Spilling Over

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You may have recently come across the following message that has been going around lately:

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee? You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea. The point is whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out. Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which will happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled. So, we have to ask ourselves, “what’s in my cup?” When life gets tough, what spills out? … You choose!

It’s a great little analogy that gets us to reflect on what’s inside our hearts because, as Jesus says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” (Matthew 12:34). We’ve all been experiencing a time where life has come along and shaken us at the moment. And we’ve had a chance to see what has come spilling out. The good and the bad.

The great thing is, as the analogy points out, is that we can choose what to fill our cup with. As we consider that point let us hear the words of the Apostle Paul as he prays the following benediction over the believers in Rome:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

If we place our trust in the God of hope, believing in Him and His promises, we will be filled with all joy and peace. Joy being the delight of anticipation in seeing one’s hopes fulfilled; and peace that results from the assurance that God will fulfill these hopes. This joy and peace and hope all comes by the power of the Holy Spirit as He fills our hearts. His presence in our lives results in us not only spilling hope when we’re bumped by life, but also results in us spilling-over with hope at all times. Then, when we interact with others, our words, our attitude and actions will spread hope into their lives as they see the hope overflowing in us.

We could all certainly do with a little more hope in our lives right now.

 

God Bless

Graham

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What is Your Focus?

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Guest Post

During this lockdown, there is so much media activity, both social and mainstream. One’s emails and cellphones are constantly being bombarded by articles, videos or people’s opinions. Even watching the news can be very frustrating and frightening.

One doesn’t know what to read with all the media overload. Some things are informative and useful, like how to keep yourself safe and steps to take when washing your hands. Some articles and videos are funny and lift the spirits. But other articles are very scary. All the doomsday prophets and conspiracy theorists are having their say. Then everyone dives in on the various media platforms, and either supports or attacks a certain view point. This gives rise to fear, uncertainty and insecurity.

Even Christian messages, which can be very encouraging, can sometimes get very long winded and lose your attention before the conclusion is reached.  This does the very opposite of what it is meant to do. Some Christian’s messages even seem to be at odds with God’s word.

We read in 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and self-discipline.”

There comes a point where you have to say “enough”! I will decide what I am going to read, watch and listen to. Do not fall into a trap of being swamped by the media. Be selective and wise. Do not be pulled down by the ways of the world. Above all, keep your eyes on Jesus and read from the Bible to discern God’s message for us and pray unceasingly.

Finally brothers, whatever is True, whatever is Noble, whatever is Right, whatever is Pure, whatever is Lovely, whatever is Admirable-if anything is Excellent or Praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of Peace will be with you.”  (Philippians 4:8-9)

Change your focus. Make a stand and stand out from the world!

Blessings

Helen Meintjies

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Remember Who You Are

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Two days ago, while working on my sermon for Sunday, I was listening to the soundtrack of the most recent Lion King movie. Now this soundtrack is especially meaningful to me because the original Lion King played a large role in my childhood. I don’t think it is possible to know how many times I watched it as a child and later as an adult. This is a movie that I know pretty much backwards and still unashamedly sing along to it (remembering most of the lyrics to the songs!)

What blows my mind regarding the older, animated movies like The Lion King is the meaningful messages you discover as an adult that may have gone over your head when you were younger. While listening to one of the songs, I decided that I wanted to quickly watch the scene, in which this song played, from the original movie. I opened up YouTube and began the search to find what I was looking for and success! It was found! After watching it, I watched it again amazed at the biblical truth contained in the exchange between Simba and his dad Mufasa who had passed away:

Mufasa: Simba . . .

Simba: Father?

Mufasa: Simba, you have forgotten me.

Simba: No. How could I?

Mufasa: You have forgotten who you are, and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba.
               You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life.

Simba: How can I go back? I’m not who I used to be.

Mufasa: Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true king.

Mufasa: Remember who you are.

Now if you have never seen The Lion King before (the animated one, not the live-action one!) please stop what you’re doing and go watch it if you can (You won’t be disappointed – I promise!). At this point in the movie Simba was the rightful king of his father’s kingdom but was not living in a way that honoured that fact – he had become a shadow of his former self. I love Mufasa’s words, “You have forgotten who you are, and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become”

As disciples of Jesus we are literally children of God. Take a look at Galatians 4:3-7:

In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elements of the world. When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir.

When we forget the fact that we are a child of God I think that we can then in turn forget about God himself. And when we forget our true identity and who that identity is found in, this can then impact how we are live in the present. So the main message I want you to take away today is to remember who you are, to remember the fact that you are a child of God, and will one day share in Jesus’ incredible inheritance as He is the rightful King of the universe; then, in light of this truth, live in a way that honors this fact. If you currently find yourself in a place that is far from God and maybe tied up in a life of sin or one that doesn’t look much like a disciple of Jesus, know that you are never too far gone and that you are more than what you have become. You are a child of God so be encouraged! And then live like one!

Much love,

Luke

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Accountability

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“Hi how are you? We haven’t seen you at Church lately are things going okay?”

“Hi my friend, I really got a sense that I should call you, do you have some time to chat?”

“Okay everyone lets go round the group and share any highs or lows you’ve had during the week. How is your walk with the Lord going?”

“Hey man, how’s that temper? I’ve been praying for you.”

I’m sure that, in our Christian journey, we have had similar questions asked of us or have asked the same kind of questions of others. There is a name for this kind of thing, accountability. Those of you who remember their days of being part of the youth group might recall the concept of an accountability partner. The idea of accountability is rooted in the Biblical concept of confession and, ultimately, love.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working,” (James 5:16)

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” (Galatians 6:1-2)

The wisdom book of Ecclesiastes insightfully recognises the benefit of having another come alongside us to support one another:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Many of us know the value of having someone holding us accountable in our daily walk and spiritual lives. Someone who can lovingly challenge us on our areas of sin, who can support us in times of struggle and who can motivate us to grow in Christlikeness. And it need not be one person, it could be a group of friends, a fellowship group, or fellow church members fulfilling this role to various degrees.

The reason for me bringing up the topic of accountability is to remind of its importance especially now as many of us are isolated from each other during the lockdown. No one will know if you’re not at Church on Sunday, or reading your Bible, or praying regularly. Both the stress and boredom of the lockdown can result in us turning back to and engaging in bad or sinful habits. It is therefore vital to establish some sort of accountability, even if you just have a prayer partner who you can contact or message if you are struggling. Heed the warning of Ecclesiastes 4:10 for those trying to go it alone: “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.” Be proactive and reach out to someone, don’t wait for someone to come to you. We cannot afford to leave it to later. Let us fulfill the law of Christ, that of loving God and one another, by carrying one another’s burdens.

God Bless

Graham

Important Note:

If you do not have someone you could reach out to for accountability please contact one of the pastors or send an email to prayer@thenewharvest.org.za and we will help you find a prayer partner to come alongside you during this time.

If you would like to volunteer to be available as a prayer partner we’d love to hear from you too.

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