Aug

26

Scared child

As imperfect humans living in an imperfect world, we go through a lot.  Trials, problems, injustices.  And as Christians it can be even more difficult, swimming against the currents of the world, battling against attacks of the enemy.

But James tells us to be patient and not lose heart.  Like the farmer who plants and then waits patiently for harvest, “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” (James 5:8)

I needed to be reminded of this today.  It’s not like we don’t already know this – that we need to be patient and keep the faith when things get tough and prayers seem to go unanswered.  But for me, I tend to forget as time marches on and pressures, doubts and fears try to push their way in.

Patience is such an important part of faith.  It’s what keeps our faith engaged while we’re waiting on God.  Patience is to faith what our feet are to the brakes in our cars.  Obviously we keep pressing until our cars come to a complete stop.

Yet it’s not always so obvious when it comes to faith – at least not for me anyways.

Earlier this week I saw a great video segment from Andy Stanley.  He spoke about our current presidential race how people are becoming weary of everything that is going on.  He reminds us not to grow weary, to remember that we worship a God who is bigger than all of this and in always control.

And I love this – he tells us to “Stop scaring the children!”  That’s exactly what our lack of faith does.  It gives the next generation a pretty bleak picture – one of doom and gloom and an impotent, uncaring God.

James goes on to remind us that we have seen and heard of the Lord’s dealings, that we already know for a fact that God is full of compassion and is merciful (v11).  James gives the examples of Job and the prophets who endured trials with patience, persistence and prayer.  These are great examples to be encouraged by.

But they also remind me that I have examples in my own life…and you do as well.  Testimonies big and small of when God showed up, came through, answered prayer, full of compassion and mercy.

We just need to remain patient and keep the faith for as long as it takes.  And stop scaring the children!

What do you find yourself praying the most about these days?

Praying that you will remain patient and full of faith as your prayers are answered.

Jul

6

 

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God doesn’t judge the way the world does, based on possessions, power, influence or fame.  Instead, He looks at how we love and how we demonstrate that love through the simple day-to-day things.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “ Matthew 25:37-40

In this parable Jesus’ message is clear –how we love others and respond to their needs is how we love and serve God Himself.  They are one and the same.

Food for the hungry.  A drink for the thirsty.  Welcoming a stranger.  Clothing the naked.  Comforting the sick.  Visiting the lonely or imprisoned.

What these acts have in common is that they are simple – things that any one of us can do.  They are also things that only the person being helped will notice.

Notice in this parable that those serving didn’t realize it was Christ they were serving.  “When did we do that?” they asked.  Winning His favor wasn’t their motivation.  Instead their motivation was to serve purely out of love for others, even the least of them.  As a result, their attitudes and actions were credited to them as righteousness.

Continuing on in the parable, you’ll see that those who didn’t help others, who may have had they known it was Christ they were serving, were separated out and judged as having the wrong heart, wrong motives and wrong actions.

Our Father is delighted when we love and help others without expecting anything in return.  That’s how we experience the pure joy of serving.

And we needn’t think we have to do everything, fix everything or give everything that we have.  That is not the goal.  The goal is simply to love others well, and it’s the simple things can make such a difference!

Lord, please help me to be present in each moment, and to notice the people and needs around me.  Show me how to help in the simple ways that reflect your love each and every day.  Amen.

 

May

30

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I love the Psalms because they are so raw, authentic, and passionate.

They show us that we have a God who cares about us and wants to share in our triumphs and pains, in our hopes and fears.  He loves our praise, but He’s also ok with our cries, complaints and rants.
God wants it all.  That’s what being in relationship is all about.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.  In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”  Psalm 56:3-4

David was crying out to God because he was being pursued by his enemies.  He was feeling weary, discouraged, and fearful from fighting all day long.  And notice that he doesn’t say “if” I am afraid, but “when.”  Because it happens.  It happened to him, it happens to me all the time.

Like David, I have felt exhausted and battle weary at times.  I have felt trampled, hurt by naysayers and scared by doomsdayers in my life.  While I may not have actual soldiers chasing me with their swords glinting in the sun, my enemy (and yours) is even tougher, craftier and more persistent.

When negative comments and thoughts about myself and the world around me make me feel insecure, inadequate, and afraid that’s a sure sign that I’m putting my trust in something other than God.

Fear is a red flag that I’ve taken my focus off of God.

I love how David rallies his courage in this Psalm.  He remembers that he belongs to God and that God is with him.  He puts his trust in God and trust is the “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” 

God wants us to place our trust in him – only him.
Anything short of that is actually idolatry…ouch!

So David turns his worries into praise, and he conquers his fears knowing that God has his back (and front and sides…)  As David strengthens himself in the Lord he realizes that no one and nothing can harm him or prevent him from fulfilling God’s purposes.

God will deliver him from the hands of his enemies, and God will deliver us as well.

Our fears stem from a lack of trust.
Not trusting that God has our backs.
Not trusting that God is with us.
Not trusting that God is speaking and that we’re hearing His will.
Too often, we listen to the voices of our enemy instead.

Where are you placing your trust right now?
Lord, please show me what it looks like to trust You in each area of my life.

May

2

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Do you have any cares these days?
I know I sure do.  Cares about family, work, friends, what’s going on in the world around me… yet God tells us to cast our burdens, cast our cares upon Him.

“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”  Psalm 55:22, NASB

The Lord tells us to give these cares over to Him and let Him take care of them.  He encourages us and states that He will carry the weight, freeing us up to simply trust in Him.

He invites us to look to Him as our sustenance, our provider, the one in control of all things. My cares aren’t silly or trivial to Him, because I’m not silly or trivial to Him.  And the same goes for you!

If you have children, think about a time when they lost their favorite toy, stressed out about a test, or worried about being asked to the dance.  While none of these signaled the end of the world, it felt that way to them.  And you cared about it because you care so deeply for them.

Big or small, our burdens matter to God because we matter to God!

God’s promise is that He will never let the righteous be shaken.  That’s me.  I’m righteous, so this promise is for me.

And if you trust Christ as your Savior then this promise is for you as well.

Righteousness doesn’t mean doing everything right, rather it means being in a right relationship with God, and that happens when our sins are forgiven through Christ.

Picture placing your burdens on a hook at the end of a long fishing line.  Now cast that line as far as you can.  Watch it flying farther and farther until it hits the water with a “kerplunk.”

See that bobber thingy floating way out there? Say yes…

Now cut the line! 

As you cast your cares unto the Lord, resist that urge to reel them back in and trust. . .

Apr

21

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Each of us holds something in our hands.
Whether it an opportunity, a hurt, or a gift we all are holding something and often we don’t even realize what it is.

I remember a season in my life where what was in my hand was not flattering, it was offense.  I had been hurt, deeply hurt by another and yet because it wasn’t “proper” to be angry so I stuffed it.

I buried it so deep within me that I did not see it.

But over time, it became apparent to those close to me that something was wrong and thankfully…. they shared.  This allowed me to do the introspective work I needed to do to get right. To forgive.
To move on and be free.

I encourage you to look at what is in your hands.
Don’t wait for someone (if they dare) to question you about it, check for yourself right now.

Are you clutching something in desperation?
Gripping something in anger?
Or loosely holding something in an open palm?
and then figure out . . .  what is it?

God has given us one life to live.

Create your life to be a gift to others – one that builds up, supports, strengthens, and gives.
I promise, choosing life is something you will never regret!

 

Ignite South Africa is a nonprofit org in Michigan and South Africa with a mission to model, equip, and ignite godly leaders.  If you want to be a part of this mission, check out ways you can join us on our website.

 

Mar

7

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“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6.

Moses is telling Israel that they will be going on without him, but not to fear because the Lord will be with them. If it isn’t scary enough to head into unknown enemy territory, imagine charging ahead when the leader you’ve come to know and trust is staying behind. I’d be afraid for sure! But this reminds me of how often we look to other people or other things for safety and security when we should really be looking to the Lord.

Next Moses summons Joshua, who will be the new leader, and basically gives him the same message. I imagine that Joshua was feeling pretty fearful and inept for the sudden promotion, especially with all eyes on him. So Moses tells him to be strong and courageous.

Sure, it’s one thing to say it, but how do you actually do it? How do you just be strong and courageous? How do you trade fear for courage, and trembling for strength?

Moses goes on to remind Joshua of God’s purpose for him – that he’s been called by God to lead Israel forward. And if God calls us to do something, we can be certain that He’ll give us what we need to carry it out.

Next Moses reminds Joshua of God’s promise – that the Lord Himself has sworn this land to Israel. And we can be sure that if God makes a promise, it’s guaranteed because He is faithful and never goes back on His word.

Then Moses focuses on God’s presence – affirming that the Lord will go before them and with them. Here I picture God Himself clearing the path and being someone we can rely on each step of the way.

Lastly, Moses reminds Joshua of God’s permanence – that He’ll never fail, forsake or leave. God is with us always, even when others step out of the picture for whatever reason.

These truths are why we should have no fear, but these truths are also the how. They are how we can trade fear for courage in any situation. By remembering God’s purpose, promises, presence and permanence we can rewire our thinking. By turning our focus from the scary situation to God Himself we can dissolve our fears causing courage and strength to rise up within us.

What would you do if you were not afraid?

Feb

5

FP Team 3x6

Back row L to R: Constance, Moeketsi, Nefthali, Thabang, Phillip, Sipho, Aaron, Moeti, Dudu and Busisiwe.  Front row: Sibongile, Martha, Nnini, and Nthabiseng.

God is taking our staff team on a journey where they are learning to specialize in areas, as well as individually mentor new volunteers.  Let me share:

Busisiwe Mosia our Director of Flashpoint for the past four years continues to  use  her leadership and collaboration with the schools to strengthen our team and expand our opportunities within Qwa Qwa.

Moeti Moloi is our Volunteer Coordinator and also works in our Discipleship program.  His gift of leadership and encouragement supports his fellow coaches. He is mentoring Constance as a CIT and Nefthali in our Discipleship program.

Aaron Sibaya as Administrative Support ensures all coaches have what they need for schools and encourages them along the way.  Aaron is mentoring Sipho.

Thabang Tshabalala as our Data Specialist works to compile, input, and report our data results twice yearly.  In addition, after reviewing results will propose ways in which we could improve our program.  Thabang is mentoring Moeketsi.

Nnini Sibeko as Administrator and Conference Organiser uses her gifts to organize attendance, events and assists all staff wherever needed. Nnini is mentoring Phillip.

Martha is our Writer and storyteller.  Her goal is to help you experience our Flashpoint program and classes through a variety of mediums. Martha is mentoring Nthabiseng.

Sibongile as Environmental Specialist sets the mood by preparing our environment both physically and with song/worship.  Sibongile is a gifted vocalist and is mentoring Dudu.

We are thrilled to see our coaches step into these new roles knowing it is a small part of the God-miracle that is unfolding this year.  In addition, we are delighted to welcome our seven volunteers who joined us for training.  We pray their time with us is fruitful, fulfilling, and God-willing may they join us as permanent team members in the future.

 

Jan

18

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Have you ever felt what you had to offer wasn’t enough?

Whether it was you, your knowledge, talents, abilities, or financial gifts.  Whatever it was, you just felt lacking and when you looked at others you felt poor- poor in gifts, poor in talents, poor in stuff.

If that sounds familiar, I’m here to tell you that you aren’t alone.
This is a key device the enemy uses to keep us from sharing ourselves and our resources to build God’s Kingdom.

Yet God tells us something different…

While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Luke 21: 1-4

You may not be rich as the world sees it, but you are rich according to God’s standards.
He has equipped you with everything you need and called YOU a gift to the body.
Perhaps the gift you are to share today is a quick email to encourage, a smile to brighten the day, some kind of physical help, or a financial gift. . .

Regardless of the size of the gift, we are called to share of ourselves, our talents, and our stuff.
So today, rather than giving from your abundance give from your lack.  

If you lack joy share a smile, if you are disappointed speak encouragement to someone, if you don’t have enough give a token offering and watch God bring the increase!

He is able and has created you as a perfect gift to His Body!

 

Dec

15

Have you let fear overcome your life, alter your dreams, or cloud your passion?

Has your purpose in life become so distant you no longer remember what it is?
It is vital you remember that you have Unlimited Potential.
How do I know that? Because God designed you that way and lives in you!

In Exodus 4:11-12 we find Moses questioning God’s plan for him and this is the Lord’s reply, “Who makes mouths?” the Lord asked him. “Who makes people so they can speak or not speak, hear or not hear, see or not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and do as I have told you. I will help you speak well, and I will tell you what to say.”

God called Moses from his hiding spot in the mountains to lead during a crucial time. Because of past failings Moses felt inadequate.  It was only by faith in the True God- the One who forgives, equips, provides wisdom, and directs paths, that he was able to accomplish all he did.

Moses did not need to fear Pharaoh or any of the Egyptian army because God filled him with the unlimited potential he needed to overcome and journey to the promised land.

Just like Moses, God has forgiven, equipped, filled us with wisdom, and is directing us today by His Unlimited Potential.

His very Spirit inside of us.

So, when considering your God-purpose look not to yourself because you are right, you cannot do it.
However, Christ-in-you can accomplish all things (Phil. 4:13).

So today. . .
Strip off every weight that slows you down and any sin causing you to stumble.  Run the race He has set before you while keeping your eyes on Jesus on whom your faith depends on.

Ready. Set. GO!

Dec

11

Palesa #2

 Mofokeng Palesa Olga: My Life Story 

A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.

A lot of good aspects that made me to become who I am today are passion, dedication and commitment. When I was growing up I was a young girl who was always passionate about schoolwork and I was very committed to it. I faced many challenges before I got to where I am today but I never gave up because of dedication that I had. All the challenges that I face growing up I had to conquer them because I knew that life is not a bed of roses and there is no smooth sailing in life.

All the hard work I did shaped my life because I finally got to where I have always wanted to be and that is in this matric (grade 12) class. I am a girl who always puts her books first and making education my first priority because we all know that education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world. Receiving a trophy for the overall performer when I was doing grade 8 was the biggest thing in my life, that trophy motivated me to do better and achieve great things. It was a blessing in disguise.

A wise man once said there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs and that is exactly what I did to get to where I am today. I worked very hard.

The bad aspects that challenged me while growing up was losing my mom. I lost her while I was only in grade 8 and that was very painful. I felt like the death of my mom was to show that the world had turned against me. My mom was my role model because she was a very strong woman who never let anything get her down. I felt like giving up and it was like the earth could open up and swallow me.

When I was about to give up, I thought about all the promises I made to my mom when she was still alive. I promised her to become a physiotherapist so that I can plough back to the community and build her a big house so that they can be proud of me. Her death made me to be even more determined so that I can fulfill my promises. I always knew that what doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger. Loosing a parent is a painful experience but it taught me that after loosing a parent; life gets even tougher and all I have to do is face it. I wanted to give up but I couldn’t give up because I wanted my mother to be proud of me where she was, The Almighty God helped me with His grace to make my mother proud because I am now doing grade 12 and well my future looks bright because in the next four years I will be a physiotherapist. My mother’s death made me even stronger and face all my challenges without fearing anything.

What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger, dedication and determination got me to be where I am. It always seems to be impossible until it’s done but with God anything is possible.

A lot of people wanted to see me fall and fail but it never got me down because I knew that failure is just a success in progression and a wise man builds a foundation with bricks that are thrown at him and that is exactly what I did. I took those people’s words and used them to be my motivation in life and reach for the sky like an eagle because the sky is the limit.

Just like Nelson Mandela said, after climbing a great hill there are many more hills to climb. What I have learnt in life is that people will always talk whether you are doing good or bad, so that also made me to ignore all the things that people said in order to get me down.

Never allow people to make you feel inferior without your consent.
A wise man is a man who builds a foundation with the bricks thrown at him.