2014 is Here…

Normally when the clock strikes twelve, hailing the end of a year, and the beginning of another one, I reflect on the year past, and more often than not my eyes are filled with tears about what I didn’t achieve.  Last night I didn’t.  Because I’d received a promise from God.  A friend shared this verse on Facebook and it took root in my heart:

Isaiah 43:18-19

New International Version (NIV)

18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.”

I was quite tired.  If I’d had my way, I would have been in bed just before eleven, but Elizabeth forced me to push through. I spent the night at her place, simply visiting with her, her brother and her parents.  It was probably the quietest new year I’ve experienced in a decade.  This morning we had a proper New Year’s breakfast 😉

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My step-sister is here, spending the night, en-route to visit my other step-sister who stays further up the coast.  While I sit typing away, she and my mom are chatting up a storm in the lounge.  Dad is very happy to have her here.  He has gone to great effort, with smoked angel fish and snoek and oysters.  

I quickly had to pop out on an errand and the radio in the car was off and all I could think about was just how blessed I am.  I have amazing parents, family and friends.  I am moving in two weeks into the perfect place.  My sideline businesses are both doing well.  This is definitely a reflection of what lies ahead.

Anyhow, I am not really a resolution person, but I saw this photo shared by Herbalife, it got me thinking…

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So, here goes…

This year I will:

1.  Be a better listener.  After all, I have two ears and one mouth.  And if I must speak, to speak accurately. And to speak life:

Proverbs 18:21

New International Version (NIV)

21 T”he tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

2.  Make time every day to be quiet in God’s presence.  Caryn, a colleague bought me this book for Christmas:

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by Retah McPherson.  She has the most amazing story to tell.  If you’ve got time, read their story here.  

Feeling inspired by this, I bought this book (the Afrikaans translation) for Steve for Christmas and the English one for myself…

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Steve told me that the author is a down to earth man, that really serves God, and that he ministers in a way that any person can understand.  I had heard about Angus Buchan before, but it wasn’t until I’d seen the movie, Faith like Potatoes that I really took an interest in his ministry. 

3.  Stay healthy – not only because it is good for me, but so that I can inspire others to be healthy too. 

4.  Read, and blog more.  After all, reading and writing are both passions of mine, and I should be pursuing them…

5.  Make a daily choice to choose life, because it is a choice:

Deuteronomy 30:19

New International Version (NIV)

19 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”

6.  Make the most of every opportunity that comes my way and to help people where I can.

7.  To laugh more… 😀

I’m sure I could add more to the list, but for now I think that is enough…

Looking ahead, I am hopeful and happy, because of the promise above, and also because I know God has a plan for me!  And it is a good plan…

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 “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.

So…here’s to 2014 – bring it on!  I am EXCITED and SO READY!

 

My Faith-Walk Restarts Today

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here… honestly, I wanted to – because writing is one of the main outlets I have, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pen down any words – not poetry, nor prose…or even a funny anecdote.

Last night I watched the movie, “Faith like Potatoes” – it is the story of Angus Buchan, a Zambian farmer of Scottish descent, who sold up his farm in Zambia in 1978 to come and farm in Kwa Zulu Natal, and how God saved him.  Today he ministers all over South Africa and Africa.  I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with his story, but it touched my heart incredibly last night.  He and his family faced hardships when they moved to South Africa, having purchased a farm overgrown with wattle trees and NO water, and as Angus worked himself to a literal standstill to make the farm a success, he began to spiral into depression.  One Saturday he accompanied his wife Jill to a mission breakfast at the local Methodist church in Greytown (it must be noted here that he attended the breakfast under duress).  He was approached by someone there who invited him to church the following day, telling him that farmers from the local community would be testifying of God’s goodness toward them.  It was at this service where He gave his life to God.  His story of conversion is life-changing (I think not only for himself, obviously, but for those who hear it) – and his faith is astounding.  I don’t want to say too much…watch the movie, or even better, but the book – I’m going to.  I’m sure what I saw in the movie last night, was just a sample of the amazing work God has done through this man, an ordinary man – a farmer.

When the movie was finished, I wept – for the first time in a long time, acknowledging that while I believe in God, and believe that I have faith, I have so much to learn.  I prayed for God to restore my faith, to make Himself known to me again, and for him to open my spiritual eyes and ears so that I may see and hear more of Him.  This week has been an extremely challenging one for me – and I realize now, that I needed to go through what I did and watch the movie afterwards, to be able to admit that I’ve strayed, and that my faith has dwindled.  I believe now and know in my heart that God never left me – when I was in the deepest pits of sadness and despair, wracked by fear and insecurity, He was always there to carry me.  I have had something that I’ve needed to discuss with someone I regard as very close in my life, yet, every time I’ve wanted to, something would happen for me not to – either the timing wasn’t right, or the venue wasn’t right, or something else.  Fact is, I was scared – scared of being laughed at, told off, or worse.  I asked a number of friends to pray for me yesterday and when the opportunity presented itself, I said the bare minimum.  Today I will speak – I heard God’s voice clearly in my heart telling me to speak to the person concerned, and to have no fear.  Moments later a friend updated her Facebook status to read, “Don’t wait until tomorrow to tell someone something important” and I praised God for His confirmation.  I later googled “Bible verses on Fear” and came across an online Bible Study site and I began browsing through some of their older topics and again, the Lord spoke to me, reconfirming His instruction to me, “Faith is tested by what we do with fear” – I won’t lie and say I’m not still scared, but today my walk in faith restarts and I will speak, being obedient to His instruction and I know that regardless of the outcome, it is part of God’s perfect plan for my life.

Angus Buchan has a second DVD out called Ordinary People which I am also going to be watching, and I believe it will be with the person I am going to talk to today.  I feel in my heart that we must watch the movie together, that God has a message for both of us, which He wants us to hear together.

So, for those of you who read my blog and pray to the Almighty God, who provided for a bumper potato harvest, which was planted in dust, during a drought, I ask you to pray for me. I leave you with the blessing of Numbers 6:24-26

“The Lord bless and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; and the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”