Monthly Archives: December 2017

Christmas? Xmas? Nothing?

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Christmas time is not the only time of the year, where Christians violently attack each other, and non-believers, in word wars on social media. It happens with Valentine’s Day. It happens with Passover / Easter. It happens with Halloween. It happens at Christmas. EVERY.DAMN.YEAR.

It happens in other situations as well. Christians differ widely on issues such as the consumption of alcohol, smoking, obesity and others.

We need to get back to basics. And what is basics? The written Word of God, the Bible.

Let’s look at Romans 14 in this regard.

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

What are the ‘basics’ in this chapter?

  1. Acceptance, without quarrelling over disputable matters;
  2. Respect for each other, as God has accepted us all;
  3. We will differ on our choice of sacred days, and that is okay – we don’t have to agree with each other, we still have to respect each other;
  4. Stop judging people who do not share your sentiments;
  5. Don’t place stumbling blocks in the path of another – if a person chooses to abstain from something, respect that choice even though you don’t agree with it; and
  6. Whatever you believe about these things, is an issue between you and God, not between you and the entire world that has to be fought out on social media.

So what am I saying? Stop it. Just stop it. You are doing nothing to bring unity in the Kingdom of God. Instead, you are causing strife in the body of Christ. What another Christian believes, is none of your business. It is between him/her and God. Keep your nose out of it. And keep quiet on social media. Your lashing out at innocent people is very damaging to the image of Christianity. Get back to the basics.

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Standing in the gap

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Have you ever read the scripture about ‘standing in the gap’?

Eze 22:30 I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.

I learned about the principle years ago, and it is widely known in Christian circles. Standing in the gap means to pray for a person that cannot or doesn’t want to pray, for whatever reason. That verse, got new meaning. I have a story to tell. It isn’t a pretty story, but it has a marvellous ending.

My husband and I have been through a year of hell. Being an aspie, I cannot cope with unpredictability and uncertainty. And since last year October, that is all we had. Unpredictability. Uncertainty. Not knowing what is going to happen next. To tell you that it frustrated me, is a major understatement. It nearly destroyed me. Since August, I became very depressed. I just couldn’t see our way out of our circumstances. Gradually, it just became worse and worse. And my thoughts became dark. I wasn’t suicidal, as I will never do that to my husband, my mother and my children. We had a suicide in our family and I have seen what it does to those who stayed behind. But I really didn’t want to live anymore. I couldn’t handle life anymore. I wanted to die. Just die.

The night before last night, I could not sleep. Despite taking a sleeping tablet. I was arguing with God throughout the night. And I got more and more desperate. After a couple of hours, God told me we have reached the turning point, and things will start changing.

Only today, I got this testimony from a friend. That same night, God woke her up and commanded her to pray for me. I am going to translate her messages to me without changing anything.

“I woke up with a horrible anxiety and all I could see in the dark was your face, in a cloud. I jumped out of bed, went to the bathroom and asked God what I should do. I got back in bed asking God to direct me. God told me to pray for you; if I don’t, you won’t make it. I started praying softly but I couldn’t find rest. I jumped out of bed, and went to the room where you always sleep when you visit us. There I knelt beside the bed and starting pleading with God that He would keep you from committing suicide – that was the first thing I thought of! I pleaded with God to let you experience peace and love. Eventually I was crying to much that all I could say was ‘please God’. It went on for three hours. And then the Lord spoke to me again. He clearly said that if I didn’t stand in the gap for you, HE would remove you from your circumstances.”

God knew my heart. He knew I had no will to live left. But He also knew I still have work to do. So He got someone to stand in the gap and pray for me, when I was praying the wrong prayer. In His grace and mercy, He ignored my prayers and instead raised up a Godly warrior that prayed for me.

I am humbled. I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness and mercy. That verse will be special to me forever. And the warrior He raised up for me, will for always have a massive space in my heart. If there was disobedience, I might not have been here, to write this blog.

God is good all the time. And all the time, God is good.

We are not out of the woods yet, but things have started to change.

To help or not to help

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Whether to help, and whom to help, is a big and difficult question in South Africa. I know that with this blog post, I will be very unpopular with some people, and really, it doesn’t bother me. If you are a racist, I suggest you stop reading now.

I have been perplexed by this verse for a long time:

Gal 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Why would we become weary in doing good? It feels so good, to do good!

And then life happened.

We helped a white, poor family to get back on their feet again. And we got stabbed in the back right there after. Life happens hey. So now, I don’t want to help people like that again. I just don’t.

This morning, I visited a school in the poorest of the poor areas – Pholapark in Thokoza. What I saw in the area surrounding the school, was heart breaking. Little snotty nosed kids playing in a street, where live electrical wires are running across the road, between heaps of rubbish. Poverty like you will only see in a squatter camp. Poverty without any dignity. I cannot put it in words. I will let the photos speak a thousand words on my behalf.

 

In these ‘houses’, there are people living, that were created in the image of God.

In these ‘street’s are children playing in the most disgusting conditions. Dirt. Danger. Everywhere.

This morning I decided to help this school. I cannot make the entire world a better place, but if I can improve the lives of a few school children, then at least, I am still doing good.

Now I know, the question is going to come: “why are you not helping our own people?”

These people, that live here, ARE my people. We were born in the same country. We were created by the same God. And one day, we will stand before His throne together. Skin colour and culture, doesn’t make a difference to me. South Africans, ARE MY PEOPLE. But I will give you a reason for helping these people, instead of investing in a white squatter camp for instance. The answer is white privilege. You can deny it as much as you want, if you are white, you benefited from it. We all did. I grew up in a poor family – we didn’t have money for all sorts of luxuries. I grew up in a stack flat; my parents never owned property. I couldn’t go to college or university after school; there was no money for that. BUT – I worked myself up and paid for my own qualifications.

Every white person, had the same opportunity I had. Some had more. Some had rich parents. Those in the squatter camps, were on the same level I were. I know what it feels to go hungry because there wasn’t enough for me and the children. I know how it feels to eat oats three times a day, because it’s all we had. So don’t think I don’t know what poverty feels like. I do. But I worked myself out of there. Due to white privilege, any of those in the white squatter camps could have done it too, and they still can. My experience is though, that cigarettes and alcohol are more important than food for their children. When offered a job, many of them don’t want it.

No, I am not generalising. I KNOW everybody isn’t like that. I KNOW that. But with what I have experienced, this is what I have decided. I will adopt that school and try to help in some way. At least little children, won’t stab us in the back again.

One good deed a day, will make South Africa a better country for all of us. Stop pointing fingers. Stop being racist. Poverty doesn’t discriminate. Find something good to do, whatever blows up your skirt – do it.