Life is for Living Every Day

Celebrating Faith, Family, Love, Laughter


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We all have the right to be human

 

children in Barcelona

We have a right to be human. For starters. But today, as we celebrate Amnesty International Day, it’s time we went deeper especially when many around the world are being deprived of their basic rights as fellow humans.

But what is amnesty exactly? It’s more than this definition for sure.

Amnesty

What else I learnt

“Human rights have been a hot topic in local and international politics since the 1960’s. Whether fighting for the right to marry the person of our choice or to end abuses like child labor all over the globe, Amnesty International has been in the trenches trying to make the world a better place. Amnesty International Day works to promote human rights and raise awareness of their abuses and how our choices affect them every day.” Source

I got married in 1995 of my own free will. For sure I did not have to fight to do so and even had the right per se to become a divorce statistic. I am pretty much the queen of my own little kingdom. I am not prevented from working at any job I accept (as long as it’s legal I suppose), wearing my own style of clothing, driving a car or furthering my education. I can speak my mind in any forum without fear of ridicule or abuse. I can have as many children as I want. I do not have to run for safety from machine gun fire, overhead missiles or suicide bombers. My home and my country come together to make up my castle. I am blessed.

Amnesty International

I knew very little about Amnesty International or its true role as a wicket keeper on the world affairs pitch and honestly never felt a burning need to read up on them until recently. For starters, their website, www.amnestyinternational.org says this:

“Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million people who take injustice personally. We are campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. We investigate and expose the facts, whenever and wherever abuses happen. We lobby governments, and other powerful groups such as companies. Making sure they keep their promises and respect international law. By telling the powerful stories of the people we work with, we mobilize millions of supporters around the world to campaign for change and to stand in defence of activists on the frontline. We support people to claim their rights through education and training.”

See for yourself

I was impressed but even though 7 million bodies represent a lot of willing hands, there is still so much more to be done. For example, the latest report speaks to a deplorable state of human rights where the strong and mighty continue to victimize the poor and less fortunate. Isn’t it obvious yet that wars turn homeowners and families into nomads, children into orphans (slaves or soldiers too) and vibrant cities into desolate smoking heaps of rubble burying centuries of traditions, history and dreams?

Obviously not and after reading the paragraph below certain words burned right into my brain. Words like ‘unrelenting misery and fear’ being imposed by ‘governments and armed groups’ who continue ‘torture’ and ill treat others.  I suggest you check it out for yourself but here’s a warning: this report contains 409 pages of tears, of feeling your heart tightening in your chest, of wishing there were quicker ways of offering hope in the face of what seems so totally hopeless.

“The Amnesty International Report 2016/17 documents the state of human rights in 159 countries and territories during 2016. For millions, 2016 was a year of unrelenting misery and fear, as governments and armed groups abused human rights in a multitude of ways. Large numbers of people continued to flee conflict and repression in many regions of the world. Among other pervasive issues, this report documents continuing torture and other ill-treatment, the failure to uphold sexual and reproductive rights, government surveillance, and a culture of impunity for past crimes.”

When all is not lost

So how do we celebrate this important day? What can we do differently in our lives that would make some impact, no matter how small? How can we realistically contribute and participate? Here’s how:

“The best way to celebrate Amnesty International Day is to help raise awareness among your friends and family about the struggles of the world’s downtrodden. The place to start would be with educating yourself by learning about the places in the world where Civil Liberties are most at risk. You can also seek out events sponsored by Amnesty International, including benefit concerts and fundraisers seeking to keep the organization going and to help support its efforts. Amnesty International has done a great deal of good work over the years, but the challenges it faces are never-ending, and new allies are needed with every passing year. So get out there and work to help make the world a better place!”

Our next steps

In a nutshell and as Amnesty International tells us: “Sign a petition, volunteer for us, become a member… Whatever you want to do, take action today and be part of a global movement standing together for human rights across the world.” Let’s do this!

Did you learn anything new today? Is human rights or rather the lack of a hot button topic for you? I’m starting a conversation here; join me.

 

 


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When did we see you Lord???

children in Barcelona

Just as God looks after the little children so will He look after us 🙂

Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”
Matthew 15:29-32 (NIV)

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At times it is obvious that we live in a society of very inconsiderate people.  There are neighbours who blast their music loudly from their stereo on Sunday afternoons while you are trying to rest, or totally block your gate with their car yet have an attitude when asked to move.  Or what about the people who go to parties and park all along the sidewalk, leaving pedestrians to fend for their lives by having to walk in the road?  I am sure you have never seen able-bodied shoppers park in spaces allocated for the disabled or elderly, and it may only be some of us who are affected by co-workers who meet their personal deadline on a team project but somehow forget to leave you with enough time to meet your own.  We hold our heads as executives go off and make decisions regarding our jobs without consulting us and think nothing of it when we have to work overtime to complete an assignment.  We fume quietly as minibus drivers hold up traffic to have long chit chats or stop their vehicles in the middle of the road to pick up or drop off passengers.  And let’s not forget the pedestrians who appear to literally jump out on to zebra crossings without allowing you enough time to apply your brakes. 

Then there are the little things: someone takes the last ice cube from the freezer and ‘forgets’ to refill the ice tray with water, or they replace the iced water container in the refrigerator with exactly one centimeter of water covering the bottom, or better yet leave two little peeny weeny kernels of corn in the salad dish to avoid washing up … sigh.  I have struggled with much of the above during my lifetime and admit that sometimes I grow really tired of thinking of others when it is so much easier to just not bother.

God reminds us however to go over to the book of Matthew where we can take a closer look at His son’s life.  There we see that Jesus always made the time to be considerate of others.  Even when He was tired or didn’t feel like it, He healed the sick or comforted the poor or simply let someone touch His robe so they could be healed.  He never fussed, never fretted, never even considered using some bad words on the disciples when they didn’t see how 4000 or 5000 people could be fed (or should be fed).  Did Jesus wait until He got to know these people personally before reaching out to them? Did He wait until He felt like helping before bothering to do so?  No!  He is always thinking about us and what He can do for us!  Hallelujah! 

So what is our plan?  Should we continue to think of others in the midst of our topsy-turvy lives where so many others are self-centred and blatantly so?  I can only speak for Gale but let’s see how much we can do for someone else this week … if only just because.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
‘Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)

Do you find it hard to be supportive, especially when someone is being totally unsupportive? Is it easy for you to acknowledge the homeless or those down on their luck? Can you reach out and touch someone deemed by society as untouchable? Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to share your thoughts!

Friendship quote_Oprah Winfrey


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There’s Power in the Pit

 

“Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.  But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.  So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.  The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.”
Genesis 39:20-23 (NIV)

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Do you have dreams? Can you see yourself in the future achieving what you want most?  And what are you doing now to prepare yourself for that special time when you arrive in your ‘kingdom of kingdoms’? I guess the real question here is: do you know how to be a reserve?

Let me explain by telling you about Jalon Samuel, an 18 year old race horse jockey who won the prestigious Sandy Lane Gold Cup here in Barbados in 2012.  Jalon’s victory was significant because in 2o11 he had won his race, was interviewed via the media and publicly congratulated on being a winner but later disqualified. How traumatic! In 2012 he was a reserve jockey up until the before race day on Saturday when suddenly another jockey withdrew. The timing was finally right and everything lined up perfectly; this was his chance to successfully (and without any doubt or drama) achieve his dream.

Jalon’s story is significant for two reasons. First of all, even though he might have been disappointed and dejected over his disqualification in 2011, he never gave up hope that one day he would indeed win this prestigious race.  Secondly, he never gave up preparing for his big day.  He just kept on riding and riding and then riding some more so that he would be ready.  He didn’t know if he would be a jockey on a champion horse in 2012 or 2013 or 2014 (after all, how could he predict the future without a crystal ball?) but it didn’t matter.  Jalon knew without a doubt that preparation while waiting was the key and he mapped out his life accordingly so that when the big day finally came he would be more than ready.

So now I ask: are you waiting for God to fulfill your biggest dreams, to give you that one defining moment in time that you have been waiting on forever?  While you wait are you like Joseph, who never stopped praying and believing that God would make a way for him, even when he was in prison and his situation looked so utterly hopeless?  Are you diligently doing what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, when it needs to be done?  Are you really and truly ready to receive your breakthrough or promotion or financial blessing?

You might be in a prison right now. It could involve finances, health, career, child/relationship or even church prison. Whatever it is you feel as though you are locked behind thick bars of impenetrable steel. But what is more important: your prison or the God sitting right next to you in your prison tightly holding your hand?

Joseph’s life in Egypt was so fraught with never-ending drama that no-one would have blamed him for giving up on God but he didn’t and in the end he was put in charge of the whole land of Egypt. The Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. He is also with you today, tomorrow and forever. Be ready to go from the pit to the palace … especially if you are still a reserve.

Have a great week!

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“So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”
Genesis 41:41-4 (NIV)

“In hard circumstances, we always have a choice. Most of the time it is easy to see what God would want us to choose. Joseph made Godly choices when he decided to be the best slave that he could be and when he didn’t kiss Potiphar’s wife (and the Bible says that she was very beautiful!). We have to remember that God has a plan. Sometimes our life gets a little harder for a while so that God’s plan could work. Hard times make us a better person, and the better person we are, the more God can use us. We should obey God and we have to trust God! Do you think God knows what he is doing? Me too!”
~ Jack Foster @  http://mrbiblehead.blogspot.com/2011/01/joseph-becomes-slave-gn-37-39.html

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