LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE – MindBodySpirit
Discover real life
It’s Time for
What is next? The disciples of Jesus
My journey with
From vision to reality – the Eduplex story
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LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE – MindBodySpirit
Discover real life
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Celebrating with Nico van der Merwe yet another Eduplex milestone!
Welcome to this issue of Devoted, friends. It is so nice to be back! It has been a while since the previous issue because we took some time to reflect on the way forward with the magazine. When going through tough times, it sometimes helps to slow down for a bit and to look at the situation again to see new opportunities. We have taken the time to investigate new opportunities to help the magazine grow and we are looking forward to some new developments in the near future.
e are faced with a number of challenges in our country (but so are other countries) and it sometimes seems there are more problems than solutions. But, even in the most devastating situations, God’s children know there is always a cloud with a silver lining. We will do ourselves so much good if we notice and celebrate it more often. I started to do that instead of remaining in this habit of complaining about things I do not have any control over. But, at the same time, I have started to constructively converse about the issues and actively seek solutions and I would like to encourage you to also do that. There are two people I know who constantly seek solutions for worldly challenges from the Bible and who are a constant inspiration to me in so many ways. Both these men, Uncle Angus Buchan and Nico van der Merwe, are visionaries and I dedicate this issue of Devoted to them and all the other visionaries out there. These people have the ability to think or plan for the future with great imagination and wisdom and they set the example for others to follow.
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I had the honour of attending the It’s Time event held in Bloemfontein on 22 April, spearheaded by the beloved evangelist, Uncle Angus as he is affectionately known. What a wonderful blessing it was to be part of such a historic event – one that has impacted so many lives! For those of you who did not have the opportunity to attend this event but would have loved to be part of it, I hope the special focus we’ve placed on the event in this issue will make you feel as if you were part of it. It is also no secret that Uncle Angus remains obedient to his calling and believes in the power of prayer wholeheartedly: “People hardly have the time to pray, how could we expect change to take place? If we could pray to God for rain, just imagine what He could do with our prayers to heal the sick, to help the country, to turn hearts back to Him who is risen.” The one thing that stood out for me from this event was the request from Uncle Angus that we should start the change process with ourselves. We should stop being so negative all the time and start trusting the Lord again. It is now the time and we are all called to make a difference.
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Change starts with us! The mere fact that over one million people believed in the power of prayer and they made the effort to leave the comfort of their homes to attend a prayer event hundreds of kilometres from their homes, gives me hope for a better future for our country. In this issue, Elizabeth Bekker writes, “When we become Christians, we become disciples. The term only applies to you when you truly become a Christian, are really saved and have changed your life. There are a few things one needs to know about disciples and what it means to be one. To become a disciple is to respond to the call of God on our lives, to be open to everything God wants us to be, and allow ourselves to become what He called us to be.” Read her articles on pages 12 – 14. As mentioned, Nico van der Merwe from Eduplex is a person who has been obedient to his calling, even though he sometimes felt like giving up. The amazing Eduplex story is his story and we share it with you with great pride.
With love, until next time. Gerda
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From the desk of Angus Buchan
It’s Time to get back to the Lord
A prayer by Angus Buchan
Lord, I’m asking - please - to bring a responsible, Jesus-fearing government into our country very soon. Lord, I’m asking this afternoon, that South Africa will become a country that takes the Word of God literally as it is written. This afternoon Lord, we say: No! … to immorality. We say: No! to sex before marriage. We say: No! to pornography, drug addiction, alcoholism We say: No! to racism in this country! We say: No! to senseless murder and rape in this country! We ask you, Lord, to give our armed forces the power to bring stability back to this nation. We ask Lord, this afternoon, for restoration in the family, between Mom and Dad, and between children and their parents… In Jesus name. We pray for respect for old people; we pray for underprivileged people; we pray for poor people; we pray for all people in this country! We say: There is no other God! Save Jesus Christ - and Him alone! We will not serve any other gods! Save the Lord Jesus Christ. Please forgive us for compromising our nation, our family and our future. From today onwards we promise to stand up for truth and righteousness at all costs.
National Geographic do an 8-part documentary on Mercy Ships. The first episodes were aired on Saturdays 6 & 20 May 2017, and will continue to air every Saturday for the next 5 weeks.
Mercy Ships “A unique hospital ship offering life-saving surgery sets sail for the poorest of the poor in Africa. They have just one year to do the impossible – to provide the care these people cannot get any other way. On board are volunteer doctors and nurses – now headed straight for the biggest medical and ethical challenges of their lives. Ahead lies unbelievable illnesses, many they have never seen outside of textbooks. A dramatic journey is underway as they deal with life and death cases and balance the fates of patients in their hands” (National Geographic) (Visit: http://www.natgeotv.com/za/shows/natgeo/surgery-ship)
For more information on Mercy Ships, contact, Brenda van Straten (National Director of Mercy Ships South Africa). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com Tel: +27 (0) 21-788-3088 (Office) / +27 (0) 78-839-9985 Address: 4 Athlone Building, Cnr Cromer and Henley Roads, Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa, 7945 www.mercyships.co.za | Bringing hope and healing ... Registration Number: 181-575 NPO
10 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE – MindBodySpirit
Discover real life
The It’s Time event in Bloemfontein during April saw more than a million people united in prayers for their beloved country and its people. It demonstrated that South Africans urgently need a change for the better. Read about this event from pages 6 to 11. “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
I n t h i s i s s u e Credits
EDS LETTER The time has come!
FROM THE DESK OF ANGUS BUCHAN It’s time to get back to the Lord
LANGUAGE EDITOR Mignionette Fair ASSISTANT EDITOR Jeannie Millington
COVER STORY It’s Time
HISTORY-MAKERS The disciples of Jesus Peter, the rock
INSPIRATION My journey with Gregory 16 From Vision to reality, the Eduplex story 18 ACTUAL Fear or faith
ATTITUDE You decide the way you see it
BOOK REVIEWS The Good Book
BUSINESS You and your business
MANAGING EDITOR Gerda Potgieter • E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FAIR FLAIR Prayer 36
CREATIVE AND DESIGN TEAM Annerine Lubbe (Square d’zign studio) CONTRIBUTORS Elizabeth Bekker • Fergus Ferguson • Gugu Ndlovu Johan Terblanche • Mignionette Flair • Nico van der Merwe Reverend Dr Kenneth Meshoe • Rika de Jager SALES AND MARKETING Alicia Potgieter • Cell: 074 460 4123 E-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE DEVELOPER Tony Hendricks SOCIAL MEDIA just plain IT
Contact Details Editor: Email: email@example.com Sales - National:
Book your advertising space for the next issue, contact Alicia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 074 460 4123
Content disclaimer: Devoted is published by DeVine Publishers. All rights reserved. While every precaution has been taken to ensure accuracy of information, the managing editor, Devoted and the publisher cannot accept liability of whatever nature arising out or in connection with the contents of this magazine. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of any of the Devoted team and remains the sole responsibility of the writers. Plagiarism disclaimer: It was confirmed by our writers and contributors that no part of the written submissions has been copied from either a book or any other source, including the Internet, except where such sections are clearly shown as quotations and the sources have been correctly identified within the text or in the list of references.
It’s time! Photos by Riaan Janse van Vuuren
There is a lot of complaining about the high levels of corruption, crime, mismanagement of people’s hardearned tax monies, the drought, the junk status of our currency … You hear it everywhere and it has become the culture in South Africa. It is so easy to become one of the complainers. It is sometimes difficult to keep focused and positive with the high amounts of negativity, crime, fraud, and corruption we are bombarded with - it is a situation of garbage in, garbage out. And before we know it, we become one of the negative talkers who only see the bad things
hange starts with the individual - with each and every one of us! And if the individual can start the process of negativity, then they can start the process of positivity. It takes guts to make a deliberate decision to stop complaining - to stop taking part in negative conversations and to rather ACT by joining people who want to see a positive change and who want to DO something positive. The recent on-going marches against President Zuma, and his mocking reaction, clearly illustrated that marches will not help to change the situation in our country and it is time for another approach. So, a few friends and I decided it was time to start helping change our beloved country for the better. We decided to join the biggest prayer gathering in South African history… The It’s Time event. This event is also known as the national day of prayer and was spearheaded by the beloved preacher, Angus Buchan (most call him Uncle Angus, out of respect). And what an awesome, life-changing
experience it was. As usual he did not fail to deliver.
The need for It’s Time
The vision for It’s Time was born after Uncle Angus received a video clip from a concerned citizen calling on him as a Christian leader to get Christians together in one place and pray to God to save the nation. God then gave Uncle Angus two instructions – “It’s time” and “one million”. And, as they say, the rest is history!
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) Uncle Angus implored people to come to the It’s Time event to pray for justice, peace, and hope in South Africa. “It is not good enough to just go to your house and pray with your family. We need to come together as a nation and we need to seek the Lord together.
Cover Story God is calling us to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘Devil no further than this’. He (the Lord) answers prayer.” The people listened and the people came… Hundreds of thousands of South Africans travelled from across the country to Bloemfontein in the Free State to attend this national day of prayer held on the Wilde Als farm. We also heard at the event that some people came from overseas to attend. We left Pretoria on Friday evening, without much sleep but with our hearts fully awake. The excitement to be a part of such a historic event was contagious and did not allow for any power naps prior to the event. Although we soon ran into the traffic “snake” in the early hours of the morning, it did not dampen our spirits. As we got closer to our destination, the excitement grew stronger as we started to see the signs of the huge gathering along our way. And then we arrived at the Wilde Als farm, where thousands of good-hearted volunteers helped with the traffic flow and information-giving, smiling while doing so. We were privileged to be media accredited so we easily and quickly made our way to the front. We were lucky enough to be seated in the very first row. It was quite spectacular as we could look back over the sea of people, which grew with each passing minute… What struck me most was how smoothly everything went and how well-behaved everyone was, from the volunteers to the visitors… Taking into consideration that the entire event was pulled together for over a million people in six short weeks with volunteers only! It seems like a miracle on its own. The empty spaces started to fill up very soon and the excitement grew with each and every newcomer. It was a different excitement from what you normally get at a sports or other gathering. I had a feeling the entire time that people were waiting on something big!
We spent our time encouraging each other and exploring the environment. We even walked to the hill at the back of the stage to see the three crosses on another hill. Very soon, the hill looked like an ant heap with all the people who had the same idea as we did. On our way to the hilltop, we met with a few interesting people who came prepared in many different ways to express their faith and their hope that this event would bring about the change our beloved country and people so desperately need. The organisers had to postpone the start of the event as huge numbers of cars made their way to the event. The crowds agreed with the organisers that everyone should be given the chance to arrive and make their way to the venue so they could also be part of the awesome event. After waiting the entire morning, a few more hours did not seem to matter. Then, at last, the moment we had all been waiting for arrived. Uncle Angus arrived on stage with his wife, Jill, and his old friend Simeon (from Faith like potatoes). For me, it was quite exciting to see Uncle Angus with his beloved wife and his best friend, Simeon, who shared the great moment and prayed with him. Uncle Angus greeted the crowd in his usual Angus-like, down-to-earth manner! His greetings were echoed by hundreds of thousands and the sweet sound immediately made him, and us, very emotional.
What a crowd! What a moment! What an event! What an awesome idea to mobilise over a million people to pray for our country and its challenges. The nation stood strong and came together under the calling of one of the most awesome preachers of our time. And
Uncle Angus is the first one to tell you, and who continuously reminds you, it is not about him – that it is all about our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Uncle Angus clearly stated that the event was not meant as a political gathering or a gospel show - it was an event for Christians to get back to their Lord and humbly ask Him for forgiveness, repent, admit helplessness, and pray that He would have mercy on us. This was the main purpose of the event and most of us got that! One thing I know is that those who were not there in person missed out on so much! Words fail to describe how awesome the experience was. The atmosphere was holy and electric at the same time. It was clear that people realised things have gone too far in our beloved country and that we need the holy intervention that they made the effort to get together for. And nobody who was present on that day could deny that a wind suddenly appeared seconds after Angus emotionally prayed to the Lord to let His people feel His presence. The heavy plastic covers were undeniably lifted by the same wind in front of me and my friends for as long as the Lord was asked to give a sign of His presence. The tears were streaming down my cheeks and I had no control over it – and I was not the only one who had this experience. During the five-minute individual prayer, it was clear that people were praying their hearts, and souls, out and so did I! The event ended much too soon and people seemed reluctant to leave the place where they could feel the presence of the Lord so clearly. The most amazing thing is that after the more than 1 million people left the farm, it was reported that the place was left clean, without any of the rubbish normally associated with large crowds. This is also a miracle to rejoice in!
Cover Story “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
The initiative attracted massive reaction on social media. During the first seven days, the posts on social media had a reach of 18 million people and 24 million only seven days later. Of course, there are always the pessimists, the moaners, and those who post their negative views on Facebook! Sadly, we will always have those among us but this time it seemed that the negative comments and criticisms had no lasting impact, and the masses rejoiced! Shortly after Uncle Angus Buchan made the announcement about the event, farmers came forward and made their land available to be used for It’s Time. A total of 2 000 hectares of land was prepared for the influx of people. Twenty-five tractors baled 100 hectares a day. Four-hundred-and-fifty hectares were baled into 2 000 bales for people to sit on. Can you see the miracle in this? After a meeting where the need for toilet paper was discussed and prayed for, one of the team members received a phone call from somebody wanting to donate 30 000 toilet rolls, the exact number needed.
A group of farmers donated diesel for the tractors used to cut the grass. The diesel only ran out when the last of the 20 tractors, taking 60 litres each, was filled. Over three thousand volunteers, mostly young people and students, offered to help with the sick, infirm, and the elderly. The medical services that would be needed at the event, including doctors, paramedics, nurses, and ambulances were budgeted at R3 million prior to the event, but local doctors from Bloemfontein offered their services for free.
Uncle Angus made it clear that this movement should not stop with the It’s Time event and that we have a responsibility to change our mind-sets and become more positive. Also to return to God and His Word as it has all the answers for us. Only a few hours after the event, we received the following message from the media team: “Dear friends, Today was indescribable. Father God, we give You all thanks and praise, glory and honour. Today would not have been possible without You. To each and every one of you that came through to Bloemfontein today, we thank you. To all of you who joined us today in prayer, far and wide, local and international, we thank you. We have seen and heard so many amazing stories. It doesn’t end here, we will continue to pray for our country and its people, for safety and
It’s time! 8
protection, for good leaders, for peace. South Africa belongs to Jesus Christ. God bless The Shalom Team” INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE IT’S TIME EVENT: • It was the biggest prayer event in South Africa • It was the biggest event in South Africa ever • We prayed for South Africa for justice, peace, and hope • This was a free event • No offering was taken • It was held four kilometres outside of Bloemfontein • There were over 3 000 volunteers • There were 27 giant screens and sound towers were erected so everyone could hear and see • It took place on multiple farms • A train booked from Worcester to Bloemfontein was full • All medical services were donated • 670 portable toilets were donated with service teams • One-thousand-six-hundred hectares were cleared for the site • New roads were built • Farm roads were widened • There were prayers for the murders to stop, the raping of women and children to stop, the corruption to stop, the nation, women who can’t have children, the healing of the sick.
We need your help
Jacaranda and Louis Botha Children’s Homes A major stumbling block facing the children’s homes is the massive reduction of funding due to the global economic crisis and a sharp decrease in donations (especially those from individuals and private donors). Jacaranda and Louis Botha Children’s Homes have seriously been affected by this decrease in funding and have to date lost about 40% of their funding. Food expense per child / per day – R27.10 (Per month – R813.67) Joint food expenses for all our children per month – R187 146.00 (Jacaranda) Joint food expenses for all our children per month – R69 745.83 (Louis Botha) Joint food expenses for all our children per year – R 2 245 760.00 (Jacaranda) Joint food expenses for all our children per year – R 836 950.00 (Louis Botha) Water and electricity usage - R 175 000.00 per month for Jacaranda Water and electricity usage - R71 000.00 per month for Louis Botha Children’s Home.
Account Name: Jakaranda Children`s Home Bank: ABSA Cheque Account Branch: Derdepoort Code: 632005 Account Number: 143 014 0724 Reference: NOOD
Children belong with their parents, not in children’s homes. Unfortunately the hard reality is that some children cannot stay with their parents and thus require alternative care. UNFORTUNATLEY THIS ALTERNATIVE CARE IS EXPENSIVE!
As a community we can take care of those children who need our help! www.devotedmag.co.za
It’s Time What is next?
“The family unit is absolutely crucial if a country is to succeed. You can get the economy, the politics, and everything else right, but if there is no unity in the family, if the hearts of the fathers are not turned to their children and the children to their fathers, you are wasting your time. If ever we needed to pray for our children, for our families, for our nation, it is now.” (Angus Buchan, The Bible With GRASSROOTS reflections, 2015:33)
e believe that the It’s Time event was a calling from the Lord to one of our most influential and beloved preachers to get His people together and to remind them how important prayer is – especially in difficult times. Uncle Angus himself said about the purpose of the event: “It’s time we say to the devil: Back off! If our nation gets together as one, God will answer our prayers. We must just believe. We must believe in miracles, we must believe in His ability, and we must start to trust.” When he delivered his long awaited sermon to the enthusiastic crowd of around 1 million people at the Wilde Als farm outside Bloemfontein in April he highlighted that this national day of prayer was a historic day for the nation. He said it was time we acted like children of God and pray regularly, and not only when we need God. Did this event change anything dramatically in our country? NO, it did not. However, the prayer gathering is the catalyst that encourages all of us, each individual, Christian and non-Christians alike, to practice responsibility. I do believe that this event was a life-changing experience for many – me included! And, what better time to remind people about the prayer that Jesus Himself taught his people:
The Lord’s Prayer (modern)
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours. Now and for ever. Amen. (Read more: http://www.lords-prayer-words. com/#ixzz3qK0rf6LT)
From the editor: The Shalom team announced that they are in the process of creating an IT’S TIME book, to be available before Christmas. They’d love to hear some of your PERSONAL testimonies of our Father God working in your life, surrounding the IT’S TIME event. If you would like to share your personal testimony with us, please email them at email@example.com.
We pray for … • • • • • • • • • • •
Violence against women and children Rape of women and children Murders Alcoholism and drug abuse Abuse in all its forms The killing of our farmers Crime and corruption Mismanagement of taxpayer’s money Nepotism Human trafficking Racism and discrimination…
….. to STOP!!!
STOP thinking that you are not doing anything wrong when you rape a women or child! STOP thinking that you are not doing anything wrong if you force your partner into sex! STOP thinking that you have the right to use force against your partner! STOP thinking that it is your right to use force or threats to obtain sex!
Break the cycle of ABUSE! This is NOT how we are supposed to live! Change starts with YOU! LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE – MindBodySpirit
Discover real life
The disciples of
Jesus By Elizabeth Bekker
As children growing up in church, we learn about Jesus’ disciples: The 12 men who followed Jesus wherever He went. The men who changed the course of history that reverberates throughout the threads of our lives even today… This new series is dedicated to each of those 12 men (plus one, the one who replaced Judas Iscariot). It will be an attempt to learn more about the men, who they were, and why Jesus chose them to change the world
e hear about them in church and we colour them in during Sunday school with different lessons and activities. We sing about them in our songs and we read about them in the Bible. In fact, it is because of their obedience to God and their lives that were changed that we have so many books to read in the Bible. If the power of Jesus and the grace of God never touched them in such a profound way, we may have never had the New Testament. We, the people throughout history, may have never been saved or read about the amazing love and grace of our God. Imagine this for a brief moment: No New Testament, no idea of the inheritance that we can have through God. Imagine still living under the law… No saving grace, no healing spirit, no Holy Spirit to guide us, no real living relationship with Jesus. Many things we take for granted would be answered with a big resounding NO. Twelve men were needed to change history, to tell us about one Man’s sacrifice. All of these
12 men were completely different in character, in personality and ideals, yet they came together in harmony because of one Man, one Story.
Revelation 12:11 sums it up nicely: “And they overcame Him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the Word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” The disciples died for their cause, they died because they knew the importance of what they were doing, the purpose of their lives. And yes, maybe not all of them died young or were killed, some died of natural causes, but the fact remains - they had some tough times. Their lives were everything but smooth sailing. When we become Christians, we become disciples. The term only applies to you when you truly become a Christian, are really saved and have
History-Makers changed your life. There are a few things one needs to know about disciples and what it means to be one. To become a disciple is to respond to the call of God on our lives, to be open to everything God wants us to be, and allow ourselves to become what He called us to be. Being a disciple is a lifetime commitment but more than that, it is one of the most rewarding things we can ever do. It makes one wonder if it was really so hard to believe that these 12 men gave up everything for the cause, to tell people about the love and grace that each and every person can obtain through Jesus? They did it and an entire world was changed, just imagine what we can do today, for the generations that will follow us. These men were amazing and we can’t wait to share more about each of them with you.
The disciples of
There are two things to remember about disciples: • Disciples are learners The term ‘disciple’ is derived from Mathetes, the Greek word for learner. You cannot be a disciple if you do not have a teachable attitude. The desire to learn and to know more must be strong in everything you do. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus clearly says “Come to Me….” When following Jesus you need to make the first move, you need to seek Him, look for Him, go to Him, and it is not a one-time thing, it is a lifelong commitment. • Disciples are becoming like their Master In Luke 6:40, Luke says that once we are trained, we are like our Master. This means that the more we learn and grow, the more we reflect Him and His word in our lives. Some of the characteristics of disciples are: 1. According to Matthew 22:36–40, we grow in our love for God and for others, with our whole heart, soul, and mind. In fact, He makes that the second command for the foundation and basis as Christians. 2. As disciples, we submit to Him with everything in our lives, not just our hearts (Luke 12:25-33). He becomes part of our lives, relationships, possessions, and every other area of our lives. 3. In Luke 9:57–62 we see that we seek the kingdom of God above all else as disciples. 4. Disciples are internally motivated to follow and serve God, because of what He did for us on the cross. The gratitude we have motivates us in every aspect of our lives to fully live and function for Him.
For the month of June, E4J will be hosting a winter clothing drive for the homeless and needy – E4J invites everyone to donate and give the gift of warmth this season. The charity drive will be collecting gently used and clean jackets, jumpers, tracksuit pants, socks, beanies, gloves, scarves, hoodies, with a special emphasis on blankets and sleeping bags to help those that are sleeping rough on the streets and in squatter camps. E4J is on a Mission, the clothing will be distributed to the homeless at the end of the month. The change in the weather from day to night is especially noticeable and temperatures have gotten very low. Winter time is a rough period for people living on the streets and in squatter camps. “I’m calling out to all my Friends to look inside their closets and donate any winter clothing in good condition that they no longer require to our charity drive”. 3 Ways to drop-off: • Kolonnade Retail Park – Ask for Ina (Week days from 07:30 – 16:30) • Delivery directly to me • Collection in Montana and surrounding Areas available
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT ME: LEE @ 079 179 8447 OR firstname.lastname@example.org
P e Peter, t e r the rock By Elizabeth Bekker
The history-maker series (see pages 12 and 13) is dedicated to each of the 12 disciples. It will be an attempt to learn more about them, who they were, and why Jesus chose them to change the world. First up is Peter. Peter was also known as Simon Peter or Cephas and his name means ‘rock’
s a true Galilean, he was quick tempered and easy to give in to quarrelling. Peter was chivalrous and more anxious for honour than gain. He was a very impulsive man and easily aroused with the idea of adventure. Even his brother Andrew became a disciple. Peter was fond of innovations and always ready to follow the leader. He was a fisherman by trade and known to be impulsive. Later on, this helped him to be just as bold in his preaching about Jesus and the Gospel. All of these characteristics helped form him as a person and when he started preaching, he truly became unstoppable and was known for being loyal to the very end. I’m sure it’s because of all these characteristics that he came to be the leader of the group and, therefore, also the spokesperson. He was part of the inner circle, one of the three in the small intimate group of Jesus. Most of the men went to him if they had questions to be answered. And this led Peter to ask Jesus most of the questions. He was the one who asked how often one must forgive. He also asked what the rewards for following Jesus were. Peter was loyal, strong, and impulsive which is probably why he was the first to step out of the boat towards Jesus in the storm. One could consider him the ‘ice-breaker’ of the group. I don’t think it is because he had the strength and courage that others lacked, I just think he became the appointed one to lead the group. Even today, when there’s a group activity, we chose one person to lead the rest, one spokesperson for all. He was probably an extrovert but more importantly, he had his faults, yet he didn’t let that deter him from life or his purpose. He betrayed Jesus the night of his arrest, but when you compare it to his life and what he did for Jesus, it becomes a speck of dust in the wind. Peter’s failure was used to make his story one of the strongest out there because it led him to be the first to confess Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Peter was the one to lead
the Pentecost sermon, he became the leader of the Jerusalem church, he baptised Gentiles, he became one of the world’s greatest history-makers, and he was human through all of this. He made mistakes, he had failures, but he used that to bring him closer to Jesus. That is the love and grace of Jesus; He forgives and uses our weaknesses and failures to strengthen our faith and turn it into one of our biggest strengths. Even today, we can so easily become discouraged when we fail at something when we feel we let God down, and then we want to turn our back, we think we are not good enough, strong enough or enough of ‘anything’ to be used. What if Peter walked away after he started to drown? Would he have betrayed Jesus that fateful night? What if he had walked away after that? Would he still have been the first to confess Jesus? To preach at the Pentecost sermon? To become a leader? To change history? What if it was his line of preaching that allowed us Gentiles to know Jesus today? Everything we do and say, every seed we plant has a ripple effect for years to come. The thing is, it doesn’t matter what we think we are, whether we think we are strong enough or good enough. God says we are enough, He says we are capable… shouldn’t that be enough? Peter didn’t back down, instead, he pushed forward to do more, learn more, and we should do the same as Christians today. Peter lived and died for Christ. He was crucified upside down and that became his symbol, his shield: an upside down cross with two keys, the keys of heaven. His reward was great. I’m not saying we should do it for the rewards, we should do it because we discover how powerful, magnificent, and truly remarkable we really are. We are here for more than just living and breathing, we are here to change history, to continue that ripple effect of Peter into every part of the world.
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My journey with
Gregory By Rika de Jager
When I got married, I wasn’t so young anymore and we decided to start a family immediately. The day Gregory was born, the whole family was beyond excited. He was the first grandson after 12 granddaughters and therefore, the first grandchild to carry his grandfather’s name
e thought we had a beautiful, normal little boy. Nothing suggested that anything could be wrong, but at the age of six months, he was diagnosed with a very rare bone disease, osteopetrosis (marble bone disease). At that stage, in 1984, only 300 cases were recorded across the world and because the doctors in South Africa didn’t know much about the disease, they sent Gregory’s X-rays and a piece of his bone to America for a final diagnosis and prognosis. We waited for three months for the results in great suspense. When it eventually came, it was a death sentence for our child and it changed our life in one terrible moment. The doctors predicted that he would not reach the age of six. There are two kinds of osteopetrosis and Gregory had the lethal kind. Some children die early (a few months) and very few live for longer than six years. In spite of the doctors’ prediction, Gregory only died at the age of 23, but during that time he underwent 40 operations or procedures under anaesthetic. Some were not so serious and others were very traumatic. People often confuse osteopetrosis with osteoporosis but osteopetrosis is in fact just the opposite. The bone density in these children are very abnormal – hard and thick, but in spite of the thickness, they also break easily as with osteoporosis and also takes much longer to heal than normal bones. The thickened bones cause many problems. It cuts off the nerves to the eyes and ears which results in blindness and deafness, as well as a low energy level or anaemia because of the bone marrow, where red blood cells are formed, is suppressed by the thick bones. These children also often have very big foreheads and protruding eyes.
Retarded growth, knock-knees, infections, bleeding, a high palate are also symptoms of osteopetrosis, and of course, early death. Some of the more serious operations Gregory had to undergo include an eye operation after which he was completely blind, three major osteotomies (operations to straighten his legs), several ear operations, dental operations where all his teeth (which never erupted) were extracted to try and combat chronic infections, a jaw replacement (with a titanium jaw), and a craniotomy (to drain a brain abscess). During one of his operations, he contracted an infection which caused a lot of problems for him for the rest of his life.
“Gregory taught me that every person has the desire to be treated as a worthy human being and that we should not concentrate on outward appearances. Gregory’s physical appearance shocked people later in his life, but I knew that God saw his heart and nothing else mattered. In the process, I learned not to judge people on their outward appearance. People say or do hurtful things because of their own pain”. His energy levels were a big problem. Daily cortisone helped a lot in the beginning, but it lost its effectiveness later in his life resulting in fatigue and anaemia. His wounds often
Inspiration started to bleed spontaneously and I sometimes struggled for more than half hour to stop the bleeding. It was a vicious circle because this always resulted in a low red blood count and low energy. Blood transfusions only helped temporarily. Usually, after a blood transfusion, his energy started to fall again after about a week or 10 days. But in spite of all these difficulties, God blessed Gregory with exceptional courage, endurance, and a strong spirit which touched people’s lives. He always had a positive attitude and a wonderful sense of humour. From an early age, he showed wisdom not expected from such a young person. He often entertained us with his wisecracks and jokes. The miracle of Gregory’s life was the fact that he never complained. He never wanted to admit that he was sick. He always saw himself as normal. I was not allowed to tell anybody about his pain and when people asked him how he felt, Gregory often told them that he felt with his hands! Although he sometimes went through periods where he questioned the meaning of his life, but he never surrendered to self-pity. He hated it when people showed him sympathy. Gregory chose to ignore his pain and challenges every day and live life to the full. He decided to use every gift God had given him. He loved to help other people. He never wanted to be the centre of attention. With his limited physical abilities, he did more than one would expect. God blessed him with a high intelligence. He went to a normal school until the age of 15. One of his favourite past times was chess and until he was 18, he only competed against sighted people. At the age of 20, he was chosen for the Protea blind chess team to represent South Africa in Spain. It was one of his dreams to build a
radio controlled aeroplane and after his father’s death, Gregory and I built two radio controlled aeroplanes. I would never have been able to complete such a project without him. Gregory had a lot of perseverance and he never gave up. He was a computer boffin and often helped people with their computers. He also loved to listen to stories on his computer. He had a zest for life and resilience in spite of many setbacks and disappointments. He had a deep desire to do things and be a worthy person and to have a worthy occupation. To be independent was almost an obsession of his.
LIFE LESSONS LEARNT
Gregory’s character and his personality, together with his suffering had a great impact on my life. He enriched my life and he taught me many lessons. He taught me gratitude. I am grateful for all the many blessings I have received from God. I took everything for granted in the past. I am grateful for my healthy daughter, Leonie, who had to sacrifice a lot, but it built her character and made her the emotionally strong adult she is today. Gregory and her father’s suffering motivated her to become a medical doctor. Gregory changed my priorities and gave me a completely different outlook on life. What seemed important before was not important anymore. I am glad I could be a stay-at-home mom and enjoy my children in their developing years. He taught me not to complain about trivial, everyday irritations and frustrations. He taught me patience and perseverance and to appreciate the small pleasures in life. Gregory’s enthusiasm for life often amazed and motivated people around him.
“What seemed important before was not important anymore. I am glad I could be a stay-at-home mom and enjoy my children in their developing years”. He taught me the meaning of love caring, compassion, and consideration for others. Apart from his fighting spirit, he had a very kind and gentle spirit, although he always kept up a very strong façade. Even in his very vulnerable and sick periods, these characteristics came to the fore. Gregory taught me that every person has the desire to be treated as a worthy human being and that we should not concentrate on outward appearances. Gregory’s physical appearance shocked people later in his life, but I knew that God saw his heart and nothing else mattered. In the process, I learned not to judge people on their outward appearance. People say or do hurtful things because of their own pain. Through the course of Gregory’s life, I also realised that I wouldn’t be able to handle all the pain and suffering of my child if it wasn’t for the strength God gave me to keep going. God often sent angels on my journey to help me through very difficult times. God was so good that we never blamed Him for all the suffering. If I could ever choose again, I would choose Gregory over and over. To have known him as our child was a wonderful, enriching experience I would not trade. He added so much value to my life and his positive attitude and sense of humour will stay with me until the end of my days.
From vision to reality…
… the Eduplex story By Gerda Potgieter
Playing sports has numerous benefits for growing children. Sports enhance both the physical and mental development of children. The availability of high-quality sport facilities is critical to add value to the overall well-being of school children; and Eduplex School took it to a whole new level…
Mr Jannie de Goede, principal of Eduplex Primary School, and Mr Jabulani Mapumulo at the celebrations of the 80th year anniversary of the Wonderboom National Airport.
riday, 21 April 2017, marked the opening of the new sport facilities at Eduplex School - facilities that will play a huge role in family and community involvement. One can only wish them the very best and express the hope that these new facilities will provide competitions on and off the field that will become opportunities for the children to learn from failure and from success. One of the highlights of the new facilities is the state-of-the-art 2 500m2 asphalt Pump Track – Africa’s first! It comprises of a jump track, a pump track and a baby track. The track is also used by skateboard and rollerblade enthusiasts. Eduplex’s Pump Track and the 2.5 km skills development mountain bike track represent one of the biggest inner-city developments of its kind in the world. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE OPENING EVENT At the opening event Pastor Rory Dyer read from Ruth 2 and told the story of how Naomi decided to go to a relative on her husband’s side, Boaz, (a man of standing) to go and pick up leftover grain behind anyone in who’s eyes she had favour. Naomi was ‘bent down’ (desperate to get a bit of food while picking up the dropped grain) and Boaz ‘picked her up’.
He gave her a new chance. Pastor Dyer then said, “Just as in the case of Naomi and Boaz, God is going to supernaturally bring people and children to your sport fields that will also be ‘bent down’ and they will become ‘the fields of Boaz’ to people. May they find favour in the eyes of all the staff of Eduplex and be blessed … as you ‘pick them up’. May God open the eyes of the Eduplex staff and parents to see and notice children that are ‘bent down.’ May you speak kindly to these children and not embarrass or rebuke them. May all the children playing on these fields live under the blessing of your words – we give our mouths to you Lord!” The pastor also pointed out that when a person of standing (financial, spiritual, emotional, etc) meets a person of no standing – we help them to STAND UP. Dignity gets restored, and in this instance Eduplex staff and parents restore people’s dignity on these fields! Pastor Rory also shared his own story about how his Dad encouraged him at every rugby game, even when he played for the 3rd team. He can still hear his Dad calling out “GO BOYTJIE!” He then reminded all to encourage one another and help people STAND UP by restoring their dignity. “Let us use our eyes to see, to notice and to warm
towards people. Let us use our mouths to encourage, to celebrate and to inspire people, and may we represent our Father in heaven by declaring GO BOYTJIE! | GO GIRLIE! to the children... INSPIRATION AT ITS BEST It is no secret to my family and friends that Eduplex is my most favourite school and mostly because of the spiritual journey I have embarked on with Nico van der Merwe, the founder of the school. Nico is also the founder of the H.A.S.S Group, a company that specialises in hearing healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. He was awarded the Ernst & Young Business Mover of the Year Award in 1996 and the prestigious Chancellor’s Medal by the Council and Senate of the University of Pretoria in 2009. Nico and his family have developed a chain of Ear Institutes in sub-Saharan Africa and their company is the leading hearing healthcare services providers in Africa. In Issue 4 of Devoted, I wrote how this man’s calling has changed the lives of many and now, years later, it is even more relevant. Nico is the one person who remains an inspiration to me, a man who walks the talk… and talks the Walk! Many times when I get discouraged by life’s many challenges; it will be Nico that I turn to for prayer, a word of wisdom, encouragement and guidance. And only God knows the daily challenges he has to face to turn His vision into reality. At the opening of the amazing new facilities, I found it difficult to believe that, not very long ago, Nico admitted (in his honest and heart-warming way) on his blog, “There are times that I feel overwhelmed. Amidst my normal duties and day-to-day challenges (fluctuating exchange rates; our country’s political games; staff issues; economic uncertainty and many of my friends’ health problems) I also have the responsibility of looking after a number of construction projects, we are currently busy with - endless problems with at times less competent civil servants that obstruct our progress to get the necessary rights and approvals. Add to this the financing of the projects and the pressure to finish everything on time while a host of unforeseen issues keep on popping up and costs just continue to escalate. At times, the challenges feel never ending and overwhelming. This is a time of stress, pressure and discouragement. In fact, everything is just too much.” I can relate to this feeling of desperation, and sometimes it is easy to just give up. But Nico never was a quitter, and even though it was most definitely not plain sailing all the way - and much to his frustration - Nico now has the privilege to
see God’s vision come to reality with yet another milestone for Eduplex - the fruits of his labour and endless prayers! A DIFFERENT KIND OF SCHOOL It is clear when you visit the Eduplex School that things are done differently and in style. The impeccable quality of the school and its facilities are outstanding. The children seem happy, disciplined and always helpful, and so is the staff. I just love visiting this school and like to spend as much time there as I can. In a world with so much chaos around us, it gives one hope that there still are schools that can provide the high-quality education a child deserves. If your child is not in this school, well … your child misses out! From afar it looks like everything works well and that everything is hunky-dory, but those of us who have been part of the Eduplex journey know about some of the sacrifices and the challenges that Nico, his family, friends, staff and parents of the school had to face to get where they are now. But they are an inspiration to us all – reminding us not to give up on a dream and to dream big! The Eduplex ‘family’ started small – like most families – with a pre-school in 2002 and then grew into a primary school in 2003 and a high school in 2011. I’ve met the Eduplex ‘family’ somewhere between the primary and high school years and a journey of inspiration started for me on a personal level. I cannot put it better than our beloved Madiba did in 2002 when he opened the pre-school and said it so eloquently in his Madiba-style: “What you are doing here is changing tragedy into triumph.”
Inspiration Eduplex is situated in Queenswood - one of the beautiful, older areas in the capital city of Pretoria. They promote the school as an independent, Christian mainstream school with a biblical worldview. It functions on an inclusive model, which means that the school caters for a small number of deaf children to learn alongside children with normal hearing. The Eduplex Training Institute was then born out of the need to train as many parents and professionals possible online through e-learning to make a difference to as many children possible; and not only to the few who attend the school. The special features that make Eduplex different from other schools include acoustically-treated classrooms, small conversation rooms off each classroom and maximum use of technology that benefits all the children in the class. This include the classroom amplification systems, a parent guidance and speech therapy section as well as various training facilities. It is especially the interactive gardens that caught my eye when I first visited the school. It does not only allow for fun and playing facilities but also an opportunity for children to interact with Mother Nature and her awesome creatures! The Eduplex management regard sport as an important aspect of every child’s education and development. They encourage teamwork and place a high value on sports as extramural activities. No wonder they recently opened one of the most advanced sporting facilities in the city!
Angus Buchan says, “if your vision does not scare you, it is not big enough!” He also likes to point out that the bigger the dreams that are coming to reality, the more God’s glory will be evident for all to see! He also warns that you should not allow your vision, your dream, to frighten you into failure, and Nico and his team know all too well that failure is just a bent in the road on the way to the destination. The opening of the Eduplex sport facilities was yet another milestone for this amazing school, its founder and stakeholders. The journey, however, started many years back when God gave Nico the vision to make a difference in deaf education. In his book, My utmost for His highest, Oswald Chambers writes about vision. He warns us that “God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way.” Nico is the first one to admit that his own ego sometimes steps into the way (can we not all relate to that?). However, after some
very painful lessons he realised that “while being battered into the vision, God was at the same time unfolding His vision.” It took many years for Nico and his team to understand that the vision of making a difference in deaf education would include an environment where deaf children would be able to acquire normal spoken language alongside their normal hearing friends, without the use of sign language, so they would be able to reach their full potential. Add to this paradigm the need for the maximum use of technology that also benefits the normal hearing children, and you have a winning recipe to really make a difference. And, Nico and his team are living proof of the good things that happen if you learn to recognise God’s signposts and adhere to His calling. Today, there are nearly 800 children in Eduplex of whom 75 are deaf. REMINDERS OF GOD’S PROMISES Walking through the Eduplex facilities, you are constantly reminded about God’s vision for the school and Nico’s journey with the Lord in realising the vision. For instance, between the preschool and primary school, you enter through two huge wooden doors that cannot close. This is to remind everyone about the confirmation the Lord gave Nico through Revelation, 3:8: “I know you well; you aren’t strong, but you have tried to obey and have not denied my Name. Therefore I have opened a door to you that no one can shut.” Against the hall close to the principal’s office at the primary school, there is a timeline that clearly highlights the milestones of the school. Reading through this you can easily get a lump in your throat when you realise your own shortcomings in taking own visions to reality. God does not promise us that it will be easy. He does, however, promise us that He will not forsake us in our journey. But we so easily forget His promise to us. The opening of the sport facilities was yet another joyous milestone for me to share with the Eduplex family. For me, it was not just another event. Apart from the fact that I had the opportunity to share the moment with some very special people, I was also reminded that God will never give us a task that we are not up for. I understand so well what Nico means by saying: “as I look back over the past 36 years, I should’ve planned less and trusted more because man plans his ways, but God directs his steps”. Nico wrote a book about his vision and his journey with Eduplex and you can read about the book on the next page. His purpose with the book, aptly called Vision - Dare to dream… BIG!, is to inspire people to do just that - to dream big. Nico writes, “May this book fill you with hope – and lots of it – and encourage you to seek God for the specific vision He has for your life. He has called us all to make a difference. If he can entrust His vision to me, He can certainly also entrust His vision to you. All you need to do is ask.” And I am going to do just that!
Dare to Dream … BIG! The story of the Eduplex School I just love to curl up on the couch with a good book and if it is an inspirational book that provides you with simple truths – so much better. This book, written by Nico van der Merwe, wellknown businessman and founder of Eduplex School is such a book.
Review by Gerda Potgieter
his book is all about his journey in life and the amazing Eduplex story. It is a book that will inspire and encourage you with its uplifting messages and positive life-affirming concepts. It is full of practical tips on how to grow in faith and deal with self-doubt and arrogance. The many scriptures and quotes from other inspiring writers help to put it all into perspective and will warm your heart and help you to believe in yourself. It is written in a down-to-earth style with practical advice based on biblical principles. It will inspire you to take positive action. Woven into this book are people close to the writer and acknowledgements for the roles they played in his life, and in helping him realise the Eduplex dream. Nico is always the first to acknowledge
Vision Dare to Dream ... BIG! is for you… • If you’ve forgotten how to dream. • If you feel that you’ve failed God and His purposes in your life. • If you’re struggling with the vision you believe God has given you. • If you’re discouraged and have allowed circumstances to overshadow your faith. • If you’re afraid to dare to dream big.
Nico van der Merwe
Nico van der Merwe is the founder of the H.A.S.S. Group, specialising in hearing healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. He was awarded the Ernst & Young Business Mover of the Year Award in 1996. In 2009, he was awarded the prestigious Chancellor’s Medal by the Council and Senate of the University of Pretoria. Nico is the author of the best seller, What does God know about Business? Making the right decisions in tough times.
Note from the editor: What does God know about business? Making the right decisions in tough times is Nico’s first book. Both his books are available for sale online at www.amazon.co.za, www.godandbusiness.net and also at Ear Institutes throughout South Africa.
Vision Dare to Dream ... BIG!
VISION will encourage every reader to follow their dream. It’s a true story of success and failure, obedience and, at times, disobedience. You will stand amazed at how God leads, provides and blesses the author as he shares important lessons learnt along his journey. Miracle upon miracle testifies to the fact that God is truly still at work today.
on his journey that he cannot get to the destination alone. It is said that one of the big signs of visionaries is their willingness to share their vision with us. They simply cannot keep it to themselves and we have the benefit of this quality of Nico also.
Dare to dream ... BIG! The amazing EDUPLEX story Nico van der Merwe www.devotedmag.co.za
FEAR or FAITH? By Johan Terblanche
In recent times, fear has taken a grip on society both here and abroad. Many have raised concerns about the current state of affairs. Most of these have gone so far as to express fear using phrases like “I’m afraid” and “It’s scary”
have also recently expressed fear, especially when phrases like “kill the boer!” are shouted from podiums by politicians and in the streets of South Africa. I also found myself fearing for my children’s futures due to affirmative action, their chances of being employed taken away from them, simply because they’re white. Fear is not unknown to us. Some of the most common fears we face is the fear of death, especially being murdered, diseases like cancer, being raped, losing our jobs and income, losing a loved one and even fearing the future itself. Though each of these situations is extremely frightening, we as believers were given an antidote, namely faith - not faith in men or things, but faith in God, the Father of our Lord Jesus. The psalmist so clearly stated: “When I am afraid, I put my trust (faith) in you.” (Psalm 56:3) David also stated: “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
Isn’t it written?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
But how do we overcome?
What do we do when the pawpaw hits the fan, when fear takes a life-threatening, breathstealing grip on us? What do we do when we break out in a cold sweat, gasping for air with our heart pounding in our chest in the early hours of the morning? Jesus said: “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36) Romans 10:17 states that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. When fear looms, we can build our faith by quoting the Word of God. “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper.” (Psalm 118:6-7) And, should we lack faith or battle to believe, we can take heart for we too can pray: “Help Thou mine unbelief.” (See Mark 9:24) Let it not be said that Jesus did not do many miracles there, because of our unbelief. (See Matthew 13:58) Let it not be said that we remained in fear, because we did not have faith in God.
You Decide The Way
In the first part of this article we established that decisions are a reflection of our sight, our ability to see and the way in which we see (perspective). We discussed how our decisions as young people reflect the way in which we see ourselves. Now, let’s move to the second part which speaks of how our decisions reflect where we see ourselves
am not the most enthusiastic person when it comes to school, I’ve never been. I hated school in all 12 years of it. But as much as I dreaded it, I could never talk myself out of it, because I had a vision of becoming something in life. Yeah, sure, most of the time I couldn’t choose exactly what, but I did know that whether it was the senior public relations officer, crime scene investigator, or detective, I’d need to be educated. Not having a vision of the future is one of our biggest problems as young people. We are the YOLO (you only live once) generation, after all. There’s an eye disorder which best articulates this problem of ours, namely short-sightedness. Short-sightedness is defined as the inability to see things clearly unless they are relatively close to the eyes. The keyword in this definition is “clearly”, because we all have an awareness of tomorrow, but not all of us have a clarity of it that would allow us to plan ahead and make better decisions today. By this I do not mean knowing the details of what the future holds, (I’m a pastor today, very far off from a detective) but instead knowing the details of where I want to be tomorrow. In fact, it’s even easier when you think of where you don’t want to be. I didn’t want to be a mother who couldn’t provide for her children, I didn’t want to end up sick because of an alcohol or tobacco habit I couldn’t kick, I didn’t want to have to depend on others financially…all of these things informed the decisions I made while still in school. You have to understand that the adult you’ll be tomorrow stands on the foundation of the teen you are today, so it matters a great deal what you decide now. You can’t afford to be so shortsighted, making decisions as though you’ll be young forever, as though you’ll always have your parents with you, because you won’t. I know it’s harsh, but that’s the truth, that’s life.
(Part 2) By Gugu Ndlovu
God knows if we could choose to never age, I’d still be sixteen, stuffing my face with junk without a care in the world. There’s a young man in the Bible by the name of Joseph. At 17, he had a clear vision of where he saw himself… he saw himself as a leader. What I love most about him is how, despite all the challenges he faced, he never lost sight of his vision. He battled the hatred of his older brothers, the harshness of slavery and the hopelessness of prison without letting go of his dream. And along the way, he had to make decisions that would either bring him closer to his dream or pull him further. At some point, he had to deny himself the pleasure of being with a woman, because it would taint his integrity and that was the one thing he had to protect if he had the hope of leading a nation. With this, we learn that it won’t always feel good, sometimes you’ll want to do that with that person at that place. Sometimes you’ll want to go to a party instead of study, you’ll want to fit in instead of stand out, you’ll want to experiment with different drinks and drugs and you’ll want to know what it feels like to sleep with someone. When such times come, keep your far-reaching vision up, keep those eyes open, listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and not your emotions, listen to your dream, hear it beckoning you and find strength to resist temporary pleasure, because you want permanent success. Pray with me: “Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart today, that I may see myself the way You see me. Through your Holy Spirit, cause my eyes to be opened towards seeing where You’ve destined me to be, and that when I see this, it directs every step I take and every decision I make. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
You can follow Gugu and read more of her work on these social media platforms: www.betterangelthoughts.blogspot.com
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The Good Book
Information provided by Christian Art Media Book synopsis: Is there a book that can tell us everything we need to know about God? Of course there is: the Bible. But how can we even begin to truly understand what the Bible is trying to tell us? In The Good Book, Deron Spoon uses key Bible chapters to help readers better understand what the Bible is trying to tell them. He explores the context and content of 20 Old Testament and 20 New Testament chapters in a way that will open the whole Bible to readers. The key Bible chapters have been included in this book and are taken from the Christian Standard Bible® (CBS). Each chapter reveals one life-changing truth about God and concludes with a “For Reflection” section that will help readers apply each truth to their everyday lives. The Good Book will appeal to those who already love and read the Bible regularly, as well as to those who are just beginning their Christian journey. This book will help people understand and live by the trans-formative truths of the Bible. About the author: Deron Spoon is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over the past 16 years, Spoon has guided the church in its transitions from being simply a downtown church to a regional church committed to urban ministry. Church members describe him as “down to earth” and “authentic.” His television devotionals, First Things First, reach 100 000 people each week. Spoon is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Paula, have three children.
Sacred Assembly The Word of God on Trail
On November 19th 2016, after being instructed by The Lord, Angus Buchan called all Christians in South Africa, to gather as one in a Sacred Assembly. Mr Buchan said, “We believe God has given to the Believers in South Africa a commandment and a mandate to gather together in one place, at one time and to repent, so that Jesus can heal this land.” So on the Saturday the 19th of November at the largest stadium in South Africa, people from every walk of life came before the Lord as a Nation to petition Almighty God to intervene on behalf of His people who are in a desperate situation. This is the broadcast from that day.
Life as a PRAYER Every moment is a Holy Gift Pause with the intention of paying attention to God’s presence as you step into your day. Transform your life into a prayer and awaken to the conversations, relationships, and times of stillness that shape your journey. In this devotional, you’ll be refreshed as you... • deepen your sense of wonder by seeing the miraculous in the mundane • find a truer joy by honestly exploring life’s difficult questions • savor your life by making space for God in silence What if your most sacred prayer begins after you say “Amen”? Let these rich reflections help you turn your every longing, possibility, and forward motion into an offering. About the Author Hope Lyda has a heart for inviting people to experience the still and quiet voice of God in their lives. As an editor and writer, she has worked in publishing for more than 20 years. Her popular devotionals, novels, and prayer books include One-Minute Prayers for Women, One-Minute Prayers for Comfort and Healing, and This Little Light of Mine and have sold more than one million copies.
Today’s families are busy. Every morning, parents and children head out for a day full of school, work, sports, music lessons, church activities, and more. We return home, often tuning into television, computers, and technology, and tuning each other out! What would happen if we paused, as families, in the middle of packed schedules to seek the most important avenue of help and assurance available? What would happen if we stopped to pray? Family Prayer Made Easy is a practical guide for praying together as a family in just ten focused devotions. Together, the family can seek God in Scripture-based, Spirit-driven, action-packed, answer-delivering prayers. It includes simple ways to come together in prayer, stories to share with children of all ages, Scriptures on prayer and God’s promises, and 100 interactive ideas for prayer and family worship. Whether used once a week for ten weeks or once a day for ten days, these prayers and prayer activities will guide the family into powerful, consistent, inclusive prayer, with resources for years to come.
HIDING from the KIDS
in my PRAYER closet
In a Christian culture that makes the Proverbs 31 woman the gold standard, Jessica Kastner encourages moms to let go of impossible perfection and be who they are. Soon after Jessica Kastner became a mother, she wondered if she was the only mom who found pretend play more boring than watching playdough harden and who dreaded yet another friend’s Instagram post of homemade deliciousness. In Hiding from My Kids in the Prayer Closet, Kastner shares her experience as an “unmom”—a mom who loves her kids more than she loves the daily experience of mothering. She helps readers laugh at the ridiculous, delight in the unpredictable, and enjoy being the mothers God made them to be.
PRAYING with POWER when life gets Tough This practical and inspirational book shows readers how to harness the power of prayer for comfort, guidance, and change, even when times get tough. What do you pray when times get tough? When you’re stressed or depressed, when life is overwhelming or disappointing, when you feel like giving up? It’s in these challenging times you need to pray with wild hope, says Jackie M. Johnson. With encouraging stories, Scriptures, and prayers, Johnson shows readers how to pray for focus, wisdom, confidence, courage, grace, strength, meaning, and much more. Conveniently structured so that readers can go directly to the chapter that addresses their particular situation, this book will be a lifeline to peace for those who need God’s touch.
You and your business By Fergus Ferguson
If your business doesn’t start with a plan, whether that’s financially, in terms of marketing or simply your key goals, you’re not going to achieve what you set out to accomplish
he first step isn’t just to have a list and a plan, but to have your priorities straight. You need to focus. You can’t do everything, so choose three or four priorities for the year, both for your business and for yourself. The reality is that even if you’ve just come back from a holiday and you’re ready to hit the ground running, you’ll be running around in circles if you don’t take the time to plan. So, how do you develop your goals and focus on what’s really important? Take a step back and remember why you got into business in the first place. Was it because you wanted to travel more, spend more time with your kids or have flexible hours? Was it because you wanted to change the world or create a brand that would become a household name? In our experience, too many entrepreneurs start a business and then get sucked into day-to-day operations. They never take the time to step back and evaluate where they are, where they want to be, and how they’re going to get there. You’d be amazed what you can achieve if you put the time aside to plan properly. Ask yourself what the business needs to do to serve you and your goals. What will really help you achieve your vision? If you can’t articulate this, you won’t be able to recruit others to help you and you won’t see your goals come to fruition. Evaluate your personal goals. It’s not enough to have a list of goals. You need to have a carefully thought-out list that is achievable. The big danger most entrepreneurs face is that they don’t actually do what they set out to do – they end up working for their
staff, suppliers, the bank and so on, instead of living the life they want to lead and running the business they want to own. It’s time for you to change your focus. Start by asking yourself, what’s in it for you? The power of passion. If you really want to be the best you can be, but still enjoy your life in its entirety, it’s important to have a pressure release valve. You can’t be all business, all the time. Make sure you have a hobby. This shouldn’t be running (whether on the treadmill or around the block), or cycling (the same rules apply), because in both these instances you’ll still think about the business. Fitness is incredibly important, but I’m talking about something that completely takes your mind off the business. Tennis, golf or clay pigeon shooting are relevant - basically anything that requires concentration and therefore takes your mind away from other things and stresses. It should be a hobby that you’re passionate about. Try to spend once a week on this activity. Have fun and see what a difference it will make to your overall mood and productivity. (Fergus Ferguson is a Franchisee of the global business coaching company – ActionCOACH. He is an accredited Business Coach who assists business owners to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills. To find out more about Business Coaching or to receive a complimentary consult and a business health check, call 082 650 0867 or visit the website: actioncoach.com/ fergusferguson)
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Prayer... “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
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t hink we’ve all been reminded about the power of prayer and the necessity to seek God in prayer because of the amazing It’s Time event that took place in April in Bloemfontein. How inspiring that over a million people took the time to pray for their country, its leaders, the sick and broken?! Jesus is moving in South Africa, that much is clear. And yes, many people had their two cents worth about the event and Uncle Angus. But honestly, would you rather have a million people come together to protest and commit violent acts? Rather than people coming together to ask God for peace and healing? Not a chance, my friend! If this is you, you need to check your heart, please! Prayer is powerful and in Philippians 4:6 the Bible says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Note, it says every situation… Not situations deemed worthy (by you or others) or extreme emergency situations. According to the Gospel Coalition, there are 650 prayers listed in the Bible and about 450 recorded answers. The Bible mentions Jesus praying 25 times (I’m sure He prayed up a storm) and Paul mentions prayer 41 times. The Bible also mentions about nine types of prayer – faith, agreement, request, thanksgiving, worship, consecration, intercession, imprecation, and praying in the Spirit. Now, this may seem complicated or overwhelming but, in reality, prayer is a simple concept. After all, you are just chatting to your Daddy! The conversation should be easy, light, sometimes fun, but always respectful! So, how should you pray? Easy. What would Jesus do, right? In Matthew 6, Jesus spoke about prayer. “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ This is my interpretation of this: 1. Worship and thanksgiving – We should
always praise and thank God for what He’s done for us. He is a good Father and He has given us the very air we breathe. He is so worthy of our prayer and thanksgiving. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” (Psalm 100:4) 2. Pray His will – You can pray until you are blue in the face… if it’s not God’s will for your life, you are praying in vain. 1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” Therefore, find out what His “good, pleasing and perfect” will is and pray that over your life. (Romans 12:2) 3. Provision – You are allowed to ask God to meet your needs. He is our Provider. He wants to bless us. He wants us to live a life of abundance. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11) 4. Forgiveness – If you’ve sinned, repent and ask for forgiveness. No need to torment yourself. Sorry is a very powerful word. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9) 5. Protection – The Bible says no weapon formed against you shall prosper! (Isaiah 54:17) Pray for protection over your life, your family, friends, colleagues, your church, your pastors… Plead and apply the blood of Jesus over them. “For He will command His angels concerning you. To guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11) In conclusion, I would like to say, prayer is not a manipulating tool, it is, however, a communication tool. It is how we speak to our loving Father, Brother, and Friend (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit). It is also through a prayerful attitude that they speak to us. There is power in prayer and we can come freely to the throne of our God, knowing that our prayers are like sweet incense before Him. (Rev 8:4 & Psalm 141:2). So, keep praying! Source: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9things-you-should-know-about-prayer-in-the-bible1
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