Peace not Violence

We have all been in conflict at some time, with someone. Conflict is not unusual. In fact our very individuality is what leads to conflict. Differences in beliefs, values, customs, cultures or opinions are bound to occur because of our unique combinations of personality, intellect, emotions and spirituality.

This is not a bad thing. Conflict however, becomes a problem if we do not learn or know how to manage it. In managing conflict we are able to agree to disagree as the saying goes. Unbridled conflict on the other hand, can easily become unmanageable and lead to violence.

To avoid violence arising from conflict that is not tempered with reason and compassion, we need to resort to a variety of skills and talents, some of which can be taught and learnt.

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Skills to side step violence and lead to peaceful resolutions include critical thinking, thinking before acting, listening compassionately, responding with respect even if you are in disagreement with someone and of course, genuine love for people that overrides the urge to dislike or hate a person because of a difference in opinion.

As Martin Luther King Jr. elegantly put it, “You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

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Adopt an attitude of love, compassion, humility, respect and peace today. Refuse to hate anyone because they are different than you.

 

 

 

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6 Ways to Feel Great, Even When Things Are Not So Great.

We all have good days and bad. Some of us spend many hours lost in the mental haze of sadness, exclusion and depression.

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At critical points in our lives, we experience the heartache of a breakup, loss of a loved one, loss of a house or car or job.

It may even be that we become terminally ill or have a chronic disease or become seriously injured through an accident or crime.

Yet some people seem to be energized whether things are going good or bad. How do they do it?

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Apparently apart from adopting a positive attitude, there are ways that we can ensure we feel good although our situation may not be good.

I have found this works for me (when I do follow it). Sometimes though it is easy to lapse into laziness or complacency and not practice the steps diligently. This takes away from the feeling of being on top of the world in spite of all that may be going wrong in your corner.

  1. Eating properly

Most of us know in theory what types of foods our bodies need. The question is how many of us actually take our high school nutritional education into account when eating?

We all need to eat from the following main food groups – fresh fruits and vegetables; fish, meat products and eggs or soy products for vegans; peas and beans;  whole grain or high fiber cereals; ground provisions; and milk and milk products or substitutes.

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Of importance, is the need for us to blend our foods in the correct proportions for optimum uptake of nutrients for cellular requirements.

 

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2.  Supplementing your diet

Over the many years of farming agricultural land, soils have become severely depleted.

So the fresh foods available to us in these times are in many instances, highly fertilized and treated with herbicides, pesticides and other potentially toxic chemicals.

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Our so called fresh foods are lacking in key and trace nutrients. To be proactive and take responsibility for your nutritional health, consider supplementing your diet.

Dietary supplements include:

  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • herbals and botanicals which provide phytonutrients
  • amino acids
  • enzymes.

Important questions to consider when supplementing would include, what to take, when to take it, in what combinations should supplements be taken and the use of water rather than other liquids for consuming them.

3.  Hydrating

Many of us, I know I do, forget to drink sufficient water during the course of the day. Our bodies are made up mostly of water. So it is vital that we drink water to replace what is lost through perspiration or excretion for example.

But not only water is lost during these processes. Electrolytes are those vital chemicals needed for proper functioning of our heart, kidneys, nervous and muscular systems among other functions. These electrolytes are soluble in water. This means that when we lose water from the body, we lose electrolytes.

It is vital for us to replace the electrolytes as well as the water.

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When hydrating the body, we need to drink lots of water as well as electrolytes. An extremely good isotonic drink or good natural source of electrolytes is coconut water.

4.  Fasting occasionally

Eating and drinking are critical for life. However sometimes the body becomes overworked and overloaded.

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To compensate for these times, controlled fasting is necessary. Fasting times help eliminate toxins and gives the body time to recover after periods of “abuse”.

5.  Sufficient rest and sleep

We live in times where we never seem to have enough  time to do the things we feel we have to do. This leads to sacrificing our sleep time to complete tasks, watch television, catch up on social media or meet deadlines.

But, our bodies are like machines. They need to be cared for like we look after our cars or computers. One of the ways to keep the machinery well oiled for us is to get sufficient rest and proper sleep.

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Different people have different sleep needs. Determine your optimum amount and strive to attain that everyday.

6.  Exercise

Finally, having eaten, supplemented, drank, fasted and rested properly, we need to exercise.

Exercise produces “feel good” hormones. It eliminates toxins. It tones our muscles and increases our energy levels. It may also be a time for socialization or reflection.

Exercise should include cardiovascular activities, resistance training and flexibility training.

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Of course if you are over forty, like I am, consult a professional before beginning a new programme of exercise.

For more information on these steps, you may read Chapter 4 in my book, Bounce Back Better, 10+1 Key Steps for Building Resilience.

Let me know if you feel great even when you are not so great.

Zebra 101, Stark Contrasts!

Perhaps for me the most outstanding memory of being in Cape Town, South Africa, was the extremes between rich and poor. And perhaps most noticeable was that in as much as some things were different, some things were so similar to home.

The stark differences between the townships, like our local Beetham, and the residential areas was heartrending. Particularly when I viewed District 6 a few days later and saw the areas from which the people were relocated to the townships.

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The cultured speech and bearing of our driver was another contrast as he was well dressed, driving a Mercedes Benz van and going home to his makeshift room in a township.

The townships there in Cape Town consisted of three types of dwellings. There were the houses built by the government, very small and inadequate mind you.  There were the leased rooms  by those who had government houses and there were rented rooms that were like squatters rooms.

The squatters have started building two storey galvanised dwellings as space is definitely a problem in the townships.

My heart was filled with compassion. It is so difficult to see the conditions under which some of us have to dwell. It exists here in Trinidad too. It is so easy to judge others and yet it becomes so difficult to judge when their challenges are considered.

On the one hand though there are people who work hard and honestly to improve themselves and their families. On the other, there are those who turn to crime as a means of survival. What makes one person work assiduously with integrity and another become a criminal?

I was so moved by the performances of some of the young people that we were privileged to witness. We had spoken word performances, singing, musical entertainment, dance and an instrumental performance using buckets and drumsticks only!

Wow!! That is the best sentiment I can offer. Thank goodness my socks were only figuratively blown off. The centre at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens was unheated. I was the only person who had on gloves but I was still extremely cold.

The others suffered in silence except for when I was acknowledged as being smart enough to have gloves! They did not know just how unaccustomed I am to the cold!

The dedication, commitment, diligence, skill and talent of those young persons tugged at my heart strings. I literally cried after one dance performance. The pain was so clearly etched on their faces.

The excellence they achieved with solemn, focussed looks on their faces made me feel as one with them. I felt everything they were expressing and so I could not help but cry.

They performed in an elaborate setting with basic equipment and a tee shirt and pair of jeans or other trousers. Another contrast!

Yes! it is easy to choose to be filled with hate and anger and to be unforgiving but surely at some level we can find it in our hearts to find ways to deal with the unfairness and the beastly behaviour of some persons and not choose to hate a person simply because they bear similarity to another who may have caused pain or hurt.

Tell me how can one not be filled with love for fellow human beings when there is so much we have in common, whether white or black, global north or south, rich or poor…

Peace in Turbulent Times

How do we move past the deep wounds of our turbulent times?

How does one deal with sometimes multiple hurts and misfortunes, that accentuate the unfairness of life and circumstances?

How does a mother or father, a sister or brother, a son or daughter find it somewhere in the heart, the mind, the soul, to get to a point of peace after one or more grievances?

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When you have been dealt with the murder of a loved one, or the ravaging of your personal belongings or person by attackers and if at the same time, you lose your job or have other financial or health challenges, it becomes difficult to believe in the concept of peace and hope.

I have had to deal with multiple losses after a difficult time in my own life. My challenges were not greater or lesser than anybody else’s. They were my unique combination of trials, designed to shape or re-shape my thinking, my approach to life and my destiny.

It can be easy to lose your way and to stay forever lost. To miss out on the blessings and joys that are further along in your journey because you become stuck in the mire of hurt, pain and a lack of forgiveness.

The truth is that for a while remaining in that dark, messy and confusing place filled with anger and frustration is sometimes the best thing to do…providing that doing so supplies the fuel that is needed to create the driving force to pull yourself out of the downward force of negativity.

If you can come to the point of becoming an alchemist of sorts, turning the negative into shining positivity, then you would have found a peace and hope that becomes a beacon for others who have yet to meet their customised difficulties.

Of course bear in mind that good and bad circumstances in life are juxtaposed for greater appreciation of one over the other. This simply means always be alert that life can bring unexpected good or bad.

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So currently in our beloved country of Trinidad and Tobago, there seems to be a negative cloud of darkness overtaking our people. It seems that there can be no hope. It seems that at every turn there is violence, hatred, racialism, killing and destruction. Peace, love and forgiveness have become difficult concepts to grasp.

How can you tell a mother whose only son is brutally murdered that peace will come? How does she relate to forgiving the beasts in human form that committed that criminal act, forever changing the landscape of her life?

You don’t. At least not now. Not right away. She needs time to process. Time to digest and time to come to some form of understanding. The rest of us need to give her the gift of time to come to terms with what has happened. That time can only be determined by her but we will know when she is ready. She will let us know.

In the meantime, we must not allow ourselves to become like the very beasts we wish had never existed. What in their own lives must have molded them into the creatures of destruction that have manifested?

Martin Luther King Jr. and others have postulated that violence breeds violence. True words that are easy to overlook when faced with the harsh realities of murder, rape, kidnapping and other criminal acts.

But we are embarking on an even darker journey if we give in to our base desires for revenge. Violence by “peaceful” men only sends the wrong message to impressionable minds. We must find a peace through doing good not through destroying others, good or bad.

I am not suggesting that you forget the bad but that a way is found to propagate good in the face of evil. Will you stop planting roses or peas because the field is currently overgrown with weeds?

Or will you try to plant the roses or peas in an effort to replace the weeds with the crop?

Maybe not the best comparison but the idea is that peace and goodwill must not be abandoned in the face of seemingly unending negativity.

This morning let us reaffirm our faith in a greater good. Let us pray for a spirit of peace to overcome us all in spite of all the darkness surrounding us.

As we do this, reach out to others in peace and love.

Five ways that we can maintain equilibrium in devastating circumstances:

  1. Allow yourself to experience any feeling to its fullest. Allow yourself to grieve in your own way, at your own time.
  2. Live by the moment. Experience each moment for what it is or what it brings.
  3. Grow into acceptance of what has happened. Not an easy task but a realistic one.
  4. Slowly in your time, reset goals and action plans, short term initially until you get to the point of being able to think in longer time frames.
  5. Get enough rest, nutrition, exercise and hydration. Do not neglect your physical needs. You need to be strong physically so that your body does not collapse inwardly under stress.

Focusing on these five objectives helps to deflect thoughts onto positive pathways, bringing peace where there was only strife, frustration and hurt previously.

Let me know how you dealt with your particular situation or share with me the pain you may be undergoing that seems insurmountable. Someone else may be able to throw the lifeline you need to stay afloat until you can devote and self promote once again.

Yours in faith, peace and education, my friend.

Customer Service

Great Customer Service! In Trinidad that is an oxymoron. However I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised on Monday 5th June.

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There I was harassed and concerned about obtaining my International Visa Travel Card. I had joined a queue. You know how waiting multiplies times. Well… I felt that I had been there for a long, long time.

Just as I got to the top of the line, from almost nowhere, another bank customer rushed to the counter to “ask a question”. I was so annoyed but I kept my peace and waited to see what would be the outcome.

Thankfully, something wonderful happened. Something I hardly ever witness. The attending clerk very politely informed said customer that there was a line and everyone else was waiting to ask a question also.

I was relieved. I really thought that the person would have gotten through by breaking the line and it was a breath of fresh air to encounter fair customer service.

I got through but ended up having to visit another section in the same branch. Again, as I sat awaiting my turn, a hot and bothered woman rushed to the counter, with the look on her face that she was very busy and needed attending to right away.

There was already another customer at the counter, so I told her that she had to take a seat and wait her turn. Her response? “I just want to ask a question.” Well ‘dearie’ that is exactly what I was waiting to do as well. I shrugged and let her be.

The clerk noticed her standing impatiently in the way and addressed her with a pleasant, “Good morning”. That was her cue to rush in and “ask her question”.

Again I was fortunate to witness another moment of impartiality, rightness, courtesy, integrity…call it what you will, I witnessed it and was so pleased.

The clerk very nicely asked her to sit and wait her turn. She sat next to me and sought a sympathetic ear. I usually do lend such an ear but not this time. I could not condone her actions.

Would you believe that I witnessed yet another such incident mere hours later at another financial situation? My, my I just may have to reassess the level of customer service in Trinidad. It seems that slowly the apparently uncaring servers are evolving into people with a conscience and a kind, considerate and gentle disposition.

Kudos to those two financial institutions. My faith in humanity and goodness was nurtured on Monday.

Series of Workshops on Resilience

We all go through rough times.

It may be a loss of job, loss of a loved one through death or breakup, loss of good health, loss of sense of self after a devastating blow or business or examination failure.

Whatever your particular loss may be at this point in time, I have come to realize that there are some basic steps that can help to smooth the transition to a “new normal”.

I recognized a pattern of behaviours to overcome tough times through my own life’s journeys down a rocky road that at one point involved being a survivor of gun violence.

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My third book,”Bounce Back Better, 10(+1) Key Steps for Building Resilience” discusses the steps that all of us need to employ as we traverse this unpredictable, sometimes bumpy life pathway.

 

Out of the third book, I have developed and am developing a series of workshops that will soon be available. The workshops are entitled:

  • Women’s Leadership Workshop: The Resilient Woman
  • Girls’ Empowerment Workshop Series: The Resilient Girl (Ages 12 to 18)
  • Boys’ Empowerment Workshop Series: The Resilient Boy (Ages 12 to 18)
  • Men’s Leadership Workshop: The Resilient Man

The series are 12 part series based on the principles in my book, Bounce Back Better. Each workshop is specifically modified for the the selected audience. The workshops include specially designed workbooks and can be done as half day sessions (12) or whole day sessions (6).

The series :

  • develops definitions of success and resilience,
  • evaluates participants current level of resilience,
  • provides and develops the steps needed for resilience and
  • includes interactive exercises on faith, personal strength, social networks and higher values.

I am planning to host the various workshops online at some point in time and will soon make available an introductory video.

If you are interested in the workshops, online or offline, leave a comment below. You can follow my blog to receive information as it becomes available or leave your email address in the form below.

Bounce Back Better

 

Are you at a crossroad in your life? Have you experienced the loss of a loved one or the loss of your job? Did you just go through a defining moment in your life such as a major ill health diagnosis, an accident  or trauma due to a violent attack?

Maybe you are feeling burnt out at work or have a sense of restlessness, like there is something missing.

If you are overwhelmed with uncertainty about the future or if a friend or loved one seems to be feeling like this, then my new book, Bounce Back Better is for you!

This book is highly recommended by Trinidadian educator and education consultant, Raymond S. Hackett. Here is what Mr. Hackett had to say about the book in his foreword:

As an educator for the past five decades and three years, I cannot honestly admit that I have read a book more comprehensive than and relevant to the times as Bounce Back Better 10 (+ 1) Key Steps for Building Resilience.  Inspired by the message and advice which characterise this book, I look forward to an outcome which will cause the general public, magistrates, judges, lawyers, members of the Lower House and the Senate of our Parliament, policemen, doctors, nurses, social workers, probation officers, teachers, particularly secondary school students above Forms One and Two, guidance officers, clinical psychologists, and last but not least advocates of Restorative Justice to read this third book which Caron Asgarali has written. Without doubt, it is prescribed reading for all.

Click on the link below to get your copy of Bounce Back Better, 10 (+1) Key Steps for Building Resilience.

https://www.amazon.com/Bounce-Back-Better-Caron-Asgarali/dp/1504368568

Let me know if you think you need a book like this right now in your life, in the comments below.

 

A Different Approach to a Book Launch

My third book has been out since December 2016. I have not done, planned nor have I thought about planning a book launch.

This time around things are different. My book is about resilience. The title is “Bounce Back Better 10(+1) Key Steps for Building Resilience.”

It is a follow through from my first book “From Lion to Lamb A Spiritual Journey”.

The first is a memoir based on the incident that changed the course of my life through a severe injury. The third is a self-help book for anyone who has undergone some kind of difficulty and needs encouragement to move forward from that setback.

Both books have come after one act of gun violence. The theme for both books is the same, peacemaking not peace breaking.

Thus after the first book launch which was steeped in formality, planning and structure, I have decided to try a different approach with this third book.

I have put the word out on Facebook that my new book is available. I have my FB page linked to my Balboa Press website. The book is also on Amazon.

In keeping with the theme of the book, I organised an event to launch another of my projects, RARE.

RARE refers to Raising Awareness on the Ripple Effect of gun violence. RARE seeks to raise awareness on the physical, emotional, financial and spiritual effects of of one act of gun violence on the victim as well as those directly and indirectly connected with the victim.

On a deeper level, RARE promotes peacemaking and resilience building.

The launch included four different speakers for each aspect of gun violence. I spoke to pull all aspects together. I did not directly pitch my books but showed the connections between the books and the work being done.

At the event I had all three of my books on display and available for sale. Attendees received a prayer card with one of the prayers from my second book, Gently Powerful Personal Prayers for Collective Grace. Lots of refreshments were available.

 

Critical in this event was:

  1. Ensuring that everyone was clear on their role in the programme.
  2. Having my thoughts well organised before the event day, so that on the day, regardless of any physical setbacks,I was able to clearly communicate to the attendees the purpose of the event.
  3. Having people to handle the distribution of the prayer cards, the sale of the books, the thank you cards and the refreshments. Special thanks to my family and friends.
  4. Sending out much more invitations than the estimated amount of guests.
  5. Having an outline or programme of event so that the evening flowed smoothly.
  6. Outsourcing the refreshments. I already had enough to do without having to worry about preparing refreshments.
  7. Having a good, experienced host for the evening, who was able to hold the fort and bring harmony among the speakers.

There is more but I will leave that for another post.

So a book can be promoted without directly promoting it in a classy way (not that I think I am classy).

Feel free to ask me anything about launching your book.

Violence… a learned behaviour

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The response of violence to conflict is, to some extent, a learned behaviour. This statement includes gun violence.

It comes from a place of fear of being a target, fear of living daily with the threat of gun violence and fear of not conforming. That is a lot of fear.

Even before a crime takes place, guns, and the accompanying violence, play a significant part in the lives of those in communities with a reputation of violence.

The outcome of such fear and learned violent behaviour is a lack of respect for the value of life, individual, community and national life.

Those who suffer directly or indirectly from the effects of gun violence all reach to the same place emotionally and mentally.

This congruence of feeling and thought creates a hopeful opportunity. It ought to become the catalyst that gives us the will and courage to address the gun violence that is becoming a part of our daily life.

Religious leaders are casting blame on the lack of coherence of family units for the increasing violence in society.

Alternatively a family may be unified but their environment and learned responses of violence precludes the teaching of respect for anything including life.

One leader has included the availability of drugs and weapons as well as the existence of gangs as factors contributing to the rising violence and incidences of gun related crimes.

All of these are true. The reasons are valid and relevant.

However my aim (no pun intended) is not to cast blame or vent anger or frustration against the system or the perpetrators of violence.

Instead my aim is to amplify the message of the sanctity of life and the kind of respect each one of us needs to have for the life of another.

With every pull of a gun trigger, there emerges a bullet that may hit a living target.

That bullet may penetrate through tissue, tendons, nerves, muscles and bones causing physical damage in the immediate area.

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The kinetic energy of that compact piece of lead disseminates to surrounding organic matter causing further damage not immediately visible.

Similarly, that same bullet penetrates the psyche of the victim and his or her family, friends and associates, tearing their lives apart emotionally, spiritually, mentally, financially and in other ways.

The ripple effect of that nucleus of destruction is far reaching and has no time limits.

The learned behaviour of violence in response to conflict can be unlearnt. New, more peaceful responses can be learnt which lead to greater respect and harmony.

Your response?

Relying On God

 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Chronicles 16:9

 

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When I first read this piece of scripture, my heart leapt. To my mind, this is a most beautiful passage of scripture that speaks powerfully about the Lord’s commitment to us and reveals the depth of commitment we ought to have to Him.

Today many popular television programmes are talent shows, usually involving singing or dancing. In the seventies in our beloved country, a televised production of a talent show called “Scouting for Talent” was aired. Mr. Holly Betaudier, an esteemed son of our soil and cultural icon was the host of that show.

Mr. Betaudier, fondly referred to as Holly B, developed a hunger for local culture as a child. The springboard for his involvement in media and entertainment came as early as the 1940’s when he began working with the U.S. Armed Forces radio service network, WVDI.

In 1962, our local state media Trinidad and Tobago Television, TTT, was inaugurated. Holly B began his cultural and entertainment odyssey when he joined TTT at that time. During that time the soon to be popular show, “Scouting For Talent” emerged.

Mr. Betaudier was relentless in his quest for local talent. He encouraged singing including originals and  local songs as well as remakes. He welcomed all types of dance and instruments, reflective of our multicultural background. He even accommodated comedians and monologues.

The show was the only avenue for public exposure at that time for our local artistes. In fact many of our local entertainers made debut performances on that show. Holly B sought after excellence. He sought out those who had confidence, talent and commitment. He supported those who were willing to put their talent to the test on his programme.

Incentives abounded for participants, including many giveaways. Actual prizes were given out of course, but there was  the thrill of being televised to a national audience. In those days programming was limited to our only television station at the time, TTT. This translated into the national population having to view that programme during prime time on a Tuesday night. Scouting for Talent was sometimes done in the studio but many times Holly B would take to the road. He did indeed “scout” for talent, searching the length and breadth of Trinidad and Tobago for worthy talent, eager to reward them for their commitment to excellence and local culture.

The passage in 2 Chronicles evoked images of Holly B to me. Here was a man who searched all over our twin island, seeking people who were also seeking him. He wanted to showcase talent; they wanted to have their talent showcased. What a win-win situation!

We too can be in a win-win situation. The passage tells us of God’s search for people who are believers so that he can give them due support and strength to maintain their faith. Let us look at the passage in greater detail.

What was the historical context of the passage?

Who was being addressed?

What came after those words?

How can we make our hearts perfect to him?

What is the promise if we keep perfect to him?

What was the historical context of the passage?

The books of Chronicles were written as narrative histories and genealogies. Both books are supposedly written by the same author, the prophet Ezra. 1 Chronicles deals mainly with Kings David and Solomon but it also traces the background of David’s monarchy from the time of Adam to the reign of King Solomon.

2 Chronicles continues with the history as told from the perspective of Ezra. The first sections of this book deal with King Solomon’s reign and the building of the temple. A history of the kings of Judah follows and the book ends as the temple of Solomon is destroyed.

Who was being addressed?

It is proposed that these chronicles were documented in part to emphasise to the people that destruction is pre-destined for those who disobey but those who maintain their promises and commitments to God will be blessed. This is shown repeatedly by the prospering of the good kings and the suffering of those who fall into sin.

Thus the Chronicles were written to document the religious history of Israel. This was addressed to the Israelites in general so that they could study the practices of the past leaders and recognize what was required for a successful reign. It has been suggested that these two books were written to highlight key elements to the Jews after their exile; these elements were inclusive of giving due glory to God, gratitude for God’s covenant to David and the need to be completely devoted to God in order to remain in his favour.

It has also been postulated that even though it was written for the people at that time, it may be extrapolated to our individual lives and communities today. By careful study of the historical content of the Chronicles it is possible to discern under which kings there was prosperity or defeat. The Chronicles also lend themselves as modules of valuable leadership skills, qualities and actions necessary for the flourishing of a monarchy or people…and naturally, to the elimination of certain behaviours which could prove detrimental.

What came after those words?

The chapters preceding 2 Chronicles16 focus attention on King Solomon and the building of the temple along with other duties.  In other preceding chapters we read of the fall of Judah, the splitting of the Kingdoms, North and South divisions, the reign of the Southern Kings, Rehoboam and Abijah. Then we read of the reign of Asa.

Asa’s reign represented a time of prosperity for the people. He was observant of the will of God and of the covenant made to them. He instituted religious reforms and proved worthy of the grace and favour of God. However even he fell from grace.

In his thirty sixth year of reign, his kingdom was under attack. Instead of relying on God for victory, Asa undertook to negotiate on his own behalf. He sent silver and gold from the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple to King Ben-hadad of Aram to break a treaty with King Baasha of Israel, who was attacking Asa’s Kingdom.

Hanani, a seer, visited Asa soon after the attack was withdrawn. He told of God’s displeasure. He recalled that Asa’s successes thus far were due to his faithfulness and submission to God. He told Asa that had he relied on God, God would have given him control of the attacking army, as was done in the past.

This is the point at which the scripture comes into play. Hanani reminds Asa that God seeks to support the faithful and those of integrity. He seeks them out relentlessly, just waiting to grant them overflowing blessings, to grant them victory over their enemies. All God wanted was for Asa to continue in the traditions with which he had started.

Asa would not hear of it and continued to live without repenting. Several years later he contracted a foot disease. He refused to acknowledge the Lord even when thus weakened. He eventually passed away without submitting to God, even though he underwent great suffering.

How can we make our hearts perfect to him?

From this lesson we learn that God wants us to rely completely on him. He wants our intentions and desires to be pure. We are called to live with strength of conviction in his will and to be examples of good character and spirituality for those who will come after us.

If we apply the teachings in these books to future generations of David’s line, we see that the ultimate King in that line is Jesus Christ. All other Kings, regardless of their greatness in their reign, sought to be perfect but only in Christ there is perfection.  That perfection is what our salvation is.

What is the promise if we keep perfect to him?

Extension of the principles of Chronicles leads to a comparison between the temple built by Solomon and the Temple of the Spirit. One temple was destroyed after one hundred and fifty years; the other cannot be destroyed for it is the figurative house of those who believe in Christ. The promise for believers is that God is seeking to bring us to him at any cost. He is willing to forgive us and restore us if only we would seek him out fervently and faithfully, with prayer and repentance.

Let us do like those contestants in the Scouting For Talent show; let us seek God as we perfect our actions armed with the knowledge that he too is seeking us out, ready to make us all winners.

Relying on God alone for support

Kneeling every day as I fall short,

Will make me a winner

As God scouts the earth for repentant sinners.

 

God’s words and my actions:

Today I will use every opportunity to be strong in God’s word by:

Relying completely on God and praying and repenting with integrity.

 

Thank you Lord, Amen!