Saturday, July 4, 2015

One of my favorite scriptures...

Zeph 3:14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.
15 The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.
17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.
19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.
20 At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.

That's the beauty. He might send the chastisement a and judgments for disobedience as we read in the previous post, but that's not His aim. His aim is to make us SING, not weep. He doesn't want to make us suffer. And He wants to sing over us joyfully. He doesn't WANT to lament, He wants to rejoice! That's what His goal is, what He chose/ predestined us for.
The future is up to us.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Praise for Punishment?

Looking (yet again) at Job’s wife who told him to “curse God and die,” when God allowed terrible things to befall him, I can’t help but compare her to upright Daniel. He was still a young man when taken captive to Babylon and spent his whole adulthood as an interloper, a foreigner in a land of persecution. The Bible describes him as a good man, definitely not an evil man, yet there he was, held prisoner, though flourishing in his prison.

I’m currently re-studying the book of Daniel and I’ve always loved his prayer of repentance in the 9th chapter. What got  me today was his attitude in his prayer. He confesses their (Jews’) wrongs, traces exactly why they were either in Babylon or scattered throughout the world, why they were suffering and God’s judgments. And what struck me was this line, “Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.

He praises God, He calls Him righteous for allowing all these calamaties, all this death to come upon them. He praises Him for the punishment. Why is God righteous? Because He is truth. And He warned them that if they do not turn away from their ways, He would visit them with vengeance. God does not lie. Because He is righteous, He did just that. Instead of blaming God, Daniel admits that not only did they do wrong, they didn’t even repent of that wrong and confess their sins. They didn’t turn away and obey and “understand” God’s “truth.”

Daniel realises that they only had themselves to blame-as a nation. And the innocent suffered too. Does this not remind us of the destruction of Jerusalem? Jehoiakim punished Jeremiah and killed Urijah for prophesying doom upon them. Jesus wept aloud and prophesied doom over Jerusalem. And it came to pass. For the same reason. They did not repent, turn away from their evil and understand the Truth.

That is what will happen yet again at the end of time. The majority will do evil and the plagues will follow. We don’t want to learn. As it was in the time of the early Christian church when the apostles were hated, the innocent minority will also be hated and the Church will think it’s doing good. Just like she did during the Dark Ages. She will not change. She’s just lying dormant. The Bible tells us the whole world will wonder after her and marvel at her. Truth will be sacrificed and hated. As were Jeremiah and Jesus. The majority-when it comes to religious things-is NOT right. I do not want to be like the Israelites who refused to listen to the truth and ended up falling under God’s judgments. I don’t want to meet Him at the final judgment and proclaim that I deserve the punishment. I only want to praise Him for His righteousness.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Words from My Young ‘Cancer’ Sister-Friend

I refer to her as such because cancer is what brought us together. (Not to be confused with my older friend with it at church.) Being young, not supported by family, misunderstood, problems not taken seriously, she was in a terrible space mentally and someone referred her to me to help over the joys of whatsapp. We’ve only met once face to face after deciding to help-the sorrows of living far away from each other! We’re fellow Adventist sisters and like stretching each other. I mentioned in a previous post that she’s very feisty, has a hot temper (that we are working on too) and is super loyal. She accepts correction and freely admits when she’s going wonnky in the head. The type that asks for correction when it’s not needed. I found her in a terribly lonely and scary spot. Her body was letting her down and it was frightening for her. It left her with a fight/flight response and at first she wanted to flee. But now this girl is FIGHTING! Sometimes with disastrously funny results when I have to tell her, “I’m running for cover, tell your man to flee too!!” I love her to bits and she asked if I could share a glimpse of her journey. These are her words…

HEALING: AN OVERWHELMING SALVATION EXPERIENCE!

I can’t keep quiet,I just want to stand on top of the mountain and proclaim that there is a MAN who loves me,there is a MAN who comforts me,there is a MAN whom I run to when down and perplexed,there is a MAN who only wants to see me happy,there is a MAN who has only put me in the furnace fire just to pull out the weeds in me,there is a MAN whom is a pillar of fire through the night,there is a MAN who is a cloud at day,there is a MAN who wipes away all my tears,there is a MAN who takes me and keeps me safe through the storm.. 

I remember praying for sanity,I remember praying and pleading that I don’t fall spiritually,I remember praying for happiness,I remember praying for healing,I remember praying for no permanent scar,I remember praying for a breakthrough,I remember praying for peace and comfort,I remember being diagnosed with endometrial cancer,with angina,with pre-diabetes,I remember..

I cast myself into doing the Lord’s business just to keep sane and remember that HE is present in my life,I drew strength even from nature,I surrounded myself with the wise,I worea mask each and every morning,I swallowed each and every hurtful action or utterance,I tried by all means to hold my head up high,I tried to keep my relationship with God and vowed that I will never curse my God and die. All I ever longed for was a break from the furnace fire...

No one knows the depth of the fire I’ve been undergoing but God and Thandi Nkomo. God brought that woman in order to help me carry the cross,to pray with me,to remind me of God’s goodness,to understand and grasp that God loves me. I struggled understanding and believing that God loves me because each and every time I’d push away His love due to anger. I decided to have a shield that I will put up as protection from all the fiery darts of the devil,I decided to fight and fight and fight till I couldn’t protect myself. God saw that I am alienating Him from my life and therefore saw it wise to send her to be my sister's keeper. That is God’s love!

Just like the woman with hemorrhage disease of 12years I too pushed through the crowd,I crawled to Him,I shut out all criticism,I shut out all discouragement and just pressed on to just TOUCH His helm with faith. Therefore allow me  too to proclaim His good works that He is a Faithful Friend,a Healer,Alpha and Omega,Wonderful Counsellor,Beginning and the End,Comforter,Bestower of blessings,King of Kings,Lord of Lords and GOD. 

Yes I am still work in progress however God has revealed to me why I had to be in the furnace – God’s glory had to be revealed to a soul that was dying. Is it a bad thing to be put in pain so that someone else may gain salvation?? Not at all!  After all we were created to give glory unto Him and I too have gained. What have I gained is the question you may ask? I have gained a GOD who only loves me :-)

I believe that all that is to come my way will only leave me looking stronger,beautiful,wiser and yearning for Gods goodness. Yes it is not visible that I’ve undergone a lot but that is only because God has always drenched me with His glory :-D

I look forward to that day where I shall be given by crown of gold,where I’ll be given my coat of righteousness,where Il join the Host of heaven in the clouds,where I’ll walk on the sea of glass,sing the song of Moses,where I’ll be named as part of the 144000 and where I’ll meet my Heavenly Father who has died for me just to make sure my salvation is guaranteed. 

I believe ensuring my salvation was the only reason why God permitted all that I’ve been through. 

Thankful!

[Snippets from the chronicles of a 20 something year old young woman titled "Thank God I don’t look like my inside - my cancer journey"]”

Monday, June 29, 2015

While they do their Grammar work

let me give you a glimpse of our first portion of homeschool today, in pictures…

Our Bible lesson was a high level study of Romans 9. The last part of the chapter had them confused. They didn’t know Who the rock was. Kind of like the Jews themselves!

           IMG_3850

This is the ‘rinkydink’ cheap local museum I said we’d go to in a previous post about saving money. They’re doing farming right now in their Geography syllabus.

FullSizeRender (3)

 

I could never picture a bushel till now. I just knew it was a container and I shouldn’t put “this little light of mine” under it ;-)

       FullSizeRender (1)

You know you’re old when your children say, “Oh, Dj’s use those!” Their only point of reference! Don’t ask me where they saw these dj’s!

                                      FullSizeRender (2)

Yep, John Deere is here.

            IMG_3838 (1)

Besides learning about the history of our little town and the history of wheat itself, I was glad at how the children brought to mind various parables and allegories from the Bible regarding wheat, chaff etc. Baby girl was sleepy and getting angry-not my fault her need to poop woke her from her nap-so we left a bit earlier than we would have liked, but all in all, it was worth going. Man, the people from long ago worked hard! Our implements are really a blessing.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

If You Died Today

If you died today, what would people remember about you? What characteristics would quickly come to mind. What would they remember you for?

This world is not our home. It’s not. And the question is, “As you prepare for your final destination, what are people seeing of you as we journey on?”

This world is not all sunshine and roses. Death comes stealing our joy at any moment. But while we were alive, did we bring joy to others or were too wrapped in ourselves to be a light in others’ darkness?

What will they remember me for if I die?

As I typed this, the painful words of a rap song that my orphaned nephew wrote before he knew he’d be a double orphan just came to mind. “Remember me when I die.” I love him. I love people. I hate people suffering. I hate what death does. I love life and I want it forever. Join me in working out your “own salvation with fear and trembling.” Join me in a land where no-one will ever die.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

When You Don't Have Much but You Share Anyway

A trend I've seen in my mother and now in me, is that as mothers, we buy fewer clothes for ourselves than for our children. My husband even has more clothing than I do! Much more! And that's ok with me. I laughed inside when someone at church spoke about how now that it's winter, we have packed away our summer clothes and are wearing our winter clothes and that we'll probably buy new summer clothing when the season comes again.

We do? And we will?

I just wear the same clothes all year round adding jerseys, thicker stockings and coats. I only buy new clothing if there's a need and it's affordable. I've been wanting a long black church skirt for almost a year now but haven't asked my friend to make one precisely because the growing children need clothing more than I do. But I have three coats.

 I mean, two.

I HAD three coats. A beautiful brown houndstooth that I was given as a gift, a plain black one my mother bought and a short, not-so-nice beige one. Not-so-nice because there's something wrong with the lining in the sleeves and it sticks out a bit at the cuffs. The houndstooth one was very stylish. Lovely length and people love it.

So where's my third coat?

Recently, our women's ministries department had a clothing and blanket drive for the homeless now that winter was starting. They made their appeals while I was still cocooning with Baby Girl so I didn't know it till the week before the clothes would be handed out. I asked if it was too late to add our clothes and was told they definitely needed more.

Just one problem. I thought I had unwanted clothing, but I didn't, except for one skirt that was too large at the waist. Everything else was in use and there isn't much of it as it is. Uh oh, now what? I'd already pledged clothing. And so my eyes alighted on my coats while I went through my store. Couldn't give away the black one because my mom had bought my husband a matching one and I'd worn it to funerals of very dear people. Sentimental value, macabre as it was. Couldn't give away the beige one. Why would I give away something that had something wrong with it, though no outsider had ever noticed it (Unless they were too polite to say anything;-) ) Houndstooth it was. My favorite coat.

I admit, I had a pang of sorrow as I bundled up my favorite coat. It was warm, beautiful, the best of the three. But someone else needed it. I left church straight after the sermon the day they were to distribute the clothes. I had to take our Sunrise girl to meet her grandparents for the first time. That evening the women's leader told me how they hadn't finished handing out all the clothes during lunch so she and my friend (With terrible back pain. The first friend of mine with pain from what we assume are the bone marrow biopsies) sacrificially went out in the evening to look for more homeless people to give my coat to, as well as a lovely blanket someone had donated. Blanket went first and at the beach front, they saw a lady my size. They stopped her. Spoke to her.  Offered her my coat.

And she cried.

Overwhelmed and grateful, she wept.

Those tears break my heart. They shatter it into a million pieces. I know what it's like to cry from unexpected favour. My daughter was asking if I'll have a baby shower for our future son. I told her that was a "once in a lifetime" gift for us. And I'm sure for that lady, the same tears were from that same feeling of gratitude, awe and amazement. "For me? No-one has ever done this for me!" She was so so thankful. And any small pang of sorrow I may have had after that has flown out the window. Those tears show she deserves only the best.
The cliche is so true. The best things in life are free. If I buy it, "I did it. It's an almost self-congratulatory feeling. Gifts not paid for are wonderful surprises wrapped in love. And what's a coat in light of the many privileges I have anyway?

It reminds me of the clothing drive we did in Tanzania. I had no clothing I didn't need. I hadn't even had space to take all my clothing in the first place! But seeing an orphan wearing one of my favorite dresses, a dress I wore casually yet to her was so smart that it was worn at church, a church it was her first time attending, made all our giving worth it.

I can just imagine the joy Christ will feel when He sees us in the mansions He will give us, wearing the robes and crowns He will give us. Salvation is free. An unexpected gift. Undeserved. More costly and more precious than any beloved item of clothing. What's a favourite coat in light of salvation?

Those tears she shed are tears I shed at the baby shower. "Strangers loving ME? I don't deserve this!" And while we were estranged from Him, He was preparing all of heaven for us. I cry when I'm happy. I think when I see my Lord face to face, those will be the final tears I cry. And He won't need to wipe them from my face.

In awe at the gift of salvation. In awe at the gift of giving. It really is more blessed to give than to receive. God is right again.

Friday, June 26, 2015

One Less

There’s one less baby who will ever say they don’t have a mother. Today someone is taking her son home. With children ending up in foster care for years, who knows where this precious boy could have landed up? A different family? No family?

On Tuesday, the last couple in our group to become FIRST TIME PARENTS (woohoo!) will be receiving their gift. Twins. One less -times two.

One less set of siblings who could grow up without a family.

The joy and sadness that brings me cannot be described. Joy because of the joy of there being one less. Sadness that this has to happen at all.

And still, I wait for my other friends who have been waiting to give a child a family. Knowing that when our turn comes, we won’t have long to wait. I found a RACAP (Register of Adoptable Parents and Adoptive Parents) ‘rule’ list and it said that for black babies, in the first 30 days they should look for black parents, then if none founds, only after the 30 days can trans-racial families be looked for. Considering most abandoned and orphaned babies are black, it makes it obvious why our social workers told us we could even ‘pick and choose’ if we wanted to. But still our friends wait. And wait. My only joy is in knowing that when the right child comes along who needs them, the right parents will be primed and ready.

But still, there aren’t enough of us. And oh, when I think of how much I love all my children, I just wish there was a revolution and every able person adopted. There’d be more than “one less” child per day if we all woke up and became fathers to the fatherless, a safe place to land. A rock for children in this treacherous world. More love. Less insecurity. More stability.

My husband was right when he told his fellow elder at church, “If Thandi could, she’d buy a kombi and fill it with adopted children.” I would. I love children. I love babies. I love to nurture. I hate the chaos, the inability to clean everywhere, but I love the cause of the chaos. I wish every good and able adult would have that same love.