Wednesday, August 31, 2016

When Women Meet In Fellowship The Glory of God Descends

We met at the airport and I could not contain my joy in being part of the group of women traveling to Lilongwe, Malawi for the conference of The Baptist Women's Union of Southern Africa.

Our flight was for 1pm on the 7th of August, to arrive in Lilongwe at 6pm. From Lilongwe we took a hired bus to Kamuzu Academy, situated in an area called Kasungu. Kasungu is two hours drive from Lilongwe airport. We arrived at Kamuzu Academy around 9pm, just as the opening session was about half way. Even in the night we could tell that we had indeed come to a beautiful place!

The theme for the conference, 'Arise Shine', was taken from Isaiah 60:1, 'Arise, shine, for the glory of the Lord has risen upon you'.

Our President, Mrs. Joina Dhlula, opened the Word for us by sharing from Ecclesiastes 11:1-2. She encouraged us to work hard; not just in our homes, or in our professional lives, but more so in the business of the Lord. We are to 'cast our bread across the waters (cast our lives, trades) beyond', and watch how the Lord will transform not just us, but also the lives of those we minister God's word to. When our lives are transformed, the lives of those around us can also be transformed.

We also heard of powerful testimonies to the glory of God. One was from a woman active in ministry in a remote village. She spoke of how when traveling in those hazardous roads, was miraculously delivered from two near- fatal accidents which all accrued within a couple of hours.

The other testimony was given by a woman whose first two babies died at nine months, after developing an incurable tummy swelling problem. She had to stop breastfeeding the children that came later, so they could live.

Counseling sessions also happened concurrently after the Word had been preached and taught through topics such as 'Coping with grief', and 'Dealing with matters of heart by tackling unforgiveness'.

Women were also empowered through a workshop, teaching how to use their hands and creativity to 'eradicate extreme poverty and hunger' within their communities.

To break the strain of listening to sermons and teachings, women would break out in song and dance. To say that the African woman can dance, is a statement that denies justice to what we witnessed and took part in. We danced the Malawian style, the Zambian twist, the Zimbabwean jive, the Botswana shake and the South African jiggle!

All in all, we had an all-rounded, short two day, conference that left us fully satisfied and equipped to go back to our communities and continue doing business and ministry to the glory of God! 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Are You Prayed Up

Are you prayed up for that important task before you? It could be a job interview you are to attend; it could be travel to a distant land; or it could be planning for a much anticipated for wedding? Have you spend enough time in prayer about the task ahead of you?

Why pray? Will it change anything about the task? Nothing will most likely change! But what will be affected by your prayer will be the quality of the outcome of the task before you.
You may have your job interview and succeed in getting the job but ending up wishing you never got it in the first place. Staying power, satisfaction can only be achieved through prayer!

There are unseen events that can suddenly happen across your path as you travel, or as you start enjoying your marriage. Prepare for such, by praying before the event. And stay prayed up, to encounter the unforeseen with God’s strength and wisdom.

When the Lord Jesus started on His mission here on earth, He chose for Himself twelve disciples. They were all different in nature, background and professions. Each one of them was to play a special role in the Master’s ministry here on earth. That also included Judas Iscariot who was to later betray the Him. But all this had been prayed for, the night before choosing these disciples. And in the course of His interaction with the disciples and the people who needed ministering to, Jesus continued to withdraw to solitary places to seek His Father’s strength and wisdom. He stayed ‘prayed up’.

So dear friend, whatever it is you are planning for today, tomorrow or for the future, stay prayed up! God will guide you as you interact with Him in prayer. God bless you.

The Twelve Apostles – Luke 6

12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Praying for the Foundations of our Nation

I was given a prayer slot at one of our Intercessors’ meeting, and this is how I led us into prayer.
Psalm 11:3 reads, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

What are the foundations in our nation that the Enemy is destroying? Can we like Nehemiah pray and rebuild these foundations?
1. The early learning childhood foundation
• Pray over the cartoons our children are watching on Television.
• Pray for parental wisdom in the things we choose to feed the little minds of our babies on.
• Pray for godly baby minders. There is a need to coordinate a special training for such baby minders.
• Pray for the facilities that provide early learning developing in children, for example the nursery schools, crèches, and Early Childhood Development (ECD) classes.
• Pray for the teachers, facilitators and caregivers.
• Pray for good relationships between parents and grandparents, to foster good, positive input on the children.
• Pray for the adoption of parental classes in our churches.
• Pray for the Family Life ministries in our churches.
• Pray for single parents in the church; to have a godly influence on their children.

2. The School system for our children and young people
• Pray for godliness in teachers and school authorities.
• Pray for more influence of the church in the schools.
• Pray in particular for Christian organisation to maintain their ministries in schools; for example Scripture Union, Navigators, Life Ministry, Campus Crusade for Christ, among many.

3. The Biblical Foundation of our nation
• Pray for Bible colleges and Theological colleges; for example Domboshawa Theological College, Harare Theological College and Bulawayo Theological College.
• Pray for Universities to add in their Curriculum (if they don’t have already), degrees in Theology, Bible Training and Christian Counseling / Care Giving.
• Pray for the Universities:-
o University of Zimbabwe
o Bindura University
o Women’s University
o Catholic University
o Midlands State University
o Africa University
o Chinhoyi University
o National University of Science and Technology
o Zimbabwe Open University
o Great Zimbabwe University
• Pray for God-fearing men and women to hold positions as Vice Chancellors, Principals, Administrators, Professors and Lecturers.
• Pray for the inclusion of godly Counselors in the educational and career systems.
• Pray for the inclusion of a mentoring system in our churches, colleges and universities. To promote positive role modelling on our young people.
• Pray for the implementation of projects that will take our young people from off the street pavements and to productiveness. For example the Mufakose project, where they are clearing dump sites and turning them into community sports centres.

4. The Workplace
• Pray for godly influences in our work places.
• Bind the evil spirits that lure and trap our young people into alcoholism, fornication and promiscuity. They are being trapped through the offer of job opportunities and promotions.
• Bind the evil spirits of Satanism, as our young people are being lured into special and private clubs, again, for job opportunities and promotions.
God has given us believers the anointing to break every yoke that binds us and our young people.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing. Isaiah 10:27

God has perfected us through the cleansing by the blood of Jesus Christ and empowered us to pray with results!
The effective prayer of a righteous person availeth much. James 5:16b

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thankful For You All

There are people who have come into our lives and contributed to who we are today. I am deeply thankful to them.

Many years ago when I was in my second pregnancy, my husband (then), was promoted to a senior position and moved to another town to head the division there. I was to wait until my maternity leave, to resign from my job and join him in his new location. When the time came, I resigned as planned, but we both decided that I should have the baby first before moving. Good thinking; to avoid unnecessary stress for me in my late months of pregnancy.

When the baby was a month old, I started making plans to relocate and join my husband. That was when the drama began! Apparently, in the short five months he had been in the new town, he had managed to get himself a live-in girlfriend and also got her pregnant. She was two months pregnant! I was his wife with two children, one five years old and the other one month old. But if I were to proceed with moving to him, it meant that I would have to battle it out with his pregnant girlfriend. He claimed to have the situation 'under control'; but after many sleepless nights, I decided to stay put and cry out my marriage with unceasing pain.

Finally, I pulled myself up and decided to go to my old boss. I had resigned, but I was hoping for a favor. He heard my story and sympathised with me and gave me my old job back. Apparently, they had recruited a temp to hold my old job while I was on maternity leave, and they had not as yet placed someone permanently. To this day, I am eternally grateful for that boss. I continued working and was able to raise my two boys.
I am also a woman of significant standing in the Church. Again, many years ago when I eagerly feasted on the word of God and grew in my involvement in the Church, a position was opened for me to serve in a prestigious committee. I was so excited about that prospect, and praised God for noticing my zeal. However, that prospect was soon short-lived. For someone prominent, raised an alarm - "what committee are we, if we are to allow a single mother to serve in our midst"?

My dreams were shattered, my faith was shattered. I became so disgruntled that I actually stopped going to church altogether. I could not even bring myself to take my children to Sunday school; something they enjoyed so much.

Two women played a significant role during my turbulent four months out of church. One was from a new church I had just started attending and the other was from the church I had run away from. They both counseled me tirelessly and no doubt persistently prayed for me. At the new church, they advised me to go back to my old church and make peace with those who had wronged me and then come and join them, should I still wished to. I made peace and went back to my old church. They did not let me into their prestigious committee but I no longer struggled with their short-sightedness. Many years later when these ladies were either gone or too old to serve, I became the chairlady of that same prestigious committee. And I am still a single mother; the God type of a single mother! God makes all things beautiful in His time.

I dare say that over the years, God has sent many more women and men, along my path, both to help me up and to put me down. And I am totally thankful for all of them. Because without these, I wouldn't be the God-fearing and God-honoring woman I am today!

Fan into flame the spiritual gift God gave you. For God did not give you a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6-7

Friday, June 17, 2016

Integrity - A Rare Gem In Our Day

Have you ever driven a car that breaks down ever so often? You wake up late one morning and get into a panic, rushing around so you can make it to work in time. Then when you start your car engine, what happens? The car will not start! You crank it a couple of times, but with the same result. How frustrating! And it is also at such times that you cannot catch a lift with your neighbors, because they are long gone anyway.

Both my stove and fridge are over thirty years old. I know that for a fact; because my second son is thirty two, and I bought those two household items before he was born! They were times in the past when I could have replaced them with newer models; but I have carried this principle that says, "If it isn’t broken, why throw it away". Then as time moved on, I also discovered that the newer models had a very short life span. So I hung on to my old models. Now with our economy as bad as it has become, I am hanging on very dearly to my stove and fridge, earnestly praying that they will not give in; because if they do, I will not be able to afford to replace them. The stove is no longer shiny but the oven still bakes beautiful cakes; and the fridge has been to be cleaned more regularly. But I just love my golden oldies!

Are you in a marriage, friendship, relationship, that has survived some stormy years? Give thanks to God for that blessing. Hold dearly to such relationships; they are now a rare gem. I have a niece who helps in the house once in a while. And since mine is not a permanent job for her, she sometimes works in other places. We have been good to each other over the years; but we have also had sharp disagreements, resulting in painful partings. But despite all this, whenever I get into a tight spot, she is one of the first persons to come rushing to my help. Her heart has never gone cold towards me; nor has mine.

God's word calls us to be this loving and caring towards one another, and forgiving each other's trespasses. This is the only way we can promote integrity between spouses, family members, friends, and in the community at large.

"Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other". Romans 12:9-10

Friday, May 6, 2016

Young People and Alcohol Abuse

One thing that has made my heart soar is to watch how much alcoholic beverages our young people are consuming nowadays. The newer they are to the beverages, the more they seem to consume; the intention mainly to demonstrate to their colleagues just how much more they can consume.

At one time, coming from a business conference, a young man sitting across the aisle in the plane ordered a bottle of some alcoholic beverage from the air hostess; raised the bottle in a toast to his friends nearby and gulped down the contents before the hostess could even offer him a glass!

What made me sad was that this young man was shouting out a toast to friends who looked sober and were busy preoccupied on their phones to catch up on some news or messages. They also looked better dressed than him, and even healthier. He obviously was an educated guy, in order for him to have been part of the conference; but it was obvious that alcohol was stealing away every bit of decency he used to have.

I used to have a school teacher, who we as students knew to drink one too many during
weekends. But he was one of the best teachers we had in our time. Some twenty years down the road, I was walking past a vegetable market. Somewhere near the public toilet, by a dump site, lay a man on some cardboard boxes, begging for food or coins from passers-by. I wanted to ignore him, but something tagged at my heart. I went to drop one of the bananas I had just bought. As I put it by the dirty path where he was lying, my eyes looked at him. I wasn't sure; but I went away with the distinct feeling that I had met this man before. I think that from the recess of my heart, I uttered a small prayer for this wretched man.

A couple of days later, I read in the daily newspaper about a well known professor who had just passed away. I remembered the name as that of my old favorite school teacher! But what shook me, was the circumstances under which died. It had rained hard during that week, and the temperatures had dropped severely. The vagrant by vegetable market had crawled to his usual night place, the public toilet, but found it locked up due to some repairs on the drainage system. He had to endure the pouring rain and the cold temperatures all night. That, the booze in his body, the malnutrition, the loneliness and the fever that took its toll on him, was enough to destroy his life to the point of no return. How sad!

This man at one time had a family, a home, a profession, but how all that was traded for the dump site, is a story that can only be told by those who suffered and cautioned him about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

Remembering events nearer home, my cousin died in his early forties from liver cirrhosis. He was a very good man, loving and caring towards his family, with a successful career in his profession. But he drank one too many, too much and he left behind a very young wife and two small children.

Parents, we owe it to our children to live disciplined and exemplary lives. They watch us drink one too many, and when they are grown up they will drink six too many and head towards an early grave. One time I was watching some two small boys from my neighborhood playing. I caught up on their conversation, chatting amicably about their dads. One said, "But why does your father drink beer, when mine doesn't"? The other boy was quick to defend his dad, saying, "the beer my dad drinks is good, it does not make anyone drunk". Right there and then, I felt anger towards the father who was misleading his poor innocent boy, that alcohol was not intoxicating. That boy, when he grew up, would most probably drink himself into oblivion, all the time thinking he had his alcohol consumption under control!

Some Christians argue that the bible does not condemn alcoholism. But does it also condone something with such devastating consequences?

So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be sober. Night is the time for sleep and the time when people get drunk. But let us who live in the light think clearly, protected by the body armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. For God decided to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.
 1 Thessalonians 5:6-9

You can also read the treacherous story of the daughters of Lot, who made their father drunk so they could take advantage of him in his drunken stupor and sleep with him. (Genesis 19:30-38). They wanted him to father their children; a detestable thing he would never have agreed to, had they attempted it while he was sober!

To this day, how many so-called acts of 'bravely' have you heard or read about, which are in reality acts of cowardice, that have been committed under the influence of alcohol?

Monday, April 11, 2016

To Love and Not Be Loved

"Life is like an egg in one's hand. So delicate; so unpredictable". Author unknown.
Have you ever desired something so much; yet every time you think you are within reach, the thing kind of vapors into thin air?

You could be single, and have been waiting and waiting for that far-off marriage proposal which never comes. Or it could be an endless search for a job, which never materialises into anything. For some, it is years and years of trying for a baby, with no success at all.

There is a woman in the Bible, whose name is Leah (Genesis 29). Leah was the daughter of a wealthy man named Laban. She was the eldest of the two daughters. Her only notable feature was her weak eyes, whether in a sexy way or not, the Bible does not say. While she had just that one characteristic, it is said of her younger sister, Rachel, that she was 'beautiful in every way, with a lovely face and shapely figure' (v17).

Given the choice, I would have loved to be a Rachel, who wouldn't? But unfortunately, the truth in life is that while some of us are Rachels, a lot of us are Leahs.

Cousin Jacob was so mesmerised by Rachel's beauty that he offered to work as her father's slave for seven long years, after which he would be rewarded with her hand in marriage. What a romantic story!

But what about weak eyed, older sister Leah? Were there any offers for her, at all, even for one year's service? Absolutely none at all, and how sad!

So at the end of seven years, Laban decided to trick Jacob, by giving him the older sister instead of the younger. He had to get her married off somehow, and this was the only opportunity.

But this arrangement did not go well with Jacob. He was upset; he had worked seven long years for the young beautiful Rachel, not for passed over, dull Leah. So Laban offered to give him Rachel in exchange for another seven long years of service; to which he quickly agreed without any hesitation. This conversation and transaction happened the morning after poor Leah's quiet entry into marriage.

Can you even start to imagine what she must have felt. After spending such a blissful night with her, Jacob quickly dismissed any romance between them, by agreeing to work seven more years for his beloved Rachel. It was good for Rachel to be loved that much, lucky girl! But how painful it must have been for Leah, to suffer such rejection and humiliation on the first morning of sharing the marriage bed with the man she had also come to love for seven years. She had to have known of her father's plan and agreed to it, and both were hoping it would work. They had figured that since Rachel was young and beautiful, she would have no problem getting another suitor.

But relations don't always work out the way we figure, do they? So for Leah, there began a marriage relationships that met the physical partnership, but mostly lacked the companionship of a couple in love.

She was so disappointed in her marriage, that she put her focus on her children; naming them as God opened her womb and closed Rachel’s.
  • 1.     Reuben - because she thought that now that she had a son, maybe her husband           would now love her. It didnt work.
  • 2.     Simeon - another son, maybe this will now work. It didnt.
  • 3.     Levi - three sons, surely my husband and I should be on the same page now. He           wasn't.
  • 4.     Judah - son number four. But this time she no longer yearned for the love of her             husband. She removed her focus from her husband and gave herself over to the           God who ordained marriage. She named her son Judah, (meaning ‘Praise’) and           turned and worshipped God. 

Leah did not walk out on her marriage; she perseved. But her focus changed, from the source of discontentment to the God who would fill every void in her heart.

"I will sing of the tender mercies of the Lord forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Your unfailing love will last forever; Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens”. Psalm 89:1-2

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