Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spiritual Well-Being pt 3 by Angus Buchan

Why we need discernment
Discernment, having 'good judgement', comes from wisdom, which in turn comes from spending time with God. So many people today say one thing and mean something totally different. This is when discernment is required.

We need to pray and seek discernment - ask God to show us what's in a person's heart. Jesus pointed out that an apple tree will not produce oranges, nor a fig tree, grapes. "You shall know them by their fruit." He said.

We need to trust people. But we also need to be wise and discerning, because a bad deal can ruin a farmer forever and a bad accusation can destroy a marriage.

Perception is not necessarily truth. When we perceive that a person has done something wrong, for example, we have no right to accuse him or her until we've found out the truth. Perception is what we THINK the truth is, and often we find ourselves being VERY WRONG. We should rather see the fruit before we make a judgement! The Lord Himself said, "Not all who say 'Lord, Lord' will enter into the Kingdom of God, but those who do the will of my Father."

Discernment comes from God and also from experience. When I was a young man doing my agricultural training in Scotland, I loved to sit with the old farmers. In those days there were no computerised weather forecasts (I don't know if they're at all accurate even now), but because of their experience, those farmers would be able to tell what the coming season was going to be like.

Jesus said that when we see the fig tree producing new leaves, we know that spring is on its way, and similarly, when we see these signs in the world we'll know that the coming of the Lord is at hand.
We need to discern the times in which we live in order to be prepared  spiritually and practically.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tomatoes on the radar pt 2

Tomatoes looking good!
Quantity and Quality

By Molly Manhanga

Tomatoes on the radar

Tomatoes everywhere! It was so exciting seeing the Beyond Belief farmers bring their tomatoes to Crossroads for weighing and collection. Crossroads has become the Collection Point for the 128 Beyond Belief farmers as it's pretty central. What is so exciting is that despite the lack of rain, the tomatoes seem to have done really well. The farmers put in 100% to get their tomatoes looking so good. Jacques Dupreez was collecting the tomatoes yesterday and he commented on how good the quality is. That is really promising.

The social interaction was also wonderful to see.

Well done to the farmers.

By Molly Manhanga

What's happening at Crossroads?

Remind Sibanda
Crossroads was a hive of activity today:
1. Folk waiting at the grinding mill to get served.
2. Folk buying groceries at the Tuckshop.
3. Beyond Belief farmers coming to get their tomatoes weighed and collected.
4. African Vaccination Week - immunising children who are 5 years and below.

I managed to chat to Remind Sibanda who is the Acting District Nursing Officer and part of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare for Matobo District as well as Supervisor at Natisa Clinic (Local clinic in the area) on what exactly African Vaccination Week is all about. About 200 people including children had gathered at Crossroads.

He said that all over Zimbabwe and possibly Africa, we were commemorating African Vaccination Week from 23rd - 28th April. This is an expanded programme on immunisation for children under 5 year old as well as women of child bearing age. The team would first give a talk on vaccine preventable diseases before immunising the children and providing family planning.

Remind Sibanda said they'd like to make Crossroads a permanent outreach point which means that they will come to Crossroads monthly to treat minor ailments and for immunisation.

What a privilege to be able to serve the community in this way.

By Molly Manhanga

Monday, April 23, 2012

Issues Women Face Today pt 3

So far we've looked at materialism, aging, self-esteem,self-worth and self-image, gender discrimination and gender bias as well as trust. Let's continue looking at these issues that face women today........

  • Jealousy: Jealousy is a HUGE one. The Collins Gem English Dictionary defines jealous as distrustful of the faithfulness of, envious; suspiciously watchful. Envy is defined as having a grudge against anothers good fortune; success or qualities; feels jealous of, bitter contemplation of anothers good fortune etc. Jealousy and envy work hand in hand. Jealousy is likened to cancer that eats you up. It's not too difficult to establish sisters who have jealousy in their hearts - LISTEN carefully to what comes out of their mouths. Its a real good indicator of what is going on in their hearts. Matthew 12:34b  "......For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Luke 6:45. There is nothing good about being jealous and it affects all those around you. Jealousy is a condition of the heart and if not dealt with can seriously affect your relationship with siblings, friends, spouse, church members and so on. God does not withhold any good gifts from us. we need to counteract this negative emotion and heart condition with the truths from God's word. What is jealousy associated with: 1 Corinthians 3:1 -3  The apostle Paul associates jealousy with worldliness "........Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?......." Galatians 5:20  Jealousy is listed in the acts of sinful nature. 2 Corinthians 12:20 Jealousy is listed with quarreling, outbursts of anger, factions, gossip, slander, arrogance. Arrogance means aggressive conceit, proud, overbearing. Jealous people can be so aggressive and offensive in the quest to take their sister down. No matter how hard we try to hide it, 1 Corinthians 4:5 states; "Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts......."  Ladies, we are all gifted at something. Let's avail ourselves to God and allow Him to do extraordinary things through us.  Let the peace of Christ rule our hearts and let's love, honour, value, pray for and encourage our "more gifted" or talented sisters and visa versa.
  • Gossip and slander: Gossip and slander is very prevalent amongst ladies and this just reinforces the idea that women should not open up to other women. Gossip and slander are very serious and are likened to murder. There are quite a few scriptures that speak about gossip and slander: Leviticus 19:16 "Do not go about spreading slander among your people", Proverbs 10:18, Proverbs 11:13, Proverbs 16:28, Proverbs 20:19 etc. How do we respond to slander? 1 Corinthians 4:13 says it all; "When we are slandered, we answer kindly". Titus 3:2 "...slander no one, peaceable and considerate and true humility toward all men."  Ladies, let's be slow to speak and quick to listen and love, honour, value, pray for and encourage our sisters.
  • Internet: With the advancement of technology, the Internet has made communication with the world instant and a global village. By pressing a few keys, we can access pretty much what we want instantly and communicate with people through email, Skye, twitter, Myspace etc, etc and the famous Facebook. \Many a lady has fallen prey by opening their secrets to the wrong people through Facebook, not to mention the dating websites etc, etc. Ladies, let's be real careful what we expose ourselves to and what we share via the Internet. Find a friend close to you who you share your heart with - someone you know and trust. Let's be there for one another, listen to each other and love, honour, value, pray for and encourage our sisters.
  • Marriage: Marriage is God's idea and is a good thing. Many women don't know that and as a result, many marry for the wrong reasons like financial security or to have children. They then end up desperately unhappy in their marriages. Companionship is very low on the agenda and not even looked at in many cases. As a result, there is little chance for the two to become one or for the couple to mirror the relationship between Jesus and the Church as God intended. In some cultures, women feel like their role is to have sex, have children and look after the children. That's their goal and a woman will marry to achieve that goal - hence loveless marriages and the standard being 2 strangers living together. Those women who have good marriages and have children find it quite a challenge to be good mothers and raise their children to love God and if they are working - to balance work and home life. These pressures can be quite stressful.Again ladies, let's support and help each other out as well as love, honour, value, pray for and encourage our married sisters no matter what the state of their marriage is.
  • Singlehood: There seems to be immense pressure for single ladies to marry and have children. The challenge is for single ladies to value themselves and enjoy their singlehood. Single ladies - trust God for a spouse and even accept that maybe, just maybe, you may not get married at all. Be complete in your singleness, in Jesus and His grace. So ladies, lets support, affirm, bless the single ladies and be there for them. Let's also love, honour, value, pray for and encourage our single sisters.
There are many more issues that women face but these are probably the main ones. Ladies, we can overcome our issues and become quite a powerhouse for God. Let's trust Him as He gives enough grace for whatever we face. If the enemy can get us focused on ourselves, he has us sufficiently defeated. C'mon ladies, let's get "a deep cleansing for those inaccessible areas of the feminine heart" and love, honour, value, pray for and encourage each other.

Compiled by Molly Manhanga

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Issues Women Face Today pt 2

There are MANY, many issues that women are facing today. The few that I will post which I've skimmed the surface, will probably be summed up as the main issues across cultures: to a lesser or higher degree in the various cultures.....

  • Materialism: Materialism is like a god. Ladies want to accumulate more and more "things" as it gives a false sense of satisfaction and identity. We want as much as we can and sometimes our relationships/friendships and everything we do is based on 'what's in it for me?' this can snowball into serious financial debt as economies or financial plans cater for this i.e. buy now, pay later. Philippians 4:11 - 13 "......, for I have learnt to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learnt the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Ladies, there will always be someone who seems to have more or who actually does have more "things" and "nicer looking things" than you. Lets be content with what we have. Love, honour, value, pray for and encourage the 'richer' sister and those who have more and visa versa.
  • Aging: The need to stay young and beautiful. Women are terrified of aging especially when the world idolises good looks and youthfulness. This 'pressure' seems to start in the early teens/youth years and if not dealt with, is carried into adulthood.............wanting to constantly look young and beautiful. There are many things to help enhance this timeless, ageless beauty like botox, liposuction, face-lifts and all sorts of surgical procedures. There are also a wide variety of creams in the supermarkets and beauty parlours which claim that if you use them, you'll look and stay young. It may seem frivolous and vain but it is a real attack on women. Ladies, lets age gracefully. Our bodies and features were not designed to stay young and it really is great getting 'older'. You are all beautiful and remember that inner beauty outweighs outer beauty any day. Love, value. honour, pray for and encourage your beautiful sisters. 1 Corinthians 14:20, Job 12:12, Proverbs 17:6, Proverbs 31:30, 1 Peter 3:3 - 4.
  • Self - esteem, self - worth and self - image: These are issues that can be divided into socio-economic groupings, but ironically, each grouping struggle with self-esteem, self-worth and self-image. These affect a woman's identity and have a domino effect if not dealt with: what and why am I here on earth for? What is my purpose? What is my ministry? As a result women suffer from insomnia, eating disorders, depression, comparison, feeling alone, hearing voices in their heads and so on. Ladies, we can miss out on all that God has in store for us and who he created us to be. Again, these are real struggles facing women. Psalm 139:13 - 17 Focus on v14 "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  Ladies, we are so precious to God. Lets learn how to affirm one another and to love, honour, pray for and encourage our valuable sisters.
  • Gender discrimination and gender bias: Women, including christian women, tend to get paid less than men for the same job or are sidelined from certain positions because they are women. Women are not expected to advance as much as a man. Some cultures don't allow women to take maternity leave when they are pregnant while some women are too afraid to tell anyone in the workplace that they are married for fear of being 'overlooked' or passed during promotion. Women just don't feel valued. Then on the other hand, some very ambitious women, will do just about anything to climb that ladder including undermining/lying about another sister whom they feel is a threat. Ladies, lets appreciate, respect and support one another as well as love, honour, pray for and encourage our sisters in the workplace or at home.
  •   Trust: Trust is a HUGE one. Some cultures actually teach women not to trust other women while in others, women who have self-esteem issues, jealousy issues(Will touch on this one more as it is also HUGE and linked to trust), insecurity issues, suspicion issues or issues of the past that are not dealt with etc simply don't trust the other sister. Ladies, value yourselves and know that you are a genuine treasure, uniquely made by God. Don't allow the enemy to make you fearful, suspicious and mistrustful of the sisters. Psalm 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart...." When you do that, you'll find it easy to trust your sisters. Honour them and see what happens!! Isaiah 12:2 "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." Renew your thinking and lets build each other up, trust each other as well as love, honour, pray for and encourage our sisters.
Read pt 3 for more inside detail on issues facing women........

Compiled By Molly Manhanga

thought for the day - Imitating Christ's Humility

Philippians 2:5 - 11

"Your attitude should be the same as
that of Christ Jesus;
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing
taking the very nature of a
being made in human likeness,
And being found in appearance as a
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death -
even death on the cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the
highest place
and gave him the name that is above
every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under
the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Issues facing women today pt 1

Over the last 2 to 2 and a half years particularly, I have had an increased stirring in my heart and awareness of the issues facing women in rural Kezi as well as in the city of Bulawayo. I've also become keenly aware of some issues facing women in the western culture. These issues affect our emotions, our outlook on life and how we treat each other as ladies. With this in mind, I asked several ladies from different continents including the lovely Wendy Virgo, Linda Lanferman, Marlene Poe and Alex Kpikpi on some of the issues facing women from the various nations that they have travelled to. From all the responses I received, women face MANY challenges. What may seem trivial to some are HUGE for others. Some may say that women are complicated and hard to understand. As for me......I simply LOVE being a WOMAN!

Women around the world are concerned about the same things. They want to be loved, want a man who is committed to them and they are concerned about their marriages. Women love their children and usually will put them first before themselves. They will make sacrifices for their family. They are often fearful that they will not make good parents. many would rather be at home looking after their children than working outside. However, many need the stimulation of work and interest outside the home etc, etc.

So how do or can christian ladies contribute?
If you put God first, it helps you make the right decisions and choices. These may not be the same for everyone i.e. for some it is right to stay home and home school; for another it is right to have a job. Both require faith. The Holy Spirit gives you fellowship with Jesus. He enables you to be content with your life and gives you strength to work through the difficult times. He gives us a clear, undistorted view of marriage and helps us to focus on priorities. He enables us to forgive.

Lets remember that in the church, we are surrounded by brothers and sisters who encourage and love us.

Read on to find out some of the specific issues that affect women......

Compiled by Molly Manhanga

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spiritual Well-being pt 2

Angus Buchan
I really enjoy reading the articles by Angus Buchan in the "Farmers Weekly" magazine. They are precise, 'straight up', easy reads. This is what he says....

"I have been asked to take part in a panel discussion on ethics in the business world, and I want to talk about the moral principles starting at home and then flowing out into the business sector.
In the Bible, God gives us specifics on how to live our daily lives.
If you sow bad seed, you will reap a bad crop. if you sow no seed, you will reap no crop. but if you sow good seed, you will reap an 'abundant' crop.
Time and time again the Lord reminds us that if we do things to glorify His name and to look after His people, He will look after us. I have seen the truth of this so many times in my own life ...................................................................................................................................................
Matthew 6:33 " Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all these other things shall be added unto you."

Charity begins at home so before we go to the marketplace and tell people how to live, let's start in our own homes. Like never before, we need to speak the truth in love to our children. In John 17:17, the Lord says to his Father, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.". We need to teach the children the basic morals of life............
As St Augustine said: "Love the Lord with all your heart and live as you please."
If I had my life to live over again I'd spend more time with my family and less time trying to have the smartest farm in the area or the fattest cattle or the straightest fences............................................
Bring up your children in the ways of the Lord, and when they grow old they will not depart from them.
Let's not be like King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, who started off so well and then at the end of his life was so disheartened, when he said, "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity!" because he ventured off the path God had prepared for him.
Let's use the bible as our moral compass and our standard when it comes to moral principles."

Friday, April 13, 2012

Family Matters pt 3

From Victoria Falls which is North West of Zimbabwe to Chiredzi which is South East of Zimbabwe, Stephen and I have been enjoying our time together, the scenery around us and spending time with family. Some of our favourite spots at Victoria Falls apart from looking at the falls and getting drenched in the rain forest is the Victoria Falls Hotel and A Zambezi Lodges. They are just lovely.

Driving to Mutare, you pass Birchenough Bridge which is nice as it overlooks the Save River. The bridge was designed by Mr Ralph Freeman.

Chiredzi is well known for the production of sugar and sugarcane. The plant employs about 8000 people and is co-owned by Tongaat Hulett. One of my favourite spots in Chiredzi is the Nesbitt Arms - a smaller version of The Nesbitt Castle which is in Bulawayo.

Our trip is going real well.....

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Thought for the day

Looking at the man Job:
  • He lost his family to 'a mighty wind'
  • He lost his wealth to war and fire
  • He lost his health to painful boils
As Job endured accusations of his friends, heaven remained silent. When God did finally speak, He talked about the animals, the wonders of the heavens, the marvels of the sea, and the cycle of the seasons. Job was left to conclude that if God had power and wisdom to create the universe, there was reason to trust that same God in times of suffering (Job 1 - 42)

Looking at God:
  • No one has suffered like the One who paid for our sin in the crucified body of His own Son.
  • No one has suffered more than the One who, when He stretched out His arms and died, showed us how much He loved us.
  • On the third day, Jesus rose - He is ALIVE! The resurrected Christ appeared to hundreds of people over a period of 40 days before ascending to heaven. (Acts 1:1 - 11; 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 8)
  • Why then do we look for the Living amongst the dead?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Heaven Touches Earth - Beating Sexual Temptation

  • God created sex as a gift for mankind. It's a good thing. God is not embarrassed by sex or ashamed of it. It's also a powerful thing. And when he created it God designed it to be used safely inside the monogamous relationship of marriage. Increasingly today we see God's 'safety net' for sex being ignored and people everywhere reaping the consequences. many are trapped with sexual addictions and shameful secrets that they feel powerless to overcome.
  • By sexual sin, we mean lust, pornography and emotional affairs etc. The top three effects are:
  1. Job says about sexual sin 'it uproots our harvest', meaning in some way, it destroys other things that we are working for. Some people work so hard all their lives for things only to see them destroyed. It seems so peculiar until you look under the surface and find sexual sin. The bible says sexual sin is one of the only sins where man sins against himself.
  2. Leviticus 4:3 'If the priest sins it brings guilt upon the people.' When you sin sexually everyone who is under your spiritual authority is affected. That is a sobering thought if you are a parent, or small group leader. Particularly sobering if you are in eldership or leadership in a church setting.
  3. Proverbs 6:26 '...the adulteress preys upon your very life.' Something of my life, my very soul is damaged through sexual sin. Although in a moment it feels wonderful, the aftermath is toxic and damaging.
  • The above list is not meant to disable us but to enable us. God in his grace tells us the truth so that we desire freedom! he has put healthy boundaries around sex not to spoil our fun but to protect us from the damage that's caused by illicit sex. The damage is real - only a fool denies it. The question is simply this - how do we get free and stay free?
  • Meditate on the damage of sexual sin: to meditate means to 'chew over'. Do you really believe that God's word is true when it tells you the effects of sin? Really? Then why do you keep sinning. The truth is that we don't believe it! we think we will get away from it. You don't put your hand in a fire because you really, truly believe that it will hurt you. However, our hearts are so deceived that even though we have been burnt by sexual sin in the past, we think that 'this time' I'll get away with it. The more we meditate and believe what the scripture says about the damage of sexual sin, the more we will run from it.
  • Step into Christ:
  1. As we gaze on Jesus and meditate on Him, we are transformed into his image. Developing intimacy with Jesus is the number 1 weapon. Romans 13:13 "let us behave decently in the day time, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery,not in dissension and jealousy. rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature."
  2. Find out what need it is feeding e.g. revelation that pornography is most often not about sex but about intimacy. People who struggle with porn are usually not craving sex they are craving intimacy. feed the need of intimacy with healthy friendships from Christ, other men and women and you won't feel so hungry to satisfy them illegitimately.
  • Call on the Lord WITH FAITH for a new heart - it's your inheritance
  1. Start to confess daily that you will be free from this.
  2. Learn some scriptures and confess them daily...... even if you blew it the night before e.g. Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me......" Romans 6:4 - 12
  • Christ did everything necessary for us to walk in freedom. The area of sexual sin is not the only area that the church is battling today but it is the major one. The consequences of a generation of Christians losing this fight cannot be contemplated. We must fight, and we must win because Jesus is victorious over every sin and He paid the price for a pure and holy bride that loves and is faithful to him over everything else.
  • Accountability
  1. There is nothing like confessing sin to a close friend or even better, small group leader to break the hold of shame and guilt. Don't pick someone who is battling with the same issue. They can't help you. Find someone who is free and be accountable to them.
  • Set boundaries and make covenants with yourself
  • Recognise the fight is day by day, little by little......

Summarised handout....

Friday, April 6, 2012

Family Matters pt 2

The Victoria Falls is just so spectacular! Such beauty, power, and force of the water.......Absolutely Loved It!

Family Matters pt 1

Stephen and I have arrived back in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, after an AMAZING time away in Hwange and the Victoria Falls. Whilst in Hwange we stopped at the Hwange Safari Lodge which is beautiful before staying at Sinamatela Lodges. The view and quietness at Sinamatela was wonderful. So was seeing all the elephants, zebra, impala, crocodiles, hippo's, eland, giraffe, baboons, lions etc. Our time in the Falls was incredible. Seeing the Victoria Falls again and getting drenched in the rain forest 'made our day'.

Interested?.......Read On......

Monday, April 2, 2012

Heaven Touches Earth - Living a Supernatural Life

  • Because Jesus modelled it as the normal Christian life. Whenever you see Jesus in the gospels he's either coming from a supernatural act (healing.miracle, word of knowledge etc) or heading towards one. He told us that we should expect the same (John 4:12)
  • Because Jesus commanded that the gospel we preach should be accompanied with signs and wonders - we owe the world a full demonstration of the truth of Christ and the power of Christ in which to put their faith (Matthew 10:8)
  • Because Jesus and the early church preached a simple message of the Kingdom of God and evidenced it's truth with signs and wonders as their primary apologetic (Acts 4:30)
  • Because this planet is filled with sick and broken people who need physical, spiritual and emotional healing and freedom and Jesus loves to bring it through us (Mark 1:41) So let's bring it!

1. Pursue His presence above all else
  • Principles are important but you cannot get where you want to go without His presence (Moses -Exodus 33:12 - 23)
  • Soaking/Pickling is our call (Acts 1:5 baptizo - dip/marinade/pickle - Nicanor's 200BC pickle recipe)
  • Live in love and you live in God. Choose to be a river not a swamp (1 John 4:20)

2. Study the Kingdom and your identity as a son/daughter of God
  • What to expect when the Kingdom comes (from Isaiah:deliverance, justice, peace, joy, God's presence, healing, comfort etc)
  • Our job is to contend for the Kingdom 'on earth as it is in heaven'
  • Kingdom now but not yet (but don't let the 'not yet' be an excuse!)
  • Knowing our identity is critical (in Christ, heavenly citizens, recreated, royalty, heirs, ambassadors.)

3. Grow in increasing faith and boldness
  • Levels of faith - "I can grow" (little, weak, strong, great)
  • Break the mentality that 'great faith is for superstars'
  • Become a story magnet. record and remind yourself often of what God has done. (Revelation 19:10 & Joshua 4:21 - 24)
  • Learn how to celebrate - Be faithful with the little and he will give you more.
  • Go after words of knowledge as they are often the key to unbelievers breakthrough (1 Corinthians 14:24 'surely God is among you')
  • Regularly pray for the sick in church meetings - faith on the streets comes often from 'what we've seen'
  • Look to the areas of breakthrough and go after them (e.g.miracles, deaf)

4. Battle and overcome obstacles of faith
  • Unbelief/cynicism/mockery (revelation releases power - unbelief attacks the source of power Ephesians 1:18 - 20)
  • Previous poor teaching or advice (Not healed because of lack of faith etc)
  • Familiarity ('Just another leg growing')
  • Hype
  • Lack of perseverance (Luke 18:1 - 'not to lose heart')

5. Develop a robust theology to overcome disappointment
  • Offence is a breeding ground for unbelief and toxic to a faith filled community (John the Baptist - Matthew 11:6)
  • Work through your own pain and disappointments (Paul - 2 Corinthians 11:25)
  • Focus not on what God hasn't done but on what He has, not on what He isn't doing but on what He is,
  • Simple theology 'God is good, devil is bad. God can use bad for good but he doesn't want bad' (thief comes to kill, steal and destroy - John 10:10)
  • 'I don't know' is sometimes the best and most truthful answer
  • Celebrate others' breakthroughs while waiting for your own
  • Care for the individual - at least leave 5 of them feeling loved by God and you!

6. How to pray for breakthrough
  • Ask the person what's wrong and if they have pain
  • Tell stories to build faith
  • Ask if you can lay hands 
  • Heal the sick - don't pray for heal! Matthew 10:8 'heal the sick', Luke 9:2, Luke 10:9. Command sickness to leave, pain to go
  • Command spiritual oppression to leave (Mark 1:34)
  • Ask the person to start moving the part that is injured
  • If they are not healed don't blame God! Blame yourself! "I know that Jesus loves to heal but I'm not seeing as much as I'd like"

Summarised Handout

Heaven Touches Earth - Ungodly Beliefs

  • 3 times when Jesus commissioned the disciples he sent them to preach the good news of the Kingdom, to heal the sick and to set free the spiritually oppressed. Matthew 10:5, Luke 10:17 and Mark 16:15 - 18
  • This is not just for the spiritually elite - it's for all of us. "As the Father sent me so I send you" John 20:21
  • The biblical worldview is a physical world (which we can see) co-existing with a spiritual world (which we usually can't)
  • There are opposing worldviews in the church......
  1. Christian headinthesandism - if I ignore it, it won't bother me. Solution - wake up! Jesus did not ignore it - He set free the oppressed, challenged ungodly beliefs and bound up the broken hearted.
  2. Christian annoying superspiritualism - everything is an issue, demon behind every bush etc. If you sneeze they try to cast it out of you. If you've had a hard day they ask you about your father. Solution - stop it.

What Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection
  • ......God's power was released (I Corinthians 1:18)
  • ....salvation (completeness, wholeness) was won (1 Corinthians 1:18)
  • .....our old self was crucified - all habitual sins beaten (Romans 6, Galatians 6:14)
  • .....we were reconciled to each other and God - hatred defeated (Ephesians 2:16)
  • .....the record of debt against us was cancelled (Colossians 2:14)
  • .....the enemy was disarmed and defeated (Colossians 2:15)
  • ......physical, spiritual and emotional healing came (1 Peter 2:24)
Through Christ's resurrection our identity was transformed
  • are now IN CHRIST (John 14:20) which speaks of intimacy with god, Peace and comfort,power to bring God's Kingdom.
  • are now HEAVENLY CITIZENS (Philippians 3:20) which means you have access to heavens resources and changes your perspective on life.
  • are now A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD (1 John 3:1) which means you have access to FATHER-KING and have privilege of ministering to Him and for Him.
  • are now AMBASSADORS (2 Corinthians 5:20) which means we carry within us the reconciling message of God. What a purpose! What honour!

Dealing with Ungodly Beliefs
  • An ungodly belief is any belief, decision, attitude, agreement that does not agree with God - his word, his nature or his character. Everyone to some extent lives out of false beliefs about God, themselves, and others.
  • Becoming a Christian destroys many of these lies but many more are left intact and need to be brought into line with gospel truth. Paul was well aware of this which is why he wrote "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." Romans 12:2
  • James also referenced the duality when he wrote "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the red sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:6 - 8
  • Until an ungodly belief is pointed out to us,it can be completely hidden. Most ungodly beliefs are a mixture of truth and error.

How do we develop ungodly beliefs?
  • Usually through childhood hurt and trauma.
  • The ungodly beliefs that develop depends on the personality make-up of the child.
  • Some ungodly beliefs form from actual parental training - 'son, trust no-one, etc
  • Ungodly beliefs in our culture often come through educational system or T.V. These are held as 'unquestioned' authorities by many children and adults.
  • Repetition of hurts reinforce the ungodly belief. We become 'sensitive' and almost 'look for' the things that reinforce the ungodly belief.
  • Areas of ungodly beliefs are rejection, guilt/shame, performance, control, physical identity, safety, retaliation and relationships. There are Godly truths for each of these.

Ungodly judgements and vows
  • Some ungodly beliefs take the form of vows and judgements. Often we make these early in life.
  • Jesus warns against making vows but I say to you, "Do not take an oath at all.....let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil." Matthew 5:37
  • Jesus warns against making judgements "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the ,measure you use it will be measured to you." Matthew 7:1 - 5 and Matthew 15:4 
  • Vows and judgements don't have to be spoken to have power - they can simply be thoughts 'held tightly'. Vows take ungodly beliefs to the next level and locks us in.
  • Ungodly judgements have a particular way of 'working themselves out' in someones life. e.g. the guy who judged his controlling mother marries a controlling wife.
  • Remember judging means to 'judge so as to condemn' and is different from discerning good from evil (Romans 12:2)  If I judge I end up feeling superior and have contempt whereas I can discern and yet still love and honour.
  • We walk into freedom as we identify the ungodly belief, repent of it (chose to change our thinking) and ask the Holy Spirit to speak into our spirits the truth. the Holy Spirit's job is to 'lead us into truth.'

Summarised handout

Meet Helen Wells

Helen Wells

It was good seeing Jake Wells and his bride of 8 months Helen at Ebenezer Training Centre out in Kezi recently. Jake is the son of good friends of ours Mark and Heather Wells who have moved from Oakham, U.K to Zimbabwe. Jake and Helen came out to spend 2 weeks with their parents. I managed to chat to Helen and this is what she said.........

M.M: Where do you live in the U.K?
H.W: Oakham

M.M: How long have you and Jake been married?
H.W: 8 months now

M.M: What work do you do back home?
H.W: I'm into teaching Health and Social Care

M.M: Which church do you fellowship?
H.W: Stanford Life Church led by Adam Bradley

M.M: Who has influenced you the most?
M.M: My grandfather. He set an example of what a good christian man should be and how to look after family.

M.M: Amazing. Any books you've read recently that are of interest?
H.W: I've been reading books on Marriage and seeing how important communication and friendship are in a marriage.

M.M: If you had to travel anywhere in the world, where would your dream destination be?
H.W: Maldives

M.M: I don't know much about the Maldives but I'm sure it's beautiful! What's your favourite quote?
H.W: Choose your battles carefully

M.M: I agree! If this is your first time in Zimbabwe, what are your impressions?
H.W: I am pleasantly surprised. Harare is busy and hectic while Bulawayo is more relaxed and easy going. It's very nice and I can see why Mark and Heather chose Bulawayo.

M.M: As you head home and meet up with all your friends, what would be the first things you tell them about Zimbabwe?
H.W: I'd encourage people to come to Zimbabwe and not to listen to what people say i.e. worries and concerns.

M.M: Great meeting you Helen and chatting to you. Enjoy your time in Zimbabwe and have a safe trip back to the U.K.

By Molly Manhanga

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Heaven Touches Earth - Healing Heart Wounds

........particularly when others disappoint us

Matthew 18:21 - 35

1. Understand the extent that we have been forgiven
  • Our immense un-payable debt of sin has been forgiven BY GRACE (v24 & 27).
  • Exodus 25:21 - 22 "And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony (law) that I shall give you...........there I will meet you.......above the mercy seat." 
  • "God has moved us from the level of law up to the level of grace." John Arnott
  • God deals with sin so thoroughly that we never run into it again v27
  • Psalm 103:11 "as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us."
  •  Jesus deals with the sin and the sin-nature that caused it.
  • 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
  • When sickness is rooted in sin it is also dealt with (note: not all sickness is a result of sin John 9:2)
  • Matthew 9:2 "he said to the paralytic, 'take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven."

2. Understand the extent that we are called to forgive
  • Our own forgiveness is tied to our willingness to forgive others Matthew 18:35
  • Our forgiveness is not to be surface level but from the heart Matthew 18:35
  • Our forgiveness is to extend repeatedly - it's not optional Matthew 18:21
  • Our forgiveness must extend until we can truly love and bless those who have wronged us "forgiveness = cut/release"
  • If we do not forgive we deliver ourselves to the tormentors Matthew 18:34
  • When we refuse to forgive we move ourselves back to the level of the law.
  • Our forgiveness must extend to ourselves Matthew 22:39 "love your neighbour as yourself".
  • "If you don't love yourself then God help your neighbour." Peter Jackson

3. Understand what forgiveness is not
  • Letting time pass
  • Being a door-mat or enabling an abuser
  • Dependant on feelings (but it does involve feelings)
  • Minimising ("the offense was not bad")
  • Excusing ("the offender wasn't to blame")

4. Understand how to forgive - the process of forgiveness
Matthew 18:34 "if you don not forgive your brother from your heart." So the Holy Spirit has convicted me that I have not forgiven someone 'from the heart' what should I do?
  • Acknowledge the offence - get in touch with your feelings. Do not minimise or excuse.
  • Express your feelings to the person as if they were standing there in front of you. If it helps write them down first. Think about what effect their sin has had on you or others and tell them.
  • Speak forgiveness to them for this sin. Picture Jesus in front of you and hand the debt over to Him.
  • Tell God that you give up your right to judge, condemn or get revenge.
  • Speak the truth to yourself to replace the lies. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak truth to you.
  • Bless the person and ask that God will forgive them.

  1. For some people who have sinned against you extensively you will have to repeat this process as the Holy Spirit brings other things back to memory that you have not forgiven 'from the heart'.
  2. Sometimes you will know that you also need to go and speak to the person to challenge their behaviour.
  3. When you are in a relationship with someone who repeatedly sins against you, you will have to learn to lay down healthy boundaries and possibly even withdraw from the relationship. You can still do this while loving and forgiving.
5. Understand some lies that keep us from forgiving
  • The offence was too great - the pain is too deep.
  • I should withhold forgiveness until they ask for forgiveness - or they'll do it again.
  • Forgiving someone will make me look/feel weak.
  • It's too easy for them and unfair on me.
  • If I forgive then I'm acting like a hypocrite because I don't feel forgiveness.
  • I can't forgive because I will never be able to forget.
  • God has wronged me - I need to forgive him
The truth is that God can heal the wound. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing. The desire to look strong and superior is pride. Pride will keep you in bondage. just as it was easy for you to be forgiven by Jesus but costly for him. do you really want fair? I'm a hypocrite if I don't forgive because my real nature as a child of God is a forgiver like my Father. I may not forget the wrong but will no longer remember the 'sting'. God cannot do wrong. you can express your feelings of pain though (e.g. Psalm 22) but try to end in a good place of giving praise and expressing trust in Him.

Adapted from Diane Spencer and Mary Jane Hall

Summarised handout

Thembalezizwe Church - Elders in place......

About 200 people gathered this morning at Thembalezizwe Church in Trenance to witness the ordination of 3 elders: Tapiwa Chizana, Michael Ndlovu and Taurai sithole. The guest speaker was Mbonisi Malaba, leader of New Creation Church as well as leader of the apostolic team serving in the Matabeleland Sphere. Mbonisi, better known as Bones shared from Titus 1:5 and told the story from 1 Samuel 14:1 - 25 on following and leading. Bones said that every person is a follower as well as a leader.
Leader: look to see who is following you otherwise you are simply taking a walk. Otherwise, lead yourself, your family, your children, your community.

Lessons learnt from the story on following:
  1. Trust those who are leading.
  2. Follow with all your heart and soul: people can be there (in church) but not there (mind is elsewhere) whilst sitting in church. If Thembalezizwe wants to transform lives, communities and nations, the people need to be there heart and soul.
  3. 100% commitment. Do or die! The armour bearer was willing to risk his life.

Jesus was a great follower.

1 Timothy 5:17 - 20 "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the scripture says ' Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages.' Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning."

Be behind your leaders both hert and soul! Elders are appointed for leadership in the church and are worthy of double honour. Everything is double! What does this look like practically? What does it mean?
v17 - 18: make sure the ox is eating. As a church, be ready to take responsibility and make sure that the elders are eating. As we appoint Elders, ask them if they are eating. Do they have enough to serve the church?

v19 - 20: People like stories. Their ears 'prick' up! Don't entertain an accusation against the leadership God has put in place. Matthew 18

There is a saying that the fastest way to get news around the world is:
  • by telephone
  • by telegraph
  • by telewoman (tell a woman!) Oops, sorry ladies - just kidding!!!!
The point here is that we don't want a church

with 'telechristians'. Speak positively about your leaders and if you feel there are areas they can improve on, speak to them directly. Show your leaders double honour!

After his message, Mbonisi ordained Tapiwa Chizana, Michael Ndlovu and Taurai Sithole as Elders of Thembalezizwe Church. It was an excellent service.

Summarised by Molly Manhanga