Meeting New Friends – 11/7/12

Three weeks ago I got my first opportunity to meet some incredible people and begin what I am sure will be lifelong friendships with all of them.

As we made our way into the township of Philipi, Terry wanted to give us the opportunity to taste some of the local cuisine. We stopped and had lunch at a place called Mzoli’s butchery. It is a meat lover’s paradise where you can choose anything from chicken, lamb, strips of beef and all kinds of sausages. When you walk into Mzoli’s, there is a front counter area where you select the meat you want to eat. They put your choices on a big platter, you pay for the meat and then take your platter to the back area where there is one of the biggest grills I have ever seen. It looks like something you would see at any SEC tailgaiting venue on Saturday afternoons. They use some kind of secret marinate for all their meat. What’s in the sauce? I have no idea but I will tell you, it is the best barbecue I have ever had – period.

After lunch, we finally made our way to Beautiful Gate. Beautiful Gate is a ministry that looks after the care and well-being of vulnerable children in the Lower Cross Roads area of Cape Town. Beautiful Gate has allowed Bridge 4 Hope to utilize some of their buildings in order for them to perform their ministry – which focuses on kids 18 to 28. You can learn more about both by clicking here – Beautiful Gate or Bridge4Hope.

The first person I was introduced to was Zimkhitha Mlata (Zimmie). This girl has one of the biggest and most infectious smiles I have ever seen. Have you ever met someone that instantly fills you with joy? Zimmie is like that, with her smile and unassuming nature, she simply exudes joy as she speaks and tells her story. Even though we didn’t have a lot of time to hear her complete story she was able to share enough to know that she has had to overcome a lot to get to where she is today.

We also had the opportunity to meet Thembelani, a young man, who like Zimmie has had to overcome a lot in his short life. There is no bitterness within him and although he hasn’t forgot about his past, his focus is on what lies ahead. His heart is to help make a difference in as many lives as he can going forward. To share with others, that there is hope and there is no obstacle that can’t be overcome.

Finally, we met Abongile, Bomikazi and Cheri as they played host and served us tea and biscuits. Again, 3 incredible young ladies, each with a humble spirit, bright smile and great stories to tell. I will share more about Abongile and Bomikazi in a later post but for now, I will just say – about all of these folks, is that it was so refreshing to see young people with such a hunger to learn and know Christ more intimately with each passing day. And then want to turn and share what they have learned with others!

As we pulled out of Beautiful Gate, I was so thankful that God had allowed me to come to South Africa. On this first day, I had the opportunity to see the beauty of God’s creation as I looked upon the ocean and mountains while being reminded to see the beauty in God’s greatest creation – His people. I had been given the incredible opportunity to meet some of these wonderful people and instantly form a lasting bond with each of them. And although they understood that the people from America were coming to share with and teach them – I knew and understood in that moment, that it was me (us), that would be the ones that would learn far more from them!!

Last thought – How much richer would my life be if I would simply take the time and be intentional about getting to know new people? I pray that God would open doors and that I would be bold and courageous enough to step out and do just that in the months ahead.

Peace and thanks for reading

Knowing God – Evidence of Knowing God

What are some other evidences in my life that point to me knowing God? As we continue in Chapter 2, Packer lists 4 examples of how we can see evidence of someone actively knowing God.

1. Those who know God have great energy for God. This is so true as I look at the people I have known over the years who were actively knowing God. They seem to have a never ending supply of energy in serving others or taking part in anything related to doing “God’s work”. As I look at my own life I realize that the same holds true for me. When I am truly in God’s will, seeking His path for my life and taking part in serving others, I am always amazed by the energy I have. I can be tired from the week but given an opportunity to do something for God and I am ready to go with renewed strength and energy. Knowing this, how is it so easy for me to forget this! Selfishness if I am honest with myself; making it about me and what I want to do or not do as the case may be! and it’s easy to think about serving others as I look at this energy thing but it’s more than that – prayer, study, meditation, are other things that are easier when in God’s will. It feeds off itself. You study, you learn more about God, pray for wisdom to learn how to apply what you have learned to your life, then meditate on these things allowing God to speak to you and then live it.

2. Those who know God have great thoughts of God. Ask most Christians and they will tell you how great God is but look at their lives and they don’t live like they believe God is great. Packer uses the story of Daniel to illustrate these 4 points. Daniel knew his God was Great!! He had a great energy for God and he had great thoughts of God as well. Packer points out that history of the world is nothing more than “His-story” (God’s Story), eternal plan unfolding over the course of time and when all is said and done, it will be God’s kingdom that will triumph in the end. This truth is scattered all throughout the book of Daniel. In knowing this, do we as Christians live this truth in our thought life? Would others describe us as having great thoughts of God?  I challenge you to read Daniel 2:20-22 and understand that this a prayer being offered by Daniel. What do our prayers sound like? And then in Daniel 9, read verses 4, 7, 9 and 14. Daniel had great thoughts of God, not just when in trouble but always.

3. Those who know God show great boldness for God. How bold have I ever been for God? how bold have you been for God? I promise you, I have never been faced with anything like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were. Or how about the young lady at Columbine High School. With a gun to her head, the shooter asked her to denounce Christ and she would live. She chose Christ and was present with Him shortly after doing so. To have that kind of boldness, Lord, that is my prayer, right here, right now! That no matter what I may face, I would be bold to stand for you no matter the outcome!! I have nothing left for this point. May God strengthen us to be bold in all facets of our lives that others may see Him in us!!

4. Those who know God have great contentment in God.  Packer states “There is no peace like the peace of those whose minds are possessed with full assurance that they have known God, and God has known them, and that this relationship guarantees God’s favor to them in life, through death and on forever. ” As I read and think about this statement, I find myself thinking of Tim Tebow and the incredible testimony he is living out for ALL the world to see.  Doesn’t he seem at great peace with everything going on around him. He doesn’t seem at all phased by all the hoopla going on around him. He just keeps going about his business and don’t miss this – Tebow’s business is living in God’s will.

Couple of things as I wrap up this post. I think number is 4 is huge for me personally for when I am contented with God, the rest of my life seems to be in balance. Not that things are perfect but that I have a peace about life. I belong to Him, and He is free to do with me whatever He will. My desire is to live a long life that I may see my kids and grand kids grow as old as me while Lisa and I spend our days on a sunny beach somewhere. That may not be God’s plan for my life. So my prayer for myself is that I can live the rest of my days living by these 4 principles.

Peace and thanks for reading!