the principle of Monaco, and features a road race through the winding curves of the city. I make no secret about my passionate support of Ferrari, along with their historical champion driver, Michael Schumacher. Little did I know that years later I would own a red stock gokart, that would draw the attention of kids on race weekends, they would admire the familiar paint work and always gather around my kart. Was I any good at racing? No. In my short stint as a kart racer, I think I came in third only once. Every other race was dismal. Once my drive chain shattered at the bottom of a straight, ending my race weekend. Another occassion, racing Wayne Williams through the s-bends accelerated my nerves, only to see me trying to outbreak my buddy at the end of the straight, tramping on the break peddle with such force that the cable snapped, sending me through the bails of hay, flying over a ditch and eventually coming to a stop in a cloud of dry african dust at the newly resurfaced kart track on the outskirts of Bulawayo. Mini-Monaco was my first official race. I always seem to learn the hard way. Race weekend was upon us, the family had come out to watch me hurtle around the track in the hope of winning. Yeah right! The third and final heat of the day was interesting. My family was seated just down from the pit area, at the corner entry, and I would make note of them cheering me on with each passing lap. Ahead of me (of course) a few racers were jostling for position, and one of them spun out after clipping a hay bail. I grinned and pumped the air because with him out that gave me an extra point position. One lap to go, and my first race weekend would be under my belt. Little did I know what was about to happen. I came screaming down the road, and flicked my kart into the very same corner that faced my family, and the scene of the previous lap's retirement, my wheels hit the hay that had been knocked onto the track, sending me into an uncontrolable slide...BOOM...right in front of he family, my kart slammed into the curb, ejecting me out of the seat. I knew there were karts rapidly nearing the same corner, so I jumped up, pulled my kart off to the side of the track, and sat there waiting for the race to finish. As I sat there, and took my helmet off, I started feeling pain in my right side. I didn't pay much attention to it, but it grew worse. I don't know what hurt more, my side, or the fact that I spun out right in front of my family! What I did know is that something wasn't right in my side, and so Monday moring I was off to the doctor - you guessed it - one broken rib thank you very much!

I look back on moments like that and want to go back to that weekend. The fun, the excitement, the rush of being a kid all over again, and having the full support of my family, those are the moments in life that are hard to exchange for almost anything. But there were many more such moments that I cherrish and hold locked in my memory archive, revisiting them in moments of hardship always bring a smile to my heart and face.

It is weird sometimes what the mind can do in terms of its' ability to pull out memories that you thought no longer existed. At the moment, I seem to be remembering some eventful episodes that always go back to Africa. What is this connection with Africa? Sure I was born there. Lived my entire life there. Experienced everything there. But what is the draw to remember all these events afresh? I don't know the answer to that. I gladly share some of my memories, because they are fun, and also because it gives you a sneak peak into my life. Who I am, what I am about, and where the Lord is leading me at this point in my life. I have to include Jesus Christ. He has saved me, not only as a point of reference to my eternal life promise according to His word, but in many instances as I have navigated life, Christ has been there sometimes way ahead of me to bail me out of the foolishness that was bound up inside of me, and sometimes just to lead me through tough stuff. I have often wondered why me? Why would He choose me? But then I realize He has a plan, and wants to reveal it to me if I will listen and obey. Do I really want to listen and obey is the $64 question...?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Winds of Change

2008 has thus far been interesting. I haven't written here for almost a month, so I figured today would be a good day to set aside some time to catch up on a few of the more interesting items that caught my attention since the last post.

I am constantly amazed that by sitting in front of my computer, rambling about things that interest me, and sharing it across a platform of plastic, cables and cyberlinks many lives get to read about what would normally be considered a private journal. Nonetheless, I am really encouraged by the feedback I receive, and am amazed that we are nearing the 11000 visitor mark! So, if that many people visit the Jubber Journal, surely that means that within the realm of cyberspace this presents a platform to disseminate information. The question is what kind of information would be constructively useful if someone came upon my Journal? Well, I focus a lot on a few topics that interest and grip my life consistently. The Lord, life in general, and the plight of the people of Zimbabwe...

Ok, let's look at what has happened since the last post in the areas of interest above. Zimbabwe continues to spiral out of control. The arms cache that was purchased by the Government, met with a large international outcry against docking the ship in port and making delivery of ammunition and weapons. The Chinese ship turned off it's transponder, and managed to evade radar detection for almost three weeks, and then even after the Chinese government made a statement to the effect that due to the attention surrounding the political mess in Zimbabwe, and regional unwillingness to handle the shipment, the cargo would return to China. Sources in Harare have now confirmed the ship was allowed to refuel in South Africa, and the cargo has since arrived in the capital. The violence nationwide in MDC strongholds as well as Zanu PF zones has been increasing at an alarming level, deaths are being reported across the country, and Hospitals have been instructed not to treat any MDC loyalists who seek treatment following rampant Zanu PF beatings and torture ahead of the run-off vote tabled for June 27. A run-off election that really should have never happened. Mugabe himself has admitted his party was dealt a defying blow of defeat by the MDC as people voted for change in March. No official results were ever published yet the government pushed forward for a would take a fool to see the logic behind such a scheme that has hood winked the nation and people of Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai has been unable to return to Zimbabwe following confirmed assassination plans on his life by the military and police mechanisms who are sworn into office by the oath "to protect and serve". Inflation is in excess of 185000%, mortality continues to drop, now averaging 33 years, AIDS/HIV continues to ravage across the nation with death tolls, keeping up with these figures is daunting in that the reality is horrific. Unemployment is at 85%...the woes and tales go on and on for Zimbabwe, and still it looks like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It seems each time I post on the events they appear worse. But in the light of the reality there is a base and force that has not been recognized until now. The Church across Zimbabwe has begun stirring the hearts of people. Where no hope exists the Church is bringing hope, shelter, comfort, and peace. People across the nation are calling on the Lord like never before, there is a unity that is being solidified through every trial, the Church is rising up, through prayer and intercession, and lives are being transformed daily. On the one hand it is incredibly sad to see the people suffer, but on the other, I am dumbstruck at the commitment of the people to seek the Lord and to seize each day as a new opportunity. Many a lesson can be learned through these people. I urge people everywhere to set aside a simple 30 seconds each day to pray for resolution in Zimbabwe, for peace, for stability and for the Lord to reveal Himself more and more through the fiery trials the nation is experiencing. I think that unless you are on the ground, it really is difficult to pen the words of what is really being experienced, but coming from that background I know this is an incredibly difficult time for Zimbabwe.

Here in the States, life has been interesting. Just last week a Federal Judge repealed a law banning gay marriage, thus allowing same sex marriages to take place. Only one other State allows this. Right has become wrong, and wrong has become right. I really don't want to digress too much into this, but suffice to say that it is becoming evident that the end is in sight. I look at a number of other issues that seem to point in that direction, for example illegal immigration. I know all about wanting a better life, and desiring change, but there is a right way to do it. Having walked through the process legally, it is disconcerting to see illegal immigrants draining facilities that legitimate immigrants are denied of. I could sight numerous instances but won't go there. Healthcare - need I say more. You go to the doctor, they find something that needs treatment, suddenly your insurance provider decides this condition that has been diagnosed is actually a "pre-existing" condition and so deny all claims, forcing families into financial ruin and untold hardship. This does not make sense to me at all...

As far as tragedies go, the month of May has been abysmal. Myanmar has been devastated by weather conditions that literally destroyed land areas as in the Tsunami, as well as untold loss of lives. Then last week China rocked the scale with a massive earthquake leading to huge losses especially with children trapped in substandard buildings, while government buildings stood through the entire event.

I look at all of this and don't get it. Why is the world filled with such injustice and heartbreak lined with wickedness? Very hard to decipher what is going on but for sure all these events signal the times we are living in. I am convinced the earth is groaning, and getting set for the return of Christ. Much of this mayhem cannot continue at the rate it is unfolding for too much longer.

The big question is are we ready? Are you ready? Have you given any of this thought as to what happens after all is said and done? It pays sometimes to look at what we perceive as the future, could it be that we have a purpose and plan to live out, and need to find what it is in order to complete the task we are called to? I think so!

One thing that has become a reality to me and my family is that no matter what you go through in life, no matter the hardships that may come our way, if you love the Lord, you are in a good place regardless, and nothing catches Him by surprise concerning your life. My Dad had a saying whenever things seemed unfair, or impossible, or crazy - "it will all come out in the wash". Pretty much where we all are at some point in life don't you think?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pray for Zimbabweans

It is no secret what has been going on in South Central Africa in the nation of Zimbabwe. The year is 2008, the nation held elections on March 29, and today is April 27 without an official result. Mugabe and his cronies demanded a recount on a result that was cast by the people, but never announced to the people. What do you make of that? I stress 2008 because in this day and age how can an entire nation cast their vote within a space of 12 hours alloted for the process, and the results take almost to the day 672 hours to announce? Google any news feed on the situation in Zimbabwe and you will be horrified to read what is going on back there. This matter pains me deep in my heart, and will not do any justice to highlight any of the events taking place, because for the majority of the world, having not lived there, it will just make for a good story. to me and my family it goes deeper than that. It is a personal matter that pains us as we read how children are suffering. Never knowing what a vaguely normal childhood consists of, because they are tending to their siblings either dying from AIDS/HIV or related illness or malnutrition, or have been orphaned by the same. Some of these realities are too dreadful to even mention, because they trigger emotions deep within the very essence of my being.

I could rattle off a host of articles, stories and events that have been taking place literally daily in Zimbabwe, but I wonder what purpose it will serve to do so.

Of greater importance is calling on all believers globally who stumble upon this blog and journal entry to set aside as little as 30 seconds to offer a prayer up to the Lord to intervene by His mercy and have grace on the people of Zimbabwe in their dire moment of need. The crisis is real, the situation is horrific, the events unfolding are frightening...could I urge you to pray today for those children who have no hope, for those mothers who have no means to feed their children, for fathers who are being beaten by police and army, who took an oath to "protect and serve" the people of Zimbabwe? Would you consider asking the Lord to reach down and stop this mayhem, to bring a peaceful solution to a situation grossly out of control?

It is absolutely clear that Mugabe and Zanu PF at large overwhelmingly lost this general election, hence the delays. Their tactic is to use violence and brute force to beat the innocent people of Zimbabwe into "their" submission to solidify their 28 year iron fist rule. MDC can offer Zimbabwe hope, a chance to rebuild what has been ruined by Mugabe and his henchmen. We can't all go and fight, neither can we respond and retaliate with violence, but we can unite in force and ask the Lord to intervene...

Please - all I ask is 30 seconds of your time to pray for the situation to miraculously be upheld by the Lord to bring freedom to the nation of Zimbabwe, and to stop this wickedly evil chain of events that continues to spiral out of control.

Simply Google Zimbabwe and you will be enlightened, I could go on and on, but that is simply duplicating what is already out there...

Thank you for taking a moment to read this and to PRAY for 30 seconds for innocent lives to be spared in Zimbabwe...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

ZIMBABWE - the stolen election

What a fiasco. Presidential elections staged on March 29th. Today, ten days out and no official results have been announced. The ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commitee) are holed up inside the prestigious Rainbow Hotel in Harare, the capital, six of their officials have been detained by the Police for supposedly rigging results, and the High Court has finally decreed that the MDC has a legitimate appeal to force the ZEC to release results immediately.
Interesting to note that in all prior elections, results were announced within a twenty four hour period of the closing of polls. Of course during that time frame ballot boxes were moved to regional centers and stuffed with pro-party counts. This election period was different. SADC, the UN and OAU insisted Mugabe alter legislation and allow votes to be cast and counted at over 9000 polling stations across Zimbabwe. Thinking he would once again overwhelmingly win, he agreed.
In the run up to the elections he had Fidelity Printers working around the clock printing copious amounts of worthless dollars to bribe rural folk, warvets and youth militia. In addition to that little exercise he donated 450 vehicles to junior doctors at all major hospitals and clinics in a bid to buy their vote. What craziness is that? Zimbabwe has no fuel! I have been given a vehicle but can't use it...where is the logic?
Today we see zanu PF actively going back to the 2000 war veteran styled attacks on the remaining white farmers. In the last 24 hours we have seen 60 white farmers forcefully removed from their farms, and the rhetoric resounding across the Zimbabwe airwaves is being vehemently spewed with indignant hatred and instilling fear across the nation once again. Mugabe and his cronies are once again using the "whites will take the land back if you let MDC win" tactic to forcefully remain in power should a run off vote be inevitable.
Morgan Tsvangirai met with Jacob Zuma Monday in Pretoria, where discussions were held in closed session. Note that prior this election year, getting any kind of meeting between Mbeki and Morgan proved almost fruitless. Jacob Zuma earlier won the leadership of the ANC and although Mbeki still leads the country as President, his term will expire in 2009, and no doubt Jacob Zuma will become the new South African President. I draw your attention to the significance of this development. Zuma leads the ANC, Morgan leads the MDC. Both are in absolute agreement that Mugabe is old news, and needs to vacate State House and retire. MDC have from the onset of their formation proclaimed that Mugabe can retire peacefully in Zimbabwe, in his elaborate mansion without fear of being brought to book on his human rights abuses. Almost sounds too good to be true doesn't it? African politics will indicate that fear ranks extremely high in leadership circles. There is no trust. Therefore it becomes a selfish fight for survival at all costs and rulership is not easily relinquished. Siding with Mugabe is the army top dog, Chiwenga, and the ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police) mainstay, Chihuri. Both are more than reluctant to allow any kind of change to the presidential status of Zimbabwe. They are of course fearful of reprisal, fearful of being sent off to the Hague for their part in human rights abuse. So, the intention is clear - hold on at all costs. Drum up more hate towards the west, towards the few remaining white farmers, instill fear in the majority and command their vote be cast in a run off to thwart the MDC from presiding over Zimbabwe.
I could link each statement in this post to a news article, but that would be fruitless. Updates are occurring hourly, and by the time you read one article the facts have significantly changed. In ten days more than 3000 articles have been published online, doing a quick calculation will reveal that 300 articles are posted daily.
What we do know as fact is this;
The legislation changed, allowing votes to be counted and posted at polling stations.
By Monday morning last week, the results were already "unofficially" known.
MDC won the majority of the senate and parliamentary seats.
Morgan Tsvangirai overwhelmingly beat his opponent, incumbent Mugabe.
The ZEC has not released any results pertaining to the Presidential vote.
Mugabe has demanded a recount of the votes.
What people fail to see is that it is impossible and legally questionable for zanu PF to demand a recount on results that have not officially been announced. Does this mean Mugabe has been privvy to the outcome? YES! You need to understand that certain officials have been given farms, land, and business enterprises, in exchange for ruling party support. Don't you think it is strange that the results have not been announced ten days after the elections? Don't you think it strange that the High Court is stalling and buying as much time as possible to delay an injunction against the ZEC to release the results? Don't you think it strange that warvets are stomping across the nation again, kicking the last handful of white farmers off the land?
Everyone has a story or comment about these elections as well as the situation in Zimbabwe. Speaking from first hand accounts and experience, the fact of the matter is clear. Mugabe needs to go, he needs to relinquish his hold on the country that he championed to independence in 1980. Inflation is sitting at 168000%, making Zimbabwe theoretically the poorest nation in the world. Shops are seriously empty. No basic commodities, let alone staple food and medicine are available. Average life expectancy has dropped from 63 years to 37.5 years....these are catastrophic signs of impending doom. The largest thriving business today across Zimbabwe is that of digging graves; people are dying at the rate of 6500 every month. AIDS/hiv and related illness along with malnutrition is claiming lives at an alarming rate. The time for change is now. It is one thing getting the message out there, it is another actually fighting democratically for change to be effected.
The region of southern Africa cannot afford to have Mugabe in power for another 5 year term. South Africa has over 3 million illegal aliens that have escaped the perilous life in Zimbabwe in search of freedom and the right to survive across the border. Neighboring countries are affected, yet remain silent on the ousting of this madman. Mbeki - you are heading up the committee that is speaking directly with Mugabe. The world urges you to step up to the plate, and encourage this megalomaniac to concede victory to the MDC. After all it is in your economic best interest - FIFA may take your winning bid to host the World Cup soccer to Australia...that will dent your economy in gargantuan proportions. Do what is right for South Africa, and have mercy on the innocent people of Zimbabwe...intervene!
We watch, we wait, we pray...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Twenty two verses, that's all it took...

Life sometimes comes screaming around the corner toward us and slams us with insurmountable problems. Just when you think everything is going good, isn't so! Or is it?

There is a life lesson and amazing story of one such a person who had such an encounter in the Bible. Job was his name. He had three qualities that endowed him with greatness on a spiritual plain. And he had physical attributes that associated him with greatness beyond measure in his time.

In the material world Job had much. Seven sons and three daughters. Seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred donkeys. He was well known and was the greatest of all men of the east. Often his children would feast or party and Job would make sacrifices to the Lord to atone for their sin. Spiritually, Job's qualities were amazing, he was a man who was perfect, upright, fearing God and hating evil.

The book of Job is an eye opener. The very first chapter, speaks of unparalleled greatness and success of one man, and within the space of a short twenty verses everything is gone! One day, Job receives one of his messengers, and is told of how his oxen and donkeys were destroyed. At the same time, another messenger arrives and tells Job that fire came and burned up all the sheep and servants, and yet again the messenger comes and tells Job the worst news of all...his seven sons and three daughters have been killed!

Twenty two versus is all it took...but consider this;
Satan was going around the earth, to and fro. The Lord asked him "have you considered my servant Job? - do what you will with him, only do not touch his life".

Verse one starts out proclaiming Job's greatness and asset register. After all the calamities befall him, verse 22 concludes: In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

I know that for many of us, the curve ball of life and all she throws at us, can be very disconcerting. Seems like troubles come our way relentlessly and we feel that we are unable to cope with another day of hardship. For many it is a health issue, a diagnosis you never dreamed would touch your mortal life, suddenly becomes reality when you go for a routine check up. For someone else it is a financial nightmare that you just didn't see coming. Others, it is an economy doing strange down turns that spiral your nest egg into peril. A child gone astray perhaps, or even a foreclosure on property you banked on spending the rest of your life in. Or the loss of income by default of a lay off.

It would be foolishness to make light of any of these very real difficulties, because they do happen, and they touch people that are near and dear almost too often to imagine.

What is the secret to being able to cope with calamity when it strikes? And strike it will! I glance over at Job and read of his wealth, and that looks appealing, but achievable? I don't know. I look at his spiritual qualities, and then I see a glimmer of hope. I believe his material greatness came by way of his spiritual obedience. Is this a standard we can achieve? In our own strength, no. But if we were able to walk through life with perfection, being upright and God fearing wouldn't that be something to be desired? I believe it is attainable. Through a belief in Christ and what He accomplished on the cross at calvary, by taking the sin of the world upon Himself, he made a way for us. Does it mean then when we come to Christ in our frailty that we too will have to endure such hardship as Job? Maybe not. It will not be easy, there will be difficulties to encounter, but the promise we have is that "He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure". Job was the perfect example making it attainable for even us today. He had it all. He lost it all. He never once denied God, never once blamed God, bore an incredible testimony of trust in the Lord and was rewarded over and over for his stand in faithfulness and worship to God.

If Job paved the way, then we too can expect hardship, bad news, poor outcome of circumstances, the list is endless, but if our hope and faith and trust is in the Lord then losing what we have is worth gaining what has been promised to us by Christ - eternity in paradise.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Zimbabwe Elections 2008

Six years down the road, clear of living in Zimbabwe, it is that time once again where the nation heads to the polls, to elect their new leader 28 years post independence. Sometimes, when you are in the thick of the forest it is hard to see the wood for all the trees. The only way to get a clearer perspective is to literally step outside and look in. Alternatively, for many it has meant exiting Zimbabwe in order to get that view into perspective.

I have a lot of ideas of what could, what should, and what won't happen in Zimbabwe, as I am sure do many millions of others who have left voluntarily, under force, driven by fear or simply made their escape good while they could. In a perfect world, Mugabe would not have served as leader by default for the past 28 years. He would have sat in office for a maximum two terms, and vacated the building handing the reigns to his subordinates, or allowing a new party to step into office. Neither idea has come to pass. Everyone and their grandfather has been blamed for every evil under the sun in Zimbabwe, by the ruling Zanu PF.

The depth of the crisis that has not only been looming but has actually been advancing in it's state of decomposition is the alarming rate in which the nation as a whole is falling into depths of certain chaos. Inflation is now a daily rising factor, quoting figures is basically of no importance now, except to say everything everywhere goes up daily, if you can get it. The health care system is in absolute dire straights. It would be fatal to be involved in a simple fender bender requiring a visit to the ER. There are no doctors to adequately care for you. No medication to administer treatment, and equipment is either absent or beyond a state of competent repair. A prime example is of someone close to us, who was doing a minor repair job on their home a couple of weeks ago, the person was working on the roof, and on climbing down the ladder, lost footing, slipped and fell, injuring themselves on a sharp rusty piece of metal. This required immediately medical attention, and upon arriving at the ER, to their shock, horror and disbelief, no treatment could be given. No Doctor. No medication. No facilities. A special trip had to be made to neighboring South Africa to purchase a tetanus shot to avoid infection. Amazing to think that in your own capital city in the largest medical facility in the nation, a simple tetanus shot was unavailable. A flight to neighboring South Africa, with all the associated costs had to be engaged to make this simple yet absolutely necessary medication available.

Other evils that prevail, are the rampant cases of HIV/AIDS related deaths that continue to spiral out of control reducing the average life expectancy to figures lower than almost any civilized nation on planet earth. Malnutrition is a major contributing factor to the overall sustainability of life. Usually you would encounter this problem in rural settings, but think again, all major urban centers now have the exact same level of problems as do rural undeveloped parts of Zimbabwe.

Try buying gas, fuel or as we know it; petrol. This is a whole other nightmare. You can forget about the good old days of driving up to a gas station and pumping a tank of gas. That does not happen anymore. You have to know someone, who knows someone to be able to have the shear luxury of driving your vehicle. Then comes the associated crime that also rears itself in times of economic hardship. No longer is it safe to simply go about your own life in a peaceable manner. Even if you are the poorest of the poor you will still fall prey and become a victim of unnecessary crime. In the old days of crime, thieves and criminals would lie in wait for you to leave your home before breaking and entering. Forget that Zimbabwe, you can be asleep in your own bed, and be woken by criminals demanding valuables. There is an element of brazen "I am taking this, it now belongs to me" attitude sweeping the nation that safety is truly coming under definite scrutiny. Calling 911? Forget it...they are either involved in these acts of crime, have no transport or are too busy beating innocent people into submission to following the ruling party.

I have long since aired my views, and make no bones about the fact that none of the impending doom taking place in Zimbabwe has anything to do with anyone, other than the ruling party. Blame rests solely upon them. The accountability being racked up is terrifying as judgment looms.

Even if the elections were to be remotely free and fair this time round, I doubt Mugabe would relent and walk away. He is too far gone down that slippery road of tyrannical megalomaniac leadership. And so are his cronies. I take my hat off to Simba Makoni. Making his exit from Zanu PF and running for president all but 6 weeks before the elections. All major southern rallies scheduled for Zanu PF have been canceled by the powers that be, because of disenchantment and support leaning toward this new runner for leadership.

What does this mean for MDC? If only they had remained united and not allowed inter party squabbling to bring division! That said, it is good to know that recent rallies held by MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai have bolstered large crowds and support across the have they finally got their act together?

If we were to take a 50 / 50 view of better the evil you know than the one you don't, then in all honesty any change right now is better than none. Therefore if Simba and his crowd can legitimately pull off a new leadership victory, that change will be welcome. If MDC step up to the plate and take charge and win the elections, perhaps this would be a better gamble. International aid is in the offing if they win, and most of the national debt which is embarrassingly high, will be forgiven, giving the nation of Zimbabwe a clean start.

My loyalty will still rest with MDC. That won't change. It makes no difference what happens. My association and long standing relationship remains unmoved. Change will come, and will come soon.

For the moment, could we all pray that by some miraculous intervention Mugabe is stripped of his reign of terror, and that change comes to the government of Zimbabwe, by way of new blood, fresh ideas, and a responsibility to care for her sons and daughters who have relentlessly given their lives for the betterment of Zimbabwe? Join with me, and millions of others across the globe as these elections draw near, let us unite in our goal to touch the hem of the Lord to hear the cry of the innocent and bring hope, mercy and healing to a nation that has been long forgotten. This is the perfect opportunity to see what prayer can do for a land in need of blessing....pray with us.