Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Time - the enemy

Rushing against the clock can be so frustrating and really senseless. But when you have several deadlines to meet it can get exhausting. Learning to prioritise is essential and almost impossible.

Just as I thought I was getting on top of all my tasks a faithful soldier dies and we have to do the funerals (a memorial in Bela Bela south Africa and a funeral in PE south Africa). Suddenly all the well laid plans have to shift and other things take priority.

I tried to find times when Jesus was moving from one place to another with an agenda and life just breaks in - I looked to see how he handled life's interruptions. There was blind Bartimaeus and I saw him stop, take time, listen and heal. The women who touched the hem of his garment - the tassels that represent God and his law to the Jews - He stops, takes time, listens and healing both physical and spiritual take place. The women who begs for healing for her daughter, again Jesus stops, listens, and healing takes place. I guess that no matter where I looked Jesus seemed to do that every time. Even Zacchaeus. He never walked away from an interruption he always stopped, listened and acted. I tend to act, listen then very seldom stop.

I realised that I needed to develop a different look on time. It really stops for no man but God who created time for our benefit made time bend to his will and design. So I am trying to take the time to stop, listen before acting with regard to the interruptions life throws at me.

I am about to start a training for Precept on Saturday and I need to take the time to prepare well. So this is my first appointment with stopping, listening and then acting. I will take the time to do things differently. I pray that God will touch the lives of the men and women who will be trained in this exciting Bible Study programme. Precept is an Inductive Bible Study which makes you look at the word of God slowly - digging all its treasures up for yourself. We will be looking at the life of Abraham - Becoming a friend of the Faithful God.

After that we have a Divisional Celelbration at which our Band will be on duty. They are very excited and hope to do well - their first time out (playing at a Divisional event for a long time. The Band has a number of brand new players who are still learning but really enjoying their playing time.

We have a new TC - whom I have not yet met but I am looking forward to his leadership knowing he will take us to new heights. We are trusting God for even greater things.

Army Renewal: Army Meetings

Army Renewal: Army Meetings

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Life - too long or too short??

There are times when you think whats the point of all this living???? Why are so many people living such miserable lives and others seem to just coast through life without any problems? Every time I am confronted by the death of someone I ask the same questions. How successful was this person at living? I good friend has just passed away. He was the Sgt. Major at the first Corps my husband and I were appointed to straight out of college. he was a tough Sgt. Major and demanded a high standard from us.

We didn't always agree - in fact we didn't agree on a number of occasions but I know I learnt some of my most important lessons while he was in our lives. He made me search the scripture to see my position as a women in leadership. He made me question my personal calling and made me either accept that God does call women into leadership or He doesn't. He was a faithful stalwart of the Corps and now he has gone to be with his Father - Absent from the body and present with the Lord. And as I think about his life I guess the reality of it all is who will take his place? We don't have the old guard who stood their ground and taught and led by example. He was an amazing man with a exhausting work ethic. he died at 69 still working in construction!!! He would work side by side with his workers never demanding from them what he would not do himself. He never wanted you to thank him publicly. He would often say - don't take away my heavenly reward. Jesus will thank me - later!

I know the Army is a movement that has many young members but how many of them having the staying power of men like the one I have described above. He grew up in a large family and each had their various chores around the farm. As a family they started two Salvation Army Corps that are still in existence today! They love God and they serve Him in the Army with all that they are.

We're moving into a technical age with every thing going digital. Young people can type faster then ever before - creating their own language in cyberspace. They demand faster food, faster phones, faster computers - faster life. What have I left as an inheritance to the generations to come? How have I contributed to the decline in moral standards around the world. In one year we sell and buy more human beings then in 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade. We have discovered new ways of lowering the value of human life more now then ever we did through two world wars.

We have created monsters. The Newspaper headlines say boys of 8 years old form a Sex club at school!! What has happened to us?? Why have we allowed the sin in man to be so overpowering in our world?? Is this really "Still my Father's world"?

Well just like you can't eat an Elephant (not that I would want to) in one sitting I guess we have to start chewing one mouthful at a time. So for now lets build awareness about the trafficking problem that is at work in every single country in the world. Young people are being bought and sold as we speak. They will never know the reality of a safe environment or the possibility of a life shielded and sheltered by a loving family. Help educated young people about the state of mankind so that they can know there are people out there looking to hurt them and looking to take them away!

Support initiatives like Stop the Traffic and World Hope and of course The Salvation Army and get the word out to everyone!

Keep safe, help us to talk into the scourge of Human Trafficking so that we can pray it, speak it, and hopefully stop it!!

God bless


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Saved to serve

I have just had the awesome privilege to attend the Willow Creek Leadership conference. I was so incredibly challenged. It was superb. I was introduced to so many amazing concepts and ideas and left there with my mind abuzz and my heart beating just a little faster.

I have been praying for a long time for God to show me how we could 'do' church more effectively. But I'm not in a church I'm in an army so how do I do "Army" more effectively. I am reading three books at the moment Pathway to Purpose for women by Katie Brazelton, the Shack by William p. Young and IT by Greg Groeschel. Greg heads up LifeChurch.TV They are all amazing and everyone on the planet should read them.

But Katie is taking me through some really personal things. She dealt with my walk in integrity this morning. It was a difficult session and serious thinking had to really take over. How integral am I? She has a quote in the book by Charles Swindoll "When one has integrity there is an absence of hypocrisy. He or she is personally reliable, financially accountable, and privately clean.... innocent of impure motives."

WOW WOW WOW. I had some real hard cleaning up to do and so I spent a good long time before the throne just telling my Father all about it.

I was woken up this morning by God at about 3am. He needed to deal with me and so I couldn't sleep - I am studying for exams I write two in January - but he wanted me to get a new vision for our Corps. (pronounced Core) This is what he gave me

Our vision statement is an old one but we want to revive it "Saved to Serve" Our Corps really does service well. So If that is a natural strength of the Corps then we should run with it so this next year everything we do will be in service. We want to serve with excellence. The catch phrase we want everyone to catch on to maybe make it the official greeting "how may I serve you today?" We want the entire Corps to buy into this vision to make it theirs. Our Scripture verse for 2009 is Luke 4:18-19 - its the call on the life of Jesus and its the one he handed over to his followers. So we are going to ask God everyday "How may I serve you today."

I would love us to have t shirts made with Born to serve on them or something like that. We want the vision statement to go throughout the different ministries in the Corps. We want it to be translated into lots of different languages too.

Bill Hybels talked about Mother Theresa in the last session of the day before we watched a clip intitled A thousand questions. --Mother Theresa made a few vows in her time as a nun but the most profound was she told God "I will refuse you nothing". That's pretty dangerous. God may ask you to do the most impossible thing - that's always been my fear. I forget sometimes that He's my Father but then I remember what he asked His Son to do..... No I know He loves me and He will always love me but there are times when I want to limit His control over every area of my life. I would love for him to trust me with little bits of it. But I guess when I fully committ to Him He fully committs to me. Thats what a covenant relationship is all about but in the busy path of life thats not always easy to hold on to or to remember. But Mother Theresa didn't hesitate to say to her father "I will refuse you nothing". She also promised to be faithful in the little practices. I guess those are the things that no one else sees. Just you and Your Father who sees everything. Its difficult to be faithful in those moments. The the vow she made that really touched me was this "Even thous I don't feel his presence for long periods of time, I will seek to love him as he has never been loved before."

To love like that is amazing!! I made it my mission to discover what that means in my relationship with God. I love Him - I tell everyone I love him but to love him more than he has ever been loved before that obsessive - and I guess that's what he wants!

I am so thrilled to be loved by God and I am so thrilled to be his child. So pray for Pretoria Corps and pray for us as we enter into this amazing time of learning what it is to serve with excellence. may we know God's peace as we strive to serve our community as God would have us serve them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

without president

Today I woke up in a South Africa that had no president. this is the first time something like this had ever happened to me. And again I learn something new regarding the ANC. I had already learnt that the party has a pecking order. The strongest always wins. So it was no surprise to me that Zuma won in Polekwane. Slowly Zuma has become stronger until now he is stronger then Mbeki and so the weaker of the two must take the fall. I am very proud of the way the older wiser man stepped down. I dread to think about our Country being run by someone who has proven over and over again that he has a price and can be bought.

But I respect Romans 13 and I will obey the leaders God has appointed over me. I will pray for the leaders of this beautiful land.

I am reading an excellent book pathway to purpose for women by Katie Brazelton. Excellent for anyone searching for meaning with regard to their present path and for direction when the road seems to bend either to the left or right and both look equally attractive.

She quotes John Ortberg (another challenging author and teacher)

"Whatever our season of life, it offers its own opportunities and challenges for spiritual growth. Instead of wishing we were in another season we ought to find out what this one offers."

So I intend to do just that. I'm firstly going to really make sure I understand the present season then go on to understand what to do with the way I feel about it.

The country is going through a spring cleaning and I feel I am doing the same thing. Right now I am cleaning out cupboards and sorting through papers and filing etc. In my head space I am preparing for two big training opportunities that are coming up next month. I am also preparing for two exams in January. And in between I have to think up an original Christmas programme and keep smiling while my children prepare for their own exams and end of year activities. So life is good and expensive!

My prayer for now is that God will allow me to focus on the important issues of life. Family, friends and constantly placing Him at the centre of all that I do. Time management and not allowing myself the constant need to self-destruct.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

musings on a Friday

We've just had the Home League Rally at our Corps. It was exhausting but really a great morning was enjoyed by all. It was such a blessing to see the hall so completely packed. Wow I long to see that every Sunday.

As an Officer I am going through one of my philosophical moments. Is this what God really intended me to do until the day I die and is there life after Officership and what do I do when people I trust to make right decisions regarding my life make such obviously wrong decisions regarding my friends and fellow officers.

I guess the one thing that attaches itself to this mode of thinking is the lack of resources for the Corps programmes, the lack of resources for our allowance - we just got a huge increase (absolutely great) the Corps can't afford to give it to us neither can they give us our back pay -
But the Territory is in the process of centralising allowances etc. So maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel - who knows???

Enough of that I have been stunned at how God just always shows up at the party. We needed dog food. Visited a friend whose dog had just died and she asks me - can I give you the dog food we have here - OK thanks God! Then we needed something for one of the kids and again a Friend calls out of the blue offering me that very thing - these God incidents keep me on my feet and hold my heart carefully.

Nicole (my daughter) is getting ready to write her final exams!! I find it difficult to know that she will soon be at university and then out of the house. Teaching her to fly has been a difficult process but watching her fly alone has been tough for me.

Matthew and mark are great. They are really nice boys who make my heart so proud. Natalie will always be the one who pulls at our heartstrings because she always seems to be lost in a crowd. I pray for all four of these precious young adults that somehow each of them may make a positive change in everything they do and with everyone they come into contact.

Aristotle once said "for things we have to learn before we do them, we learn by doing them." - I have proven that statement over an over in my life. The best teacher is experience. Even in the writing of this blog I have had to learn while writing. I'm enjoying having a place that I can express my feelings and my emotions openly but at the same time I am aware of the potential risk factor as well. they dichotomy of feelings is what keeps me doing it - i think. I don't have to make sense to anyone other than myself - and even then I don't always understand all I think about either.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday clear out

I had the awesome privilege of attending a wedding yesterday. Its becoming the norm to have weddings on a Sunday - still a bit strange though. Major Alister and Marika Venter's eldest daughter Alison was married to a wonderful young man. He was amazing from arriving at her Kitchen tea and presenting every lady there with a rose to speaking wonderful words to his new wife at the reception.

The wedding was conducted by Captain Garth Niemand and took place at a beautiful venue out in the Magaliesberg range. It was truly a beautiful place to be married. The colours were blue and white and looked beautiful.

Alison was beautiful and Branden was amazing. I wish them all the best for the future. They love the Lord and they have built their relationship on God. So they have everything going for them.

We were having such an amazing time at the wedding and someone said to me - this feels wrong - this is a Sunday. But I think weddings should take place on a Sunday. Its a covenant relationship! Why not celebrate it on the Lord's day.

I enjoyed the wedding it was great and we enjoyed the company as well.

I am busy reading a life of purpose for woman and again I am looking at what I am doing and how my passion is involved in what I do. I want to work in my passion but maybe my work needs to become my passion. Am I supposed to change my passion or my work???? Every time I try to do something to do with my passion I hit against people in position of authority over me shoot it down. Is it because I should not do these things or is the devil trying to keep me down???

south Africa is beautiful today. The sun is shining where I am and I am enjoying a day off. I'm at home and doing things but I allow myself not to worry about everything and everyone today.

this is going to be a hectic week as we have our Home League rally this week and its at our Corps (church)! We are doing the decor and getting the tea ready etc. etc. its going to be great but its going to be alot of work!!

anyway enough from me and my thoughts. Praying God's blessing over all who read this blog.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The clouds have moved in over the highveld and today is a little bit chilly. On my way to work at the school tuck shop. Serving at least 700 boys in a 20 minute time span is not a task for the light hearted.

I was asked to produce our Home league Magazine for South Africa. Its been a fun but really hectic task and a good friend Heather helped me by taking on a few months of work. Thanks Heather! I divided the magazine up into seasons which made me think a lot about how nature reflect human emotions. We all have our dark and dreary days when tears are the order of the day and we feel almost dead. Then we have those days when Sunshine reflects back at us and we enjoy the day.

I love spring and Autumn the most. They steer away from the extremes and just allow us to enjoy life as it comes. I realise they are the shortest of seasons but they are the best -moderate that's what I like!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

risk taing

Today is a beautiful day in South Africa. Everything is great. I have found a UNISA assignment not done yet so will have to work really hard to get it in by tomorrow. I'm reading a really good quiet time book Praying for purpose for women by Katie Brazelton and it really is a prayer experience rather than a quick run through before the day begins.

I am beginning to admit a few things to myself. As an officers Child (In the Salvation Army) I learnt - from very young - not to wear my heart on my sleeve. To defend myself and my beliefs fiercely. I learnt that I had an opinon and I expressed it freely.

But over the years the Holy Spirit worked with my spirit and began to soften the edges. I began to allow certain emotions to come into my day to day life. I still knew how to keep people at a distance - so made an excellent counsellor. Able to help others without getting emotionally involved.

But over the past year the Holy Spirit has been softening the centre bits. I'm exposing myself to more emoional risk taking. I've been hurt, disappointed, angry, frustrated more in this time then ever. But its all good because I'm allowing myself to feel. There are still times when I shut down and cloak myself with a hard shell that no one can penetrate but its at those moments that the Holy Spirit works really gently with me.

I've always known the Holy Spirit is the comforter but to be honest I have only just begun to really understand and personally experience this in my life.

So here we have another risk taking step but a good one for me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ok so I thought I would try this new technology thing out. I love just being able to speak about the things that touch my heart so here goes.
Last night I visited my nephew who is turning 21 today!! He's a great young man with a beautiful little one year old boy named Jayden and a lovely fiance named claudette. He is stuck in hospital because a drunk driver wrote his car off!! I don't know what happened to the the driver of the other vehicle. At the hospital they told us he had minor injuries Johnny has a crushed pelvis.

Life isn't always fair but I know this that God has had his hand over Jonathan's life and has kept him from near death so many times that he must have something amazing for him to do. What am I saying he is already a great dad, has a lovely family is facing life full on and enjoying every moment. - Perhaps God is already working out the miracle that is Jonathan right now.

Isn't it strange how we always think the miracle is still coming when in fact most of us are living miracles every day.

Its been a very hectic time in my life. I am studying at UNISA which is distance studies and I'm not giving it all I have, I am co-pastoring a church with my husband, I am raising four amazing children, (sorry young adults) and my second eldest is doing matric at the moment. I am also managing a shelter for abused women as well as running a few training courses for Precept.

Bla, Bla sounds like a pity party but its not. Just writing that down I felt encouraged. You see my person is not a simple idea but a complex joining together of so many ideas. I sometimes get a bit confused as to which roll I am playing but all in all I think my life is good and fulfilled.

My prayer is that my life would reflect the God I serve and that all I do may not bring me any glory but be to His account. that takes a lot of pressure off me and puts a lot of pressure onto Him.

This has been fun. Will try again later today.