Howdy Neighbour


Join Our Pastor Ray in his sharing .

Howdy Neighbour

Jesus told us the two most import commandments are: “…YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ and then He said, the second most important one is, `YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ He continued…”There is no other commandment greater than these.” . No command greater than these – said Jesus!

We shared in previous sessions the difference between God’s Love and Human Love. In essence we said that our human love is ‘self-centred’ and Gods Love is ‘selfless’. We said that the two kinds of love cannot mix, and that as humans, operating out of our old sinful natures, we are not capable of loving someone as God would love us.

The answer to this challenge is that our old sinful nature needs to die – as Paul shared in Romans – and then we need to start the process of living out of our new resurrected life, which displays Gods love. We need to remember that this renewal is a daily process, as our thinking becomes renewed by the power of God’s word, revealed to us through the power of His Spirit.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke, the lawyer asked Jesus a question that I have heard many times in my own life: “And who is my neighbour?”

Just prior to that question, the scripture says – “But wishing to justify himself”. So the lawyer actually asked the question in an effort to justify his own actions towards others. Are we like the lawyer, asking the Lord questions wishing to justify our actions? 

How many times have we asked the Lord, “Who is my neighbour?” and how many times have we heard this question being asked in our country currently?

I had a closer look at the parable to find my answer. However, to make the parable more meaningful to present time in this country, I replaced some characters:

So starting at Luke 10:30-37

Luk 10:30  Jesus replied and said, “A European man was going down from Johannesburg to Durban, and fell among hijackers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.

Luk 10:31  “And by chance an Ndebele pastor was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

Luk 10:32  “Likewise a Sotho person also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

Luk 10:33  “But a Zulu man, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,

Luk 10:34  and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him into his own pickup, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

Luk 10:35  “On the next day he took out two Rands and gave them to the innkeeper and said, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’

Luk 10:36  “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hijackers’ hands?”

Luk 10:37  And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

The key to the parable lies in verses 36 and 37. In verse 36, Jesus asked the lawyer, “…who proved to be a neighbour to the victim?” The lawyer replied, “The one who showed mercy toward him… “

In our South African version of the parable, it was the Zulu man who showed mercy – the Zulu man was being a neighbour to the victim. When we show mercy to anyone, we become a neighbour to them. – it’s not about WHO is MY neighbour – as much as it is about BEING a neighbour to others. I really pray the Lord will show us this truth.

Jesus said “love your neighbour as yourself…” We find it relatively easy to show mercy towards ourselves, but what about those around us. Do we show the same mercy to others as we show ourselves?

In the Lord’s eyes, and through HIS nature, showing mercy to others is unconditional – irrespective of who the person is. Showing mercy from the human perspective (in other words from our old sinful nature) is conditional. In other words, I will have mercy if the person is of a certain culture…or…I’ll show mercy if the person is the same religion as me….or… I’ll have mercy if I perceive them to be a ‘good person’. The character of God shows mercy irrespective…anywhere, anytime, any person.

When next it comes time for us to have mercy on others, lets first think how much mercy we would have for ourselves in that situation, and then apply that same mercy to others, irrespective of who they are.

So…. Let’s spend less time worrying and arguing about WHO our neighbour is and more time focussing on BEING a good neighbour.

Thank you for sharing this time with me – may the Master share much of His heart with you this coming week. Until next time…bless you all.

From: “…time with the Master…”

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Mission Malawi – Chapter Nineteen


 o3.o1.96

Well, “Christmas” and new year have come and gone for another year. Some Christians have again been drawn into the pagan origins of Christmas celebrations for the wrong reasons. How the Lords heart must break at this time when He witnesses the goings on during this season. He weeps and says, “Why do you only focus on Me at this time of the year? Don’t you know I have made you a people set apart, a Royal Priesthood? But instead, you follow the ways of the world in celebrating something which lacks My power and majesty. It is in the death of My son, whom I GAVE for the forgiveness of your sin, that My power is made manifest.

You sing songs and give gifts in My name, but your hearts are not with Me. I need your obedience to fill My heart with Joy. Not only over this season of time but ALL year round, each and every minute of every day”.

 It’s sometimes very difficult to understand how God works. The other day I sensed God saying to me, “Am I a man that I should explain my ways to you?” The words came as a bit of a shock to me but after deliberating on them, I could see the truth and when I realized the real awesome, mighty power of God (which words cannot describe), I wondered how I could dare to question Gods ways. Who am I? It is only for me to obey not to question His mighty ways.

 I felt that way this morning during my prayer watch between 4-5am. The challenges that faced Kathy and I have become so big. Where to start?

 Our immigration permit expires on the 4/2/96 and cannot be renewed. This means we have to go out of the country for three weeks and then we are able to return on new permits.

 The one trailer which we brought with us has also reached the end of it’s permitted time in the country and must be imported in to Malawi before the end of February. It cannot be imported until it is released from South African customs, which cannot be done but at the border post in R.S.A. This means a trip to S.A. at great expense (which we don’t have!).

 The lease for the house which Chris, Sally, Andy and Sue are staying in, expires at the end of March. Chris and Sally are leaving on 24th January as the doors have opened for accommodation in England, but the question is: Where will Andy and Sue stay?, not to mention all the furniture we have been blessed with that is in the house.

 The Owner of our house is not certain whether we can stay on as he may want to move in. At our last meeting he said he would let me know soon.

 If we go out of the country, there will be no transport here for the brethren to continue the businesses. Andy and Sue will be on their own and will have to manage with the bicycles.

 Arthur phoned from R.S.A. and it seems he is uncertain when or if he will be back. Another great shock!

 So, we sit. Does God want to end this work now? ”

 Another call from S.A. tells us that Rene (my mother), has no place to stay and needs to come to be with us. I would love to have her here, but how will she cope?

what now lord
What Now Lord?

 There is a certain anger which wells up inside of me when I’m trapped in this kind of circumstance. There is nowhere to turn. I feel like screaming at the Govt. departments and saying, “It’s for your people that we have come here, not for our own gain – where is your support for us? – why should we have left what we did just to be treated like this?”

 It’s then that I realize it is only by God’s grace that we are here. We are under His “orders” not our wills. HE must decide what will happen. We must follow the Shepherd and trust that He will not desert us. But it’s so hard to trust during uncertainty like this.

04.01.96

I prayed this morning and felt myself becoming softer and softer. It was like a great pair of hands enveloping me. I hear the accuser saying….”The calm before the storm” but by God’s grace, I choose not to buy that thought.

 We have been in this kind of situation before and the Lord has never failed us. Each time it occurs I have forgotten the past experience and how wonderfully God worked and shielded us. So, it now seems like a new experience and the pains are being felt all over again. 

 After that prayer time, these are the words I received: “When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t fill it with busyness, just wait. Never run before God gives you His direction. If you have the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt – wait. Never act on the impulse of feeling, if you do, you will cause difficult situations to arise that may take months or years to untangle. Wait for Gods timing and He will do it without heartache or disappointment”. And so, by His grace that’s what I’ll do……

12.01.96

The Lord is definitely doing something, but I wonder what? As I’ve learned previously, it’s not for me to question but merely to obey (by His power).

 I have received a letter from the Immigration dept. to say that I may proceed with my application for a Temporary Employment Permit which, if successful, will last for two years, in the meantime I don’t have to leave the country until the application has been answered, one way or the other (thank you Lord).

 In answer to my prayers about Rene, she arrived yesterday from Cape Town. She was in a terrible state, hardly able to walk or remember anything. Anyway, there is a great improvement after only one day. Kathy has been such a great blessing with Rene and I’m really grateful. Both Kathy and I really want to look after her, to help her find peace and a sense of belonging. It will be a very trying job, but we trust that the Lord will guide us and give us the necessary strength because we understand this to be the right thing to do.

 We should look after our parents so that they may have life and fellowship in the body of Christ and not amongst the world in special ‘homes’. We should have the opportunity of giving back to them something of which they gave to us as they brought us into the world.

 It is a wonderful time to minister into fears, regrets and doubts. Lord please let us know that we have the grace you have so willingly poured over us.

“…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.

 

 

Mission Malawi – Chapter Fifteen


October 3 1995

Another visit from the thieves. This time we foiled them at the chicken cage but they still managed to get away with one of the chickens. It seems to be a syndicate operating in the area. One group patrolling in a vehicle, picking up the ‘booty’ while others are working. As we chased them into the darkness everything was still.

 After 15mins we heard the alarm,”wakhuba!!” a few houses away. Great scurrying around the houses but nothing. 1:45 Am. We went back to bed. At about 4:30am, we were awaken by a great commotion a few houses away.

 The one thief had been caught by a watchman after falling in to a septic drain trying to escape. His partner got away but not unscathed. He was wounded by an arrow shot from a bow. The crude arrow heads are beaten out of red hot metal and are extremely sharp. Anyone pierced by one would surely be infected by blood poisoning. Bow and Arrow

 The ‘law’ enforcing crowd marched on pulling the thief. The jeering and cheering got louder and louder as they came past our house. We tried to explain to the angry mob that we could take him to the police. They just laughed at us saying, “White man…. these are the ones that stole your tires and you want to help them?”

 The thief was burned around his groin and feet after first being beaten senseless. The mob took him to one of the local chiefs for judgment. He was handed over to the mob to do as they pleased. They took him to the church yard to be burned, but by the Lords grace nobody had the courage to light the dried branches and leaves thrown on top of him. He nevertheless died two hours later of his wounds.

 A savage killing to satisfy the hearts of a people who say they know God. Without the power of God touching their hearts, we have no chance of teaching them the Gospel.

October 9 1995

This wicked action has not deterred the thieves and last night they came again. This time Stephen (another precious soul the Lord sent to us), woke us up. As we watched the thieves, hearts pounding, they investigated the Combi and realizing the alarm was on, moved off. A few minutes later we heard the scream, “wakhuba!!”

 As we ran out into the road, there were people running in what appeared to be all directions. The thieves had stolen tires from two cars and were on their way out of the area (each carrying two wheels!), when they were disturbed. They dropped the tires and car jack in front of our house and got away.

 The Lord has sovereignly sorted out the deep freeze and washing machine import duty. After sharing the challenge with a brother in the Lord who works for Customs and Excise, he immediately got in his car and kindly went to sort it out for us. It was miraculous for Arthur Jacob and me to witness the Lord using this brother to help us. Within a few days we were able to switch on the deep freeze and washing machine. What a great blessing! Now we could order meat and other luxuries for the first time in many months. Thank you Lord.

 Our little ‘mission base’ is about to be increased in size. Andrew and Sue will arrive any day from the Mission Base at Nottingham Rd, South Africa.

My brother Christopher and his family will also be arriving shortly. They are on their way to England for a season of mission work there.

It will be necessary for us to find additional accommodation for them all.

October 10 1995

In the business of all the thief actions, our precious brother and sister, Andrew and Sue have arrived from South Africa. Originally from England, they have just completed nine months at the mission in Nottingham Rd.

 They left the mission with little or no money as their funds were all tied up with the South African Immigration authorities. At the station in Johannesburg, a friend met them briefly and blessed them with some money which would be enough to last them the trip.

 After a nightmare train trip through Zimbabwe and Zambia, they had a 28 hour ‘African’ bus trip from Lusaka to Lilongwe. They arrived somewhat shaken, but truly blessed having witnessed the Lords hand. It took them 6 days. Normally the trip would be done in about 2African Bus days!

 October 13 1995

Getting meat for us to cook is not very easy. Most of the cuts available in the city centre butcheries are too expensive for us to buy – apart from the cheaper cuts such as ‘shin’.

 However we’ve discovered the village butcher is much better suited for us. At certain designated places in the rural areas, cattle and sheep are slaughtered and then hung up by the back legs in a tree. This allows the blood to be drained. After the blood has been drained the animal is skinned and cut up as customers require.

A great discovery today was that most Malawians don’t like the fillet meat of the cow as it is too soft for their liking. We have been able to buy fillet meat at a very cheap price!!

“…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.

 

 

Mission Malawi – Chapter Nine


 

Field Trip

14th – 21st November 1994

The following is a report of a field trip completed by two disciples of the Lord. The purpose of the trip was mostly a teaching experience to see how the Lord can bless those who are willing to give of themselves completely to His will.

It should be carefully noted here that we would be foolish to try and test God.

A trip of this nature should never be undertaken without careful and prayerful consideration. Everything which we do must be born out of the seed of prayer. God will speak to those who are willing to listen and will teach those who are willing to be manageable in His hands. Often, our hearts desires and strong wills, prevent us from hearing the gentle voice of the Spirit.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Nine”