What is The State of your Marriage

What is The State of your Marriage

This is the Second Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from A Glimpse of Kingdom Marriage.

Over the years we have met a number of couples struggling in their marriages. In almost all situations we saw a common trend. There are three or four very important things there were not functioning properly or even totally missing in their marriages. Surprisingly these few simple things if included will get rid of more than 80% of marriage difficulties.

You do not need rocket science to have good marriage because marriage was designed by God to be simple. There are simple building blocks that can produce massive awesome results. These things are the basic building blocks for a happy, healthy and everlasting Christian marriage.

It takes at least two people to fight. If one quits, the fight dies. It takes you to fight with your spouse. So, it is you who can stop the fight.

Many couples are looking into complicated studies and have read many good books and articles with lots of theories and tricks on marriage. Yes, you can have the tricks but if they do not sit on a solid foundation, that marriage will fly out the window. When the storms of life come it will not stand. The foundation that God intended is made up of simple building blocks, not rocket science. You see, God designed these basic things for everyone and they are simple.

Perhaps it’s true that 20% effort produces 80% results. However couples tend to stumble through stuff looking of things that make up this 20%. They end up putting 80% effort but still get 20% results.

At this point you want me to get straight into these few basic marriage building blocks that can make a huge difference in your marriage, don’t you? Not so fast. First we want to get things straight so that we know how we got where we are.

The state of your marriage is made worse if the people advising you are battling to find these basic building blocks. At times you get into marriage to your loved one coming from, either parents with a dysfunctional marriage, or from a single parent. Honestly you have never stayed in a home with a happily married couple, let alone a happily married Christian couple. Hence you have a book theory of a good Christian marriage which in most cases turns out to be a personal fantasy. Your expectations are not real. You expect your spouse or marriage to be like the one you see in the movies. When it does not reach that standard you get heart broken. The couples we see in movies are professional actors. The directors create the scenes so as to capture our emotions. By the way the actors are not even married.

Marriage is like a garden that needs constant attention.

If you are coming from a family with a happy Christian couple, at least you do not have book theory. You have some practical theory that was tested and worked on someone else. Now, remember it is still just theory, not your practical experience. You have an idea how things work but you have never worked them yourself. And mind you, your spouse may not be coming from a family with such a privilege . Your spouse may be coming from a family where there are no functional marriages. What do you do?

Marriage is like a garden that needs constant attention. You have to take out the weeds, plant new plants, water correctly and take good care of it. If you neglect it, without anyone’s effort, it will naturally degenerate into an ugly eyesore. The same with marriage, do not wait until things are hopeless, otherwise you will have to do tough laborious work of restoration. This takes more effort and time than simply doing daily maintenance. Just do small acts of maintenance daily and you will be alright. These small acts of upkeep surprisingly are the basic building blocks for a good marriage, and many are missing them.

What are these small things? Please join me next chapter where I will divulge the single most important act you can do to take away most of your marriage problems, and perhaps all of them. There is one thing that can change the performance of you marriage as you know it. Who knows you could be having a new marriage in seven days.

As you contemplate;

  • ‘Your perception on marriage is based on your past experience about it.’ To what extend do you agree with this statement?
  • What are the key factors for the success of your marriage up to today?

This is the end of the Second Episode of the Marriage Journals. The series continues in the Third Episode titled You Could Be Having A New Marriage In Seven Days.

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A Glimpse of Kingdom Marriage

Marriage Journals

This is Part Two of the First Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from Who is at the Center of it?

There are many types of marriages out there. In this series I am referring to a Christian marriage, a marriage that is founded by God and on godly principals. I will call this a Kingdom Marriage. It is about Jesus, not ourselves, as God originally intended. A kingdom marriage is not just about being married through a Christian ceremony and afterward you do what you think. It is about operation the marriage exclusively the way God wants. It’s not about what you like but what Jesus wants. You may have some dreams or funny ideas but you have to inquire from Him. Talk to him as you ask.

for the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking [what one likes], but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.Romans 14:17 AMP.

Most of us have unrealistic childhood fantasies on marriage. These fantasies are all centered about me, and having my needs met. They are all about pleasing me, and first of all finding the person to please me.

Because of this we have come to believe that if my spouse is making me happy then this is God’s plan. We think that a happy husband and wife is a kingdom marriage. This is being short sighted, and excludes eternity.

So, one day if the spouse does something that does not make us happy the bubble pops. We quickly assume that this is the wrong spouse. ‘Why is he not making me happy?’ ‘Why is she made with me?’ A kingdom marriage is about God and his will. If you take God out of it, it will not work.

As you read the story of David in the book of Samuel and Chronicles you will note that the statement ‘David inquired of the Lord’ is repeated again and again. I believe this is the secret David’s success. Even after sinning he repented and continued pursuing God. No wonder he is referred as ‘a man after God’s heart.’ We have to ‘inquire of the Lord’ for our marriages when things are good and when things are not so good. God started so he can fix it.

Again in the books of Chronicles it stands out very clear that the kings who ‘followed the way of the Lord’ prospered. The sane with your marriage, if you follow God’s way, doing what he want you to, you will prosper and be fruitful. But if you follow the wisdom of the world, though it sounds good, you will not prosper.

I have discovered that in life you are responsible for your decisions and God is for His decisions.

Make the decision carefully. Consider God and put Him at the center when things are well, way before trouble begins. In this way you will avoid falling into pit and snares that the enemy has setup for you.

Perhaps you are saying, ‘what do I do, I have made wrong choices?’ Do what David did after sinning. He repented and continued to ‘inquire of the Lord.’ God restored him. And I know he will restore you if you continue to ‘inquire of the Lord.’

In life we limit what God wants to do in our lives by our actions. God is saying today ‘Come now, let us reason together’ (Isaiah 1:18). He is ready to get into your life and fight for you, that is, if you allow him. You have to make a decision to live a God guided life. You have to make a decision to let go of unforgiveness, pride and selfishness that is blocking God away from your life.

Key Hindrances to Kingdom Marriage

If the idea of Kingdom Marriage is so simple then how do we miss it? There are a number of obstacles to understanding and eventually accepting the Kingdom Marriage.

Our views on marriage and our level of tolerance are influenced by a number of factors. These includes;

1) Our Past Experiences. Correcting our parents’ mistakes is good. However there is a tendency to either over-correct your parents’ mistakes, or follow the mistakes of the parent you sympathize with.

2) Our Religious Views. The church traditions play a role in shaping our views on marriage. They way marriage is treated in church shapes our minds. It spells out expectations and set tolerance levels. It set boundaries of what is acceptable or not acceptable.

2) Our Worldview and Cultural Backgrounds. Our worldview ‘is made up of our fundamental mental orientation based on our knowledge and point of view.’ It is consist of global ideas and beliefs of marriage and it functions. Ideas that do not fit our worldview are foreign and they end up in the ‘blind spot.’ In the blind spot it is difficult to get it. Therefore the meaning of marriage differs from the west, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia because of different worldviews. Below are some of the ways our worldviews are shaped.

Dating in African Culture. Unless you intend to marry the boy in the next year or so, you do not introduce him/her to your parents. Introduction in most African cultures is almost the equivalent of marriage. Once your mate has been introduced to your parents, you have to stick with him/her ‘for life.’ For them if you date someone it means you want to marry him/her. If the parents found out that their daughter is dating someone, they are likely to request a formal introduction to the guy in order to ‘safe guard’ their daughter. So from this we can see that this is a culture that strongly believes that marriage is for life and that dating is for marriage, not fun.

Fifty – Fifty Relationship. In this cultural view marriage is handled as a contract, that is, ‘If I give this, I get that.’ The husband give 50% and the wife give 50% to make 100%. If you do not deliver on your marriage promise it is an unacceptable breach of contract. The marriage contract may be terminated. There is a small room for grace and mercy, or unconditional love. And if one spouse becomes disabled to the point of not able to deliver marital duties, the marriage ends. For example in the marriage if the husband wants a favor from the wife, he has to offer her a favor. There is a tendency to keep scores of ‘good deed’ so that I can get a favor in return. The ideas of doing something for love or nothing is strange. The ‘til death’ promise is not taken literally. The strength of the marriage is based on the ability and willingness to deliver your marital promises.

Married Proportion. In some regions like the Middle East the percentage of married adults is more than 80%. Marriage is everyone’s top goal. In these areas divorce is like ‘swear word.’ So, no matter how hard the challenges experienced the couples prefer to resolve issues than give up. However the advancement of modern cultures is creating more and more singles adults. As a result moving back to singleness is not a big deal any more.

Community Involvement in Marriage. In many African and far eastern cultures marriage is viewed as a communal relationship than individual decision. The community is a stakeholder. This becomes a huge factor in the dynamics of the marriage. There are benefit and disadvantages to it.

The Roles in Marriage. In many cultures women have less or no say in a marriage. The husband is autocratic and must not be disobeyed. He keeps all the family finances and has the final word. As a result there are many incidents of abuse of wives. On the other hand, some cultures believe in equal rights in marriage. This new freedom for wives is at times taken further to a point where the wife leads the family.

These and many other elements form the primary base that defines your role as a spouse and shapes your expectations. They have become part of our identity. Unfortunately they can override your faith in God. They usually become your default when your ‘faith‘ seems to fail. However this would be the time when you need God most.

Remember that ‘Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.’ (1 Cor 10:23).

Going against them is like attacking one’s self. Surprisingly these are the areas God will challenge you. Some of these cultural behaviors are good and godly, others are good but ungodly and others are simply bad. As you continue reading this series, you will find out how God is challenging these systems in order to establish a Kingdom Marriages.

As you contemplate;

  • What steps are you going to take to make your marriage more of a Kingdom Marriage?
  • What past experiences, religious view, cultural views or worldview do you have, whether good or bad?

This is the end of the First Episode of the Marriage Journals. The series continues in the Second Episode titled What is The State of your Marriage?

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Marriage Journals: Who is at the Center of it?

Who is at the Center of it?This is the First Episode of the series called the Marriage Journals. Wait a minute; before you brush off this article I want you to know that the series is not just about marriage it is about something way more than bigger. These principles are for everyone! It is a journey that will change your life. Will you please journey with me.

The world is discipling the church on marriage and sexuality. This is scary.

God takes family very seriously. The family stands at the core of your blessed life here on earth. The heart of the family is the marriage. The performance of the marriage dictates the direction and mood of the whole family. God’s desire is for a man and his wife with their children to live happily under one roof and fulfilling their callings in obedience to Him.

In the beginning God did not make a church or cathedral, he made a family. In the beginning God did not appoint apostles, or prophets, or pastors etc, he appointed a husband and a wife in the covenant of marriage. In Genesis, the first mankind gathering was a wedding ceremony, and not a worship meeting. After God, the next thing that came was marriage. Surprising yet so true!

Your children and your children’s children’s’ lives are at stake in your marriage. Actually the next generation of your off spring hang on the balance of your marriage. The blessing or curse from your marriage will flow to the next generations. So you have to be serious about changing your future generation, through your marriage. Do not be short sighted and make selfish decisions. Think big. Think family. Think marriage.

The union of marriage is compared to the union of Jesus Christ and the Church.

This series is a challenge, a challenge for you to go to the heart of God, to find God’s heart for your life and marriage. It is s challenge to recreate our relationship with God as His bride first so that the same relationship will be reflected our marriages. In the presence of God our hearts are restored. When your heart is restored you will find what God really wants with your life and your marriage. Your relationship with God activates your true identity.

This is a scary journey, a journey that will expose you to God. But we cannot receive his healing in full if we cover our short comings with our own efforts. Adam did the same in the Garden of Eden after sinning. He used his own effort to cover the discrepancy caused by his sin. It was not so bad but it did not work. We have to come naked before Him, knowing that He is our Father and he want to mend us. If we become naked before him, it means we have nothing we own. If you have nothing you cannot lose anything. He owns us. He will use our brokenness to make something beautiful. It is from the ashes that we will rise to be who God really want us to be.

Unlike most marriage books, this series does not offer technical advice but it recommends a spiritual experience with God. It is an experience that will change you, your relationship with God and your relationship with your spouse. You don’t have to be married to enjoy this series. It will help you to experience God in a deeper way. It will help you deal with unresolved issues and get connected to God in an intimate way. The bottom line is God is the answer.

If you need technical advice I suggest that you get my book Little Tough Tips on Marriage.

When all things fail, it is appropriate to look to an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God. He knows everything, He has all the power and He is everywhere. He is the person you go to. He is the person to see for marriage building. The wisest thing we can do is to involve Him in our lives.

The best way of learning how to operate a garget is to learn from its creator. There is no better way. God created marriage. He is the best person to teach us things on marriage.

Contact to someone higher so that you have higher wisdom. If you use lower or natural wisdom you get what every natural person get, but if you use God’s wisdom you get the God results.

You cannot solve all your problems. You know it. Admit it. Running away will not help. Being angry with your spouse, or with God will not help you. Just be humble before Him and he will lift you up. Right now he is calling you. He is saying come to me as you are, with all you problems. ‘I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28) I will help you.

God loves you. He wants your company, to spend time with you and to give you the chance to know Him better. He wants to help you. He is calling you to walk with Him a little further. How will you respond to this calling?

I challenge you to take the risk, to venture with God where you have never gone. I challenge you to leave your comfort zone and move deeper into the spiritual, to open up yourself before God. It is not comfortable but the presence of God is accompanied by a sense of warmth that brings healing. In his presence you will start to see things the way God sees and it is easier to do what he wants.

As you contemplate;

  • What heritage from your marriage do you want to leave to your children and childrens’ children?
  • What things from your marriage do you want the next generation of you offspring to remember you for?

This is the First Episode of the Marriage Journals will continue in Part Two as A Glimpse of Kingdom Marriage

 Here are some of the topics to look forward to in the Marriage Journals series:

  • What is The State of your Marriage
  • You Could Be Having A New Marriage In Seven Days
  • Journey to Your Soulmate
  • What it Takes to ‘Become One’
  • Vertical Relationship makes Horizontal Relationships better
  • For The Love of God.
  • Dealing with unfinished issues
  • The Colour of True Love
  • Fighting for your family

Be sure to keep following the series.

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Season of Pruning

Season of Pruning

By Nati de Kock

This is the third and final article in the series. It is continued from From Chronos to Kairos Moment

On this season of pruning, two kinds of pruning happen; early pruning and mature pruning.

  • Early Pruning.

Early pruning is about your outward activities and priorities. Here pruning is about ‘SELF,” that is, to be laid down or die. It is about my own selfish rights and attitude. Wrong priorities and immature involves causes dead wood. This has to be taken out! Thinking especially in marriage, you will see your own selfishness.

God uses circumstance to frustrate us by causing things not to work. In this time of pruning we must be careful of anger, bitterness and distrust (unbelief) in God and even people because we can want to hurt people due to our resistance to change.

All the dead wood in our live keep us from bearing fruit. So the Father prunes us to cut all dead unnecessary stuff in our lives away.

  • Mature Pruning.

This part of pruning is about the test of your faith. It is testing your values and your personal identity. Will you compromise the Word? The goal is to bring you closer to the perfect and complete image of Christ. Remember the mirror image of salvation garden.

In this pruning season you will be pruned to the very core of your being. This is the testing of your faith and Christian maturity into the very core of your being.

This is the cutting away of anything that hinders the growth and spiritual power and productivity. This pruning process pushes you beyond any previous tests, otherwise it’s not mature pruning.

This is different from every person and different levels. But this is the season I am in and all I know it is extremely painful, like the lobster.

So what did God test in me that pushed me beyond my last test:

  1. My faith and faith in the Word, that is His promise.
  2. My self-confidence and ego.
  3. My identity (who am I after being with Tertius for 38 years).
  4. Wrestled with feelings of injustice.
  5. It was difficult to go to church because I did not want to confront all the above.

So you see everything was cut away; my husband, my work, and my church. I was like the lobster without his shell.

Every person has his own journey. Just know that God did not let Tertius die to punish me but He used the circumstance to change my life.

You see in this season of pruning God tests four key areas in our lives;

  1. Your love ones – Are they more important than God? He will not let them die but He will test you.
  2. Your love for money and material things.
  3. The thing that gives you purpose and identity in life. For example your job, your position or ministry.
  4. You have to give up the right to ask questions; why or how long because we naturally want to be in control and answers put us in control. God will not give you the answers because he wants you to trust Him.

This was my test.

Be careful not to get out of the boat like Peter if you do not understand. Remember that the fruit comes from dwelling in Him (verse 7).

Even Jesus asked in the garden of Gethsemane if the test could pass Him by. However he settled for the will of God.

Conclusion

Here is how God uses the hardships you are facing;

  • They are a catalyst to make us pure.
  • They are training sessions.
  • They are refining and get rid of the baggage.

Abide in him. Stay and dwell in Him, not visit Him. This is the place to get fed, only in Him. This is the place you grow. If you stay in Him, it helps you to go through the different phases. You do not work but rest in Him.

Just remember that you will be tested.

About Nati de Kock

Nati de Kock is the widow of the late pastor Tertius, who was a senior pastor of Hatfield Christian Church, Pretoria. Together they fought battles with cancer twice. She is a qualified teacher and has travel around the world in several countries including Russia.

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From Chronos to Kairos Moment

From Chronos to Kairos Moment

From Chronos to Kairos Moment

By Nati de Kock 

This is the second article in the series and it is continued from Nati’s Story: In Every Season. 

‘Every branch that does not bear fruit He takes away (cut off).’

Chronos Time

Definition of Chronos; it refers to minutes and seconds, that is, to chronological or sequential time. It refers to time as a measurable resource.

Natural tendency of the vine is to grow downwards. It gathers dust and moulds on the leaves and branches. As a result it becomes less fruitful. It is like when you work and work but there is no fruit. This is what sin does to us.

However, the good news is to ‘cut off’ means ‘aero’ in Greek. Aero is similar to air or to lift up. This is what the Father does to us. So this is grace time or tender time, but if we persist God will discipline us. How do we know he discipline us?

Well, do you feel frustrated, when you can’t hear His voice, restless, uncertain, can’t read or understand the Word? The things the Father test are our attitudes, our thoughts, our habits, and our obedience. He speaks to us through people, nature, His word, even a movie etc.

So if you feel frustrated then ask God what has to change. Remember; you determine how long this season will last!

Kairos Moment

Definition of Kairos; Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). Kairos means an appointed time, an opportune moment, or a due season.

The Father need to get us ready for the new season. This is the season of pruning. The branches that bear fruit he prunes to bear more fruit. This is the time we are prepared for a new season. This is the time He cuts away all the dead wood. This is the time He makes room for sunlight and for new shoots to grow.

For example a lobster sheds its shell every year. Lobsters grow by molting, or shedding their shells. Before they shed the old shell, they will form a thin one underneath. When molting, they secrete enzymes that soften the shell and connective joints. Lobsters will then struggle out of their old shell while simultaneously absorbing water which expands their body size. It is a painful process. After shedding off the shell it will be vulnerable to predators. It’s uncomfortable and unsafe.

A bee also goes through a similar process. Once the larva has turned into a new bee, young larvae eat their way through the royal jelly in a circular pattern until they become crowded, then they stretch out lengthwise in the cell. It’s painful but part of the growth process.

(This series will continue next time in part two as Season of Pruning)

About Nati de Kock

Nati de Kock is the widow of the late pastor Tertius, who was a senior pastor of Hatfield Christian Church, Pretoria. Together they fought battles with cancer twice. She is a qualified teacher and has travel around the world in several countries including Russia.

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In Every Season

In Every Season

By Nati de Kock

This series is an extract of Nati’s sermon that she shared on 5 March 2016 at a leadership camp that I attended. It will bring answers to the question that are bothering you about your life, and the difficult experiences that you are going through.

Introduction

The journey to get to the Word that I want to share with you today actually started 2 years ago. It all started when God asked me two questions.

Question One: Will you allow me to make your life a salvation garden? (James 1:24) Salvation means the virtual reality of Christ. It is the mirror image of Christ. So I must mirror Christ, and be virtual.

Together with this came the question, ‘What do people experience when they come into your presence?’ What fruit come out of you? Is it hopelessness, anxiety, negativity, stress or joy, hope and peace?

Question Two: This question came through a phone call that I received last year. ‘What season are you in?’

So I wanted to share this morning from a different perspective about seasons and my journey. I hope I will bring some answers not about seasons as we know them; autumn, winter, spring and summer, but as in John 15:1-4.

  • These are Jesus’ last words. They are important.
  • His main purpose or what brings him the biggest joy is for us to be fruitful.

I have been always scared of this scripture because of the word ‘prune.’ I had two aha moments recently;

  • The Father is the gardener. He is gentle, kind and patient.
  • And the Greek word for prune is ‘’

As you go through your difficult times. Take note that those who saw the fruit in the promised land lived, but those who saw the giants died. What do you see in your situation?

In every season

Ecclesiastes tells us that God is a Go of timing. ‘There is an appointed time for every event under heaven’ – Ecc 3:1.

It is important to understand the timing and season God ordains for our lives, ministries, cities etc. Too often we try to reap during planting season, plant during harvest time and then we  wonder why things don’t work out the way we want.

Last year I received a phone call from Alida, challenging me with the question ‘In which season are you?’ As I seek the answer to this question I got an interesting revelation. This is what I want to share with you and I hope it will bring some understanding to you situation.

I want to come from a different perspective to seasons, not winter, summer etc, but from John 15:1-4. These are Jesus’ last words before the cross, so they must be important because with these words (advice) he gave us the keys to understand what he wants us to do in our lives.

When I was asked the question, ‘In what season are you,’ I realised it actually linked to the challenge that God gave me last year; ‘Will you allow me to make your life a salvation garden?

Remember salvation means being a mirror image (virtual image) of Christ. The way we mirror Him according to John 15 is to bear fruit.

In my preparation I noticed that God is busy with us in every season. His purpose is that He wants us to bear fruit and he works constantly as the gardener in our lives to achieve this.

In John15:1-4 the word pruning makes it very scary. We got two kinds of fruit the Father (the Gardener) want from us;

  • Outward fruit. These are the fruits that work through you to glorify God. I will call these fruits ‘random acts of kindness.’
  • Inward fruit. These are the fruit that mature in you Christ like qualities. The fruit of the Spirit; love, peace, patience, etc. They bring Glory to God.

So in John 15 we see three phases (or secrets) that Jesus speaks of about how he works in our lives to achieve fruitfulness.

(This series will continue next time in part two as From Chronos to Kairos Moment)

About Nati de Kock

Nati de Kock is the widow of the late pastor Tertius, who was a senior pastor of Hatfield Christian Church, Pretoria. Together they fought battles with cancer twice. She is a qualified teacher and has travel around the world in several countries including Russia.

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My Advice To Those Who Do Not Like Me

Frankly Speaking To Those Who Do Not Like Me

To those I have offended and hurt, I have a message for you. This is to those I let down for any reason, knowingly or unknowingly.

Perhaps I said words that knocked you off. You were unprepared for my words. You felt that my words were blunt and you took offense. My words were very harsh for you and with no room for grace.

At times I did not meet your expectations. You expected me to be at that level but I came at this level. You felt that I have failed you.

Maybe you got disappointed because you think that my views were wrong and not relevant. My message and your beliefs are opposites. You are suspicious of me.

Maybe you think that I am too extreme to be real, as a result you got demotivated. You see me as an extremist and fanatic. Someone who just talks and produces not results.

To those who do not like me, yes, I know there are people who just find themselves hating me. You prefer and have chosen to shut me down if you get a chance. You think that I am not supposed to speak this message. You feel I do not deserve what I have. Perhaps because you also want it and you thing it should be you. You secretly wish one day I will stop and wish that bad things will happen to me.

If you are one of these, I am sorry. Will you please forgive me?

There are some things you have to know. My intentions are not to harm but to cure and help someone. I do not pretend. I am sincere in my words.

Keeping an offence against me will not help you. Please release me and free yourself from me. Guard and defend your peace with all that you have. Let’s agree to disagree. Your world is bigger than me, and do not allow me to be the stumbling block to your happiness. You have to move on with your life. There are many great things in your life that you will lose by keeping a grudge against me.

Finally, there is one more thing. I am the only me. I cannot be anyone else. I cannot be someone who I am not. I have to be original. In doing this I cannot please everyone. After all I am human.

I have nothing against you. I love you and I will always try my best to do good to you.

Yours sincerely,

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© Copyright 2016 by It’s My Footprint, www.itsmyfootprint.com.

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The Call to Preach the Gospel

The Call to Preach the Gospel

By Ronald J. Kwenda

This is the second article in the series and it is continued from Open Letter To Every Christian

What is Jesus’ perception and heart for people?

Thinking about the clarity of Jesus’ purpose and instruction regarding sharing the Gospel, I looked at my own life, and asked myself the question, “Why don’t I preach the gospel as much as I should?” A number of answers came to my mind. One that lingered long was, “Maybe when I see people in the world I don’t have the same perception and heart that Jesus had when He saw people”. In Matt 9:36-37, “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad (ie. were harassed and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd.” When we see people (relatives, workmates, people of other faiths, etc) who do not know or serve Jesus, who are not born-again, what do we see when we see? Do we see enemies? Do we see inconveniences? Do we see demons? Do we see people who need to be avoided? But what does Jesus see? What is God’s heart? Paul writes something to Timothy regarding the heart of God for all men. In 1 Tim 2:1-6 Paul writes, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone; for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men — the testimony given in its proper time

Surely if I had the same perception with regards to the desperate situation people who are living without Jesus are in, and if I also carry the same heart that God carried, then I would look beyond my weaknesses, my timidity, my busy-ness and my excuses, be prepared to stretch “myself” to walk on the water in this important area.  My prayer is, “Lord, help me to see as You see and feel as You feel. My natural senses are deceptive”. Once our perception and heart changes, our actions will confirm our Christ-like conviction.

If God’s desire and has provided for all to be saved, where is the bottle-neck in the system?

There is no question about the heart of the Lord, that He not only desires that all be saved, but also has provided for the same. In Matt 9:37-38, Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

In the 21st century church, we have noted less and less real conversions to Christ. We either have nothing being done at all, or people being “invited to Christ to have their problems solved, or their needs/wants met” and not to fully give their lives to the Lord by surrendering their lives and all that is their’s as was the case in the 1st Century Church. As I thought about the lethargy, I was reminded of a common scripture; Rom 10:11-15.

As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Rom 10: 14-15 are of particular interest. People want to believe but they can’t because they have not heard. People want to hear but they can’t, because there is no-one to preach (or share with them). Jumping to verse 15, we know from the “last words” of Jesus referred to earlier, that the Christians have been sent. Here is the bottle-neck….. Those that were sent are not doing what they were sent to do! If only the Christians could do what they were sent to do, then the people would hear; once the people hear, they could believe; once they believed, they would be saved. Ours is to speak, confirmation and conviction is done by the Lord through the Holy Spirit. Mar 16:20 says, “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”

Let us go out and preach, he is faithful to work with us and confirm the word!

Who Should Preach The Gospel?

Now that it is clear that the Gospel needs to be preached and preached urgently. A question arises, “Who should preach the Gospel”. From Mark 16:20, referred to in the previous paragraph, we learn that the disciples preached the Gospel. The word Disciple is derived from a Greek word “mathetes” meaning a learner or a pupil. In the context of the time when this was written, a master or Tradesman had a learner, who was taught a skill similar to how Apprentices are trained today. They learnt an aspect of the trade, and went on to practice that aspect that they had learnt. They did not wait to learn (ie. mental knowledge) and know everything before they went out and practiced. This caused them to stay close to the master or tradesman and continued learning as they practiced. How does this apply to us? When one gets born again, they have a super-natural realization of the need of a human being to give their lives to Jesus and be reconciled to God. As a “learner” we can start practicing what we now know. As we continue practicing, we continue to grow in the “trade”.

This brought me to the realization that even though I don’t know it all, I know something; that Jesus saved me from a life of sin and transferred me into His kingdom as I believed in Him. This is worth sharing! I could share a more sophisticated message if I knew how to, but, for now, I will share what I know. The Lord can work in the same way with my simple, few words in the same way He can work with a more sophisticated message!

This is true because as born-again Christians, when the Lord makes us new creations, He also commits to us and entrusts us to us the message of reconciliation. Read 2 Cor 5:17-20 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

To reach our neighbour, our relative, our workmate or the stranger at the bus terminal, we don’t have to be “Evangelists”; we don’t have to have been Christians for many years; we don’t have to have gone to Bible School; we don’t have to be specifically gifted. We need to carry the Heart of the Lord and know that we cannot stay silent as many head to eternal destruction. We will arise, and trust in the faithful Lord who will work with us.

About Ronald J. Kwenda

Ronald Kwenda is a Professional Engineer of over 15yrs and Managing Consultant leading a Civil/ Structural Engineering firm. He also has a keen interest in mentorship, both in Business and Professional fields and Christian ministry. Having given his life to the Lord more than 21years ago, he is convinced that every Christian of any age, if they make themselves available, can be used by Lord and be a blessing in the body of Christ. You can reach him at engronaldkwenda@gmail.com.

Posted in Leadership, Personal Development Tagged with: ,

Open Letter To Every Christian

Open Letter To Every Christian

By Ronald J. Kwenda

The passage of time has seen a growing indifference of men towards the Existence of a living God and dimming recognition of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross that re-opened the door for men to be reconciled to the one, true, living God. Though it is apparent that judgment and eternal separation from God awaits those who are not Reconciled to God by faith in Jesus and the surrender of their lives to His leading, today’s Christian, who should understand the urgency of this, remains consumed with himself and seldom lifts a figure to reach out to those who will soon plunge into eternal condemnation, dying without having known Jesus as Lord and savior.

The call to preach the Gospel is more than a church programme to “add numbers” to the local church, but must extend to reaching out even if “our church” does not directly receive any direct benefit. It must flow from understanding why Jesus came into the world.

Why Did Jesus Come?

The term “Christian” in itself refers to “Christ-likeness”. This would imply that anyone ascribing to this must carry the same Objectives and Heart as Jesus Christ Himself carried. I hear many preaching/saying that Jesus came so that the Christian may have access to all that they desire/want, which mindset has, unfortunately crept to the centre of the purpose of why Jesus came. God is faithful to meet our needs, but can our Christian walk be centred on the meeting of our needs and us having what we desire? What does Scripture say about Jesus’s purpose of coming? Paul makes a staggering remark as he writes to Timothy in 1 Tim 1:15-16 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst.” This is amplified by a number of scriptures, for example: John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 12:47 “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. Mark 2:16-17 “When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?’” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

This makes it clear that the prime purpose for Jesus’ coming was to save sinners, which mission any committed co-workers must prioritise.

Jesus’ “Final” Instruction To His Disciples?

As I was growing up, when accompanying my mother to the bus as she was travelling out of town, I always knew something would happen without fail. The most important instruction would be given as the Bus was driving off! I see the same at death beds, as a loved one is about to pass, the very last words are treasured and considered important. I was considering this, and looked at some of Jesus’ last words before ascending to heaven.

In Acts 1:8-9 it says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Again in Mark 16:15-16, He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Also in Luke 24:45-49, “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” Finally, in Matt 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I found it interesting he didn’t talk about many things preachers/Christians spend over 90% of their time preaching about, praying about and pursuing. Yes, we need to talk about other things related to the Christian walk, but there must not be any disillusion when it comes to what the thrust of the most important message/sermon that a Christian can ever carry and deliver.

(This series will continue next time in part two as The Call to preach the Gospel)

About Ronald J. Kwenda

Ronald Kwenda is a Professional Engineer of over 15yrs and Managing Consultant leading a Civil/ Structural Engineering firm. He also has a keen interest in mentorship, both in Business and Professional fields and Christian ministry. Having given his life to the Lord more than 21years ago, he is convinced that every Christian of any age, if they make themselves available, can be used by Lord and be a blessing in the body of Christ. You can reach him at engronaldkwenda@gmail.com.

Posted in Leadership, Personal Development Tagged with: ,

How to Activate your Creative Thinking

How to Activate your Creative Thinking

Critical thinking is about questioning everything 360 degrees. You performance depends on the answers you receive in life. They say you must learn to ask better question so that you get better answers. When you have better answers, you can do better things. So learn to question things. Learn to ask better questions.

If you want better answers, ask better questions.

Creativity is something all of us are naturally born with. The average person has 70,000 thoughts per day. WOW, that’s you!

Generating new ideas depends on what you already know and your imagination. This is the ability to dream. When young we were told not to day dream. That was wrong!

We know things by taking in information through our five senses. We do this through reading, discussions in forums and practising.

So, be a reader. I read on average one book per week. And be a writer. Write down your thoughts and ideas. Post them to the world via social media, blogs or forums.

Be a reader. Be a writer.

Try to discuss with other likeminded people. I am not talking about stuff discussed in pubs just for entertainment or in order to get someone buy you beer. I am talking about smart discussions. Join online forums and contribute.

Don’t just talk, do it. Try it. Play with the ideas and evaluate the results. Discuss and improve the ideas.

Five habits that sharpens your creative thinking process;

1) Play along your strengths, talents, passions and skills. It is easier that way.

2) Ask questions in areas that you are passionate about, more curious and interested in.

3) Dream and brainstorm your ideas. Write down stuff, otherwise you forget. Perhaps carry a journal around with you.

4) Clone or copy others and improve on what they do. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Build from what has been done. Start from where they have left.

5) Find problems to solve. This mean you have to observe the world you live in and test your ideas in a real world.

After education the next best way people learn is by travelling. If you cannot travel far then meet and interact with new people in your area. Broaden your network circle by adding smarter people.

Travel and meet new people.

When you have ideas take them down from a pipe dream to a vision and finally action plan. Put dates to your goals. Break down your goals to daily task. That’s were most people lose it. They say ‘my goal is to write a book in 2016.’ And if you ask them what they will do in May 2016. They have no idea. Never mind asking them what they will do on 23 May 2016.

Have a daily ‘to do list’ that talks to your goals, plans and vision.

What do you think?

If you enjoyed this article, share it with your most favourite friends! 

Please share your thoughts, ideas and comments below!

© Copyright 2016 by It’s My Footprint, www.itsmyfootprint.com.

Posted in Personal Development Tagged with: , ,

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