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Living on Borrowed Time – Leon on Life

I’ve learned that each time we are faced with life-threatening situations or lose our loved ones, that’s the moment we get wake-up calls that we are not gonna live forever (as yet). We’re reminded that we are not as superior beings as we thought. Death has a way of humbling us. We are just ordinary mortal beings and one day we shall return to the dust which we come from.
 
In a recent incident that nearly took a life of my best friend (Leon), I re-learned a cliché lesson: “life is too short and tomorrow is not guaranteed”. I learned to love without conditions, give without expectations, work without complaints, and to share without groanings and moanings.
 
I have learned how to appreciate the little I have because many people wish they were in my position. I have also learned to take my life and opportunities presented to me very serious, because one minute I might be texting you this message and the other I might be gone from your presence. Life is really that unpredictable.
 
During a hospital visit, Leon (my friend) said to us “Comrades, the little things you see as simple to you, to me it’s luxury. Walking from here to the door is a mission. Bathing myself is a big task for me. I wish I had that luxury.” In my mind, I kept thinking of the privilege I had. The luxury of being able to do things myself without a need for help. Such, is a blessing we never get to appreciate.
 
I got home that Sunday evening and listened to Musiq Soulchild who, in his song “Don’t change”, shares lessons on how we should never give up on people and love. In the music video, Musiq narates a story of a man who receives news that his fiancé had will never be able to walk again due to a car crash that took place the same day he proposed to her. At the end of the video, the story is fast-tracked to years later when they are old with grandchildren and the man is asked how he was able to marry the wife even when she was crippled and could have gone for other “abled” and beautiful women. He responded and said: “if you know that you love someone with all your heart, just love them and God will see you through.”
 
When Leon recovered from a tragic accident of that stole away his loved one, he then sent a short but yet compelling email to few of his friends saying: “While in ICU and barely conscious, I had to go through something I would call ‘fighting for my life.’ See, you make a decision to either live or die. The decision is totally in your hands. It’s just like deciding to wake up on a cold winter morning at 4. There were times I slowly felt life slip away from my grasps. Giving up is easy, you just tell yourself you can’t take this anymore.”
 
Don’t stop fighting! Fight to live and love.

Is your dam ready for the rain?

I hope you a had a great weekend.

A lot of times we ask God to bless us. When we are at the lowest point of our lives, we pray to God for blessings to overtake us (see Deut. 28:1-2), but do we ever take time to prepare ourselves for the big blessings we need from Him? If a million hit your bank account, what would you do to multiply it?

“Pray to the Lord for rain in the springtime. The Lord will send the lightning and the rain will fall, and he will make the plants grow in each person’s field.” – Zechariah 10:1 ERV

Few months ago, we complained and prayed to God for rain. It earnestly pleaded with Him for his saving grace. Our dams were running out. Experts were suggesting that by 2021, we were going to have a high water shortage in the country. The department of water affairs created adverts on media platforms with efforts to make us save the little water we have.

There are a number of times in the Bible when the children of Israel were faced with serious droughts in their country. Having trust in God, they looked up to the heavens and prayed to God. God answered their prayers and sent rain. Things were restored to their normality.

Just like the Children of Israel, this past week something happened in the heavens. God opened up the heavens and poured out massive rain into various parts of the country. Unfortunately, some people lost their lives whilst others lost theirs houses and cars. What seemed to be a blessing, quickly turned into a curse in a matter of three days. The worst part is, when clouds gather, people are already fearful. Could it be God’s doing or we messed up?

A question we should be asking ourselves is, “do we have enough dams to carry the amount of water from the rain?”, “do we have systems in place to carry the floods to our dams?”. I watched as floods ruin buildings, cars and take lives in Gauteng. It was a painful experience as people shouted to God for help in the midst of their troubles. In my head was how we as a province failed to create drainage systems that can handle the floods and deposit water into the dams we have. The worse part is that the Vaal dam in Gauteng was not affected at all.

Most of the times we ask God to bless us, but we are not ready to receive blessings, as a result they become too heavy for us. We do not create or prepare environments for us to receive blessings from God. We ask for rain to fall, but we don’t have systems to carry the amount of rain that might fall upon us.

Are you one of those who still isn’t ready for God’s blessings? Prepare yourself, God is about the rain blessings in your home.

Work on your gifts

Have you ever spent time to find out what is that one thing that you are good at? That one thing that when you have done, people are always raving about it. That one thing you can do without strive but people find very hard to do. In most cases, people wish they could do what you can. They keep asking you to teach them how to do it but they fail to bring it out the same way you can. You are considered the best at that one thing. It could be baking, cooking, cleaning, mathematics or driving. Whatever it is, do it with all might.

When you page through the Bible, you will notice a scripture that speaks to the ability to create wealth (Deuteronomy8:18), however what we always miss out on is the importance of working hard. We never give ourselves time to sharpen our skills, gifts or talents. Each of us has been blessed with one or more gifts which are special to others who don’t have them. Each one of us is born with incredible gifts that can help all of us at some point. To think that we you are not born with a talent or gift, is not only incorrect but also an insult to your creator because we are all born with special gifts that will help better our lives and other people’s lives as well.

“A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” – Proverbs 18:16

Most of the time you don’t work hard on your gift because you still have doubts about its power. You don’t know how powerful it is and as a result, you waste your great potential. Have you seen many great people not using their God-given talents and how frustrated you get thinking how you could make a huge difference if God had given you the same gift? I sometimes wish I knew how to sing. I know that I would go all out to make sure that people listen to my songs every chance they get.

The biggest problem is that we never work hard on our gifts. We either limit ourselves or do not know how powerful they are. The Bible in the book of Proverbs 14:23 says “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” If you work hard on your gifts, you will create success out of them. On the other side, if you don’t, you will become poor. Wouldn’t you want to become successful because of something you are passionate about? Wouldn’t you want to travel the world and touch millions of lives because of your special gift? Think long and hard about it.

My prayer for you this week is that you realise your gifts/talents and work hard for them. Make them greater. We deserve to experience your greatness.

A powerful story

There was a daughter who complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face. “Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Here’s something I want you to understand; in life we ALL go through hardships, struggles, pains, tortures and adversaries. It is how we view and take them that we become either stronger or weaker. Next time you encounter a challenge, do not be reactional rather be responsive. Don’t let the hardships or life take you down. You are stronger than that. You are powerful and can influence things to favour your way.

Be Expectant

During pregnancy, a woman is forced to quit all bad habits which some include smoking, drinking and eating fast foods. There is a lot of pain that is experienced at times. There is a lot of sacrifice that needs to be done however you can draw a lot of lessons from pregnancy. Some lessons include patience, care, health and faith, just to name a few.

Another term we use to say that a woman is pregnant is pregnant is that “she is expecting”. This means she is expecting something – a gift – a baby. One important other lesson to draw from a pregnant women is that you need to learn is to be expectant.

“cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.” – (Romans 12:12 MSG)

Often times we are not on the receiving end. We have faith that God will do miracles, however we are not expecting something to come our way. When a woman is expecting a baby, she makes sure that her health is up to scratch. She makes sure that nothing harms that which is coming her way (a gift from God).

Maybe one of the reasons why you haven’t received your blessing is because you are not expecting it. By expecting a blessing, there certain things you need to do. You do not sit there and expect something to happen when you are not preparing yourself for it. The bible say you must “wait on the Lord.” Whilst waiting, you need to gear up. Just like a pregnant woman, you need to get rid of the many things that might cause a blessing miscarriage.

Some of the things that may cause your “blessing miscarriage” include doubt, negative talks, impatience, shame, thanklessness, hopelessness and pride (we will dwell on this subject in detail).

Maybe one of the reasons why you haven’t received your blessing is that you are not at the receiving end. Yes, you might be waiting on the Lord, still standing firm, but your position might be incorrect. When God opens the windows of heaven and pour out His blessings to you, will the blessings find you in the right position with him? Do you have a right-standing with God? Are you righteous?

There are many “blocks” preventing your healing, health and blessings. A sober conclusion would be that you need to walk in “Love and Truth” with God, ourselves and our fellow man, there will be NO blocks! You need to make sure that at all times you are expectant.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:1 NLT)

God has great plans for you, plans not to harm you but to give you hope and future. As much as He wants you to wait upon Him, He also expects you to be expectant. Be ready to receive the blessings of God. Don’t wait without hope and the right standing with God.

SA Men Awards

Abuti Rams has been nominated for the South African Men Awards. To vote for Abuti Rams, simply SMS ‘YouthGP Thabang Ramoroka‘ to 34818. No free SMS apply. SMS cost R2. Terms and Conditions apply.

About SA Men Awards

The majority of South Africa’s human capital being men, is engrossed in correctional services, accused of moral degradation and frequently labeled as incompetent agents of society; due gender based violence, child abuse, corruption and other forms of social insecurities. In retrospect, gratitude ought to be dedicated to South African men who have recognized the value of good character above reputable achievements; men who have triumphed mediocrity for the betterment of their communities. The Department of Social Development in partnership with various stakeholders in the private sector, non-profit organizations as well as non-state actors; proudly presents the South African Men of the Year Awards with aim of acknowledging honourable men who are preserving human dignity, alleviating poverty and advocates of positive transformation in their domains.

In addition to the above, the awards are regarded as a Legacy project with a going concern; that will encourage communities to identify role models who have produced tangible developments and projected a moral-standing that is worth noting. The SA Men of the Year Awards should not only be viewed in the lens of rhapsody and as a celebratory event; however it is a project aimed at restoring the identity of South African men, incubating developmental programs in the communities of all provinces to build and encourage vulnerable individuals and to raise a credible morale amongst men in society. The Awards are an annual and national campaign that will serve as a continuous collaborative, between the Gauteng Department of Social Development, other government constituencies and the non- profit organizational sector.

About Abuti Rams

Thabang “Abuti Rams” Ramoroka is a thought leader, digital communications strategist, author, managing director of Biz M8 Communications and CEO of Agape Youth Movement NPC. Abuti Rams has worked with individuals and groups across all markets including teachers, students, young adults, community, political and even religious leaders assisting and guiding them to greater levels of achievement, fulfillment and empowerment in all aspects of their lives. Added to his many roles, Abuti Rams contributes on public youth development dialogues and debates covering topics such as youth entrepreneurship, social transformation and social media having been featured on numerous international and local media platforms.

You will get out of your pit situation

We all have our pit moments and situations. We fall into pits that may seem like there’s no escape. We try everything in our strength to pull out but it becomes difficult for us to do.

“Praise the Lord , my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,”Psalm 103:2, 4 NIV

The Psalm written by King David says that God redeems us from the pits we are in. He doesn’t only end there, but he continues to say that He crowns us with love and compassion. This means that, even after we go through our traumatic pit experiences, God further provides us with counselling for our souls. He doesn’t leave us in despair.

I may not know what kind of a pit you have been thrown into, however I know that there you can be pulled out of it. The Bible in the book of Genesis 18:14 asks “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?” and then affirms to us that indeed there is nothing too hard for Him. Even if you feel like you are down and have no hope of rising up again, I am here to let you know that God is going to give you a helping hand to get out of that pit of misery. You will no longer be in despair and feel hopeless. You will restore your confidence. You will recover from every tragedy you’ve been through. The pit you find yourself in today, will never be no more.

Trust, believe and have faith that you will get out of your pit situation. Soon enough, favour will find you.

Focus on your box

On Saturday, I traveled with my team from AYM and spent 6 hours with a couple of youth in North West. The purpose was to inspire them to do greater things and not allow their surroundings distract them from achieving their goals.

One of the exercises I did with them was that of building a box using a blank A4 paper. They were not given any scissor and glue to work with. They had to innovatively come up with ways to create a box. They were given 5mins to do the box.

Out of all them, only one young man did a very neat and properly square box. Others attempted but their boxes would be crushed when touched. Others just failed to do boxes, left pages on the floor and watched others finish their boxes. From the exercise, there were many lessons we came out with, each lesson was important for their development as individuals.

One lesson I want you to capture is that in life, you might be given only one opportunity to do something without having all the resources around you. You have to do everything in your power to make it work. Time will run out if you don’t use it wisely. It is important to come up with best ways to make something out of that which you have been given.

Sometimes you won’t be given a glue and a ✂ to create a box, but you need to be grateful that you have a paper. Life might present you with only one opportunity to change your situation. Some will find it easy to crack the code, you might take longer to get it right, but what matters is for you to give it your best. Do it with all might. Don’t be like those who gave up when they heard that they are only left with 1 minute to do the box. Be that person who will try everything in your power to do something with the page.

Someone got a job after varsity, it might be a totally different case with you. You might be sitting at home with 5 years sending CVs with no luck. Whatever happens, DO NO THROW IN THE TOWEL. It is only a matter of time for you to get it right. Don’t give up. Build your box and focus on it.

BIG dreams require BOLD decisions

Do you believe that you have BIG dreams to achieve in your life? Of course you do. Everyone does. But what happens when you have BIG dreams but afraid to take bold steps?

It was 2012 when I took a bold decision that not every young man in his early 20s would. I had just completed my national diploma in IT and everything looked great for me. Finished my internship programme with a fresh and growing company in Pretoria. There was room for growth and a big fat salary in just few months to show for the years of studying. It was easy for me to continue with the work I was doing and focus on it for 5 years at least and then move on to another company, but my heart was telling me to do the unfavourable. It was telling me to take a bold step and a great leap of faith. I made a decision to quit the job and focus on doing work for an NGO whilst running a small company that didn’t have offices, let alone a telephone line. Family and friends thought I was crazy. To them, I totally wasted the three years of my life studying IT and only to do work that was not related to the course.

What a BIG risk I took. Was it worth it?

Fast forward, 4 years from then, the decision I took has totally transformed my life and lives of thousands of people in Southern Africa. That NGO I focused on, is the same organisation you now know as Agape Youth Movement. That small company I worked on, is now competing with larger communication firms in Gauteng and growing to greater heights each day. Was it scary to take that bold decision? Hell yeah! Was it worth it? Without any benefit of the doubt.

See, in life, you’ll always be presented with pleasurable and the not-so-pleasurable choices which you must choose from. Most, if not all times, the pleasurable choices you take, don’t enable you to explore greater success and fulfillment of our life goals. It takes a person who is willing to take BOLD decisions, in order to have breakthroughs in many aspects of his/her life. All the BIG dreams you have about your life, require you to take BOLD decisions. Bold decisions are always uncomfortable. They want you to give your best.

Today, I want you to take a BOLD decision and do that which you’ve always been afraid to. It might not be quitting your job, but whatever it is, remember that every BIG dream you have, requires you to take BOLD decisions. Don’t compromise.

The 6 Ps that torment people

1. Power
People that crave for power. People will go out of their way just to obtain power. Miseries have been caused, widows came and orphans have been crafted because people are chasing for power. A number of families were destroyed, friendships, relationships were destroyed in the process because people were craving for power. Don’t let power get to your head. You will crash!

2. Prosperity
People will go all out to prosper. People are told to do extreme things for prosperity. They will tell you that if you can sacrifice a child, your business will grow. If you can just bring your cousin’s eye just so that you can prosper. A number of people died because they want to prosper. Don’t be too anxious for success that you even lose yourself in the process.

3. Protection
That’s another P. There are so many families that would go all the way just to strengthen their families. People spend thousands of rands just to protect themselves from evil spirits and guard their houses. Knowing that you have a God who is a protector, you shouldn’t be worried about spiritual battles for He will prepare you and strengthen you for war.

4. Popularity
Others just want to be popular. Just to be seen on TV, Magazines, and Newspapers and they will do whatever it takes to see themselves being popular and people always talking about them. People go to the extreme just wanting to be famous. Ladies would even go out to be naked just to get some attention on social platforms. We need to run away from the obsession of being famous.

5. Presence
Others for presence. “When I come, people must sense me that I’ve arrived.” People would do anything in their power to make sure that people feel his/her presence. Stop over entertaining people. Be your best and people will love you still. Don’t go out seeking attention. If you are doing something good, people will give you attention.

6. Pleasure
They would sacrifice a number of things just for pleasure. People would sacrifice their dignity just to have pleasure. I was shocked to hear young people claiming not to have money to register for the next semester but they stiff have money to go see DJ so and so play and get drunk on that weekend. Priorities are not set right when pleasure is in the lead.

We need to learn not to let these 6 Ps control our lives. We need to learn how to draw a balance between all of them. Failure to do so, you will temper with your future and the happiness of people around you.
I want you to look at yourself today and introspect. Do you have any of the Ps? If the answer is YES, then you need to go on your knees and ask God to help you conquer that P.