All for Love…

I had saved up for a couch and recently came across the perfect piece at a great bargain. It unfortunately did not fit in my space well enough and I had to return it. We all know the joy of re-decorating. Essentially, you are only satisfied with the adjustment when it feels “just right” with your soul.

No amount of convincing from my mom and sisters could persuade me to keep the couch, yes it looked okay, but just not perfect for me to feel satisfied with it on a daily basis. That’s when it hit me that in-fact, every item in the house is positioned to make glad my soul, no one else’s. If I am not fully sold into how something makes my place look, I will change it until it feels just right. This includes flowers in the garden, how the wardrobe, cups, plates are laid out. All of these created objects were in this house to make me happy.

This is the same way that God created us for His pleasure. The mountains, earth, sky, our bodies, lives and everything in them are for Him (Psalm 24vs1). Only He knows what needs to sit where and how, so His vision can be fulfilled. Just like I have a vision for my living room and how I want it to look, more so that God has a blue-print of what our lives should look like. Only He knows why we are here and He carefully created and selected us to be here at this time (Psalm 139). He knows what flavor each life brings and will shape it until it satisfies Him. I was in awe just realizing the whole fuss in this house was here to satisfy my little soul, and more humbling to know that my little life was created for the pleasure of this great God (Revelations 4v11).

 “So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him” (Jeremiah 18vs3). Therefore, just like clay, God shapes us to preference even when we become marred clay. Only He has the power to reinvent us to be what He wants us to be. The only reason I would move around an item in the house is because I love it and want it there, so I would make different means for it to work in the space. The item has no say in the matter nor will it be deemed a perfect fit until I have qualified it. None of us are good enough or even know how to fulfill God’s plan for our lives, no matter how much we try.  “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God” (Romans 3vs11). In our own nature we can never even begin to comprehend the course of our existence of even how to please God.

romans-8-38-39-3But because He loves us, He created a way for us to be to reconciled to Him and live lives that are worthy of His calling (Colosians 1vs10). “In love, He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephisians 1v6). The only way we could be saved is through Jesus Christ, and I like how it says that “In love”. It is because God loves us that He was able to give the life of His son for our redemption (John 3vs 16). We have all been accustomed to this scripture, but I have yet to come to the full grasp of its meaning and the deep love that was involved in God making a way for me to know Him.

An attempt at comprehension for me would be to recognize the cost it entailed for God to express such love. For it took God himself to lay down His life that we may be redeemed. Isiah (7v14) proclaims the birth of Jesus through the term Emanuel “God with us”, in whom “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him” (Colosians 1v19). So Jesus was God, living in a body so that He can create a way for us to be saved and called the children of God. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made (John 1vs1).

So in this deep love, the great God came down to taste death, the very death my little soul is so afraid of (that why we sanitize). The only way I could reflect Him is if He shows me how, because Jesus is the only man who walked the earth who was without sin and none of us can attain that without him. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. Can you see how much God wants us to be able to fulfill His vision? How much He cares for us and how much He has given for us? The only way is through Jesus Christ, as He defeated death (which is a product of sin -James vs 15), so we might live through Him.  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6v11).

It is unfortunate, that I did not have the power to change my space to fit the couch – it had to go. God, though, loves us enough to change circumstances to redeem us. But the trick is to give ALL of ourselves to Him (story for another day) but in essence we must just know that we are loved, with a deep incomparable love.  “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” 1 John 4 vs 7.

I want to close that we do not underestimate the power of love, for with it God used to redeem a dying world.

Categories: Life

Where I fell…

…Close to the cliff, I fell

Not far from the edge is where I stumbled

In a hurry to destination satisfaction

Looking further than I should

Rushing

Oblivious to where I set my foot

The haste was to my destruction when the rock caught my attention;

No, my attention was demanded as it made me stumble:

As soon as I noticed, fell.

I see others laugh, while my big toe sobs

Brush off the dust and keep walking, I think. But being on the ground makes me notice something:

Its actually a pretty rock that tripped me. Not just pretty but strong and precious, quiet nothing like it

Being on the ground has spoiled my outfit and dented my pride

See it matters not anymore as I watch how the path I was on leads to the end of life

Now I sit, hurdled on a rock.

Putting me on pause to reflect on the error of my way

Humbled to the ground, and yet not feeling no shame

Laugh if you must, but I’m glad I tasted the dust

This rock has changed the course of my journey,

We all have tripped along the way, but falling?

This rock requires deeper inspection, and then it dawned on me!

This is the rock that is used as a cornerstone

Foundations built on this rock are not shakey nor do they faulter

I’m glad I fell!

Now I can also build.

A structure so secure, so solid, immovable and indestructible.

No more wandering, the matter is settled.

An honor bestowed, through this great favor of stumbling on a treasure

Oh you may laugh and scoff

But I’m glad I fell…

….for my life was saved.

“See I lay in Zion a stone, that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame” – Romans 9vs33

Categories: Life

uBusy Ngani?

We live in a generation of tweeting things into existence. Our youth is so entrusted in the power of their opinions as they can see how society and authorities respond to the many revolutions started on Twitter. Perhaps with the Information Age, this is the best way to make your voice heard versus the contact sports played by the youth of 1976. Without making this a social media post, this approach of fighting with your opinion has turned ours into a generation of “do gooders”.

The dictionary definition of do-gooder is: “a well-meaning but unrealistic or interfering philanthropist or reformer”. The synonyms of do-gooders are busy-bodies, meddlers or marplots who interfere in the affairs of other people. The Bible in 1 Timothy 5v 13 says this about such people “ They get into the habit of being idle and going about house to house. Not only do they become idlers but also busy bodies and talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to”. What this scripture essentially says is that involving yourself in the business of other means you are idle. You are not doing the things that you ought to be doing. This speaks more to an idleness of mind. When we fill our minds with the things that are not conducive or edifying to our spirits we turn to the affairs of others. Secondly being a busy body leads you to saying things that you are not supposed to say. And we know once words are spoken they cannot be taken back. Because we do not have authority or the knowledge to speak into a situation we end up declaring destruction and projecting our own selfish nature into other people’s lives.

God equates the sin of meddling with murder. In 1 Peter 4v15 the word of God says :” But let none of you suffer as a murder, a thief, an evil doer or as a busy body in other people’s affairs”. When one gives an opinion we never think it’s deadly, I mean we are just imparting our “superior wisdom” into the situation. If we don’t say anything surely the matter cannot be resolved with justice. Yes our contribution may not produce efficient results right now, but the emotive empathy we have provided will get people thinking differently and progress towards our recommended solutions. Shuu saving the world is such a negotiative business right? Wrong! It is evil and it is murder.

I am personally guilty of such, for so long on so many aspects. Many a time a friend or relative comes to me with an issue and immediately I feel entitled to do good and provide sound advise instead of seeking God on their behalf. I mean they wouldn’t have come to me if I wasn’t wise, hello! Anyway I would normally proceed to giving an (unwarranted) example about my own life and if it involves another person, I would also share my notes (without gossiping, lol) on how I have observed the same behavior from this person. Conclusions will be made that they need to be prayed for/given distance/taken to court. In this moment I become god in this persons life, I dentify the error, diagnose the cause and pass the judgement which usually favors me above all. Self- righteousness at its best I tell you 🚨

How is this murder though, I asked the Lord? In Genesis 4, Cains jealousy led to the murder of his brother. When he was sad that God didnt favor his sacrifice the Lord said in verse 4” why are you angry, why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it”. James 1vs 15 says “then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death”.

God tells Cain to be careful of sin because is desires to have him, before he even kills his brother. He warns him how it is crouching at the door. This tells us that the sin we see in our lives looks much smaller than it actually is because it is sneaky. It flattens itself on the ground and moves slowly towards us until it fully has us. What is wrong then with giving an opinion, I asked again. The Lord revealed the number of friendships I have personally destroyed by projecting my insecurities and lies in my unsolicited opinions. I have changed the course of marriages/ destinies because of my self righteousness. Destroyed the confidence of others and killed dreams from speaking out of my flesh and not seeking counsel from the Lord before I speak. I’m my effort of doing good, I have left a path of destruction and seeds of death. Proverbs 13vs2 “ from the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence”.

What then shall we do? In Genesis God tells Cain that his brothers blood cries out to him from the ground. In the New Testament we are that that the blood of Jesus was shed for the atonement of our sins. Hebrews 9vs15 “That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.” It is only therefore through giving and continually submitting our lives to Jesus Christ that His blood can cover our sins and cry out “grace” to God on our behalf.

We must never underestimate the power of sin, something that may not seem so powerful can have damaging and generational effects. Today I pray that Lord will show us the error in our ways, and cleanse us from defiled speech. Today may we repent of all the little and big things we have thought and said out of malicious intent hidden in our hearts. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah‬ ‭17:9‬

If we are truthful to ask for forgiveness, He is faithful to forgive us and restore us to himself . “O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone!”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:14‬. May the Lord be exalted in our speech and all that concerns us. His grace is sufficient.

Categories: Life

A Weapon of Light

walk-this-way (1)Imagine being stuck in a deep, dark forest, where every step you take is entangled by thick vines that block your path and keep tripping you down. The trees are so tall and dense that the sunshine barely reaches the ground in any season, making it more cold than cool. I won’t mention the sound of animals that you can only hear but not see. Not having a clear sense of how to get out of a place like this is made worse by the doubt and fear of your skills in surviving in the wilderness. You may be healthy and street smart, but for this situation you are not skilled and perhaps at this point some people will start praying that help comes along.

Well, what if help does arrive, in the form of a sharp sword, that has supernatural abilities to slash down trees and vines alike. The more you slash through the bush, the more your path lights up, hey! you can even see a nearby, grassy hill that you can stand on and see further and navigate your way home. A simple, strong, tool given to you can create and bring so much light and knowledge in an otherwise hopeless situation.

This takes me to a recent difficult meeting which I was forced to engage in on a work related matter. The accusation was great and the personal attack imminent. No matter how much I presented facts and clarifying the basis of my actions, the accusations kept on coming. Just as I was about to just give in and let this person proceed with their propaganda, I quoted a scripture in one of my final responses. To my surprise the tone on the other end immediately changed and the accusations were dissolved, the conversation ultimately ended with the person apologizing to me for even wasting my time with the meeting. I was in awe! this is when I realised that using the right tools, we can accomplish anything. Afterall, have you seen a tree being smashed with a sharp axe and it doesn’t break or crack? “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isiah 55v11- NLT).

The manner in which the sharp sword demolishes through the forest, is the same way the word of God destroys all evil that bring darkness in our lives (lies, deceit, fear, anger, attacks, etc) . In Hebrews 4 v 12(KJV), it says : “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”, in other versions it says the word is “alive and active”. Therefore there is no way that we could utter the word of God in a situation and it doesn’t change instantly. Sometimes you may see the outcomes immediately, and sometimes it takes a while to see the result, however, the impact remains the same. “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119vs105). It is therefore impossible for darkness to remain when the word of God slashes through the atmosphere.

It cuts through flesh and spirit, revealing the deeper most parts of our being, no forest can be dense or dark enough. Even 1000 year-old trees fall, bringing down with them all sorts of vile creatures hiding up there. This sword cuts through and destroys both seen and unseen enemies. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds (2 Corinthians 10vs4). The way to victory for us is only through the word, for every battle is actually spiritual before it manifests physically (“for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms-Ephesians 6vs 12) and by speaking the powerful word of God we have the upper hand. This includes our prayers, God is not amused with our poetic words, but moved by us speaking His word back to Him (Psalm 138 v 2 – For You have magnified Your word above all Your name).

In Ephesians 6 v17, we are told to take the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God after we have put on all the full armor. We carry the shield of faith, walk in peace, have the helmet of salvation, belted with truth and protected by righteousness. But without the sword we remain defended but not victorious. With that being said, it is great having a weapon in your hand but if not used properly it is pointless. The sword will be useless if you use it to dig through the forest, therefore we must be trained to use it. The only way we are able to gain victory is when we speak the word of God, to speak it we have to know it and we have to believe that it holds power because it is the very breathe of God (2 Timothy 3v17).

We must remain confident that this weapon cannot break or buckle “for you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God- 1 Peter 1vs 23 NIV). God’s word is so powerful that with it He created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1 vs 1), and with it established the nations and continues to sustain us with it to this very day. “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes (Psalm 19vs8). Allow his word today to light up your path and remove all darkness that clogs up your vision. It is suitable for every situation, environment, relationship or context. When you know the truth, speak it, and you will be free. May the Lord be with you and help us all to seek and know His word.

Categories: Life

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Africa month 2020: Why Democracy does not work in Africa

The colonisation of Africa, did not automatically translate into the value systems of colonisers being engraved into African communities. Africans have deeply rooted belief systems that inform how they approach life in every aspect, primary to which is Ubuntu. No matter how much Africans drink from the “fountain of civilazation”, they can never think or behave like Europeans. Until we realise that the coming together of different races requires the acknowledgement of the wisdom from both sides, even that of the “inferior” race there wont be harmony. This is evident in the application of law and governance: pure employment of roman-dutch, and English (common law) legal systems without a customising it to the African context has proven to be chaotic over the centuries, to say the least.

A recent news article on how a man’s widow lost out on a R3.5m inheritance from her late husband due to a customary marriage that was never nullified. The man walked away from his traditional wife and went on to “legally” marry another, which would make sense as this would be his first official marriage. Before the institution of customary law, a lot of these cases were prominent with life-long fueds between families and those involved. The concept of eloping is foreign in African culture, that’s why it is impossible to consider a couple married unless there’s a coming together of the families. This includes divorce, the same constituency needs to be consulted to dissolve the union. Introducing your boyfriend to your family was unheard of unless he has made a clear intention to marry you. In the western culture, they appreciate knowing your potential before any marriage ideas are entertained and when you decide to get married, it is essentially up to you to decide when and how.

Similarly, with governance, Africans have always maintained the belief in leaders being born and not made. Same as how healing, dancing, musical gifts were believed to be passed on through the genes and family bloodline, so was leadership. In most African kingdoms, the throne was established through courage, maintained by wisdom and collapsed by greed and pride. Once a leader has been anointed, the African would abide and admonish all the monarch decrees, no matter how absurd as disobedience was punishable by death. All knew to fear and respect the king with the firm belief that he acted in the best interest of his people and embodied the ancient laws of the tribe first and foremost. Chiefs and Headmen were mostly appointed based on their courage, wisdom, integrity and how they lead their own households. Apartheid South Africa got this point correctly when they were introducing Bantu-stans, they simply did not appoint commoners who were aligned to them to rule, but instead went for Chiefs whose judgement would be upheld by their people. Chiefs were also the resolver of all disputes which were only escalated to the king based on severity of the crime.

Then comes the issue of democracy. So, Africa day is the commemoration of the founding the African union in 1963. Where heads of liberated states represented the social, political and economic ideologies of their countries. These were men of substance whose doctrine was firmly rooted in the well-being of their countrymen and Africa at large. They had earned their right to lead, and unfortunately some never relinquish the privilege. They would have been elected under a facilitated “democratic process” or through political coups, however the method, electing a successor becomes the bitter battle most African government impose on themselves against their people. Remember, historically a king or royal family maintained its reign through generations, some even openly declaring it their birth-right to be king. This in my view gives birth to the dictator mind-sets and presidents refusing to step down, no matter the cost. Therefore, elected leaders subconsciously anoint themselves undeclared kings and go as far as wanting to appoint and inaugurate their successor which eventually leads to their downfall.

“Many of those interested in events in Africa today are surprised that the emergent African states do not settle for the perfect democratic form of government with a recognised opposition. The truth is that a blackman cannot fathom how a country can be governed by two enemies constantly at one another’s throats. Such a country can never be happy and stable. The black man has not the shallow flexible soul that most races have, and to be ruled by two squabbling parties is as alien and repugnant to his mind, as his way of doing things is repugnant to the European mind. Sooner or later they find the dual loyalty encouraged by a two-party system not only clumsy and unwieldy, but fatal as well, because to an African a member of the opposition is not merely the man who holds dissenting political views- he is an enemy. Africans either love or hate, the idea of friendly rivalry have no place in the African mind”Credo Mutwa

One also wonders then how credible is the democratic system if these opposing views are funded and channelled by the same players. We see advanced economies like America, with decorative presidents who have no firm views of their own, but advancing those of their funders. Political rivalry can only be expressed to the masses through media and marketing campaigns which cost money. Lots of it. This leads to the pertinent question that enquires whether democractic states are what we should opt for or convergence to traditional governance systems is the answer?

 I don’t have all the answers, but being a believer, my default setting is to revert to the word of God for guidance. I will touch on the governance of the two subjects above; marriage and leadership.

Marriage; When Jacob wanted to take Rachel as a wife, he had to request permission from her father. Who proceeded to inform him of the duties he needed to fulfil so that he can get his daughters hand in marriage. Rachel did not introduce Jacob as her boyfriend and they played happy family until he was ready to pop the question. No. Jacob was required to honor Rachels parents, to a point of even marrying Leah whom he didn’t want. However, he knew that for his marriage with Rachel to be valid and established they needed the parent’s blessing. I assume he understood the curse and cost of eloping. Also, in Genesis 2 vs 24 and Ephesians 5v 31 the bible speaks of the man leaving his mother and father and cleaving to his wife (becoming one flesh). This means legally (and spiritually) they are one being. In the book of Ruth, Boaz was required to exercise his legal right to take her as a wife, which included declaring it to the witnesses present.

Similarly, in the African context in lobola, one is requesting permission from the parents to take their daughter as a wife, which is exhibits the required honor towards parents to fulfil the requirements of marriage. Cleaving and declaration reflects to the legal aspect of marriage which we see in courts today. Therefore, no culture is wrong or right, but in my view, the guiding principle is honor. No one is a law unto himself and marriage in essence is an institution from God, so if it is done out of self-interest and guidance it is futile. The word says: Honor your mother and father so you may live long in the land (Exodus 20vs12), this is the first commandment with a promise and should be heeded. Along with “what God puts together, no man shall separate”, above all, marriage should honor God because it belongs to Him.

On leadership: The word is very clear that it is God who appoints leaders, and if they fail or dishonour his word he will remove them:

Daniel 2vs 21:”He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars”

Romans 13vs1: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God”

Psalm 8v6: “You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet”

The book of Judges is based on God appointing leaders over his people, in the book of Samuel, Eli and his family suffer the fate of being removed from esteemed position by the Lord. King Saul was dethroned by the Lord to anoint David. The principle is the same through the ages. Therefore, the democratic or tribal system does not hold on its own, because it is only God who permits leadership.

In conclusion, no one’s tradition or culture is superior to another. All have their flaws and advantages and it can only take Godly leaders to move any nation forward. Those who lead with integrity and honesty, serving only one master, our Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of all things. We continue to pray for such.

Categories: Life

Covid-19 Lockdown: What should you be praying for?

The lockdown has taken a tall on almost all of us and its safe to assume everyone is ready of it to end. At the current state of affairs; people are not only suffocated by the virus, statistics, propaganda and fake news, but they are also paralyzed by fear, anxiety, and hopelessness. Soon hunger, poverty, abuse, mental illness and homelessness will overtake the pandemic in bringing distress our people.

We all agree that there’s a deep-seated anxiety about what is currently going on in the world. As Christians the default reaction is to cry out to the Lord and pray for healing, however, is that what the Lord instructed YOU to personally pray for? Have you taken the time to hear the Holy Spirit on what petitions should be on your lips or are you guided by the chain prayer declarations on people’s statuses. Or better yet is it the fear inside you that assures you that if the disease goes away then all will be all right, and that’s what needs to be prayed for? Are your spiritual efforts determined by the online church services you have attended or having a candle in your avi?

What about the demonic forces that are ready to take advantage of God’s people? spirits of depression, suicide, poverty, greed, lust, the list is endless. When people are isolated, scared and lonely wars rage against their spirits. Right now it is time to pray not based on what the world says but on what the spirit of the Lord instructs us to. Romans 8 vs. 26 tells us that it is only the Spirit of God that knows what we should be praying for: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” and we should listen to Him.

In 1 Peter 4 vs 7 -10 the word of God guides us in how we need to respond in such time. “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and sober, so that you can pray.  Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Show hospitality to one another without complaining. As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve one another.” Let us break this scripture down.

Verse 7: The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and sober, so that you can pray: Deep down we all know that life will not be the same after these lockdowns and all associated turmoil, which is indicative of the end times. The word encourages us to be clear-minded and sober so we can pray. In other texts it says, “be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. That means its not the time to be praying based on our fears or wisdom, we should be clear minded and learn to pray as the spirit leads. A clear mind is a stable, rational and sound mind.

Verse 8: Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. In a time where social distancing and stockpiling is the order of the day, its easy for us to start despising each other. You are scared that a neighbor will either infect you with the virus or deplete food sources that you could have had. Right now everyone is concerned about his or her own family’s safety above everything else. The opposite of fear is love, let us therefore consider others, pray for them and give support where we can without fearing what it might do to us, for we are covered by He who sent us. Loving your neighbor is one of the greatest commandments and it cannot be truer than a time like this. Love is the strongest weapon we can use to conquer any stronghold; God used it to save humanity (John 3 v 16).

Verse 9: Show hospitality to one another without complaining. This must be done without complaining that the government got us here or if only God would end this disease, blah, blah, blah. Check your privilege and help where you can. It is, what it is, you were born for such a time as this. What happens when a stranger knocks on the door hungry and cold? Survival says shut the door and lock it, but God says show hospitality and care for one another. The NLT version describes well: Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

Verse 10: As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve one another.” We are all different parts of the body of Christ and we all serve different functions (1 Corinthians 12v12). In this time we are called to use our gifts to serve others as an expression of God’s grace. God expresses His grace to us by touching hearts to show us kindness; it doesn’t fall down through lightning. We are God’s hands and feet and for His grace to abide we have to be obedient (Luke 11vs28). We are stewards of God’s grace, may we treat this as an honor instead of a burden. Stretch yourself, that gift you are lazy to work on, is not your own, but God’s – for His glory.

What we face now is no longer a fight against an illness, but that of having all human rights denied and dictated by an elite few.  The constitution/ bill of rights essentially becomes null and void in a state of disaster; the government decides everything on behalf of everyone. We should not despair because we know that the earth is the Lords and all that is in it (Psalm 24) and at the end we will prevail. It is now time to take up weapons and fight all other principalities that have been invited by fear and religion over our lives. Can we please pray for a discerning spirit so we pray according to God’s will and for the strength to do what He says.

May you put on the mask of courage, power and a sound mind. Healing has already been guaranteed to us because we are born of an imperishable seed (1 Peter 1vs19).

Categories: Life

5 Things to keep you Sane during National Lockdown

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. It doesn’t matter whether you are spending the lockdown period with loved ones or by yourself. Your mental health during this time will solely be your responsibility. With virtually nowhere to go, your home has to offer you all the stimulation you require to keep a sane and productive mind. We have survived Day 1 in South Africa and here are a few tips to fill the hours with some meaningful activity.

1. Create a schedule

It is important to create a routine where you designate time to do certain things. Yes it is a period of rest and going with the flow is helpful, but it wont be entirely beneficial to practice everyday. Making a mental note of what you need to fit into each day is very important.

2. Time

The following times need to be observed religiously, no matter what your schedule looks like:

Bath time:

It is very easy to take day’s off (and its no crime really), however, water refreshes our body and gives us energy. A t-shirt change once in a while can inspire a different thought pattern as our brains are stimulated by a change of scenery, no matter how little. As soon as you wake up, decide what time you would want to bath and plan your day around that. For me it usually works after exercise, as soon as I wake up or just before bed – it all depends what activities informed my day.

Bed time

It is holiday time afterall, I support the notion of waking up whenever you feel like it. But going to bed at a specific time helps your body to have a sustainable rest cycle. Sleeping whenever can also create the risk of feeling stuck in a time machine because it means you wake up whenever, eat whenever and soon you won’t care whenever this lockdown ends. This can build nothingness into your days, which is dangerous. This rule can apply to a designated wake up time with flexible a bed time, depends how your preferences.

Quiet time

Taking time to read the word of God and praying is vital to maintaining a healthy frame of mind. Joy is a fruit of the spirit, without which we become hopeless. There is nothing joyful about having nothing to do, little food, (too much or no) privacy/interaction but there is constant joy in knowing that you are loved and cherished. The faith of knowing that God has greater things awaiting you after this period and the sound wisdom that the author of time is imparting to you is priceless. Moments of silence and deep breathing are also helpful to digest what you have read and fulfill the “Me-Time” gap.

Work time

For those of us who work from home, creating a designated working space is very helpful. Allocating specific hours for work helps in productivity and planning your life. Your partner and family also benefit from knowing which times you are  not available, which also eases the guilt of feeling selfish each time you have to disappear off.  A clear knock off time is also important to avoid working haphazardly and indefinitely pretending to work (you will get nothing done). Remain diligent, as difficult as it may seem. Some people wish their work remained an imminent reality post this break down, act accordingly.

3. Exercise

This is absolutely vital for both physical and mental health. You don’t need a big yard or gym equipment. Jumping up and down (as though you are skipping rope), jump squatting and stretching doesn’t require anything. The best time to exercise is when you wake up, either in the morning or after your afternoon nap. Waking up to nothing can really depress you and getting your blood flowing is the best antidote. It also helps you process your thoughts and information you have been consuming during this time. Food personally makes me happy, so I indulge with the ease of knowing that I can aid digestion through exercise. It also help to exhaust your body, helping you to sleep better.

4. Read

Allocate time, even if its just one day in this whole 21 day period to read. Finishing at least one book would be first prize. Reading stimulates our imagination compared to the mindless scrolling. Facebook posts and wats-app statuses don’t qualify in this category, find something to commit to. After the lockdown, we will be required to step up in a big way to make up for lost time. Training your mind to think is the best way to prepare for what is to come.

5. Brainstorm a hobby

We are all experiencing something we have never experienced before and we should look to doing things we have never done before. If it’s learning how to play chess or baking, the excitement of learning something new is helpful. Obviously you cant hobby everyday, because taking it easy, eating and catching up on tv while lazing around remains the most fun in life.

This downtime will create ample opportunity for us to reflect on the quality of relationships we have around us. It will either enforce the unity or redefine it, nevertheless this is informed by the relationships we have with ourselves. Such isolation amplifies how we relate to ourselves (and ultimately others) and this presents a perfect opportunity to re-invent ourselves. Lastly, put your phone down! There is very little new information that will be coming in during this time and you can spare an hour or two without browsing through it, unless reading something meaningful like this article J

Happy New Year.  I know it sounds weird, but life will never be the same after this lock down and we need to prepare ourselves in every on what lies ahead.

Categories: Life

Lawlessness

South Africa has in the recent months been engulfed by endless waves of femicide and xenophobic attacks. With such a fantastic constitution, how come our country has the highest cases that violate human rights? Lawlessness is defined as a state of disorder due to a disregard of the law and it sounds so familiar with where we are.

Our government has for the longest time been in the business of calculating crime and not solving it. We hear endless debates about the accuracy of crime stats and how shoplifting reduced by 3% year on year. How many women have applied for protection orders and died anyway? Women are presented with pieces of paper and encouraged to go right back into the den. Children are raped and the investigating officer’s personal details are share with the perpetrators family. Its one thing to have a rule of law, and its another story to uphold it. It is about time that we clean up the force, there are too many wrong people in the right posts. If those who are called to serve and protect don’t honor their mandate, lawlessness will prevail and we will have one trending murder after the next.

I like how Chief Justice Mogoeng explained the root cause of the xenophic violence when he said that “South Africans are not xenophobic, they are just hungry”. In a country where opportunity is a scarce commodity, a brother will fight another for the same slice of bread. Again, I will relay this back to the upholding the rule of law. It is frustrating for economically paralysed South Africans to see foreigners working in all the service industries. Every restaurant, salon, supermarket, and uber you will find a foreign national working there. The capitalist system will not reject cheap or slave labor and the desperate would take up the option of anything that keeps them alive. Somewhere out there is a labor department or home affairs official who is not monitoring the workforce for legitimacy in ensuring citizens are not overlooked and foreigners not abused.

One person, not doing what they are supposed to do, has such a long lasting and ripple effect into so may other peoples lives. It is important to note that every choice is a spiritual act. You need to start doing what you are supposed to, even if its something as basic as loving yourself, or cleaning the house or even studying. If you have been entrusted in looking after a child or even a plant, do it as you are supposed to. Imagine if our body parts were to deviate from doing what they are supposed to do, how catastrophic your life would be. The pancreas was created just to secrete bile to help digest food, your red blood cells for transporting oxygen, each have just one task for their entire lives and they make sure they do it absolutely well. If they don’t, life will end.

For true freedom, we must all understand the concept that individual responsibility is the pathway collective emancipation. It is essentially not what you tweet or color doek you wear that will stop domestic violence. It is about the decision on what behaviors you exhibit and tolerate, the level of respect you give to those you think are beneath you. It’s that decision to initiate or terminate a friendship or voice your disproval to disrespect towards yourself and others. It is only when we are prepared to change ourselves that we can change the world. Even more importantly for those who are in positions of authority.

Which brings me to those who are called the children of God. Who are seated with Chirst in places of authority in the heavenly realms and yet refuse to exercise that power. Isaiah 56 from vs 10 puts it so well

Come, wild animals of the field!
    Come, wild animals of the forest!
    Come and devour my people!
10 For the leaders of my people—
    the Lord’s watchmen, his shepherds—
    are blind and ignorant.
They are like silent watchdogs
    that give no warning when danger comes.
They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming.

The position of a watchman is similar to that of the police who need to be on the lookout for enemies who want to attack a city. Watchment would stand guard day and night, giving a warning immediately when they see danger that prepares the sodliers to go out and fight. If the watchman sleeps, even their army becomes useless as it will be caught off guard and defeated. Similarly our justice sytem is useless with a rotten police force.

The bible says that “if my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray to me, I will hear them and heal their land”, it also says “the prayer of the righteous availeth much”. Take up your position mighty people of God and rise up in prayer. There is such a great spiritual poverty in our nation from false doctrine, dark principalities and corrupt leadership. Let us pray for our land and not be afraid of any pestilence for a thousand may fall on our side but it will not come near us. In Jeremiah 46, the Lord says that, we only need to put on our armor and the enemy will flee because we already walk in victory;

“Prepare your shields, both large and small,
    and march out for battle!
Harness the horses,
    mount the steeds!
Take your positions
    with helmets on!
Polish your spears,
    put on your armor!
What do I see?
    They are terrified,
they are retreating,
    their warriors are defeated.
They flee in haste
    without looking back,
    and there is terror on every side,”
declares the Lord.

“For evil to prevail, it takes good men to sit and do nothing” – Proverbs

Categories: Life

Today I pray for me

For all the surreal moments of insignificance that made me wonder whether I was invisible or even alive

The moments where rejection was the expected form of embrace

I pray for all the times I doubted my own goodness

Where neither good nor average behavior yielded a different outcome

I pray for the times where I doubted the point of my entire existence

The many times where I conceded to being an inconvenience 

I pray for all the times that I burnt myself to keep others warm

Today I pray for myself because frankly it’s only thing I can ever do to save myself

Kneeling, crying and begging for the salvation of my sanity 

You see, today, I realized that I matter

That I am worthy of all the love I have given away.

I pray for all the chapters that were ended without my consent

Including the ones that never should have been written

Freeing myself from all that  keeps me a slave to victim hood.

I flourish without the people who were never meant to be here to begin with

I can cry mountains of rivers, even create an arcitic circle for storage but nothing will change what is

What is- is to be accepted for all that it is

You see, it matters not where I have been

Yes, I need it for refference but I can’t stay there

It’s also not too important where I am right now. In fact being in a state of comfort draws me closer to the risk of sinking

Rendering all these countless battles useless

Taking a trip and never arriving, I mean how tragic that would be

For it matters not how far I have come along the way, getting to the pinnacle has always been the point. 

Today I pray I remember that wherever I am is just an alley, ferrying me to where I need to be. 

There are no arrivals, just journeying. Therefore I remain in countinual prayer for my destiny

Because maybe, just maybe…my frozen tears can at least be an arctic that Beluga whales love coming home to.

Categories: Life

Sovereign God

We are a culmination of our combined life experiences. Its indisputable that hard times build character and once you know something from first hand experience, no one can take that insight away from you. It is something you carry with you into your future. Human beings learn either through; pain, passion or rejection. That is why the bible says that we must count it all joy when we encounter various trials, because the testing of our faith produces patience, then perseverance and ultimately character. This is such that we are complete and lack nothing (James 1).

This understanding has brought me through many storms, knowing that by holding on to God I will come refined in the end.  All our convictions have to go through tests so we have unwavering belief in them. Obviously one never understands why the winds are blowing so hard, but the meditation of my heart during these times was to: Remain still and know that He is God and I am not. I have learnt to ask from God and not determine to him how my deliverance should come. Mastering the art of stillness during trails has truly been the blessing that has been bestowed in my life over the years. Knowing that when hectic things happen, we must cry out to Him so that His glory will be shown. In Matthew Jesus gives this explanation when one of the disciples asks him why one man was born crippled and destitute.

However, my storms turned into cyclones. The past 3 months have been absolutely difficult. At first I was so bewildered by what was happening I pulled a Job on God. I read through the book in January until I got to chapter 33. Who am I to question God? At this point I was asshamed that I disputed His sovereignty and the belief that He makes everything work for my good and all the times of my life are in his hands. Job 33 humbled me and I had to retreat and start looking for God in this dire situation and hear His will. From verse 12 it says:

“But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than any mortal. Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one’s word?

For God does speak – now one way, now another – though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings and keep them from pride”

Indeed my mindset was quickly transformed when a typhoon hit after the first cyclone. This time I had no one to ask for help except God, th situation, could be salvaged but not without divine intervention. I moved from blaming God to pleading for His mercy and grace, to be my help and maintain my sanity. Deep in the back of my mind I could imagine he was sitting back marveled at my audacity. However, at this moment I had no doubt in my heart and mind that He is the only one would salvage the situation and He alone has the power to do so. I also acknowledged that He has the grace to overlook my weaknesses and bless me anyway. Indeed God would come through for me as anticipated, however, the situation, would quickly regress and get worse than the first time. At this stage I was exhausted.

Again, I looked for him through this regression and wondered why the breakthrough came and went back as quickly. Until I realized when the situation was dire my prayers intensified and when things were looking up, I took a break. You see God had already given me the victory with the positive outcomes, albeit, short-lived. However, it was my heart He was after. God’s grace is not a credit card we swipe when we’re in trouble and put back in the wallet when we don’t need it. Our mere existence is an expression of His grace and loving-kindness and He does not need to prove himself further.  At all times we have to enter His gates with thanks giving and praise. He did not need me to ask stuff from Him, he wanted unbroken fellowship with me, that is all. I prayed continuously such that the truth that I always need God’s audience at every waking moment whether in joy or in pain was engraved in my heart.

Having arrived at a moment of rest and sustained breakthrough. These are the lessons that I could comprehend at this stage, and I continue to trust God for more;

  • God is sovereign, His ways are higher than ours;
  • You can never get familiar with God. He is Lord not an accomplice;
  • In time of loss, stop personalizing God’s people, making them yours. Yes, you considered them your brother, mother, sister, but they all came here without your assistance and only God knows what He wanted to achieve with their souls;
  • When you ask Him do not doubt;
  • Never dictate to God how He must solve your problem. Just ask and believe;
  • Learn to say: It is well;
  • You were created for God’s glory, not the world’s;
  • When we are weak, He is strongest;
  • Without faith we cannot please God nor understand His ways.;
  • We could never fully comprehend God’s endless grace
  • You will find new strength. Your trial is not in vain.

In closing; God is after our hearts. He loved us from the beginning and continues to love us, through everything. Our happiness cannot be complete without Him. Today, I ask you to stop asking God why He allowed you to be taken in to the fire, but rather, thank Him that you came out without a single blesmish or any smell of smoke in your hair.

I leave you with this question:

“If God had a name, what would it be? Would you call it his face? What would you ask him if you only had just one question?

Refferences:

2 Corinthians 12 vs 9

James 1 vs 2-6

Psalms 149 vs 4-5

1 Peter 5 v 10

Isaiah 48 vs 17

Psalms 90 vs 2

Acts 2 vs 21

Jeremiah 29 vs13

Isaiah 40 vs 31

Categories: Life

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