Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thought for the day

We tend to say many things during the course of the day but are we actually being listened to or are we listening to what is being said to us? Hearing or listening – the great debate? We can hear things or someone speaking but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are listening.

Listening is more intentional and requires focus. It’s an art that needs to be learnt. Asking questions helps us in the process of listening. It actually helps us process things and assists where we may have missed something or not really understood what the individual is saying. Listening involves understanding and many times it comes by asking.
I’ve heard that “assumption is the lowest level of knowledge.” We assume we know someone or what they are saying. We may even assume we understand them. How wrong we can be sometimes.

Listening is an art. One of the best things we can do for people sometimes is just to LISTEN. Get the “message within the message” by asking questions.

Let’s learn to listen!

Friday, July 29, 2011

How to maintain your joy pt 1

Romans 14:17 – 18 “For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.”

The attitude with which we serve God is crucial.

Deuteronomy 28:47 – 48 “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies….”

The emphasis is on “Gladness of heart” God looks at the heart and not on the outward appearance. There is something about gladness.

Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”

Numbers 11:1 “Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.”

Let your life have a foundation. Storms will come but if you have a solid foundation, you’ll weather these storms. Jesus sees and knows our thoughts. He hears the complaints of the people…….he heard the complaints of the people against Moses and his anger was aroused. We can’t pretend before God. Let’s have the right attitude. Are we serving God in joy? All our works are going to be tested. When God sends someone into our life, it’s to speak to us and be a blessing. God doesn’t change.
Let’s finish our race with joy and not grumbling.

Joy is the fruit of the spirit. 11 Corinthians 9:7 “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart,…..”
If we are willing and obedient, we’ll eat the good of the land. Get into the word of God. Let’s live our lives by principle. Don’t judge people. Whatever you do, purpose to do it in your hearts. Do what God has laid on your heart.

Nehemiah 8:10 “… not sorrow because the joy of the Lord is your strength.” You can’t afford to have your joy stolen from you. We need the joy of the Lord 24/7. He is our strength.
John 4:14 “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life”. Jesus is speaking about the salvation experience. How many of us still hunger and thirst after God. Do we experience dry periods? The key is the well of water inside us. Let’s draw from the well of salvation. It’s a continuous experience and the key is the key of joy!
You have a right to be happy. Why focus on the wrongs all the time. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Hannah’s (the mother of Samuel) countenance changed when Eli said to her that the God of Israel heard her petition. God is no respecter of persons. He can be real in our lives. He can change our countenance.

Let’s encourage others. The communication of your faith becomes more effective as you acknowledge the good things. Your testimony gets bigger as you confess. The downfall of a man is not the end of his life. In the midst of all the problems, encourage yourself in the Lord as David did.

How do you get your joy? Read on……

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Whistlestop tour on U.K visit

I love visiting the U.K. It gives me a chance to see my family and friends. Although I was here in March 2011, the purpose of my visit was different to this trip and so were my adventures. This time round, I travelled with Steve.

Our first stop is by my sister and her family. It's a good place to start for the homely feel and to catch up on family issues. Well, there were interesting family dynamics and discussions that were taking place. We then stopped over at our friends in Southampton and had a lovely time. We caught up with some Zimbabweans that attend the church at Hedge End and had great fellowship. Weymouth was our next destination. I love visiting Weymouth because of the great friends we have and seeing Mick and Theresa Richardson. As usual, it was awsome and the service at Weymouth Family Church was brilliant. I enjoyed spending Sunday afternoon at Little Bredy and of course the time spent with Steve and Catherine Hunter. Seems like friends in the U.K love walking and I find that pretty difficult without trainers. (Need to pack them on my next U.K visit)

Brighton was memorable......great friends, great sessions, great interviews, great accommodation and great conversations. The seminars I attended on "Home Truths" was just what I need to hear - the importance of home and how leaving home affects women. The personal testimonies were heartfelt and so identifiable. Amazingly, it's God who brings us through the most difficult circumstances.
I thought the session by P.J Smyth and Dave Holden was insightful and Terry Virgo was the father that only he can be. Joel Virgo was brilliant. I enjoy his humour in and amongst the seriousness of God's word. Needless to say, Scott Marques did us proud with his vision sharing and heart.

I so enjoyed interviewing Edward and Fredah Buria from Kenya. They have done incredibly well and God continues to use them mightily in extending his kingdom. I also enjoyed spending time with Katie Virgo. She is lovely. The area is accountability was highlighted yet again.

After Brighton, Steve and I went to Poole - what a beautiful place! We were last there 2 years ago. Highlights were seeing our friends Mark and Lesley Absolom, going to Winspit, attending Gateway Church and spending time with the Hosiers. Wonderful seeing John and Sue, David and Emma, Matt and Grace and their children. I thought the little "show" or performance by the children was sweet and ........amusing - singers & actresses in the making.

Back in Northampton now and spending a few days with my family before we eventually head home on Sunday. The days are relaxing and Steve and I are gearing ourselves for the next phase of our lives......

By Molly Manhanga

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Relaxing Sunday Afternoon at Little Bredy

Stephen and I have been having an excellent time with family and friends in the U.K. It's wonderful being part of the family of God and sharing the same values.......

Steve did extremely well this morning as he shared from Daniel 3. In typical Chronological Bible Storying style, he held the attention of the folk at Weymouth Family Church as he shared on Shadreck, Misheck and Abednigo. His humour was great and the discussion after the story was wonderful. The atmosphere was relaxed as CBS has a non threatening style and approach.

After lunch Mick and Theresa Richardson took us to Bridehead at Little Bredy. The drive was so soothing (Steve, Theresa and I had a little nap in the car) and the environs was peaceful.

We look forward to our time in Brighton where we meet up with more friends and make new ones........

By Molly Manhanga

Poverty - The effects on children

Children are most at the mercy of the cycle of poverty. Because a child is dependent on his or her guardian(s), if a child's guardian is in poverty, then they will be also. It is almost impossible for a child to pull him or herself out of the cycle due to age, lack of experience, lack of a job, etc. Because children are at such a young and impressionable age, the scars they gain from experiencing poverty early in life inevitably carry on into their adult life. "Childhood lays the foundations for adult abilities, interests, and motivation." Therefore, if they learn certain poverty-related behaviors in childhood, the behaviors are more likely to perpetuate.

Studies have shown that household structure sometimes has a connection to childhood poverty. Most studies on the subject also show that the children that are in poverty tend to come from single-parent households (most often matriarchal). In 1997, nearly 8.5 million (57%) poor children in the US came from single-parent households. With the rate of divorce increasing and the number of children born out of wedlock increasing, the number of children that are born into or fall into single-parent households is also increasing. Even though this does not mean that the child/children will be impoverished because of it.

According to Ashworth, Hill, & Walker (2004), both urban and rural poor children are more likely to be isolated from the non-poor in schools, neighbourhoods, and their communities. Human nature is to have relationships with others but when a child is isolated due to their socioeconomic status, it's hard to overcome that when the status doesn't improve. Therefore, poor children also have more tense relationships which sometimes results in abnormal behavior, acting out, or other unexplained behaviors.

Compiled by Molly Manhanga

The culture of poverty

The culture of poverty concept is a social theory explaining the cycle of poverty. Based on the concept that the poor have a unique value system, the culture of poverty theory suggests the poor remain in poverty because of their adaptations to the burdens of poverty.

The term "subculture of poverty" (later shortened to "culture of poverty") made its first prominent appearance in the ethnography Five Families: Mexican Case Studies in the Culture of Poverty (1959) by anthropologist Oscar Lewis. Lewis struggled to render "the poor" as legitimate subjects whose lives were transformed by poverty. He argued that although the burdens of poverty were systemic and therefore imposed upon these members of society, they led to the formation of an autonomous subculture as children were socialized into behaviours and attitudes that perpetuated their inability to escape the underclass.

Lewis gave some seventy characteristics (1996 [1966], 1998) that indicated the presence of the culture of poverty, which he argued was not shared among all of the lower classes.
The people in the culture of poverty have a strong feeling of marginality, of helplessness, of dependency, of not belonging. They are like aliens in their own country, convinced that the existing institutions do not serve their interests and needs. Along with this feeling of powerlessness is a widespread feeling of inferiority, of personal unworthiness............People with a culture of poverty have very little sense of history. They are a marginal people who know only their own troubles, their own local conditions, their own neighbourhood, their own way of life. Usually, they have neither the knowledge, the vision nor the ideology to see the similarities between their problems and those of others like themselves elsewhere in the world. In other words, they are not class conscious, although they are very sensitive indeed to status distinctions. When the poor become class conscious or members of trade union organizations, or when they adopt an internationalist outlook on the world they are, in my view, no longer part of the culture of poverty although they may still be desperately poor. (Lewis 1998)
Since the 1960s critics of culture of poverty explanations for the persistence of the underclasses have attempted to show that real world data do not fit Lewis' model (Goode and Eames, 1996).

Despite decades of this criticism by prominent sociologists, anthropologists and other academics who argue that descriptions of the poor as being culturally unique have little explanatory power, the culture of poverty concept persists in popular culture.

Quite interesting! Follow on how poverty affects the children......

Compiled by Molly Manhanga

Cycle of poverty

I've been reading up on poverty and found it very interesting............

The cycle of poverty is the "set of factors or events by which poverty, once started, is likely to continue unless there is outside intervention."
The cycle of poverty has been defined as a phenomenon where poor families become trapped in poverty for at least three generations. Families have either limited or no resources. There are many disadvantages that collectively work in a circular process making it virtually impossible for individuals to break the cycle.

1. This occurs when poor people do not have the resources necessary to get out of poverty, such as financial capital, education, or connections.
2. In other words, poverty-stricken individuals experience disadvantages as a result of their poverty, which in turn increases their poverty.
3. This would mean that the poor remain poor throughout their lives. This cycle has also been referred to as a "pattern" of behaviors and situations which cannot easily be changed.

The poverty cycle is usually called "development trap" when it is applied to countries.
There is situational poverty, which can generally be traced to a specific incident within the lifetimes of the person or family members in poverty, and generational poverty, which is a cycle that passes from generation to generation, and goes on to argue that generational poverty has its own distinct culture and belief patterns.

Read more on the culture of poverty.

Compiled by Molly Manhanga

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Never Again....

Over 25 years ago I read this bold confession and it has helped me in my walk with God and how to have right thinking about myself in Christ Jesus..... His word is true, Alive and life-changing..........

"Never again will I confess fear
Because God has not given me a spirit of fear,
but of love, power and of a sound mind.

Never again will I confess I can't
Because I can do ALL things through Christ
who strengthens me.

Never again will I confess defeat
because God causes me always to
truimph in Christ Jesus.

Never again will I confess lack
because My God shall supply ALL my needs
according to his riches in Glory through Christ Jesus.

Never again will I confess discontentment
Because I have learnt in every situation
therewith to be content.

Never again will I confess doubt and lack of faith
because God has given to every man the measure of faith

I cannot be defeated, I cannot fail because my Faith is in Christ Jesus.

I am All that God says I am
I can do All that God says I can do
I have All that God says I have.
I bear fruit that remains........."

Monday, July 4, 2011

"Remember the poor." Do we actually do that?

I’ve been thinking about lots of things but in particular, Simon Pettit’s words “If we are to see the multitudes swept into the Kingdom, we need to remember the poor.” Do we actually remember the poor? What connotations are there when one hears the word poor - Lack of food, no money, poor health and hygiene, poor sanitation, lack of infrastructure etc? Is there a single cause of poverty? Not quite! Poverty is too complex to be the result of just one problem. The serious challenge is that ‘poor’ individuals find it difficult, even impossible to end their own poverty. It’s quite a vicious cycle.

How can one describe poverty? According to the United Nations, “......poverty is the denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means not having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or clinic to go to; not having the land on which to grow one’s food or a job to earn one’s living, not having access to credit. It means insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and communities. It means susceptibility to violence, and it often implies living in marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean water or sanitation.”

Education: Children are often kept at home to support their family with additional income.
Health: Poor health decrease the amount of work impoverished individuals can do, lowering their income and driving them deeper into poverty.

Living in Kezi amongst the people of Mablauwuni village, it’s very easy to see how poor people are. There is much need amongst the people but the obvious ones are “lack of voice & insufficient capacity.” People generally don’t listen or don’t have the time to listen to people they consider poor and will categorise poor people as “them and us”. It’s easy to adopt an attitude of ‘we are better than them.’ People that are poor are not given the chance to make choices about their lives. Those that are in a better place financially tend to feel that it’s their responsibility to decide the future of those that are poor. People are people, made in the image of God and with intrinsic worth whether one is ‘rich’ or ‘poor’, educated or uneducated. Meeting a need with the poor (physical) results in opening a door to speak of the eternal (spiritual) and we are so blessed to be able to teach Foundations for Farming amongst the poor in Kezi which speaks of principles that apply to all areas of life.

From my experience, listening to people, caring about them, accepting them as they are, supporting them and giving them opportunities to better ones life, teaching, training and equipping people shows the church in action – meeting the physical and spiritual needs amongst the poor. When you meet a physical need, it’s easy for people to be open to the spiritual. Multitudes will enter the Kingdom but it will take hard work and commitment from everyone.

By Molly Manhanga