Your function

I met a group of tourists from the Czech Republic and the tour leader told me that on TV in his country South Africa is portrayed as being a very dangerous country. He asked me if it was safe where we are. I told him that even though we have had a few burglaries and an armed robbery, I do not feel unsafe. I will not allow criminals to keep me hostage by getting extreme security measures and by being afraid. I also told him that I’m a Christian and if I die I will go to heaven, and that really isn’t anything to be afraid of.

Should we be allowing criminals to dictate how we live our lives? In most of our country it is plainly clear that our first priority is security. Even the smallest town has a security company which offers burglar alarms which are coupled to armed response. Insurance companies won’t cover properties which aren’t secured with fencing and alarms and burglar bars.

What is the problem? Why have we become such an unsafe place where criminals dictate our lifestyle? Aren’t the police effective enough? Isn’t the justice system doing its job properly? Or is it the politicians that are to blame? None of these. The problem is the church. And before you shoot  me, take a minute to listen. What is apparent is that there is too much crime, but our problem is a spiritual problem.  There are people who have spiritual authority who are praying over our country, breaking curses and releasing blessings. But that is not enough. Each believer should be praying for his or her area daily. We should be getting up in the morning and be speaking blessings over that place we live. We should be speaking only positive words about our neighbourhood, our neighbours and our families. We should be speaking blessings over the businesses in the place we stay.

We should not be compromising when it comes to what we believe in. If we believe something is wrong we should be willing to stand up and defend that thing. If we believe that wearing conservative clothing is what we should be doing then we should do it, no matter what the people around us are saying about it.  Jesus never tried to fit in. He did what God told Him to do and did not compromise. When He and His disciples were plucking and eating heads of grain on the Sabbath, the Pharisees kicked up such a fuss. He didn’t let is worry Him. Matthew 12 :1-8. When He healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath it was the same story. Mark 3:1-6. But Jesus kept doing what He believed was right.

I believe that if we start with the small things and do what we believe God expects from us, we will have more confidence in doing the bigger things when they come along. If we haven’t ever prayed for our own children how can we expect to be praying for nations?

Zechariah 4:10, For who has despised the day of small things?

We should not ever look at the things which we are doing for the Kingdom and compare them to the things other people are doing, whether they are more or less. God has called each one of us by name and He has a purpose for every one of us.

Isaiah 43:1, Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.

I believe that when we find the purpose God has for us we will know it and we will be satisfied knowing that we are serving Him the way we should be. If we find that we are looking at what others are doing and thinking that they are doing more important and bigger things and we wish we were doing those things, it means we haven’t discovered our function yet. We need to pray and ask God what our function is and ask Him to reveal it to us and to prepare us for it lead us towards it so that we can do it in His perfect timing.

So what does this have to do with crime in South Africa? I believe that there are people who have the anointing and the calling to be praying for cities and countries. Intercessors who can stand in the gap.

Ezekiel 22:30, So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

We need to ask the Lord to show us what our function is, and we should be willing to start small with whatever it is we have to do. If we don’t start, we’ll never get to the place God has set aside for us.

Woman’s Day

Today, August 9, is Woman’s Day in South Africa. Here’s something for all the women out there.

As women we are know by many different names. Ma, Mom, Mommy, Ouma, Granny, Sussie, Stay-at-home-mom, Career Woman, Spinster, Widow, Somebody’s wife, Somebody’s mother or Somebody’s daughter. There’s names aren’t always positive or upbuilding and we so easily allow these labels to stick. In the Bible there was a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Her accusers were holding stones ready to stone her to death when Jesus came to her rescue. Even though she was set free she is only remembered as the woman caught in adultery. Her label stuck for more than 2000 years.

 

How often we allow something we did to label us for the rest of our lives. Something we’re ashamed of can hold us back from reaching our potential. Why? Because we believe the lie that it defines and limits us and we allow it to. Have you ever done something your’e not proud of? Have I? Of course the answer is yes! We have all done the wrong thing and not only once either. We have also allowed that single act to give us a label. Some labels are private and some are displayed for all to see. Sometimes we are the ones who label ourselves and them we allow that label to determine the outcome of every choice we make. Other times people label us as accept that label and start living by it.

Labels like, “you had an abortion; you’ll never amount to anything; you’re stupid; you’re just like your mother; you’re too fat; you’re ugly; stop dreaming, get a job and settle down.” Then there’s the label that most of us have worn at one or other stage, “you’re not good enough.”

Why do we accept these labels? Because we believe the lies of the devil. 1 Peter 5:8 – “Be alert and of a sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The enemy comes to attack your mind. And your mind is what is holing you back from reaching your potential. It’s not people and its not your circumstances. It’s your mind and what you allow into it that is holding you in the position you are now.

What is the solution: Very simply

  1. Don’t entertain any negative thoughts. Be aware of and analyze every thought. Do no invite negative thoughts in for coffee and biscuits and for goodness sake don’t let them stay overnight.
  2. Find positive things to think about. Find things that make you happy and think about those things. Make it a habit.
  3. Find your purpose and set goals. Your purpose might change as you go through different stages of your life but make sure that you have goals even if they start short term. Make a list which is easily attainable.

I have decided that I will not be labeled and I will not allow my circumstances to define me. The only label I will accept is that I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and only God will define me. Then I can face all the challenges that come my way and I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

Kim Walker Smith – You Define Me

Black Monday

The call went out for South Africans to wear black on Monday 30 October 2017 in protest against farm murders, and to stand in unity with the farmers who are the backbone of any country’s economy.  The mere fact that violence against farmers now has a name ‘farm murders’ shows how widespread and intense it is. I am wearing black today. I am wearing black for the farmers and for the victims of all violent crime. For the women and girls who are abused and raped and don’t have a voice. For the innocent children who are killed in gang violence. For everyone who in this diverse, beautiful county of ours who is a victim of senseless crime and violence.  My heart breaks for every wife who is now a widow and every child who has lost their father or even both parents due to violence. That is why I am wearing black.

Zuma must go – or must he?

“Zuma must go! Zuma must fall!”

That’s what we’ve been hearing for the last month or so. There have been marches, peaceful protests, petitions on social media and old ladies with petitions in supermarkets. It has been the topic of discussion at every opportunity. It has even surpassed the weather in farming communities. Of course no-one is giving a working alternative. Who will be the successor? Will the person who follows be better? … or not? I saw a Facebook post this morning that mentioned a possible successor to our president and my blood froze. Seriously? Maybe we should just be happy with the devil we know.

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There are prayer meetings being arranged to pray for peace in the country. Excellent! Praying has never been bad. But what are the motives? I’ve heard people say (or ask) that God will (or please should) change things because we have suffered enough. Really? There are farm murders and there is crime and violence. It isn’t safe to walk alone in certain places. There are parts of cities where you surely will get mugged or robbed.

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We can go to church without being persecuted. We can speak our minds without being thrown into prison. We aren’t being persecuted like people in some countries who are not allowed to say a word which is contrary to the beliefs of the state. There are many places we can enjoy which are very safe. We have a free market system. Yes, there are fears, and I believe most of them are very real fears that the situation could become worse.

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I’m just wondering if people are (going to be) praying because they are afraid of being out of their comfort zones or if the prayer is going to be about really seeking God’s face and His will for our country? I remember the little verse about the teabag that only produces a beverage when it is soaked in hot  water. What if we can’t grow spiritually without a bit of suffering? What if we need to be pushed a bit to discover some hidden talents and some compassion and mercy? Maybe, just maybe, we have to get outside of our comfort zones so that we can reach our full potential. So that we can become what we were meant to be. So that the tea bags of our souls can do what they were made to do.

 

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Photos courtesy of TS Photography

 

Paradise

I have been busy in my garden and it has expanded to almost double it’s original size.  I have sowed beetroot and carrot seeds which have come up beautifully.  My mealies are about half a metre high and I’ve transplanted four different varieties of tomatoes so far.  I also have patty pan squash and spanspek (sweet melon) that are growing.  I found some discarded shelving that I have put up as trellises.  I want to see if they will grow vertically instead of horizontally so that they take up less space.  I even have some footlong beans and Chinese cabbage seeds that have germinated.  An Asian friend asked me to plant them so that we can share the harvest. Last week I discovered and unidentified growing object which had disappeared the next day. I googled it and found that it is a fungus called Mutinis elegans also known as elegant stinkhorn, the headless stinkhorn or the devil’s dipstick!  An orange spongy finger-sized object who’s visit was fortunately short lived.

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Spanspek

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Patty pan quash that need weeding!

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Chinese Cabbage making an appearance

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Beetroot

 

 

 

I wrote in one of my previous blogs that I planted some apple pips.  I now have two apple “treelings”. They are too small to be called trees but they are growing quickly.  Apparently it takes five to eight years for and apple tree to bear but I’m very patient.  I can visualize sitting in the shade of the apple trees having a cup of tea with a friend.  I put stakes in next to the cherry tomatoes but they aren’t exactly strong enough so the branches flop all over the place and I keep cutting strips of plastic from shopping bags to tie them up.  They have started bearing and it’s a competition between me and the birds to see who can eat the most tomatoes!

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The bigger one of the two apple trees.

 

I got a kitten from my friend during the week. She is adorable and I am calling her Princess Camille. She’s such a diva, pretending to be very offended if you pick her up, but settling down so quickly once she is in your arms. The first day she really missed her mother but now she has settled down and claimed our house as her own.

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Princess Camille. The photo isn’t exactly in focus, but she wouldn’t stop moving around!

 

While I was picking her up and having a cup of coffee with my friend the conversation turned to the state of affairs in our country.  Nobody can deny that the situation in South Africa is not ideal.  I am full of hope for a better future, possibly because it’s in my nature to have a glass that is half full.  At times overflowing; I suspect those are the “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” times.  Be that as it may, she said that each one of us must create their own paradise because we can’t expect things to come to us.  As I was thinking about it I thought of the verse in Isaiah that speaks about a tabernacle which will be a refuge.  Then I came upon this verse:

Isaiah 32: 2

A man will be as a hiding place from the wind,

And a cover from the tempest,

As rivers of water in a dry place,

As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

 

That is what we should be. To our spouses and children we should be a safe place.  They must feel safe with us, loved and nurtured.  To our friends we should be like the rivers of water in a dry place.  A place where their souls can be nourished.  To the stranger we should ne like the shadow of a rock in a weary land.  Just being in our presence should give people peace.  That is what Jesus was to people when He was on earth, and He said that we would be like Him. (1 John 3:2)  We could surely be doing many things worse than trying to emulate Jesus.  I am NOT suggesting we try to do it in the flesh or in our own strength.

Live your life, dream your dreams, be yourself.  The more we are going to be ourselves, the true, authentic version that God intended us to be, the more peace we will have and the less harsh we will be on ourselves.  I read somewhere that if you are operating in your function things will be minimum effort and maximum productivity. I don’t know where this paragraph came from, but I am leaving it here.  Have a fabulous week!