April 24, 2017, by Kgalalelo
I was busy editing my book for the final stages of printing and there is a chapter where I gave the account of my father’s loss of employment whilst the family lived in Mafikeng. The family since relocated to Klerksdorp. It became apparent to me that the Holy Spirit leads you to the actual place you belong and puts your feet on the right path. He uses various ways to get you there even though other methods seem harsh. We only realise after some time what God was actually up to.
My dad had been a teacher all his life and when he left teaching for greener pastures in government, things went smooth only for a few years and he lost the very same job he was keen about. We had had a good beginning in Klerksdorp originally and when the chance to relocate to Mafikeng came, it was an easy decision to make for my parents and besides, we were very young to understand much. I was only nine years old. When the job loss hit, the family had to move again to Klerksdorp and at that time, I was doing my final year at school.
The relocation to Mafikeng had some benefits from a personal viewpoint, it shaped my character, created wonderful opportunities for me, I went to university there, it caused me to meet Christ and I made wonderful friends that I still have contact with today but it was a huge blow for the family unit and set the family backwards temporarily but on the other hand, led my dad into the teaching profession again. He left Klerksdorp for Mafikeng as a primary school principal and returned to Klerksdorp to be the principal again. His ministry has always been in teaching and managing a school, the job that he did with pride and joy.
On the other continuum, my mom had been an auxiliary nurse back in the days before I was even born, she often told me about it and I saw her black and white pictures wearing the nurse’s uniform. She enjoyed that part of her journey but changed employment as time went along and when we relocated and returned to Klerksdorp, she went back into that profession that she loved and where she finally retired. Her life was complete and fulfilled. She had returned to where she had started and so was my dad. He retired as a teacher and became a member of the retired teachers association in the neighbourhood. I could see and hear when he spoke that he was more content in that vocation than anywhere else.
In life, we need to learn from the experiences of others and remember to enquire with the Lord for the perfect lifetime path and plan.
The Bible says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”. Everything worked out for my parents and because as children we are connected to them, we were shaped by their experiences and benefited from what they had to go through and eventually everything was realigned again, their lives as well as our lives. There is indeed benefit in the seemingly bad situations if we look close enough and look for it. We need to take life holistically to be able to see all of this.
My parents built a life in Klerksdorp that was good for them, being in careers that they both were passionate about and ending their work curriculum in those careers. After retiring my mom would be called sometimes to moonlight at the hospital because she had the experience. If there was a shortage of nurses or a need for assistance, she was more than willing to fill in. She was a dedicated worker who enjoyed what she did until she passed. She had fulfilled her life’s purpose with the twists and turns in the mix but the God of mercy took her and put her back into the “garden of Eden” to cover the ground she was initially assigned to and so was my dad. He was given an assignment to educate the children and by the time he retired, he had completed the assignment. He also transferred the gift of education to me and placed the love of studying in my heart.
This knowledge was advanced as I was examining the email I had received from the university I had applied at. I sought to study for a PHD programme in the faculty of Management Studies at a university and the e-mail read:
“Dear Mrs K Mphephuka
I regret to inform you that your application for admission to the studies for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management studies has not been approved. Kindly note that your qualification is in Communication, you are therefore advised to apply for the PHD in Communication in the next application period.
Yours faithfully, Registrar”
This was it basically! Short and straight to the point.
This was the second email I had received from a different university saying the exact same thing when I had applied for Management Studies. I had believed that if one university rejected me, surely another would accept me but it seemed as though the e-mails were written by the same person though at different institutions. The registrars never wasted time nor minced their words and the message was very clear that I wasn’t going to be permitted to do what I thought I should be doing. I had thought that there were many growth opportunities in management studies than anywhere else, but realised that the Holy Spirit was beckoning and trying to align me into the right path that I had started with to complete the circle. My own original assignment in the Garden of Eden!
My portion of labour was in the field that involved communication whichever way that was defined and I had to study something along those lines. It was something I had to think deeply about and come up with a researchable topic that would complete the picture. The writing was on the wall and I was being led into the correct lifetime path. The direction was distinct and I didn’t have to register for the wrong degree first, make mistakes, spend time in the maze and then be redirected into the ministry I had to serve in. God was directing me to avoid blunders, though what we term as a mistake, God knows how to use it to serve us better. He was giving me an effortless and easier way instead of struggle and strife. Well, the registration period had already passed but nonetheless I knew well to divert my attention and choose aright if I still wanted to register for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.
We can save ourselves a lot of heartache and stress if we enquired with the Lord and paid attention to the signs and the messages He provides us. Perhaps there were signs along my parents’ paths, to relocate or not to relocate, to embark on different careers or not to. Perhaps everything was part of the syllabus or maybe God had to integrate the changes in their syllabus, I would never know but He always works it out no matter how the picture looks so that the end product is always what He has originated.
He is Abba Father and we need to have childlike faith and trust that He will shape our paths and place us where we need to be. Everything that He does, is always for our highest good. We might not know sometimes what is for our highest good but because of the plan that he has for us, He is the One we need to consult. He says in the scripture “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). This is the God that we serve.
I am very delighted to know God and acknowledge everything that He has done for me. I am glad that it was through a fellow student that I got to meet and know Christ and today can hang on to Him when the going gets tough and even so when things are going right for me. I’ve had times when I’ve missed the mark but God always took me onto the right path and protected me. I falter and grow weary some days and He picks me up all the time.
I swerve off the road and lose my way into the forest; I fall into the river and get washed away by the current; my feet get stuck in the mud and I fall into a pit but God always gets me on the smooth road, the right track, He pulls me out and most of the time just carries me. It’s a remarkable journey indeed.
Express gratitude for the signs God gives you and even when you miss the signs, give thanks that God is able to change things around for your own good. He works quicker to reposition every aspect of your life for a good ultimate outcome. Shalom.
April 17, 2017 by Kgalalelo
I was contemplating about an issue I was dealing with in my life and things seem to be going from bad to worse. I could see a conspiracy from the enemy to destroy and the mission was clear from all angles. The Bible says that “the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10).
It was a rough time and the following morning as I was combing my daughter’s hair in my bedroom close to the door, she grabbed the blue key holder on the door and said “Mommy, what is written on the key holder and what does it mean?” I took it from her and there the message read “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”.
I explained to my daughter that it meant that if God looked after you, there won’t be a need for anything because He provided everything. My awareness opened up right there as I realised that the message was meant for me. God was speaking to me that morning through the keyring which had to be found by my own daughter.
I was stressing about what was happening and how I seemed not to be having control over it and God of all knowledge was in tune with my mind and soul and gave me a message of comfort that I needed at that time. I immediately said ‘thank you Lord for the communication and the awareness’ as this was not much about my daughter seeking understanding but the Lord was ministering to me at my time of need, besides, my daughter is ten years old and she can read.
As soon as I was done with her hair, I went into the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee as we still had some time before we left for school and work. I clicked the kettle to boil the water and out came from my lips the song by Jonathan David Helser “I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God”. The song was impressed in my mind and I just sang out of the blue and thought ‘my God how excellent and awesome you are!’ He was giving me reassurance that there was nothing for me to fear. He used things that where around me and already inside of me to communicate and comfort me.
I hadn’t heard that song in a long time and it’s one of my favourites. I had been playing and listening to quite a number of local South African gospel music during that time and this one popped out of my head. I knew that God was up to something and I needed to relax, trust and ride on his back like a baby and see where He was taking me. God absolutely had something on His mind and I knew to trust and leave everything in His hands.
I remembered how I used to carry my own children on my back when they were still babies. I carried them when I was cleaning, doing laundry, washing the dishes and when I needed to walk to the store for some small supplies. Somehow, the back seemed to be soothing for them as when they had been crying, would suddenly stop and eventually fell asleep. I would then carefully remove them from my back and put them to sleep. The back seemed to be having a calming effect for babies and provided comfort and reassurance that they were safe.
I realised in that moment that we are like babies also in God’s eyes and He carries us the same way that we carry our babies on the back. He soothes us when we cry and comforts us when we are scared. He relieves the burden off our shoulders and carries it Himself. He walks around with us to calm us while He goes about doing other business. Nothing is too hard for Him to handle and He’s able to clean up the universe while carrying us babies on His back. He takes us for walks that we may focus on other things, smell the air and see the clear blue sky. He removes our attention from the troubles we experience and give us different perspectives. He is a mighty God; “He is our refuge and strength, our very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
My kids and I left shortly after my coffee time as they had had breakfast themselves and I took them to school and then went to work. When I arrived at the office the first thing I did was to read my e-mails and there was one I never opened from a friend of mine in Durban. It had the title “weathering the storm”. God was ministering to me fully that morning in different ways and I literally moved from one ‘sermon’ to another. The message read:
“When a ship is caught in a storm,
the captain navigates the ship towards the eye of the storm, a place of calm.
As the storm subsides, the ship continues on its journey.
Similarly, when everything around us is changing,
when there’s a storm of emotions or events,
we too can turn towards our inner calm,
here we can find strength and stability.
Then when the storm is over, we won’t be battered or depleted.
Instead we’ll be able to continue on our journey with confidence and clarity”.
God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, and He uses everything that is at our disposal and the power that works in us, to Him be the glory forever and ever. Let us rejoice and be cheerful that in our time of need, God comes through for us and its instances like these where we give gratitude for the innumerable ways and methods that God uses to cool us down and we can gladly go through the rest of the day knowing that there is a ray of sunshine in any circumstance and event.
When I was studying integrated marketing communication, I learnt that every contact point communicates the message and the brand of the company; the company vehicles, the staff uniform, the media, the sales people etc. So God communicates the very same way, the message could be on the next truck that passes you by, the song on the radio, the next meeting you attend and so forth. Pay attention and listen and be grateful that God’s resources are infinite.
April 10, 2017 by Kgalalelo
God astounds me all the time and I realise that understanding His magnificence would take me a life time.
I was doing a study on the origins of shame; what it means and why we feel shameful all the time whenever things happen in our lives and what we can do to alleviate it and realised that as much as God didn’t give us the spirit of fear and timidity according to 2 Timothy 1:7, He never gave the spirit of shame either and whenever we feel shameful and fearful, He shields and protect us.
From a biblical point of view, shame came as a result of the fall from grace. Prior to Adam and Eve eating of the fruit of good and evil that God commanded them not to eat, in order to avoid death, man was never shameful of anything. He was covered with the glory of God.
The words that describes shame includes embarrassment, pity, humiliation, discomfort, regret, guilt, remorse, self-reproach or blame. When Adam and Eve did eat of the fruit of good and evil, the Bible elucidates that when they heard God coming they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord amongst the trees of garden. God called on to Adam and when he responded he said “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself. Where the glory of God is, there can never be any shame.
When consciousness came to Adam and Eve, the first thing they observed was their nakedness. This can be explained both metaphorically and spiritually. They were without physical clothing as well as the glory of God from a spiritual context and the worst kind of nakedness is not being clothed with the presence of God. It should have been gloomy for them at that time because without the presence, you are literally in the dark. The presence or the glory of God illuminates, protects and keeps you satiated. It provides food for the soul. Jesus said “I have food to eat that you know nothing about” (John 4:32 NIV). He was always filled and full of the glory of God. The glory feeds you, mind, body and spirit and therefore you lack nothing because God shepherds you.
God is merciful and kind, even when Adam and Eve went astray, He sowed tunics of skin and clothed them to cover their nakedness. He demonstrated His love regardless of man’s unfaithfulness. In Genesis 4, we read yet another story of Cain and his brother Abel. Cain rose up against Abel and killed him in the field as he was jealous of Abel’s offering that was accepted and respected by the Lord. Abel was a shepherd whereas Cain was the tiller of the ground and when both brought sacrifices of their labour to the Lord, God respected Abel and his offering and not Cain’s resulting in Cain killing his own brother.
We learn in the Bible that when God confronted Cain about the matter and punished him, God removed him also from His presence and Cain was afraid that if he was removed from the face of God, he would be killed but God heard his cry and protected him. He decreed that whoever would kill Cain vengeance would be taken on him sevenfold and so set a mark on him lest anyone who found him should kill him. Despite the shame of Cain’s action, God was merciful.
God demonstrated mercy unto humans when He asked Noah to build an ark and take his family along and a pair of every creature along into the ark. He could have destroyed every living thing in the face of the earth but He took for Himself a handful of people to ensure the existence and continuation of the human race. After the flood God was full of remorse and He promised to never destroy the earth with the flood. He said according to the Bible “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done” (Genesis 8:21). Humanity has always been in God’s heart for eons despite the repeated shameful acts.
Furthermore, God took out the children of Israel from Egypt following the cries of their hearts as a result of the hard labour they were suffering in the foreign land. He fed them with manna and quail when they complained about a lack of food to eat in the wilderness and gave them water to drink when the wells were nowhere to be found. He could have left them to be eaten by the wild animals or destroyed them Himself because of their constant moaning but His mercy endures forever. He protected them and gave them all that was necessary for their journey. They worshipped idols along the way and despite their shameful deeds, God ensured that they reached the Promised Land.
He gave them the land of milk and honey, Canaan, and said unto them, “I have given you a land for which you did not labour, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” (Joshua 23:13 NKJV). Still the Israelites continued to disobey God and didn’t serve the Lord wholeheartedly and yet He continued to protect and provide for them and helped them destroy giants. Shame doesn’t prevent God from being God, it is no measure of His goodness. He continues to show mercy over His own creation.
There are many such accounts and the greatest gift of God’s mercifulness in the New Testament is sending His own begotten son, Jesus Christ to redeem and save us from our sins. He became the sacrifice for all humanity and His offering was simple and that was to believe in Him and His ministry, the ministry of grace. Jesus’ sales pitch was contained in the five letter word, ‘grace’. This was the summary of His ministry on earth and He did it for us. He offered us a free gift for our own benefit and many received it while others refused the offer and preferred the difficult road which is still the case today.
God gave us Jesus as a demonstration of his everlasting love and mercy. He doesn’t wish for any of us to perish and He displays His mercy and goodness over and over again. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 2:22-23 ESV).
We often harden our hearts from the call of the Lord that we proclaim to believe in. The very short ministry of Jesus that lasted only three years is loaded with unconditional love of God for the people. He displayed His mercy right from the beginning of life itself and even after 2000 years since Jesus ascended to heaven, we still enjoy the mercy and grace that is given us freely without any effort from our side.
There are hundreds of people on earth today who have escaped death, who have overcome heinous things, who experienced supernatural provision and still do, who enjoys perfect divine health and have wonderful relationships despite the things they have done and this is because God is merciful. He invites everyone to come to Him despite circumstances and all kinds of occurrences. Jesus said “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11: 28-30 NKJV).
Hear the call of the Lord today and relish in His mercy and goodness. Leave shame behind as God views not with the human eye. He knows you better than you know yourself and more so, better than others know you. He washes the shame away and cleanses you whiter than snow. It doesn’t matter what you have done, He is faithful, when you are not. He is faithful, when others are not; He loves without condition; He cares and understands without judgement.
Be grateful for God’s mercy and receive it, look at the many instances in your life where God has been merciful to you and rejoice knowing that every morning, you have a fresh supply of mercy. Use your daily supply and run to God when you feel shameful about anything. He surely can lift the shame up and restore you to the person He wants you to be, that is the whole exercise, to return us into the glory we enjoyed in the beginning. Amen and Amen!
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. & The ESV Global Study Bible®, ESV® Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Crossway. All rights reserved & The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
April 3, 2017 by Kgalalelo
I worked as a communications professional for ten years just a year and a half after graduating. One of my functions was to organise events for the organisations I worked for and some of these events involved high ranking state officials and that meant that a certain protocol had to be followed. Protocol was not something I learnt at university nor was it part of the curriculum but rather an attribute I picked up through consultation with the organisations’ officials.
We had pre-meetings prior to events taking place and the day earlier would have dry runs to ensure that the events ran smooth without any hiccups. I never wished to imagine what would happen to some of us who were entrusted with the overall management of the events if anything went wrong especially if the correct and proper protocol wasn’t observed. As a result, protocol officers were assigned to assist.
State officials had to be addressed in a particular way, be it Ministers, Members of Parliament or local State Dignitaries. The sitting arrangement was observed according to prominence and the overall security and the safety of the officials had to be top notch.
Protocol meant that there were processes and procedures to be followed when attending to the high ranking officials and how the entire event was supposed to be handled. There was absolutely no room for error and everyone had to act with swiftness and accuracy. I enjoyed managing events and learnt from every member of the team I was working with. Every occasion had its own vigour and dynamics and you had to move according to the nature and expectations of that particular occasion.
We were allocated a budget to run these events and an official function meant that we had to produce the work of perfection and involve service providers with credibility and a good reputation. It was such a relief when everything went according to plan and everyone accomplishing every assigned task perfectly. We all felt a sense of achievement when the event was finally over with minor or zero hiccups.
I was alone in the car one Saturday afternoon going home from the mall and was talking out loud with God in the car. I was having a casual conversation that didn’t really require closing of eyes and sitting in a private place. It was a true communication with my best friend as I gave thanks to Him for healing my bladder the previous day. I had spent the whole day with pain in the bladder and had stayed home that Friday, absent from work, as it was very uncomfortable and the pain unbearable.
I knew the Healer and had placed the matter before Him in prayer and the following day on Saturday the pain had completely gone. I had been meditating on the scripture that said “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrew 4:16). I had called on to the Lord quoting His Word and believed that I would be healed and so it was.
The pain had simply disappeared and I was amazed as it had been coming intermittently for a couple of weeks. So, as I was talking to God about the experience and how happy I was that He had healed me, the word ‘protocol’ jumped up in my head seeking attention. It came swiftly and quietly and I heard it over and over again going, ‘protocol, protocol’. I knew in that instance that the Holy Spirit was guiding me to write on the subject. You never really miss it when God communicates if you are attuned to Him.
This was a familiar word, a subject I was conversant with from a professional viewpoint and a practice that interested me. Official work protocol was conducted in an orderly way beginning with the guest list and invitations, the order of proceedings and precedence, how the media had to be handled, photography and permission to do so, the cultural considerations, the seating plan and even the name-tags. All balls had to be juggled in the air effortlessly and whichever one fell, had to fall on the right place.
As I was driving, I was receiving flashes of how all of life operated and that was according to a particular order or system. Work places worked according to policies, procedures, processes and work instructions as well as schools, hospitals, places of worship including the order in our own households. I looked at the traffic lights as I was driving and even those worked according to timing set by the traffic control system. My mind went to the many traffic signs there are, the regulatory signs, warning signs, guidance signs and temporary regulatory signs. All of these are everywhere and serve a purpose.
I was in another realm of thinking and I had completely moved away from the health issue as God is the God of the present and not the past. I realised that healing was a minor thing to Him and I couldn’t dwell on yesterday but had to focus on what was happening then and what God was imparting in my spirit at that moment. My driving, as a result, was on autopilot as my higher mind was on things on high and was receiving revelation.
God is the God of protocol and order Himself. Heaven is orderly and there is protocol in operation in the heavenly realm. The scriptures says that nobody has seen God and yet we know that natural laws are in operation every day. The Bible puts it this way “But this is what the LORD says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky (Jeremiah 33:25 NLT).
We know that after spring, summer comes and when the clouds gather there is a possibility of rain. Scientists will explain all natural phenomena in scientific ways, however, behind science there is God, who established science itself and to top it all off, He is the Chief Scientist! He created man, imparted His Spirit in him and gave him knowledge to make discoveries of all sorts. Every piece of divine discovery therefore is a jewel, there is worth in it and the world expands to accommodate more discoveries according to the seasons established by God.
Protocol, laws and regulations are there to create a particular order in all phases of life. The bible says, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1Corinthans 14:40 NKJV). All of life would be in complete disarray if there is no order and things are not done according to the correct protocol. We see the evidence of this everywhere in the world and in every sphere of life. It takes human beings who have been given complete dominion to put things back together again, in the order that was there from the beginning of time. This is God’s protocol in all its glory.
There is order in God’s creation of the heavens and the earth, day by day and the time He rested. This was according to divine order itself and He created the timing for our rest too. When the body is exhausted for example, it cannot function effectively because there is a certain order on how every part of the body should function. Rest is, therefore, as important as doing activities to give the body time to rejuvenate.
I was astonished at the amount of revelation that came gushing like a river in my mind and when I think about the experience, I stand in awe of God and His greatness. We need to govern the affairs of our lives according to the procedure laid down by God in every area of our lives. This would minimise chaos that we experience in our personal lives and the world around us. People have moved away from the protocol of heaven and doing their own things that are not in line with God’s will and purpose for all creation. We need to return to God and establish the order of conduct for daily living for our own well-being and sanity.
God promised during Noah’s time never to destroy the earth by the waters of the flood but the end of the time that we live in becomes inevitable and irreversible while we continue to live ungodly lives. God is full of compassion, even when we fail and falter, He continues to give us chances to improve our lives and follow His ordinances.
They may seem hard as a result of our fallen nature but everything is for our good and the good of the universe we live in. Let us observe heavenly protocol and be grateful that God is merciful and His unconditional love gives us the opportunity to rectify the wrongs that we do so that we may not be destroyed.
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. & Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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