Monday, November 28, 2011

Life Condensed: what will be said of you?

2 Kings 22:1 – 20
2 Kings 22:2
“(Josiah) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.”

Condensed milk, condensed books. We like things that have been condensed, consolidated, compressed, abbreviated, abridged and so on. Make it short; make it quick so that it saves time. Whatever gets to the bottom line!

The condensed version of King Josiah’s life is found in a single sentence. 31 words in one verse sum up the essence of his entire life: “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” Amazing! Concise! Josiah’ walked the path of righteousness without swerving.

Josiah became King at age 8 and reigned until his death at age 39. His father and grandfather both reigned over Judah before him. Both “did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 21:20). Despite his evil legacy, Josiah turned his heart toward God. And although Judah, the nation he ruled, had turned to worship false gods, Josiah did not waver in his allegiance to the one true God. No other King before or after him stayed on course like Josiah.

If your life were condensed into a short synopsis – one brief sentence – what would be said of you? How our lives are summarized depends on the choices we make each day. We have the tendency to become distracted by the cares of every day life and its responsibilities. It’s easy to get sidetracked from our primary purpose: pleasing God. It is easier to give lip service to spiritual things than to stay on course, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25)

May it be said of you and me that we did right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the way of truth, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

Gleaned from Ruth

The book of Ruth is an ancient story that follows the journey of one Jewish family’s struggle for survival. Escaping famine, Elimelech travelled to Moab with his wife, Naomi, and two sons. But 10 years later, we find Naomi in mourning at the loss of both her husband and two sons. She is left alone in a foreign land with two Moabite daughters-in-law and no hope of future happiness…..or so it seems. Naomi is a woman who forgot her dream, but God had not forgotten her. Through an unlikely chain of events, God restored her joy through her foreigner daughter-in-law and a kind, wealthy relative.

Ruth 1:16 “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
What do we learn from Ruth?1. Ruth was faithful towards God.
2. Ruth, Naomi and Boaz remain strong in character and true to God even when the society around them was collapsing.
3. She was loyal to people: to be loyal and loving in relationships, we must imitate God’s faithfulness in our relationships with others.
4. The values portrayed by Ruth were in contrast to those of the culture portrayed in Judges. Our lives should stand out from the world around us.
5. Trust God’s protection. Our hope is in Him and he can work in the life of any person.
6. Love is the greatest blessing. Blessings come in the high quality relationships God makes possible for us. Love and respect the people God has brought into our lives. In so doing, we give and receive blessings.

Compiled by Molly Manhanga

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Movie Review: Not Easily Broken

Not Easily Broken is a soul-stirring film based on the inspirational best-selling novel by T.D Jakes. I watched this movie several times and have an appreciation for the messages it portrays.

A cord of 3 strands is not easily broken: husband, wife and God. Clarice is sweet, smart, driven, “got your back” kind of woman and she marries her man, Dave. But, life has a way of trying to knock you down. After a car accident which lands Clarice in the hospital and fighting to walk again, the couple’s affection is severely tested. Clarice’s mum moves in to ‘help’ but this help affects the couple. There is physical temptation, financial pressure and emotional challenges.

The problems that creep into the marriage are:
1. Work – appearance is everything
2. Lack of quality time3. Mother in law: she projected her own marital problems onto her daughter and disrespected her son in law
4. ‘Close’ friend of the opposite sex5. Lack of or poor communication: the blame game or the silent treatment

Who we listen to in our marriage actually matters. Ultimately this couple; Dave and Clarice needed to determine whether or not their vows are easily broken. I really liked the appearance of T.D Jakes and his wife as they were having a meal around a table with another couple as well as the Johnson’s. Much about the Johnson’s marriage is revealed by both verbal and nonverbal communication.

Dave moves out of the house and Clarice confronts her mum. Clarice loves her husband but mum is getting in the way. The movie ends on a happy note where the couple make up and are expecting a baby.

It’s an interesting movie to watch with good points to discuss after. Not forgetting the humour with one of Dave's friends who is in touch with his feminine side just a little too much!!!

Compiled by Molly Manhanga

Saturday, November 26, 2011

People that inspire.....

Mother Teresa is one of those people that inspire me. I guess it's because she poured her life into helping the poor, particularly those who were sick and dying. Here is some infomation about her.....

Entering the order when she was just 18, Agnes Bojaxhiu as she was known, joined the Order of the Sisters of Our Lady of Loreto in Ireland. Taking the name Sister Teresa, she found her calling in India on a pilgrimage to Calcutta. It was there that she saw the sick and the dying on the city's streets. She began her lifelong work in Calcutta, founding Missionaries of Charity. Later on, she founded the Kalighat Home for the Dying, ensuring that those dying on the streets of India would not have to die homeless. Mother Teresa continued her work with the dying and homeless until she died from a long illness in 1997.
Date of Birth: August 26, 1910
Date of Death: September 05, 1997


Life is an opportunity, benefit from it

Life is beauty, admire it

Life is a dream, realize it

Life is a challenge, meet it

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it

Life is a promise, fulfil it

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a struggle, accept it

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it

Life is life, fight for it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Synopsis of Ephesians

Over the last couple of Sundays, Stephen, Mx and Mcebisi have been taking us through the book of Ephesians. Paul is the author of Ephesians and the purpose of the book was to strengthen the believers in Ephesus in their Christian faith by explaining the nature and purpose of the church, the body of Christ.
Key verse – Ephesians 4:4 – 6 “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Paul had spent over 3 years with the Ephesian church and as a result, he was very close to them. Paul met with the elders at Miletus (Acts 20:17 – 38) – a meeting that was filled with great sadness because he was leaving them for what he thought would be the last time. In this letter, Paul explains the wonderful things that we have received through Christ and refers to the church as the body to illustrate unity of purpose and show how each individual member is a part that must work together with all the other parts. In our own lives, we should eradicate all backbiting, gossip, criticism, jealousy, anger, and bitterness, because these are barriers to unity in the church.

When we respond to Christ’s love by trusting in him, his purpose becomes our mission. Because Christ is central to everything, his power must be central in us. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all creation. The church, under Christ’s control, is a living body, a family, a dwelling. God gives believers special abilities by his Holy Spirit to build the church. We are one family in Christ, so there should be no barriers, no divisions, no basis for discrimination. We all belong to him, so we should live in harmony with one another. As a new community, we are to live by Christ’s new standards.

Issue the decree!

The book of Daniel is so inspirational. It's so encouraging to read in Daniel 6:25 - 27 'Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land:

"May you prosper greatly!

I issue a decree that in every part

of my kingdom people must fear and reverence

the God of Daniel.

For he is the living God

and he endures for ever;

his kingdom will not be destroyed,

his dominion will never end.

He rescues and saves;

he performs signs and wonders

in the heavens and on the earth.

He has rescued Daniel

from the power of the lions."

What an awsome, rescuing God we serve! Faithful to the very end.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thought for the day

God gives His spirit

Luke 11:13

If you then, though you

are evil, know how to

give good gifts to your

children, how much more

will your Father in heaven

give the Holy Spirit to

those who ask him!

On the poetic side.......

The Power Of Pain

Our Father knows what's best for us

so why should we complain?

We always want the sunshine,

but he knows there must be rain.

We love the sound of laughter

and the merriment of cheer

But our hearts would lose their tenderness

if we never shed a tear.

For growing trees are strengthened

when they withstand the storm,

And the sharp cut of the chisel

gives the diamond grace and form.

God never hurts us needlessly,

and he never wastes our pain,

For every loss he sends to us is followed by rich gain.

And when we count the blessings that God so freely sent,

We'll find no cause for murmuring,

and no time to lament.

For our Father loves his children

and to him all things are plain,

So he never sends us pleasure

when the soul's deep need is pain.

So whenever we are troubled,

and when everything goes wrong,

We know God's working in our hearts,

to make our spirit strong.

By Amy Carmichael

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Emotional Well Being pt 4

Supportive relationships: The foundation of emotional health

No matter how much time you devote to improving your mental and emotional health, you will still need the company of others to feel and be your best. Humans are social creatures with emotional needs for relationships and positive connections to others. We’re not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Our social brains crave companionship—even when experience has made us shy and distrustful of others.

Social interaction—specifically talking to someone else about your problems—can also help to reduce stress. The key is to find a supportive relationship with someone who is a “good listener”—someone you can talk to regularly, preferably face-to-face, who will listen to you without a pre-existing agenda for how you should think or feel. A good listener will listen to the feelings behind your words, and won’t interrupt or judge or criticize you. The best way to find a good listener is to Be a good listener yourself. Develop a friendship with someone you can talk to regularly, and then listen and support each other.

Emotional Well Being pt 3

Improve mental and emotional health by taking care of yourself

In order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Don’t let stress and negative emotions build up. Try to maintain a balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise.
Taking care of yourself includes pursuing activities that naturally release endorphins and contribute to feeling good. In addition to physical exercise, endorphins are also naturally released when we:
Do things that positively impact others. Being useful to others and being valued for what you do can help build self-esteem.
Practice self-discipline. Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.
Learn or discover new things. Think of it as “intellectual candy”. Try taking an adult education class, join a book club, visit a museum, learn a new language, or simply travel somewhere new.
Enjoy the beauty of nature or art. Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. The same goes for strolling through a park or an art gallery, hiking, admiring architecture, or sitting on a beach.

More tips and strategies for taking care of yourself:
Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
Engage in meaningful, creative work. Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for it – things like gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, or building something in your workshop.
Get a pet. Yes, pets are a responsibility, but caring for one makes you feel needed and loved. There is no love quite as unconditional as the love a pet can give. Animals can also get you out of the house for exercise and expose you to new people and places.
Make leisure time a priority. Do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do them. Go to a funny movie, take a walk on the beach, listen to music, read a good book, or talk to a friend. Doing things just because they are fun is no indulgence. Play is an emotional and mental health necessity.
Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Think about the things you’re grateful for. Mediate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.
Everyone is different; not all things will be equally beneficial to all people. Some people feel better relaxing and slowing down while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to feel better. The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give you a boost.

Limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying
Try to avoid becoming absorbed by repetitive mental habits – negative thoughts about yourself and the world that suck up time, drain your energy, and trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression.

Emotional Well Being pt 2

The role of resilience in mental and emotional health

Being emotionally and mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress.
The difference is that people with good emotional health have an ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is called resilience. People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good.

One of the key factors in resilience is the ability to balance your emotions. The capacity to recognize your emotions and express them appropriately helps you avoid getting stuck in depression, anxiety, or other negative mood states. Another key factor is having a strong support network. Having trusted people you can turn to for encouragement and support will boost your resilience in tough times.

Building your resilience
Resilience involves maintaining flexibility and balance in your life as you deal with stressful circumstances and traumatic events. This happens in several ways, including:
• Letting yourself experience strong emotions, and also realizing when you may need to avoid experiencing them at times in order to continue functioning
• Stepping forward and taking action to deal with your problems and meet the demands of daily living, and also stepping back to rest and reenergize yourself
• Spending time with loved ones to gain support and encouragement, and also nurturing yourself
• Relying on others, and also relying on yourself

Emotional Well Being pt 1

I like reading good articles and think this one is one of them.......Enjoy!!

People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behaviour. They are able to handle life’s inevitable challenges, build strong relationships, and lead productive, fulfilling lives. When bad things happen, they’re able to bounce back and move on.
Unfortunately, too many people take their mental and emotional health for granted – focusing on it only when they develop problems. But just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, so it is with mental and emotional health. The more time and energy you invest in your emotional health, the stronger it will be. The good news is that there are many things you can do to boost your mood, build resilience, and get more enjoyment out of life.

What is mental health or emotional health?
Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties.

Good mental health isn't just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Similarly, not feeling bad is not the same as feeling good. While some people may not have negative feelings, they still need to do things that make them feel positive in order to achieve mental and emotional health.

People who are mentally and emotionally healthy have:
• A sense of contentment.
• A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
• The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
• A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
• The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change.
• A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
• The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
• Self-confidence and high self-esteem.

These positive characteristics of mental and emotional health allow you to participate in life to the fullest extent possible through productive, meaningful activities and strong relationships. These positive characteristics also help you cope when faced with life's challenges and stresses.


Leviticus 19:11b “Do not deceive one another.”
Deception is a “loaded” word that doesn’t stir up any warm, fuzzy feelings. In fact, it does the complete opposite causing people to mistrust each other, feel betrayed and it breeds division. The word deceive means to trick, mislead, delude, double deal etc and it propagates beliefs that are not true, or not the whole truth.

Deception is extremely difficult to detect unless the individual tells a blatant or obvious lie. As Neil T Anderson writes in Freedom to Christ: “If I tempt you, you know. If I accuse you, you know it. But if I deceive you, by definition you don’t know it. Deception is satan’s primary strategy” to bring Christians down and cause division.

Deception violates relational rules and is considered to be a negative violation of expectations. Most people expect their spouse, friend, church leaders or people they are in relationship with to be truthful. However, this is not always the case. When an individual discovers they have been deceived by a friend, the dynamics of the friendship/relationship change or when you know that someone is deliberately deceiving people, it’s pretty difficult to befriend that individual. Deception breeds deception. Deceivers manipulate information to depart from the truth. The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 2:3 that “....they will exploit you with deceptive words.” If a person thinks they have gotten away with being deceptive, it becomes a case of “why not continue?” They feel they can outwit you, outsmart you, outtalk you, be convincing and sadly, can be seen to be pretty clever people.

Because we don’t know when we are being deceived, our tendency is to “believe” the information we hear............ unless we are intuitive and insightful, know the person that is being spoken about or want to know otherwise. Deception usually comes in the form of lies, exaggeration, equivocations, concealments or understatements. When reading about deception, I was quite shocked to find out that “on one given day, it is likely that most human beings will either deceive or be deceived by another person.” Does this mean that deception is simply a part of everyday life, acceptable and that we should live with it? No! Not quite! Like everything else, Jesus is our perfect example.
2 Timothy 3:12 – 13 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

Why do people do it when it causes so much mistrust, hurt and feelings of betrayal? Why do Christians deceive others? Is it because we want to be viewed in a certain way? Is it because we are trying to cover up a wrong that we may have done hence trying to get the attention off ourselves and onto someone else? Is it because we want to have our own way with others or the fact that we are not having our own way with others? Is it because we want to be the centre of attention and loved by everyone? Is it because we feel threatened by someone else? Is this a means of climbing the ladder of social recognition by discrediting others? Whatever the case may be, deceiving people is not right. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” We may be able to fool man but we cannot fool God!
Deception places a significant cognitive load on the deceiver because he or she needs to recall previous statements so that his or her story remains consistent and believable.

Ephesians 5:6 - 7 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partners with them.”
Romans 16: 17 – 18 “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”

Pointers to help us.....
1 Peter 2:1 “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”
1. The saying “honesty is the best policy” is definitely the way to go, no matter how difficult it is.
2. Learn to be secure in who you are in Christ.
3. Have friends who will be honest and correct you privately when you are being deceptive.
4. Don’t believe everything you hear especially if it is negative. If in doubt, ask and get to the bottom of things.
5. Avoid gossip and slander. Let your words be seasoned with salt.

May God help us in our walk with Him!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Marriage Course

Mbusiso and Pretty Ndlovu

Recently, Winston and Susan Nyamayaro from Family Impact held the Marriage Course at Shalom Camp Site with couples representing different churches within the community. The churches that took part were General Foundation Zion, New Life, Presbyterian Church and Crossroads Community Church. Mbusiso and Pretty Ndlovu represented Crossroads. They had an amazing wedding at Crossroads in April and are doing extremely well. Both Mbusiso and Pretty work at Ebenezer. I caught up with Pretty after The Marriage Course and this is what she said:

M.M: This is your second time on the Marriage Course. Did you enjoy it and what did you learn?
P.N: Yes, I enjoyed it very much. I learnt how to build our family, how to look after them and also about health and hygiene.

M.M: Were there any specific highlights on the different sessions?
P.N: The highlight for me was putting God at the centre in our family, teaching our children to obey and to know God so that they get older they will obey the leaders and people in the community. Another highlight was learning the importance of keeping our homes and physical bodies clean to prevent disease and to glorify God in the way we live. Our bodies are the temple of the God.

M.M: What do you think was most challenging for the married couples?
P.N: The whole area of listening to your partner, ignoring your partner’s feelings, looking down on your partner which can result in them feeling lonely.

M.M: As the Marriage Course is being tweaked to be more suitable for rural families, do you feel that the topics are relevant and would you recommend it to other married couples?
P.N: Yes

M.M: Something that everyone loves talking about – how was the food?
P.N: The food was good and excellent. We ate alot of meat and had tea with milk. There were also different soups, rice, eggs, toast, beans and sadza.

M.M: Sounds really nice. Thanks so much Pretty. May God continue to bless your marriage to Mbusiso.

By Molly Manhanga

Pig Project

The pigs are doing really well on the Crossroads plot and recently, 12 little piglets were born. They really are cute!

The Comparison Trap pt 3

Is there such a thing as healthy comparison? In the article, a lady called Sophia puts it this way...... "When I compare myself to the standard Jesus sets for me, the result can be healthy change. When I am discontented with my knowledge of, trust in and obedience to God, and I desire to serve Him more, comparison can produce good fruit.”
Downward comparison would be healthy if it resulted in compassion and upward comparison if it led to us being inspired by others to better serve God. When we recognise that God has gifted someone in a particular way, we should praise Him for the way He is using them for His glory.

Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness above all things; to be consumed with His character, plans and purposes for His world. What part does He want you to play in His Kingdom? How does Jesus want you to display His glory to the world? How does Jesus deal with sinful comparison? In John 21:22 He tells Peter about his (Peter’s) future death as a martyr. Peter responds by pointing to John and asking “What about him?” and Jesus says, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” The punch line question – What is that to you? Those are the words that put this issue into perspective for us. If God blesses someone else, what is that to you? And then the clincher: “You follow Me!” Instead of worrying about the circumstances and gifts of our friends, we are to focus on our relationship with Jesus. Amen to that!!!!

We need to follow Jesus completely and not compare to how others follow Him. Instead of being preoccupied with performance, let’s focus our attention wholeheartedly on Him.
As we take a good look at our own motives, and start to recognise sinful comparison in our lives, God tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

May we courageously reveal areas of unhealthy comparison and repent before God, asking Him to help us turn to Him alone as our true source of security.

The Comparison Trap pt 2

The effects of comparison are profound.
1. It disturbs our serenity, because we don’t feel at peace with ourselves or with God.
2. It destroys our sincerity because we cannot love our Christian sisters as the Lord intended.
3. It distracts us from service because we feel inadequate.
4. We become focused on what others are doing and not on what the Lord wants us to be doing.

We cannot envy and obey at the same time. Envy always eats up time and energy that should be spent on the good works God has prepared for us. When we envy others, we miss out on God’s grace to bear fruit today. The bible tells us very simply to: “Rid yourselves of all.....envy1 Peter 2:1

Jealousy creates hurt.......
Jealousy is negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear and anxiety. It is a condition of the heart where we think God has kept the best for someone else, and He meanly and unreasonably withholds good gifts from us. It’s often said that jealous people, if not helped, are drawn towards each other and thrive on belittling or undermining people whom they consider to be gifted or “better” or need to be brought down a notch or two. Regardless of what jealous people may do or say about someone, they cannot stop the plans God has for that particular individual. Jealousy and envy hurt our relationship with God and people around us including our church family.
God is our security and our hope. He is able to help us overcome feelings of envy and jealousy if we let Him.

“The heart of sinful comparison is idolatry. Idolatry is worshipping created things rather than God, and it occurs when we trust in other things to make us truly satisfied, truly secure. So either we look enviously at others and believe that if we had more of what they have, then we’d be really happy; or we have a false and very vulnerable sense of satisfaction from feeling in a better position to others. Either way, our hope is in created things or earthly circumstances and not in the Lord. We are not looking to the gospel of Jesus Christ to satisfy us, but to our idols. Underlying many potential ‘smaller’ idols is the big idol of self. When we look back at the garden of Eden, we see that the serpent tempted Eve to be like God and since then, we have all been trying to glorify ourselves, rather than Him. We want to be the centre of attention – the ones who are worshipped. So at the heart of the sin of comparison lies a desire for glorification of self. And even when we pity ourselves because we aren’t as gifted as others, we display a false humility that really just serves to draw attention to ourselves.”

Is there such a thing as “healthy comparison?” Read more to find out.......

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Comparison Trap pt 1

I read a very interesting article recently on “The Comparison Trap” by Renette Pickering and it starts like this......
“All of us have fallen into the sinful habit of comparing ourselves with others. Whether we compare ‘up’ (to those who are better than us) or ‘down’ (to those worse off), we are exercising pride.......

From the onset, I’d like to say that I don’t think that some people are “better” than others or “worse” than others. They may be better at doing something than others but not a general statement that they are “better” because pride will definitely set in BIG TIME! Superiority and inferiority complexes will be rife, envy and jealousy sets in and instead of seeing people the way God intends, we’ll view people by worldly standards – how educated are they, how wealthy are they, which suburb do they live in, what car do they drive, how and where do they rank according to societies standards, are they quick thinkers or not etc, etc. When viewed this way, it’s all too easy to discard people as “not being good enough”. Similarly with temperament types, I feel there is no temperament type that is better than the other. It just depends on an individual’s preference as to whether they prefer sanguine, choleric, melancholy etc. God has created us in His image and likeness, with different gifts, personalities and talents. Each of us is unique and special – flaws and all.

Renette says Comparison is an issue and struggle faced by many Christians and may be excused as a ‘social skill’ –something done to measure the ‘pecking’ order in society and a process that motivates people to achieve more! It is a serious issue but, this trap can be avoided. There are two categories of comparison: looking up and looking down.
“When we look up at other women, we feel that those women are gifted, attractive or have achieved so much that we may resent them in our hearts. Our own gifts, attractiveness and achievements pale in comparison. We feel envy, bitterness and self-pity. And we foolishly ask, ‘Why has God given her so much and me so little?’ or even ‘Who does she think she is? Someone ought to bring her down a notch.’ Sound familiar? We become unhappy, dissatisfied and “discontented with the gifts God has given to us. In essence, we believe that God has kept the best for someone else, and He meanly and unreasonably withholds good gifts from us” hence the jealousy aspect.
“When we look down on others and feel superior to them, our spirits can be filled with self-righteousness, judgement and rivalry. The fact that we might suspect that we are better than others is something we seldom admit, even to ourselves.” ..............”Other factors that are triggers for comparison differ according to our stage in life, but always relate to our peers. We probably don’t really care if Oprah has bought yet another gigantic house, but if one of our close friends move into a more spacious home, we suddenly feel a tinge of jealousy.” Many “women seem to be prone to physical comparison. Young women look at their hair, clothes and figures. Older women see friends and think ‘she’s ageing well’ and they feel envious. Then there is competitive temptation around our children. Motherhood seems to introduce a whole host of new topics for comparison: whose child said a word first, or reached a certain milestone first, or can write or read already, or made it on such-and-such a sports team. The list is endless! Mothers often compare themselves with friends who do a particularly good job as moms. And grandmothers fall into this camp too. It’s one thing to be proud of our grandchildren, but quite another to feel a secret glee because they are, in our opinion, more beautiful or gifted than a friend’s.”

What we may not realise is that comparison distracts us and has a profound effect on us. Read more on pt 2 of The Comparison Trap
“So I say, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” Romans 12:3
“Rid yourselves of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” 2 Peter 2:1

When you start comparing yourself to others and venturing into self-pity.......stop and think of all Christ has done and given to you.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thought for the day

Isaiah 26:3 - 4, 12 - 13

You will keep in perfect


him whose mind is


because he trusts in you.

Trust in the Lord forever,

for the Lord, the Lord,

is the Rock eternal....


Lord, you establish peace for us

all that we have acomplished you have

done for us.

Oh Lord, our God,....


your name alone do we honour.

Letting go of the familiar

Genesis 19:1 – 26

Letting go of the familiar is tough. Changing careers or colleges or moving to a new city can take an emotional toll on us. It’s even more difficult to leave behind old habits, attitudes and behaviours.
Lots wife wasn’t able to let go of her home in Sodom, even though God sent angels to warn her family to run for their lives because judgment was coming. In fact, the angels warning included grave commands of “Don’t look back” and “Don’t stop”. Why in the world did this woman chose to stop and look back? Could it be that she loved the life she was leaving too much? Though Sodom was full to overflowing with sin and vice, apparently the dark and oppressive city was comfortably familiar to Lot’s wife.
It is difficult to leave the familiar behind. The fact is as true today as it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction – even when God himself is saying, “It’s time to move on.” If you’ve ever struggled with a destructive habit, you’ve felt the pull of the familiar. You’ve experienced the temptation to turn back just one more time, for one last look, one last taste – even as God whispered “Don’t look back.”
Unlike Lot’s wife, none of us has turned into a pillar of salt by turning back for one last peek. Yet we all struggle with the difficulties of letting go of the old in order to grasp the new. Take heart. God understands that letting go of the familiar is hard. Yet he has called us to move on to a new life in Jesus Christ by letting go of our worldly lives, our old habits, our old dreams – to boldly move forward without looking back. When you feel God’s call to move, allow him to guide you. He will give you the grace to do whatever he has asked.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The beauty of creation

One of the things I really enjoy doing when I'm in the U.K is going to the sea and looking out at the water. It's so captivating, peaceful, relaxing, thought provoking, beautiful etc. In Zim, seeing as we are a landlocked country, I guess rivers, dams, lakes etc will suffice. Sunsets and sunrises are just spectacular.

On the home front, having taken up gardening as a hobby in January, I have learnt so much about flowers, soil and not to mention weeds. I love it when flowers are blossoming and this time of the year is great as flowers are in full bloom. The few I have in my garden make me appreciate God's creativity - colourfulness and design. There is such beauty in creation.

Field Mapping Training

Some of the farmers being trained

On Tuesday, a group of farmers from the community gathered at the Crossroads plot for Foundations for Farming Training on Field Mapping. Xolani Ndlovu who is part of the Faithful Stewards Programme based in Bulawayo came out to Crossroads to do the training. The farmers also dug some planting stations, put basal fertiliser and 3 seeds in a planting station as a way of recapping Foundations for Farming methods. In attendance was the Agritex officer.

All in all, the training went well and after they all headed to Crossroads Church to share lunch. Xolani is hoping that more farmers will attend the training sessions as people are now working in their fields and planting their crops. Lets also hope that we have good rains this season.....

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Eating healthy pt 2

In Eating Healthy pt 1, the concern seemed to be about obesity and people eating fast foods. I guess the flip side of obesity is anorexia nervosa. Anorexia is a complex eating disorder with 3 key features:

1. an intense fear of gaining weight

2. refusal to maintain a healthy body weight

3. a distorted body image

Like obesity, there is a root cause to this eating disorder like overly controlling parents who put alot of emphasis on looks or our cultures idealisation of thinness, emotional difficulties, low self esteem, traumatic experiences etc etc. No matter how skinny one becomes, it's never enough. Deep seated issues are prevalent and brain chemistry plays a significant role. Now this is really simplified and put in a nutshell as this topic is huge. But like obesity, a child's long term longevity needs to be a priority and it does begin in the home.

Compiled by Molly Manhanga

Update on Kidz Alive pt 2

Children waiting to receive their food

Eating is quite a serious business - these little faces tell it all

On the menu - sadza and relish

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Update on Kidz Alive

Letta Ndlovu, better known as Gogo Maskosana

Kidz Alive team in action

In January this year, I handed the Kidz Alive work over to a young lady called Simangaliso Ndlovu after heading it up for 2 years. Simanga has since left us and has gone to be part of the Beyond Belief team in Mapisa - approximately 90km from Crossroads. She has handed the work over to "Gogo" (Granny) Maskosana, whose name is Letta Ndlovu. She is so passionate about the children and they love her to bits. She has a team of 4 younger people working with her.

Catering Team preparing lunch

On Sunday, the Kidz Alive team organised a lunch for the children which was just brilliant. 66 little Kidz pitched up and enjoyed the word, fellowship and food. I am so pleased that the work is continuing to move forward under the capable hands of Letta Ndlovu.

Food cooking away........

By Molly Manhanga

Thought for the day......

From the rising of the sun

to the going down of the same

the Lord's name is to be praised...........

Pig Project

First batch of pigs

New home for the pigs

It's been great to see the pig project pan out on the Crossroads plot..........This will be done as a micro-business with the hope that as the pigs reproduce and increase in number and suitable markets found, this will turn into a sustainable micro-business.

Pig houses almost complete

Pig houses being built

Stay tuned for more on the pig project

By Molly Manhanga