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God’s Cinderella


 

I really don’t believe God gets any kind of joy at seeing us suffering in our daily lives, as we go about the challenges we face. God certainly is not like a human being. As a genuine Father, He wishes to see us succeed in getting to know Him. Why would He want us to know Him? Simply put, so that we have someone to help and guide us daily – a spiritual Father of great wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Who better to call on during our day than one who is compassionate and caring?Calling God

God is not bound by time as we are, and therefore He can see into our future. From the ‘foundation of time’, God saw our whole life span on this earth. This is quite an astonishing thought. As a result, He knows the correct path for us to travel through time, in order to end up firmly in His spiritual kingdom forever.

In a sense we are very similar to Cinderella in the famous fable. As Cinderella’s Step Mother and sisters were jealous of her, treating her badly, so the world is the same with us. Because our world is filled with people soaked in self-centred natures, we are more often than not, in an uphill battle as our lives unfold. Inclusive in the uphill battles are the down sides – the times when we seem to miss the mark with God. Getting angry with Him, blaming Him, not managing to do the things that please Him or just misunderstanding Him.

We look at fellow believers and think that we fall far short of God’s expectations, while others are constantly flying in their walk with the Lord. We seem to use other believers as a measure, comparing ourselves to them. As we dwell on thoughts of failure, we become more demoralised and eventually believe there is no hope for us.

According to the fable, when the fairy Godmother asked Cinderella what she wanted, Cinderella replied that it didn’t matter what she wanted because it would be impossible for her wishes to be granted. The fairy Godmother’s reply to Cinderella was, “Let me be the judge of that!”Cinderella and Godmother

How many times have we thought it impossible to achieve God’s expectations…? In a way we are right! In our own strength it is impossible. However, if we allow the Holy Spirit within us to do HIS work – in us and through us – we will begin to find a greater peace flowing throughout our lives.

The truth of the matter is this: For by that one offering, He perfected forever all those whom He is making holy.

God sees us as a finished work. Isn’t that astounding? For those who have received, by grace, God’s gift of salvation, He sent His son to pay the ultimate price so that sin could be removed forever. Not only did Jesus die to remove our sin, but also to put to death our sinful nature which came into the world via Adam’s sin of disobedience. Through the death of Jesus – the scripture in Romans tells us – we are no longer slaves to sin!

As God looks upon us, He sees what we look like ‘in Him’ – our glorified bodies – our future.

If you knew that by tackling a certain difficult task, there was an absolute guarantee of a great reward at the end – you would certainly persevere through that task with excitement. And so it is with the Lord and our lives. For those God's Rewardwho have committed their lives to Him, believing by faith that change will come, He sees the finished work and is excited to commit Himself to us on a minute by minute basis. He fully commits to us because He knows His reward is great.

The final product He witnesses is worth everything He has had to put up with from us daily – our every outburst of anger, our every rebellious thought, our every tear shed. As we commit to Him, remember: He no longer sees our weaknesses but through His son, He sees the joy and peace he has longed for us to walk in.

“…And so Cinderella and the handsome Prince were married and lived happily ever after…”

YOU… ARE God’s Cinderella – married to Him – His bride – forever to live happily ever after!

From: “…time with the Master…”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Died for My Sin or Resurrected for my life?


We have heard about the “The Gospel” – the foundation of the Christian faith. Today there seems to be many different versions of how the gospel is interpreted, what the Gospel is or what it means.

The gospel is normally explained by saying, “Jesus died on the cross so that my sins may be forgiven”. This explanation is correct, but is it the fullest answer?

In the Christian faith, a tremendous amount of focus is placed on the death of Jesus, and quite rightly so, for it was the ultimate sacrifice paid for mankind’s sin. A debit that God paid in order that we might have opportunity to have our wrong doings wiped away…as far as the East is from the West. This is an amazing thought and one worthy of our focus.

So…. the gospel shows us how we are forgiven our sin – but then what? Is that the end of the story?

We have seen from past articles that Adam lost his likeness to God through disobedience. He gained a sinful nature Adams sinand passed this nature down the line of mankind. Therefore, every human being is born with a sinful nature – an engine if you like – that drives us to sin. This drive to sin comes about automatically and is so natural that we are powerless to resist.

All of mankind, irrespective of culture, is bound by this self-centred nature. This all adds up to a pretty miserable and difficult existence. No tolerance or respect for one another.

However, the gospel of the Kingdom shows us the next step in the death and burial of Jesus. A continuation of the story. The scriptures show us that on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave. It also shows us that around 500 people witnessed this event. This is an historical fact.

The Apostle Paul asks a very pertinent question in the book of Romans. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound – God forbid”. Paul goes onto explain that our old sinful NATURE was buried with Victory over sinJesus – the engine which drives us to sin. Hallelujah – we are therefore no longer slaves to the sinful nature – we don’t have to sin any more.

He continues by saying that if our old sinful nature died and was buried with Jesus, then also we were raised up in the newness of life with him.

So… the gospel of the Kingdom shows us that we have power to overcome the temptation to sin by the fact that Jesus took away our sinful natures. This is worth focussing on!

This makes the gospel real in our personal lives. Yes, Jesus died for our sins, but He also died that we might walk in victory daily!!

Here is a point to ponder – how many services have we attended in honour of the resurrection of Jesus and heard that He took away our sinful natures?

The resurrected Jesus gives us a toolbox to use in our daily lives. This toolbox helps us through our walk on earth. It helps us stand firm as we are sanctified (made more like Jesus) – daily, a bit at a time. The final reward will be when we hear His voice saying to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

The toolbox is the resurrected Jesus – the Holy Spirit! We don’t have to look outside ourselves to find God – He lives within us!

We are the temple of His Holy Spirit.

By all means focus on the fact that Jesus died for your sins, but never forget the fact that the resurrected Jesus lives Victory over sin 2.pngwithin you – the very character of God, giving you power to overcome the sinful nature and granting you wisdom and knowledge about life circumstances.

When we are confronted by life’s tests and trials, will it be necessary for us to ask the question, “What would Jesus do?”

With His character firmly within in us, the question is, “Will we allow Jesus to do what He needs to?” …..

From: “…time with the Master…”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published weekly.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’

button).

 

 

Believing, in Buisness? – Part Two


Part Two

Who is the CEO of your business?

15. Did you need capital to start your business, and if you did, do you mind telling me how much?

“As mentioned, by Gods grace I didn’t need a capital amount up front to start the business. I had no money of my own and I didn’t want to apply for a bank loan. We bought the business for about R240,000 and I made an arrangement to pay this off on a monthly basis as the cash flow came in.

At home, I had an amount of about R1,500.00 which I kept in my clothes cupboard. It was money that I used to pick up if I found it lying around the house or small change from other purchases. We used that money to buy some product for the first order we got and it grew from there! ”

16. How long did it take you to cover all your costs and become profitable?

“The way I planned the forecast was that we should be profitable from the start. It was only monthly running expenses that had to be paid at the end of the month. The business has shown a profit each year of trading to date. It has taken us about 6 years to get to a place where I can comfortably say the company makes an annual profit.”

17. Did you experience pressures in the beginning?

“Yes, it was mostly the doubt of the business succeeding. There were personal pressures and family pressures. There were also business deal pressures and added stress wondering if suppliers would produce what we needed on time and in full.”

18. Did you have a mentor, or someone who was able to guide and direct you?

“No, no particular person. There were quite a few people who gave me advice through the experience of working with them. I was able to witness first hand when situations went wrong and learn how not to do things! But, really at the end of the day, it’s my relationship with the Lord that is my guiding hand. There are answers for everything in God’s word and it is the best “How to…” manual ever!”

19. Were you able to develop successful networks and how did you achieve that?

“Yes, I’ve been able to achieve some very successful networks because of communication and mutual respect for others. I have learned that one of the most important things in life are relationships. Good solid, productive networks are formed by open, honest and respectful communications with those around us. This is not restricted to businessNetworking but applies to marriage, family and friendships as well. As I spend time with people, I get to know and trust them and the reverse applies.

Once again, I take my example from the Lord. Relationship bridges are formed out of serving others, putting their needs before mine. When we have this attitude towards our relationships they will be meaningful and long lasting.”

20. Was your family negatively affected in the beginning?

“I think they were affected but I wouldn’t say negatively. Like myself, they were concerned about the future of the business. They could see that, at times, I was very worried. It was amazing to see how they encouraged me with words that I had spoken to them years before. Things the Lord had taught me to share with my wife and children, were coming back to help me. So, they were concerned, but also very supportive.”

21. What do you perceive your strengths to be?

“I think probably my best strength would be communicating with others. Based on my relationship with the Lord, I strive to deal with people in an open, transparent and honest way. This has helped our business to form long term, healthy relationships with our clients.”

22. What was your most exciting moment in the business?

“There have been a few exciting moments because of the growth the business has shown over the last 6 years. Now is one of those moments because we have just exceeded our best sales month since we started. The turnover is tenSales Bar times bigger this month than it was in our first month of trading!”

23. What was your most challenging moment in the business?

“There have also been a few of those…mostly relating to concerns over cash flow. When the bank balance is low and I have commitments to make, that is always a challenging time for me. Our staff are No.1 in our business, followed by our suppliers and then our customers, so it is very important that our employees’ salaries are paid on time. It has only been in the last eight months or so that I’ve learned to have peace during these tough cash flow times.”

23. How difficult was it to find good staff?

“It was very difficult, and still is, to find good staff that are willing to work hard, to be loyal and honest. Finding the right person for the job takes time and skill. Great attention needs to be paid to the interviewing of prospective employees. It helps to have a guideline for interviewing candidates so that not too much emotion interferes with the selection process. When finding new staff, I pray hard to ask the Lord to put the right people across my path.”

24. Do you feel now that you take a more managerial role versus an entrepreneurial role?

“Yes. However, the entrepreneurial side is always there, it’s not something that I can just turn off. I find myself constantly coming up with ideas – the majority of which are absolutely disastrous! I have to be more managerial at this current time to lead the business. I believe it’s important to understand the difference between managing and entrepreneurship. Management is taking care of the seed born out of an inspired idea.”

25. Where did you set up your business?

“We operate from a business park in Johannesburg. We have a warehouse and a showroom with administration offices. Customers are able to visit us, browse the various bottles and products and then purchase what they need. We cater for the small entrepreneurial business and large companies who require us to deliver to their warehouses.

26. How did you choose this location?

“It was a branch of the previous company that I worked for. I was involved in the set-up of the branch originally. We selected that area because of its location to Johannesburg’s CBD and also the town of Soweto in the South West of Business ParkJohannesburg.”

27. Have you faced many challenges since setting up the business, and how have you dealt with them?

“There have been a number of challenges relating to finding new customers and suppliers. We concentrated on our service to the small customers, making sure we served each one equally. This resulted in repeat business and once we were taking good care of the smaller clients, the bigger ones came.

In the beginning, starting the business with no capital was difficult. This has slowly been resolved by careful cash flow management and using profits to fund our growth.

Staff difficulties were and are resolved by applying Godly principles. Often we try to resolve situations with too much emotion, when, if we apply Godly principles, situations are resolved fairly. Applying God’s principles in our business means we have to trust God for the outcome – not something that comes easily!”

28. What is the most important piece of advice you can give any person thinking of becoming an entrepreneur?

“As human beings, we all enjoy attention. So being able to sell yourself is a first step. We all do this when we socialise so why not in business? As people grow to like you, they trust you more and then selling your product or service is the next natural step. If you can’t sell yourself, selling your product or service will always be an uphill battle. Your testimony is very important. How you treat others, how you present yourself and whether or not you conduct your business in a fair and honest way. Respect for others is critical. Your focus should always be on the needs of your customer and not your own gains. These all come back down to the Godly command of loving your neighbour.”

29. What do you find personally rewarding and satisfying in owning your own business?

“When I look back and see how far the business has come in six years, I feel excited and humbled at the achievement. It has been wonderful to see the Lord’s hand working in every aspect. The most rewarding thing for me is now that my sons are involved in the business, I have more time to do my ‘real’ job, which is sharing the Gospel with others, whether they be connected to the business or outside of it. That is my true passion.

Personally, it has been very rewarding to have been used by the Lord in this process.”

30. Has it all been worth it?

“Yes, very much so. I have learnt a lot about trusting God. You know, there is a difference between having faith in God and trusting in God. I have never had a problem believing that the Lord can do anything He wants to do at any time (faith in God). However, trusting Him in a given circumstance is sometimes very difficult, waiting on Him for His will to be done in that instance.

It has been amazing to see how the Lord has changed lives through the business. Not only those employed here, but others outside the business.”

31. What is the most important lesson you have learnt?

“Probably the most important lesson was to learn to be honest and open with people, whether employees, suppliers or customers. The relationships I have with each of these people are like bridges for communication. Clear communication with others in our lives is critically important. When situations fail, you can be sure somewhere along the line, there is miscommunication – one party’s expectation was different to another. As a manager, I have learned to issue a clear instruction and then ask the other person to repeat back the instruction to me so both our expectations are the same.”

32. How did your Christian faith help you with this experience?

“I found that when you own a business, it is easy to become lazy and take shortcuts. From the start of the business, I placed the Lord as our CEO. Therefore, in my heart, I was meeting with Him every day and reporting on what was happening in the business. I had placed His principles into the business and did everything within those boundaries. At times when I didn’t feel like doing things, my relationship with the Lord would help me push through. When I was humbled in relationships with others, the Lord helped me accept the error of my ways and put myself in the shoes of others.

Without the Lord’s relationship, I can categorically say that there would be no business.”

…time with the Master”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Believing, In Business?


Part One

Who is the real CEO of your business?

A young believing entrepreneur was interviewed for an article concerning how believer’s dealt with business issues, when working in a worldly environment with those who have different belief systems.

Int: Would you tell me about yourself before you decided to start your own business?
“Before I started this business, I worked for a privately-owned Plastic Bottle Manufacturing company and then felt led to go into full time Missionary work. I went to Malawi for about 3 years with my wife and young family. When we felt that work was complete, we came back to South Africa and I was invited to work for my old company again. It was after that season of time that the opportunity came for me to start this business.”

Int: What kind of business do you have?
“Simply put, we buy and sell Plastic Bottles and accessories into various types of industries i.e. Cosmetic, Food, Chemical and Pharmaceutical. We don’t manufacture anything but have verbal sales agreements with about 40 Entreprenuer 2 jpg manufacturers around Johannesburg. This helps us to focus on servicing our customers without the added challenges of manufacturing.”

Int: Were your parents or relatives entrepreneurial?
“Although my father was loyal to a large corporate company for the greater portion of his working career, he was an entrepreneur at heart. I believe, had circumstances been different, he would have started his own business. He used to repair motor cars on weekends to generate extra income to help support and educate our family.
Two of my brothers initially followed suit into large companies but Later on in life, started their own businesses.”

Int: Do you have any role models in your life?
“My role model is the Lord. He is the basis of everything. I’ve tried to put His character and principles into the business, my family life and my personal life. I’ve seen and worked with several people along my business journey and liked the way some of them worked. I’ve taken a bit of something from each one – following the good examples and leaving the not so good!”

Int: What was your education and training, and did you possess any special skills to start your business?
“I never applied myself very well at school and so never achieved great results. I don’t have a South African Matric but finished school with the British GCE ‘O’ Level grade. After school, I didn’t have a desire to further my education but really wanted to earn money.
I would say that I like being with people and learning about them, which automatically led me into work where I was meeting new people. Through that I went into the Sales field.”

Int: Did you have a job before, and what was the nature of the job?
“After school I spent a few years trying to complete a Radio Technician apprenticeship but really couldn’t settle and so my business journey started as the Team Leader of a group of ladies who went door to door in office blocks selling jewellery. I moved from there to a company that sold Plastic Piping and Valves where I worked in the Stores department doing stock control. I was promoted from there to Counter Sales and then given a brand-new company car (which I crashed on the first day!) I was told to go and find new customers, which I did and really enjoyed that.”

Int: Did your previous job experience help you in your venture?
“Yes, it definitely did. Over the years I learned a tremendous amount. I gained product knowledge, customer and supplier contacts as well as general administration and distribution experience. I learned that communication between people is of utmost importance.”

Int: How did you come about the business opportunity?
The company I was working for was beginning to lose market share and eventually their cash flow was at critical levels. They had a Cash Sales outlet in Johannesburg, which I was instrumental in starting up some years before. I asked if I could buy this branch from them and my offer was accepted.

Int: Did you have to change your goals and lifestyle to start the business?
Not really. In my life everything revolves around my relationship with the Lord, so whether I was working for a boss or managing my own business, I was focussed on Him and His principles. So, in essence, I did things the same way, it was just the job that was different.

Int: How did you evaluate the opportunity?
There wasn’t too much time for me to properly evaluate this opportunity because a decision needed to be made quickly. The evaluation I made came from my experience in the market up to that point. I did sales forecasts and estimated costings, so there was a bit of evaluation but nothing in depth.

Int: How did you evaluate the level of competition in the market?
“There were really only about four other companies doing the same type of business that we were doing. They were situated geographically quite far away from us. We didn’t interfere with them or their customers and they didn’t bother us. We had heard in the market place that they were not supplying their customers a satisfactory service, so I knew if we provided good service with quality products at the right price, we would grow the business.”

Int: Did you start on your own, or do you have partners?
I started on my own with my wife who I consider to be my partner. As the business grew, we gave shares to two of Entreprenuer 4 jpg.jpgour sons who work in the business. A third son of ours has recently joined the business so it is a real family business!

Int: Did you compile a business plan to start up?
I didn’t do a business plan in the beginning. As mentioned, I did a basic sales forecast with costs projected for three years to see if it was a viable venture. By God’s grace I didn’t have to apply for a loan to start the business, so a full business plan wasn’t necessary.

Int: How long did it take to compile the forecasts?
“It took me about a week to do the forecast with costs. I still do the forecast and budget every year so that we have a set plan to follow. I have a system of monitoring the sales and expenses daily and this helps to keep one step ahead of whatever situations arise. I spend about 30-60mins a night updating the figures.”

“…time with the Master…’

Part Two will follow next week.

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

You Are So Special…


 

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a Living Soul.

As usual in my walk with the Lord, I have often read scriptures and not really thought very deeply about them. It’s amazing how we can read a verse a few times and nothing ‘jumps’ out at us, and then one day we read it again and it comes to life! Such is the greatness of our heavenly Father – such is His great love for us. His hand is upon our lives day in and day out, carefully steering us on the path of life which He has planned for us.

“…let us make man in our image, after our likeness…. How wonderful that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost decided they should create a being which was different to all creation on earth up to that point. Somebody special, whom God desired to have fellowship with. Not only would God be able to see and talk with Adam but also, He would bless him with the whole earth to have as his own. And so, mankind was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God.

“…God formed man out of the dust of the ground…” As I ponder these words, I try to imagine what it might have been like at the time that Adam was ‘formed’. Was the dust that God used to form Adam the same as the dust that we know today? God had not yet cursed the ground from which Adam had been formed, so it could have been a veryAdam, dust of the Earth different substance from what we know. Adam was surely very different compared to humankind today. He not only had face-to-face fellowship with God, but God brought all the living creatures to him so that he could name them. How many animals can you and I name right now off the top of our heads?

“…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” God placed His own breath into Adam – Adam became a living soul. God had breathed Adam’s spirit into life. He was no longer just ‘dust’, but now became a living soul with his own spirit and own body. There was breath in the bodies of all the animals and other creatures on earth, but God had not breathed into them. Adam was created a very special and unique being. A being God had formed for His own joy.

We know that all this changed when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Therefore, as God promised, Adam and Eve died spiritually and were condemned to a place of solitude from Him. Spiritual death meant that humankind would no longer have communion with God. After Adam had reached 130 years old, he had children in his own image and after his own likeness  – our direct line of hereditary.

I thank the Lord that He sent His son Jesus to restore the situation back to what it was originally in the Garden of Eden. Jesus gives this opportunity to every human being, regardless of culture or nation.

He “… breathed into his nostrils the breath of life..”. As we come to know Jesus and Him crucified, we receive the breath of life from God. This is no ordinary breath. Not a breath that has been mass-produced or thoughtlessly brought into life. No, this is HIS breath – the breath of the almighty Lord of Hosts – the breath of true life, and we are heirs of this wonderful breath as we acknowledge Him.

Each one of us is a unique creation – made greater than any other being on this earth because God desires to have Uniquenessfellowship with us. God ‘formed’ each one of us – not thoughtlessly mass-produced, but individually crafted. We are HIS workmanship created for good works in Christ (Good works where? – IN CHRIST!).

Don’t let the world tell you that you are just like everyone else. You are not like anyone else! When you became reconciled with Him, you were given your own unique spirit, breathed into you by God Himself. You were uniquely ‘formed’ by the Master tradesman to be used by Him and have the fellowship He so desires to have with you.

Hold your head high and know that you are very special to the one who breathed life into you, irrespective of how many times you feel you have disappointed Him or those around you. Know HIS breath of life is in you now… and…forever more!

From: “…time with the Master…”

Published Bi-Monthly

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.
Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

 

Hold My Emotional Hand


We are naturally self-centred and therefore it is not easy for us to accept negative things that other people say about us. When we do not agree, the built-in instinct to defend ourselves, criticise situations and blame others, raises its head.

This is true of us in our general lifestyle – our daily work place and at home. It seems the closer to ‘home’ (family members) we are, the more sensitive and explosive our reaction can get.

Why is this happening to us?

Pride, when born out of the Adam nature, causes us to react in a negative way when we are offended. Once offended, our reaction is either anger, retaliation, withdrawal or feelings of guilt.

One of the natural characteristics that we are born with, pride, comes to us from the fallen nature of Adam. It is interesting that Adam was created in the Image and Likeness of God. This image and likeness showed the true nature of God reflecting in Adam. He could not only see God, but could fellowship directly with Him. Adam’s way of thinking was based in God’s nature.Pride

When they disobeyed God, Adam and Eve lost their Image and likeness of God. The self-centred ‘Adamic’ nature was then transferred down the line of humankind to us today. All the human cultures we know today were born out of this fallen nature, which is not restricted to certain races – ALL of humanity have received it.

That is why we tend to react in a negative way when things don’t go according to the way we want them to.

If we have people in our midst that always appear to be irritating us, we need to either continue with the relationship and endure the misery (for however long), or we need to confront the situation and ask God to help us deal with it.

Let us look at the example of a person or persons who we don’t seem to get on with. The closer that person is to our heart, the stronger the irritation to us. For those who are not close to us, we may tend just to brush them aside or at least not have contact with them for the majority of our day. Those we love are closer to us and it is not so easy to merely brush the situation ‘under the carpet’, so to speak.

Let us think about this ….
If the person who is the source of our irritation were physically ill with a terminal sickness, how would we react to them? Perhaps if they were not close to us, we may still tend to push them one side. However, if they were close family members, surely we would find ourselves caring for them. Doing whatever we can to make their lives that bit more comfortable.

Why is it then when these people, so close to us, have emotional characteristics we do not agree with, we seem to take offense? It appears the last thing we want to do is to ‘nurse’ them through the emotional illness, as we would do with a physical illness.

If we love a person, we want to see them physically healthy. Surely, it stands to reason therefore, that we would want Emotional Healthto see them emotionally healthy?

Is the prideful Adamic nature in us preventing us from nursing our loved ones’ emotional character? If this emotional imperfection were terminal in that person, would we turn our backs on them?

Let us seek the Lord and ask Him to help us begin to live out of the new (Godlike) nature within us and not the old Adam nature. As God’s nature in us grows and strengthens, we will show more Godly fruit in our lives and have more compassion in circumstances. Patience is earned, not given to us by God. He gives us grace (unmerited favour) to overcome.

From: “time with the Master…”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter 23


September 1996
We now find ourselves preparing to go back to Joburg to see what the Lord will have for us. In the natural, we have nothing to go back to. No place to live, no work and once we arrive back in Johannesburg, we will have no money. Well, one thing we have learnt is that we can now trust the Lord to take care of all these concerns. Perhaps in a couple of years’ time we will be writing another diary of what happened after this!

Kathy, I and our youngsters, are very sorry to have left the little mission base, as we know a part of each of our lives is there. We witnessed the hand of God, first hand in our lives many, many times. There were plenty of days that were very difficult and a few times we wanted to run away, but now that the Lord has brought it to an end, we are very blessed and mightily encouraged. We truly saw everything that we had learned, being outworked in real life.

I asked Kathy if there was anything she would have changed were we given the time over again and she said, “No, every detail happened because God allowed it and our lives wouldn’t be the same today if He had not planned it that way”.

Titus will continue to run the mission base and the little business to support the work, so they may not be a burden to anyone. Andy and Sue will go back to England to share with others all they have learned in Africa over the past two and a half years.Young disciples at the mission

During our two years and seven months there, the gospel was preached, to many. Many heard the word. A large number committed their lives to the Lord. Others came and were taught for a short time – but only two (in the end), were willing to be discipled and lay their lives down totally for the Lord, so that they might go out and do the same thing.

“Behold, the sower went out to sow and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil and immediately, they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched and because they had no root, they withered away. And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

Jesus was right when He said, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Establishing that mission base, called “Church at Lilongwe”, has taken so many wonderful people and Kathy and I don’t know how to thank you all. For those who have prayed for us and the work, your faithfulness has been Building on the mission base in Area 49, Lilongwerewarded, as we conclude our purpose for being there. For those who have written, your contributions have helped to encourage us through the not so good times. For those who contributed materially so that our physical needs were met, the Lord will bless you, ten-fold as that work now multiplies.

On the fourth of January 1994, the Lord said to Hein and me ….
“…And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with Me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus…”

By His grace and power alone, we can say this command has been fulfilled for now, and we look forward to that which He has planned for us in the future.

We thank the Lord for keeping us safe during this time and for the many lovely people we have met from all over the world, not to mention the great amount He has taught us. We thought we were going to Malawi to teach others, which we did, but we were the ones that were really being taught, and for that, we will be eternally grateful.

Thank you, FatherSharing the Gospel with young men

Epilogue
It is really our hearts desire that something in these chapters has somehow brought you closer to God. We thank God each and every day for the few experiences He has allowed us to go through so far in our walk – only the tip of the iceberg has been scratched. God is real and He really does provide. The question is: Are we able to allow Him to provide for us?

Paul says that we should work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

Each day we draw a little closer to God if we listen to that which He is teaching us, if we are not too busy with ‘things’ which block out our Holy Spirit ‘frequency’. If we follow the path of seeking and speaking to Him daily, we will come to trust Him more and more. As we show faith in the small things, so He will grant us favor in the larger things, not only in this world, but in the Kingdom to come.

Bless You All.

Characters

Raymond and Kathy – Children: Theresa-Anne, Wayne, Simon, Bethany and Daniel
Worked in Johannesburg, South Africa and decided to sell all and live a season of time being led by the Lord. Their last son, Daniel was born during the time of this journey.

Today they are living in Vereeniging in South Africa where they now have three lovely grandchildren. They own their own business, which is used to generate funds for the furthering of the Gospel. They share the Gospel and disciple others in small home groups.

Hein and Erica – Children: Joshua
Worked in Cape Town, South Africa and decided to forsake their jobs as medical Nurses and live a season of time being led by the Lord.

Today they live in Alberton, South Africa and have three children. Hein works in a company where he is able to share the Lord and disciple others. Erica is teaching at a Christian School.

David and Zelifa
Lived in Malawi and were the hosts for the beginning of this work. They had five children.
They remained in Malawi where sadly David passed away and there is no updated news of Zelifa.

Frank
A Pastor with a Charismatic Church in Malawi. He was married with five children.
They remained in Malawi but there is no updated news of them.

Timothy and Joseph
Malawian brothers who had gone to South Africa to find employment and a better future. They were based at the Mission in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. There is no updated news of either of them.

Chris and Sally – Children: Heath, Matthew and Leigh-Megan
Worked in Durban, South Africa for a large corporate food company and decided to sell all and live a season of time being led by the Lord.

Today they live in the Nottingham/Derby area in England. Chris is self-employed and shares Jesus wherever his work takes him. Sally is teaching at a Christian School. They have two lovely grandchildren.

Arthur
Worked in Johannesburg, South Africa for a large corporate company in the field of Electrical Engineering. He decided to sell all and live a season of time being led by the Lord.

Today he is married with 3 children and one fostered child. They live in Thohoyandou, South Africa where they are actively involved on an outreach Mission base serving the community.

Titus
Was found at the African Market in Area 49, Lilongwe, Malawi where his small business had come to an end. Wayne brought him home to meet us and his discipling season began.

Today he is married with 5 children and works at the headquarters of an international aid organization. He continues to share the Gospel in Malawi wherever he goes.

This is the last in the series of Mission Malawi, if you have not participated in the richness of the story of young missionaries in the warm heart of Africa – Malawi go to the beginning and read about an amazing experience.

“…time withe Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi

Our daily Garden


As we travel along our daily road of life, we can find ourselves, broadly speaking, in one of two states of mind – filled with fear and anxiety or abiding in the peace of the Lord.

Let us imagine walking into a neatly laid out vegetable garden. The rows of plants are straight, and access between them and down the rows, is very easy. As we walk between the beds, we see lovely tomato bushes on either side of our path. Looking further ahead, we notice that all the vegetable gardens contain the same vegetables on the left and on the right – all perfect and looking delicious.

Temptation is too great and eventually we decide to pick a lovely bright red tomato from the bed to the left of us. Imagining the taste, we are about to experience, we take a large bite and begin to swallow. Our system is suddenly shocked!! The taste is anything but what we imagined! A bitterness like we have never experienced before. Trying to spit the contents out of our mouths does not really help as the bitter acid settles down into our stomachs – wow! The taste lingers and in fact, everything we think of at that point is affected by the sourness of the flavour in our mouths and stomachs.Vegetable Garden 2.png

A short time passes, and we recover. Looking at the tomato plants in the opposite bed, we are tempted to try again, because they look so beautiful. From the opposite bed, we gently break off another tomato. Cautiously, we venture another taster. What an amazing difference! So juicy and pleasant. We hurry for the next few bites until the tomato is finished! It settles in our stomachs beautifully… and so satisfying!

Why are the two plants so different? Surely it must be to do with the type of food the roots are drawing from the soil.

Our path in life is very similar. Either we will feed from fearful situations or we will feed from peaceful situations. The ‘veggie garden’ of life, from which we will select, has been planted either by God or by the Evil One. The Vegetable Garden 3.pngsituations of life that the evil one would distract us with, are sown in fear (the sour tomato). He offers opportunities based in fear (like the acid soil), which, on the outside appear normal, but finding ourselves in those given situations, we start to feel fear of failure, fear of non-conformance and fear of physical things (phobias). It is whilst we are in fear that we are weak and vulnerable.

Weakness brought on by fear is not a sin but could certainly lead us into sin if not dealt with in the early stages. Anger is a fruit of fear. We become angry as a reaction to something which brings fear to us. Then we may well act differently to our norm, as a result of that fear.

Situations that God would bless us with are grounded in grace and peace. Jesus came to this earth to restore the things that were lost to mankind in the garden of Eden. Our old sinful nature was one of those things. He not only came to take our sins away, but to give us a new heart with rightful desires.

The old sinful nature is a magnet for the evil one’s distractions. He simply sows a fearful thought into our minds and as we accept it, the sourness invades our inner man and then everything we see, every action we perform, becomes tainted with bitterness. Fear requires more fear to feed itself, otherwise it will fade.

As our lifestyle transforms to be more like Jesus, we live more ‘in Christ’. The more we live ‘in Christ’, the more we will eat from the ‘veggies’ of Grace and Peace.

We need to make a conscious decision to daily walk out of our new nature – the ‘Christ’ nature. Why should we remain in our old nature, which is so attracted to fear, when we can daily walk in HIS grace, forgiveness and peace?

Remember, the veggies all look the same. If we choose from the wrong bed, we will very quickly know. Instantly spit out the sourness and replace it with a vegetable of grace and peace. Feed off HIS vegetables and we will experience peace and forgiveness.

From: “…time with the Master…”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

My Armour or God’s Armour?


How many times do we feel that we have need to go out and ‘fight the good fight? How many times do we feel that if we don’t go out and fight the good fight, we will be disappointing God? How much of our own strength can we commit to this task when we have so much on our plates?

I have tried many times, rising early, believing that THIS day, I will be a good example of God’s child and stand firm, only to discover, like Peter the disciple, I am truly very weak!

The truth is, in our own strength, we cannot please God and our loving Father is very aware of this fact. The old nature, which we inherited from Adam, is just not equipped to please God.

Our loving Father has already poured out His peace into our hearts, so we should just take hold of it and allow Him to work IN us and THROUGH us, in HIS time. The ‘THROUGH us’ work will be a result of the ‘IN us’ work, just like the fruit of a tree. The tree does not have to concern itself with the fruit making, it’s bearing is a natural process. The quality of the fruit is dependent on the intake of the roots.

So it is with us. Spend time with the Lord in prayer, reading the Word and fellowship with other members of His family, and your ‘fight the good fight’ will be a natural process, not something you have to constantly drive.

What a blessing the scripture says:
Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.Armour of God 2

God’s armour…not MY armour. The ‘good fight’ is God’s battle and He encourages us not to try and fight this battle in our strength. Instead, He says…. “submit to me…”. We are His instruments, clay in the potter’s hands…

Gird your loins with truth….. loins are normally associated with giving life – we will only be able to fight the good fight to the level of our own relationship with our Father. The deeper we are in Him, the more effective our fruit to bring new life to those around us – the natural process of fruit bearing. Is it God’s fruit from within, or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Put on the breastplate of righteousness…. A breastplate is something that covers a large area of the body and is bright and shiny. The breastplate is seen first when a person approaches. If the breastplate is damaged and dull, it does not create a good impression. A bright shiny breastplate indicates cleanliness and righteousness. Does the fruit of righteousness shine through us as a natural process or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel …. Our Father’s desire is to disciple the nations. Our feet are going to take us to our families, communities and Nations. As we go, we will take the Gospel with us. The Gospel will regenerate minds and lives will begin to change. Is the fruit of the Gospel evident in us a natural process, or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

Take up the shield of Faith …. A shield of trusting God (faith) will protect us. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we believe God has the power to resolve a condition, but we cannot seem to trust (or have faith) that He will do so for us in our time of need. It is at this time, that our trust in God is stretched. The more we stretch our trust, the more we will be protected in any given situation. Is our trust in the Lord evident as a natural process or do we have to force it by the power of our strength?

The Helmet of Salvation…A helmet is vital for survival, protecting the brain, the central command station. It is in the brain that the evil one begins his mission to lead us away from God. He plants a tempting thought and we begin to entertain it. If this thought is not put out of our minds, the scripture says it will take us on a path of death. Salvation in our lives is as secure as a helmet on our heads. Jesus died on the cross that we might receive Salvation as a gift (free) – all we must do is…receive it! Within the Salvation process, our minds are renewed. Are we allowing God to work IN us as a natural process in order that He can work THROUGH us, or are we resisting Him in our own strength?

From: “…time with the Master…”

This is a bi-monthly series of spiritual teachings.
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Mission Malawi – Chapter Twenty-Two


END IN SIGHT?………..

Since February, life has been hectic with the usual spate of attempted robberies, but by the Lords grace we haven’t lost much. It’s very sad to witness the amount of thieving especially from those who come to stay with us saying that they want to be taught the gospel. I guess times are so bad now people will try anything and obviously ‘third world’ Africa is even more desperate. Sadly, one of those we had been teaching for over eight months left on a sour note. We discovered afterwards that he really only wanted us to pay for his education and had managed to deceive us for that whole time. Well, the Lord knows and we have been enriched by the experience.

April 1996
Kathy, the Kids and I left for a short break to Zim at the beginning of April. We had planned to go for three weeks and had left the mission in the capable hands of Andy and Sue. We were a bit concerned because they never had transport, but having had that experience ourselves for six months and learned a great deal, we weren’t too concerned as we would only be away three weeks.

Our funds were extremely low – in fact we didn’t have enough for the journey. We received a message that the headmaster and his teachers from the school where Theresa-Anne has been helping would like to come and visit us before we leave for Zimbabwe.

The visit was really amazing as they all squashed into our little lounge area. The headmaster spoke about this ‘little white haired ‘mzungu’ who had helped so many children with their English studies and how to find their way to the Lord. He said they were very grateful to the Lord for sending Theresa-Anne and thanked Kathy and I as parents for trusting them and allowing Theresa-Anne to go there. They presented TA with a gift wrapped in a cloth. When she opened it later it was K220.00 – exactly enough for us to get to the Zimbabwe border!!!Teaching

Well, well, well. The Combi broke down just before the Mozambique border and we were set for a repeat of the previous year’s journey. My Mom was with us again (as if she hadn’t learnt the last year!!), and we decided to plod on somehow.

Eventually, to cut a long story short, we were helped by a couple who live in Malawi. Their towrope snapped and they were forced to leave us just before the Zim border. We were so grateful for their help as it cost them a whole days journey (and a tow rope!!).

Two men from Zim who were on their way back from Cahora Bassa Dam towed us into Zim with a piece of seat belt less than a meter long!! Both had been drinking beer their whole journey so it was a very hair raising trip to say the least. The Combi breaking system doesn’t work well when the engine is turned off – we spent the last part of the journey praying like we had never prayed before – at 120km per hour!

All was well and we slept the night at a filling station. The next day we plodded on slowly until Kathy’s parents came to the rescue again.VW_kombi_Wheels

The Combi was again sent down to Johannesburg, South Africa, for repairs. Some weeks later, Theresa-Anne and I journeyed to Johannesburg to collect it while the rest of the family stayed on the farm with Kathy’s parents. Unfortunately it wasn’t yet ready. Just to help things along I got a bout of Malaria while waiting in Johannesburg.

The friend that I was staying with took me to a hospital in Johannesburg. I explained to the Doctor on duty that I had come from a Malaria area and that in Malawi we were able to get medicine from their local supermarkets, which was a course of tablets we could take for three days. He simply laughed and said, “who’s the Doctor here?”. I was given aspirin and told to go to bed!!

As the Malaria worsened, I asked my friend to take me to another Hospital where they diagnosed Malaria and gave me the treatment.

Theresa-Anne needed to write her ‘O’ level exams in Lilongwe but there was no way I was able to undertake that journey in my condition. The Lord was good and we were able to set up for her to write in Zimbabwe at the British Consulate. Leaving the almost completed Combi in Johannesburg, back we went to Zimbabwe on a bus and she wrote the exams.

After that, we both again returned to Jo’burg to collect the Combi. Once again the Lord undertook for us and the brother that had previously repaired and paid for the Combi, once again repeated the blessing for us. After final repairs were made, we journeyed back to Zimbabwe to join the rest of the family.

Just outside Harare the fan belt broke and the engine overheated (Oh Lord – how many more times!!).
The Combi came to rest at the entrance to a farm and I went in to seek help. A very precious couple who farmed in the area helped us with a fan belt, but by that time, Kathy’s parents had dispatched help for us from the Farm.

While waiting on the side of the road, some men arrived and tried to distract my attention. While they were busy, one of their group spiked the back tyre. They tried to open the sliding door. When we realised they were trying to steal from us, I drove off in a hurry. It’s then that I felt the flat tyre. We stopped at the first garage to ask for help. While I was at the office, the thieves arrived following us in their car. Theresa-Anne was screaming but I couldn’t hear because the Combi windows were closed. When I saw what was going on, I ran out with the wheel spanner in my hand. I’m afraid my ‘missionary cap’ came off as ran towards them. The gospel was the last thing I was going to give them!! Well, thank the Lord, they took off without any further incident and I drove the combi into town with the flat wheel to the safety of a large hotel.

That was the last straw as far as the Combi was concerned.

As we sat on the farm, we were then seriously challenged as to whether or not it was the Lords will for us to go back to Malawi. Originally planning to be away from the group for 3 weeks, 5 months had passed!

In those five months, the mission in Malawi continued as if we hadn’t been away. During Kathy and my prayer times, we began to sense the Lord was saying that our time there was now complete and we should go back to Joburg and wait on Him for the next season. Those we had worked with over this period of time should now be ‘set free’ to continue sharing the gospel with others as the Lord led them.

The final confirmation came in a prayer time where the Lord showed us that if we were to stay with the Malawi brothers any longer they would begin to find their security in us, rather than the Lord. They needed to take all they had been taught, and start making disciples.

Still beset by further vehicle problems, we eventually got back to Malawi, using one of Kathy’s Dads pickups. To us, this was a further indication that the Malawi season of time was drawing to a close. We had not lost our peace during these latest vehicle challenges but we could feel that overcoming them appeared to be getting more and more difficult – was our Father’s hand of blessing starting to lift off our circumstance? Was He telling us to move on to a new season?

By Gods grace, Andy and Sue and the young men had done a marvelous job during the time we had been away. Teaching was still going strong and the little shop managed to survive, so the work stood the test of five ‘Malawi’ months.spaza

Meantime, Zimbabwe customs went on strike and we were unable to get a permit for the Combi to stay on the farm for an extended time. This meant we would only be able to afford a very quick trip back to the mission in Lilongwe before getting back to Zimbabwe to prevent the Combi being confiscated. Hence a swift journey out of Malawi to save the ailing Combi. At that point we felt the Lord was definitely showing us it was time to close off our part of the Malawi work.

“…time withe Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).